WWE – The Best Of Raw 15th Anniversary – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Featuring:

John Cena
Hulk Hogan
The Rock
Stone Cold Steve Austin
Triple H
Mr. McMahon
The Undertaker
Bobby Lashley
Bret The Hitman Hart
Shawn Michaels
Goldust
Kane
Brian Pillman
Mick Foley
Chris Jericho
Sean Mooney
Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
Lita
Trish Stratus
Many More…

DVD Release Date: December 26, 2007
Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 540 Minutes on 3 discs

The Event

The WWE used to air a Monday night program called Primetime. It was originally hosted by Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. Together they sat at a desk in a studio with a screen behind them and showed different wrestling matches. After that, Vince McMahon stepped into the picture and took over hosting duties with Heenan but this time it was in a bigger studio in front of a live audience. They would show wrestling matches, have guests on, and just goof off. The third version of the series had a roundtable panel of McMahon and a different array of wrestling personalities from Randy Savage to Mr. Perfect to Sergeant Slaughter and others. Looking back before all of these, Jesse Ventura and Jack Reynolds hosted the show, but for only one year. In eight years time, the series changed the show’s format four times. After that came Monday Night Raw and even though sets, audiences, and wrestlers changed; it’s still the same.

Monday Night Raw started out small and went from being on the fourth floor of an office building in New York to traveling worldwide and performing before millions of fans each year. It certainly had its ups and downs during these long fifteen years, but has proven to be the top dog of them all and defeated all that opposed it. WCW’s Monday
Nitro
tried everything they could to become the premier name in wrestling on Monday nights, and for a long time they succeeded. With the three hour shows, taking some of the top names from the WWE, and especially the nWo; WCW had taken control of the ratings for a long time and looked to severely cripple the McMahon family business. One thing you can be sure of is to never count out Vincent Kennedy McMahon.

The WWE ended up taking over the ratings’ war and winning it for a long time to come. It actually won it up until WCW became defunct and even ECW was no longer around to be a real threat. Raw had won the Monday night wars and proved to be the superior show and still has to this very day. Any big name in wrestling that you can think of from Hulk Hogan to Triple H to Steve Austin to John Cena has appeared on Raw and given so many memorable moments for wrestling fans. It’s really quite enjoyable to finally be able to look back over the many years and see some of the moments we’ve shared with the WWE before and enjoy them all over again.

Disc One 1993-1997:

~ First Raw (1/11/93) – Live from the Manhattan Center in New York City came the first ever Raw and a lot of current and former talent associated with WWE talk about what it was like to do something totally different. Seeing highlights from the first show really brings me back as Max Moon, Doink, the late Crush, and many others were there in that small ballroom. It’s great hearing how the entire ring and set needed to be brought up one piece at a time in an elevator and now looking at the huge production it has become is amazing.

~ Mr. Perfect Vs. Ric Flair: Loser Leaves WWE Match (1/18/93) – The introductions for the Nature Boy and the late Curt Hennig (Mr. Perfect) are shown and then there are a few fast forwards to different points in the match. This was during one of the few times Hennig was actually a face and it led to a very unexpected ending to this match much to the chagrin of Bobby Heenan.

~ Parking Lot Brawl (5/10/93) – Shawn Michaels was the current Intercontinental Champion and looking forward to defending his title later in the night against Hacksaw Jim Duggan until Mr. Perfect attacked him during an interview. The two brawled for a bit causing a lot of damage to a car out on the street before finally being pulled apart by security.

~ Razor Ramon Vs. The Kid (5/17/93) – The Kid (Sean “X-Pac” Waltman) was skinnier then a pole and had been appearing on Raw in recent weeks under many different names. Razor Ramon was a bonafide superstar and controlled the match, but it only takes one false move and a three count to see a dramatic upset.

~ Shawn Michaels Vs. Marty Jannetty: Intercontinental Championship Match (5/17/93) – A very cocky Shawn Michaels, before the days of the beloved Heartbreak Kid, laid out an open challenge to anyone, anytime, and anywhere. Decked out in sunglasses and a hooded sweatshirt, Jannetty appeared before his former partner and accepted the challenge in what would go on to be 1993’s Match Of The Year.

~ Gorilla Monsoon Fires Bobby “The Brain” Heenan (12/6/93) – Bobby Heenan’s official departure from the WWE before heading to WCW ended this night of Raw as Monsoon physically ejected the Brain from the building.

~ Bret “Hit Man” Hart Vs. 1-2-3 Kid: WWE Championship Match (7/11/94) – Now known as the 1-2-3 Kid and a crowd favorite, he was going up against another big name in current WWE Champion Bret Hart. Considered to be totally out of his league, the Kid held his own with the champ and wrestled a fantastic match that showed a great amount of sportsmanship after it was all over. This is an awesome match and really a great display of technical ability from both men.

~ The Search For Undertaker (8/94) – The Undertaker had disappeared after losing a casket match to Yokozuna at the Royal Rumble. Leslie Nielsen (star of Police Squad!/Naked Gun) traveled the “world” in search of him. This was when Ted Dibiase had proclaimed to have the Undertaker under his control through the use of his great wealth. It led to the payoff match at Summerslam between the Undertaker and the Underfaker.

~ King’s Court With William Shatner (1/9/95) – Captain Kirk came out to shill his new show and ended up getting the best of Lawler. Rather uninspiring and kind of a strange choice to include in this set. Perhaps it was to match up with Shatner inducting Lawler into the WWE Hall Of Fame.

~ Shawn Michaels Vs. Owen Hart (11/20/95) – One of the greatest performers of all time in Shawn Michaels took on one of the greatest wrestlers ever in the late Owen Hart. It was another classic match-up between the two stars that ended with one of the most memorable endings to an episode of Raw ever. Michaels collapsed in the ring and required serious medical attention keeping him out of action until the Royal Rumble.

~ Vader Attacks WWE President, Gorilla Monsoon (1/22/96) – The beast known as Vader had debuted in the WWE just the night before at the Royal Rumble and had just won a match over Savio Vega. When Vader decided to destroy Vega some more along with some referees, Monsoon stepped in to stop the carnage. Not even his manager Jim Cornette could hold back Vader from destroying Monsoon and becoming the first superstar to ever attack a WWE President.

~ A Touch Of Goldust (5/27/96) – Ahmed Johnson had just been taken out by Owen Hart and the rest of Cornette’s camp. The flamboyant Goldust was quick on the draw with a little (shudder) mouth-to-mouth. Johnson proceeded to take out anyone in his path including Bob Holly. I doubt Hardcore would let that fly today.

~ Pillman’s Got A Gun (11/4/96) – This may be one of the most memorable moments in the history of the show, at least for me. Stone Cold Steve Austin and the late Brian Pillman (former tag-team partners in the Hollywood Blondes) had been feuding for quite some time. Pillman was laid up at home with his family and fearing for his life against Austin. During an interview with Pillman, Austin broke into the house and started going ballistic. Pillman brandished a gun as we lost the picture.

The WWE actually had to apologize to the USA Network in order to stay on the air. The “attitude era” was just getting started.

~ Mankind Vs. Undertaker: No Holds Barred Match (12/9/96) – The Undertaker was out with a bit of a new and more gothic look and ready to face someone that had become his arch-enemy so to speak, Mankind. The Undertaker’s long time handler Paul Bearer was now aligned with Mankind, and it did not make the dead man happy. They had much more brutal matches in the months before including a Boiler Room Brawl and the first ever Buried Alive match.

~ Shawn Loses His Smile (2/13/97) – In a very tear-filled interview that has even recently been referenced on Raw some ten years later, Shawn was the reigning WWE Champion and getting ready to go under the knife for knee surgery. He wasn’t sure if he’d ever be able to come back and wrestle again so he turned over the belt and thanked everyone. He hoped he could come back, but wouldn’t be able to until he was healed up and again found his smile.

~ The Ninth Wonder Of The World (2/17/97) – The freakish Goldust was doing an interview discussing how he felt about the offer Hunter Hearst Helmsley made for Goldust’s valet Marlena. A much smaller Triple H came out and took care of Goldust leaving Marlena to slap him across the face. In steps the amazon woman that would go on to be known as Chyna and eventually change the face of women in wrestling.

~ Original ECW Invasion (2/24/97) – Jerry Lawler had stepped foot onto the grounds of ECW and challenged them to show up at Raw and see what a real wrestling company was like. Well, they accepted and ECW was in the house to help promote their upcoming PPV. It was awesome seeing Heyman, Saturn, Kronus, the bWo, Sandman, Dreamer, Sabu, Taz, and more in a WWE ring. At the time, this kind of thing was completely unheard of because there were three main wrestling promotions and now two of them were joined together for a little while. It was an extreme mark-out moment for all fans.

