|Federation||WWE for Extreme|
|Theme music||"Burn It to the Ground" by Nickelback|
|Established||January 11, 1993|
WWE RAW (or just RAW) is a professional wrestling television program for WWE for Extreme (WWEFE) that currently airs on the USA Network in the United States. The show's name is also used to refer to the RAW brand, in which WWE employees are assigned to work and perform on that program; the other programs and brands currently being SmackDown! and ECW. It is the only television broadcast for the RAW brand. The show originally debuted in the United States on the USA Network on January 11, 1993. It remained there until 2000, when RAW was moved to TNN, later known as Spike TV. In 2005, the show was moved back to the USA Network. Since its launch in 1993, RAW continues to air on Monday nights. RAW is generally seen as the company's flagship program due to its longer history, higher ratings, the fact its shows are live every week, and emphasis on pay-per-views. It is promoted by WWE to be the longest running weekly episodic television show in US history.
Beginning as WWF Monday Night Raw, the program first aired on January 11, 1993. The show as presented would be barely recognizable to a viewer of today's programming - as the WWF at the time was attempting to cater to a younger audience with cartoonish, one dimensional characters. It screened on the USA Network for one hour. Of the wrestlers featured on that occasion, only two are still actively wrestling with WWE: The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. The original RAW broke new ground in televised professional wrestling. Traditionally, wrestling shows were taped on sound stages with small audiences or at large arena shows. The RAW formula was very different than that of its predecessor, Prime Time Wrestling. Instead of taped matches, with studio voice overs and taped chat, RAW was a show shot to a live audience, with angles as they happened. The first episode featured Yokozuna defeating Koko B. Ware, The Steiner Brothers defeating The Executioners, WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels defeating Max Moon and The Undertaker defeating Damien Demento. The show also featured an interview with Razor Ramon.
RAW originated from the Grand Ballroom at Manhattan Center Studios, a small New York City theater, and aired live each week. The combination of an intimate venue and live action proved highly successful. However, the weekly live schedule proved to be a financial drain on the WWF, and taped shows began airing every other week. From early 1994 to September 1999, RAW was shown live on one Monday and then the next day (Tuesday) next Monday's RAW was taped. This meant that RAW was live one week and taped the next.
The storylines and characters during the early years of RAW still had a healthy dose of the old Federation "gimmick-heavy" style. For instance, events occurred such as Irwin R. Schyster tearing up Tatanka's headdress, the various "Undertaker sightings" in mid-1994 and characters like Duke "The Dumpster" Droese, Doink the Clown, or Bob "Spark Plugg" Holly.
RAW, uniquely in its day, covered the unexpected, exciting moments, a prelude to "the Attitude Era", in which it coined Raw as "Uncut, Uncensored, Uncooked." Some of those moments include Razor Ramon losing a match unexpectedly to The Kid or Marty Jannetty beating Shawn Michaels to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship. RAW also was the first WWF television program of any kind to show footage of Lex Luger bodyslamming Yokozuna at the USS Intrepid.
Vince McMahon, Rob Bartlett and "Macho Man" Randy Savage served as the original hosts of RAW. Sean Mooney conducted the interviews and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan also helped contribute. On April 19, 1993, Rob Bartlett made his final appearance on the program. He was dropped from the broadcasting team and was replaced by Bobby Heenan the following week, who remained until December 6, 1993, when Gorilla Monsoon kicked him out of the WWF. In reality, this was a storyline between Monsoon and his close friend Heenan, who decided to leave the World Wrestling Federation in order to lighten his travel schedule and because he didn't want to take a 50% paycut. After about a year, RAW moved out of the Manhattan Center and traveled to various regular Federation venues in the United States.
The Monday Night WarsEdit
- Main article: Monday Night Wars
In 1995, World Championship Wrestling (WCW) began airing its new wrestling show, WCW Monday Nitro, live each week on TNT. RAW and Nitro went head-to-head for the first time on September 11, 1995. Due to RAW's taping schedule on several occasions, WCW Vice President Eric Bischoff, who also worked as an on-air personality, would frequently give away the results of WWF's taped RAW shows on the live WCW show. Some fans also looked at RAW taping results on the steadily growing Internet; as a result, this caused the ratings of the taped RAW episodes to be lower.
