It’s time for PART 2 as we go in-depth with the newly released Raw 20th Anniversary Collection DVD!
The next 6 of the 20 Raw “greatest episodes” selected by WWE for the box set are looked at now and these date from 1999 all the way through to 2007.
|#304 – March 22, 1999|
This episode was the go home show for WrestleMania XV, and features one of the most memorable segments in the 20 plus year history of Raw, in fact WWE believes it to be the greatest moment in Raw history (see The Top 100 Moments in Raw History). Of course this moment is the beer bath with Steve Austin drenching Mr. McMahon, Shane McMahon and The Rock in beer. While this is the true standout moment of the show, it certainly isn’t the only highlight of the show.
Other highlights include the first real WWE match of the Big Show’s career, a forgotten Mankind vs. Rock match, the New Age Outlaws facing off which sets up their respective championship bouts at WrestleMania, the continued build towards the showdown between the Corporation and the Ministry of Darkness with the Hell in a Cell match between the Undertaker and the Big Bossman and a shocking spot between Triple H and Kane ahead of the weekend’s “showcase of the immortals”.
Another cool and forgotten moment of the show was the “JR is War” Frat Party, in which Jim Ross and “Dr. Death” Steve Williams attend a frat party, which descends into complete chaos when Hardcore Holly joins the party.
In terms of match quality, you won’t find many wrestling clinics on this show, however back then TV wasn’t about quality matches, it was about building towards the PPVs as almost every segment does. The best match on the show would have to be the main event featuring Steve Austin vs. The Big Show, however the reason this show is included is simple: BEER BATH. Although some would proclaim this segment has been seen countless times it was very nice to see the entire build to the moment for the first time.
Overall I’m sure you will agree this is an action packed episode of Raw and very fun to relive.
|#311 – May 10, 1999|
8.1? Yes, Raw really did a rating that high and this was indeed that night. The reason for Raw’s mammoth rating was simple, Patterson + Brisco + Mean Street Posse… no, I jest; Nitro had been pre-empted because of the NBA and WWE loaded up the show to ensure they capitalised on the Nitro viewers who were missing out on their ‘rasslin.
The main storyline in WWE during May 1999 was the formation of the Corporate-Ministry and their respective feuds with Vince McMahon, Steve Austin, The Rock and The Union (yes, believe it or not Vince McMahon was part of a wrestling union! This Union was comprised of defected members of the Corporation and Mick Foley). On this night we saw the Corporate-Ministry and The Union clash in a number of unique “gimmick” matches. Some of the matches included: A one night appearance by Cactus Jack to take on Vicera & Medion in a handicap hardcore match, Ken Shamrock vs. Chyna, Faarooq vs. Bradshaw in a lumberjack match, Big Show vs. Paul Bearer, Big Bossman vs. Test in a night stick on a pole match and of the memorable encounter between Pat Patterson & Gerald Brisco and The Mean Street Posse (the actually highest rated segment in Raw history – until This is Your Life a few months later).
The main event saw Shane McMahon team with Triple H and The Undertaker to take on Vince McMahon, The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin with then WWE Commissioner Shawn Michaels serving as special referee.
This particular episode of Raw also featured the final appearance by Sable in the WWE (for a few years) as she lost the Women’s Championship in a rather disputed Evening Gown Match to Debra. Sable would then go on to file a $100+ million lawsuit against WWE citing allegations of sexual harassment and unsafe working conditions (the lawsuit was settled out of court later that year).
An edit which I noticed during this show was in the Bossman/Test match as Test’s ass became exposed and was blurred. How comes you folks weren’t as outraged about one ass being edited out but not another? 😉
So as you’ve probably ascertained the reason this show is included was because of its monster rating, plus it was a really fun show.
|#409 – March 26, 2001|
March 26, 2001 marked the end of the Monday Night War when Shane McMahon “bought” WCW out from underneath his father and opponent at the coming weekend’s WrestleMania X-Seven. This of course is the moment which this show is most known for and the moment which closed the final WCW Nitro (well the actual last thing WCW viewers saw on the final WCW broadcast was a promo for WrestleMania X-Seven).
