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10 Most Underrated Moments In WWE Raw History

Bringing the 'honourable mentions' to the fore...

Every single wrestling website under the sun has listed their top 10 moments in WWE Raw history recently, including us! Read ours here - we called ours the 'Most Iconic Moments' because we're that kid at school who wore guyliner and never seemed to smile... We're alternative. How cool are we?

WWE themselves have even compiled their own list in the form of a Network special that was hosted by Corey Graves and Peter Rosenberg. Please, go and watch it. The list was great. Peter Rosenberg was not.

Of course, all of the classics were there but come the end of the show - and I'm sure I'm not alone here - I was sat there thinking to myself "why didn't X get a mention?" That's not saying WWE were wrong with their choices, because wrestling is one of those beautifully subjective forms of entertainment where there isn't really a wrong answer. It's all apples and oranges - unless you agree with Road Dogg who claims that wins and losses don't matter because what we're watching isn't real combat. That viewpoint is all kinds of wrong.

So with WWE's top 25 moments in mind, I've taken it upon myself to have a look at those unsung heroes who didn't quite make the cut but deserve all the same adulation.

10. Stone Cold Returns To Save WWF Against The Alliance


WWE


The return of "the old Stone Cold" was one of the few bright sparks of the invasion storyline - yes, I know, you thought it was all rubbish.

After that heel turn at WrestleMania X-Seven, Stone Cold and Kurt Angle cosied up to Vince McMahon - who, of course, had been the Texas Rattlesnake's biggest foe for the three years prior. During this time Steve went through a drastic character change, losing the arse kicking and beer drinking that had brought him so much success to that point in favour of hugging and guitar playing. With The Alliance kicking WWF's arse, McMahon was forced to plead with Austin to bring back his former self. Instead of doing so, Austin walked off looking dejected.

The next week, Steve was in a local bar while the rest of the WWF locker room came together to try and topple The Alliance in brawls all over the arena. Eventually, following an unbelievably rousing speech from a wheelchair-bound Freddie Blassie, Stone Cold smashed a pool cue and made his way back to the arena, laying out several Alliance members on his way through the backstage area to the ring.

The opening few snippets of Stone Cold fighting his way through the back were shot beautifully, hinting at the return of "the old Stone Cold," but not quite showing enough to confirm whether he had or not. Tantalizing stuff.

The glass shattering of Stone Cold's theme is the most impactful start to a song in the history of WWE, garnering the biggest pops on a consistent basis - this moment was no different. With the ring jampacked with Superstars, the roof was lifted off the arena and dropped somewhere in Morocco as Austin marched his way down to the ring, his mouth going like the clappers just like the old Stone Cold's would. Jim Ross' commentary also added to this moment tenfold. With the Bionic Redneck's music and the audience competing in a contest to see who could be louder, Jim's cadence when bellowing "and there he is. There's Stone Cold. Is it the old Stone Cold? Oh he's talking, he's (something inaudible due to the background noise)" was like he was talking directly to The Alliance saying 'ooooo you've done it now, boys. You're knackered!'


9. The Undertaker Vs. Jeff Hardy


WWE


Head back to 2002 and you'll hear The Undertaker talking about getting respect from his peers and making other people famous. In this instance, however, he was the one giving out respect and in the process, making Jeffrey Hardy a little bit more famous than he already was.

This was supposed to be the proverbial cakewalk for The Un-Deadman but proved to be anything but. While Hardy took an unholy beating during this match, a dramatic comeback at the end saw his fingertips literally touch the WWE Undisputed Championship before Taker was able to salvage a win.

This was the classic case of the dog laying under the underdog almost reaching heights they simply shouldn't be able to. The only thing Jeff had in his favour was the stipulation - a Ladder Match. "Climb the ladder, kid. Make yourself famous!" Once again, this was a match that produced Jim Ross at his goosebump-inducing best.

Plainly, this fantastic match and fitting tribute after the bell are lost in the annals of WWE history these days due to the fact that Undertaker isn't dead here. He's a biker with the worst nickname this side of The Great Khali's 'Punjabi Playboy' tag - Booger Red.

This was a coming out party of sorts for Jeff, with Taker's nod of approval after the final bell showing he had all the tools to be a main event player; potential he would fulfil years later.

8. Dolph Ziggler Cashes-In Money In The Bank


WWE


This was peak Raw after 'Mania bedlam. Thank goodness this was the Raw after 'Mania, however, because having a rowdier crowd than normal made this moment all the more special. I still can't work out how this moment didn't get a mention when nothing was off the table for the network special - CM Punk's Pipebomb promo was no. 2 on the list for crying out loud!

