Road to Raw 900: Fun Facts

This past month we’ve followed the road to Raw 900 and now we are on it’s door step. Raw 900 is only 24 hours away and today’s article won’t focus on one particular match, but instead some of the big moments of Raw over the past 17 plus years.

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

Gorilla Monsoon and Randy Savage
June 6, 1994 – June 27, 1994

Jim Ross and Randy Savage
July 4, 1994 – July 25, 1994

Vince McMahon and Randy Savage
March 7, 1994 – May 30, 1994
August 1, 1994 – October 31, 1994

Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler
November 7, 1994 – 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, 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

Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler
November 1997 – November 1998
April 1999 – February 2001
November 2001 – June 2005
May 8, 2006 – June 16, 2008

Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler
November 1998 – April 1999
June 30, 2008–present

Ring Announcer
Howard Finkel
January 1993 – August 2002

Tony Chimel
April 1997 – August 1999

Lilian Garcia
August 1999 – September 2009
April 19, 2010

Justin Roberts
March 2007 – June 2007
September 2009–present

Raw brand authorities

Ric Flair (November 19, 2001 – June 10, 2002)
Vince McMahon (June 10, 2002 – June 15, 2009)
Shane McMahon Executive VP (June 10, 2002 – June 22, 2009)
Donald Trump (June 15, 2009 – June 22, 2009)
Vince McMahon (June 22, 2009 – present)

General Managers
Eric Bischoff (July 15, 2002 – December 5, 2005), (November 6, 2006)
Chief Morley – Chief of Staff (November 25, 2002 – May 5, 2003)
Steve Austin – co-general manager (April 28, 2003 – November 16, 2003), (December 29, 2003 – March 29, 2004: self-proclaimed Sheriff with full GM Powers)
Mick Foley co-general manager (December 1, 2003 – December 15, 2003)

Vince McMahon – Interim GM (December 12, 2005 – May 29, 2006)

Jonathan Coachman (January 19, 2004) Executive Assistant/Interim GM (May 29, 2006 – August 6, 2007)

William Regal (July 2, 2007), (August 6, 2007 – May 19, 2008)
Jonathan Coachman – Executive Assistant (August 6, 2007 – January 4, 2008)

Mike Adamle (July 28, 2008 – November 3, 2008)

Stephanie McMahon (November 24, 2008 – April 6, 2009)

Vickie Guerrero (April 6, 2009 – June 8, 2009) 6 (May 10, 2010, resigned after Raw)

Bret Hart (May 24, 2010 – June 21, 2010)

Anonymous (June 21, 2010 – present)
Michael Cole – Official Spokesman (June 21, 2010 – present)

Temporary Raw General Managers
Theodore Long (January 5, 2004)
Eric Bischoff made Theodore Long and General Managers of Raw for one night only.

Eugene (July 5, 2004)
Eric Bischoff made Eugene General Managers of Raw for one night only.

Maven (November 15, 2004)
Chris Benoit (November 22, 2004)
Randy Orton (November 29, 2004)
Chris Jericho (December 6, 2004)
The four had a one-time-only opportunity at the General Manager role when their team won at Survivor Series 2004, while full-time General Manager Eric Bischoff took a vacation.

Spirit Squad (May 1, 2006)
Mr. McMahon made all five members of the Spirit Squad co-general managers for one night, due to their help in his match against Shawn Michaels at Backlash 2006.

D-Generation X (October 2, 2006)
DX took over Raw for the night after they put Jonathan Coachman in a garbage bin and wheeled him away.

Michael Peña (April 9, 2007)
Make-A-Wish Foundation service with Mick Foley.

John Cena (March 3, 2008)
Randy Orton (March 10, 2008)
Triple H (March 17, 2008)
Raw General Manager William Regal allowed a Triple Threat Takeover, allowing all three members of the Triple Threat WWE Championship match at Wrestlemania to run Raw for one night

Chris Jericho (October 6, 2008)
When called away to a meeting with Shane and Stephanie McMahon, Mike Adamle named Chris Jericho as Acting General Manager for the night.

