WWE Monday Night RAW basically changed the way we view professional wrestling. It gave us a flagship show. It gave us a must-see show. If you enjoyed pro wrestling, you had to tune into RAW, because this was the one night of week that meant more than any other on the pro wrestling calendar. And even to this day, RAW is still considered WWE’s and basically pro wrestling’s biggest show of the week; which brings me to my point. How has Monday Night RAW continued to stay atop the wrestling world as its flagship show? Well, ladies and gentlemen, the answer lies within the moments that shape the show itself.
RAW has always revolved around moments. There have been hundreds of thousands of moments in RAW history, and today, I will start counting down the most special ones.
These are the moments that keep us coming back week after week. These are the moments that make us laugh, moments that make us cry, and moments that make us jump out of our seats in amazement.
These are the matches that make us proud to be fans; and the promos that keep us glued to our TV screens.
These are the moments that have allowed Monday Night Raw to continue for nearly twenty years; and the moments that are ingrained in all of our collective memories.
Today I present everyone with Part I of the 50 greatest moments in the history of Monday Night RAW!
#50: CM Punk Makes a Statement: July 23, 2012
This moment, being generally new, is one that we have not realized the full impact of. It is, however, a moment that changed RAW for the rest of the year, and maybe years to come.
On this historic 1000th episode of RAW, we had a historic main event. It was CM Punk vs. John Cena with the WWE Championship on the line. Now, while the match ended in DQ, it was after the match that this shocking moment occurred. Basically, The Rock ran down to the ring to take out The Big Show, and this is when CM Punk struck. CM Punk hit Dwayne with a massive GTS, and then walked away with a blank look on his face.
This was obviously a moment that altered the career of CM Punk, and a moment that changed the entire landscape of the WWE.
#49: The IC championship isn’t waterproof: December 12, 1997
At this moment in time, The Rock and Steve Austin were big stars, but not the mega stars that they would become eventually. This moment, however, was certainly a defining moment in their historic feud.
On this cold December night, The Rock made his entrance down to the ring with the Nation of Domination, and he demanded that Steve Austin give him the IC Championship that he felt was rightfully his.
Austin then came on the titantron. Stone Cold, outside on a bridge with the IC title in hand, told everyone that he doesn’t really care what the Rock or Mr. McMahon thinks about this, and he threw the IC Championship right into the harbor!
This was a great moment that truly established The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin’s classic feud, and if their rivalry was the greatest of all time, then this moment has to be what started it.
#48: The End of the World as you know it is here: January 2, 2012
Chris Jericho has to take the spot as being the wrestler with the most, and greatest, returns of all time. This return was no different, as the mystery surrounding the 1-2-12 vignettes was massive.
For weeks WWE had been hyping up 1-2-12 as the day that the world will end as we know it. Speculation ran rampant for months as to who was behind these dark and creepy promos; with the likes of Shane McMahon and The Undertaker being among them.
On 1-2-12 we finally got our answer (and in epic fashion) as Chris Jericho appeared from behind the curtain, did his classic pose and walked down the ramp in true Jericho form.
I think what makes this moment so special though, is the fact that this was the first time that Jericho introduced us to the fashion phenomenon, the cult classic, the single greatest piece of wardrobe to ever have been held by a pro wrestler: The Light Bright Jacket!
#47: The fire still burns….on Jim Ross of course: July 14, 2003
This was weeks after Kane had originally removed his mask, and boy was he a monster! Kane was destroying everyone in path. Kane was chokeslamming Eric Bischoff off of the stage, and electrocuting Shane McMahons testicles! And for some reason unbeknownst to me, Jim Ross decided to interview Kane at WWE headquarters in Stanford, CT.
Well, to say the least, Jim Ross must have asked too hard of questions, so Kane promptly threw him to the ground and set him on fire.
This moment wasn’t exactly a heartwarming one, but a memorable moment nonetheless. The only thing that we can possibly get out of this is that it was a stunt double that stepped in for JR and not actually Jim Ross. And after all of the crap WWE has done to JR over the years, it’s more surprising that it actually was a stunt double getting set on fire.
#46: CM Punk scores the Edge this time around: June 30, 2008
This was an amazing moment for internet wrestling fans all around the world. The golden boy, CM Punk, finally captured the top prize. The powers that be finally gave Punk what he has deserved all of those years.