Ending nine months of guesswork - and after a couple of teases that had the likes of Randy Orton sweating buckets - Dolph Ziggler provided arguably the biggest moment of 2013 when he cashed-in his Money In The Bank briefcase on World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio.

It's a moment few saw coming after Ziggler and his muscles, otherwise known as Big E, lost a Tag Team Championship match to Team Hell No the night before on the Grandest Stage of Them All. It was almost as if everyone had forgotten about Dolph following such a loss, making the pop and shock in the arena all the more tangible.

Even though he was a heel back then, The Showoff was very much a man the people favoured. At the time, there was a genuine feeling within the WWE Universe that he wasn't getting a fair chance, while still being appreciated by fans worldwide who recognised how great he was. Fifty minutes in the 2013 Royal Rumble and countless standout performances got him there, with this moment vindication for Dolph and his supporters alike.

7. The Rock Concert


WWE


Forget about the rest, the first-ever Rock Concert in a long and storied history of Rock Concerts is the absolute best. This is the one that took place in Sacramento, California, of course.

One week before The Great One was scheduled to take on Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania XIX, Raw had to pull something special out of the bag and they did just that with Rocky serenading the Sacramento people and the Texas Rattlesnake like only that Hollywood sh*t-eating face could. If you don't think Hollywood Rock was the best incarnation of Rocky btw, then please get out of my face. Luv U xoxo

Austin was stuck in a pickup truck surrounded by speakers while all of this was going on. He didn't appear to be having the best of times and I find this a hard idea to get my head around. I probably would have got out and started dancing before retiring to the hood of the car with a case of beer adjacent to my right hand... bliss.

It's just a really funny segment where all you can do is admire a performer in his element. Rocky was having a great time while being an absolute bastard for days and it was fantastic to watch.

It's also worth mentioning Jerry 'The King' Lawler's role in this segment too. The way he reacts to Rock's ridiculousness is absolutely priceless in my book. Top marks all around.


6. The World's Strongest Swerve


WWE


The promo legitimately made The Big Show cry. Big Show is an employee of WWE and presumably knew this retirement promo wasn't real, yet he still cried. I know Big Show is an emotional human being, but still, a promo he presumably knew was fake still made him cry - either that, or he was shedding a tear because it had dawned on him that he'll never be able to rock a salmon pink blazer like Big Mark... I'm starting to get a bit misty eyed too now. We're never going to look that good.

In an age where nobody likes to admit they got 'worked' by something that happens on a wrestling show, we all got worked as Mark Henry faked his retirement and it felt beautiful.

Everything fell into place as The World's Strongest Man hit all the right notes. He thanked the right people, he told us how hard life on the road was and he cried real tears. It couldn't have felt more real. John Cena, the WWE Champion at the time, played his part too in leading a huge ovation for the former Sexual Chocolate and even handing him his title as a sign of respect.

Then, with Mark finished working all us... erm... marks, Cena came back into the ring and then BAM! World's Strongest Slam, the salmon pink jacket went flying, Henry tells his foe that he's still got a lot left in the tank and getting past him wasn't going to be that easy, and an entire WWE Universe said "you magnificent bastard" in unison.

5. Triple H's 2002 Return


WWE


Lemmy tells us how it's all about The Game during Triple H's theme, but this moment was all about the pop for The Game brought on by the sound of his theme. The noise created by the Madison Square Garden crowd when that famous first note and line were heard can't have been matched too many times. Jim Ross claimed it was the "loudest roar I've ever heard in MSG," and if anybody knows about roars inside MSG it's him.

It was the first time any WWE crowd had heard that song played in eight long months following that gruesome injury to HHH's quad - yes it rolled right the way up to his hip and yes he somehow survived a Walls Of Jericho after it happened.

Even though he went away a heel, Triple H returned a mega babyface following the conclusion of The Invasion angle. When it comes to WWE Superstars and injuries, absence really does make the hearts of all fans worldwide grow fonder, but this return was almost like everyone was saying "thank God that car crash is over. HHH is a really big name who can help us forget about WWF taking on WCW's B-Team. Yay!"

The package WWE put together for the return - to the tune of U2's Beautiful Day - still remains one of the best ever produced. Even though he was an absolute bastard before the injury, the passion, dedication and sacrifice of Paul Levesque just to entertain us back then was conveyed so beautifully that you couldn't help but be on his side.

“Just in case you’ve forgotten, let me just tell you who the hell I am; I am The Game! And you can bet your ass I’m back," Said Hunter, who clearly didn't need to remind anyone who he was after that kind of reception.