~ Owen Hart Vs. British Bulldog: WWE European Championship Match (3/3/97) – Reigning tag-team champs Owen Hart and the late British Bulldog had made it to the finals of a tournament looking to crown the first ever European Champion. This was yet another great match involving the Hart family and really makes me miss both of these superstars even more.

~ Bret Speaks His Mind (3/17/97) – Thanks to WCW constantly winning the ratings war with Nitro, the WWE needed a makeover. Raw lost the giant letters and strange characters to make way for a huge new set and much more edgier superstars. The attitude era was now in full swing and Bret Hart wasn’t happy about it. This interview seemed so cool too because Bret just went off on McMahon with half a steel cage set up from his last match. He went on a profanity-laced tirade that kind of was exactly what he was speaking against if you really think about it.

~ Flag Match: United States Vs. Canada (7/21/97) – The Hart Foundation (Bret and Owen Hart, British Bulldog) was taking on Dude Love, the Undertaker, and Austin in this flag match and it was live in Canada so the so-called heels (the Hart Foundation) had the full support of the crowd. Canadian flags were waving wildly all around the building. The odd team of Taker, Austin, and Dude Love were working well together and would usually be so very popular but were getting booed out of the building. Brian Pillman was back and would make his presence known in a big way.

~ Stone Cold Stuns The Boss (9/22/97) – In a classic moment that paved the way for years to come, Austin was trying to come back from a severe neck/spinal injury received at the hands of Owen Hart. Mr. McMahon tried to talk some sense into Austin but a stunner was the only response he would get. Seeing McMahon lying there like a fish out of water is classic as is Austin’s smile as he’s led off to jail. This started a long time of fun events to come.

~ Bret Screwed Bret (11/17/97) – Jim Ross sat down with McMahon after the famous “Montreal Screwjob” in which Bret Hart took off for WCW after “losing” the WWE Title to Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series. Bret went off by spitting on McMahon, tearing up the set, and even drawing the letters W-C-W in the air before he left the ring. McMahon said that none of it was his fault and Bret didn’t want to conform to tradition so he screwed over himself.

There is also mention of the rumored “twenty-year contract” that Bret had signed in 1996 and should not have left the WWE at the time. McMahon claimed it was a mutual agreement for mutual reasons on his part and creative reasons on Bret’s part that the deal be renegotiated. It led to a parting and what seemingly was a landslide to a bad part of Bret’s storied career.

~ Sable In A Sack (12/8/97) – Marc Mero just couldn’t come to grips with the fact that Sable was one thousand times more popular then he would ever be so he brought out his wife in a burlap sack. She would soon reveal that there was a lot less material underneath. If only Mero had gone back to his Johnny B. Badd persona.

~ Gold Meets Water (12/15/97) – The Nation Of Domination (NOD) was a force to be reckoned with; especially blue-chipper Rocky Maivia aka The Rock. Austin was in the middle of a huge feud with all the members of NOD. Austin handed over the Intercontinental Title to the Rock by orders of Mr. McMahon but then proceeded to steal the belt right back. In one of my favorite moments on Raw ever that kept this long-running feud of Austin/Rock going; the Rattlesnake showed up on the TitanTron and chucked the belt right into the New Hampshire River.

~ Christmas With DX (12/22/97) – On behalf of DX, they would like to wish a Merry Christmas. Lookit those nuts! Slaughter thought he got the upper hand on DX, but come on now. This one was just too easy.

Disc Two 1998-2002:

~ “Tyson And Austin” (1/19/98) – At the time, Mike Tyson was truly the baddest man on the planet and a huge name to have on Raw. Mr. McMahon was ecstatic by his arrival and what it meant for the WWE. As he should have expected though, Stone Cold Steve Austin was there to make his life a living hell and it set up a nice long story leading into WrestleMania. The best about this whole thing was how anxious Tyson seemed to meet Austin and Austin could have cared less. And I know it wouldn’t happen but when Tyson pushed Austin? I would have given anything to see them actually go toe to toe for a couple minutes.

~ DX Special Report (2/2/98) – If you’re a wrestling fan then you’ve probably seen this at some point or another. Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and Chyna hold a “presidential address” to discuss the stipulations placed upon them. It’s a shame that the censored version is included here because it is so much funnier hearing them just go back and forth.

~ Dumpster Diving (2/2/98) – Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie (Terry Funk) were longtime friends and tag-team partners, but they requested a match with each other and they got it. It was a brutal enough match on its own but then the New Age Outlaws decided to tie both of them into a dumpster and roll it right off the ramp and onto the floor below. That would be the final straw needed for the Outlaws to almost officially become a part of DX. Billy Gunn’s “We didn’t mean to hurt anybody!” to Mr. McMahon after it was all over is hilarious.

~ Formation Of The New DX – X-Pac Returns (3/30/98) – This was the passing of the degenerate torch after Mike Tyson turned on Shawn Michaels and DX. Triple H took over the leadership role and looked to his friends for help. X-Pac returned to the WWE and stepped right into one of the biggest factions in wrestling history. X-Pac who just left WCW decided to cut a little shoot promo on Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff. Things were really getting serious here in the Monday night wars and it showed on almost every episode each week.

It was quite a shame that Hall and Nash couldn’t get over to WWE at the time because it would have created a huge stir and been even more of a mark-out moment. Looking back now, I can’t believe how excited I got over seeing X-Pac back in the WWE.

~ Stone Cold Vs. Mr. McMahon (4/13/98) – This was Vince’s first ever match in the WWE and took place when he was fifty-two years old and in better shape then most twenty-somethings in the world today. Austin was the WWE Champion at the time and in the prime of his career. This would mark only the first of many matches between the two sworn enemies and the first night in two years that Raw beat Nitro in the ratings. This couldn’t really be thought of as much of a match though considering it was a transition into a feud involving Austin and Dude Love.

~ DX Invades WCW (4/27/98) – Another awesome moment in the Monday night war timeline as DX went the short distance to where WCW was putting on a show at the same time and talked to the people outside. They dressed up in army fatigues, war paint, and disguises to say just how much WCW sucked. When they took footage of the board outside the arena offering free tickets to Nitro though; well that simply just took the cake.

~ DX Nation (7/6/98) – This was classic DX came out dressed as the Nation Of Domination and imitated them to perfection. Triple H was the Crock (the Rock), Road Dogg was B-Lo (D-Lo Brown), Billy Gunn was the Godfather, X-Pac was Mizark Henry (Mark Henry), and Jason Sensation was the Nugget (Owen Hart). One of the funniest segments ever led to a few other impersonations over the years, but this was by far the best.

~ Zamboni 3:16 (9/28/98) – If you’ve seen any wrestling montage over the past ten years then you’ve seen the footage of Austin jumping off a zamboni, over some security guards, and attacking Vince. Austin was then taken away in handcuffs with a huge smile on his face and saying “I ain’t through with ya Vince. I ain’t through with ya not yet by a long shot!”

~ The Debut Of Mr. Socko (10/5/98) – This was during Mankind’s comedic time in the WWE and visited Vince in the hospital while he was laid up with a broken ankle. Mankind brought in a clown and also Mr. Socko for the first time, but certainly not the last. This led to the infamous bedpan to Vince’s head…CLANG! Let’s not forget the forced rectal exam, yuck!

~ Mr. McMahon’s Cement Corvette (10/12/98) – For some reason Vince decided to drive himself to the show that evening. He never did that even when he had two good ankles, but I digress. Vince drove one of his corvettes to the show, parked it in the back, and awaited Austin’s arrival. Little did he know that Austin would show up in a cement truck and make a-hem, mold of the inside of the fancy sports car. In perfect good luck fashion, the camera-side window shattered right as the car was full.

~ Bang 3:16 (10/19/98) – To top off the torment that Austin had laid upon Vince for weeks, he hunted him down like a dog, got him in the ring, and threatened him with a loaded gun. Austin shot the toy at Vince’s head and let him know that “it wasn’t Austin that screwed Vince McMahon, but Vince McMahon that screwed Vince McMahon.” What goes around comes around eh? Oh yes, did I forget to mention that Vince got so scared that he peed himself too?

~ Mankind Wins The WWE Championship Match (1/4/99) – This match is special for many reasons. First it saw Mankind win his first ever WWE Championship which many had wanted for so long, but perhaps it was Nitro that made it so much more important. Raw was airing taped that night and the results had already found their way to the public as has happened so many times before.

Well over on Nitro, Eric Bischoff gave away the ending of Raw before it even happened hoping to spoil it for everyone that may have wanted to switch over. He had given the word to announcer Tony Schiavone to announce the Raw ending and this is how it came off: “Mick Foley, who wrestled here as Cactus Jack a few years ago is going to win their world title tonight! That’ll put a lot of butts in the seats.” Needless to say it backfired and thousands of homes switched over to USA and watched a show they already knew the results to. Raw won the ratings that night as well and never looked back.

