Even if you didn’t regularly watch WWE it was probably hard to miss Monday Night Raw was celebrating its 25th anniversary. Given how often WWE pats itself on the back for every milestone these anniversary shows don’t feel as important as they used to. Now it’s just a moment to smile when legends return to face an appreciative crowd and a glorified clip show reliving some of the iconic memories from WWE’s flagship. Still, RAW 25 was a big moment for the WWE worthy of celebration.
As I watched the show on DVR delay, I kept feeling like something was missing. No, it wasn’t the lack of The Rock and Mick Foley — two of the featured performers when RAW was legit must-see TV. Nor was it the diminished roles for Kurt Angle and Chris Jericho.
Or video tributes from Hall of Famers who couldn’t be in attendance like Bret Hart or Kevin Nash. It was a reminder that RAW used to be an incredibly compelling show where iconic, defining moments used to happen regularly. Now it’s a show where nothing memorable ever occurs.
Shawn Michaels inadvertently reinforced that notion as he reminisced over the DX days. Ironically, Triple H had to keep reeling him back saying he couldn’t talk about those things. So many of the clips shown were from the Attitude Era and it was weird, though not surprising, how few of them featured wrestling matches.
It’s so odd that the people who participated in those moments and now are key decision makers don’t get the correlation. Nobody reflected on that great Austin/Triple H vs. Benoit/Jericho tag team match, Bret Hart vs 123 Kid, Shawn Michaels vs Marty Jannetty or The Rock and Stone Cold vs the n.W.o. They were all about those classic moments.
Yet, today’s RAW feels slapped together with endless matches and maybe a rare spectacle like Braun Strowman destroying the set. I feel for the production team that has to try and assemble clips from the last five years of RAW.
Think about how many legit unforgettable scenes RAW has created since Daniel Bryan’s Yes Movement invaded Monday night. The Destruction of The Shield? The reunion of The Shield? Even those might be pushing it.
With so much attention on RAW 25, I kept thinking this is the time for a new fresh moment. Because I seem to do this every post, the most obvious was the final segment at The Manhattan Center. Balor Club and The Kliq/DX had a great, even sweet scene as what was probably intended as a passing of the torch.
But the problem is outside of throwing up the same gesture, RAW 25 repeatedly drilled in how trailblazing, rebellious and anti-authority DX was and why that made them so iconic. Balor Club? They’ve smiled. A lot.
Since the goal of RAW and WWE by extension is to get people invested in the present and future of the promotion — the WWE Network allows for as many nostalgia trips as you’d like — take the aggressive step for the future. Have Balor Club spoil the big moment and attack DX/The Kliq. Bust up Shawn Michaels’ eye, fling X-Pac over the top rope, intimidate Scott Hall and lay out Triple H and Billy Gunn with chairs.
Then have Balor ‘shoot’ and cut a promo about how they’ve waited for this moment to beat down the decrepit shells of the Attitude Era. Balor Club doesn’t need their approval, their torch or support. They will take what they want because Balor Club does what they want to do. And Triple H can cease and desist that because they are real. Bingo, instant Wrestlemania program with Balor Club vs. Triple H, Billy Gunn and Road Dogg/X-Pac. Or make it even more personal and bring Scott Hall’s son, Cody, in and have him join Balor Club.
Fantasy booking hat off, but seriously it’s time for WWE to take those valuable lessons from the past and apply them to create a more memorable future. What’d you think of RAW 25? Drop a comment below.