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WWE RAW FLASHBACK (12-10-07): Raw's 15-year Anniv. three-hour show - Who did McMahon declare the greatest star?, Austin beer bash, Jannetty in TV main event, Bischoff, Evolution

Dec 10, 2012 - 1:34:23 PM


WWE Raw Flashback - 15-year Anniversary Show
December 10, 2007
Report by Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


-A clip aired of the opening scene of the first Raw on Jan. 11, 1993. Hey, why are we celebrating the 15th Anniversary a month early? A cool montage aired of the various Raw openings over the years. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler then introduced the show as the camera panned the crowd briefly. Then Vince McMahon's music appropriately started as he, Shane, and Stephanie walked out onto the stage. This show is all about them, after all.

Shane snickered as Vince did is bizarre stride to the ring in front of him. Vince welcomed everyone to "Monday Night Rawwwwww!" He said 15 years ago he created the uncut, uncooked, uncensored show that has become the longest-reinging, longest-running entertainment prime time serious in history. He said tonight is a family reunion, but his wife couldn't be there because of "some sort of gastro-intestinal problem." He touted Shane as the former Hardcore and European Champion and Stephanie as the former Women's Champion. Vince called the photographer into the ring when Hornswoggle's music played and he ran quickly to the ring to get into the frame. He quickly hugged Vince's leg. Vince introduced him: "Well, if it's not my illegltimate bastard son Hornswoggle. Get him off of me now!" The crowd chanted "Hornswoggle, Hornswoggle." Vince looked at them all and said he knows they're waiting for him to die and inherit his vast fortune. He told Shane and Stephanie that he loves them. "I kinda love you, too," he said to Hornswoggle. Vince added, "Most importantly, I love each and every one of you" as he panned the crowd. He asked everyone to say at the count of three, "Mon-nay!" As he got to two, Triple H walked out to his music.

Vince asked, "What the hell are you doing here." The crowd chanted "Triple H, Triple H." Hunter said, "I'm waiting for that pop to die own. You hear that?" Well, it wasn't quite as loud or sustained as Hornswoggle's, but the crowd is really into things. Hunter said the people are smart and "know the score and know what's going on." He said he's been through a lot with Vince and feels almost part of the family, "almost like I could be your son." He leaned over to Stephanie and said, "What's up, Steph?" She laughed bashfully. Hunter put his hand on Vince's shoulder and said he wanted to bring out some of the people he has "loved" over the year. He said representing the current crop of divas he has "loved," Melina. She came out to her full intro. Vince said, "I did not have se with that woman!" Triple H said, 'Okay, Clinton." Hunter said representing the original divas, Sunny. She came out looking really good - much better than a few years ago at some indy and convention appearances. Hornswoggle hugged her. Hunter then introduced divas Vince had "relations with." Mae Young walked out, sadly without Fabulous Moolah. She leaped at Vince and tried to dry hump him. Well, actually, she did dry hump him. Vince said, "It was at Moolah's funeral and I had a lot to drink." Steph and Shane looked appalled. Vince said, "I dusted the cobwebs of." Shane heard enough and left the ring. Vince told Steph, "I had a lot to drink and I was thinking of your mom. She was in my thoughts." That didn't comfort her.

Hunter said they needed to move on because he had a lot more to get to. He said, "Any WWE employee who has been mistaken for a woman and Mr. McMahon attempted to love, please come to the ring now." Howard Finkle, Big Dick Johnson, Bastion Booger, Pat Patterson, Gerald Brisco, and Abe Knuckleball Schwartz (Steve Lombardi) all walked out. Hunter coughed and said he just threw up a little into his mouth. Hunter introduced Big Dick Johnson as Bastion Booger's son. After asking who Abe was, Hunter said, "Apparently Brooklyn Brawler was busy." Steph interrupted and said Vince has embarrassed the family long enough, so it's time she embarrass him. She walked over and kissed Hunter. Hunter said, "Okay, Steph, see you at home. I mean, your brother's a gnome." Vince walked up to him and said, "I hate you! You can all go straight to hell."

Hunter leaned over to talk to Hornswoggle and said he wished there was someone who could make him happy with just the sound of their music. Godfather's music started. I was sure it was going to be Doink. Hornswoggle got excited as the ho's walked onto the stage. Ross said, "I think I see your next ex-wife!" The ho's entered the ring and everyone danced. This was not the moment you want your college roommate or partner or parents or daughter or whatever to walk in out of curiosity to see what you watch on Monday nights.