~ Stone Cold Beer Truck (3/22/99) – Here’s another one you’ve had to have seen before as the Rock got his title back and was doing a little interview with Vince and Shane in the ring. Austin decided to crash the party with the help of a beer truck. The rest is pure history as the heart of the Corporation got a beer bath. The fans absolutely loved this because not only was it insane but it shut the Rock’s mouth.

~ Monster Truck Vs. Town Car (4/19/99) – The Rock’s feud with Austin continued as he wanted to pay back Austin for throwing his Intercontinental Title in the river two years before so he not only threw Austin’s smoking skull belt into the river, but Austin as well. The mind games continued though as Rock held onto the real belt and looked forward to burying it like he had done to Austin’s career. The Rock constantly called Austin a piece of white trash or trailer trash so the Rattlesnake showed him how country he really was by showing up in a 3:16 monster truck. Right over the top of the town car went the huge tires of the monster truck.

Austin went inside and took care of the Rock before Shane McMahon interfered of course. You know, I guess I never quite realized it while watching it so many years ago. The Rock was seen as the upper-class, rich, Hollywood type while Austin represented the working class, poor, redneck type. I know that the two personas have been recognized many times before but it just never occurred to me how they were opposite sides of the spectrum and against one another.

~ Mean Street Posse Vs. The Stooges (5/10/99) – Shane McMahon’s old neighborhood friends, the Mean Street Posse, had a problem with Vince McMahon’s old cronies Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco. Let’s just say this wasn’t a technical masterpiece. Oddly enough this match was on the highest rated Raw ever, getting over eight million viewers (8.1 rating). It was a short match but still fun to watch and the pop received by the Stooges just seemed deafening. And the line of this DVD set has to go to Jim Ross as Patterson is posing without a shirt on, “And he’s single fellas!”

~ The Greater Power Revealed (6/7/99) – In what was a really fun time during the late nineties, the Corporation and the Ministry were feuding. These two giant factions were at each other’s throats and the Undertaker was constantly tormenting the McMahon family, especially Stephanie. But he always said he was answering to a great power and when it was finally revealed, it showed that Vince McMahon had no remorse for anything as he was the greater power. He had his daughter kidnapped, frightened to death, almost married to the Undertaker, and even strung up on a cross. Linda McMahon was astonished but answered Vince’s claim of “just business” with a brand new CEO. A beer-swilling, foul-mouthed, ass-stomping CEO.

This is a great montage full of some of the best moments from this very long angle. It shows Vince freaking out about Stephanie being kidnapped, the Undertaker driving the car when Steph got in it, and even the burning symbol on the McMahon’s lawn. This is quite possibly my favorite bit of this entire set even if it is very short.

~ Y2J (8/9/99) – During the summer a mysterious countdown began towards a date that wasn’t quite the new millennium as everyone knows it, but to August 9, 1999. As the Rock was cutting a promo on the Big Show, the countdown ended and out stepped one of the biggest free agent signings in history, Chris Jericho. The pyro went off and the music sounded, but as soon as Jericho’s name appeared on the TitanTron, the crowd popped huge. This is an awesome back and forth exchange between two of the best promo-giving personalities ever.

~ The Rock: This Is Your Life (9/27/99) – Mankind and the Rock had been a tag-team called the “Rock ‘n Sock Connection” in which Mankind had long been trying to win the affection of the Great One. So the Rock was in for a big surprise as Mankind did a “This Is Your Life” segment to celebrate his partner. This was an absolutely hilarious segment on both their parts and really was a lot of fun to watch even if it did go on a bit long. Still, it ended up being the highest rated segment in Raw history.

~ Big Bossman Sympathy (11/8/99) – I’m not sure how far down the line this whole thing ranks on the “horrible scale,” but it’s close to the Katie Vick fiasco. The Big Show’s “dad” had died and the Bossman came out reciting inconsiderate poetry, overall rudeness, and even crashed the funeral. In an image that would haunt my visions forever, the Bossman drove off with the casket attached to the car and the Big Show hanging onto the top of the casket for dear life. Luckily this was only the poetry segment.

~ What Happens In Vegas…(11/29/99) – In what would be one of many weddings on Raw, Stephanie was set to marry her boyfriend Test. Triple H decided to crash the ceremony and show footage of a knocked out Stephanie and Trips getting married in Vegas. It ended up working out in the end.

~ Jericho Not The New Champion (4/17/00) – Triple H was the WWE champion and all set to face Chris Jericho in a non-title match, but some goading persuaded Triple H to put the belt on the line. In a nice touch to assure that there would be no outside interference from all of Triple H’s many associated, Jericho hired the APA for protection. I don’t know if I just didn’t remember this moment very well, but watching Jericho capture the title made me mark out like never before.

Still, this was the McMahon-Helmsley Era with Stephanie, Shane, and Triple H in control and what they said, went. So since the official referee of the match didn’t make the call and Earl Hebner (who was being tormented by the Era) made a fast count; the result didn’t stand and Triple H kept the title. Talk about a crowd ready to riot. Man, I miss this whole time because it was just a great time to be a wrestling fan.

~ Shane Purchases WCW (3/26/01) – After decades of battling, Vincent Kennedy McMahon had gotten ready to officially purchase his competition. For the first time ever, Raw and Nitro were being seen in a simulcast so Vince could purchase WCW in front of both audiences. The only problem is that Vince underestimated his own son as Shane showed up in Panama City and bought WCW before Vince could put his name on the dotted line. As a long time fan of WWE for more then two decades, it was great seeing WCW’s last night as their own company.

~ Milk-O-Mania (8/20/01) – On “Stone Cold Appreciation Night,” Austin was the leader of the Alliance against the WWE and had all the members remaining of ECW and WCW in the ring to celebrate their victories. In getting a taste of his own medicine, Austin witnessed the Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle drive a milk truck out to the ring and bathe the Alliance in his own power drink of fresh, wholesome milk. Angle jumping up on the truck, toasting himself, and then downing a couple cartons of milk is still hilarious to see.

~ Triple H Returns (1/7/02) – In May of 2001, Triple H had torn a quadriceps muscle and hadn’t been seen since. Seeing this makes me realize now how many times he’s been injured since and made the triumphant return to a huge ovation. It’s still pretty cool because even with his most recent injury that kept him out for a while, I began to miss seeing him in the ring. Back then though, Kurt Angle had lost a bit of his popularity, or all of it, from his Milk-O-Mania days and was not thrilled to see Triple H back.

~ Past Meets Present (2/18/02) – The nWo had made their first appearance in the WWE the night before at No Mercy, and Hollywood Hulk Hogan wanted to make sure that those who hadn’t seen him in a while knew he was the biggest wrestling star ever. The Rock certainly had something to say about that as two of the undoubtedly biggest stars in the history of the business came face to face for the first time. The crowd’s split reaction from this point all the way through their match at WrestleMania made for fun moments every time they were on the air together. If you’ve never seen this segment before, then make sure you check it out because it is truly one of those goosebump-inducing moments.

~ Worlds Unite: Bischoff Hugs Mr. McMahon (7/15/02) – For years Eric Bischoff tormented Vince McMahon as the head honcho over at WCW. When WCW was bought out by the McMahon family, it put Uncle Eric out of a job and many thought they’d never see him again. Not only did it amaze wrestling fans everywhere to simply see him on WWE television, but seeing Bischoff and McMahon hug was the equivalent of Satan hugging the Anti-Christ.

Disc Three 2003-2008:

~ The Rock Concert (3/24/03) – During the height of a heel run, the Rock sang a lovely little song about Sacramento where Raw was airing from that night. It really was a damn funny song and it seemed that Rock was having a good time in the ring. Austin in the meantime was sitting outside in his truck with tons of speakers aimed right at him. During his second song which was aimed at Austin and Rock legitimately cracked up. There just hasn’t been a feud like this in quite some time.

~ Kane Unmasks (6/23/03) – For years we had seen changes in Kane’s appearance, but never to this degree. As the story goes, the Undertaker’s brother was horribly burned as a child and therefore wore the mask to hide his badly scarred face. Needless to say it was simply another milestone in the Big Red Machine’s career, but this was a momentous occasion.

~ Musical Chairs With Eugene (7/5/04) – Never before has a character gone from being incredibly loved to being incredibly hated so quickly like Eric Bischoff’s retarded nephew Eugene. This was quite creative though as temporary GM Eugene held a game of musical chairs to see who would get a championship match that night. Tajiri, Coach, Tyson Tomko, Stacy Keibler, Chris Jericho, Jerry Lawler, and Ric Flair all took part. As stupid as it seemed at first, it was really funny watching these wrestlers get serious about a kid’s game. Flair even tossed off his jacket, styled, profiled, and shoved Stacy straight to the ground. HA HA!

