WWE Raw


WWE Raw
WWE Raw
WWE-RAW-LOGO.png
Format Sports entertainment
Professional wrestling
Created by Vince McMahon
Starring Raw Brand
SmackDown brand
Opening theme "Burn It to the Ground" by Nickelback
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 18[1]
No. of episodes 964 (as of November 7, 2011)
Production
Executive producer(s) Kevin Dunn
Producer(s) Arn Anderson
Gerald Brisco
Camera setup Multicamera setup
Running time Approximately 2 hours 5 minutes per episode
(1 hour 35 minutes and commercials)
Production company(s) WWE
Broadcast
Original channel USA Network (1993–2000, 2005 – present),
TNN/Spike TV (2000–2005)
Picture format 480i (SDTV),
1080i (HDTV)[2]
Original run January 11, 1993 (1993-01-11)[3] – present
Chronology
Related shows WWE SmackDown
WWE Superstars
WWE NXT
External links
Website

WWE Raw (also stylized as Monday Night RAW and known on air as RAW SuperShow)[4]) is a sports entertainment television program for WWE that currently airs on the USA Network in the United States. The show's name is also used to refer to the Raw brand, in which WWE employees are assigned to work and perform on that program, the other program and brand currently being SmackDown. It is the only television broadcast for the Raw brand. The show originally debuted in the United States on the USA Network on January 11, 1993.[3] It remained there until 2000, when Raw was moved to TNN, later known as Spike TV.[5] In 2005, the show was moved back to the USA Network.[6] Since its launch in 1993, Raw continues to air on Monday nights. Raw is generally seen as the company's flagship program due to its prolific history, high ratings, weekly live format, and emphasis on pay-per-views.[7] It is the longest-running weekly episodic TV show in history.[8]

Since its first episode, WWE Raw SuperShow has been broadcasted live from 197 different arenas in 165 cities and towns in eight different nations. Including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Karachi, Pakistan, Afghanistan in 2005 and Iraq in 2006 and 2007 for specials Tribute to the Troops, Germany in 1997, Japan in 2005 and Italy in 2007. The show was recorded in Mexico for the first time in October 2011.

Contents

Show history

1993–2002

Original format

Beginning as WWF Monday Night Raw, the program first aired on January 11, 1993. It screened on the USA Network for one hour.[8] Of the wrestlers featured on that occasion, only The Undertaker is currently under contract with WWE. The original Raw broke new ground in televised professional wrestling. Traditionally, wrestling shows were taped on sound stages with small audiences or at large arena shows. The Raw formula was very different than that of its predecessor, Prime Time Wrestling. Instead of taped matches, with studio voice overs and taped chat, Raw was a show shot to a live audience, with angles as they happened. The first episode featured Yokozuna defeating Koko B. Ware, The Steiner Brothers defeating The Executioners, WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels defeating Max Moon and The Undertaker defeating Damien Demento. The show also featured an interview with Razor Ramon.[9]

Yokozuna (left) and Mr. Fuji on the very first episode of Monday Night Raw

Raw originated from the Grand Ballroom at Manhattan Center Studios, a small New York City theater, and aired live each week. The combination of an intimate venue and live action proved highly successful. However, the weekly live schedule proved to be a financial drain on the WWF, and taped shows began airing every other week. From early 1994 to September 1999, Raw was shown live on one Monday and then the next day (Tuesday) next Monday's Raw was taped. This meant that Raw was live one week and taped the next.

The storylines and characters during the early years of Raw still had a healthy dose of the old Federation "gimmick-heavy" style. For instance, events occurred such as Irwin R. Schyster tearing up Tatanka's headdress, the various "Undertaker sightings" in mid-1994 and characters like Duke "The Dumpster" Droese, Doink the Clown, or Bob "Spark Plugg" Holly.

WWF Monday Night Raw logo (January 11, 1993-March 3, 1997; November 15, 2010)

Raw, uniquely in its day, covered the unexpected, exciting moments, a prelude to "the Attitude Era", in which it coined Raw as "Uncut, Uncensored, Uncooked."[8] Some of those moments include Razor Ramon losing a match unexpectedly to The Kid or Marty Jannetty beating Shawn Michaels to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship. Raw also was the first WWF television program of any kind to show footage of Lex Luger bodyslamming Yokozuna at the USS Intrepid.

Vince McMahon, Rob Bartlett and "Macho Man" Randy Savage served as the original hosts of Raw.[8] Sean Mooney conducted the interviews and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan also helped contribute. On April 19, 1993, Rob Bartlett made his final appearance on the program. He was dropped from the broadcasting team and was replaced by Bobby Heenan the following week, who remained until December 6, 1993, when Gorilla Monsoon kicked him out of the WWF. In reality, this was a storyline between Monsoon and his close friend Heenan, who decided to leave the World Wrestling Federation in order to lighten his travel schedule and because he did not want to take a 50% paycut. Raw also originally featured the Raw Girls; ladies who would parade signs around the ring in between matches that often used the term "Raw" in a pun (as in "Open Wide and Say Raw", among others). After about a year, Raw moved out of the Manhattan Center and traveled to various regular Federation venues in the United States. In mid-1995, Raw briefly showcased "Dok Hendrix and the Raw Band"; a musical performance in-between segments on the show.

The Monday Night Wars and Raw is War

In 1995, World Championship Wrestling (WCW) began airing its new wrestling show, WCW Monday Nitro, live each week on TNT.[10] Raw and Nitro went head-to-head for the first time on September 11, 1995. Due to Raw's taping schedule on several occasions, WCW Vice President Eric Bischoff, who also worked as an on-air personality, would frequently give away the results of WWF's taped Raw shows on the live WCW show. Some fans also looked at Raw taping results on the steadily growing Internet; this caused the ratings of the taped Raw episodes to decrease.