[Commercial Break]

-Lawler announced that later McMahon would announce the Greatest Superstar in Raw History. Candidates shown on the screen were: Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, Lita, Mick Foley, Booker T, Randy Orton, Ric Flair, Kane, Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Batista, Triple H, Steve Austin, John Cena, Bret Hart, The Rock, Trish Stratus, Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero, Yokozuna, The Big Show, Hulk Hogan, Edge, Razor Ramon, and Diesel. No Owen Hart? He died doing a stunt for a PPV and was a featured wrestler long enough, he deserves to be acknowledged in this environment.

1 -- JEFF HARDY vs. CARLITO -- Ladder Match for the IC Title

Carlito (legally) hit Hardy with a ladder in the opening seconds. Hardy knocked Carlito off the ring apron onto a ladder at ringside. A minute later, Hardy slowly made it to the top of the ladder. Carlito met him at the top and sunset flipped him to the mat in a big move. The crowd chanted "Holy sh--!"

[Commercial Break]

Hardy missed with a flying legdrop off the ladder right after the break. Carlito rammed Hardy's leg, sandwiched in ladder, with a second ladder. At 9:00 Carlito climbed the ladder. Hardy yanked him down. Now that Carlito has agreed to stay in WWE after all, he's getting a competitive showcase match with Hardy on Raw, as the two battled back and forth with big spots involving ladders. Hardy went for a Swanton, but Carlito rolled just out of the way. Carlito knocked the ladder off just as Hardy got to the top at 12:00. As Hardy set up a Twist of Fate, Carlito gave him a Back Stabber on it. Carlito climbed and grabbed the belt. Hardy met him at the last second, knocked him off, and then grabbed the belt. Ross wondered what kind of damage was done to Hardy in this match headed into Armageddon against Triple H.

WINNER: Hardy in 13:00.

STAR RATING: **3/4 -- Good TV ladder match.

[Commercial Break]

-Todd Grisham interviewed Shawn Michaels. Grisham asked him about being part of the original Monday Night Raw. Michaels said he defended the title on the first Raw against someone he couldn't remember. "It was a very dark, very troubling time for me, and to be perfectly honest, it's also a little bit sketchy," he said. He said he does remember last week when Mr. Kennedy interacting with bad imposters. He said one of them was Marty Jannetty. He said it got him wondering how Kennedy would do against the real thing. The real Jannetty walked in, cut a brief frenetic promo, and then walked away. He closed with a nice riff on Kennedy's self-ring intro with a, "Misteeeeerrrr HBK... HBK."

-A Raw Flashback vignette aired which included the Dudleys powerbombing Mae Young through a table, 1-2-3 Kid pinning Razor Ramon, the New Age Outlaws rolling Mick Foley off the edge of the stage in a dumpster, Steve Austin confronting Mike Tyson, John Cena giving the FU to Kevin Federline, Donald Trump taunting Vince McMahon, Trish Stratus and The Rock kissing, CHristia kissing Trish, Mickey James kissing Trish, Lita kissing Matt Hady, Edge kissing Lita, Eric Bischoff kissing Linda, Vince bending over for William Regal to kiss his ass, Val Venis getting into the shower with Ken Shamrock's sister, the Choppy Your Pee-Pee segment, Kane unmasking, Kane setting Jim Ros on fire, various stiff chairshots to the head, divas wrestling in a mud pit, Eric Bischoff walking out onto Raw for hte first time, Sable stripping, various wrestlers throwing each other into water, Shane McMahon appearing on the final Nitro in the first major step of that blown angle (despite it's overblown potential, it was still badly botched).

[Commercial Break]


Santino stood in the ring and said he was sick of his glorified nostalgia show. He wanted the future to be honored. He was interrupted by a surprise appearance by RVD. RVD hit a frog splash in the opening minute, showed nice fire, and then pointed to himself as the crowd chanted, "Rob - Van - Dam!" He scored the clean pin.

WINNER: RVD in 1:00.

STAR RATING: 1/4* - Nice surprise appearance from a big part of Raw's history. They didn't make a huge deal out of him, though. It was more of a cameo than a big tribute or triumphant return of a former top star.

-A video aired on Evolution. A plug aired saying they were up next.