Why I never thought of using Jericho’s method to win at this game is beyond me. In case someone else is about to sit down, pull the chair out from under them and hit ’em with it.

~ Evolution Beats Up Randy Orton (8/16/04) – Evolution was at full strength especially since Randy Orton now had the World Heavyweight title around his waist. Come on now. You should know that you can’t be in the same faction as Triple H and actually expect him not to want your belt can you? Orton was dumb enough though and received a beatdown and a message.

~ Are You Ready For Some Wrestling? (11/22/04) – With Raw going head to head with Monday Night Football as it usually does and has for fifteen years; it was bound to poke a little fun at its competition eventually. Shelton Benjamin, Vince McMahon, and Trish Stratus did a great and funny bit making fun of the NFL, the NBA, and the FCC.

~ Batista Turns On Triple H (2/21/05) – Batista had won the Royal Rumble match and needed to select which brand’s world title he wanted to fight for. Evolution had a chance to own both world titles and really control the WWE but before the night was over, Evolution instead had one less member. It isn’t often you see Triple H punked out like this either so this was a treat.

~ Shelton Benjamin Vs. Shawn Michaels (5/2/05) – Consider this one of my favorite matches to ever happen on free television. The Gold Rush Tournament was going on and you could not ask for a better match-up then the legend and athleticism of HBK versus the freshness and sheer talent of Benjamin. Benjamin had some fantastic matches with Triple H when he first came on the scene as a singles wrestler and his pure talent has shown through many times since then. But this match with HBK simply showed how good both of these men are. If you’ve seen it, then you know why the finish is so frickin awesome.

~ John Cena Drafted #1 To Raw (6/6/05) – The draft lottery was designed to keep things fresh and new since there were separate brands and some superstars were never given the chance to face certain others. What better way to start it off then to have Smackdown‘s world champion jump shows after three years. Wow, even back then he was getting the boo/yay treatment from the fans. This segment does make me miss Christian though.

~ Kane/Lita Wedding (6/20/05) – As if the whole Lita and Edge shebang wasn’t controversial enough as it is. Kane and Lita seemed to have a bit of a thing going and the Big Red Machine wasn’t going to let his beloved go that easily. Man, Kane has gotten screwed over by women a lot in the course of his career. We all know that weddings in the WWE can’t go on without a hitch, but the ruse of Matt Hardy’s music was a nice touch as a fake out. Still, Kane was around to make sure this wedding didn’t happen as sweetly as the couple had hoped.

~ Shawn Michaels Turns On Hulk Hogan (7/4/05) – If anyone knows how to play a role perfectly it’s Shawn Michaels. After tagging with Hogan in his return to the WWE, HBK just superkicked Hogan to hell after the match. Michael’s stare down at a fallen Hogan is priceless and led to the Icon Vs. Legend match at Summerslam.

~ Jericho Is Fired (8/22/05) – Jericho was working with Bischoff and trying to not only get the title off of Cena, but to get him gone completely. They had worked out a deal to beat Cena and get him off of Raw in a “Loser Is Fired” match. Security took Jericho away after losing the match and he wouldn’t be seen again for over two years.

~ Shawn Michaels Vs. Kurt Angle: Iron Man Match (10/3/05) – Angle and HBK had each won one against the other and it was down to this to determine the big winner. Things didn’t go off quite as planned and the thirty-minute match ended up tied 2 – 2 with Michaels coming up just short. I actually didn’t mind them ending this match so horribly considering that I loved watching them face off. They put on fantastic bouts and the more the better.

~ Stone Cold Stuns The McMahons (10/3/05)Raw was just returning to the USA Network after five years over on SpikeTV and this was the homecoming show. Just like old times, Austin gave a huge stunner to Vince McMahon. And right after that, Shane came out to avenge his father and promptly received the same treatment. Stephanie and her err…assets came on down to the ring next and we all know the Billion Dollar Princess isn’t above receiving a stunner. But Linda McMahon complete with old school WrestleMania theme? Oh hell yeah!

~ Eric Bischoff Trial (12/5/05) – Vince was getting kind of tired of GM Eric Bischoff not having Raw live up to the expectations he had for it. So in a little People’s Court moment with Vince playing the part of Judge Wapner, there was a trial to see if Bischoff deserved to keep his job. Let’s just say that Vince got to tell Uncle Eric the phrase he has told so many before him and that Donald Trump didn’t utter first.

~ Edge/Lita Live Sex Celebration (1/9/06) – The Rated R Superstar won the WWE Title from John Cena after cashing in his Money In The Bank briefcase and wanted to celebrate the only way he thought proper. Hence we had a big bed in the middle of the ring, Edge and Lita strip down, and it got a bit graphic. They took this a lot further and it went on a lot longer then I expected it to. Hey it worked, it was the highest rated Raw segment in over a year. For those that have seen this bit before and know what happened to slip and be seen on Lita; well, it was edited out here. Dammitt.

~ DX Impersonates Shane And Mr. McMahon (6/26/06) – Bringing it back, DX came out and did another spot-on impersonation but this time of Vince and Shane McMahon. Triple H took over the fatherly spot while HBK portrayed and overly energetic Shane-O Mac to perfection. I must admit that this is a pretty funny bit with Triple H doing all of McMahon’s little phrases and HBK just jumping around like a total idiot. Throw on top of all that, footage of Vince in his classic “Stand Back” musical performance and it’s even better. But that isn’t all of course because the real McMahons and the Spirit Squad got to experience what it would be like to be a human toilet.

Now I’m not sure what they used for that a-hem, fecal matter but it looked extremely real.

~ Edge Wins Championship (7/3/06) – Well this was supposed to be a triple threat tag-team match between RVD and a partner, John Cena and a partner, and Edge and a partner but some certain happenings made that entire plan go “up in smoke.” Ever the opportunist, Edge did all he needed to do in order to win the WWE Title for a second time and bring it back to Raw. Listen to Jim Ross complain about Edge stealing the victory from John Cena in this match even though there were three men involved. Ugh!

~ Edge Vs. Shawn Michaels: Street Fight (1/22/07) – Edge was the reigning tag-team champion with Randy Orton in Rated RKO who were in a bit of a big feud with DX at the time. Triple H had suffered a knee injury at New Year’s Revolution that would keep him out of action until Summerslam and pretty much end DX for the time being. It’s a brutal back and forth match-up with plenty of blood and a little help from Randy Orton giving Edge the nod.

~ Shawn Michaels Returns! (10/8/07) – Randy Orton, known as the Legend Killer, was going around literally punting people in the head after his matches with them. In May, HBK was taken out at the hands of Orton and in an intense scene, Michaels’ wife ran into the ring and cried over his fallen body. Randy Orton was presented the WWE Title after John Cena suffered a serious injury and would be out of action for months. Vince McMahon held a ceremony for Orton and wanted all the Raw superstars to come out and shake the new champ’s hand. Triple H was due to be the first at McMahon’s orders but had been beaten to death earlier in the night. A returning HBK stood up for his friend and avenged what Orton had done to him some five months before.

The Video

The event is shown in 1.33:1 Full Screen format and everything looks great from the most recent footage to that of fifteen years ago. Everything has held up nicely and transfers really well to DVD.

The Audio

The event is heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and there were no problems with static or anything else. All sounds good.

Special Features

None – Do you really need any?

TrailersThe Legacy Of Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Triumph & Tragedy Of WCCW, and The Shawn Michaels Story: Heartbreak & Triumph

The Inside Pulse

There isn’t much else to say other then wrestling fans need to have this collection. It is by far one of the greatest compilation sets that I’ve ever seen and you just need to buy it. There is no feature part of it with interviews telling you what Raw is and all that, but if you watch it then you already know what it is. It is simply the best moments and matches from fifteen great years of television. Throughout the course of the set you’ll get little information tidbits that pop up from time to time regarding other memorable moments or trivia about those involved. The set has no special features but there’s no need for them since the entire set is one big special feature in itself. The WWE really outdid themselves on this one by releasing a set that is just what fans have been asking for. We’ve seen the best of Bret Hart, the Road Warriors, Ric Flair, John Cena, and countless others. Now it’s time to see the best of them all. Grab it, buy it, get it as a gift, I don’t care…just get it and enjoy Monday Night Raaaawwwwww!