Until September 1999 WWF Raw broadcast live every other week to save costs, but ratings and pay-per-view buy-rate increased, allowing them to justify doing a weekly live show.

At the start of the ratings war in 1995 through to mid-1996, Raw and Nitro exchanged victories over each other in a closely contested rivalry. Beginning in mid-1996, however, thanks primarily to the nWo angle, Monday Nitro started a ratings win-streak that lasted for 84 continuous weeks, ending on April 13, 1998.[10]

RAW IS WAR logo (March 10, 1997-September 10, 2001)
War Zone logo

On February 3, 1997, Monday Night Raw went to a two-hour format,[10] as the Attitude Era was starting to come in full stream in the WWF. In an attempt to break the momentum of what had turned into ratings domination by WCW's competing Monday Nitro, Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) was brought in as Jerry Lawler challenged ECW on February 17, 1997.

In an episode where Raw returned to the Manhattan Center, the challenge answered on the following week's show with Taz, Mikey Whipwreck, Sabu, Tommy Dreamer, D-Von Dudley, and The Sandman. ECW owner Paul Heyman did a call-in interview on Raw the week after that.

WWF Raw is War Titiantron used from March 10, 1997- March 25, 2002, there were many variations of the design in that time.

Throughout 1997, further controversial elements emerged with Raw and WWF programming. Memorable moments included Bret Hart cursing profanely at the crowd after losing a Steel Cage match, with commentators apologizing for his foul behavior, before he proceeds in major brawls with Sid, The Undertaker, Steve Austin, and briefly Shawn Michaels. Some of the most notable moments cites the profusely intense feud with The Hart Foundation against Michaels and Austin, which saw Raw develop a memorable episode in which Michaels and Austin beat The British Bulldog and Owen Hart for the WWF Tag Team Championship, and during their post-match attack on Michaels, Austin physically charged a disabled Bret Hart to ward them off. Other events saw the new black street gang Nation of Domination formed, and Michaels D-Generation X "racial graffiti" storyline designed to "implicate Bret Hart's 'The Hart Foundation'", and the "XXX Files" series.

On March 10, 1997, Monday Night Raw became a 2 hour show, the first hour was still known as "Raw", the second "The War Zone", the 2 hour block together was named "Raw Is War". The March 17, 1997 episode featured a heated Bret Hart/Vince McMahon ringside altercation (that unknowingly foreshadowed the Montreal Screwjob) with profanity normally not heard on television. Brian Pillman did a series of "XXX Files" segments with Terri Runnels, which further "pushed the envelope". These segments ended prematurely with the September 29, 1997 episode of Raw, after the death of Pillman on October 5, 1997 due to hereditary heart problems.

After WrestleMania XIV in March 1998, which featured Mike Tyson as a ring enforcer, and Shawn Michaels final match up until 2002, the WWF regained the lead in the Monday Night Wars with its new "WWF Attitude" brand, led in particular by rising stars Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H and Mankind. The classic feud between the villainous WWF Chairman Vince McMahon (who was re-imagined and re-branded from the color commentator into the evil corporal chairman character Mr. McMahon after the real-life Montreal Screwjob incident) and fan favorite Steve Austin caught the imaginations of fans. The April 13, 1998 episode of Raw, headlined by a match between Austin and McMahon, marked the first time that WCW had lost the head-to-head Monday night ratings battle in the 84 weeks since 1996.

While Raw was taking a new approach to programming, Nitro began producing lackluster programming with repetitive storylines. Older stars such as Hogan and Nash frequently occupied the main events, while younger talent such as Rey Mysterio, Jr., Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, and Eddie Guerrero, Chavo Guerrero, Jr, Lance Storm and Shane Helms were not given opportunities to advance, and the only newcomers elevated to main-event status at this time were Bill Goldberg and Diamond Dallas Page.

Meanwhile, on Raw, fans were immersed in the feud between WWF owner Vince McMahon and Steve Austin. New talent such as Triple H being the new leader of the D-Generation X (DX) faction, Mankind and The Rock were elevated to main event status on the WWF's program. Superstars such as Kane, Kurt Angle, Val Venis, Goldust and the like were coming through the ranks and exposing the WWF as territory where new talent can ascend unlike the WCW counterpart. Matters were so heated between the two programs that, when both shows were in the Hampton Roads area on the same night (Raw in Hampton, Virginia, Nitro in Norfolk, Virginia), DX was sent to film a "war" segment at the Norfolk Scope where they berated WCW and interviewed fans on camera who stated that they received their Nitro tickets for free (presumably in an attempt by WCW to pack the arena to capacity due to low ticket sales).[11]

On January 4, 1999, Mick Foley, who had wrestled for WCW during the early 1990s as Cactus Jack, won the WWF Title as Mankind on Raw. On orders from Bischoff, Nitro announcer Tony Schiavone gave away this previously taped result on a live Nitro, and then sarcastically added "that'll sure put some butts in the seats" consequently resulting in over 600,000 viewers switching channels to watch Raw. This was also the night that Nitro aired a WCW World Heavyweight Championship match in which Kevin Nash blatantly laid down for Hulk Hogan after Hogan poked him in the chest. The next week, and for months after, many fans in the Raw audience brought signs which read, "Mick Foley put my ass in this seat!" On September 27, 1999, Mick Foley helped WWF Raw achieve some of its highest ratings ever with a segment featuring himself (as Mankind) and The Rock. The segment called "This is Your Life" included Mankind bringing out people from The Rock's past, such as a home economics teacher, gym teacher and old high school girlfriend. The "This is Your Life" segment remains one of the highest rated segments in Raw viewership history, with an 8.4 rating.