4. Chris Jericho (Briefly) Wins The WWF Championship


WWE


Back in the spring of 2000, Chris Jericho was a pretender to the main event scene in WWF. While he would go on to become a bonafide star over the next 17 years - mostly as a heel, I should add - things weren't really clicking for babyface Y2J in his new home following that debut the previous summer - a debut that did make it onto WWE's top 25 moments in Raw history, by the way.

When I say it 'wasn't clicking' for Chris, I mean there was obviously some doubts from the higher-ups in WWF because from the fans' point of view, he was over like rover which is what made this moment so great, and bad, but great all the same.

Jericho kicked off the April 17 edition of Monday Night Raw by insulting Stephanie McMahon and swindling a WWF Championship shot against her husband, the defending Champion, Triple H.

Late in the match, The Ayatollah of Rock 'n' Rolla clocked The Game upside the head with Stephanie's WWF Women's Championship while referee Mike Chioda was knocked out. Senior Official Earl Hebner, who had been bullied by the McMahon-Helmsley regime for weeks, came out to fill the void. Triple H, displeased by Earl's presence, pushed the ref down to the mat which created the opening Jericho needed to nail a Spinning Heel Kick, before a Lionsault and a rapid three count saw him win the big one.

Pandemonium in the arena. Limbs were all over the shop.

The joy was short-lived, however, as HHH, Steph and Shane McMahon convinced Earl to reverse the decision by promising they'd never lay a hand on him again. Jericho was forced to relinquish the title. Everyone went home sad.

That pop though... PHWOAH!


3. The Rock's 2011 Return


WWE


Who was going to be revealed as the guest host for WrestleMania XXIX? This is the reason the entire WWE Universe were tuned into the Valentine's Day episode of Raw back in 2011 - not because us male wrestling fans have never talked to a girl before haha lol...

Anyway, SEVEN YEARS after his previous WWE appearance, The Rock came back and the roof was removed from yet another arena.

The promo The Great One cut was as brilliant as it was long. Nothing was off limits in a monologue that saw Raw go off the air at 11:20 pm, a little longer than the overrun we're accustomed to.

John Cena, Michael Cole and the Anonymous Raw GM all had their respective trousers pulled down by Rocky, who also promised that he'd never leave WWE again... that went well.

Forget about THE CRUSHING DISAPPOINTMENT of that minor detail though because returns are the best, which makes the prospect of Raw 25 so exciting. With The Rock not advertised for the event, what price would you get for a return to trump this one?

2. Jericho Sends Michaels Through The Jeritron


WWE


“A Lying, Cheating, Pathetic Little Worm of a Human Being!”

Chris Jericho is a magnificent bastard.

Chris Jericho is also a massive fan of Shawn Michaels, which is what makes this moment so special.

Being a relatively smaller guy in a bigger than big man's world, Shawn Michaels inspired Chris to pursue his dream and become a professional wrestler. The pair had already clashed once before at WrestleMania XIX, with this feud arguably better than that one which wasn't too shabby itself; nut-kicking and all.

When it comes to turns, Chris is better than those things you see carrying people and their hand luggage through airports... Y2J reeled everyone in here, heralding his hero before turning that screw ever so slightly.

What makes this promo stick out in my mind so much is the fact Jericho carried the narrative of being the honest man right to the end here, yet still emerged as the heel - yes he threw HBK's face through a TV screen, but that's testament to his abilities with mic in hand and the crowd manipulation he and a select few others can achieve. Everything he said was true, yet he was still booed. I'm clapping, as should you be.

This was the moment that sent arguably the best feud of the noughties to the very next level, and I love it.

1. Michaels Vs. Montreal


WWE


Shawn Michaels in Montreal is like Alan Shearer in Sunderland: Lost.

Even though the majority of his comeback run was spent as an UBER babyface, this heel promo is as good as it gets when it comes to post-back injury Shawn Michaels - bobby dazzling greatest match ever against The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXV aside, of course.

Montreal is a place that will never forgive ol' HBK for his part in the Montreal Screwjob of 1997, and goodness me did he use this to his advantage here. He sang the Canadian national anthem, asked the city who their daddy was - referring to himself, of course - then took things to unprecedented heights by teasing the return of Bret 'The Hitman' Hart - the victim of the Screwjob (depending whose side you're on), and a Canadian hero who hadn't been seen on WWE's weekly TV since his departure for WCW way back when.

"Got your hopes up just a little bit, didn't I?"

GLORIOUS, yet so tragically underrated in my book.

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Ross Tweddell

Written by Ross Tweddell

Editor-in-chief of Cultaholic.com and presenter on the Cultaholic Wrestling YouTube channel. Email: [email protected]