As Dave Batista was walking away after beating down The Rated R Superstar; CM Punk ran down with a referee, hit a GTS, and cashed in his money in the bank contract on Edge to become the new World Heavyweight Champion. It was a great moment that made a lot of people very happy, and I’m sure it was a very emotional moment for Punk.
The title reign, on the other hand, wasn’t so spectacular.
Through cheap wins the entire time, CM Punk had a horrible championship reign. Maybe it was Vince McMahon giving all of us (including Punk) a slap in the face for buying into that great moment on Raw, or maybe McMahon just didn’t have any confidence in Punk to be the top dog on Raw. No one will ever know what Mr. McMahon was thinking during that summer.
Even though what followed it was horrendous, though, we still witnessed an amazing moment in the career of CM Punk.
On June 20, 2008, we witnessed a dream come true.
#45: Can you break the code? November 19, 2007
As I said earlier, every one of Jericho’s returns have been great, and this one was the best! Can you break the code? Well if you watched pro wrestling in 2007 then yes, you could probably break the code.
You see, for weeks a mysterious video asking us if we could “break the code?” interrupted matches and segments. After a while though, the surprise we were all awaiting was spoiled by the internet!
It leaked weeks before it happened that it was Jericho who would be returning and if you chose to not believe that, well then, please shut the hell up!
Chris Jericho interrupted Randy Orton and cut a classic Y2J promo running down Orton. This was a great return live on Monday Night Raw and Jericho’s career after the return was even better!
Jericho had the best run of his career after this return, especially his acclaimed feud with HBK; as well as great matches with Edge; not to mention a phenomenal tag team run with The Big Show.
#44: Evolution evolves into just three: August 16, 2004
It was one night after Randy Orton had finally captured World Title gold. HHH, Ric Flair, and Batista were celebrating with Randy, only to signal the infamous “thumbs down” and stab Orton in the back!
This was a pretty awesome beat down of Randy Orton by Evolution and it effectively kicked off the Orton-HHH feud. The rivalry itself was intended to put over Orton as a main event level talent, but instead it totally buried Orton.
This is another one of those cases where the aftershock wasn’t as amazing as the actual earth quake, but we will always remember the actual earth quake anyway (bad analogy?).
#43: HHH and Flair break down: October 3, 2005
It was an amazing tag team match. Chris Masters and Carlito vs. HHH and Ric Flair. Flair and HHH got the heartwarming victory after a hard fought tag team main event. And as they celebrated and hugged, the great equalizer came into play.
HHH nailed Flair with an unsuspected shot to the skull with the sledgehammer. HHH brutalized and tortured Flair in one of the biggest surprises in the history of Raw.
This was a classic and shocking moment on Monday Night Raw. The feud itself, however, was really a novelty project for both men, but the first act in the storyline set the bar for the rest to come. And yes, the aftermath of this moment was well done.
Flair and HHH had great matches throughout the entire feud, which was expected considering how great both men are inside of the squared circle.
#42: The Miz finally achieves his dream: November 22, 2010
What a moment for the Miz. I know some of you out there may not like it, but Mike Mizanin was told that he would never be anything in pro wrestling. He got bullied in the locker rooms, and he got mocked by fellow employees.
The Miz worked his butt off each and every single night to make it to the spot that he was in then. And on that night, the boyhood dream truly did come true when The Miz cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase on Randy Orton to become the new WWE Champion!
It has been documented that the Miz was very emotional backstage after the victory, and rightfully so. The girl in the crowd, however, wasn’t so thrilled about the win.
#41: GOLDBERG….GOLDBERG….GOLDBERG: March 31, 2003
Goldberg made one of the most impactful debuts in the history of Raw on this night. It had been speculated for a while before this that Goldberg had signed a contract with WWE, and on this night, everyone realized that it was true!
Without saying a word, Goldberg marched his way down to the ring in front of a wild Seattle crowd and speared The Rock right in half. This was a huge impression by Bill Goldberg, and a classic memory was made.
Even though the moment itself is cool, Bill Goldberg is one of the most egotistical, unsafe, and unprofessional people to ever main event pro wrestling PPV’s.
Minus that though, this was a very cool, epic, and highly hyped debut of Bill Goldberg in WWE, and (correct me if I’m wrong) but didn’t another superstar debut by interrupting the Rock and end up having a fairly successful career?
Well, that’s all for today folks! I hope you have enjoyed the list so far, and make sure to comment down below and tell me your thoughts on each moment, and make your own list!
Also, make sure to come back at exactly this time tomorrow to read Part II of the 50 Greatest Moments in the History of Monday Night Raw!