Recently, WWE celebrated the 25th anniversary of RAW and it was a fun show to watch. There were many legends from the past that made the show feel much more important than a typical Raw.
The opening to the show was perfect. Stephanie and Shane McMahon were out there to present a plaque to their father in honor of this special night. Vince McMahon came out and got a great reaction as the fans sang along with his music and cheered him. However, Vince proved how great of a bad guy as he ran down the plaque before ripping into the crowd and their various issues with plaque. The way he was able to turn the audience on him was a great sight. Of course a 25th anniversary of Raw could not be complete without Stone Cold Steve Austin. Austin interrupted the McMahon’s ceremony and gave Shane a Stone Cold Stunner before giving one to Vince. This was the perfect opening segment for an anniversary show of Raw.
The first match on the show was an eight women tag that ended up going through two commercial breaks. This match was nothing special and only served to build up the women’s Royal Rumble. Right when they came back from the second commercial break the match ended which was very weird to see. After the match Asuka beat up the other women and threw them over the top. She seems to be a favorite for the Royal Rumble match but this match seemed pointless.
There were many backstage skits on the show but the only one that was worth noting was the recurring APA card game backstage that had MVP, Heath Slater, Jeff Hardy, Natalya, The Usos, and The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase among others. This was a fun recurring skit but its feels that some of these guest stars could have been used better.
One of the most interesting aspects of the show was the fact it was taking place at two different arenas, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and the Manhattan Center in Manhattan. The very first Raw took place at the Manhattan Center and it was set up just like that show with the ICOPRO banner and all of the other retro aspects. Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler were even brought in to call the action from the Manhattan Center to give it even more of a retro feel.
The issue was that the Manhattan Center was given the short end of the stick. The first segment that they got was The Undertaker making his first appearance since Wrestlemania last April. The were high expectations for this moment but he just ended up cutting a promo where he did not end up saying much of anything. Many expected some sort of challenge to be made but he left with even the announcers wondering what the significance of his promo was.
They then returned to the Barclays Center for the only announced match of the night, Roman Reigns defending his Intercontential Championship against The Miz. This was a good match but nothing special. The Miz ended up beating Reigns thanks to the help his Miztourage and an exposed turnbuckle. This could have been on any other Raw.
There was an interview segment on Christian’s Peep Show with Raw Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan. This segment was only their to cause further tension between the champions heading into their defense on Sunday against Shemaus and Cesaro. On a show full of nostalgia this was one of the few times something was built for the Royal Rumble show on Sunday.
Now it was time to return to the Manhattan Center but it was clear that they were upset. As Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy came to the ring for their match you could hear the fans chanting “We want something”. At this point on television it really seemed that this arena was not being utilized the best. Hardy and Wyatt ended up only going about five minutes which probably lead to more frustrations from this crowd.
— Rachel??????? (@Its0nlyRachel) January 23, 2018
There was nice moment when they brought out former WWE stars such as The Bella Twins, Terri Runnels, Jaqueline, Torrie Wilson, and last but not least Trish Stratus. It was really nice to see these women get a chance as they were an important part of this shows history.
For some reason Elias got his own segment on this show where he ran down many legends. He ended up being interrupted by John Cena who Elias beat up to build towards the Royal Rumble match. It seems like there could have been a better use of both guys instead of wasting their time on an issue few care about.
There were appearances by the Dudley Boys and Mean Gene Okerland but neither of them ended up being memorable outside of the nostalgic touch.
The show went back to the Manhattan Center for the third time in a three-hour show where DX of Shawn Michaels. Triple H, Road Dogg, Billy Gunn, and X Pac all came out. It was a nice touch to hear the fans chant “1-2-3” at X-Pace in reference to a former character he was in the same arena. They then brought out Scott Hall billed as Razor Ramon but were interrupted by The Bálor Club. I hoped they would beat up DX but they all Too Sweeted to show respect. Gallows and Anderson won a nothing match against The Revival where The Revival took everybody’s finisher at the end.
To end this 25 anniversary Brock Lesnar, Kane, and Braun Strowman came out and brawled. It was nothing special and ended with Strowman slamming Lesnar through the announce table.
Overall this show was fun but lacked in depth. There were fun moments with the legends but those segments really lead to nothing. The Manhattan Center aspect was also a disappointment. That arena is heavily tied to the early days of Raw but was barely used all night long. The fans there also seemed to be upset about this as they chanted many derogatory things during the breaks.
When it comes to building for Sunday’s Royal Rumble there was not much to this show. As a 25th anniversary of Raw there were plenty of legends that made this show fun if inconsequential.