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for WWE The Best Of Raw 15th Anniversary
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE EVENT

10
THE VIDEO

8
THE AUDIO

8
THE EXTRAS

0
REPLAY VALUE

10
OVERALL
9
(NOT AN AVERAGE)


WWE – The Best Of Raw 15th Anniversary – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Featuring:

John Cena
Hulk Hogan
The Rock
Stone Cold Steve Austin
Triple H
Mr. McMahon
The Undertaker
Bobby Lashley
Bret The Hitman Hart
Shawn Michaels
Goldust
Kane
Brian Pillman
Mick Foley
Chris Jericho
Sean Mooney
Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
Lita
Trish Stratus
Many More…

DVD Release Date: December 26, 2007
Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 540 Minutes on 3 discs

The Event

The WWE used to air a Monday night program called Primetime. It was originally hosted by Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. Together they sat at a desk in a studio with a screen behind them and showed different wrestling matches. After that, Vince McMahon stepped into the picture and took over hosting duties with Heenan but this time it was in a bigger studio in front of a live audience. They would show wrestling matches, have guests on, and just goof off. The third version of the series had a roundtable panel of McMahon and a different array of wrestling personalities from Randy Savage to Mr. Perfect to Sergeant Slaughter and others. Looking back before all of these, Jesse Ventura and Jack Reynolds hosted the show, but for only one year. In eight years time, the series changed the show’s format four times. After that came Monday Night Raw and even though sets, audiences, and wrestlers changed; it’s still the same.

Monday Night Raw started out small and went from being on the fourth floor of an office building in New York to traveling worldwide and performing before millions of fans each year. It certainly had its ups and downs during these long fifteen years, but has proven to be the top dog of them all and defeated all that opposed it. WCW’s Monday
Nitro
tried everything they could to become the premier name in wrestling on Monday nights, and for a long time they succeeded. With the three hour shows, taking some of the top names from the WWE, and especially the nWo; WCW had taken control of the ratings for a long time and looked to severely cripple the McMahon family business. One thing you can be sure of is to never count out Vincent Kennedy McMahon.

The WWE ended up taking over the ratings’ war and winning it for a long time to come. It actually won it up until WCW became defunct and even ECW was no longer around to be a real threat. Raw had won the Monday night wars and proved to be the superior show and still has to this very day. Any big name in wrestling that you can think of from Hulk Hogan to Triple H to Steve Austin to John Cena has appeared on Raw and given so many memorable moments for wrestling fans. It’s really quite enjoyable to finally be able to look back over the many years and see some of the moments we’ve shared with the WWE before and enjoy them all over again.

Disc One 1993-1997:

~ First Raw (1/11/93) – Live from the Manhattan Center in New York City came the first ever Raw and a lot of current and former talent associated with WWE talk about what it was like to do something totally different. Seeing highlights from the first show really brings me back as Max Moon, Doink, the late Crush, and many others were there in that small ballroom. It’s great hearing how the entire ring and set needed to be brought up one piece at a time in an elevator and now looking at the huge production it has become is amazing.

~ Mr. Perfect Vs. Ric Flair: Loser Leaves WWE Match (1/18/93) – The introductions for the Nature Boy and the late Curt Hennig (Mr. Perfect) are shown and then there are a few fast forwards to different points in the match. This was during one of the few times Hennig was actually a face and it led to a very unexpected ending to this match much to the chagrin of Bobby Heenan.

~ Parking Lot Brawl (5/10/93) – Shawn Michaels was the current Intercontinental Champion and looking forward to defending his title later in the night against Hacksaw Jim Duggan until Mr. Perfect attacked him during an interview. The two brawled for a bit causing a lot of damage to a car out on the street before finally being pulled apart by security.

~ Razor Ramon Vs. The Kid (5/17/93) – The Kid (Sean “X-Pac” Waltman) was skinnier then a pole and had been appearing on Raw in recent weeks under many different names. Razor Ramon was a bonafide superstar and controlled the match, but it only takes one false move and a three count to see a dramatic upset.

~ Shawn Michaels Vs. Marty Jannetty: Intercontinental Championship Match (5/17/93) – A very cocky Shawn Michaels, before the days of the beloved Heartbreak Kid, laid out an open challenge to anyone, anytime, and anywhere. Decked out in sunglasses and a hooded sweatshirt, Jannetty appeared before his former partner and accepted the challenge in what would go on to be 1993’s Match Of The Year.

~ Gorilla Monsoon Fires Bobby “The Brain” Heenan (12/6/93) – Bobby Heenan’s official departure from the WWE before heading to WCW ended this night of Raw as Monsoon physically ejected the Brain from the building.

~ Bret “Hit Man” Hart Vs. 1-2-3 Kid: WWE Championship Match (7/11/94) – Now known as the 1-2-3 Kid and a crowd favorite, he was going up against another big name in current WWE Champion Bret Hart. Considered to be totally out of his league, the Kid held his own with the champ and wrestled a fantastic match that showed a great amount of sportsmanship after it was all over. This is an awesome match and really a great display of technical ability from both men.

~ The Search For Undertaker (8/94) – The Undertaker had disappeared after losing a casket match to Yokozuna at the Royal Rumble. Leslie Nielsen (star of Police Squad!/Naked Gun) traveled the “world” in search of him. This was when Ted Dibiase had proclaimed to have the Undertaker under his control through the use of his great wealth. It led to the payoff match at Summerslam between the Undertaker and the Underfaker.

~ King’s Court With William Shatner (1/9/95) – Captain Kirk came out to shill his new show and ended up getting the best of Lawler. Rather uninspiring and kind of a strange choice to include in this set. Perhaps it was to match up with Shatner inducting Lawler into the WWE Hall Of Fame.

~ Shawn Michaels Vs. Owen Hart (11/20/95) – One of the greatest performers of all time in Shawn Michaels took on one of the greatest wrestlers ever in the late Owen Hart. It was another classic match-up between the two stars that ended with one of the most memorable endings to an episode of Raw ever. Michaels collapsed in the ring and required serious medical attention keeping him out of action until the Royal Rumble.

~ Vader Attacks WWE President, Gorilla Monsoon (1/22/96) – The beast known as Vader had debuted in the WWE just the night before at the Royal Rumble and had just won a match over Savio Vega. When Vader decided to destroy Vega some more along with some referees, Monsoon stepped in to stop the carnage. Not even his manager Jim Cornette could hold back Vader from destroying Monsoon and becoming the first superstar to ever attack a WWE President.

~ A Touch Of Goldust (5/27/96) – Ahmed Johnson had just been taken out by Owen Hart and the rest of Cornette’s camp. The flamboyant Goldust was quick on the draw with a little (shudder) mouth-to-mouth. Johnson proceeded to take out anyone in his path including Bob Holly. I doubt Hardcore would let that fly today.

~ Pillman’s Got A Gun (11/4/96) – This may be one of the most memorable moments in the history of the show, at least for me. Stone Cold Steve Austin and the late Brian Pillman (former tag-team partners in the Hollywood Blondes) had been feuding for quite some time. Pillman was laid up at home with his family and fearing for his life against Austin. During an interview with Pillman, Austin broke into the house and started going ballistic. Pillman brandished a gun as we lost the picture.

The WWE actually had to apologize to the USA Network in order to stay on the air. The “attitude era” was just getting started.

~ Mankind Vs. Undertaker: No Holds Barred Match (12/9/96) – The Undertaker was out with a bit of a new and more gothic look and ready to face someone that had become his arch-enemy so to speak, Mankind. The Undertaker’s long time handler Paul Bearer was now aligned with Mankind, and it did not make the dead man happy. They had much more brutal matches in the months before including a Boiler Room Brawl and the first ever Buried Alive match.

~ Shawn Loses His Smile (2/13/97) – In a very tear-filled interview that has even recently been referenced on Raw some ten years later, Shawn was the reigning WWE Champion and getting ready to go under the knife for knee surgery. He wasn’t sure if he’d ever be able to come back and wrestle again so he turned over the belt and thanked everyone. He hoped he could come back, but wouldn’t be able to until he was healed up and again found his smile.

~ The Ninth Wonder Of The World (2/17/97) – The freakish Goldust was doing an interview discussing how he felt about the offer Hunter Hearst Helmsley made for Goldust’s valet Marlena. A much smaller Triple H came out and took care of Goldust leaving Marlena to slap him across the face. In steps the amazon woman that would go on to be known as Chyna and eventually change the face of women in wrestling.

~ Original ECW Invasion (2/24/97) – Jerry Lawler had stepped foot onto the grounds of ECW and challenged them to show up at Raw and see what a real wrestling company was like. Well, they accepted and ECW was in the house to help promote their upcoming PPV. It was awesome seeing Heyman, Saturn, Kronus, the bWo, Sandman, Dreamer, Sabu, Taz, and more in a WWE ring. At the time, this kind of thing was completely unheard of because there were three main wrestling promotions and now two of them were joined together for a little while. It was an extreme mark-out moment for all fans.

