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The Best & Worst of Raw


NEWM

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lLVFMqHowE

 

Chris Jericho and Jerry Lawler vs. Taz and ???

 

Still officially the WWE's shortest ever match. Taz was teamed with a mystery partner, who is it? Then suddenly, "Real American" plays. JR's Bell's Palsy tingles with excitement. BAW GAWD, IT CAN BE ONLY ONE MAN! SAY YOUR PRAYERS, TAKE YOUR VITAMINS AND TRAIN HARD... At which point, Naked Mideon walks out. Taz's face of despair is amazing. It's like he's in the World Series of Poker final and been dealt a Top Trump and the rules to Bridge. Mideon jiggles to the ring doing Hulkamania poses, while Taz gets rolled up by King and the referee begins counting the moment the bell rings. Taz is defeated in 3 seconds. JR is great as well, as if he's witnessing the biggest defection wrestling history, right up until Mideon comes out.

 

Well I fucking enjoyed it anyway, philistines.

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Enjoying this thread muchly. Good work NEWM and the rest of you. Been many great shouts already, Ian and Wandoshogun have covered most of the ones i'd have mentioned and that i really love with The Hart Foundation formation, The Radicalz, DX, Rock, Cactus, Too Cool 10 man, The Bret-Sid CAGE main event, the Austin-Michaels tag team and Austin as CEO. I could put just about anything from the Bret-Austin series in here though, just absolute pro-wrestling perfection.

 

I'll throw a few things in here that haven't been mentioned yet that i absolutely adore and that don't always come up on WWE TV frequently.

 

The 1997 Raw is War/Warzone intro

 

You all know the one, starts with an air raid siren going off, the gates opening to a firey scrapyard, Austin marching around past explosions, Ahmed booting shit about and in the middle of it all a ring with ropes ablaze and Bret, Sid and others hammering the piss out of each other inside. It was glorious and set the tone absolutely perfectly. The intro change through '98-2000 was a great fit too but the '97 intro has never been bettered. Watching at the time it was just about the most badass, coolest shit i'd ever seen.

 

The Highway to Hell

 

Actually, i'd say Austins first big title reigns throughout '98 in general but particularly when this story developed. I loved so much about it and there are so many great, standout moments from this summer-long story alone it's incredible. I love many things about pro-wrestling, but for me it's at it's absolute finest as comic book come to life, consisting of larger than life, fascinating super-hero like characters mingling together and telling stories presented in an TV episodic like fashion. And this had that down to a tee.

 

The transition from Austins feud with Foley as Dude Love (which itself features many of my favourite Raw moments - which i will get to in a bit) to the summer long angle involving Austin, Kane, Undertaker and Foley now as Mankind was great and each character i thought developed throughout superbly and logically. Starting with the Kane - Undertaker #1 contenders match for King of the Ring, teasing a potential Undertaker - Austin showdown, down the line, which felt pretty massive. But Kane took the win here and i remember vividly the end to this Raw, with Austin coming away from the announce desk as Kane and Bearer faced him and Kane sets off his signature pyro. It was full of fantastic visuals which this whole angle would be loaded with. Foley ends up reverting back to his Mankind ways and reuniting with Uncle Paul and forming an unholy alliance with the Big Red Machine, they cause Austin a lot of bother and Undertaker starts getting involved but Undertaker wants the WWF title deep down and there's definite animosity between Austin and Undertaker. Leading into King of the Ring Kane is challenging Austin for the belt in a First Blood match and Undertaker and Mankind are going to meet in Hell in a Cell. Vince, who's involved in most of this as a means to take down Austin decides to set up a first time ever Hell in a Cell tag team match on Raw in the lead-up to King of the Ring between Stone Cold and Undertaker against Kane and Mankind and it provides one of the most brilliant segments and sequence of events and closings to Raw ever. Rumblings have began of Undertaker aligning himself with his brother Kane and Bearers side, Austins being led to believe he can't trust the Deadman and Steve doesn't exactly trust people easily as it is. Kane, Mankind and Bearer are in the ring, surrounded by the Cell, winding Austin up even more, playing the 'where's Undertaker card' selling the Cell and all that jazz. Now it's time for Austin to arrive, he marches down and waits for Undertaker to join him. No Undertaker. His music hits again, still no Undertaker. Austin is miffed and thoroughly pissed off but in true Stone Cold style waits no more and takes action into his own hands. Mankind attempts to rush him but Austin has a steel chair to the skull as an answer and now the action really kicks off. Kane eventually joins Mankind in battering Austin while a smug as fuck Bearer locks himself inside the Cell and everybody else out, looking very pleased with himself indeed as he looks on at his boys tearing Austin apart. Bad idea though fatman, as here comes Undertaker from beneath the ring through the canvas to a huge roar from the crowd. The Phenom is left all alone with Bearer in the Cell and proceeds to smack him about and bust him open. Eventually Kane clocks this and frantically tries to get in the Cell, forgetting that he ripped the door off it's hinges back in October, the Big Red Retard climbs atop the cage and tries to get in through the roof. Having disposed of Mankind, Austin eyes Kane atop the Cell and proceeds to climb atop to join him. Austin marches across the top of the cell and starts hammering down on Kane in what provides another awesome visual as the crowd are going batshit and Raw goes off the air. The whole scene is awesome, played out superbly by everyone involved. Easily one of my favourite moments of Raw, Attitude Era at it's finest.

