Raw’s 20th Anniversary Show

Updated: January 17, 2013

On Monday WWE presented the 20th anniversary of its flagship show, Raw.  Hard to believe that Raw has been going strong on USA (with a brief detour on TNN) for 20 years – it seems like only yesterday when we were gathering in my crummy college apartment on Monday nights to eat pizza and watch Raw (with another TV rolled into the room so we could watch Nitro as well).  I put together a list of thoughts, moments and happenings from the show:

     We kick off the show with a run of all of the original openings for Raw, which was excellent.  I’m partial to the opening where Stone Cold is walking through an abandoned warehouse with multiple explosions going off all around him, but I digress.

     Who better to open the 20th Anniversary than Vincent Kennedy McMahon?  Gotta love Vinnie Mac out there hamming it up to entertain the crowd.  After Big Show comes out to complain about his title loss, Vince has a great exchange – two comments stand out.  “It’s Mr. McMahon dammit – don’t call me Vince” and “I’m a certifiable, iconic genius”.  There has never been a better self-promoter than Vinnie.

     So apparently Alberto Del Rio is a babyface now?  Great – I still can’t stand him.  He’s boring, wooden in the ring and his character is lame.

     The opening match is Wade Barrett vs. Randy Orton – otherwise known as the “Snooze-Fest” or “Beer Run Match”.  I think whoever is less stiff in the ring will be declared the winner.  The viewers will all be declared the losers for having to sit through it.

     I wasn’t too sure what the angle was when they put Kane and Daniel Bryan together, but it has turned into pure gold.  They play off each other tremendously well.

     Bryan’s beard continues to be fantastic.  Rumor is he is growing it out for the full calendar year, which would be excellent.

     One of my new favorites is Damien Sandow, and his catchphrase (You’re Welcome) is great.  For those not familiar, he basically took Lanny Poffo’s old Genius character and added to it.

     It looks like the Tag-Team division is starting to make a comeback.  There are several quality teams out there (Kane/Bryan, Rhodes Scholars, Kofi/Truth, Usos, Prime Time Players, Primo/Epico, etc.).  It’s about time – the tag-team matches are always fun and when you have quality teams put together, it makes it all the more entertaining.

     Mick Foley is announced as the first member of the 2013 Hall of Fame.  Of course he thanks the crowd, right here in Houston, Texas (cheap pop – great).  No surprise he’s going in – especially with WM being in New York.

     I’m already tired of Ryback.  And stop with the Goldberg comparisons.  It’s not the same.

     Finally we get some kind of mention that it’s the 20th Anniversary.  The announcing team mentions some of the infamous gimmicks from the past and they show a montage of some old “favorites” that didn’t really catch on (The Goon, The Oddities, Bastion Booger, Gillberg, etc.).  My two personal favorites from the montage were Beaver Cleavage (Former Headbanger Mosh was a take on the old TV character – he had a hot mom who consistently made sexual innuendos in the vignettes.  I think that lasted about three weeks and he never actually wrestled as that character), and Steven Regal as “A Man’s Man” (the video was great – it showed him doing “manly” tasks such as chopping down trees, working construction and shaving with a knife.  The song was phenomenal as well.  He actually did wrestle a few matches, but it was also scrapped after about a month).

     Ah, now it’s time for the obligatory Divas match.  I remember a time when I actually looked forward to these matches – the Divas were hot (Sable, Trish Stratus, Lita) and could actually wrestle.  Now?  Not so much.

     I was also skeptical of pairing CM Punk with Paul Heyman.  Not that I don’t like Heyman, I just thought Punk didn’t need a mouthpiece – he’s great on his own.  However, I have come around on this pair.  I love how Heyman just holds the belt up while Punk goes to work on the mike.  He also holds it up walking around the ring during Punk’s matches.

     Another montage for the 20th – this one deals with memorable moments.  Austin driving a Beer Truck to the ring and giving everyone a beer bath (fantastic), Austin filling Vince’s Corvette with cement, Edge as Ric Flair mocking his road rage incident, and many others.  They closed it with the segment where Austin drove the Zamboni to the ring and jumped off it onto Vince.  My favorite part is how someone in the crowd threw an inflatable Austin in the ring right when that happened and it was bouncing around as Austin pummeled Vince.

     Why is it that everytime Vicki Guerrero shows up, I immediately think of a porcupine?

     Am I the only one who finds 3MB entertaining?  Don’t get me wrong, individually they are terrible.  But as a group I find them very funny.  Could they be the new Mean Street Posse?


     Flair comes out as a guest on MizTV.  Its okay, but I think the Dirt Sheet was way better.

     Great comment by Lawler regarding Flair – “He’s got more wives than Hall of Fame rings”.

     Yet another 20th Anniversary montage, this one dealing with catchphrases.  Some of the good ones shown were Val Venis (Hello Ladies – one of my faves), Snitsky (It wasn’t my fault), The Hurricane (What’s up with that?), Lance Storm (If I could be serious for a minute) and Edge & Christian (For those with the benefit of flash photography).

     Antonio Cesaro comes out to interrupt MizTV.  He’s another one of the young guys that I really like – he’s a beast in the ring (The Neutralizer is a great finisher).  When he improves a little on the mike, he will be great.

     Daniel Bryan comes out for a singles match.  His entrance is still entertaining every time.

     Apparently Eve has quit the company after losing her Divas title (apparently she was planning on leaving for a while).  Oh well – I look forward to seeing her in Playboy in a few months.

     Dolph and AJ come out for a match with Cena.  They are accompanied by Big E Langston from NXT – a muscle-bound behemoth that really doesn’t look like much of a wrestler.  This seems like a pretty original gimmick.  Unless of course you count Ahmed Johnson.  Or Mark Henry.  Or Zeus.  Or Bobby Lashley.  Or David Otunga.  Or Mason Ryan. Or Rodney Mack.

     Pretty decent cage match – Dolph is the best move-seller working today.  Cena gets a lot of flak for not being able to wrestle, but he’s better than people think.

     The show ends with a “Rock concert”.  Ugh.  I’m completely sick of the Rock at this point.  He shows up for five shows a year, gets the crowd hyped up, gives another sing-song chant they can use (Boots to Asses, Fruity Pebbles, Cookie Puss, Twinkie Tits, etc.), makes fun of several people via song taken off of Heartbreak Hotel and leaves.  Then he goes and makes crappy movies for 10 months before WWE brings him back to hype up WrestleMania.  BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

Overall, the 20th Anniversary proved very disappointing.  They treated it as a regular show, only referencing the past 20 years via montages (only three of them) or by simply saying it was the 20th Anniversary.  There were no special matches, no special presentations or anything.  I mean, couldn’t they have come up with 20 to 30 minutes in a 3 hour show to do something? 

But the biggest crime was they didn’t have any special appearances by past superstars (unless you want to count Flair, but he’s back on the active roster now).  There was no mention of or appearances by Bret Hart, Kevin Nash, Dusty Rhodes, Roddy Piper or Jimmy Snuka.  Not even some of the lesser names that would have been entertaining (like Ken Shamrock, Gangrel, Mike Tyson, Doink, Brooklyn Brawler or Jimmy Hart).  Plus they were in Texas and no sightings of Undertaker, Shawn Michaels or Stone Cold?  I didn’t understand that at all.  I know the Royal Rumble is less than two weeks away and you want to build that, but the 20th Anniversary doesn’t come around very often.  I thought it was a subpar effort by the WWE, and I hope they have better plans for the future.

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