Raw 10th Anniversary
Date: January 14, 2003
Location: The World, New York City, New York
Hosts: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
This is a very different kind of show as there are no new matches on it and probably no angle advancement, but rather a two hour long history package on the history of Monday Night Raw. In other words, this could range anywhere from a lot of fun to the biggest disaster since Rob Bartlett. Let’s get to it.
The opening is a big mash up of all the intros in a cool touch. Nice start.
We look at the first episode, which turns into a look at the early years of the show, set to Kid Rock’s Bawitaba. They hit almost everything over the ten years as montages are almost always fun.
JR and King welcome us to the show, which has the wrestlers sitting around a bunch of tables with empty plates in front of them. The Academy of Wrestling Arts and Sciences has determined the awards tonight, which made me chuckle for some reason. The awards themselves are called Ruckus Awards for reasons that aren’t clear.
Shawn Michaels comes out to present Diva of the Decade as they’re hitting the awards in a hurry. We hear about Shawn being #1 in the Rumble and get a few jokes about Bull Nakano and Bertha Faye. Here are the nominees with each one getting a highlight reel, as will be the case all night:
Winner: Trish Stratus. Trish gives a nice acceptance speech, thanking everyone who paved the way for her as well as Fit Finlay for his coaching, but the regular fans yelling ruin the moment.
And so much for this show being anything of note. Trish would wind up being a huge deal but at this point, she was eye candy who could barely get through a competent match more often than not. She only debuted back in 2000 and she’s already the best over the last ten years? In other words, she’s actually here and not on the injured list. This should have been Sable or maybe Chyna, but Trish makes it a horrible joke from the start.
Coach and Stacy Keibler are counting down the Top Ten Raw Moments so far, as voted by the fans (I’m sure). #10: This is Your Life Rock. How in the world is that not WAY higher? That was one of the better moments of the Attitude Era and one of the funnier things the company has done, just due to the natural chemistry on display. Unfortunately the blurring of the WWF logos make me look for my glasses instead of actually enjoying the segment.
Shane McMahon introduces the Don’t Try This at Home Award for craziest spot. The nominees:
Big Show chokeslams Undertaker through the ring
Jeff Hardy in TLC 2002 (no specific moment)
Dudley Boyz powerbomb Mae Young off the stage
Kurt Angle misses a moonsault off the top of the cage
Winner: Kurt Angle. Big Show was on his way to the stage for the award when he was told he didn’t win. Team Angle holds up an American flag behind Kurt as Kurt reads a speech with well timed paused for WHAT chants. His music plays him off as he gets to his childhood and things are wrapped up in a hurry.
Those aren’t exactly the best nominees but a lot of big bumps don’t take place on Raw. I’d have gone with the Outlaws shoving Mankind and Chainsaw Charlie off the stage in a dumpster but I don’t think any of them worked for the company at this point, save for the injured Billy Gunn.
Here’s a montage of horrible gimmicks, including but not limited to Kamala (quite the career with a simple gimmick), IRS (the most memorable stretch of a long career), TL Hopper (stupid), Kwang, Dean Douglas (could have been fine with a more accepted performer), Men on a Mission (one of whom main evented Summerslam), Papa Shango (now in the Hall of Fame), Earthquake (way past his prime by the Raw era), Johnny Polo (had a TON of potential), Hakushi (talented guy and I’m not sure how he qualifies as a bad gimmick, save for the characters on his upper body) and Tatanka (gimmick as old as wrestling itself).
I left out a ton for the sake of keeping this short but most of those are perfectly fine. Like really, how Earthquake was a bad gimmick? Actually is Earthquake even a gimmick? He’s just a big guy who sat on your chest (sounds like Rikishi, who is pushed as a veteran star on Smackdown). Yeah a lot of the names listed here were stupid but mixing names like the Bushwhackers (who wrestled with those characters for years and were eventually inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame) and Tekno Team 2000 (a nothing team whose gimmick wasn’t exactly clear) is nonsense.
