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The first Monday Night Raw was 90s wrestling at its purest, for good and the bad

Before WWE celebrates RAW’s 30th anniversary, we take a look back at the first episode in 1991.


Before WWE RAW became one of the longest weekly episodic shows in cable history, the beginnings of the (then WWF) Monday Night RAW began at the Manhattan Center in New York on January 11th, 1993 on the USA Network. Back then, it was only one hour (hard to believe, right) and they were about two weeks away from the 1993 Royal Rumble. Given that tonight will be the 30th anniversary of RAW, I figured I’d watch a lot of this first episode over and boy, some of this did not age well. Then there are some parts that are strictly in the realm of 90’s wrestling (Max Moon, anyone?)

So, here are some of the thoughts I had as I went back down memory lane.

  1. It’s really good to hear that classic MIDI keyboard and saxophone theme.
  2. Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan with the ongoing gag of trying to get into the Manhattan Center with different disuizes are pretty funny. The Brain is surely missed on commentary that night because why is Rob Bartlett here?
  3. Nice to see that the majority of the Yokozuna vs. Koko B Ware match comprised of the three man team of Bartlett, Vince McMahon, and Macho Man Randy Savage making fun of Yokozuna’s weight. Comes off very tacky. This is even more ironic considering Yokozuna wins the Royal Rumble throwing Randy Savage out to win and later the title at Wrestlemania IX (well, for a few minutes. Let’s not get into that.)
  4. I keep forgetting The Steiner Brothers had a WWE run. God bless whoever the enhancement talent is because Rick Steiner was very cranky on that night.
  5. So, Doink The Clown is just hanging at ringside bothering people?
  6. It’s a damn shame the late Scott Hall never had a WWF/WWE championship run. I know he was going up against Bret Hart and he was THE guy back then. However, the crowd is behind Razor Ramon even though he was a heel. Missed opportunity.
  7. Max Moon walked so Glacier could fly. It’s odd to see Shawn Michaels beat somebody with a side suplex. He’s fully in his heel Heartbreak Kid era?
  8. Rob Bartlett’s impression of Mike Tyson is one of the worst ones I’ve ever heard. It’s a high pitched, Elmer Fudd voice that both Vince and Randy commit to going with. Why?
  9. There’s the short lived feud between Marty Jannety and Shawn Michaels. Glad they had a singles match.
  10. Who thought it was a good idea to put up a graphic teasing Woody Allen vs. Mia Farrow in a steel cage match?
  11. The late Crush has a very pronounced fake accent. Here’s Doink the Clown again –this time with a water gun.
  12. It feels really weird to refer to so many wrestlers in past tense. The late Curt Henning has a vignette. So many wrestlers on this show are no longer with us.
  13. The Undertaker’s aura is something that I don’t think could ever be redone. When I was younger, I really believed he was impervious to pain. You can see it in the main event.