The end of the Wars

WWF RAW logo (September 17, 2001-March 25, 2002)

A new television contract with Viacom led to changes in WWF broadcasting. On September 25, 2000, Raw moved from the USA Network to TNN (which later became Spike TV).[5]

WCW's sharp decline in revenue and ratings led to Time Warner's sale of the company to the WWF in 2001. The final edition of Nitro aired on March 26, 2001. The show began with Vince McMahon making a short statement about his recent purchase of WCW and ended with a simulcast Raw on TNN and Nitro on TNT with an appearance by Vince's son Shane McMahon .[12] Shane interrupted his father's gloating over the WCW purchase to explain that Shane was the one who actually owned WCW, setting up what became the WWF's "Invasion" storyline.

The RAW IS WAR logo and name were retired in September 2001, following the September 11 attacks and sensitivity over the word war, and because the Monday Night Wars were "over".[citation needed]

2002–present

Brand Extension

WWF/E Raw logo (April 1, 2002-October 2, 2006)

In early to mid-2002, WWF underwent a process they called the "Brand Extension".[12] WWF divided itself into two "de facto" wrestling promotions with separate rosters, storylines and authority figures.[12] Raw and SmackDown! would host each division, give its name to the division and essentially compete against each other. The split was a result of WWF purchasing their two biggest competitors, WCW and ECW. The brand extension was publicly announced during a telecast of WWF Raw on March 25, 2002, and became official the next day. The March 25th episode of RAW was the final RAW to use the Attitude era depiction and the last to use the theme song Thorn In Your Eye.[13][14]

The TNN/Spike TV Version of The Raw Modern Titantron used from April 1, 2002 until September 26, 2005

Wrestlers now would become show-exclusive, wrestling for their specific show only. At the time this excluded the WWE Undisputed Championship and WWE Women's Championship, as those WWE titles would be defended on both shows. In August 2002, WWE Undisputed Champion Brock Lesnar refused to defend the title on Raw, in effect causing his title to become exclusive to SmackDown! The following week on Raw, General Manager Eric Bischoff awarded a newly instated World Heavyweight Championship to Raw's designated number one contender, Triple H. Because the WWE Undisputed Championship was now SmackDown! exclusive it was no longer seen as "undisputed". Following this, the WWE Women's Championship soon became Raw-exclusive as well. As a result of the Brand Extension, an annual "draft lottery" was instituted to exchange members of each roster and generally refresh the lineups.

WWE Raw claimed to have earned the distinction of having the most original episodes of any fictional weekly program on August 2, 2005 when it broadcasted the 636th episode. It was said to have taken the place of Gunsmoke, which held that distinction.

Return to USA Network

The USA Network Version of the Raw modern titantron set that was used from October 3, 2005–January 14, 2008.

On March 10, 2005, Viacom and WWE decided not to go on with the agreement with Spike TV, making it so Raw and other WWE programs on the network would cease when their deal expired in September 2005. On April 4, 2005, WWE announced a 3-year deal with NBC Universal to bring Raw back to its former home, the USA Network, with 2 yearly specials on NBC and a Spanish Raw on Telemundo.[6] On the same week as Raw's return to the USA Network, Spike TV scheduled Ultimate Fighting Championship's live Ultimate Fight Night in Raw's old timeslot in an attempt to go head-to-head with Raw.[15]

The show's first night back on USA was billed as the "WWE Homecoming" and featured the return of former WWE Champions such as Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley, Triple H and Vince McMahon along with cameos from legends such as Roddy Piper, Jimmy Hart, Jimmy Snuka and Harley Race. Also, it featured a 30 minutes Iron Match between Shawn Michaels and Kurt Angle.[15] WWE Homecoming was three hours long — the second longest an episode of Raw has ever run in its 12-year history. USA also showed Raw Exposed, an hour of the best moments of Raw during its previous run on USA. WWE announced that Raw received its highest ratings in three years, gaining close to six million viewers.

The following week, Vince McMahon fired Jim Ross for not helping after Steve Austin gave him and his entire family the Stone Cold Stunner. Jonathan Coachman, the second analyst at the table, took over Ross's duties as play-by-play for two weeks until former ECW announcer Joey Styles was hired.

On the May 1, 2006 edition of Raw, Joey Styles announced he was quitting (kayfabe). His vacating of the announcer position set the stage for Jim Ross to return to Raw's commentary booth, thus ending the storyline where Ross got fired by Linda McMahon. This freed Styles to become a commentator for the ECW brand when it launched in June.

In Canada, after an 11 year run on TSN, Raw moved to rival sports broadcaster The Score after it was announced that TSN would be carrying Monday Night Football for the 2006 season. The Score claimed that unlike TSN they would never preempt Raw, however that promise only lasted a few months. Then in 2007, The Score started airing the show with a 15 minute tape delay. The first 15 minutes of the hour contains a countdown pre-show recapping the previous week's events.[16]

During the September 25, 2006 episode of Raw in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the opening of Raw suffered a blackout. Spotlights were the only lights running in the house, thus the opening match (between Lita and Candice Michelle) was contested in the dark. Power in the presentation was later restored. Another similar moment happened back on May 26, 1996 in Florence, South Carolina for WWF In Your House 8: Beware of Dog, when a major thunderstorm hit the Florence Civic Center causing major chaos for the PPV. That Tuesday, Beware of Dog, returned to North Charleston, South Carolina to finish out three matches that were not shown because of the lost power feed.