Many will (and have already) complain that this show features the biggest edit of all the episodes; the opening in ring segment with Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit which set up their WrestleMania encounter and a tag team match later that evening. Additionally as we’ve reported previously Chris Benoit’s entrance has been cut along with mentions of him on commentary during the tag team. However the match is really very short (less than 3 minutes) so for me this isn’t a real big loss. After all this episode is most remembered for the Raw and Nitro simulcast and the final build to Rock vs. Austin at WrestleMania. In fact I’m sure that many viewers of the set couldn’t name much else which occurred on this particular episode.
The main event saw Steve Austin and The Rock team up against The Brothers of Destruction in solid “PPV build match”. The bout degenerates into chaos when Triple H arrives. The show goes off the air with the Rock standing tall, having bested Austin by delivering a stunner to the Texas Rattlesnake.
|#548 – November 24, 2003|
Raw Roulette… was one of Eric Bishoff’s “ideas”, basically it is “spin the wheel, make the deal”.
While this isn’t the first Raw Roulette from October 2002, it is the second and it features a number of cool and unique matches. Some of those matches include the first Divas cage match with Lita and Victoria, a Survivor Series rematch for the World Heavyweight Championship between Goldberg and Triple H and a loaded main even pitting rivals Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels against Evolution’s Ric Flair and Batista.
Again this was another fun episode – especially if you like gimmick matches and actually a little more unique than having the original Roulette show included.
|#645 – October 3, 2005|
In 2000 WWE decided to end their long established relationship with the USA network and switch many of their shows to Viacom owned channels (mainly TNN, later re-named Spike TV and MTV), however in 2005 WWE returned home to the USA Network and to mark their return they aired a special 3 hour edition titled – WWE Homecoming, and this is the next episode.
As you will be aware, this isn’t the first time this show has been released on DVD. Originally the show was packaged with WrestleMania 20 as a Wal-Mart Exclusive, which can (and does) attract a pretty penny. So if you want Homecoming on Region 1 DVD and don’t want to pay for the original, this set might be perfect for you.
The show opens with the 5 minute countdown video package highlighting the memorable moments and superstars of Monday Night Raw past, before we go live Dallas, TX and to world renowned Reunion Arena (site of some of WCCW’s greatest and most memorable bouts).
The episode featured a number of memorable matches and moments. Two of the best matches on the night (and in fact, 2 of the best matches in Raw history): the Iron Man match between Shawn Michaels and Kurt Angle and the “Loser Leaves Raw” Money in the Bank Ladder Match between then bitter rivals Matt Hardy and Edge (with Lita).
In terms of edits, the show does feature the removal of Chris Benoit’s entrance however the match itself never gets started so this requires no editing as Eric Bishoff turns out the lights on the match. This lead to that Raw vs. SmackDown Survivor Series match the following month.
Other points to note about this show was that it featured the final Raw appearance of Eddie Guerrero and the first Raw match in Rey Mysterio’s career.
All of the other segments appear intact including the Austin and McMahon segment with the Stone Cold Stunners to Stephanie and Linda McMahon. Additionally no blood is edited during the incredibly graphic altercation between Triple H and Ric Flair.
While this episode has already been released on DVD, it was only for a limited run and given the fact it has some awesome matches and moments it is most definitely worthy of inclusion.
|#759 – December 10, 2007|
Bridgeport Conneticul played host to the 15th Anniversary of Monday Night Raw, and folks this one is packed with cameos from WWE Legends and Hall of Famers.
The 15th Anniversary is the only “nostalgia” show included on this set. The show only has one real in ring highlight: the ladder match between Jeff Hardy and Carlito. The true highlight of the show for me was the nostalgia with the returning stars and video packages sprinkled throughout the show.
As I stated the in-ring highlights are sparse for this episode but the moments are cool. Some of those moments include “the McMahon family portrait”, the Trish and Lita segment and the final segment which featured Mr McMahon’s announcement of Raw’s Greatest Superstar and the superstar celebration which followed it.
I really hope you have enjoyed my look at the second set of Raw’s “20 Greatest Episodes”. Next time in PART 3 I will cover the final shows from April 2008 to April 2012.
If you have picked up the box set already, what did you think of these shows and which moments stood out to you? As always we love to hear from you, so please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Not got a copy of Raw 20th Anniversary Collection yet? What are you waiting for? Pick up yours here on Amazon.com right now!