The Wrestling Drive on Smackdown Live Moving To Fox

After a way too lengthy hiatus, the wrestling drive returns to look at all things WWE with the big news that Smackdown Live appears to be moving to Fox!  Check out the wrestling drive below as we talk about all the speculation surrounding WWE’s apparent move back to network television

 

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 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 WWE Raw Albany- 4/20/2015

Hello Everyone and welcome to the spotlight on WWE Raw where every Tuesday we’ll have your highights and lowlights from the previous night’s episode.  Now I shoud make it clear that highlights include anything that I personally enjoyed and that I feel like you should go out of your way to see.  Lowlights, on the other hand, can either be something on the show that didn’t work for me whether it be a bad match or bad booking, something you won’t miss much of if you decided to skip that portion of show or maybe just something that all around left an overall bad feeling for whatever the reason.  With that out of the way let’s get into Raw.

The highlights 

1) RKO Outta Nowhere- I loved the use of Randy Orton last night as I felt that by delviering a promise in the beginning of the show that Rany would RKO everyone before finally getting to Rollins, then hitting people with an RKO throughout the course of the night before finally delivering an RKO to Rollins at the end of the night was all great.  It gave fans tuning in at 8 pm that hook, then kept them engaged throughout the show wondering where he would show up next (the highlight for me being catering) and then delivering that payoff at the end of the show was a great way to lay out Raw and get everyone ready for Extreme Rules on Sunday.

2) The Big Red Machine–  I really enjoyed the Kane stuff last night especially his passionate promo against Seth Rollins.  I felt this was the best thing Kane has done since he feuded with Bray Wyatt.  Say what you will about Kane but it seems like the people really want to see him in a babyface role.  I even thought his match with Cena was pretty good and I like that Cena acted very serious for his match with Kane as he had with every US title open challenge.  I’m just hoping like anything that this is not some kind of Authority setup because we just went through that with Rollins a weeks before Wrestlemania.

3) Ambrose and Harper– These guys are just a joy to watch and they remind me to the days of the hardcore division that has been missing from WWE over the last several years.  Ambrose and Harper are both so good and fearless in some of the things they do.  I liked that they brawled around the arena and appreciate the sacrifices both of them take seemingly every time out. 

The Lowlights

1) The Battle For “The Miz”- I’m not sure what I was expecting but it was more than this. Miz & Mizdow had been, what I thought, a great feud with tons of momentum behind them following their breakup at the Royal Rumble. Fast forward just a little more than three weeks & their first blow off match doesn’t even happen on a pay per view and is given just a little more than five minutes here. The ending was also predictable as I don’t think anyone believed Summer Rae was going to be featured against her Marine 4 co star. Then in the end the Miz (who I really feel can be a main event heel for WWE) became a bit player in Randy Orton’s onslaught & did quite possibly the silliest face after taking an RKO. In the end, I just hope these two don’t get lost in the shuffle now that their feud is done, especially Sandow who I thought was on the verge of something good. 

2) Bo Dallas- I liked his promo, I always have, but to me it’s just a shame that their isn’t more to be done with Bo Dallas. I’m in no way suggesting he should have gotten one over on Roman Reigns but to me there’s more to Bo than a comedy heel. Prior to NXT’s rise on the Network, Dallas was a focal point of the brand and I hope he gets a little more juice moving forward. It’s especially sad that while Sheamus got months of build for his return, that Dallas got nothing at all. He’s young, he’s great on the mic & solid in the ring. I hope WWE notices all of this as well. 

3) “Kiss Me Arse”- Sheamus has been on fire since his return to the company as a badass heel. Likewise, Dolph Ziggler has also looked like a cranked up a notch star since the two have been feuding over the last several weeks. I’m sure that the two of them will have a great match on Sunday but that “Kiss Me Arse” stipulation is rubbing me the wrong way. That is a stipulation that should be reserved for the likes of Santino Marella or Henry Godwin, not two former world champions. 

That’s going to do it for me this week but before I go I would like to wish a speedy recovery to Daniel Bryan. I hope that the injury is minor as I would hate to see Bryan go through anymore turmoil in his life.