The Spotlight On The 25th Anniversary of Monday Night Raw

Huge news in the world of WWE today as it was announced that for the first time in its history WWE Monday Night Raw with take place live and air from two separate locations. In honor of its 25th Anniversary, WWE Monday Night Raw will emanate live from the Barclays Center as well as the Manhattan Center on January 22nd, 2018. This is the first time that WWE has ran a live broadcast from two different locations in a number of years, the most famous being Wrestlemania which aired live from Los Angeles, California, Chicago Illinois, and Long Island, New York. Of course, the Manhattan Center was the site of the first ever Monday Night Raw taping way back on January 11th, 1993. This is the first time that WWE has ran the Manhattan Center since a taping of WWEECW back in 2006 when the crowd infamously turned on a Batista Vs. Big Show match by chanting such chants as “Change The Channel”. It’s interesting to point out that the original episodes of Raw were actually taped in the Grand Ballroom which is the smaller of the venues in Manhattan Center, along with the most familiar Hammerstein Ballroom. It’ll be interesting to see in WWE decides to run the Grand Ballroom or sticks with the Hammerstein Ballroom, which is more commonly used for bigger events such as ECW pay per views back in the early 2000s and, more recently, Ring of Honor’s annual Final Battle Pay Per View.
WWE announced that The Undertaker, Shawn Micahels and Kevin Nash will all be making appearances at the Manhattan Center portion of the taping. This is pretty cool as both Michaels and The Undertaker both competed on the very first edition of Monday Night Raw. From this tidbit, I would think that the Manhattan Center taping will be more appearance centered with not as big of an emphasis on the matches taking place at the Center whereas the taping taking place at the Barclays Center having more of a focus on in ring matches. (though matches are also listed as taking place at the Manhattan Center so there will be matches on both shows). Pwinsider broke a story last week that WWE has already confirmed a DVD release on the 25 years of WWE Raw. While nothing is confirmed for the DVD, it would be fair to assume that this special will be included on the DVD and some post Raw dark matches for the live Manhattan Center crowd would make for good DVD extras if they decide to go that route. 
While it still is over 2 months away from the 25th Anniversary of Raw, and a lot can change, this is the first advertised WWE appearance of the Undertaker following his loss to Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania. It’ll be interesting to see if Undertaker is there merely for an appearance or if perhaps he will be there to kick off his involvement at next year’s Wrestlemania. I should add that it’s interesting that Undertaker is being promoted as a Legend, which is usually a term used for WWE Superstars following their retirement from active in ring competition, but I wouldn’t read too much into that as The Undertaker hasn’t been a full time performer for WWE since 2010. 
Lastly, it is important to point out that WWE is promoting that both Superstars from Raw and Smcakdown Live will be in attendance from both venues. This is the first time both superstars from Raw and Smackdown Live have been advertised as appearing together since last year’s draft with the exception of the big four pay per view events (Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, Summerslam and Survivor Series). The 25th Anniversary of Raw will also take place on the go home episode of Raw before the 2018 Royal Rumble (the final Raw before the Royal Rumble), taking place just 6 days beforehand.  
The fact that WWE is making such a big deal over the 25th Anniversary of Raw comes as no surprise, they did big special editions of Raw for the 10th Anniversary, the 15th Anniversary and, more recently, the 1000th Episode of Raw which ended up being the start of Monday Night Raw expanding to three hours permanently. It’ll be interesting to see what types of special events and announcements WWE will announce for the 25th Anniversary of Raw and, as always, you can keep it locked right here to thedailyspotlght.com as updates continue to come in. For those interested, the official press release for the 25th Anniversary of Monday Night Raw is attached below. 
WWE® to Celebrate 25th Anniversary of Raw® Live on USA Network on January 22