 

n96ya.jpg

 

That's all before King of the Ring, the seeds firmly planted for the events leading up to Summerslam and the events that occur at King of the Ring really get the Kane and Undertaker in-cahoots story blossoming. Post King of the Ring, Big Vince sets up a match to determine a new #1 contender for Summerslam, this time in a triple threat between Kane, Mankind and The Undertaker. Another sublime piece of booking and story-telling. There's still murmurs that Undertaker is secretly aligned with Kane, Mankind is 100% devoted to Uncle Paul and Kane and their cause and moreso Vince and trying to impress him (which is why he's taken to wrestling in a shirt and tie). Vince supposedly has some beef with The Undertaker stemming over the past few months and sets this match up seemingly stacking the odds against him, what with Kane and Mankind being partners and his supposed rivals. The match is set up with the odds looking like a Kane win and rematch for the WWF title at Summerslam. When it comes time for the match, Kane and Mankind are ready to go but, when Undertaker is due to come out, much like with the Hell in a Cell match aforementioned, he seems to decide not to bother showing up again. So the match starts without him with the tag partners. Mankind, being Mankind, takes it upon himself to give himself over to Kane and be beaten and take the #1 contenders title. Kane, being Kane, ruthless monster with a big appetite for destruction obliges but by giving Mankind a viscious, brutal hiding and Mankind, again being Mankind, takes it. Kane takes the win and Vince is happy and set to announce Kane as the Summerslam #1 contender only, Kane pulls his mask off to reveal...The Undertaker...in Kanes get-up as Raw ends. An excellent moment, sets Summerslam, progresses the story giving a bunch of answers but asking a whole lot more questions with a dynamite Summerslam main event of Stone Cold and The Undertaker and once again providing another neat visual with the Undertaker dressed up in Kanes garb.

 

8y5mcy.jpg

 

Another fun part of the angle is when the roles are reversed for the above on one of the last Raws before Summerslam, where it's finally more or less revealed that Undertaker and Kane are working together. As Austin calls out the Undertaker, seemingly gets him as the lights go out, when they come back on Taker is in the ring in his huge fuck-off WrestleMania XIV jacket with his back to Austin. Suddenly flames burst from the ringposts, distracting Stone Cold and Undertaker pounces on the rattlesnake...only he's wearing Kanes mask...and soon you realise it's actually Kane....this time in Undertakers get-up.