[Commercial Break]



-Ring intros took place for Evolution - Ric Flair first, then Triple H, then Batista (with a shaved head), and then Randy Orton. When Orton's music played, Lawler said, "Here comes the wildcard in the equation. Is this really going to happen?" Orton stepped onto the stage and said he's at the pinnacle of his career and the three already in the ring want him out there so they can ride his coattails. "Besides, the last time I was champion and I was associated with you, I can clearly recall what happened." He threw to a clip from Aug. 16, 2004 of Hunter and Batista turning on Orton. Triple H said it was pretty cool. He said they didn't beat him up because he was champion; they beat him up because he was a gigantic pain in the ass. Orton said he'd keep that in mind when he beat Jericho to retain the World Title at Armageddon on Sunday. Orton said if he wants to be remembered for being in a group, he wants it to be RKO. Out walked Edge with a big smile on his face. Edge said Sunday after Armageddon, Batista won't have his title anymore. Batista told him to stop running his mouth way up there and say it to his face. As Edge began to reply, Flair interrupted and asked Orton and Edge to get a partner and face them later. Orton said he figured they'd say that, so they lined up Umaga as their partner. The three heels headed to the ring as Ross plugged the main event.

[Commercial Break]


The match was joined in progress after the break. Flair tagged in against Edge. Umaga tagged in and applied a nerve hold. Flair hot-tagged Batista at 4:00 who fought Orton a rare brief battle of the two reigning World Champions. Hunter and Batista gave stereo spinebusters to Orton and Edge. Umaga shoved the ref down, prompting a DQ at 5:00. Flair chopped Umaga. Batista blocked Umaga from firing back with the Samoan Spike. Hunter then faced off with Umaga in the ring. Flair gave Umaga a blow blow, Batista clumsy-looking spear, and Hunter a Pedigree. Hunter, Flair, and Batista posed in the ring together to the old Evolution music.

WINNERS: Flair & Hunter & Batista in 5:00 via DQ.

STAR RATING: *1/4 -- Not much to it, but it wouldn't have been wise to give too much of those money match-ups away, especially Orton vs. Batista at this point, but also Edge vs. Hunter.

[Commercial Break]


Hornswoggle ran under Khali's legs. Khali grabbed Hornswoggle's jacket. Hulk Hogan's music then played. He walked out onto the stage wearing black and white boas and a black muscle shirt. He stood chest to chest with Khali. Hulk blocked a Khali chop, but Khali then kicked him in the gut and bashed him with several forearms to the back. Hulk made a superma comeback and knocked Khali down with a running punch off the ropes. Khali bailed out. Hogan called him back into the ring. Khali's handler talked Khali out of it. Hogan signalled that he wanted to bodyslam Khali. Hogan cupped his ears. The crowd chanted "Hogan, Hogan." His music played and he celebrated with Hornswoggle. The music faded and Hogan held the house mic to address the crowd. He milked the cheers and chants for a minute. Hogan said it sounds to him that Hulkamania is still alive. He thanked the Hulkamaniacs for keeping the dream alive and congratulated WWE for 15 years of Raw. He called WWE "the greatest company of all time." He said there's nothing like being in the center of the ring with all of those WWE maniacs. He aid watching new WWE Superstars to their thing is great. He said he was grateful they invited him to hang out with the fans in the back. He said, "Never say never, ohh yeah." He said he's heading back to L.A. tonight to continue filming American Gladiators. He said it debuts Jan. 6 and 7, then asked for another round of applause. Lawler plugged that Gladiators will be on NBC. Hogan didn't plug the network. Hogan and Hornswoggle posed. Nice speech by Hogan, putting over the other wrestlers and of course his fans. Not sure what the Randy Savage immitiation was all about, though.

[Commercial Break]


Howard Finkle handled the ring intros. Al Snow, Bart Gunn, Doink, Repoman, Steve Blackman (gee, wonder if Marc Mero is next!), Pete Gas from the Mean Street Posse, Bob Backlund (fresh off of his overexposure on TNA Impact earlier this year). They cut to a break.

[Commercial Break]

Ring intros continued with Gangrel. Ross said The Goon, Skinner, I.R.S., and Flash Funk had come out during the break. Then came Scotty 2 Hotty (I thought/hoped that house show intermission break is over music had played for the last time), Jim Neidhart, Sgt. Slaughter. They cut backstage to security pounding on a locker room door. Out came Gillberg. He was sprayed by fire extinguishers and sparklers as he walked out. They piped in the "Gillberg" chants just like WCW did for Goldberg. That was a nice little dig back then, even though the overall Gillberg character just gave p.r. for WCW's top act at the time. It came down to Skinner, Hotty, Sarge, and I.R.S. Scotty hit I.R.S. with The Worm, then Skinner eliminated Scotty. Sarge put the Cobra Clutch on Skinner. Sarge eliminated Skinner, but I.R.S. then eliminated Sarge.

WINNER: I.R.S. in 4:00.


-Ted DiBiase's music played afterward. DiBiase offered I.R.S. some money. I.R.S. opened his briefcase and DiBiase put the money in it. DiBiase was then introduced as the actual winner. Does it work that way? DiBiase then held the mic in center-ring and said that after over 15 years, everybody's got a price for the Million Dollar Man. He should have humiliated a fan for old time's sake.