That October, Raw held a three-hour season premiere called the "Raw Family Reunion", where the Raw brand debuted a new logo and theme song, Papa Roach's "...To Be Loved". The episode also featured talent from the SmackDown! and ECW brands. Later that month, on October 23 Raw aired its 700th episode, according to the WWE making it the longest running weekly entertainment show, without a hiatus, in television history.[12][dubious ]

On June 25, 2007, Raw was scheduled in Corpus Christi, Texas to be a three-hour special memorial show for the storyline death of the Mr. McMahon character. Two weeks earlier, the show had broadcast an angle in which Mr. McMahon was murdered by a bomb planted within his limousine. The 'Mr. McMahon' tribute was cancelled on the day it was due to air after the real life death of current superstar Chris Benoit and his family. The show then became a three-hour tribute to Benoit. What made this tribute different from others (e.g. Eddie Guerrero and Owen Hart) was that the show had no original matches and no live audience. Instead, the three-hour show aired highlights from the WWE DVD 'Hard Knocks: The Chris Benoit Story', and a selection of Benoit's most famous matches. Several wrestlers paid tribute in the form of real interviews about him, and Vince McMahon broke character to address the viewers about what had happened. However, when the facts of Benoit's death came to light, WWE pulled this episode from international markets which aired Raw on a tape delay basis. Several channels announced the episode was being withheld for legal reasons. A substitute Raw, hosted by Todd Grisham from WWE Studios, was created featuring recaps of John Cena's WWE Championship victories, mainly the ones that had occurred over the past year. The episode started with a message from Vince McMahon which originally aired on the June 26 edition of ECW. Some countries that received WWE programming up to three weeks late had all Chris Benoit matches edited out. The WWE even removed all Chris Benoit matches and interviews from the WWE 24/7 service.

In December, Raw celebrated its 15th anniversary in a three-hour spectacular on the USA Network with the returns of Steve Austin, Rob Van Dam, The Godfather, Steve Blackman, Howard Finkel, Ted DiBiase, Eric Bischoff, Marty Jannetty, Gangrel, Trish Stratus, Lita, Sunny, Molly Holly, Hulk Hogan and Mick Foley (as Mankind) among others.[12] Along with several reunions of former tag teams and also included a 15-man "15 Years of Raw" battle royal. The Raw 15th Anniversary DVD was also released which featured some of the most memorable moments in Raw history.

The Raw version of universal WWE entrance set introduced on January 21, 2008 for WWE's high-definition broadcasting debut.

WWE began their 2008 year with a new HD set, which consists of more than 1,000,000 LEDs. The introduction of this new set retired the old set, which was used from April 2002 to January 2008. Raw's first show in HD was held in the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia. That June, the World Heavyweight Championship returned to Raw after CM Punk used his Money In the Bank contract for an impromptu title match, defeating SmackDown's Edge.

On September 8, 2008, Raw announced that a "talent exchange" was started between ECW and Raw, allowing their respective talent to appear and compete on either brand. This is similar to an earlier "talent exchange" between SmackDown and ECW. On November 3, 2008, Raw celebrated its 800th episode with a three-hour episode. The actual 800th episode aired on September 22, 2008.

In 2009, at No Way Out that February 15, Edge won the World Heavyweight Championship in Raw's Elimination Chamber match, thus making it a SmackDown exclusive title and giving SmackDown two top tier championships.[17] As a result of the 2009 WWE Draft in April, WWE Champion Triple H was drafted to the Raw brand, while the World Heavyweight Championship moved to the Raw brand after Edge lost the title to John Cena at WrestleMania XXV.[18] SmackDown would regain the World Heavyweight Championship at Backlash (2009) when Edge defeated John Cena to win the championship.[19] In addition, SmackDown and Raw would exchange both women-exclusive championships with Raw gaining the WWE Divas Championship and SmackDown gaining the WWE Women's Championship.[18] Also, SmackDown and Raw exchanged the WWE Intercontinental Championship which is now exclusive to SmackDown and the WWE United States Championship which is exclusive to Raw Brand, for the first time ever.

On June 15, 2009, McMahon announced on a special three-hour edition of Raw that he had "sold" the WWE Raw franchise to Donald Trump, who appeared on-screen to confirm it and declared he would be at the following commercial-free episode in person. WWE issued a press release on the scripted sale while the USA Network later issued a statement confirming the "sale" as part of a storyline. The statement was issued in response to multiple news sources having mistakenly reported the event as legitimate. Due to the mistake, on the day following the announcement, WWE's stock on the New York Stock Exchange notably fell. Despite USA Network's acknowledgment that the sale was fictional, Randy Katz, a securities lawyer with Baker & Hostetler, commented on the Fox Business Network that a probe by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission against WWE and USA Network owner General Electric "certainly is a possibility."[20] The next week, Vince McMahon repurchased Raw from Donald Trump and announced that a "Guest star" initiative originally introduced by Trump in response to the position of General Manager being vacant would go in effect on June 29. Each weekly guest host is usually either a WWE Hall of Famer, a former or returning talent, or other celebrity. The guest host or hostess assumes the role of a brand General Manager, serving as Raw's authority figure for the day. The following year, it was announced that with Vickie Guerrero (and subsequently Bret Hart) becoming the new full time GM, the guest stars (while continuing to appear) would no longer have booking power.[21]

In 2010, TNA Impact!, which normally airs on Thursdays, went head to head with Raw in a three-hour live broadcast.[22] This would be the first time since March 2001 that two major wrestling promotions would go head-to-head in a Monday night ratings competition. TNA promoted the debut of Hulk Hogan leading to the broadcast.[23] WWE countered by announcing the return of Bret Hart, who had not appeared with the company since the Montreal Screwjob in 1997.[24] The ratings showed that, much like the first Monday Night War, Raw came out on top, averaging 5.6 million viewers while iMPACT! was watched by more than 3 million viewers for the opening hour, though towards the end of the show the viewership declined to 2.2 million viewers.[25]

