This Monday, WWE will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of its flagship television program, Monday Night RAW. The special anniversary show, which will feature legends such as Shawn Michaels, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and Jim Ross, among others, will be held at both the Barclays Center and Manhattan Center (where the first episode of RAW was held back in 1993).
While it wasn't the first WWE (or WWF) show shown on TV, it was the first of its kind for the company. Before it, there was Prime Time Wrestling, which mainly showed highlights from pay-per-views. There were new matches as well, but it was not a significant show that stood on its own.
But that changed in 1993 when a new show called Monday Night RAW aired.
For the first time in WWE history, there was a show full of new and unique backstage promos, as well as exclusive matches that progress the storylines going on at the time.
From 1993-95, RAW was on a pedestal of its own in weekly professional wrestling shows. That is, until World Championship Wrestling stepped in with WCW Monday Nitro.
On September 4, 1995, WCW began their soon-to-be flagship show, which was in the same format as the then-WWF’s RAW. Featuring a lot of talent that used to be in the WWF, many fans were tuning in to Nitro over RAW.
And thus, the Monday Night Wars were born.
For the next seven years, both companies not only worked their best to put their best show on television but to put their rival out of business. And for the beginning of the “war”, it was all WCW. In fact, for 84 consecutive weeks, Nitro held the edge over RAW. But thanks to the innovative “Attitude Era” and stars such as The Rock, Triple H, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Undertaker helped the WWF not only beat WCW in the ratings, but helped crush the company, as the WWF's rival was purchased by Vince McMahon in 2001.
Over the course of the past 17 years, RAW has been the staple of all WWE programming, even with the addition of WWE Smackdown in 1999.
A lot of wrestlers have come and passed. Legacies have been made, as have memories that will be entrenched in the history of professional wrestling forever. And this Monday, the ones that made their mark on the longest weekly episodic television show in history will be honored.