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WWE Monday Night Raw enters 20th year
On January 11, 1993, the Manhattan City arena filled with hopeful audience members looking for some action. The night held some historical significance for those members as Vince McMahon stepped up to the mic and uttered some of the most famous words in pro wrestling to date, “Welcome everyone, to Monday Night Raw!”
That night marked the first live episode of the ever popular WWE Raw series, which has created one of the biggest wrestling franchises by making it socially acceptable to break a couple bones.
The 11th match of this year saw the 20th anniversary of the show, which has produced more than 1,025 episodes of skull smashing, goose-bump wrenching matches.
What made Raw so popular was the fact that it was filmed live in front of fans, and was the first wrestling show to do so. Before that time, wrestling was either a night out, one-time view kind of gig, or taped and then shown. Fans took quickly to the idea of viewing their favorite wrestlers live, almost like a Shamu kind of experience, with more of a “blood zone” than a “splash zone”.
Over time, it has really been the crazy cast of characters that has made the show so popular amongst it’s viewers. Fans hold homage to old Pros like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Randy Orton, Kane, and Triple H and cheer on the latest and greatest as well, such as big time star: John Cena.
Hollywood stars have also come out of the mix, such as Dwayne Johnson, or as he is more widely known: “The Rock”.
What the wrestling world has done with these characters of massive body weight is to play them off as super heroes of the ring. Each pro comes with his own costume, fighting style, and signature catchphrase, similar to a real-life, televised Batman. With action figures, cereals, and sponsorships, it’s a pro’s dream, and what more could a fan want?
With an American Idol-ish kind of manner of dealing with its “characters,” Raw follows the wrestler’s life stories and portrays a more emotionally relatable side. When the bell sounds, the wrestlers go at it like brothers fighting over a game controller, only in this situation, the goal is fame.
While just watching these men and women give each other bloody noses may be enough for some die-hard fans, it’s the crazy and wild events that bring in the masses. Rivalries, explosions, lights, tanks and even the questionable cement coffin of Manager Paul Bearer contribute to what makes Raw so RAW.
With so many episodes produced already, many featured characters have come and gone. Raw capitalizes on the past to support it’s ever growing fandom. Old wrestlers are still as much a part of the group as the new comers are. This way, the fan favorites always have a place within the show. Raw features old professional wrestlers in special episodes, which are advertised for weeks on end in order to bring in the viewers.
Raw’s crazy characters and outrageous stunts give it its meaning. It is hard to explain what intensity the show brings to the ring for those who have not watched a match. However, the fans who do keep up with the series would agree that is seems as though Raw will be around for at least for another 20 years.
“Can you dig it, sucka?”