On March 8, 2010, Impact! permanently moved to Monday nights to compete head-to-head with Raw.[26] After declining ratings, Spike executives announced that starting April 5, Impact! would air an hour earlier than Raw.[27] However Impact! was moved back to Thursdays as the 'New Monday Night Wars' resulted in Raw getting better ratings and audience of TNA getting reduced.[28] Since then on April 19, 2010, many of the WWE Raw superstars were stranded in Belfast due to the ash cloud from Eyjafjallajökull (a volcano in Iceland) hovering over most of Europe and causing many flights to be put on hold. Former ring announcer Lilian Garcia announced that night while the SmackDown roster took part in production of the Raw episode. The following month on May 17, 2010, Raw aired its second overall commercial free episode from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[29]

That summer on August 30, 2010, Raw aired its 900th episode, SmackDown superstars and NXT rookies also appeared on this milestone episode. It featured the Undertaker and Bret Hart were scheduled to wrestle for the first time in almost 14 years, but, before that could take place, the Undertaker was taken out by the Nexus and Kane. That November, Raw went "Old School" for one night with the old ring and titantron designs. This episode featured WWE Legends "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, Mae Young, The Million Dollar Man, Ron Simmons, The Iron Sheik and many more. Mark Henry briefly returned to his "Sexual Chocolate" gimmick in honor of Raw going "Old School".

Since August 29, 2011, the SmackDown brand roster has been part of the Raw television program along with the Raw brand in what is now referred to as the Raw SuperShow.

Production

Currently, the theme song for the Raw brand is "Burn It to the Ground" by Nickelback, which has been used for the brand since November 16, 2009.[30] Prior to this, the theme song for the Raw brand was "...To Be Loved" by Papa Roach, which had been used since October 9, 2006 and "Across The Nation" by The Union Underground which was used from April 1, 2002 to October 2, 2006. The rap outro of "Thorn In Your Eye" featuring Scott Ian of Anthrax was the theme song from 1998 to March 25, 2002.

Since March 10, 1997, broadcasts of Raw were split into two hours and given hourly names for television ratings purposes, with the first hour being referred to as Raw is War and the second as War Zone by the show's on-screen graphics. However, as of October 1, 2001, the first hour has been referred to as Raw and the second as Raw Zone by the show's on-screen graphics. However, both hours are known as just "Raw" on-air.

On January 7, 2008, WWE announced that all brands (Raw, SmackDown and formerly, ECW) would be broadcast in HD, codenamed "WWE HD" starting with Raw on January 21. WWE invested an estimated $20 million on new recording and broadcasting equipment to prepare for the move, as well as new pyrotechnics and lighting. The move replaced the Raw, SmackDown and ECW sets with a new state of the art set shared by all brands. The stage has been altered since 2008, but most of the stage stays the same.[31][32]

Since April 2010, WWE changed the ring ropes for RAW. The ropes which were changed every ten years, the RAW red ropes were retired and replaced with white ring ropes, where as Smackdown switched to a darker blue ring ropes for the Smackdown set used between August 2001- January 2008.

