Superstar Spotlight: RAW's Greatest Moments
WWE's flagship show, Monday Night RAW, is celebrating the broadcast of it's 1000th show next week. While they have highlighted a number of great moments over the past few weeks, I'm using this platform to include a few of mine. The Spotlight usually shines on one specific wrestler each week, but it's almost impossible to narrow it down to one person who represents WWE best. You can make an argument for John Cena because he is the "face" of the company, or CM Punk because he is the WWE Champion. The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels also deserve mention for their longevity, but the point is that it's really unfair to choose one person for such a big honor. Therefore, here are a few of the best moments and matches that have made Monday nights so memorable.
Kurt Angle's Milk Truck Interruption: This has always been my favorite interpretation of Kurt Angle; he can be goofy but he shows intensity and skill when it counts. It's really the perfect ratio for a comedic face to be at; it's where Santino should be but obviously not in the main event level. Kurt interrupting the Stone Cold / Alliance victory party was great because it was funny and it fit his character so well. I think the McMahons did a better job selling the ring conditions during the Stone Cold Beer Bath, but this has always been my favorite of the two. The image of Kurt chugging milk on the truck while JR called Stephanie McMahon the "Dairy Queen" was funny and effective.
Jeff Hardy vs The Undertaker: If you don't remember the match, or didn't see it, go watch it. Now. Jeff Hardy faced the "Big Evil" Undertaker on RAW in a ladder match for the WWE Undisputed Championship. Hardy was somewhat new to singles competition and Taker was working as a heel who demanded respect. Hardy took everything Taker threw at him, and then some. The match featured a bunch of awesome spots that we have come to expect from Hardy, and he just would not quit. I really thought Hardy might win in the end, and suspending my disbelief is something I always appreciate. Taker ended up winning after a chokeslam from the top of the ladder, but Hardy still wouldn't stay down. He earned Taker's respect for it, and it makes my list because it was a great match, but also a great moment to see Taker pick him up and commend him after the beating he took.
John Cena vs Shawn Michaels: This match took up most of the second hour of a RAW broadcast in 2007, and it was nothing short of spectacular. Shawn Michaels beat the champ after a hard fought match, but the longer it went on the more interesting it got. It wasn't an advertised Iron Man match; it was just a regular singles match with one fall, only both guys wouldn't quit. HBK proved he still had a lot left, but I think it proved to the naysayers that Cena could actually wrestle. This is the type of match that people have debated that CM Punk and Daniel Bryan should have. It was not a spotfest, but it was a good wrestling match that made both guys look great, and it was damn entertaining.
"This Is Your Life": Mick Foley dedicated a segment to bringing back some important people in The Rock's life as an apology of sorts. The Rock was arguably just hitting his prime on the mic, and he laid into Foley and each guest. This segment was one of the highest rated ever, and it's still fun to watch over and over. It's been replicated (or at least tried to) a few times, but like most good things, it's never as good as the first. Everyone always puts Stone Cold Steve Austin in the same category with The Great One, but I think there's a good argument to be made that Foley was his best foil. They had some brutal matches together, but the Rock and Sock Connection were also gold on the mic. Mrs. Griffith should have just let The Rock make some damn pancakes!
Jerry Lawler Introduces ECW: King was a heel way back when, and he introduced the upstart company to a national television audience. I had no idea what ECW really was; I wasn't in junior high yet and still hadn't discovered tape trading yet. All I knew was it would be something big, and something to pay attention to. King called it "Extremely Crappy Wrestling", but it was really a good cross-promotion behind-the-scenes between the two companies. WWF and USWA had an earlier relationship that saw Vince McMahon feud with King, but it only went noticed on one show as WWE never acknowledged the feud onscreen. The ECW took place in the bingo halls and larger arenas, but more importantly it introduced the world to guys like Tommy Dreamer and Sabu. Paul Heyman might have succeeded eventually, but the 'land of extreme' definitely got a jump start because of WWE.
These aren't in any ranked order, they are just some of the things I think of when I remember RAW. Share your thoughts or nominate your own moments in the comments section below.