From the Bowery: WWE Countdown: RAW's Most Memorable Moments
Posted by Robert Leighty Jr. on 04.03.2014
Finally a RAW Countdown without the Beer Truck incident!
From the Bowery: WWE Countdown: RAW’s Most Memorable Moments
-It’s WrestleMania week, and to celebrate we as a staff voted for the Top 30 Mania Matches. I hope you all have been following along and checking out each match as it is unveiled. As for this year’s show, I am rather excited, just like every other year, because for good or bad it is still WRESTLEMANIA. Sadly, I won’t be there in NOLA, but I have hopes of getting to at least one more Mania. Now as for the Countdown this week the WWE is trotting out the Top 10 RAW moments, so lot of stuff to pull from here. Let’s get to it!
-Talking heads drool over Monday Night RAW and say things you have probably heard a thousand times each and every week. They touch on the Monday Night War and how Nitro dominated things which brought out the best in the WWE. Specifically they mention that competition is a good thing and that’s worth remembering in today’s wrestling world. The issue is there has to be legit competition.
10: Pillman’s got a Gun
-“When Austin 3:16 meets Pillman 9mm Glock, I am going to blast his ass straight to hell.” That still may be my favorite quote in the history of RAW. Tremendous moment to start this countdown as it nearly got RAW thrown off USA. They cover the history of Austin/Pillman starting in WCW and then how each turned into a crazy bastard and that leads to Austin breaking into Pillman’s house live on RAW. A crippled Pillman pulls out a gun and waits for Austin as he beats the piss out of all of Pillman’s friends. Stuff is just awesome to watch again as Kevin Kelly keeps screaming about “explosions” instead of mentioning gun shots. Never getting anything like this again in the WWE!
9: Bischoff and McMahon Hug
-The hits just keep on coming early in this one. They all put over Bischoff and how he nearly ran the WWE out of business, and did what nobody else could: make WCW #1. Ultimately WWE wins the war, and in 2002 Vince McMahon announces Bischoff as the new RAW GM in a moment where I seriously considered the idea that hell had indeed frozen over. I am still pissed I missed it live as I was coaching a local baseball game and didn’t realize until I got home what had happened. The talking heads discuss how the reaction backstage was insane. The image of Bischoff and Vince hugging is one of those images that will live forever. Bischoff did a great job to in his role as GM and is probably the best heel GM the WWE has ever had (outside of Vince himself I guess).
8: The Upset
-This is one of the moments in the early months of RAW that set the tone for what we would get for years to come. On an episode of RAW, Razor Ramon was beating the piss out of what we thought was just some poor jobber called The Kid (previously known as Cannonball Kid, Kamikaze Kid, etc) when a miracle happened. The Kid hit a moonsault press off the top and got a shocking 3 count to leave the crowd both elated and stunned. The 1-2-3 Kid is born and Waltman becomes famous. I remember watching this live as a 12 year old and knowing Kid from GWF, but losing my mind when he actually won the match. What’s great here is the perspective of the younger guys as they recall watching the match as well. Waltman smartly says that he wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for that moment and mentions that it just showed that anything could happen on RAW.
7: HHH marries Stephanie
-Probably too low as this moment changed the future of wrestling forever and we are dealing with the fall-out to this day. As you all know, HHH interrupts the wedding of Steph and Test to show a video of him marrying a drugged out Steph a few days earlier in a drive through chapel in Vegas. Awesome! The pairing of those two on screen led to their real life relationship and now HHH is the heir apparent to the McMahon throne. In a cool bit of trivia, Cena mentions he was there in the crowd as a fan. Of all the ways to payoff that wedding, the WWE hit an absolute homerun with this one! It should have made Test into a Main Event star, but instead basically destroyed any momentum he had built even if that wasn’t the intent.
6: Tyson and Austin
-The best money Vince ever spent on a celebrity and is reason enough to justify Tyson being in the WWE Hall of Fame (celebrity wing). Tyson was brought out to hype an announcement with Vince, but things get interrupted by Stone Cold and the shit is on as the kids say. Tyson still had the aura of the toughest man on the planet and Austin was, well…Austin. You combine the two and you have the moment that had WCW shitting their pants in fear. Austin flips Tyson the bird and all hell breaks loose. McMahon nearly kicks Austin as he is pissed that the deal with Tyson is ruined. Again, the younger guys are great as you can clearly tell they were massive fans watching these moments happen as kids. Heyman rightly mentions that from that moment you knew Vince was going to win the war. They cover the crossover appeal and how you could see the WWE was going to explode with Austin leading the way.
-Recap to this point!