Guest hosts (June 29, 2009 – May 10, 2010)
When Donald Trump purchased Raw, he announced that a different celebrity guest host would appear every week and run the show in place of a full time GM. While the guest hosts continue to appear, WWE headquarters stripped them of their power on May 10, 2010, when Vickie Guerrero (and subsequently Bret Hart) became full-time GM.

Guest Hosts
June 29, 2009: Batista
July 6, 2009: Ted DiBiase Sr.
July 13, 2009: Seth Green
July 20, 2009: ZZ Top
July 27, 2009: Shaquille O’Neal
August 3, 2009: Jeremy Piven
August 10, 2009: Sgt. Slaughter
August 17, 2009: Freddie Prinze Jr.
August 24, 2009: Floyd Mayweather Jr.
August 31, 2009: Dusty Rhodes
September 7, 2009: Bob Barker
September 14, 2009: Trish Stratus
September 21, 2009: Cedric the Entertainer
September 28, 2009: Reverend Al Sharpton
October 5, 2009: Ben Roethlisberger
October 12, 2009: Nancy O’Dell & Maria Menounos
October 19, 2009: Snoop Dogg
October 26, 2009: Kyle Busch & Joey Logano
November 2, 2009: Ozzy & Sharon Osbourne
November 9, 2009: Ricky Hatton
November 16, 2009: Rowdy Roddy Piper
November 23, 2009: Jesse Ventura
November 30, 2009: Verne Troyer
December 7, 2009: Mark Cuban
December 14, 2009: Dennis Miller
December 21, 2009: Johnny Damon
December 28, 2009: Timbaland
January 4, 2010: Bret Hart
January 11, 2010: Mike Tyson
January 18, 2010: Jon Heder and Don Johnson
January 25, 2010: Dule Hill (James Roday was also scheduled but was unable to attend due to emergency appendectomy)
February 1, 2010: William Shatner
February 8, 2010: Carl Edwards
February 15, 2010: Jerry Springer
February 22, 2010: Jewel and Ty Murray
March 1, 2010: Cheech & Chong
March 8, 2010: Criss Angel
March 15, 2010: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
March 22, 2010: Pete Rose
March 29, 2010: The cast of Hot Tub Time Machine
April 5, 2010: David Otunga
April 12, 2010: David Hasselhoff
April 19, 2010: Will Forte, Kristen Wiig and Ryan Phillippe
May 3, 2010: Wayne Brady
May 10, 2010: Flava Flav
May 17, 2010: Buzz Aldrin
May 24, 2010: Jon Lovitz
May 31, 2010: Ashton Kutcher
June 7, 2010: Cast of The A-Team
June 14, 2010: Mark Feuerstein
June 28, 2010: Rob Zombie
July 12 2010: Florence Henderson
August 16, 2010: Justin Long, Charlie Day & Jason Sudeikis

Raw Theme songs
“Burn It to the Ground” by Nickelback
“…To Be Loved” by Papa Roach
“Across The Nation” by The Union Underground
“Thorn In Your Eye” featuring Scott Ian of Anthrax

Special Episodes
Raw Debut: January 11, 1993

Raw Championship Friday: September 6, 1996 A Raw episode airing on a Friday with all the WWF champions.

Royal Rumble Raw: February 3, 1997 First two-hour broadcast.
Featured clips from the Royal Rumble.

Thursday Raw Thursday: February 13, 1997 A Raw episode airing on a thursday.

Raw is Owen: May 24, 1999 Tribute in memory of Owen Hart.

The Brand Extension Draf:t March 25, 2002 Start of the Brand Extension.
This was the last Raw to use the depiction of the Attitude Era such as the stage and logo

Raw X Anniversary: January 13, 2003 Award show that celebrated the show’s 10th anniversary.

The 2004 WWE Draft Lottery: March 22, 2004 The first Draft Lottery that featured a supplemental draft.

Raw Homecoming: October 3, 2005 First three-hour broadcast.
Return to the USA Network.

Eddie Guerrero Tribute Show: November 14, 2005 Tribute in memory of Eddie Guerrero.

Tribute to the Troops: December 19, 2005 Christmas from Afghanistan.

