Friday’s here! Hopefully this means you’re gearing down for the weekend, and ready to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather.
Today’s Question: Who is the absolute worst wrestler you can think of … that you secretly love?
We’ll get to your answers tomorrow. If you want to jump straight to the discussion, please scroll through to the end.
Yesterday, I asked you what your favorite episode of RAW of all time was. With 1100 episodes to choose from, you had a wide variety of choices. Here are your answers:
Garth Holmberg, C.C.: Tough to choose, what with there being so many episodes and the memory not being the best. I'm going to go old school, and say... the January 25th, 1993 episode. Random, I know, but it was the first episode of Raw I got to watch (and it was only the 3rd), and first time I was actually allowed to watch a late-night primetime show on a school night. Perfect vs. Flair was a nail-biter, even to me being 7 years old, and I liked the opener with Savage against Repo Man. It's an episode that still stands out to me more than many other popular options.
This was the first “major” RAW happening, seeing Ric Flair turfed back to WCW on the wrong end of a Loser Leaves Town match.
Andy PG: Best Raw for me? One of the very early ones. It has Marty entering through the crowd, challenging Shawn, and winning the I-C title, plus the famous Kid/Ramon upset. Basically, the night Raw became RAW.
This is certainly the first episode of RAW that made it truly stand out from the other shows the WWF was running at the time; and it was clear from that moment onwards that this was THE show to watch. As long as it wasn’t taped.
Tom Dawkings: I'll go the unconventional route and say that there was a Raw in 96 which I believe was the first PPV-lite Raw they did. It featured Kid v Hakushi, Dudes With Attitide v Bulldog/Yoko and Bret v Taker. Kid/Hakushi was the only good match, but I still remember it because it was a pretty surprising watching a tv show without any jobber matches for the time period.
This is probably long forgotten because it was on the back end of a taping cycle, so fans who were smartened up to the Internet were well in the know of the results ahead of time. Still, this stood out in the gloomy early part of 1996; and things weren’t about to get any better with Bret Hart’s hiatus, and half the midcard departing for WCW by the end of the year.
jobber123: The one where Pillman pulls the gun on Austin really stands out to me, only because I remember seeing that as a kid and being blown away by what happened.
Local police must have been sick to death of pro wrestling by this point, as this happened just months after the Rey Mysterio lawn dart incident; with both that show and the Pillman 9mm episode drawing 911 calls from fans who couldn’t tell what was real anymore, and what wasn’t.
Extant1979: As far as an episode I didn't see in person, I would have to say Bret Hart's tirade against Vince McMahon after he was screwed out of the WWF Title against Sid in the lead-up to WM13. That, in my opinion, is the true kick-off of the Attitude Era. Can't wait to see how they treat that on the Network.
Granted, it’s the swearing here that people remember, but Bret’s promo came across as one of the most genuine things I’ve ever seen in wrestling. Whereas most promos sound tight and scripted, Bret was just ripping into everyone and everything, but in a way that felt like it was coming straight from the heart (likely, because he DID feel that way in light of the lost smile).
LScisco: I'd say the RAW where Austin and Bret led off with a street fight and Bret was attacked in an ambulance. THAT show, even to the mark in me at the time who had endured the abuse of friends who thought WCW was superior, proved to me that the company was becoming different and would once again regain its position as the #1 wrestling company in North America.
Owen and Bulldog plotting to kill Steve Austin became one of my favorite running gags in the subsequent weeks.
Biscuit!: 4/28/97, the 'Pillman Prays' episode. Absolute anarchy culminating with Jim Neidhart's surprise return, leading to a wheelchair-bound Bret Hart whacking Austin off the ramp with a crutch.
This episode was all about the Harts; Owen capturing the IC title was classic. “LOOK AT ALL THE GOLD! WE’RE RICH!” Pillman’s prayer sessions were incredible, but then just about everything he did from late 95 until his death were brilliantly crazy and people bought in.
PrimeTimeTen: 7/21/97 in Halifax, NS.
- The Bret/McMahon hockey fight
- Shawn turning the heel up to ten with "And I... will BE... the SPECIAL... referEE!"