Until September 1999 WWF Raw broadcast live every other week to save costs, but ratings and pay-per-view buy-rate increased, allowing them to justify doing a weekly live show.
At the start of the ratings war in 1995 through to mid-1996, RAW and Nitro exchanged victories over each other in a closely contested rivalry. Beginning in mid-1996, however, thanks primarily to the nWo angle, Monday Nitro started a ratings win-streak that lasted for 84 continuous weeks, ending on April 13, 1998.
Raw is WarEdit
On February 3, 1997, Monday Night Raw went to a two-hour format, as the Attitude Era was starting to come in full stream in the WWF. In an attempt to break the momentum of what had turned into ratings domination by WCW's competing Monday Nitro, Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) was brought in as Jerry Lawler challenged ECW on February 17, 1997.
In an episode where RAW returned to the Manhattan Center, the challenge answered on the following week's show with Taz, Mikey Whipwreck, Sabu, Tommy Dreamer, D-Von Dudley, and The Sandman. ECW owner Paul Heyman did a call-in interview on RAW the week after that.
Throughout 1997, further controversial elements emerged with RAW and WWF programming. Memorable moments included Bret Hart cursing profanely at the crowd after losing a Steel Cage match, with commentators apologizing for his foul behavior, before he proceeds in major brawls with Sid, The Undertaker, Steve Austin, and briefly Shawn Michaels. Some of the most notable moments cites the profusely intense feud with The Hart Foundation against Michaels and Austin, which saw RAW develop a memorable episode in which Michaels and Austin beat The British Bulldog and Owen Hart for the WWF Tag Team Championship, and during their post-match attack on Michaels, Austin physically charged a disabled Bret Hart to ward them off. Other events saw the new black street gang Nation of Domination formed, and Michaels D-Generation X "racial graffiti" storyline designed to "implicate Bret Hart's 'The Hart Foundation'", and the "XXX Files" series.
On March 10, 1997, Monday Night Raw officially became RAW is WAR. The March 17, 1997 episode featured a heated Bret Hart/Vince McMahon ringside altercation (that unknowingly foreshadowed the Montreal Screwjob) with profanity normally not heard on television. Brian Pillman did a series of "XXX Files" segments with Terri Runnels, which further "pushed the envelope". These segments ended prematurely with the September 29, 1997 episode of RAW, after the death of Pillman on October 5, 1997 due to hereditary heart problems.
After WrestleMania XIV in March 1998, which featured Mike Tyson as a ring enforcer, and Shawn Michaels final match up until 2002, the WWF regained the lead in the Monday Night Wars with its new "WWF Attitude" brand, led in particular by rising stars Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H and Mankind. The classic feud between the villainous WWF Chairman Vince McMahon (who was re-imagined and re-branded from the color commentator into the evil corporal chairman character Mr. McMahon after the real-life Montreal Screwjob incident) and fan favorite Steve Austin caught the imaginations of fans. The April 13, 1998 episode of RAW, headlined by a match between Austin and McMahon, marked the first time that WCW had lost the head-to-head Monday night ratings battle in the 84 weeks since 1996.
While RAW was taking a new approach to programming, Nitro began producing lackluster programming with repetitive storylines. Older stars such as Hogan and Nash frequently occupied the main events, while younger talent such as Rey Mysterio, Jr., Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, and Eddie Guerrero, Chavo Guerrero, Lance Storm and Shane Helms were not given opportunities to advance, and the only newcomers elevated to main-event status at this time were Bill Goldberg and Diamond Dallas Page.