-They showed a clip of Eric Bischoff heading toward the entrance tunnel. Bischoff is looking a bit Leslie Nielsen these days.

-A commercial aired for the Tribute to the Troops show on Christmas Eve.



Eric Bischoff pretended to cry. Then he said he's there not to bring smiles to their faces, but take money from their pocketbooks. He said people like them are reliant on people like him to entertain them. He said Vince McMahon is reliant on people like him to reinvent the business time and time again. He asked for a round of applause.

Chris Jericho's music interrupted. This is appropriate given their history together over the years dating back to Nitro. Ross said they're not the best of buddies. Bischoff asked what he was doing there since he fired him a few years ago. Jericho told him to shut up. He said he's still an ass clown. Jericho said he did fire him two years ago, but during his time away he realized he was a little burned out, but as time went on, he recharged and is back better than ever. He said this Sunday he will prove it by becoming champion. Bischoff smiled and said, "Good luck with that," while mockingly laughing. Bischoff is actually looking a bit like Dark Starr, actually (a Minnesota radio personality). Jericho made fun of Bischoff's bowl haircut and expanding gut. Bischoff told Jericho to forfeit his match right now and save the fans their money and false hope. Jericho said he could forfeit the match, "or I could just beat your ass right now." He called Bischoff a true jack-off whose book was a rip-off who should have his bowl cut shaved off and would go to Tijuana to pick up a hooker for a little boff-boff and should step off before he pisses him off before he gives him a sendoff before he slaps the smirk on his face off.

Bischoff began to leave. Jericho grabbed his shoulder, said he'd rather knock his block off, and then Jericho took him down. As he set up a Walls of Jericho, Randy Orton charged into the ring. Jericho put him in the Walls of Jericho and Orton frantically tapped. Ross said if that happens on Sunday, they'll have a new WWE Champion. Jericho held Orton's belt, looked at it longingly, and then dropped it over Orton's fallen body as Orton continued to sell the Walls. Good segment. Bischoff was as slimy as always, Jericho got to throw out some decent one-liners, and in the end they drove home the PPV match with Jericho getting the better of Orton.

[Commercial Break]

-Dusty Rhodes joined Ross and Lawler at ringside.


The crowd actually chanted "boring" a little bit in the opening minutes. Dusty talked about how proud he was that his son was on the anniversary edition of Raw. Ross noted that Holly and Cody have a "unique chemistry." Holly gave Murdoch an Alabama Slam for the win. Dusty got up and celebrated.

WINNERS: Cody & Holly in 3:00.

STAR RATING: 1/4* -- Well, there's a tribute to the classic tag team title matches over the decades. Talk about an anticlimactic first major title win for Cody in terms of the match itself. Cody did get legitimately emotional as he hugged his dad in the ring. Despite the short throwaway match, to have you dad there and on a show with so many stars of the past, it would be a cool memory to be sure.

-A commercial aired for the new American Gladiator hosted by Hulk Hogan.

[Commercial Break]

-Jillian Hall stood in the ring live and said she'll have a Christmas album available on iTunes exclusively. She sang the beginning of "12 Days of Christmas." It's amazing they put her on the same show that Hulk Hogan is on, considering the resemblance between Hall and Hogan's daughter Brooke. Trish Stratus interrupted. Disappointing pop for Trish. The crowd may have been a little spent by this point. Jillian told Trish, "I wasn't done yet, actually." Trish said she is so excited to be back. She said hi to Lillian and King. Trish told her that her singing "is really bad." Hall said she may or may not be the biggest star in history, but she had the biggest ego and nobody would disagree with that. Then out walked Lita. Lita got in Trish's face. Hall told Lita to hit Trish. Lita said the sound of her speaking voice is really bad, just like her singing. Hall said this is her show now and the fans want to hear her. She sang poorly again. Trish and Lita yanked her to the mat by her hair. They slapped he chest as she cried in pain with the singing headset mic still attached. Ross said Lita and Trish may not extend Christmas cards, but they were on the same page long enough to rid the ring of Jillian's singing.

[Commercial Break]

-Ross and Lawler ran down the Armageddon line-up.

-Mr. Kennedy headed to the ring. What were the Vegas odds two months ago that Marty Jannetty would headline the Raw 15th Anniversary show?