 

o8e6v5.jpg

 

There's a shitload more twists and turns along the way but those are some highlights. As mentioned i adored the angle and loved how it went on to spread across the company and intertwined a bunch of other acts with everyone involved just getting more and more over as a result. Pre and post Summerlsam The Outlaws and The Rock end up getting heavily involved in the mix too and are all the better for it. It went on to spawn numerous other angles and issues and eventually led to and all culminated at Survivor Series - Deadly Game. People call that one show Russo's masterpiece for the great story it told but everything from Unforgiven/Over The Edge onwards leads to all those pieces coming together on that night. And it was the Raws that told the bulk of the story week by week. It was an absolute joy to follow.

 

 

I've got others i'd like to mention but will do so in detail later on as i don't have the time to now. But i'll talk about the evolution of Mankind and the sit-down interviews with J.R, his journey in '98 and one of my favourite opening and endings to a Raw ever on the 'The Battle for Mick Foleys soul' episode, the under-rated awesomeness of 2004, most of 2005 and early 2006 Raw.

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We all berate the WWE in recent times for a shit product but in the last few years there have been some monumental storylines and moments that would sit against anything come before it....

 

This was just executed so well...

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLrUmWwvrYc

 

And this moment I believe was the crowning of a new megastar in the wrestling world....

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FuOZVjrUUg

 

I shall never ever forget the night before in Chicago

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I will add one

 

Mick Foley is shown on the tron as dude love. HHH and Chyna wait in the ring ready for the falls count anywhere match. Dude says he wants no part of the match and brings out Mankind who up until that point was the sickest puppy in the WWE. Not to be out done he then tells HHH that he knows someone even worse than him..................Out comes Cactus jack! HHH sells like hes scared to death and great match ends with HHH getting piledriven though a table at the top of the ramp.

 

"For a man that has wrestled in nails ,barb wire and set himself on fire this will be a day at central park"

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGJeW3yIjwM...feature=related

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Some nice ones there Raid, but not enough 94-97! Was it a switch-off period for you?

 

Nah, just started with "in the beginning it was great" then picked up some for more recent "look at this shit" and had plenty of thoughts for meeting in the middle, but the laptop started gaying up so I posted what I had. I'll likely go back and edit it. My fandom may have peaked in 1997. If anything I switched off in 07-09 through my flat having a combination of A) no Sky and B) a woman.

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19991213_vkm_steph.jpg

 

December 13th 1999: Stephanie is no longer Daddy's little girl.

 

The night after Stephanie McMahon turned heel is still to this day one of my favourite Raw's ever, it was tied nicely into the Ministry shenanigans from earlier in the year plus it also marked the beginning of the short lived McMahon-Helmsley era which was ace.

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I always remember the night Neidhart got "WCW" sprayed over him on that Raw after Montreal. Both HBK and Triple H were *really* laying in those shots too. Always seemed unbelievably petty and nasty to me. Neidhart left after it.

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this could be either....

 

IGN's 25 Greatest Raw Moments

Cheers for that, great fun to watch for an afternoon. Was a bit un-nerving watching the Eddie Tribute Show and witnessing the beginning of Benoit's mental breakdown.

 

Speaking of mental, it's mental to think that WMXX has been practically erased from WWE history, it never gets referenced, and not just for Benoit.

 

Main event: HHH vs HBK vs ??? (HHH and HBK have wrestled tons, no need to draw from this well)

WWE Title: Dead guy vs TNA guy

Taker's return against Kane: Finish gets shown for a half second in Streak video packages, but the match was a lame squash and Taker's appearance was dire

Lesnar vs. Goldberg: Less said, the better

 

I suppose, they allude to Cena's win over Big Show on occasion. But erasing WMXX from history makes a lot of the awesome TV around that time ineligible for mention by WWE :(

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I always found the Owen hart tribute show more harder to get through, see the image of Mark Henry tears flow down his face during the 10 bell Salute.

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I wasn't fully engrossed in 1999, and didn't really know of Owen too well, whereas in 2005 Eddie was one of my favourities. Either way, wrestling tribute shows always pull at the old heartstrings.

 

both pull at the heartstrings no doubt.

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