December 9, 2007
Mike Abitabile

The Devilís Advocate:
Time to Celebrate
Rawís 15th Anniversary

There are many different opinions floating around about this Monday Nightís episode of Raw. Some are excited. Some could care less. Some have pointed out that this Monday night is not the actual 15th anniversary date (that would be January 11th, but seriously, get over it, itís not like they are celebrating in September or something). Everyone is free to have their own opinions, so letís look at the cold hard facts. They would be that the WWE had booked a packed show with many stars from the past in attendance and will celebrate 15 years of the program.

So letís not overlook exactly what this night means. This upcoming episode will mark the 759th episode of Monday Night Raw. It is the longest running scripted series in the history of television. That is quite the accomplishment. Raw has had its ups and its down, but one thing remains constant. Except for three weeks out of the year, if itís Monday night, and itís 9PM (Eastern), itís time for Raw.

The show has definitely changed over the years, and you can read a review of the first Monday Night Raw back from 1993 by Adam King somewhere below me on the main page to see that for yourself. One of the main reasons I love Raw so much is because of the unpredictability of live television. Sure, spoilers can get out, but I make it a habit to stay away from wrestling news sites on Monday evenings now. However, there was a time when Raw was anything but unpredictable. After a fun run in the Manhattan Center (which had a lot of fun moments, with the May 17, 1993 episode sticking out in my mind), WWE took Raw on the road. The show filmed a month in advance sometimes and was filled with stars beating up enhancement talent. It was anything but unpredictable.

It wasnít until late 1996 when the show got fun again (starting with the Pillman/Austin gun confrontation) and really took off in 1997, mainly thanks to WCW lighting a fire under Vince McMahonís butt. 1997 was probably my favorite year of Monday Night Raw, which is why I am very happy 24/7 is currently airing shows from that year, and why I am more than happy to write recaps of the shows for this site. If I had to personally create a list of my favorite Raw moments, I am sure more than half would be from 1997.

Of course there have been a ton of other great moments since then as well. I still get a kick out of the original Triple H/Stephanie Wedding (Hunter: ďI got forty bucks, and no time!Ē). WWE has been counting down the top fifteen Raw moments themselves, day-by-day, on WWE.com. They actually had a picture from each moment posted, but it was blurred and skewed out. I have so many vivid memories from Raw that I was able to figure out what moment each picture was from before they even cleared the picture up.

And in case you havenít heard yet, the new 3 disc DVD set, which will be released on December 26th, covers a lot of ground and looks very good. Hopefully, most of the content will be shown in full, and if that is the case, this may very well become my favorite WWE DVD.

So remember all of this while you are watching Raw on Monday night. This isnít about a storyline not making sense. This isnít about you feeling the show is boring or stupid this week. Those are your opinions and you are more than welcome to have them. However, there are close to 5 million people each week who watch and enjoy the show. WWE should be proud of their accomplishment and should indeed be celebrating.

ECW vs. TNA: The Thursday Night War

Much ado was made about this past weekís head-to-head battle between TNA iMPACT! and ECW on Sci-Fi episodes. Many were brought back to the Monday Night War time period as Raw and Nitro would go back and forth (except that both shows were taped and neither was live this time around).

The ratings were released on Friday and TNA won the battle with a 1.1 rating, compared to ECWís 0.6. First of all, congratulations to TNA, this is a good thing. But it also needs some digging to figure out how good of a thing it really is or isnít. First off, many of the pundits were fast to point out that this was a record low rating for ECW. That is true, and what it means is that most of their audience either didnít know the show would be on another night, didnít care it would be on another night, or knew and didnít feel compelled to tune in. Obviously two out of the three of those are not good.

Over in TNA-land, their rating remained the same. That part is not good news. Again, since the ECW rating dropped, and none of those people went to TNA, it meant those people werenít watching anything wrestling related. If ECW had lost half their audience and they went to TNA instead, then TNA could celebrate, but that didnít happen.

If anything, this was bad news for the entire wrestling industry. But I have a feeling the TNA fans wonít see it that way.

Raw Renewed

Finally this week, I wanted to post my thoughts on Raw getting renewed for two more years. I wrote a detailed write-up of my thoughts on that topic in my blog earlier this week, so instead of being repetitive, just head over there to read it. The link is below. And for those of you who visit the blog regularly and already read it, thanks! Here I will say this though; it sure seems that the internet experts who psychoanalyzed the Raw rating every week and discussed the negative consequence it would bring were wrong. Imagine that. Someone should call them out on that. Does anyone know where we could find a writer like that?

Feedback is always welcome at figurefanatic@gmail.com or you can visit my blog here.

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