~ Owen Hart Vs. British Bulldog: WWE European Championship Match (3/3/97) – Reigning tag-team champs Owen Hart and the late British Bulldog had made it to the finals of a tournament looking to crown the first ever European Champion. This was yet another great match involving the Hart family and really makes me miss both of these superstars even more.

~ Bret Speaks His Mind (3/17/97) – Thanks to WCW constantly winning the ratings war with Nitro, the WWE needed a makeover. Raw lost the giant letters and strange characters to make way for a huge new set and much more edgier superstars. The attitude era was now in full swing and Bret Hart wasn’t happy about it. This interview seemed so cool too because Bret just went off on McMahon with half a steel cage set up from his last match. He went on a profanity-laced tirade that kind of was exactly what he was speaking against if you really think about it.

~ Flag Match: United States Vs. Canada (7/21/97) – The Hart Foundation (Bret and Owen Hart, British Bulldog) was taking on Dude Love, the Undertaker, and Austin in this flag match and it was live in Canada so the so-called heels (the Hart Foundation) had the full support of the crowd. Canadian flags were waving wildly all around the building. The odd team of Taker, Austin, and Dude Love were working well together and would usually be so very popular but were getting booed out of the building. Brian Pillman was back and would make his presence known in a big way.

~ Stone Cold Stuns The Boss (9/22/97) – In a classic moment that paved the way for years to come, Austin was trying to come back from a severe neck/spinal injury received at the hands of Owen Hart. Mr. McMahon tried to talk some sense into Austin but a stunner was the only response he would get. Seeing McMahon lying there like a fish out of water is classic as is Austin’s smile as he’s led off to jail. This started a long time of fun events to come.

~ Bret Screwed Bret (11/17/97) – Jim Ross sat down with McMahon after the famous “Montreal Screwjob” in which Bret Hart took off for WCW after “losing” the WWE Title to Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series. Bret went off by spitting on McMahon, tearing up the set, and even drawing the letters W-C-W in the air before he left the ring. McMahon said that none of it was his fault and Bret didn’t want to conform to tradition so he screwed over himself.

There is also mention of the rumored “twenty-year contract” that Bret had signed in 1996 and should not have left the WWE at the time. McMahon claimed it was a mutual agreement for mutual reasons on his part and creative reasons on Bret’s part that the deal be renegotiated. It led to a parting and what seemingly was a landslide to a bad part of Bret’s storied career.

~ Sable In A Sack (12/8/97) – Marc Mero just couldn’t come to grips with the fact that Sable was one thousand times more popular then he would ever be so he brought out his wife in a burlap sack. She would soon reveal that there was a lot less material underneath. If only Mero had gone back to his Johnny B. Badd persona.

~ Gold Meets Water (12/15/97) – The Nation Of Domination (NOD) was a force to be reckoned with; especially blue-chipper Rocky Maivia aka The Rock. Austin was in the middle of a huge feud with all the members of NOD. Austin handed over the Intercontinental Title to the Rock by orders of Mr. McMahon but then proceeded to steal the belt right back. In one of my favorite moments on Raw ever that kept this long-running feud of Austin/Rock going; the Rattlesnake showed up on the TitanTron and chucked the belt right into the New Hampshire River.

~ Christmas With DX (12/22/97) – On behalf of DX, they would like to wish a Merry Christmas. Lookit those nuts! Slaughter thought he got the upper hand on DX, but come on now. This one was just too easy.

Disc Two 1998-2002:

~ “Tyson And Austin” (1/19/98) – At the time, Mike Tyson was truly the baddest man on the planet and a huge name to have on Raw. Mr. McMahon was ecstatic by his arrival and what it meant for the WWE. As he should have expected though, Stone Cold Steve Austin was there to make his life a living hell and it set up a nice long story leading into WrestleMania. The best about this whole thing was how anxious Tyson seemed to meet Austin and Austin could have cared less. And I know it wouldn’t happen but when Tyson pushed Austin? I would have given anything to see them actually go toe to toe for a couple minutes.

~ DX Special Report (2/2/98) – If you’re a wrestling fan then you’ve probably seen this at some point or another. Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and Chyna hold a “presidential address” to discuss the stipulations placed upon them. It’s a shame that the censored version is included here because it is so much funnier hearing them just go back and forth.

~ Dumpster Diving (2/2/98) – Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie (Terry Funk) were longtime friends and tag-team partners, but they requested a match with each other and they got it. It was a brutal enough match on its own but then the New Age Outlaws decided to tie both of them into a dumpster and roll it right off the ramp and onto the floor below. That would be the final straw needed for the Outlaws to almost officially become a part of DX. Billy Gunn’s “We didn’t mean to hurt anybody!” to Mr. McMahon after it was all over is hilarious.

~ Formation Of The New DX – X-Pac Returns (3/30/98) – This was the passing of the degenerate torch after Mike Tyson turned on Shawn Michaels and DX. Triple H took over the leadership role and looked to his friends for help. X-Pac returned to the WWE and stepped right into one of the biggest factions in wrestling history. X-Pac who just left WCW decided to cut a little shoot promo on Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff. Things were really getting serious here in the Monday night wars and it showed on almost every episode each week.

It was quite a shame that Hall and Nash couldn’t get over to WWE at the time because it would have created a huge stir and been even more of a mark-out moment. Looking back now, I can’t believe how excited I got over seeing X-Pac back in the WWE.

~ Stone Cold Vs. Mr. McMahon (4/13/98) – This was Vince’s first ever match in the WWE and took place when he was fifty-two years old and in better shape then most twenty-somethings in the world today. Austin was the WWE Champion at the time and in the prime of his career. This would mark only the first of many matches between the two sworn enemies and the first night in two years that Raw beat Nitro in the ratings. This couldn’t really be thought of as much of a match though considering it was a transition into a feud involving Austin and Dude Love.

~ DX Invades WCW (4/27/98) – Another awesome moment in the Monday night war timeline as DX went the short distance to where WCW was putting on a show at the same time and talked to the people outside. They dressed up in army fatigues, war paint, and disguises to say just how much WCW sucked. When they took footage of the board outside the arena offering free tickets to Nitro though; well that simply just took the cake.

~ DX Nation (7/6/98) – This was classic DX came out dressed as the Nation Of Domination and imitated them to perfection. Triple H was the Crock (the Rock), Road Dogg was B-Lo (D-Lo Brown), Billy Gunn was the Godfather, X-Pac was Mizark Henry (Mark Henry), and Jason Sensation was the Nugget (Owen Hart). One of the funniest segments ever led to a few other impersonations over the years, but this was by far the best.

~ Zamboni 3:16 (9/28/98) – If you’ve seen any wrestling montage over the past ten years then you’ve seen the footage of Austin jumping off a zamboni, over some security guards, and attacking Vince. Austin was then taken away in handcuffs with a huge smile on his face and saying “I ain’t through with ya Vince. I ain’t through with ya not yet by a long shot!”

~ The Debut Of Mr. Socko (10/5/98) – This was during Mankind’s comedic time in the WWE and visited Vince in the hospital while he was laid up with a broken ankle. Mankind brought in a clown and also Mr. Socko for the first time, but certainly not the last. This led to the infamous bedpan to Vince’s head…CLANG! Let’s not forget the forced rectal exam, yuck!

~ Mr. McMahon’s Cement Corvette (10/12/98) – For some reason Vince decided to drive himself to the show that evening. He never did that even when he had two good ankles, but I digress. Vince drove one of his corvettes to the show, parked it in the back, and awaited Austin’s arrival. Little did he know that Austin would show up in a cement truck and make a-hem, mold of the inside of the fancy sports car. In perfect good luck fashion, the camera-side window shattered right as the car was full.

~ Bang 3:16 (10/19/98) – To top off the torment that Austin had laid upon Vince for weeks, he hunted him down like a dog, got him in the ring, and threatened him with a loaded gun. Austin shot the toy at Vince’s head and let him know that “it wasn’t Austin that screwed Vince McMahon, but Vince McMahon that screwed Vince McMahon.” What goes around comes around eh? Oh yes, did I forget to mention that Vince got so scared that he peed himself too?

~ Mankind Wins The WWE Championship Match (1/4/99) – This match is special for many reasons. First it saw Mankind win his first ever WWE Championship which many had wanted for so long, but perhaps it was Nitro that made it so much more important. Raw was airing taped that night and the results had already found their way to the public as has happened so many times before.

Well over on Nitro, Eric Bischoff gave away the ending of Raw before it even happened hoping to spoil it for everyone that may have wanted to switch over. He had given the word to announcer Tony Schiavone to announce the Raw ending and this is how it came off: “Mick Foley, who wrestled here as Cactus Jack a few years ago is going to win their world title tonight! That’ll put a lot of butts in the seats.” Needless to say it backfired and thousands of homes switched over to USA and watched a show they already knew the results to. Raw won the ratings that night as well and never looked back.

