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.

The Spotlight on the Undertaker on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

I’ve always been a fan of WWE mainstream tie ins and as a wrestling fan, who wouldn’t be? It gives the business I love exposure to a larger audience that may otherwise not have that exposure. Well last night on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, The  Undertaker, of all people, made a rare appearance of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. You can see the video below but to put it in context, Jimmy Fallon was doing one of his recurring skits called the “Suggestion Box” where viewers can write in different suggestions that they want to see on the show…

What I loved about the video was that after the skit when Fallon tries to break character like he usually does, Undertaker doesn’t break character at all and good for him. This is a guy who’s always been very protective of the Undertaker character to the point that he doesn’t attend the Hall of Fame, so it’s good to see he didn’t do it here either.

Closing Thoughts

This was a really cool ordeal, Undertaker got a huge ovation from the tonight show crowd who didn’t see this coming at all but loved it. I loved that Undertaker tombstoned a turkey, especially with how close we are to Thanksgiving. Perhaps Undertaker tombstones the turkey will go down in the annals of time like Charles Barkley vs Barney.  The best part of the whole thing to me, from a WWE perspective was that Fallon plugged the Surivivor Series which should always be the point of a WWE superstar appearance and it was great pub on such a popular show.  Ironically enough, we were watching Fallon live as it happened, as we were getting ready for bed. I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth when my girlfriend called me in saying “Um babe I think the Undertaker is on Fallon!”. I came running in and we both assumed it wasn’t really him until the lights turned on because of how random it was. 

By the way, if you’re thinking that the turkey looked a little familiar, no this wasn’t the gobbledy gooker, but actually former Raw General Manager, Brad Maddox! 

The Spotlight on Raw 11/09/2015

WWE Monday Night Raw just went off the air emanating live from Machester, Great Britain and I honestly thought it was a pretty strong show.  We found out 2 quarterfinal matches for the WWE World Title Tournament as Roman Reigns will take on Cesaro and Dean Ambrose will take on Dolph Ziggler in two unique, fresh matches.  Aside from that I also really enjoyed some of the other build for the Survivor Series as WWE is really making it feel like one of the big four shows, at least in my opinion.  Let’s get right into some of the highlights on the show.

Highlights:

1) The Brothers Of Destruction Are Back–  This one I’ll probably get a little flack for but I really enjoyed the ending of Raw with the returns of both the Undertaker and Kane.  I also appreciated that, for the second week in a row, they continued to show old school clips of both the Undertaker and Kane to really point out how big of a deal what Bray Wyatt had done was.  Say what you will about the hokeyness of the last segment with the lightning and the special effects but that’s part of what I love about wrestling.  Whoever said wrestling had to be so serious?  Furthermore, the crowd absolutely lost their minds when the Undertaker and Kane came out and they ate up the staredown with the Wyatt Family showering the ring with “This Is Awesome” Chants.  Some of the folks on twitter seem a bit upset that Undertaker and Kane left the Wyatts laying but the Wyatts had done the same over the past few weeks.  Now there is still one last Raw before Survivor Series to see how the Wyatts regroup. I’m hooked into this one, can’t wait to see where they go next.

2) The Tournament–  I really enjoyed the way that they did the first round of the tournament throughout the night while leaving three more of the first round matches for Smackdown.  By spacing out the matches throughout the night, this gave the viewers reason to remain engaged in the show all night and I felt the tournament matches made the show go by pretty fast for a 3 hour show.  As for the tournament matches,  I felt that Dolph Ziggler and The Miz had a good match and especially felt that Dean Ambrose and Tyler Breeze had a good long match. I didn’t feel like Breeze lost anything by losing because he hung in there with Ambrose for so long and simply got caught by a rollup.  The shock of the tournament so far, for me, was seeing Cesaro pick of a win over Sheamus (with a nice little assist from Rooney!).  I assumed that Sheamus would get the win to set up a face-heel match with Roman.  Instead we’re going to get Roman vs. Cesaro in a really intriguing match between two fan favorites.