- A molten hot crowd, cheering the hell out of the Hart Foundation, and not buying Brian Walsh's sucking up by carrying a mini Canadian flag.
- The flag match main event with Brian Pillman's run-in.
The run of shows in Canada were great that year, because Bret’s nuclear heat had caused the first real instances of “Bizarro World”. Shawn Michaels drawing “faggot” chants without offending all of North America (was this really acceptable that recently?). The McMahon/Hart fight was the usual heel Bret goodness, who despite HATING the role played it like a champ. When he jumped the announce table to pound McMahon for naming Shawn the special referee at SummerSlam, the place exploded. How the Survivor Series WASN’T a total work is beyond me, because they set that whole story up for an entire year.
AverageJoeEveryman: First Raw I went to December 8 1997. Had the DX strip poker game, Sable in the potato sack (later an incredibly small bikini), Mero outing Sal Sincere as a jobber, and Stone Cold forfeiting the belt to The Rock.
A lot of posters mentioned being nostalgic for shows they attended. Sadly, I’ve only been to 1 episode of RAW, which aired in 2001. If you asked me, gun to my head, what the main event was, I don’t think I’d be able to come up with an answer.
BeardMoney: The post-Wrestlemania 14 Raw was pretty amazing. Dan Severn and Kaientai debuted. The Rock turned on Farooq and claimed leadership of the NOD. X-Pac returned and later the Outlaws joined DX solidifying the new line-up, and sewing the seeds for Foley's heel turn. Austin Stunned McMahon. The show genuinely established a new direction for the company, and kicked off what was arguably the greatest era in the history of the WWF/E. Sadly, today's post-'Mania Raws just let us know which rematches we get to look forward to.
Absolutely spot on, this took us into the Attitude era at 100 miles an hour. Within weeks the stupid NWA titles would be phased out, we’d have a wrestling porn star, NoD turning up our racist meters to full blown, and DX making a mockery out of everyone and everything. Oh, and some guy named Steve Austin swearing up a storm and getting drunk at every
riraho: The RAW where Austin and McMahon were going to wrestle. From the start where they said they would--through Vince's training with the stooges--to the hand behind the back deal--to them brilliantly not giving it away on free tv. That was prime.
Not to mention they continued to hold this off for another year, without it ever feeling dragged out. Very little can come close to this feud. This is also the RAW that ended WCW’s hold of the ratings lead.
Jeremy Rinehart: The night after Breakdown.
- Zamboni 3:16
- Vince gets his ankle broken
- Rock pins Undertaker
This was pretty much the moment that Rock fans knew he was on the fast track to the World Title. He had just turned face, and having him pin the Undertaker was a sign the company was fully invested.
BooBoo1782: The only Raw I really remember as a whole show after watching on TV is "Raw is Owen." It's obviously in a very different category than everything else, but I remember X-Pac and one of the Hardys working the enziguiri into their movesets that night as a tribute, Mick going over Billy Gunn with a nice tribute after, Rock dedicating the People's Elbow to Owen in his match with Val Venis, and the Austin beer tribute closing the show. I wouldn't call it a favorite, but it's really the only Raw I remember as a full show.
I have tried to watch this one a few times, but I’m still not able to. Definitely a lot of raw, real emotion here, and memorable top to bottom under the most unfortunate and tragic of circumstances.
Night81: I really liked the Radicals/DX vs. Rock/Sock/Too Cool RAW. It told a great story throughout the show from the Radicalz betrayal to Rock stepping up with a great promo to Too Cool running in to join the fray to nuclear heat throughout the whole match for everyone's spots and feuds to Kane's big return with Paul Bearer. Just an awesome RAW.
Prior to the Radicalz betrayal, we also got Foley’s HIAC retirement match booked against Triple H. This was also the legendary “Viscera slips” show. But yes, the true meat was that main event, which basically served as a “Fuck You, WCW” – putting over the quartet of newcomers as hard as they possibly could, against an absolutely loaded opposition.
