By Professor Diesel @Diesel_vftr
Finally it’s here! The 25th Anniversary episode of Monday Night Raw. I’m a huge mark for nostalgia, so needless to say for me it’s been marked on my calendar for months. Whether or not you’re excited for this week’s Raw, we should all just take it for what it is. The celebration of a weekly variety show that has anything and everything you could ever want in a television show. It’s also provided things you didn’t want and others you didn’t know you wanted. Raw may be very different now from the days of early 1993 in the Manhattan Center, but over the past 25 years no matter how bumpy the ride, it’s still been an interesting journey. So I hope you will join me when I toast Raw for 25 years of groundbreaking television and for keeping professional wrestling in the shadows of what’s cool. I was 10 years old flipping through the channels on a Monday night and saw Stone Cold Steve Austin on Raw is War (in fact I’m wearing my Austin 3:16 shirt in honor of the night’s festivities). Thus begun my love affair with wrestling and I can thank Raw for that. Raw, I grew up with you over the last 20+ years and look forward to the next 25 years. Now that I got all the sappy crap out of the way, shall we get to the meat of this article and see what my grades are for Raw 25? I don’t know what you’re waiting for, just scroll down friend and you’ll find what exactly you’re looking for.
Shane and Stephanie McMahon Promo
- They came out to Shane’s music over Stephanie’s god awful music.
- They give credit to everyone behind the scenes over the past 25 years.
- Great video package of highlights over the past 25 years.
- We got a Mr. McMahon appearance.
- Mr. McMahon takes a shot at Brooklyn and in typical Mr. McMahon fashion he cuts one of his legendary ranting promos.
- The a**hole chant. Classic!
- The glass shattering during Mr. McMahon’s rant, just like the good old days.
- Stone Cold Steve Austin, one of the best on the mic all time, didn’t say a word.
I love this segment. You can complain that the McMahon’s are making this all about themselves, but dammit they deserve it. 25 years is a big deal. This was an opening authority segment to start the show that I didn’t hate in years. Mr. McMahon delivered some perfect lines about now being a senior citizen. The Stunner to Shane and Vince was just classic and brings me back to my childhood. The cherry on the cake was the 2nd Stunner to Shane. Why didn’t they let Austin cut a promo? That upsets me, I was looking forward to hearing a classic promo on Mr. McMahon. However, somebody call 9-1-1 because I’ve just had a massive “mark attack”.
Segment Grade: A-
Nia Jax, Alicia Fox, Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville vs Bayley, Sasha Banks, Asuka, Mickie James
- The crowd is still hot after the opening segment.
- My only dislike is the match itself.
This match was all rest holds for two segments and the start of the third lasted 30 seconds. At least the live crowd enjoyed it because I did not.
Match Grade: D+
Backstage Segment with Kurt Angle, Coach, Harvey Wippleman, Brother Love, Brooklyn Brawler, Boogeyman
It was too short to make a likes/dislikes list so I’ll just give you my thoughts. It was fine, I do love to see Brother Loves red face. It still grosses me out when the Boogeyman eats worms.
Segment Grade: C+
- Another great video package of the Undertaker’s career. Props as always goes to the people that put together these masterpieces.
- The Undertaker appeared on the very first episode of Raw and now the 25th anniversary.
This promo was short and cryptic. The Undertaker was looking good and can tell he’s feeling better after his hip replacement in 2017. I really got caught up in the moment and I love nights like these.
Segment Grade: B
The Miz vs Roman Reigns for the IC Championship
- The Miz stood face to face with Daniel Bryan.
- The thunderous boos from the Brooklyn crowd for Roman during his entrance. I’m a fan of Roman but tonight the boos feel right.
- The stat that the IC title has change hands 51 times on Monday Night Raw. Now 52.
- The miz wins!
The crowd made this match that much better. They were into this match from bell to bell, which in turn made me more locked into the match. The outcome was pretty predictable but that title is the Miz’s. I hope this leads to a lengthy run and when is all said and done he goes down as the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time. Can’t forget to mention how good Roman is, even if it gets me heat. Face it he has evolved into a top star over the years and he proves it most Monday nights.