Tickets Available This Friday, November 3
STAMFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– The 25th anniversary of Monday Night Raw® will emanate from Barclays Center and Manhattan Center in New York City on Monday, January 22, 2018, and air live on USA Network at 8/7C. Tickets are available for each event starting this Friday, November 3 through all Ticketmaster outlets, http://www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000.
WWE Superstars from both Monday Night Raw and SmackDown® Live will be at Barclays Center, while the event at Manhattan Center, the site of the first episode of Raw, will feature both WWE Superstars competing, and special appearances by WWE Legends Undertaker®, Shawn Michaels® and Kevin Nash®, amongst others. VIP packages, including a meet and greet with a WWE Legend, will be available for fans at Manhattan Center.
“We look forward to celebrating this unmatched milestone with our fans around the world, but 25 years only marks the beginning of WWE surprising, delighting and entertaining generations to come,” said WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon.
Monday Night Raw debuted on January 11, 1993 from the Manhattan Center, and since that time, has been broadcast from iconic venues around the world. Raw is the longest-running, weekly episodic program in U.S. primetime TV history and is one of the most-watched, regularly scheduled programs on cable, airing live every Monday night on USA. Each week, it is rated one of the most socially active shows and continues to be a “must-stop” for celebrities to reach WWE’s TV audience and its more than 825 million social media followers. Raw has aired more original episodes than some of the most popular television series of all time, including The Simpsons, Gunsmoke, Lassie and Monday Night Football.
In its 25-year history, Raw has also helped launch the careers of pop-culture icons including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Undertaker, Triple H, John Cena and The Bella Twins.
About WWE
WWE, a publicly traded company (NYSE: WWE), is an integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. The company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family friendly entertainment on its television programming, pay-per-view, digital media and publishing platforms. WWE programming reaches more than 650 million homes worldwide in 20 languages. WWE Network, the first-ever 24/7 over-the-top premium network that includes all live pay-per-views, scheduled programming and a massive video-on-demand library, is currently available in more than 180 countries. The company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Mexico City, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore, Dubai, Munich and Tokyo.
Additional information on WWE (NYSE: WWE) can be found at wwe.com and corporate.wwe.com. For information on our global activities, go to http://www.wwe.com/worldwide/.
Trademarks: All WWE programming, talent names, images, likenesses, slogans, wrestling moves, trademarks, logos and copyrights are the exclusive property of WWE and its subsidiaries. All other trademarks, logos and copyrights are the property of their respective owners.
Forward-Looking Statements: This press release contains forward-looking statements pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which are subject to various risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties include, without limitation, risks relating to: WWE Network; major distribution agreements; our need to continue to develop creative and entertaining programs and events; the possibility of a decline in the popularity of our brand of sports entertainment; the continued importance of key performers and the services of Vincent K. McMahon; possible adverse changes in the regulatory atmosphere and related private sector initiatives; the highly competitive, rapidly changing and increasingly fragmented nature of the markets in which we operate and greater financial resources or marketplace presence of many of our competitors; uncertainties associated with international markets; our difficulty or inability to promote and conduct our live events and/or other businesses if we do not comply with applicable regulations; our dependence on our intellectual property rights, our need to protect those rights, and the risks of our infringement of others’ intellectual property rights; the complexity of our rights agreements across distribution mechanisms and geographical areas; potential substantial liability in the event of accidents or injuries occurring during our physically demanding events including, without limitation, claims relating to CTE; large public events as well as travel to and from such events; our feature film business, including anticipated release, marketing or involved talent for upcoming titles and productions; our expansion into new or complementary businesses and/or strategic investments; our computer systems and online operations; privacy norms and regulations; a possible decline in general economic conditions and disruption in financial markets; our accounts receivable; our revolving credit facility; litigation; our potential failure to meet market expectations for our financial performance, which could adversely affect our stock; Vincent K. McMahon exercises control over our affairs, and his interests may conflict with the holders of our Class A common stock; a substantial number of shares are eligible for sale by the McMahons and the sale, or the perception of possible sales, of those shares could lower our stock price; and the relatively small public “float” of our Class A common stock. In addition, our dividend is dependent on a number of factors, including, among other things, our liquidity and historical and projected cash flow, strategic plan (including alternative uses of capital), our financial results and condition, contractual and legal restrictions on the payment of dividends (including under our revolving credit facility), general economic and competitive conditions and such other factors as our Board of Directors may consider relevant. Forward-looking statements made by the Company speak only as of the date made and are subject to change without any obligation on the part of the Company to update or revise them. Undue reliance should not be placed on these statements. For more information about risks and uncertainties associated with the Company’s business, please refer to the “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Risk Factors” sections of the Company’s SEC filings, including, but not limited to, our annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q.

