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10 Most Iconic Moments In WWE Raw History

A look back at the most memorable moments ever shown on Monday Night Raw...

Think of an iconic TV show associated with wrestling, and unless you're of a certain age (or deliberately trying to be cool), you'll probably picture Monday Night Raw.

Despite the best efforts of Bischoff, Russo, and Turner, Raw has been the weekly wrestling show for the majority of its 25-year history. That's likely to continue for the foreseeable future, until maybe 3018 when we're all tweeting about NJPW Cyborg Wrestling Attack!, or something similar.

Raw is such an important part of wrestling history because of its longevity, naturally - but that's not the only reason. The show has provided us with countless iconic memories and moments, from the ludicrous to the sublime.

Although a slick, clean product these days, Raw was once the aesthetic home of the Attitude Era. With its grungy visuals and raucous live crowds, the show was synonymous with the wrestling boom of the late '90s.

The industry has seen a lot of ups and downs since those halcyon days, but Raw has survived throughout - even if it may look a lot different in 2018.

It's been home to the best and worst of sports entertainment since its inception in 1993, and - with WWE airing a 25th-anniversary celebration soon - what better time to look back upon the most memorable moments in Raw history?

10. This Is Your Life


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Often misattributed as the highest-rated segment in Raw history, Mankind's 'This Is Your Life' tribute to The Rock has still gone down in history as one of the show's most iconic moments.

In terms of storyline progression or shock value, the segment doesn't really have much use - but it stands as an example of two of WWE's most charismatic Superstars of all time, and the unique interaction between them.

The duality between the arrogant, callous Rock and sympathetic, loveable Mankind is truly special, and it's easy to see why this moment is such a cherished memory for so many Attitude Era fans. As for the actual highest-rated segment ever, that honour goes to a title match between Steve Austin and The Undertaker. Fair enough, really.


9. The Pipebomb


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CM Punk's pipebomb is still quoted today, a testament to its status as the unofficial manifesto for 'internet' fans of WWE.

One of the most beloved stars in Ring of Honor history, Punk let rip with a magnificent self-aware promo - one which crucially made sense both in and out of kayfabe.

He tore into Vince McMahon, Triple H, John Cena, and WWE's general practice of valuing older part-time stars over exciting new talent. Punk broke several taboos here, referencing ROH and NJPW, shouting out best friend Colt Cabana, and purposefully emphasising the word 'wrestler' (rather than 'Superstar'). Without this moment, we probably wouldn't have seen the mass acceptance and popularity of current names such as Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, and so on.

8. DX Invades WCW


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When DX 'invaded' WCW, they didn't really do anything. It certainly wasn't an invasion like Scott Hall and Kevin Nash's seismic WCW debuts, nor was it a mass showdown like the infamous Invasion angle of 2001.

However, this moment is remembered so fondly because it was totally real. Yes, Triple H and friends didn't do much other than hang around outside WCW's Virginia venue, riling up the fans and proclaiming WWF to be the superior promotion.

However, the fact that it was such a direct, brash shot in the direction of Vince McMahon's arch-rivals resonated with many fans of that era.

7. Chris Jericho's Debut


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Chris Jericho's first WWE appearance is often regarded as one of the finest debuts of all time (alongside Kane's). Y2J burst onto the scene in 1999, interrupting The Rock, proclaiming 'Raw is Jericho', and immediately announcing himself as a major player in an already star-studded roster.

This debut is as important for what it meant as much as Jericho's (typically charismatic) promo. Along with excellent in-ring technicians such as Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, and Dean Malenko, Y2J was one of a number of WCW wrestlers fans felt were criminally under-utilised.

This segment showed that while one promotion was all about keeping ageing legends on top, the other was interested in giving younger, hungrier talent a chance - as proven by the later success of The Radicalz and Kurt Angle.