5: McMahon buys WCW
-You could make a great argument for this being #1 just because of the history. This was bigger than RAW as it was the end of an era that we will never see again. Technically you can trace this all the way back to the NWA and the splitting of that group and how Vince went National and put everyone out of business that was competition except Turner. Then that happened as well in March of 2001 and Vince opens up Nitro to announce a simulcast of RAW and Nitro. My mind was absolutely blown by this and I still have a hard time putting into words how surreal that night was. Of course storyline goes that Shane buys WCW out from under his dad and then WWE rushes an Invasion angle that fans are fantasy booking with 20/20 vision to this day. Booker T, Hugh Morrus, and DDP provide some good insight from the WCW side of things as they discuss seeing Shane step into a WCW ring on Nitro. Again, just a surreal night that has me shaking my head to this day.
4: Rock Challenges Hogan
-Hell Yeah! Hogan returns with the n.W.o and the younger guys discuss how they all wanted to see Real American Hogan and how the WWE fans didn’t want to boo the man. On a RAW from Chicago Hogan does all he can to get the crowd to boo him and that brings out the Rock to make the challenge heard round the world for Mania X-8. The crowd loses their collective minds as the two stare each other down and that is only a taste of what we would get in Toronto. Sandow calls The Rock the 90s version of Hulk Hogan and how the match needed to happen. They discuss the stare down and you could see in both their faces that they knew they were living a moment that only a few people on this planet get to experience. Hogan accepts the challenge and Rock shows some horrible sportsmanship by hitting Hogan with a Rock Bottom after a handshake. That right there just shows that Rock deserves the ass kicking that followed from the n.W.o. Trish mentions that she was basically a fan that night watching the two of them in the ring and then the poor girl had to follow their match at Mania.
-Nice touch as they take a break to cover the first episode of RAW from the Manhattan Center. It would be sweet if they would go back to the Manhattan Center for a show even just once a year, but can’t see that happening. Can you imagine that crowd with Cena, Orton, Batista, and the like. Cena would have a ball with it I bet.
3: Nexus Destroys RAW
-Probably too high since it kind of didn’t mean much in the long run (outside of Bryan being fired and leading to him being brought back). Even with the poor follow through I was going nuts watching this live because it was something so different and brought back memories of the n.W.o running rough shot over WCW in 1996. The Main Event on RAW was Cena vs. Punk (as chosen by the fans even though Punk was a heel in his SES phase) and the NXT guys show up and surround the ring. They then surround Cena and just start beating the crap out of him and anyone else around the ring. Obviously they don’t include Bryan choking Roberts with his tie, but we get the rest of the anarchy as they tear apart the ring, tables, ropes, barriers, and anything else. The only one not attacked is Cole who bailed in a great Bobby Heenan moment. Bryan screaming “you are not better than me” to Cena is one of those cool moments that I remember at the time and only took on a greater meaning in the years to follow. They all talk about the shock that went through the arena and we get Cena getting creamed by Gabriel’s 450 splash that looked like a killer finisher for months.
2: DX Invades WCW
-Funny how WCW is popping up on this countdown of RAW moments. HHH mentions that he joked about rolling up a tank and blowing up the building and then thought about what would happen if he really would roll up with a tank. Nash and Jericho talk about looking out a window and seeing DX outside the arena. Booker mentions that security was running around all over the place and people were freaking out, but he thought it was rather funny. This countdown is just making me miss the Monday Night Wars, and all I want now is some billionaire with a TV deal to start a wrestling company so I can have stuff like this again. People mention that WCW should have let them in the building just to pop a rating as everyone would have tuned into Nitro to see the chaos. Nash mentions he was on the other side of the door and trying his best to get them to open it, but it wasn’t happening. I wonder if WWE could have sued if DX rolled into the ring and got on Nitro? I mean they put them up to it, so isn’t that a chance they would have taken? Man, why couldn’t they just let them head into the arena.
-Another recap of the countdown before getting to #1.
1: Mankind Wins the WWF Title
-One of the craziest nights of the Monday Night Wars, and again, funny how WCW pops up on this countdown again. In this case WCW and WWF were having a crucial battle in Jan of 99 with RAW being taped and Nitro being live from the Georgia Dome. The WWF had take back control of the WAR, but it was still close and this looked like WCW’s chance to claim a victory. That may have happened, but Bischoff screwed himself by having Schiavone spoil that fact that “Mick Foley is going to win their World Title….that will put butts in seats.” Once those words came out of Tony’s mouth a few hundred thousand people switched to RAW to watch Mankind win the Title from the Rock with the help of Austin. The pop for Austin and then the one for Mankind winning the title is rather awe inspiring. I should also mention that the chair shot Rock took to his unprotected head was rather nasty as well and while I appreciate old school wrestling, banning shots like that to the head is likely for the best. DX celebrates with Mankind and parade him around the ring on their shoulders and Road Dogg mentions how cool it was to be there to witness Mick win the title. Lawler calls it not only a victory for Mick, but also one for the WWF as well.
The 411: This show continues to be a fun watch and this episode was no exception. Again hearing the younger guys continues to be the best part as their perspective is fresh and not the same thing we have heard from the older generation. Top RAW Moments was a fun topic even if I was hoping for a Mania tie in. Can't argue too much with any of these moments being in the Top 10 even if you could change the order, but again, fan voted so no real reason to complain.