Posted by James Tee
As 2013 has just kicked off, we are on the verge of celebrating the 20th anniversary of Monday Night RAW! The January 14th episode will obviously mark yet another achievement by the WWE in weekly television that we must pay tribute to, and what a better way to do so than recall some memorable moments! Let’s not waste any more time, here it comes!
This 8-Man Tag Team match took place a few weeks after the 2004 WWE Draft from the March 22nd episode of RAW with 6 days left for Backlash, the first PPV after WrestleMania XX. On one hand, you have Evolution, just a little past their most glorious time but still the most dominant faction. On the other hand, you have their 4 main rivals. Chris Benoit had defeated Shawn Michaels and Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship WrestleMania XX. Simultaneously, Mick Foley was still engaged in a feud with Randy Orton following the defeat of Rock n Sock Connection (The Rock & Mick Foley) against Evolution (Ric Flair, Randy Orton and Batista) in a 2-on-3 Handicap match. As for Shelton Benjamin, he scored a huge upset pinfall victory over Triple H after he had been drafted to RAW. This led to a short feud with Triple H, then to another rivalry with the Nature Boy.
At Backlash, Chris Benoit would successfully defend his title by submitting HBK in a WrestleMania XX Triple Threat rematch. Earlier that night, Randy Orton retained his Intercontinental Championship against Cactus Jack (Mick Foley’s most hardcore gimmick) in an intense No Holds Barred match (or simply a Hardcore Match). Shelton Benjamin defeated Ric Flair as well.
The Historic Segment: Jim Cornette on columnist Phil Mushnick (starts at 1:45)
Note: this is the surprise that I referred to last Monday. Be warned, however, that the videos in the links may contain explicit language.
As we all know, there is two sides to pro wrestling; pro wrestling itself, and promos. Jim Cornette is among the most (in)famous non-wrestlers to have gained notoriety with their mic’ skills alone. His signature? Shoots; it doesn’t matter if it’s about the wrestlers, WCW, WWF itself or anti-wrestling media reporters (click on the title link), Jim Cornette always makes his opinion matter. While I only provided links to his promos as a color commentator on RAW in 1997, I also encourage you to watch his legitimate shoots that you can find all over Youtube.
While I cannot agree nor disagree with his shoots, the man certainly has the guts to say whatever he wants, which sometimes makes him go a little too far and appear like a ticking bomb waiting to explode… Oh and if you hate Vince Russo more than anything, listen to this story and you will get to know your new role model.
The Lost Tapes: R.I.P. Hardcore Championship
Ah the Hardcore Championship! So many good memories… One feature that made it such a unique title was the 24/7 rule where the champion was in constant jeopardy and could lose to any wrestler anywhere as long as a referee was present. It resulted in several short title reigns that often came off as comic segments.
The match took place on August 26th, 2002 and was billed as the last Hardcore match ever on RAW. The winner was to be named the Intercontinental Champion and the Hardcore Championship was going to be retired. A similar scenario had happened only a month prior as Rob Van Dam faced Jeff Hardy in a Ladder match to unify the Intercontinental and European Championships. Rob Van Dam won the match. While it was sad to see a title with a pretty decent amount of prestige disappear, this match was a nice way to end its history, featuring two former ECW stars known for innovating and entertaining the fans in such bouts.
That wraps up tonight’s RAW Flashback. Remember that next Monday’s edition will be the last installment, so make sure you tune in. On a side note, I was tempted to include footage from Antonio Cesaro’s match from yesterday in the Lost Tapes section but backed down at the last minute. Cesaro’s huge finish during his match against the (un)Great Khali, his highlight Springboard Uppercut and Neutralizer will be part of the unrelated history of WWE RAW. Other than that, the CM Punk/Rock confrontation is already making headlines in the wrestling world. Let us hope that WWE does not waste the momentum with lackluster programming and, if Steve Austin does not come back, extend their feud to WrestleMania XXIX.
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