Meanwhile, on RAW, fans were immersed in the feud between WWF owner Vince McMahon and Steve Austin. New talent such as Triple H being the new leader of the D-Generation X (DX) faction, Mankind and The Rock were elevated to main event status on the WWF's program. Superstars such as Kane, Kurt Angle, Val Venis, Goldust and the like were coming through the ranks and exposing the WWF as territory where new talent can ascend unlike the WCW counterpart. Matters were so heated between the two programs that, when both shows were in the Hampton Roads area on the same night (RAW in Hampton, Virginia, Nitro in Norfolk, Virginia), DX was sent to film a "war" segment at the Norfolk Scope where they berated WCW and interviewed fans on camera who stated that they received their Nitro tickets for free (presumably in an attempt by WCW to pack the arena to capacity due to low ticket sales).
On January 4, 1999, Mick Foley, who had wrestled for WCW during the early 1990s as Cactus Jack, won the WWF Title as Mankind on RAW. On orders from Bischoff, Nitro announcer Tony Schiavone gave away this previously taped result on a live Nitro, and then sarcastically added "that'll sure put some butts in the seats" consequently resulting in over 600,000 viewers switching channels to watch RAW. This was also the night that Nitro aired a WCW World Heavyweight Championship match in which Kevin Nash blatantly laid down for Hulk Hogan after Hogan poked him in the chest. The next week, and for months after, many fans in the RAW audience brought signs which read, "Mick Foley put my ass in this seat!" On September 27, 1999, Mick Foley helped WWF RAW achieve some of its highest ratings ever with a segment featuring himself (as Mankind) and The Rock. The segment called "This is Your Life" included Mankind bringing out people from The Rock's past, such as a home economics teacher, gym teacher and old high school girlfriend. The "This is Your Life" segment remains one of the highest rated segments in Raw viewership history, with an 8.4 rating.
The end of the WarsEdit
A new television contract with Viacom led to changes in WWF broadcasting. On September 25, 2000, RAW moved from the USA Network to TNN (which later became Spike TV).
WCW's sharp decline in revenue and ratings led to Time Warner's sale of the company to the WWF in 2001. The final edition of Nitro aired on March 26, 2001. The show began with Vince McMahon making a short statement about his recent purchase of WCW and ended with a simulcast RAW on TNN and Nitro on TNT with an appearance by Vince's son Shane McMahon. Shane interrupted his father's gloating over the WCW purchase to explain that Shane was the one who actually owned WCW, setting up what became the WWF's "Invasion" storyline.
The RAW is WAR logo and name were retired in September 2001, following the September 11 attacks and sensitivity over the word war, and because the Monday Night Wars were "over".
In early to mid-2002, WWF underwent a process they called the "Brand Extension". WWF divided itself into two "de facto" wrestling promotions with separate rosters, storylines and authority figures. RAW and SmackDown! would host each division, give its name to the division and essentially compete against each other. The split was a result of WWF purchasing their two biggest competitors, WCW and ECW. The brand extension was publicly announced during a telecast of WWF RAW on March 25, 2002, and became official the next day. The March 25th episode of RAW was the final RAW to use the Attitude era depiction and the last to use the theme song Thorn In Your Eye.
Wrestlers now would become show-exclusive, wrestling for their specific show only. At the time this excluded the WWE Undisputed Championship and WWE Women's Championship, as those WWE titles would be defended on both shows. In August 2002, WWE Undisputed Champion Brock Lesnar refused to defend the title on RAW, in effect causing his title to become exclusive to SmackDown! The following week on RAW, General Manager Eric Bischoff awarded a newly instated World Heavyweight Championship to RAW's designated number one contender, Triple H. Due to the fact that since the WWE Undisputed Championship was now SmackDown! exclusive it was no longer seen as "undisputed". Following this, the Women's Championship soon became RAW-exclusive as well. As a result of the Brand Extension, an annual "draft lottery" was instituted to exchange members of each roster and generally refresh the lineups.
WWE RAW claimed to have earned the distinction of having the most original episodes of any fictional weekly program on August 2, 2005 when it broadcasted the 636th episode. It was said to have taken the place of Gunsmoke, which held that distinction.