3) The New Day-  The New Day was in rare form tonight and hysterical by dropping in disses on Harry Potter and talking about how they really outdid themselves.  They remain a highlight on every show they’re apart of and I was glad that they mentioned not being a part of the tournament because that;s the first thing I thought when I saw the bracket as well.  As for the six man featuring the New Day against The Usos and Neville, it was the match of the night as all six of them busted their hides with high flying moves at every turn and Neville even getting a “Holy Shit” chant due to his Red Arrow off the top to the outside.  Go out of your way to watch that match, it was great.

Closing Thoughts

Overall, the crowd deserves some credit here because they were great throughout the night and gave Raw a really unique feel to it.  One of the first things I thought from watching the crowd was “Wow NXT: Takeover is going to be the best!”  I can’t wait for that show.

In closing, we also found out that next week on the WWE Network it will be Undertaker week leading into the Survivor Series and his 25th Anniversary.  Ironically, it will also be Undertake week here on the daily spotlight as I’ll be counting down my top 25 favorite Undertaker moments of all time.  Hopefully, my piece will act as a good companion piece to Undertaker week on the Network.  The WWE Network alwasy does a good job with their themed weeks and I’m sure next week will be no different.

Well that’s going to do it for me tonight but if you haven’t done so I’ve posted the first part of my Survivor Series Retrospective looking at the first 9 years of the Survivor Series from 1987-1995, so be sure to check that out.  Until then, what was some of your favorite moments from Raw?  What did you think of the Brothers of Destruction returning to Raw?

The Spotlight On Tommy At The Garden- Pt. 1 The Fear of Papa Shango

Hello everyone and welcome to my little preview for the WWE at Madison Square Garden tonight, live on the WWE Network at 8pm.  With this being the first WWE event from the Garden to be broadcast, I felt it would be fun to take a look back at some of my personal live experiences seeing WWE live at the Garden.  The Garden will always hold a spot in my heart because it’s the fist venue that I had ever been to a live WWF event.  I have countless memories of heading from Bayside to Penn Station on the Long Island RailRoad with my parents first and then with my friends.  When I was a kid there seemed to be a WWF show at the garden every month or so and I went all the time.  Without any further ado let’s get right into some of the highlights of my time at the Garden with an event back in September 1992.

On September 11th, 1992, my father got he and I two tickets for the WWF at Madison Square Garden.  I couldn’t believe it as this was going to be one of my first live events, I didn’t even know what to do or think.  We jumped on the Long Island Rail Road from Bayside to MSG and it was a feeling like none other.  Everywhere  looked there were wrestling fans, everyone was wearing a shirt and holding a sign.  It felt like i was a world of wrestling fans and it was great.  It would be the same feeling I would feel during every show I’d end up going to, but there was something that felt big time about MSG.

A we arrived to MSG, following an embarrassing moment where I took a leak in a potted plant at penn station, my dad told me he had a huge surprise for me.  Before he revealed that, however, my dad bought me a program which always showed the match card.  I opened it up and screamed off every big match on the card.  Ric Flair vs. The Undertaker!  Randy Savage vs. Razor Ramon!  Then my face sank…I nervously proclaimed to my dad ” Dad, Pap Shango is wrestling tonight, he’s wrestling Bret Hart”.  This only got worse when my dad revealed his surprise, which were front row seats!

I immediately began to scream as this was unbelievable and intimidating at the same time. I told my dad as great as this was we had to give the seats away.  I couldn’t sit there petrified of Shango.  I’m sure my father wanted to kill me but, being a good father, agreed to make someone’s day, by asking some fans to switch seats with us.   We enjoyed the show from the sixth row until the Hart-Shango match.  At this point, I had to use the bathroom and the only way this was possible would be to walk against the barricade and passed the first row.  We tried to do this while Hart had Shango in a headlock and we were in the middle of tiptoeing past the front row when Shango disposed of Hart and ran at the ropes as quick as possible taunting the crowd.  Well, that was it!  I was off to the races as I ran quickly into the lobby.  I had never seen my father run faster in his life as he screamed for me to stop.  I eventually did but we hung out by the souvenirs until Hart won.