Live Coverage Of The Seth Rollins ESPN Announcement 

Seth Rollins is about to make his big announcement on ESPN Sportscenter. We will have live coverage of the announcement right here on thedailyspotlight.com.

A reminder that Roman Reigns will be making a big announcement of his own tonight on Monday Night Raw regarding his status for Summerslam 

Seth Rollins big announcement on ESPN is that he will be on the cover of WWE 2K18. 

Rollins came across real well during the interview appearing in a full suit. He said that being on the cover of the WWE 2K18 is a dream come true as he has always had a goal to get to the top of the mountain & this is just the next step in that goal. 

Rollins spoke about his injuries and how they were a bit of a setback but that he “doesn’t want to die without any scars” and that he’s feeling a lot better now. He then spoke about his match at Wrestlemania with Triple H saying that Triple H is unlike anyone he’s ever been in the ring with before a total world class athlete. 

The interview ended with Rollins being asked about the upcoming Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight & said that he would be surprised if McGregor was even able to land one punch but that if he did, he does have some real power so who knows. When asked who he thought had a better chance McGregor of beating Mayweather or his Bears winning the Super Bowl, Rollins said that his Bears were 3-13 last year & are a rebuilding team but he thinks McGregor has such little chance that he still has to go with the Bears. Ouch! 

ESPN Currently has an article up with the official announcement of Rollins being on the cover of 2k18 that you can check out right here http://www.espn.com/wwe/story/_/id/19675597/seth-rollins-appear-cover-wwe-2k18

This is a really big deal for Rollins as he becomes just the 2nd member of the full time roster to be on the cover of the 2K game in the last 5 years and the first since John Cena back for 2K15! 

Overall a really cool little piece on Rollins & a big deal for WWE to have ESPN break this story on Sportscenter. 

The Spotlight On Monday Night Raw Tampa 1/2/2017

WWE Monday Night Raw just went off the air a few minutes ago, emanating live from Tampa Bay, Florida and I thought that for the most part it was a pretty good show. I know a lot of folks I spoke to believed that Triple H would be returning to television tonight with this being the first Raw of the New Year and Monday Night Football being finished, but I’m glad that he didn’t. Raw already had Goldberg promoted for tonight and so they already had the audience coming in with him and it makes sense to stagger out some of these bigger headline attractions. There was no reason to bring back Triple H yet and I actually don’t expect him to be back into the thick of things until at the earliest The Royal Rumble as we are still a ways away from Wrestlemania and the focus right now should be on the Royal Rumble and filling up that 60,000 seat arena at the Alamodome. I feel that tonight’s Raw did it’s part to kick things into high gear as far as the Royal Rumble is concerned and with four weeks left of television until that show, that’s a pretty cool thing. Let’s get right into my highlights of the show tonight.

Goldberg On The Kevin Owens Show
– The biggest promotion of the show tonight was all about the return of Bill Goldberg to Monday Night Raw. While I’ve really enjoyed Goldberg’s return to WWE over the past few months, he’s really only been involved with Brock Lesnar. This is clearly the big money match for Wrestlemania, or somewhere down the road, and there is still a lot to do between the two. That said, Goldberg has entered the Royal Rumble now and so it makes sense to see him in there with some of the other bigger names on Raw like he did tonight. I felt that Goldberg’s faceoffs with both Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns made them both feel like bigger deals and makes fans that are tuning in specifically for Goldberg, take notice of the Raw main event scene outside of Brock Lesnar, who isn’t there every week. There were people on twitter clamoring for Goldberg to destroy Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho upon coming out for the segment which I didn’t get at all. Owens and Jericho have been carrying Raw since Finn Balor’s injury and you don’t want Goldberg to come out an destroy all of their credibility that they’ve built up, instead, he enhanced it further.