Match Grade: B+
The Peep Show
- Great to see Christian. Put him in the Hall of Fame WWE, he’s earned it.
- Jason Jordan is great in this role. Creative took a bad idea and ran with it and found something that works.
This was a good go home angle for the Raw Tag title match at the Royal Rumble. I can’t stress enough how much I like Jason Jordan in this role. He is 1999 Kurt Angle and he’s playing off the crowd like a pro. By Rollins accidently hitting Jordan with a Springboard Knee adds intrigue in the match this Sunday. Will it come into play and cost the champs their red belts?
Segment Grade: B-
Bray Wyatt vs Matt Hardy
- Classic Good Ol’ JR Jim Ross and Jerry “the King” Lawler is on commentary. In my humble opinion those two are the best commentary team in history.
- This match didn’t hold my interest.
This feud started off so hot and now has gone cold in my eyes. I can’t put my finger on what exactly is making me dislike this feud. I just know I’m not feeling it anymore and it’s time to move on.
Match Grade: C-
Elias Sings a song and interrupted by John Cena.
The man is good at guitar and he loves to show off. Elias’ backstage segment with the GOAT Chris Jericho was hilarious. I enjoy these segments with Elias every week and he has what they call it. I’m not sure how I feel about a John Cena/Elias feud because I hated there match a month ago on Raw. Maybe they will be able to redeem themselves, at least I hope. I do like the fact Elias laid Cena out.
Segment Grade: C+
Titus Worldwide vs Heath Slater and Rhyno
- This match led to a Dudley Boyz appearance.
- Most of the match was during the commercial break.
It is definitely great to see Bubba Ray and Devon but I’m not to ecstatic it was at Heath Slater’s expense. I hope all this leads to something good for Heath. I thought it was good when Corey Graves said “it’s 2018 they should update it (the wasss upppp) to dilly dilly.” other then that I don’t have much good to say about this match or segment so I’ll just leave it at that.
Match Grade: D+
- HHH is great promo and can really hype a crowd.
- Balor Club coming out and too sweeting with the legends.
- Went to commercial break without any notice during Scott Hall’s entrance.
It’s great to see the gang back together and not just DX but the Kliq as well. I have so many emotions about this segment I need to let them settle and can’t really put them into words right now.
Segment Grade: B-
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs The Revival
This match was short so I’ll just give my thoughts. The good Brothers were definitely pushed hard in this match. If you are to believe what is in the dirt sheets about the Revival then they have backstage heat. This could be a reason the were embarrassed by getting squashed and getting beat up by old guys. Now that we have the Balor Club it’s time to start turning them heel.
Match Grade: C-
Brock lesner, Braun Stroman, Kane Promo
- Legends and Current stars surround the ring for protection.
- Brock took a nasty Powerslam through the announce table.
I thought once again Paul Heyman was on autopilot. I did like how Brock tried to take both monsters out but Braun was too much for him. I like that this wasn’t long because I’ve had enough of all their shenanigans.
Segment Grade: C
This show started off with a bang and it slowly fizzled out from there. I really like the IC Championship match. I wish they would’ve had more of the show if not the whole show at the Manhattan Center. I personally like smaller more intimate venues. My initial feeling of the show is that it didn’t live up to my expectations. This was a fun show jam packed with great memories of what led to what Raw is today. I really enjoyed the poker game in the back hosted by the APA in their office. Short of the Reigns/Miz match the wrestling wasn’t anything special. Overall I did have fun and the nostalgia is coursing through my veins right and I feel happy. If my grade were just based on the go home aspect of the episode it wouldn’t be that high of a grade. The rest of the special attractions save the show from a bad grade no doubt.
Final Grade: B
If you have any comments or you just want to chat about Raw. Or any wrestling at all, you can find me on Twitter @Diesel_vftr. You can listen to my podcast View From the Top Rope on Itunes, Google Play, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Podknife and Podible. In association with @kayfabeToday