The WWE took a ride on The Ho Train down memory lane with stops at Dudleyville and Suplex City with RAW 25, a celebration of the longest running weekly episodic show in television history.
For the first time in its history, WWE Monday Night Raw was broadcast live from two different locations in the New York City area, the Manhattan Center and the Barclays Center. The Manhattan Center was the location of the first Monday Night Raw, which debuted on January 11, 1993 on the USA Network. The Barclays Center in Brooklyn hosted most of the night’s events, and is a more typical location for the weekly show.
With a party of this magnitude, it wasn’t surprising that they’d start the show with a bang. This bang, although, was the sound of breaking glass and the thunderous applause from the fans in attendance. Stone Cold Steve Austin has always had a vendetta against the McMahon family, with whom he shared a few Steveweisers and Stone Cold Stunners. There’s no better way to start a party than with a few beers!
To kick off the action of the night, the women of the RAW roster competed in an 8-woman tag match, which was a great way to showcase the Women’s Revolution. After the match ended, Asuka threw her teammates over the top rope, signaling that she is ready to make history as the winner of the first Women’s Royal Rumble. The anticipation of this battle is high, and this was a perfect set up for it.
The Undertaker hasn’t been seen since his retirement defeat at Wrestlemania 33. As he appeared at The Manhattan Center, he was noticeably NOT wearing his signature hat and duster, which he left in the ring after being defeated by Roman Reigns. When he left the ring at Wrestlmania, he did so in silence. His promo at RAW 25 was vague. Was this him saying that he’d consider another match? Was this the retirement speech we’ve waited almost a year for? I couldn’t tell. I was also surprised of his lack of audience response, even considering the small crowd size.
The night was chock full of action from current superstars, including matches featuring Roman Reigns vs The Miz and Bray Wyatt vs Matt Hardy. Even though we’ve seen these matches numerous times before, we can’t seem to get enough of these battles. Reigns may have lost the Intercontinental Championship, but perhaps this is a set up for him to dominate at the Royal Rumble then main event Wrestlemania for the fourth year in a row. Woken Matt Hardy is borderline insane, but his gimmick makes him so fun to watch.
The D-Generation-X reunion wasn’t as flamboyant as the guys once were, but with a PG feel that the WWE now encourages, the Attitude Era antics just can’t fly anymore. I did however, catch myself chanting along with The Road Dogg Jesse James as he introduced himself and Badd Ass Billy Gunn, just like it was 1999 all over again. It was “Too Sweet” to include Scott Hall and the Balor Club to take down the “Professional Wrestlers” Revival tag team.
The rest of the night featured random appearances from a plethora of superstars, managers, and announcers of yesteryear, and most of them didn’t even say a word. While this was the “go home” RAW before the annual Royal Rumble, I expected more story and more action from both current talent and those stopping by for the reunion. Perhaps there were just too many stars to feature in only three hours of show.
Overall, the program was amazing. The real only disappointment was that there were no real surprises, especially for a company known for keeping talent and storylines hidden until the big reveal.
What are your thoughts on RAW 25? Were you expecting anyone else to make an appearance? Which superstars were you happy to see back with the WWE?