The 25th anniversary of Monday Night Raw was celebrated last night for the WWE Universe, and it was filled with nostalgia in the lead up to Sunday’s Royal Rumble. Fans in both the Manhattan Center and the Barclay’s Center were treated to some surprises, and this is what stood out most to me about RAW 25.
Stone Cold still has it
There was no better way to start an anniversary-edition of Raw than to have Stone Cold and Vince McMahon continue their rivalry, as the WWE Chairman was presented with a joke plaque by his children Stephanie and Shane, and he turned it on the Brooklyn crowd, saying that’s what they are—plaque. Then, the crack of Stone Cold Steve Austin’s music started, and McMahon’s face said it all. He was at first able to convince his longtime rival that he’s old and an AARP member now, but Shane is “still in his prime”, so Austin gives the younger McMahon a stunner. However, as Vince and Stone Cold have a beer together, it’s clear the truce won’t last long, and he gives a stunner that causes the fans to go nuts.
The Undertaker might make one more WrestleMania appearance
Most of the action on Monday night took place at the main stage in Brooklyn, but those who got tickets for the Manhattan Center were treated to The Undertaker’s first appearance since WrestleMania 33. The Deadman started off his career with a perfect 21-0 record at the WWE’s biggest event, but he’s now 23-2 and lost to Roman Reigns last year in what appeared to be his final match. However, he sounded like he was issuing a challenge on RAW 25, so I think we will see him fight one more time at WrestleMania and go out with a victory.
Jimmy Fallon’s appearance was mostly a flop
Last week, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon appeared on The Tonight Show, and they beat Jimmy Fallon and The New Day in a lip-sync battle, meaning Fallon had to make an appearance at last night’s anniversary show. The late-night host had front-row seats and was the subject of Elias’ diss song, but John Cena came out to put an end to it by coming out to stop the hipster wrestler. Fallon did a good job acting insulted by Elias, but he just stayed in the stands, and instead of having Cena get low-blowed and hit on the back with a guitar, it would have been better to have Jimmy come out of nowhere with the guitar to hit Elias.
D-Generation X reunion was solid
Headed by Triple H and Shawn Michaels, everyone loves DX, so it was awesome to see the leaders reunited with The New Age Outlaws and X-Pac when they joined them in the ring at the Manhattan Center. The ending was great with the entire group doing a finishing move on The Revival members after they faced The Balor Club, but there wasn’t much drama with it literally being nine against two. It was a nostalgic reunion, but no real threat took some spark out of it.
WWE fans still love CM Punk
RAW 25 showed some video shots throughout the night of past superstars that couldn’t be there because they have either passed away or simply didn’t come, but CM Punk—who had an unamicable split with WWE to try his hand at UFC—was shown for just a couple seconds, and the crowd immediately went crazy. Punk is already 39-years-old, so the fan-favorite probably needs to return relatively soon to be in his prime and provide a jolt to professional wrestling. If he does come back, the fans will clearly welcome him.
The triple-threat title match will be absolute carnage…
There were only a handful of matches that mostly came up flat for RAW 25 (the Intercontinental Championship victory for The Miz being the only exception), but the event ended with some excitement when Braun Strowman, Kane, and Brock Lesner exchanged blows before their title match at Royal Rumble this Sunday. It was funny to see tons of superstars called ringside to help separate the monster fighters, and the highlight of the meeting was The New Day trying to calm things down with Strowman yelling at Kane that he will do what he did two weeks ago, when he took out both he and Lesner. The beast then made true on his promise by putting Lesner through the announcing table with Kane already out of commission, setting up what should be a great main event this weekend.
…but the WWE just isn’t what it used to be
That said, seeing the former WWE superstars out for RAW 25 just makes people yearn for the “good, old days.” Having Kurt Angle, JBL, Martin Regal, Stone Cold, Shawn Michaels, and many others (including The Boogeyman!) participate in some form or fashion last night probably brought many viewers back to the glory days. The Rock wasn’t at RAW 25, but a video he posted on Twitter just sums up old-school wrestling perfectly:
In honor of tonight’s @WWE’s #RAW25. Most important moment in RAW history. On this night we became the #1 wrestling show in the world.. and never looked back. My privilege to “do the honors” (lose the title) to @RealMickFoley. *crowds ELECTRICITY was incomprehensible. #goosebumps pic.twitter.com/8zcpzOFYpL
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) January 22, 2018