Return to USA NetworkEdit
On March 10, 2005, Viacom and WWE decided not to go on with the agreement with Spike TV, making it so RAW and other WWE programs on the network would cease when their deal expired in September 2005. On April 4, 2005, WWE announced a 3-year deal with NBC Universal to bring RAW back to its former home, the USA Network, with 2 yearly specials on NBC and a Spanish RAW on Telemundo. On the same week as RAWs return to the USA Network, Spike TV scheduled Ultimate Fighting Championship's live Ultimate Fight Night in RAWs old timeslot in an attempt to go head-to-head with RAW.
The show's first night back on USA was billed as the "WWE Homecoming" and featured the return of former WWE Champions such as Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley, Triple H and Vince McMahon along with cameos from legends such as Roddy Piper, Jimmy Hart, Jimmy Snuka and Harley Race. Also, it featured a 30 minutes Iron Match between Shawn Michaels and Kurt Angle. WWE Homecoming was three hours long — the second longest an episode of RAW has ever run in its 12-year history. USA also showed Raw Exposed, an hour of the best moments of RAW during its previous run on USA. WWE announced that RAW received its highest ratings in three years, gaining close to six million viewers.
The following week, Vince McMahon fired Jim Ross for not helping after Steve Austin gave him and his entire family the Stone Cold Stunner. Jonathan Coachman, the second analyst at the table, took over Ross's duties as play-by-play for two weeks until former ECW announcer Joey Styles was hired.
On the May 1, 2006 edition of RAW, Joey Styles announced he was quitting (kayfabe). His vacating of the announcer position set the stage for Jim Ross to return to RAW's commentary booth, thus ending the storyline where Ross got fired by Linda McMahon. This freed Styles to become a commentator for the ECW brand when it launched in April.
In Canada, after an 11 year run on TSN, RAW moved to rival sports broadcaster The Score after it was announced that TSN would be carrying Monday Night Football for the 2006 season. The Score claimed that unlike TSN they would never preempt RAW, however that promise only lasted a few months. Then in 2007, The Score started airing the show with a 15 minute tape delay. The first 15 minutes of the hour contains a countdown pre-show recapping the previous week's events.
On December 10, 2007 RAW celebrated its 15th anniversary in a three-hour spectacular on the USA Network. The RAW 15th Anniversary DVD was also released which featured some of the most memorable moments in Raw history.
WWE began their 2008 year with a new HD set, which consists of more than 1,000,000 LEDs. The introduction of this new set retired the old set, which was used from April 2002 to January 2008. RAW's first show in HD was held in the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia.
Currently, the theme song for the RAW brand is "Burn It to the Ground" by Nickelback, which has been used for the brand since November 16, 2007. Prior to this, the theme song for the RAW brand was "...To Be Loved" by Papa Roach, which had been used since October 9, 2006 and "Across The Nation" by The Union Underground which was used from April 1, 2002 to October 2, 2006. The rap outro of "Thorn In Your Eye" featuring Scott Ian of Anthrax was the theme song from 1998 to March 25, 2002.
Since March 10, 1997, broadcasts of RAW were split into two hours and given hourly names for television ratings purposes, with the first hour being referred to as RAW is WAR and the second as War Zone by the show's on-screen graphics. However, as of October 1, 2001, the first hour has been referred to as RAW and the second as RAW Zone by the show's on-screen graphics. However, both hours are known as just "RAW" on-air.
On January 7, 2008, WWE announced that all brands (RAW, SmackDown! and, ECW) would be broadcast in HD, codenamed "WWE HD" starting with RAW on January 21. WWE invested an estimated $20 million on new recording and broadcasting equipment to prepare for the move, as well as new pyrotechnics and lighting. The move replaced the RAW, SmackDown! and ECW sets with a new state of the art set shared by all brands.
|RAW Debut||January 11, 1993||2.5||The first ever RAW Episode.|
|RAW Bowl||January 1, 1996||2.6|
|RAW Championship Friday||September 6, 1996||3.4||Friday airing of RAW featuring WWF champions.|
|Royal Rumble RAW||February 3, 1997||2.6||First two-hour broadcast.|
Featured clips from the Royal Rumble.