Raw Family Reunion: October 9, 2006 First Raw special to feature talent from all three brands.

Chris Benoit 3-Hour Memorial: June 25, 2007 Memorial to Chris Benoit.
Clip show in international markets.

Raw 15th Anniversary: December 10, 2007 Celebrated the show’s 15th anniversary.

Trump Raw: June 22, 2009 The first commercial-free broadcast.

A Raw Thanksgiving: November 23, 2009 Featured talent from Raw and SmackDown. Jesse Ventura featured as Guest Host. Vince McMahon Returned As Play-By-Play Commentator.

Raw is HBK: March 29, 2010 A retirement ceremony for Shawn Michaels (HBK).

Monday Night SmackDown: April 19, 2010 Due to air travel shutdowns as a result of the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland, the entire Raw roster (with the exception of Triple H and Vladimir Kozlov, who weren’t part of the traveling party) was stranded in Europe after an overseas tour. Because of this, performers from the SmackDown! brand filled in.

2nd Commercial-Free Raw: May 17, 2010 2nd Commercial Free RAW

Raw Big Moments
First episode aired on January 11th, 1993.

First Raw match: Yokozuna vs. Koko B. Ware

First Main Event: Undertaker vs. Damien Demento

Only wrestler featured on the first episode of Raw that is still active is The Undertaker.

Most of the shows for the first year of Raw took place at the Grand Ballroom at Manhattan Center.

Bobby Heenan’s last Raw as commentator: December 6, 1993

Raw and Nitro go Head to Head for the first time: September 11, 1995

October 14th, 1996 Raw had it’s lowest rating ever with a 1.9. The main event featured WWF World Champion Shawn Michaels (w/ Jose Lothario) defeated Steve Austin via disqualification in a non-title match at around the 7-minute mark when Vader attacked Michaels.

February 3, 1997, Monday Night Raw went to a two-hour format

February 1997, ECW invades Raw. Taz, Mikey Whipwreck, Sabu, Tommy Dreamer, D-Von Dudley, and The Sandman appear.

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.

Starting in September of 1999 Raw starts broadcasting live every week.

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.

May 10th, 1999: Raw gets it’s highest rating ever of an 8.1. The show was headlined by Undertaker, Triple H, and Shane McMahon taking on Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, and Vince McMahon with Shawn Michaels as the guest referee in a six man tag team match.

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.

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).

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 .  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.

In early to mid-2002, WWF underwent a process they called the “Brand Extension”. WWF divided itself into two “de facto” wrestling promotions with separate rosters, storylines and authority figures.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.

In 2005 Raw left Spike TV and returned to USA

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

On December 10, 2007 Raw celebrated its 15th anniversary.

January 21, 2008 Raw airs in HD for the first time.

On November 3, 2008, Raw celebrated its 800th episode with a three hour episode. The actual 800th episode aired on September 22, 2008.

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.

On June 22, 2009, Vince McMahon repurchased Raw from Donald Trump and announced the guest host concept.

On January 4, 2010 TNA impact!, which normally airs on Thursdays, would go head to head with Raw in a three-hour live broadcast. 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. WWE countered by announcing the return of Bret Hart, who hadn’t appeared with the company since the Montreal Screwjob in 1997. The ratings showed that, much like the first Monday Night War, Raw came out on top, averaging 5.6 million viewers while iMPACT! averaged 2.2 million viewers

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.

On June 7, 2010, Raw was invaded by the NXT season one roster, led by the debuting Wade Barrett during the final match of the special three-hour Viewer’s Choice episode. The season one roster attacked John Cena, CM Punk, Luke Gallows, Jerry Lawler, Matt Striker, Justin Roberts, the referees and other WWE personnel at ringside, and destroyed the ring, security walls, and announcer’s table. The invasion, not seen since the early 2000s, effectively turned the entire season one NXT roster heel, and led to the Nexus faction.


For over 17 years Raw has been the flagship show of WWE, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Tonight’s 900th episode doesn’t have any matches or special guests announced yet, but I’m sure it and the next 100 matches on the road to Raw 1000 will be full of surprises.