Special episodes

Episode Date Rating Notes
Raw January 11, 1993 2.5[33] Series debut.
Raw Bowl January 1, 1996 2.6[33]
Raw Championship Friday September 6, 1996 3.4[33] Friday airing of Raw featuring WWF champions.
Royal Rumble Raw February 3, 1997 2.6[33] First two-hour Raw broadcast.
Featured clips from the Royal Rumble.
Thursday Raw Thursday February 13, 1997 3.3[33] A Raw episode airing on a Thursday.
Raw is Owen May 24, 1999 7.2[34] Tribute in memory of Owen Hart.
'Raw is War' March 26, 2001 4.7 The final night of the Monday Night Wars.
Vince McMahon addressed about the purchase of WCW by the WWF,
which was also broadcast on WCW Monday Nitro.
However, Shane McMahon interrupted his father's address by appearing on Nitro
to say that he purchased WCW.
The Brand Extension Draft March 25, 2002 5.4[35] Start of the Brand Extension.
Vince McMahon selects the SmackDown roster while Ric Flair selects the Raw roster.
2002 Raw Roulette October 7, 2002 3.8[36] The 1st edition, introduced by then Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff.
It featured the rosters of Raw and Smackdown.
The stipulations of matches were decided by the spin of a wheel.
Raw X Anniversary January 13, 2003 5.0[37] Award show that celebrated the show's 10th anniversary.
2003 Raw Roulette November 24, 2003 3.6[36] The 2nd edition that featured the rosters of Raw and Smackdown.
It featured the first-ever women's Steel Cage Match in WWE history (Lita vs. Victoria).
The stipulations of matches were decided by the spin of a wheel.
The 2004 WWE Draft Lottery March 22, 2004 4.5[38] The first Draft Lottery that featured a supplemental draft.
Raw Homecoming October 3, 2005 5.3[39] First three-hour Raw broadcast.
Return to the USA Network.
Eddie Guerrero Tribute Show November 14, 2005 4.9[39] Tribute in memory of Eddie Guerrero.
Tribute to the Troops December 19, 2005 4.2[39] Christmas from Afghanistan.
Honored American armed forces.
Raw Family Reunion October 9, 2006 5.0[40] First Raw special to feature the rosters from all three brands.
Tribute to the Troops December 25, 2006 4.1[40] Christmas from Baghdad.
Honored American armed forces.
2007 WWE Draft June 11, 2007 4.3[41] Featured the rosters from all three brands.
Chris Benoit Memorial June 25, 2007 3.8[41] Memorial to Chris Benoit.
Clip show in international markets.
Raw 15th Anniversary December 10, 2007 4.4[41][42] Celebrated the show's 15th anniversary.
Tribute to the Troops December 24, 2007 4.0[41] Christmas from Iraq.
Honored American armed forces.
2008 Raw Roulette January 7, 2008 3.2[36] The 3rd edition that featured the rosters of Raw, Smackdown, and ECW.
The stipulations of matches were decided by the spin of a wheel.
King of the Ring (2008) April 21, 2008 3.0[43] King of the Ring tournament.
Featured the rosters from all three brands.
2008 WWE Draft June 23, 2008 3.4[43] Featured the rosters from all three brands.
Raw's 800th Episode November 3, 2008 3.0[43] Celebrated the show's 800th episode.
2008 Slammy Awards December 8, 2008 3.2[43] Slammy Award show.
Featured the rosters from all three brands.
2009 WWE Draft April 13, 2009 3.7[44] Featured the rosters from all three brands.
The 3-For-All June 15, 2009 3.6[44][45] Featured the rosters from all three brands.
Three world championships were defended; WWE, ECW, and World Heavyweight. In addition, this broadcast would be the final episode that the ECW brand and members of its roster would be on Raw
Trump Raw June 22, 2009 4.5[44][46] The first commercial-free Raw broadcast.
A Raw Thanksgiving November 23, 2009 3.3[44][47] Featured the rosters from Raw and SmackDown.
Jesse Ventura guest star.
2009 Slammy Awards December 14, 2009 3.3[44][48] Slammy Award show.
Featured the rosters from all three brands.
Dennis Miller guest stars.
Raw's WrestleMania Rewind March 15, 2010 3.7 Featured re-matches from past WrestleMania events.
Stone Cold Steve Austin guest stars.
Monday Night SmackDown April 19, 2010 3.1 Due to air travel disruption after the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption,
most of the Raw roster remained in Europe after a European tour.
As a result, the SmackDown brand was featured in for the week's WWE Raw program.
Will Forte, Kristen Wiig and Ryan Phillippe guest star.
2010 WWE Draft April 26, 2010 3.1[49] Featured the rosters from Raw and SmackDown.
SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long and John Cena took over authoritative duties.
Commercial-Free Raw May 17, 2010 3.4 The second commercial-free Raw broadcast.
Buzz Aldrin guest stars.
[50]
3-Hour Viewer's Choice Raw June 7, 2010 3.1 Featured the rosters from Raw and SmackDown.
Match selections were voted on WWE.com.
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Sharlto Copley guest star.
[51]
Raw's 900th Episode Celebration August 30, 2010 3.5[52] Celebrated the show's 900th episode.
2010 Raw Roulette September 13, 2010 3.0[53] The 4th edition that featured the rosters of Raw and Smackdown.
The stipulations of matches were decided by the spin of a wheel.
NFL Wide receiver Chad Ochocinco guest starred.
WWE Old School November 15, 2010 3.3 3-Hour edition that featured appearances by former talent and personalities. Everything in the show also temporarily reverted to the 1993 RAW format.
King of the Ring (2010) November 29, 2010 3.1 3-Hour King of the Ring tournament.
Featured talent from both Raw and SmackDown.
Miss USA Rima Fakih guest stars.
2010 Slammy Awards December 13, 2010 3.1 Slammy Award show.
Featured the rosters from Raw and SmackDown.
2011 WWE Draft April 25, 2011 3.7 Featured the rosters from Raw and SmackDown.
The Rock's Birthday Bash May 2, 2011 3.5 Birthday celebration for Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in his hometown of Miami, FL
Mýa and Pitbull guest star.
[54]
WWE All Star Night June 13, 2011 3.5 3-Hour edition that featured talent from Raw and SmackDown.
WWE Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin served as Special guest Raw General Manager.
The episode's alternative title was Stone Cold Raw.
Power to the People June 20, 2011 3.6 3-Hour edition that featured the rosters from Raw and SmackDown.
Match selections were voted via mobile phone.
2011 Raw Roulette June 27, 2011 3.1[55] The 5th edition that featured the rosters from Raw and Smackdown.
The stipulations of matches were decided by the spin of a wheel.
WWE Hall of Famer "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels guest stars.
CM Punk also made his famous worked-shoot statement at the end of the show.
Raw gets Rocked November 14, 2011 TBA 3-Hour edition featuring The Rock.

On-air personalities

Champions

Championship Current champion(s) Date won Date Aired Event Previous champion(s)
WWE Championship Alberto Del Rio October 2, 2011 October 2, 2011 Hell in a Cell John Cena
WWE United States Championship Dolph Ziggler June 19, 2011 June 19, 2011 Capitol Punishment Kofi Kingston
WWE Tag Team Championship Air Boom
(Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston )
August 22, 2011 August 22, 2011 Raw David Otunga and Michael McGillicutty
WWE Divas Championship Beth Phoenix October 2, 2011 October 2, 2011 Hell in a Cell Kelly Kelly
  • Note: The Tag Team and Divas Championships can be defended on both Raw and SmackDown.