BRAUN
!!!- Another big story coming out of Raw tonight was the continued push of Braun Strowman. This guy is really starting to grow on me and I think WWE could have their next monster heel on their hands here. Braun looked like a beast in his destruction of Sami Zayn (who may need to go to Smakdown) in their Last Man Standing Match and then even more so during the post match beatdown. His showing up and destroying everyone recently have reminded me of early Stone Cold Steve Austin (to a much less extent) in that he’s unpredictable and doesn’t give a damn. Braun showing up at the end of the night with the three top guys on Raw and Bill Goldberg brought him up to that level and established him as a real threat to win the Rumble. This was made even more apparent during the awesome double spear as it took both Bill Goldberg (the guy who took out Brock Lesnar in less than 2 minutes) and Roman Reigns to take Strowman out. Sami Zayn did a ton to establish Braun as this monster and it’s exciting to see where Strowman goes now that he’s past Zayn.

The Ratings War
– Last week for the first time since the brand split, Smackdown Live defeated Raw in the ratings. Tonight on Raw they actually acknowledged this with Stephanie McMahon returning and telling off Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho and Mick Foley proclaiming that Raw was now at war with Smackdown Live and that it was basically time to stop messing around. I thought this was real cool and added to the hostility between the two brands. Wrestling has always been better with competition and so it’s nice to see some internal competition within WWE. While it will never be the Monday Night War, there was legitimate competition between Raw and Smackdown within WWE back in 2002-2004 when Paul Heyman was overseeing Smackdown. Smackdown at the time was consistently better than Raw and would compete for better ratings with Raw from time to time so it’s good to see WWE getting back there.  

Match Of The Night-
Each week as we do these post Raw columns we’ll have one section reserved in the end for the match of the night. If you don’t have much time and can only see one match, this is the one that you will want to go out of your way to see. While Sami Zayn and Braun Strowman had a really fun Last Man Standing match, the best match of Braun’s career to this point, I have to give the nod this week to Roman Reigns and Chris Jericho. Jericho and Reigns had a really good match for the US Title with the stipulation being that if Reigns were to get counted out or disqualified then he would lose the title. This led to a good amount of intrigue throughout the match that maybe Jericho would find a way to weasel his way to the title. The best false finish came when Jericho channeled his inner Eddie Guerrero and threw the belt Reigns only to fall and take a bump while the ref’s back was turned. Of course when the ref turned around and saw Reigns with the belt in his hands and Jericho down on the mat, he would believe that Reigns laid him out. It was wild to see the crowd doing the YES chant over the potential of the title change but it was not to be tonight as Roman Reigns retained the US Title. I was a little disappointed as I was hoping we would get a few weeks of Team Kevin and Chris running around with both Raw singles titles and I don’t think Roman needs the US Title especially if he is in contention for the Universal title belt.  
That’s going to do it for me for now but be sure to come back tomorrow where I’ll break down the highlights of what looks to be a loaded Smackdown Live show. Also be sure to check out “The Rumble of The Royal Rumble”, a series in which I will look back at every Royal Rumble for each day of January leading right up until the 30th Royal Rumble on Jnauary 29th. Later today will be the third part of the series, looking at Royal Rumble 1990! 

The Spotlight On Raw 

Last night’s episode of WWE Monday Night Raw is in the books and I honestly found that there was a lot to like on the show. Due to how packed of a show that it was, I’m not going to waste any time and instead will jump right in.  Highlights:

Shane O Mac is Back- I’m not too sure what’s going on with Shane McMahon but what I can tell you is that he’s been a real breath of fresh air to the show. It’s been roughly five years since we had a babyface authority figure (Teddy Long) and it really changes up the dynamic on the show. The one thing I loved about Shane last night was when he came out to kick off the show and really laid out the whole night of matches. This is something that WWE hasn’t really done in quite some time and I’m glad they’re getting back to it. By Shane coming out and announcing the tag title tournament, the women’s title match and the number one contender match (later he also added the unique tag match of Bray and Roman vs the League of Nations), this to me gave the viewers multiple reasons to tune in and to remain tuned in for the remainder of the night.  
Shots Fired- Last night Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows, former members of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Bullet Club made their long awaited debuts on Monday Night Raw when they attacked the Usos following there tag tournament victory over the Social Outcasts. I thought this was fantastic and really made Gallows and Anderson (who won’t be going by the Bullet Club, NJPW owns that name) look like two big time stars. The crowd went nuts for them and JBL was great here in immediately putting the guys over as legit players. For me this reminded me of the debut of The Outsiders in WCW as Scott Hall and Kevin Nash looked like two badasses and you knew that they were working with someone, who eventually turned out to be Hulk Hogan and the NWO was formed. The question now remains as to who, if anyone, Anderson and Gallows are working with. Regardless, i thought this was a great debut for these guys and I couldn’t be happier for the two of them. Karl Anderson is one helluva wrestler and if you aren’t familiar, I think you’ll be very impressed with what he brings to the table. As for Gallows, who looks like he’ll again be going by Luke Gallows, he actually had a run in WWE back in the late 2000s as Festus (teammates with Jesse who was actually Ray Gordy who made an appearance honoring his father, Terry Gordy, at last week’s WWE Hall of Fame) and then later as a member of CM Punk’s Straight Edge Society. Gallows has really reinvented himself since his departure from WWE, establishing one of the best personalities in the business. I’m really excited to see where these guys go from here.  

What’s Going On With The Wyatts?- I actually really enjoyed the main event last night and have been enjoying the continued progression of the Wyatt Family as they seem to potentially be turning face. It was a really interesting dynamic to have Bray team with Roman Reigns, the guy that he once claimed he prefer anyone other than him to be the top guy in the WWE. For years now, I thought there was money to be made with the Wyatt Family embracing the fans as fans have been behind the Wyatts really since Bray’s program with John Cena back in early 20014. I think that perhaps it was the 101,000 fans at AT&T Stadium pulling out there phones in unison in support of Bray Wyatt that convinced WWE management that it may be time for that switch. If nothing else it’s different and I like it. It was such a unique atmosphere to see the LA crowd getting solidly behind Alberto Del Rio (who is always a huge favorite of the people of LA) and Bray Wyatt but solidly booing both Roman Reigns and Rusev. Go back and watch this if you have the time.  

 Closing Thoughts

 I may have hit on the big highlights to come out of Raw but I din’t even get a chance to touch on the matches. AJ Styles and Sami Zayn had a terrific 16+ minute match that was so much fun. The finish made sense as Styles is the guy who they need to build up for his match with Roman Reigns and so it made sense for him to get the win. Charlotte and Natalya had another really strong match in which I didn’t mind the DQ finish because it will now set up a rematch for the Payback pay per view. Lastly, I thought that Kevin Owens and Cesaro had another great match, as they always do, and I loved seeing both men lay it all out there for a shot at The Miz’s Intercontinental Title, as it made that title seem that much more important. Thus, with these three matches coupled with the really unique main event, you had four strong matches on Raw that i feel you should go out of your way to see.  

It was overall a really good episode of Raw and I’m liking the direction they’re heading in with Shane being the guy to run the show. They seem to be really making an effort to put together fresh matches and introduce new talent and the idea of having a babyface authority figure allows for cleaner finishes and less nonsense. For example, I loved Shane having Kevin Owens escorted from the building to make sure that Sami Zayn would finally be able to get his shot. There is definitely a place in WWE for the heel authority figure but we’ve been seeing that now for nearly 3 years and so this is a welcome change.  

That’s going to do it for me here but we are in the midst of our live perspective Wrestlemania week featuring a different event from Wrestlemania broken down with photos each day. I currently have a fun photo gallery up of our time spent at the Wrestlemania store and tonight will have some photos and a breakdown of NXT Takeover:Dallas. Keep your eyes open for that! A reminder that we are also now on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/thedailyspotlight so give us a like and tell all of your friends! Thanks for all of the support!  