Peyton_Drinking: Buying WCW comes to mind because I had been working a lot that weekend and didn't know about the purchase in advance.
If you didn’t know about this in advance, I can see this entire show being the most ground-breaking “WTF IS HAPPENING HERE” show in history. Even then, seeing McMahon talk openly about WCW talent, fire Jeff Jarrett on national television, and the Shane McMahon “purchase” made for a strong finish to the Monday Night Wars.
The Bragg Man: I loved the RAW that was Main Evented by Jericho/Benoit vs HHH/Austin for the Tag Titles. I remember being a little down on the product at that point after WM X7, and that match brought me back.
Triple H hadn’t looked bad in two years at that point; having him submit clean as a whistle gave the Canadian lads all they needed to make a run at the main event.
CruelConnectionNumber2: RVD and Dreamer hop the rail and ECW returns to punk out Jericho and the coffee-fearing monster Kane in 2001.
That slow burn when you realized the “WWF” was being represented by the likes of Tazz, Raven, and the Dudleys, with Lance Storm and Mike Awesome already in the ring was an absolute goosebump moment in time.
YankeesHoganTripleHFan: I am such a Hogan mark for this one but I have to go with Raw the nights after WM 18. First off I was pretty baked so every cool moment was increased tenfold. Second Hogan's ovation and the Rock encouraging him to rip off the NWO t-shirt was fucking awesome and then later Brock debuted and I just remember being like "what the fuck was that?" Plus I think the stooges did something wacky which caused me to giggle on my bed for like ten minutes. Did I mention the pot was hydro?
I was watching this with a friend, and I remember we both thought initially that Brock’s run-in was Sid Vicious for some reason, until the camera got a better look and the announcers clarified who it was. One of the strongest rookie debuts ever.
Brent Garrison: June 2005 in St. Louis. Cena debuts on RAW, ECW invades to wrap up the show, and on a personal note-The best dark main event I've seen in all of the 86 T.V. tapings I've been too-Triple H and Batista in a 20-minute bloodbath.
That’s a lot of TV tapings.
ABeyAnce1: Since they were a week within each other, I have to choose the 2008 WWE Draft mainly because it was the one draft with the real shocker factors. By that I mean the guys that switched brands. Hardy, HHH, Umaga, and Kennedy all going to Smackdown, and then how Rey, Batista, and Punk went to Raw. It also then lead to later in the night when Vince got "injured", causing the next week, and the rest of the summer, to become total anarchy.
Jim Ross’ reaction to being sent to SmackDown was fabulous; 100% pissed off curmudgeon, and it was all real. This was also CM Punk’s ascension to the main roster, as he was drafted over to RAW as a major player holding the MITB briefcase, from the dying ECW brand. Good forgotten pick!
Stuart_Chartock: I don't know if I'd rank it #1, but the episode the night after "WrestleMania 28" was friggin' fantastic. The non-stop "Yes!" chants, Rock declaring that he'll be back for more, and BROCK FUCKING LESNAR!
The fans turning Del Rio face with the “SI SI SI” chants was a lot of fun as well. In fact, the only time they shut up all night was during Albert’s return.
When it comes down to my own choice, I’m going to have to go with the first ECW invasion … in 1997. This was the type of show that simply isn’t going to happen in the corporate world of 2014, but anything was possible with the ratings in the toilet back then. With only a skeleton crew of wrestlers on hand because the main roster was in Europe, the show was used as both a selling point for ECW’s Barely Legal, but more importantly for McMahon, a chance to make some noise and grab some audience share.
Lawler had been antagonizing the ECW base for ages; and ECW finally grew tired of it and took over Monday Night RAW. We got complete anarchy. Even as someone who’s not an ECW fan, the idea of another promotion walking into enemy turf and literally holding the show as one of their own is just unfathomable. Vince couldn’t even allow this to happen when he OWNED WCW. The wrestling itself wasn’t great, but this painted the idea that anything and everything could (and was going to happen). Jerry Lawler was at his absolute best on this night, and everyone was on their games trying to stand out to the national crowd. Competition truly does bring out the best in everyone.
See you tomorrow!