To make matters worse, I then pleaded with my dad to run up to the barricade to see the Undertaker up close.  That’s right, the deadman was fine but Papa Shango was the problem!  As for what happened to ole Papa Shango?  Well, he had to retire as he soon realized that “Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy!”

Keep tuning in for the rest of the day here at thedailyspotlight.com

The Spotlight On The WWE Network- SummerSlam: Phenom vs. Beast

With just 13 days until their epic rematch at WWE Summerslam, the WWE Network ran a special last night focusing on the history between Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker.  The special, which aired right after Monday Night Raw, featured comments from different WWE superstars and legends about their opinions regarding both the Undertaker and Brock Lesnar and their rematch at Summerslam. Let’s get right into some of the highlights from the piece.

Highlights

1) It Was The Day The Music Died–  The 23 minute long, documentary style piece did a good job of starting with a brief overview of the Undertaker’s undefeated streak from Wrestlemania and how much it meant to the show.  Everyone from Edge to the Big Show to Shawn Michaels (all former opponents of the Undertaker at Wrestlemania) were interviewed on the piece and did a great job in explaining that while you would see titles change hands at Wrestlemania, you would never see the streak broken.  I always enjoy the packages focusing on the Undertaker’s past opponents from the different Wrestlemanias if for no other reason, then to see the difference in the Undertaker and how that character has continued to evolve over the years.  This then transitioned nicely into a piece about what happened when Brock Lesnar broke the Undertaker’s streak.  Being their live for Wrestlemania 30, I can tell you that this moment was undoubtedly the most insane crowd reaction I’ve ever seen.  Dean Ambrose says it best here by saying that in one moment an entire stadium full of people’s jaws dropped in unison. They then show the Undertaker walking off at Wrestlemania 30 as they played an eery rendition of his theme song played on the piano, as everyone wondered if it was the last time we would be seeing the Undertaker.  The crowd shots are really what will make that moment live in infamy (here’s to you incredibly shocked bulging eyes guy)

2) Suplex, Repeat-  From here, the piece did a really nice job of going over Brock Lesnar’s reign of dominance in WWE over the last 18 months following Wrestlemania 30.  Everything from Brock’s win over John Cena at Sumerslam last year to the birth of Suplex City at this past year’s Wrestlemania is covered in depth.  I think the Big Show said it best here when he said “At first you didn’t want to see the streak end but as time went on you thought, well if there was ever going to be anyone to do it, Brock Lesnar would be the guy to do it”.  I also really liked that they had interviews with Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins, guys who’ve face Lesnar over this span and who gave first hand accounts of what it was like to compete against Brock Lesnar.

3) The Rematch- In the end, the piece leads up to the big return for the Undertaker at Battleground and the brawl between the Undertaker and Brock Lesnar the next night on Raw.  They then turn to a few different superstars to get their thoughts on what this rematch at Summerslam means to both Brock and The Undertaker.  Triple H points out how much this match means to the Undertaker because he has to protect his  legacy, while Paul Heyman explains that this will be the final match for the Undertaker and that Brock Lesnar will finish him for good at Summerslam.  This was a really good idea because it gave the rematch between Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker that big match feel that it so truly deserves.  After all if all of these superstars and legends are returning to discuss a match of this magnitude, you should believe it’s a match worth going out of your way to see.

Closing Thoughts

In the end, I thought this piece did a great job in building up the main event of Summerslam.  There isn’t any reason with the WWE Network that they couldn’t put together a special like this for each of their big show main events.  It reminded me, to a certain extent, of the UFC packages they put together to promote a big fight.  I liked that rather than having the two men in the match talk about it, you had their peers discussing the match instead.  Tome part of the appeal of both the Undertaker and Brock Lesnar is their mystique and that you don’t see them as much.  Overall, this was a really strong network specialthat everyone should take the mere 20 minutes to go out of your way to check out.

That’s going to do it for me but I also have a review up of last night’s big Raw from Washington, as well as a piece I did on Slipknot’s Summer’s Last Stand Tour from last week, here in New York.  Check out both of those pieces and let me know what you think. Thanks, as always, for all of your support.

All photos courtesy of the WWE Network