Oh and the person who introduced this: Stacy Keibler, whose gimmicks have included sexy secretary/businesswoman, random blonde woman and marketing director who makes testicle jokes. In other words, this is WWE acting like they’re the most clever people in the world and anyone who dares suggest that they’ve ever had a bad idea doesn’t get how sports entertainment works.
Moment #9: Austin crushes Rock’s car.
Booker T. presents the Tell Me I Didn’t Just See That Award for most shocking moment. After a few jokes about Chris Jericho’s outfit and hair (Booker: “You go girl!”), here are the nominees:
3 Faces of Foley
Eric Bischoff Debuts
The Brawl for All (the whole thing)
Kane Lights Things on Fire
Austin Drives a Zamboni to the Ring
Winner: 3 Faces of Foley, though Foley isn’t here tonight. That was a really cool moment and showed off how awesome Foley’s character really was but it pales in comparison to Bischoff appearing on Raw.
You could also throw in something like the 1-2-3 Kid beating Razor Ramon, Rock and Hogan squaring off or Hogan vs. Austin (it happened, albeit for about eight seconds in a six man tag). But no, let’s go with someone who can’t be here when Bischoff is RIGHT THERE.
He’s so RIGHT THERE that he’s interviewed after the award is given and says he’s focused on the next 29 days as he tries to fix Raw.
Ric Flair comes out to announce the wrestlers who have passed away in the Raw era, with a video set to Tell Me a Lie:
Andre the Giant (who never appeared on Raw), Joey Marella, Brian Pillman, Rick Rude, Owen Hart, Gorilla Monsoon, Yokozuna, British Bulldog
In other words, the big names instead of people they feel the need to mock, like Bertha Faye earlier. You know, because it was too hard to list more than eight names.
Chris Jericho comes out in his goofy gear and dedicates the look to the Hollywood Fashion Plate Classy Freddie Blassie. We get the nominees for the Gimme the Mic Award:
Winner: The Rock. Jericho tries to take the award for himself but Rock appears on screen (because he can’t show up either) and says tonight is about memories. Rock does FINALLY and the crowd boos, mainly because he’s not actually there. After telling Jericho what to do with his microphone, Rock talks about beating Angle in Pittsburgh and dubs Team Angle Team Suck Squad. As for Stephanie a cheap lady of the night, which she finds funny because she’s not allowed to give up anything. Goldust and Booker get praised but the fans start up the BORING chant. A few more thank yous and catchphrases finally wrap this up.
Well that didn’t work and can you really blame Rock for that? He’s not even there and the company decides that NEW YORK is going to be cool with a satellite feed? At this point the fans have figured out that this whole thing is a big waste of time and they’re treating it as such. At least the nominees were all fine here, which is a first tonight.
Moment #8: Shane McMahon buys WCW. You know, because that’s what fans wanted when the promotions finally started working together.
Michael Cole and Tazz present the Shut Up and Kiss Me Award for best on screen romantic couple. The nominees:
Mark Henry and Mae Young
Chyna and Eddie Guerrero
Lita and Matt Hardy
Mr. McMahon and William Regal
Stephanie McMahon and Triple H
Winners: Stephanie McMahon and Triple H. Well duh. They reunite on the stage with Stephanie listing off their history on TV. HHH offers a reenactment, only to drop his pants and bend over for a spank. Remember that this is one day after he was stripped to his underwear by Scott Steiner when he was supposed to be the biggest heel in the world.
Moment #7: Steve Austin attacks Vince in the hospital.
Gene Okerlund and Pat Patterson present Network Difficulties Award for most controversial moments. The nominees are:
Mae Young Gives Birth to a Hand
Steve Austin Stuns Santa Claus
Pillman’s Got a Gun
Winner: Mae Young Gives Birth to a Hand. Mae accepts and is rushed off the stage.
This would be another award given out because someone is actually there as Pillman’s Got a Gun was about as far as they’ve ever pushed anything and Young is one of the dumbest things they’ve ever done. Austin Stunning Santa was pretty tame and could have easily been replaced by Austin being crucified, but I’m assuming that’s another one we’re banning from memory.