|Thursday RAW Thursday||February 13, 1997||3.3||A RAW episode airing on a Thursday.|
|The Brand Extension Draft||March 25, 2002||5.4||Start of the Brand Extension.|
Vince McMahon selects the SmackDown! roster while Ric Flair selects the RAW roster.
|RAW X Anniversary||January 13, 2003||5.0||Award show that celebrated the show's 10th anniversary.|
|The 2004 WWE Draft Lottery||March 22, 2004||4.5||The first Draft Lottery that featured a supplemental draft.|
|RAW Homecoming||October 3, 2005||5.3||First three-hour broadcast.|
Return to the USA Network.
|Tribute to the Troops||December 19, 2005||4.2||Christmas from Afghanistan.|
Honored American armed forces.
|RAW 15th Anniversary||December 10, 2007||9.4||Celebrated the show's 15th anniversary.|
|Championship||Current champion(s)||Date won||Event||Previous champion(s)|
|World Heavyweight Championship||Ashley Massaro||April 27, 2008||Backlash (2008)||Dacia Stoker|
|WWE Intercontinental Championship||Drew McIntyre||September 19, 2010||Judgment Day (2008)||Eve Torres|
|WWE Women's Championship||Ashley Massaro||April 27, 2008||Backlash (2008)||Eve Torres|
- Note - The Unified Tag Tam Championship can be defended on RAW, SmackDown!, and ECW. Currently this title is held by SmackDown! wrestler Kris Kutter and ECW wrestler Hillbilly Jim.
|Authority||Position||Date started||Date finished||Notes|
|Ric Flair||Co-Owner||November 9, 2001||June 10, 2002||Lost his position as per match stipulation against Vince McMahon.|
|Vince McMahon||Co-Owner||June 10, 2002||June 15, 2002||New General Managers were assigned to RAW and SmackDown! in the following weeks.|
|Eric Bischoff||General Manager||July 15, 2002||December 5, 2005||Steve Austin served as "Co-General Manager" and "Sheriff" periodically through Bischoff's term.|
Mick Foley served as "Co-General Manager" through December 2003.
|Batista||General Manager||April 3, 2006||May 1, 2006||Brought in to represent the change to For Extreme.|
|Shane McMahon||General Manager||May 1, 2006||July 10, 2006|
|Stone Cold Steve Austin||General Manager||July 10, 2006||April 7, 2007|
|Nicole||Assistant General Manager||September 4, 2006||April 7, 2007||Brought in to assist Austin and bring in ratings.|
|Eric Bischoff||Interim General Manager||April 7, 2007||April 16, 2007||Brought in as interim manager while replacement for Austin and Nicole was found.|
|Alex Rothschild||General Manager||April 16, 2007||February 18, 2008|
|Devin Jacobs||General Manager||February 18, 2008||Present||Took control after suspension was up.|
|Yue Nishimura||Assistant General Manager||May 18, 2008||Present||Promoted to assist Jacobs.|
|Vince McMahon, Randy Savage and Rob Bartlett||January 11, 1993 - April 19, 1993|
|Vince McMahon, Bobby Heenan and Randy Savage||April 26, 1993 - October 18, 1993|
|Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan||October 25, 1993 - December 6, 1993|
|Vince McMahon and Various Guest Commentators||December 13, 1993 - February 28, 1994|
|Gorilla Monsoon and Randy Savage||June 6, 1994 - June 27, 1994|
|Jim Ross and Randy Savage||July 4, 1994 - July 25, 1994|
|Vince McMahon and Randy Savage||March 7, 1994 - May 30, 1994|
August 1, 1994 - October 31, 1994
|Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler||November 7, 1994 - July 29, 1996|
|Kevin Kelly, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler||August 5, 1996 - October 14, 1996|
|Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler||October 21, 1996 - November 1997|
|Jim Ross, Michael Cole and Kevin Kelly||December 1997 - February 1998 (First Half)|
|Jim Ross and Michael Cole||March 1998 - June 1998 (First Half)|
|Jim Ross and Paul Heyman||February 2001 - November 2001|
|Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler and Jonathan Coachman||June 26, 2005 - October 10, 2005|
|Jonathan Coachman and Jerry Lawler||October 17, 2005 - October 31, 2005|
|Joey Styles, Jerry Lawler and Jonathan Coachman||November 7, 2005 - April 3, 2006|
|Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler||November 1997 - November 1998|
April 1999 - February 2001
November 2001 - June 2005
May 8, 2006 - August 25, 2007
November 8, 2007-present'
|Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler||November 1998 - April 1999|
August 25, 2007–November 8, 2007
|Howard Finkel||January 1993 - August 2002|
|Tony Chimel||April 1997 - August 1999|
|Lilian Garcia||August 1999-present|
|The King's Court||Jerry Lawler||1993–1995||In-ring interview segment.|
|The Heartbreak Hotel||Shawn Michaels||1994||In-ring interview segment.|
|The Brother Love Show||Brother Love||1995–1996||In-ring interview segment.|
|The Pillman XXX Files||Brian Pillman||1997||Video segment.|
|The Love Shack||Dude Love||1998||In-ring interview segment.|
|Highlight Reel||Chris Jericho||2003 - 2005||In-ring interview segment.|
|White Boy Challenge||Rodney Mack|
Theodore R. Long
|2003||Five minute match challenge to Caucasian talent.|
Discontinued following Mack's defeat by Goldberg
|WWE Diva Search||Jonathan Coachman|
|2004–2007||WWE Diva Search competition segment.|
|Masterlock Challenge||Chris Masters||2005–2006|
|Submission challenge to break Masters' Masterlock hold.|
|Kurt Angle Invitational||Kurt Angle||2005||Three minute match challenge for Angle's gold medals.|
Discontinued after Angle moved to SmackDown!
|Carlito's Cabana||Carlito||2005||In-ring interview segment.|
|Piper's Pit||Roddy Piper||2005||In-ring interview segment.|
|The Cutting Edge||Edge||2005–2007||In-ring interview segment.|
Discontinued after Edge moved to SmackDown!
|Finesse Marshall Show||Finesse Marshall||2008-present||In-ring interview segment.|
|The Backstage Pass||Angel Hina||2008-present||Backstage interview segment.|
|WWE A.M. RAW|
|Federation||WWE for Extreme|
|Theme music||"Burn It to the Ground" by Nickelback|
|Established||October 8, 2005|
WWE A.M. Raw, a Saturday night/Sunday morning show, airs on the USA Network at 2 a.m. ET. It features segments from the latest episode of RAW. A.M. Raw also features news updates from all across the WWE. The show mostly airs the main event matches and promos that aired on Raw, and shows the event schedule for the upcoming weeks.
For its late timeslot, A.M Raw has garnered outstanding ratings as one of the most-watched programs during its airtime. A.M Raw has recently had a 1.0 or higher rating for four consecutive weeks, with an all-time highest rating as of 2008 of 1.4.
The show currently airs live on the USA Network (and on tape delay Wednesdays on mun2, Saturdays on Universal HD, and Sundays on Telemundo in Spanish) in the United States. Occasionally, RAW is aired on same-day tape delay when WWE is on an overseas tour. RAW is also shown live on Sky Sports 3 in the UK and Ireland.
|Arab World||MBC Action|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||OBN|
|Canada||The Score and Global Quebec|
|Costa Rica||Repretel Canal 11|
|Czech Republic||Nova Sport|
|El Salvador||Canal VTV|
|France||NT1 and RTL9|
|Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein||Sky Sport|
|Greece||Nova Sports 3|
|India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Indonesia||TEN Sports|
|Malaysia||Astro Super Sport|
|Mexico||Canal 5, TVC Deportes & MVS Visión (52MX & MC)|
|New Zealand||The Box|
|Norway||TV 2 Zebra|
|Panama||RPC Canal 4|
|Philippines||Jack TV and Solar TV|
|Poland||Extreme Sports Channel|
|Turkey||FOX and Eurosport|
|United Kingdom and Ireland|
|Sky Sports 3|