Authority figures

Authority Position Date started Date finished Notes
Ric Flair Owner November 9, 2001 June 10, 2002 Lost his position as per match stipulation against Vince McMahon.
Vince McMahon Owner June 10, 2002 June 15, 2009 New General Managers were assigned to Raw and SmackDown in the following weeks.
Eric Bischoff General Manager July 15, 2002 December 5, 2005 Steve Austin served as "Co-General Manager" and "Sheriff" periodically through Bischoff's term.
Mick Foley served as "Co-General Manager" through December 2003.
Jonathan Coachman General Manager June 11, 2007 August 6, 2007 Served as "Executive Assistant" from May 2006 to June 2007 and from August 2007 to January 2008.
William Regal General Manager August 6, 2007 May 19, 2008 Lost his position as general manager due to being fired by Vince McMahon after losing a match to Mr. Kennedy.
Mike Adamle General Manager July 28, 2008 November 3, 2008 Resigned in November 2008.
Shane McMahon
Stephanie McMahon
General Manager November 3, 2008 November 24, 2008 Control reverted to the McMahons.
The position was then claimed by Stephanie McMahon.
Stephanie McMahon General Manager November 24, 2008 April 6, 2009 Took leave of absence on February 23, 2009.
Vickie Guerrero served as "Interim General Manager" until April 2009.
Vickie Guerrero General Manager April 6, 2009 June 8, 2009 Opted to fully take over the position on Raw and resigned as General Manager of SmackDown.
Resigned in June 2009.
Donald Trump Owner June 15, 2009 June 22, 2009 It was announced that Trump had purchased the Raw franchise from Vince McMahon on June 15, 2009.[56]
Vince McMahon Owner, CEO and Chairman June 22, 2009 Present McMahon repurchased the franchise on June 22, 2009. On July 18, 2011 he was relieved of day to day operations. Still Remains as WWE Chairman
Various guest hosts Guest host June 29, 2009 May 10, 2010 An initiative established during Donald Trump's brief period of ownership.
The Guest star position held authoritative control over the brand until May 10, 2010
Vickie Guerrero General Manager May 10, 2010 May 10, 2010 Resigned following the first day of tenure.
Bret Hart General Manager May 24, 2010 June 21, 2010 Removed of position by Vince McMahon.
Anonymous General Manager June 21, 2010 July 18, 2011 The General Manager position was last run anonymously, ceased when Triple H became COO.
Communications from the General Manager was done via email through a laptop and occasionally Michael Cole's iPad.
Triple H Chief Operating Officer July 18, 2011 Present The Board of Directors removed Vince McMahon from day to day power and handed the duties to his son-in-law. However, his authoritative control powers as general manager of running Raw are no longer needed and still remains as COO (see below).
Theodore Long Assistant to the COO September 5, 2011 October 10, 2011 Long was appointed by COO Triple H to aid him in running Raw Supershows, due to his being General Manager of Smackdown!.
John Laurinaitis Interim General Manager October 10, 2011 Present The Board of Directors removed Triple H from his duties of running Raw and appointed John Laurinaitis as Interim General Manager of Raw, but Triple H remains as COO & Laurinaitis remains as the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations.

Commentators

Commentators Dates
Vince McMahon, Randy Savage and Rob Bartlett January 11, 1993–April 19, 1993
Vince McMahon, Bobby Heenan and Randy Savage April 26, 1993–October 18, 1993
Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan October 25, 1993–December 6, 1993
Vince McMahon and Various Guest Commentators December 13, 1993–February 28, 1994
November 7, 1994–November 28, 1994
Gorilla Monsoon and Randy Savage June 20, 1994–July 4, 1994
Jim Ross and Randy Savage July 11, 1994–July 25, 1994
Vince McMahon and Randy Savage March 7, 1994–June 13, 1994
August 1, 1994–October 31, 1994
Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels December 5, 1994–February 6, 1995
Vince McMahon and Jim Cornette February 20, 1995–April 3, 1995
Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler April 10, 1995–July 29, 1996
Kevin Kelly, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler August 5, 1996–October 14, 1996
Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler October 21, 1996–November 1997
Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler November 1997–November 1998
April 1999–February 2001
November 2001–June 2005
May 8, 2006–June 23, 2008
Jim Ross, Michael Cole and Kevin Kelly** December 1997–February 1998
Jim Ross and Michael Cole** March 1998–June 1998
Jim Ross and Paul Heyman February 2001–November 2001
Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler and Jonathan Coachman June 26, 2005–October 10, 2005
Jonathan Coachman and Jerry Lawler October 17, 2005–October 31, 2005
Joey Styles, Jerry Lawler and Jonathan Coachman November 7, 2005–April 16, 2006
Joey Styles and Jerry Lawler April 23, 2006–May 1, 2006
Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and CM Punk November 22, 2010–December 20, 2010
Michael Cole, Josh Mathews, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler* April 4, 2011 – May 2, 2011
Michael Cole, Josh Mathews, and Jerry Lawler* December 27, 2010–March 28, 2011
May 9, 2011 – May 23, 2011
Michael Cole, Jim Ross and Booker T*** September 26, 2011 – October 3, 2011
Michael Cole, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler July 25, 2011 – October 10, 2011
Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler November 1998–April 1999
June 30, 2008–November 15, 2010
May 30, 2011 – July 18, 2011
October 10, 2011- Present

(*)–Mathews became the alternate color commentator on Raw beginning December 27, 2010 due to Lawler's increased in-ring schedule (Lawler would continue as commentator when he was not wrestling). On March 14, 2011, Raw began using a full time three man team with Cole announcing from his own separate table ("The Cole Mine"). Ross has also returned to the broadcast table since making his broadcast return at WrestleMania XXVII and the four announcers worked in rotating three man shifts. This ended on the May 23, 2011 edition of Raw when Michael Cole returned to the normal announce table. However, Mathews still serves as an alternate commentator for Raw if any member of the announce team is unable to continue with their duties.

(**)–From November 1997 until July 1998 Jim Ross served as play by play commentator for both hours of Raw, with the Michael Cole/Kevin Kelly tandem (later just Cole) as color commentator for the first hour (Raw is War), with Jerry Lawler taking over for the second hour (The War Zone).

(***)-Filled up for Jerry "The King" Lawler who was recovering from injury.