Moment #6: D-Generation X parodies the Nation. Funny, but should be further down the list.
Brock Lesnar presents Superstar of the Decade and does a better job of speaking in such an open forum than you would expect. Here are the nominees:
Winner: Steve Austin. And there’s no Austin as Vince comes out and says Austin wasn’t invited so he’ll accept on Steve’s behalf. While that would seem like a perfect way to have Austin show up, we just go to HHH to say how ridiculous that is and walk out.
Austin was the obvious winner, though if you’re talking about the entire decade, Undertaker is the only one to have been around even close to the whole time.
Moment #5: Steve Austin vs. Mike Tyson. I’m really worried about the four moments they’re putting above that because it could be a mess.
Match of the Decade has no presenter for some reason so here are the nominees:
Triple H vs. Cactus Jack – Falls Count Anywhere
Jeff Hardy vs. Undertaker – Ladder Match
Steve Austin vs. Kane
Winner: TLC 2002. Most of the people involved accept the award and thank the TLC performers who came before them.
Out of everything else on the show, this is easily the biggest nonsense. Just look at the nominees. Here’s an actually reasonable list of choices for this:
Shawn Michaels vs. Marty Jannetty – May 17, 1993
Triple H vs. Cactus Jack – Falls Count Anywhere – September 4, 1997
British Bulldog vs. Owen Hart – March 3, 1997
Chris Benoit/Chris Jericho vs. Two Man Power Trip – May 21, 2001
Rob Van Dam vs. Jeff Hardy – Ladder Match – May 27, 2002
Bret Hart vs. 1-2-3 Kid – July 11, 1994
And probably about ten more before we get to some of the nominees they listed here. This really feels like an award they put about thirty seconds of effort into and that’s not good. When the two recent matches both involve ladders (and aren’t even the only two ladder matches from Raw 2002), there’s something rather wrong with the nominees and the people who nominated them.
Moment #4: DX Invades Nitro. Now this is an interesting one as I think its importance has been rather overblown. Raw had already won a night in the ratings war so it’s not like it sent the show over the top. Also, while DX was hot at this point, it was the Steve Austin Show at this point with everyone else miles behind him. Finally, it’s not like anything really happened. It was an amazing setup but at the end of the day, they just shows a door closing and DX on what they called a tank. But it has Triple H involved so it’s instantly a big deal. Cool moment, but not as important as it’s made out to be.
Moment #3: Rock Challenges Hulk Hogan for Wrestlemania XVIII. No issues here.
Moment #2: Raw is Owen. They’re adding a moment about someone passing away to the same list as a DX parody of the Nation on a show where they make fat jokes about Bertha Faye. I’ll be moving on now.
Edge presents the #1 moment. After a speech about how awesome Raw is, it’s Austin Driving the Beer Truck. Well of course. What better way to end the night than by reminding the fans once again that Austin isn’t here? This isn’t even the biggest Austin moment as the Austin vs. Tyson showdown was a big part of what made Austin the star that he would become. The beer truck belongs on the list but not at #1, no matter how you look at it.
Everyone comes onto the stage to end the show.
Overall Rating: E. For E. Coli, a sickness you get from something being too Raw. This was a terrible show with a bunch of stuff designed to basically flip the fans off by saying none of the top stars were there (Rock, Austin and Foley were all missing live) and the awards were little more than a joke. I know the top ten was voted on by fans but this was either rigged or the fans are a lot dumber than I thought. Really, calling the beer truck the best moment of all time? How is that possible?
This show was absolutely terrible as they didn’t bother trying to hide what they were doing here. It felt like they put this together in all of five minutes and if the fans hated it, whatever. Instead of a celebration of the ten years of Raw, it felt like a way to hype up the Rumble and pay lip service to the show at the same time. When Raw has TESTICLES and Smackdown has Al Wilson, what else is there to take away all the focus from all the creative staff? Terrible show here and a major insult to the fans and wrestlers, which unfortunately isn’t a big surprise.
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