Watchwrestling – History of WWE Raw

The history of WWE Raw began as WWF’s Monday Night Raw on January 11, 1993. Over the next two decades, Raw would become the promotion’s flagship show, achieving numerous milestones along the way.

Premiere and early years (1993–1995)

The show first aired on January 11, 1993 on the USA Network as a replacement for Prime Time Wrestling, which aired on the network for eight years. The original Raw was sixty minutes long and broke new ground in televised professional wrestling. Traditionally, wrestling shows were recorded on sound stages with small audiences or large shows in the arena. Raw’s formula was considerably different from the recorded weekend shows that aired at the time, such as Superstars and Wrestling Challenge. Rather than matches recorded weeks in advance with studio voiceovers and recorded discussion, Raw was a sample take and broadcast to a live audience, with angles that played out as they happened.

Vince McMahon, Randy Savage, and Rob Bartlett were the original hosts for the show, as well as serving as traditional commentators. Bartlett, a comedian who previously had nothing to do with the wrestling industry, would be replaced by Bobby Heenan in April 1993. Heenan left the company in December and would leave McMahon and Savage to host the show alone, before they Savage left in October 1994, leaving McMahon with several different co-hosts each week, including Shawn Michaels and Jim Cornette. Jerry Lawler would become McMahon’s permanent co-host on April 10, 1995 in a role he held until December 29, 2014 when it was announced that Booker T would replace Lawler in the Raw comments following Lawler’s hospitalization for diverticulitis. . Since then, Lawler has been named as a permanent co-host of SmackDown and subsequent pre-shows. On June 8, 2015, Byron Saxton replaced Booker as a permanent co-host of Raw after Booker filmed Tough Enough, along with Michael Cole and John “Bradshaw” Layfield, who joined Raw as a color analyst on April 1, 2013. having the Raw announce team consisting of Cole, Layfield and Saxton, from a one night live episode of Main Event on October 28, 2014. Corey Graves would later replace JBL.

Raw originated in the Grand Ballroom at the Manhattan Center, a small New York City theater, and was broadcast live each week. The combination of an intimate venue and live action proved to be a successful upgrade. However, the weekly live show turned out to be a financial burden for WWF. From the spring of 1993 to the spring of 1997, Raw would record episodes several weeks after a live episode aired. The WWF recorded several weeks of Raw from the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, New York in April 1993, and again in June and October (from 1984 to 1986, the Civic Center was home to another WWF television show , Championship Wrestling). The first episode produced outside of New York was recorded in Bushkill, Pennsylvania in November 1993 and Raw left the Manhattan Center permanently, as the show would be broadcast throughout the United States and performed in smaller venues.

Raw, uniquely in its day, featured some competitive matches between top tier talents like The Undertaker, Bret Hart, Mr. Perfect, Lex Luger, Razor Ramon, Shawn Michaels, Doink the Clown, Yokozuna and The 1-2- 3 Kid in his early years. Until then, unless part of an ongoing feud or title fight, most of the fights on nationally televised WWF programs were primarily “squash” fights (which also appeared on Raw at the beginning). Only the Saturday Night Main Event and Main Event generally featured the kind of matches that Raw had, though unlike Raw, those two shows ran infrequently. Huge, story-unfolding matches were featured regularly, such as Ric Flair versus Mr. Perfect in January 1993; this would be Flair’s last appearance at the company in almost 9 years. Additionally, The 1-2-3 Kid’s surprise victory over Razor Ramon in May 1993 would see The Kid become a mainstay of the top list for years to come.

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