“You all still got it, this is the place man, this is where it all started, 25 years ago in this building, the Manhattan Centre! The truth is, you lit the spark, you started the fire that became the inferno that is the WWE and 25 years later we are still here because of you!” – Triple H
It’s was the 25th Anniversary of RAW and to celebrate this, WWE Home Video has released the full episode of RAW that was hosted from both Brooklyn, NY and New York City, NY on January 22, 2018 as well as the Top 25 Raw moments on a 3 Disc DVD set from April 2nd.
Now, if you hadn’t seen the episode itself, it contained several great moments of nostalgia and as it was held the week before this year’s Royal Rumble the episode produced some moments to set up the event.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the 25th anniversary of Monday Night RAW!” – Stephanie MacMahon.
The episode kicked off in style with a united Shane and Stephanie MacMahon celebrating the show and from there it was the arrival of Vince MacMahon who once stepped into the ring was greeted with chants from the crowd of “Thank You Vince!” As both siblings give their father a plaque celebrating the 25th Anniversary the tone changed and Vince went into full heel mode. No longer cheered Vince is greeted with the “Asshole, Asshole!” chants (its great to see someone work the crowd this flawlessly) but this perfectly set up the arrival of Stone Cold Steve Austin, the man who alongside Vince made RAW incredible viewing throughout the late 90’s and early 2000’s, who stunned both his long term adversaries. It was a great nostalgia trip to kick off the show.
Next up was the 8 Women Tag Team Match featuring Asuka, Sasha Banks, Bayley, & Mickie James vs. Nia Jax, Sonya Deville, Mandy Rose, & Alicia Fox. Long term there isn’t much to write home about the match, except it was setting up the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble match. On a historical level it is good to see how far WWE’s attitude has come when it comes to Women in wrestling, no longer having matches referred to by some fans as “eye candy matches” or “toilet break matches” but on this show showcased 8 women who are superb wrestlers in their own right doing there thing. True, they could do alot more but their intent in progression is something to continue building on.
Up next was the arrival of The Undertaker who cut a promo and then we move to Honor previous General Managers. This led to a great moment between Daniel Bryan and The Miz before the formers match. Now that Daniel Bryan is back, WWE really needs to kickstart the longterm feud with The Miz, perhaps concluding at SummerSlam.
It was time for the Intercontinental Championship Match: Roman Reigns vs. The Miz, now as much as fans will boo Reigns, he consistently has watchable matches with this again being another one. It is also great seeing The Miz seizing the Title one more time.
You can practically skip everything involving the segments with the APA, where the jokes and the segments in the Attitude Era usually led to a match, this led to me reminding myself that I wanted to get to the next part of the show, and the skip button. The confrontation between Elias and Chris Jericho was superb, and next for Elias was his verbal altercation with John Cena that was excellent. Elias sharing the ring and attacking with the man who has headlined RAW for over 10+ years at that time was superb to see.
Titus O’Neil & Apollo Crews vs. Heath Slater & Rhyno was another throwaway match that was only worth watching to see The Dudley Boyz arriving. Next up was “A Super-Sized D-X Reunion!”, the arrival of Degeneration X, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, the New Age Outlaws, X-Pac and Scott Hall who were joined by The Bálor Club, they all share a “Too Sweet” moment before The Revival arrive and are taken apart by everyone involved.
The finale of the show features the collision of Braun Strowman, Brock Lesnar, & Kane before the Royal Rumble.
As special features go, its another awesome moment from The Miz as he faces DX and spins the crowd magnificently.
The further two DVD’s kick off the celebrations in the form of the pre show, around over 40 mins worth of fun before it flows into the Top 25 moments of RAW history, involving The Festival of Friendship, Edge saying goodbye, Shane returning, Mankind winning the WWE Championship, Daniel Bryan occupying RAW, CM Punk with his blistering Pipebomb and Austin with his beer trunk.
With this release, no matter what anyone says, RAW has always been “Uncut. Uncooked. Uncensored.” Here’s to another 25 years…maybe not at a three hour length time though.