In honor of RAW’s 1000th episode on July 23rd I thought it would be fun to rank my own Top 5 list of my own personal RAW moments from the first 1000 episodes. There haven’t been that many episodes of RAW that I have missed fortunately and therefore had a pretty tough time narrowing down so many moments to just 5. But without any further ado here is my Top 5 list of RAW moments from the first 1000 episodes:
5. Chris Jericho’s debut (August 9th, 1999):
I don’t think there has ever been a more talked about or more remembered debut in professional wrestling like Chris Jericho’s WWF debut in 1999. At the time Jericho was what one may call an early on “internet darling” amongst wrestling fans for the entertaining things he did in WCW inside and outside the squared circle. When the “countdown to the millennium” clock finally struck zero the then former WCW cruiserweight champion received a hero’s welcome by the WWF fans.
4. Shawn Michaels gets kicked by Owen Hart (November 20th, 1995):
One of my favorite things to experience as a professional wrestling fan is those moments that make you go “was that real?” It’s very hard to do that nowadays (though CM Punk was able to pull that off last year) and in the mid-1990’s it was just as hard to do as “the business” was becoming more open with how it is more “staged” then “real” (thanks to the Vince McMahon steroid trial). The WWF was able to pull off one of those “was that real” moments as RAW went off the air on November 20th, 1995 with a unconscious Shawn Michaels, who had a oxygen mask on his face (I can remember the image to this day), being treated by a medical team in the middle of the ring.
I sit here writing this blog and can remember Owen Hart kicking Shawn Michaels on the side of his head, HBK wrestling a little bit more, then putting his hand to his forehead as he became jelly-legged and crashing to the squared circle mat. The images of then major heels Owen Hart and Jerry Lawler showing concern for Shawn Michaels is one of those early impressions in the history of Monday Night RAW that made it a “must see show.” It was powerful because while wrestling was “staged” it was able to generate a pure and real human emotion that could not be replaced at that time, an incredible “must-see” segment.
3. “This is your life, Rock” (September 27th, 1999):
It was the highest rated segment in RAW history; it was also one of the most entertaining segments of all-time and therefore sits on my own top 5 personal list of all-time RAW moments. Who could not remember how great The Rock/Mankind feud was in early 1999 and by the end of 1999 they had done a complete 360 to become one of the greatest wrestling tandems in history? If there is one thing television audience’s love it is “odd couple” pairings and that’s exactly what The Rock and Mankind gave us towards the latter part of 1999 as the “This is your life, Rock” segment sits atop that period of time.
I don’t think there have been two roles played so well in the history of professional wrestling like The Rock and Mankind were able to pull off during their “Rock N’ Sock” days. It was entertaining television for all fans including those who weren’t even wrestling fans to begin with! There is a reason why fans tuned in to make it the highest rated segment in RAW history and to this day many fans, including yours truly, could recite lines from the segment/moment that broke television records for the show reaching its 1000th milestone.
2. “Bret screwed Bret” (November 17th, 1997):
This was one of those moments that I spoke about before regarding the Owen Hart kick to HBK’s head that blur the lines of realism and storyline. Unlike the HBK segment ranked at #4 this was all too real and being played out on television that made it “must see TV” & “must see moments” in the hottest period of professional wrestling. It came off the heels of the infamous “Montreal Screwjob” at Survivor Series ’97 and was the first time Vince McMahon made an appearance, while wearing a black eye courtesy of Bret Hart, addressing the “Montreal Screwjob.”
In a matter of minutes Vince McMahon and the WWF tore down & apart the legacy of Bret “The Hitman” Hart, who at the time was one of the most accomplished wrestlers in the company’s history. Vince gave his side of the story, was as honest as he felt he needed to be and told the world why the WWF & more importantly why he did what they did to their famed Champion. Vince uttering the words “Vince McMahon didn’t screw Bret…Bret screwed Bret” is one of the most famous moments in not only RAW history, but in the history of professional wrestling and that’s why it’s #2 on my list.
1. WCW Monday Nitro/WWF RAW simulcast (March 26th, 2001):
We all have those moments in life where we knew where we were when they happened. Good or bad, we know those exact moments in history where we were when some historic moment took place. For wrestling fans it was the night that WCW Monday Nitro and WWF Monday Night RAW were being simulcast as the WWF had purchased WCW over that weekend.
For years the WWF and WCW went to war on Monday Night’s, often dubbed “The Monday Night War” and took too one another on & off camera to wage supremacy in the world of professional wrestling. On Monday March 26th, 2001 the WWF won that war as Vince McMahon opened up WCW Monday Nitro (one hour before RAW went on the air mind you) on the Ted Turner owned TNT, to show that the fate of WCW was literally in his hands. At the time the wrestling world was exploding with what some may have called “a dream come true” as some of the top wrestlers in the world would be battling it out on the same program, dream matches were going to become a reality.
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