The Spotlight On Shane McMahon on The Michael Kay Show

Shane McMahon just wrapped up an appearance on ESPN’s “The Michael Kay Show” with Michael Kay and Don La Greca.  Here are some highlights from the interview..

– Michael Kay said it best when he noted in the beginning of the piece how big of a deal it was for them to discuss wrestling but that this was such a big deal that he felt like they had to have Shane on.  I now that Peter Rosenberg is a big wrestling fan and that Don La Greca’s brother, Dave is a host of the Busted Open Wrestling radio show on sirius but this was reallly cool to hear Michael Kay talk about wrestling.

– The interview started off with Shane mentioning how humbling it was to get the ovation that he got when he appeared on Monday.  He mentioned how Monday was a night he will never forget and that when he thanked the crowd in Detroit during the commercial break, he didn’t know it was going to air (Referring to the footage WWE put up on youtube with him stating that “he had goosebumps on top of goosebumps and his nipples were hard).  He said that he was hoping the reaction would be good but wasn’t 100% sure and said the reaction blew him away.  He compared the feeling to that of a close sports game when the crowd goes nuts and it was surreal that the reaction was all directed towards him.

– From there Shane was asked about whether he feels added pressure because he is the boss’ son and if that played a part in why he took so many risks.  Shane mentioned that he had to pay a lot of dues growing up by helping to set up the ring and being a referee.  Shane  explained that he continued to take risks because he always assumed each match would be his last so he figured why not leave it all out there.  He told a funny story from when he was 8 years old, Mr. Fuji told him to try a dropkick off the top rope.  He went up to the top with a ton of enthusiasm and when he hit the mat, he grew an appreciation for how hard the mat was and an appreciation for the punishment the superstars take. Shane mentioned that he loved growing up in the business mentioning how impressive Wrestlemania 3 was and that during that show he walked to the top of the arena just to take it all in and hoped that this year they can top the crowd that Wrestlemania 3 did.

–  He explained how the primary driving force for  him to return was so that his sons would be able to see him perform.  He explained how he did not tell his kids that he would be returning and his wife recorded a private video of his sons reaction, which was also off the charts.

– Don La Greca than asked if there was any real tension between he and Vince McMahon to which mentioned that at times there has been animosity between the two but said that it’s to be expected when you’re in any family business.

– Shane explained that kayfabe is still important to him and so he wanted to keep his return a surprise so he kept it very close to the vest.  He did explain how hard it is this day in age where security cameras can pick up your appearance and the next thing you know the story breaks everyone.  Rosenberg made a good point about how he loves the Rock but that every time he returns he puts a picture of himself on instagram arriving in the city so it gives it away.

– In regards to Wrestlemania, Shane mentioned that he’s currently doing 3 a days and really improving his cardio.  He explained that he’s currently working with two different personal trainers which he started originally training for surfing with his kids.  Shane then confirmed that he is working out with MMA trainer Phil Nurse (Trainer of GSP, Rashaad Evans and Frankie Edgar), and learning more mui tai kickboxing to improve his overall conditioning.

– In regards to his future in WWE and whether this is a one time deal, Shane said that, as of right now, he’s just focusing on Wrestlemania and will see where the future takes him after.  He said that he’s excited to have a match with The Undertaker because they’ve been good friends for 25 years and used to travel together.  He said that he’s ready to give it his all and be in the best shape of his life so that the fans will get the match they expect and knows that the Undertaker will do the same

Overall, I felt that Shane came across really well on the show.  He also spoke a bit about his love of the Yankees and how he expects them to do pretty well with the best bulpen in the game.  It was surreal to see Shane on an ESPN radio show and seeing this getting the attention that it does deserve.  It was cool to see the footage replayed of Shane’s comeback on the yes network and the footage of Shane training hard.  Overall a good piece for a Friday evening.

As for Shane, he is now on twitter @ShaneMcMahon.  I’ll have a lot more about my thoughts on Shane and how I felt about his big return this past week over the weekend.