[Commercial Break]


Ross said he erased the Kennedy segment with the imposters from last week's Raw. Hey, at least Ross didn't have to sell the imitators as being younger and better than the originals like he did the imposter Diesel (Kane) and Razor Ramon (Rick Bogner). The crowd didn't seem into this and chanted something that sounded disgruntled in nature. Lawler wondered what would happen if Jannetty won. Ross said this was a huge opportunity because if he won, it could mean he'd return to Raw full time and be back on the map after long ago being a hot young upstart superstar. Jannetty gave Kennedy a Rocker Dropper at 3:00. He climbed to the top rope, but seemed a big nervous as a way to stall. Kennedy got up and knocked him off balance. Kennedy lifted Jannetty, but Jannetty slipped into a sunset flip for a near fall. Kennedy yanked Jannetty throat-first over the middle rope, then gave him an impaler for the win.

WINNER: Kennedy in 4:00.

STAR RATING: 1/2* -- Not a stellar main event. The lack of crowd heat hurt this one. Although the Jannetty tie-in with Michaels was fitting for the 15h Anniversary special, you'd think with a larger than usual audience (presumably), WWE would want to a showcase a newer main eventer like Kennedy in a match where he could better shine.

-After the match Kennedy began to beat down Jannetty. It was the shortest beat down and fastest save in Raw history as Michaels ran to the ring for the save. As Michaels checked on Jannetty, Kenned jumped him from behind. Triple H walked out dressed as DX. Ross said it may be time for a DX reunion. Michaels accepted Triple H's DX gear and put it on. The DX music played as Hunter and Michaels played to the crowd. The crowd that began popping for everything really seemed worn out and read for the final segment at this point.

[Commercial Break]

-Vince McMahon walked to the ring for the ceremony to announce the greatest Raw Superstar in history. Vince said the person to receive the honor must be above and beyond all others, the one who had the biggest single impact above all others. He asked for the envelope. A security guard handed him an envelope. He opened the card and was about to announce it. He said the crowd would like this. He asked for a drum roll. "The Greatest Superstar in Raw History is... Vincent Kennedy McMahon!" The crowd booed. Vince said, "I'd like to thank all of the little people who bestowed this honor upon me." Mick Foley came out dressed as Mankind. The crowd chanted, "Foley, Foley." McMahon said he's just jealous because he (Vince) is the greatest Raw Superstar ever. Mankind put the Mandible Claw on McMahon for a few seconds. Undertaker's bell sounded, the lights went out, and when the lights came back on in blue, Taker made his full ring entrance. By the time he got to the ring, McMahon was stll writhing on the mat in agony. When McMahon stood, Taker grabbed him by his throat and chokeslammed him awkwardly to the mat. It was the worst "taking" of the Taker chokeslam ever. Ross said he believes many people think Undertaker should be named the biggest star in Raw history. The lights came back on and McMahon was again writhing on the mat.

Then the glass broke out and came Steve Austin with his "Been There, Destroyed That" t-shirt. Austin stood over McMahon's fallen body as the crowd chanted his name. Austin began, "Goll dang lookie here. What a pitiful, pitiful sight." The crowd chanted, "What?" at every comma in Austin's speech. He said he thought he'd bring a little beer and have a little celebration, and Vince is lying there sleeping. Austin said 15 years of Raw is one hell of an accomplishment which deserves a toast. He called for two beers. They were promptly, accurately thrown to him. Austin said there must be a way they could drink a beer together. Austin laid down on the mat next to him and offered to drink a beer with him. He said he felt a little dirty getting too close to him. He spilled a beer while lying there, then called for Vince to get up. Vince looked like he was woken in the middle of the night and didn't know where he was. Austin called for a couple more beers. Vince struggled to his knees, looking like he had a terrible hangover. Austin handed Vince a beer. Austin congratulated him for 15 years. They toasted. Austin drank. Vince tried to, and then Austin gave him a Stunner for taking too damn long. Ross called it the exclamation point in 15 years of Raw (minus a few weeks).

Austin then asked where the card went that McMahon was going to read from. Austin said the greatest superstar on Raw isn't in the ring. He said the greatest superstars of Raw are all around the ring right now and all over the world. He paid tribute to the fans in the front rows and the upper deck. He looked into the camera and leaned over the top rope and said those are the top stars of Raw. He asked if the fans wanted to see 15 years of Raw stars come to the ring for a beer bash, give him a "Hell, yeah!" Austin called Ross and Lawler into the ring. I was waiting for someone to acknowledge their vital contribution to the success and personality of Raw over the years together. Everyone, heels, and faces, headed to the ring a the screen split with a graphic plugging Armageddon on Sunday with a flip through the scheduled matches. Vince slipped on beer spilled at ringside. When he tried to get back into the ring, Austin punched him back to the floor, then poured beer over him.

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PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.

He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.

He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).

He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)


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