Ring announcers

Ring Announcer Dates Notes
Howard Finkel January 11, 1993–August 22, 2002 Occasionally appears on Raw as a guest ring announcer
Tony Chimel April 1997–August 16, 1999 Made a one night return on May 30, 2011
Lilian Garcia August 23, 1999–September 21, 2009 Made a one night return on April 19, 2010, filling in for Justin Roberts when the Raw roster was stuck in Europe after the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption
Justin Roberts March 2007–June 2007
September 27, 2009 – present

Recurring segments

Segment Host Years Notes
The King's Court Jerry Lawler 1993–1995 In-ring interview segment.
The Heartbreak Hotel Shawn Michaels 1994 In-ring interview segment.[57]
The Brother Love Show Brother Love 1995–1996 In-ring interview segment.
The Pillman XXX Files Brian Pillman 1997 Video segment.
The Love Shack Dude Love 1998 In-ring interview segment.
Highlight Reel Chris Jericho 2003–2005
2008,
2010
In-ring interview segment.
White Boy Challenge Rodney Mack
Theodore R. Long
2003 Five minute match challenge to Caucasian talent.
Discontinued following Mack's defeat by Goldberg
WWE Diva Search Jonathan Coachman
The Miz
Todd Grisham
2004–2007 WWE Diva Search competition segment.[58]
Masterlock Challenge Chris Masters 2005–2007
2010
Submission challenge to break Masters' Masterlock hold.
Discontinued after Bobby Lashley broke the hold.
Kurt Angle Invitational Kurt Angle 2005 Three minute match challenge for Angle's gold medals.
Discontinued after Angle moved to SmackDown.
Carlito's Cabana Carlito 2005
2007–2008
In-ring interview segment.
Discontinued after Carlito moved to SmackDown.
Piper's Pit Roddy Piper 2005, 2010–Present In-ring interview segment.
The Cutting Edge Edge 2005–2007
2010
In-ring interview segment.
Discontinued after Edge moved to SmackDown and retired from professional wrestling.
V.I.P. Lounge Montel Vontavious Porter 2009–2010 In-ring interview segment.
Discontinued after MVP was drafted to SmackDown and left WWE.
Khali Kiss Cam The Great Khali 2011 In-ring fan interaction segment.

A.M. Raw

WWE A.M. Raw
AMRAW.JPG
Format Professional wrestling
Created by Vince McMahon
Starring Raw brand
Opening theme "Burn It to the Ground" by Nickelback
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 289
(as of November 6th, 2011)[59]
Production
Running time 1 hour
Broadcast
Original channel USA Network
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Original run October 8, 2005 (2005-10-08)[60] – present
External links
Website

WWE A.M. Raw, a Saturday night/Sunday morning show, airs on the USA Network at 2 a.m. ET.[61] It features segments from the latest episode of WWE Raw. A.M. Raw also features news updates from all across the WWE. The show mostly airs the main event matches and promos that aired on Raw (some of which are abridged for timing purposes), and shows the event schedule for the upcoming weeks.

International broadcasters

The show currently airs live on the USA Network (and on tape delay Wednesdays on mun2 in English, Saturdays on Universal HD, and Sundays on mun2 in Spanish (Morning broadcast) and in the original English (5:30pm Eastern broadcast) in the United States). Occasionally, Raw is aired on same-day tape delay when WWE is on an overseas tour. Raw is also shown live on Sky Sports 3 in the UK and Ireland and on Sky Sport 2 in Italy. Sky Deutschland in Germany began airing Raw live and in HD on February 14, 2011. Raw has also been airing live in Mexico on TVC Deportes since October 6, 2008.[62]

Country Network Ref
Arab World
(Live broadcast)
AD Sport 6 HD [63]
Arab World MBC Action [64][65]
Argentina [66]
Australia Fox8 [67][68]
Bangladesh TEN Sports [69][70]
Belgium AB3 [71][72]
Bhutan TEN Sports [69][73]
Bulgaria bTV Comedy [74][75]
Bolivia Red PAT [76]
Bosnia and Herzegovina OBN [77]
Brazil Esporte Interativo [78]
Canada The Score and Global Quebec [79][80]
Chile UCV TV [81][82]
China VBS [citation needed]
Costa Rica Repretel Canal 11 [83]
Czech Republic Nova Sport [84]
Ecuador Teleamazonas [citation needed]
El Salvador Canal VTV [85]
France NT1 and RTL9 [86][87]
Finland MTV3 MAX [88]
Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein
(Live broadcast)
Sky Deutschland [89][90][91][92][93][94][95]
Greece Nova Sports 3 [96][97]
Honduras Canal 5 [98]
India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Indonesia TEN Sports [69][99][100][101]
Israel Sport 1 [102][103]
Italy
(Live broadcast)
Sky Sport 2 [104][105]
Malaysia Astro Super Sport [106]
Mexico
(Live broadcast)
Canal 5, TVC Deportes & MVS Visión (52MX & MC) [107][108]
New Zealand The Box [109][110]
Norway TV 2 Zebra [111]
Panama RPC Canal 4 [112][113]
Peru ATV [114][115]
Philippines Jack TV [116][117]
Poland Extreme Sports Channel [118][119]
Portugal Sport TV [120][121]
Romania Sport.ro [122]
Russia
(started on February 2011)
2×2 [123]
Serbia Fox televizija [124]
Singapore SuperSports [citation needed]
South Africa E.tv [125][126]
Spain MARCA TV [127][128]
Sweden TV10 [129]
Turkey FOX and Eurosport [130][131]
Thailand TrueVisions [132]
Ukraine QTV [133]
United Kingdom and Ireland
(Live broadcast)
Sky Sports 3 and Sky Sports HD3 [134][135]

See also

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