~ Stone Cold Beer Truck (3/22/99) – Here’s another one you’ve had to have seen before as the Rock got his title back and was doing a little interview with Vince and Shane in the ring. Austin decided to crash the party with the help of a beer truck. The rest is pure history as the heart of the Corporation got a beer bath. The fans absolutely loved this because not only was it insane but it shut the Rock’s mouth.

~ Monster Truck Vs. Town Car (4/19/99) – The Rock’s feud with Austin continued as he wanted to pay back Austin for throwing his Intercontinental Title in the river two years before so he not only threw Austin’s smoking skull belt into the river, but Austin as well. The mind games continued though as Rock held onto the real belt and looked forward to burying it like he had done to Austin’s career. The Rock constantly called Austin a piece of white trash or trailer trash so the Rattlesnake showed him how country he really was by showing up in a 3:16 monster truck. Right over the top of the town car went the huge tires of the monster truck.

Austin went inside and took care of the Rock before Shane McMahon interfered of course. You know, I guess I never quite realized it while watching it so many years ago. The Rock was seen as the upper-class, rich, Hollywood type while Austin represented the working class, poor, redneck type. I know that the two personas have been recognized many times before but it just never occurred to me how they were opposite sides of the spectrum and against one another.

~ Mean Street Posse Vs. The Stooges (5/10/99) – Shane McMahon’s old neighborhood friends, the Mean Street Posse, had a problem with Vince McMahon’s old cronies Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco. Let’s just say this wasn’t a technical masterpiece. Oddly enough this match was on the highest rated Raw ever, getting over eight million viewers (8.1 rating). It was a short match but still fun to watch and the pop received by the Stooges just seemed deafening. And the line of this DVD set has to go to Jim Ross as Patterson is posing without a shirt on, “And he’s single fellas!”

~ The Greater Power Revealed (6/7/99) – In what was a really fun time during the late nineties, the Corporation and the Ministry were feuding. These two giant factions were at each other’s throats and the Undertaker was constantly tormenting the McMahon family, especially Stephanie. But he always said he was answering to a great power and when it was finally revealed, it showed that Vince McMahon had no remorse for anything as he was the greater power. He had his daughter kidnapped, frightened to death, almost married to the Undertaker, and even strung up on a cross. Linda McMahon was astonished but answered Vince’s claim of “just business” with a brand new CEO. A beer-swilling, foul-mouthed, ass-stomping CEO.

This is a great montage full of some of the best moments from this very long angle. It shows Vince freaking out about Stephanie being kidnapped, the Undertaker driving the car when Steph got in it, and even the burning symbol on the McMahon’s lawn. This is quite possibly my favorite bit of this entire set even if it is very short.

~ Y2J (8/9/99) – During the summer a mysterious countdown began towards a date that wasn’t quite the new millennium as everyone knows it, but to August 9, 1999. As the Rock was cutting a promo on the Big Show, the countdown ended and out stepped one of the biggest free agent signings in history, Chris Jericho. The pyro went off and the music sounded, but as soon as Jericho’s name appeared on the TitanTron, the crowd popped huge. This is an awesome back and forth exchange between two of the best promo-giving personalities ever.

~ The Rock: This Is Your Life (9/27/99) – Mankind and the Rock had been a tag-team called the “Rock ‘n Sock Connection” in which Mankind had long been trying to win the affection of the Great One. So the Rock was in for a big surprise as Mankind did a “This Is Your Life” segment to celebrate his partner. This was an absolutely hilarious segment on both their parts and really was a lot of fun to watch even if it did go on a bit long. Still, it ended up being the highest rated segment in Raw history.

~ Big Bossman Sympathy (11/8/99) – I’m not sure how far down the line this whole thing ranks on the “horrible scale,” but it’s close to the Katie Vick fiasco. The Big Show’s “dad” had died and the Bossman came out reciting inconsiderate poetry, overall rudeness, and even crashed the funeral. In an image that would haunt my visions forever, the Bossman drove off with the casket attached to the car and the Big Show hanging onto the top of the casket for dear life. Luckily this was only the poetry segment.

~ What Happens In Vegas…(11/29/99) – In what would be one of many weddings on Raw, Stephanie was set to marry her boyfriend Test. Triple H decided to crash the ceremony and show footage of a knocked out Stephanie and Trips getting married in Vegas. It ended up working out in the end.

~ Jericho Not The New Champion (4/17/00) – Triple H was the WWE champion and all set to face Chris Jericho in a non-title match, but some goading persuaded Triple H to put the belt on the line. In a nice touch to assure that there would be no outside interference from all of Triple H’s many associated, Jericho hired the APA for protection. I don’t know if I just didn’t remember this moment very well, but watching Jericho capture the title made me mark out like never before.

Still, this was the McMahon-Helmsley Era with Stephanie, Shane, and Triple H in control and what they said, went. So since the official referee of the match didn’t make the call and Earl Hebner (who was being tormented by the Era) made a fast count; the result didn’t stand and Triple H kept the title. Talk about a crowd ready to riot. Man, I miss this whole time because it was just a great time to be a wrestling fan.

~ Shane Purchases WCW (3/26/01) – After decades of battling, Vincent Kennedy McMahon had gotten ready to officially purchase his competition. For the first time ever, Raw and Nitro were being seen in a simulcast so Vince could purchase WCW in front of both audiences. The only problem is that Vince underestimated his own son as Shane showed up in Panama City and bought WCW before Vince could put his name on the dotted line. As a long time fan of WWE for more then two decades, it was great seeing WCW’s last night as their own company.

~ Milk-O-Mania (8/20/01) – On “Stone Cold Appreciation Night,” Austin was the leader of the Alliance against the WWE and had all the members remaining of ECW and WCW in the ring to celebrate their victories. In getting a taste of his own medicine, Austin witnessed the Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle drive a milk truck out to the ring and bathe the Alliance in his own power drink of fresh, wholesome milk. Angle jumping up on the truck, toasting himself, and then downing a couple cartons of milk is still hilarious to see.

~ Triple H Returns (1/7/02) – In May of 2001, Triple H had torn a quadriceps muscle and hadn’t been seen since. Seeing this makes me realize now how many times he’s been injured since and made the triumphant return to a huge ovation. It’s still pretty cool because even with his most recent injury that kept him out for a while, I began to miss seeing him in the ring. Back then though, Kurt Angle had lost a bit of his popularity, or all of it, from his Milk-O-Mania days and was not thrilled to see Triple H back.

~ Past Meets Present (2/18/02) – The nWo had made their first appearance in the WWE the night before at No Mercy, and Hollywood Hulk Hogan wanted to make sure that those who hadn’t seen him in a while knew he was the biggest wrestling star ever. The Rock certainly had something to say about that as two of the undoubtedly biggest stars in the history of the business came face to face for the first time. The crowd’s split reaction from this point all the way through their match at WrestleMania made for fun moments every time they were on the air together. If you’ve never seen this segment before, then make sure you check it out because it is truly one of those goosebump-inducing moments.

~ Worlds Unite: Bischoff Hugs Mr. McMahon (7/15/02) – For years Eric Bischoff tormented Vince McMahon as the head honcho over at WCW. When WCW was bought out by the McMahon family, it put Uncle Eric out of a job and many thought they’d never see him again. Not only did it amaze wrestling fans everywhere to simply see him on WWE television, but seeing Bischoff and McMahon hug was the equivalent of Satan hugging the Anti-Christ.

Disc Three 2003-2008:

~ The Rock Concert (3/24/03) – During the height of a heel run, the Rock sang a lovely little song about Sacramento where Raw was airing from that night. It really was a damn funny song and it seemed that Rock was having a good time in the ring. Austin in the meantime was sitting outside in his truck with tons of speakers aimed right at him. During his second song which was aimed at Austin and Rock legitimately cracked up. There just hasn’t been a feud like this in quite some time.

~ Kane Unmasks (6/23/03) – For years we had seen changes in Kane’s appearance, but never to this degree. As the story goes, the Undertaker’s brother was horribly burned as a child and therefore wore the mask to hide his badly scarred face. Needless to say it was simply another milestone in the Big Red Machine’s career, but this was a momentous occasion.

~ Musical Chairs With Eugene (7/5/04) – Never before has a character gone from being incredibly loved to being incredibly hated so quickly like Eric Bischoff’s retarded nephew Eugene. This was quite creative though as temporary GM Eugene held a game of musical chairs to see who would get a championship match that night. Tajiri, Coach, Tyson Tomko, Stacy Keibler, Chris Jericho, Jerry Lawler, and Ric Flair all took part. As stupid as it seemed at first, it was really funny watching these wrestlers get serious about a kid’s game. Flair even tossed off his jacket, styled, profiled, and shoved Stacy straight to the ground. HA HA!