6. Pillman's Got A Gun!


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Still regarded as one of the most controversial moments in Raw history - but, in my opinion, nowhere near as tasteless as 'Trump' vs. 'O'Donnell' or 'Hot Lesbian Action' - Steve Austin's home invasion of Brian Pillman was certainly one of the show's more unhinged moments.

The controversy was twofold. First, as the adopted name of the angle implies, Pillman did indeed have a gun. Secondly, during the ensuing scuffle, Flyin' Brian could clearly be heard dropping an f-bomb.

WWF (and Pillman himself) were forced to issue apologies, but it still remains one of the most shocking and memorable moments seen on Monday Night Raw.

5. Shane Buys WCW


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The now-iconic Raw/Nitro simulcast provided many moments that are - in hindsight - utterly insane, but the crowning jewel was clearly Shane McMahon's kayfabe purchase of WCW from under his father's nose.

In Ohio, Vince took to the ring to gloat over his victory in the Monday Night Wars. Simultaneously, in Flordia, Shane shockingly strode out on Nitro to scupper those plans.

This, of course, led to the Invasion angle, widely regarded as the biggest blown opportunity in wrestling history. But for all the frustration and strife the next few months would cause, there's no denying the iconic nature of this moment.

4. Vince's Limo Explodes


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Vince McMahon's limousine exploding (with the WWE owner inside, obviously) would have perhaps never ranked on this list were it not for the surrounding context.

Instead - due to the tragic and horrifying circumstances regarding Chris Benoit's death - the storyline was immediately nixed, giving this particular segment a unique place in fans' memories.

The angle would have apparently seen Vince fake his own death, after a period of time spent trying to figure out the culprit. Another memorable part of the segment was Paul London's creepy smile as Vince walked past the assembled roster, sparking theories that he'd be a major suspect in the murder. It was later revealed that he simply adopted such an unusual facial expression because he felt like it.


3. Austin Gives Vince A Stunner


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There are a deluge of iconic Raw moments centred around Steve Austin - from Vince's declaration of "It's me Austin!" to the Rattlesnake's legendary showdown with Mike Tyson. To include each memorable Stone Cold moment on Raw would make this list a little pointless, so I've had to sadly narrow them down.

Happily, the moment I have included is one of the most significant moments in WWE history. Austin has dealt many Stunners to Vince over the years, but his first was particularly memorable.

Despite being a rather clumsily-sold version of the move, Stone Cold's assault was the first time he'd attacked his boss (and nemesis). This sparked a feud that would define the Attitude Era, and helped maximise Austin's potential as a mega-babyface.

2. The Beer Truck


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Alright, so I claimed I was leaving out various Austin moments that probably deserved to be on this list, but I simply had to include this one. His dousing of Vince, Shane, and corporate champion The Rock in beer was one of the most anarchic, joyful moments in WWE history.

The moment also encapsulated the anarchy and sheer energy of the Attitude Era, solidifying WWF as a place where it seemed as though anything really could happen.

This was paid homage to during the Invasion angle, when Kurt Angle repeated the trick on a now-heel Stone Cold, spraying the Rattlesnake and his Alliance buddies with a far more wholesome liquid.

(Milk.)

1. Mankind Wins The WWF Championship


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There are multiple factors that create an iconic Raw moment - but only one seems to have them all.

Mankind's shock victory over The Rock is so memorable for a number of reasons. It was his first WWF Championship reign, a special moment for any wrestler, and came at the expense of a hated heel in the form of the Brahma Bull.

It was also typically anarchic, featuring a monstrously-received run-in from Steve Austin - perhaps the Superstar who most accurately sums up the smash-mouth adrenaline we like to associate with Monday Night Raw.

Finally - and perhaps most importantly - it was a landmark moment in the Monday Night Wars. Tony Schiavone infamously attempted to spoil the match's result on Nitro, sarcastically proclaiming "that'll put butts in seats". It backfired in spectacular fashion, as fans changed the channel en masse to witness the event unfold.

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Jack G. King

Written by Jack G. King

Head of News at Cultaholic.com | [email protected]