Why I never thought of using Jericho’s method to win at this game is beyond me. In case someone else is about to sit down, pull the chair out from under them and hit ’em with it.

~ Evolution Beats Up Randy Orton (8/16/04) – Evolution was at full strength especially since Randy Orton now had the World Heavyweight title around his waist. Come on now. You should know that you can’t be in the same faction as Triple H and actually expect him not to want your belt can you? Orton was dumb enough though and received a beatdown and a message.

~ Are You Ready For Some Wrestling? (11/22/04) – With Raw going head to head with Monday Night Football as it usually does and has for fifteen years; it was bound to poke a little fun at its competition eventually. Shelton Benjamin, Vince McMahon, and Trish Stratus did a great and funny bit making fun of the NFL, the NBA, and the FCC.

~ Batista Turns On Triple H (2/21/05) – Batista had won the Royal Rumble match and needed to select which brand’s world title he wanted to fight for. Evolution had a chance to own both world titles and really control the WWE but before the night was over, Evolution instead had one less member. It isn’t often you see Triple H punked out like this either so this was a treat.

~ Shelton Benjamin Vs. Shawn Michaels (5/2/05) – Consider this one of my favorite matches to ever happen on free television. The Gold Rush Tournament was going on and you could not ask for a better match-up then the legend and athleticism of HBK versus the freshness and sheer talent of Benjamin. Benjamin had some fantastic matches with Triple H when he first came on the scene as a singles wrestler and his pure talent has shown through many times since then. But this match with HBK simply showed how good both of these men are. If you’ve seen it, then you know why the finish is so frickin awesome.

~ John Cena Drafted #1 To Raw (6/6/05) – The draft lottery was designed to keep things fresh and new since there were separate brands and some superstars were never given the chance to face certain others. What better way to start it off then to have Smackdown‘s world champion jump shows after three years. Wow, even back then he was getting the boo/yay treatment from the fans. This segment does make me miss Christian though.

~ Kane/Lita Wedding (6/20/05) – As if the whole Lita and Edge shebang wasn’t controversial enough as it is. Kane and Lita seemed to have a bit of a thing going and the Big Red Machine wasn’t going to let his beloved go that easily. Man, Kane has gotten screwed over by women a lot in the course of his career. We all know that weddings in the WWE can’t go on without a hitch, but the ruse of Matt Hardy’s music was a nice touch as a fake out. Still, Kane was around to make sure this wedding didn’t happen as sweetly as the couple had hoped.

~ Shawn Michaels Turns On Hulk Hogan (7/4/05) – If anyone knows how to play a role perfectly it’s Shawn Michaels. After tagging with Hogan in his return to the WWE, HBK just superkicked Hogan to hell after the match. Michael’s stare down at a fallen Hogan is priceless and led to the Icon Vs. Legend match at Summerslam.

~ Jericho Is Fired (8/22/05) – Jericho was working with Bischoff and trying to not only get the title off of Cena, but to get him gone completely. They had worked out a deal to beat Cena and get him off of Raw in a “Loser Is Fired” match. Security took Jericho away after losing the match and he wouldn’t be seen again for over two years.

~ Shawn Michaels Vs. Kurt Angle: Iron Man Match (10/3/05) – Angle and HBK had each won one against the other and it was down to this to determine the big winner. Things didn’t go off quite as planned and the thirty-minute match ended up tied 2 – 2 with Michaels coming up just short. I actually didn’t mind them ending this match so horribly considering that I loved watching them face off. They put on fantastic bouts and the more the better.

~ Stone Cold Stuns The McMahons (10/3/05)Raw was just returning to the USA Network after five years over on SpikeTV and this was the homecoming show. Just like old times, Austin gave a huge stunner to Vince McMahon. And right after that, Shane came out to avenge his father and promptly received the same treatment. Stephanie and her err…assets came on down to the ring next and we all know the Billion Dollar Princess isn’t above receiving a stunner. But Linda McMahon complete with old school WrestleMania theme? Oh hell yeah!

~ Eric Bischoff Trial (12/5/05) – Vince was getting kind of tired of GM Eric Bischoff not having Raw live up to the expectations he had for it. So in a little People’s Court moment with Vince playing the part of Judge Wapner, there was a trial to see if Bischoff deserved to keep his job. Let’s just say that Vince got to tell Uncle Eric the phrase he has told so many before him and that Donald Trump didn’t utter first.

~ Edge/Lita Live Sex Celebration (1/9/06) – The Rated R Superstar won the WWE Title from John Cena after cashing in his Money In The Bank briefcase and wanted to celebrate the only way he thought proper. Hence we had a big bed in the middle of the ring, Edge and Lita strip down, and it got a bit graphic. They took this a lot further and it went on a lot longer then I expected it to. Hey it worked, it was the highest rated Raw segment in over a year. For those that have seen this bit before and know what happened to slip and be seen on Lita; well, it was edited out here. Dammitt.

~ DX Impersonates Shane And Mr. McMahon (6/26/06) – Bringing it back, DX came out and did another spot-on impersonation but this time of Vince and Shane McMahon. Triple H took over the fatherly spot while HBK portrayed and overly energetic Shane-O Mac to perfection. I must admit that this is a pretty funny bit with Triple H doing all of McMahon’s little phrases and HBK just jumping around like a total idiot. Throw on top of all that, footage of Vince in his classic “Stand Back” musical performance and it’s even better. But that isn’t all of course because the real McMahons and the Spirit Squad got to experience what it would be like to be a human toilet.

Now I’m not sure what they used for that a-hem, fecal matter but it looked extremely real.

~ Edge Wins Championship (7/3/06) – Well this was supposed to be a triple threat tag-team match between RVD and a partner, John Cena and a partner, and Edge and a partner but some certain happenings made that entire plan go “up in smoke.” Ever the opportunist, Edge did all he needed to do in order to win the WWE Title for a second time and bring it back to Raw. Listen to Jim Ross complain about Edge stealing the victory from John Cena in this match even though there were three men involved. Ugh!

~ Edge Vs. Shawn Michaels: Street Fight (1/22/07) – Edge was the reigning tag-team champion with Randy Orton in Rated RKO who were in a bit of a big feud with DX at the time. Triple H had suffered a knee injury at New Year’s Revolution that would keep him out of action until Summerslam and pretty much end DX for the time being. It’s a brutal back and forth match-up with plenty of blood and a little help from Randy Orton giving Edge the nod.

~ Shawn Michaels Returns! (10/8/07) – Randy Orton, known as the Legend Killer, was going around literally punting people in the head after his matches with them. In May, HBK was taken out at the hands of Orton and in an intense scene, Michaels’ wife ran into the ring and cried over his fallen body. Randy Orton was presented the WWE Title after John Cena suffered a serious injury and would be out of action for months. Vince McMahon held a ceremony for Orton and wanted all the Raw superstars to come out and shake the new champ’s hand. Triple H was due to be the first at McMahon’s orders but had been beaten to death earlier in the night. A returning HBK stood up for his friend and avenged what Orton had done to him some five months before.

The Video

The event is shown in 1.33:1 Full Screen format and everything looks great from the most recent footage to that of fifteen years ago. Everything has held up nicely and transfers really well to DVD.

The Audio

The event is heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and there were no problems with static or anything else. All sounds good.

Special Features

None – Do you really need any?

TrailersThe Legacy Of Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Triumph & Tragedy Of WCCW, and The Shawn Michaels Story: Heartbreak & Triumph

The Inside Pulse

There isn’t much else to say other then wrestling fans need to have this collection. It is by far one of the greatest compilation sets that I’ve ever seen and you just need to buy it. There is no feature part of it with interviews telling you what Raw is and all that, but if you watch it then you already know what it is. It is simply the best moments and matches from fifteen great years of television. Throughout the course of the set you’ll get little information tidbits that pop up from time to time regarding other memorable moments or trivia about those involved. The set has no special features but there’s no need for them since the entire set is one big special feature in itself. The WWE really outdid themselves on this one by releasing a set that is just what fans have been asking for. We’ve seen the best of Bret Hart, the Road Warriors, Ric Flair, John Cena, and countless others. Now it’s time to see the best of them all. Grab it, buy it, get it as a gift, I don’t care…just get it and enjoy Monday Night Raaaawwwwww!







The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for WWE The Best Of Raw 15th Anniversary
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE EVENT
10
THE VIDEO
8
THE AUDIO
8
THE EXTRAS
0
REPLAY VALUE
10
OVERALL
9
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

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