Wrestling DVD Review – WWE Raw 25


WWE recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of its flagship show, Monday Night Raw. In honor of the occasion, a live broadcast of the show was held at the dual locations of Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, and also at the Manhattan Center, where the first episode of Raw was held. Now WWE has released a home video version of the episode, which also includes the 25 Greatest Raw Moments, in full here on the DVD.

Disc 1 |Raw 25

The episode starts at the Manhattan Center, with JR and Jerry Lawler running down the show with the classic siren blaring. They throw it to the Barclays Center, where Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Booker T are at ringside.

Shane and Stephanie McMahon are in the ring. They show a retrospective of Raw. They bring out Vince, and his kids have a plaque for him for 25 years of Raw. Vince heels on them and the people of Brooklyn, who supposedly also chipped in for it. He says he did it all by himself, and then the glass breaks- out comes “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Austin shakes and raises Shane’s hand, then stuns him. Vince has a Steveweiser for ol’ Stone Cold, and they toast and have a drink and hug. Vince gets ready to leave, and Austin stuns him. That segment takes up the first 20 minutes.

Nia Jax/Mandy Rose/Sonja DeVille/Alicia Fawwwwwks vs. Sasha Banks/Bayley/Mickey James/Asuka- This mainly was a preview of the upcoming women’s Royal Rumble match. The faces win, then Asuka attacks her teammates and clears the ring. *1/2

General manager Kurt Angle is greeted by Jonathan Coachman, Harvey Whippleman, the Brooklyn Brawler, Teddy Long, Brother Love and…The Boogeyman.

Back in Manhattan, the Undertaker makes an appearance. He doesn’t really say anything of note, particularly about John Cena.

The APA is playing cards with Rhyno and Heath Slater. Ted Dibiase comes in and lays a wad of money on the table, and is dealt in.

The greatest general managers in Raw history are introduced: John Laurenitis, William Regal, Eric Bischoff and current Smackdown general manager Daniel Bryan (to a hugh pop, natch).

WWF Intercontiental championship, Miz vs. Roman Reigns (c)- Miz and Bryan have a staredown on the ramp. The two have a long, competitive match, with Roman having to deal with interference from the Miztourage. Miz rams Reigns’ head into an exposed turnbuckle to win his eighth I-C title. **3/4
The APA is now joined by the Usos, Jeff Hardy and MVP(!).

Christian hosts The Peep Show. His guests are Raw tag team champions Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan. Jordan is booed the whole time he speaks. The Bar, who they will face at the Royal Rumble, interrupt. The insult Jordan’s “dad” Kurt Angle, so he attacks and then Rollins accidentally hits him with a flying knee.

Charly interviews Raw women’s champion Alexa Bliss. Smackdown women’s champion Charlotte interrupts. Flair is over a head taller than Alexa, geez. Ric Flair comes in and says Charlotte will be champion until she decides to hang her robe up.

The APA is now playing with Natalya and Titus (with Apolo and Dana Brooke). Dana calculates that Heath has lost a lot of money.

Bray Wyatt vs. Matt Hardy- This is the first televised bout from the MC, though I think there was a quick cruiserweight tag match during a commercial break. Bray wins a relatively short match, considering this was the first televised meeting of the two. *

Some of the greatest female superstars of Raw are introduced- The Bella Twins, Maryse (who is pregnant), Kelly Kelly, Lilian Garcia, Jacqueline, Torrie Wilson, Michelle McCool, Terri Runnels, Maria Kanellis (also pregnant, and I think she gave birth the same week as Maryse), and Trish Stratus, who received a huge pop.

We see Elias walking backstage. He spots Chris Jericho (fresh off his big match in New Japan Pro Wrestling), and Y2J plays a song insulting him. The jist is Elias made the list.
The Empire State Building was lit up red earlier in the day. Cool?

Elias appears in the ring. He points out Jimmy Fallon in the front row. Since I believe Jimmy did a show that night, wouldn’t it have made more sense to have Fallon appear at the MC? John Cena comes out. He interacts with the fans, and he and Elias brawl. The Drifter breaks his guitar on Cena to set up…Cena quickly eliminating him at the Rumble, apparently.

The New Day has now joined the APA, with Xavier in the game. Heath seemingly wins a hand, but Dana accuses him of cheating. JBL tells Heath, Rhyno, Titus and Apolo that if they want to fight, go to the ring. Dibiase then wins it all with a royal flush. “Damn.”

Mark Henry bumps into Godfather backstage. Godfather has a lady with him, but he says she’s his wife, and not of the occupation Henry thinks she has.

Titus Worldwide vs. Slater/Rhyno- Out of all of the superstars in the building, they make this match?! Worth noting is the War and Peace suplex Apolo executed on Slater. When they return from a break a double-DQ is called. The Dudley Boyz come out, and give the “Wazzup?” Drop to Slater, and put him through a table.
My girl Charly talks to AJ Styles. AJ brought his own interviewer, “Mean” Gene Okerlund. AJ tries to get “Kami” over as a name for Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, but this is the only Cami I recognize:

Back to the MC for another D-X reunion segment. First Shawn Michaels and Triple H come out and not talk about their most controversial moments, which are available on the WWE Network. Road Dog and Billy Gunn also join them, as well as Sean Waltman and Scott Hall (whose entrance is immediately cut off by a commercial break). Finn Balor and the Club then stroll out, and they are interrupted by the Revival. This leads to…

The Revival vs. Balor Club- The Club takes the win. The Revival can’t leave well enough alone, so they end up taking everyone’s finish, too.

Kurt Angle brings out a bevy of current superstars and legends. He introduces Braun Strowman, who went on a rampage the previous week (that’s why Angle had backup); Kane (who should be one of the legends playing poker by now instead of in main events) and WWE Universal champion Brock Lesnar. They come to blows, Braun sends Brock into the barricade and then slams him through an announce table. Braun celebrates, fade to black.

Bonus features:

We see an off-air feature from the Manhattan Center, where Miz interrupts the legends in the ring (fresh off winning the I-C title at Barclay), until Seth Rollins arrives from Barclay. Miz proceeds to take finishers from many of the stars.
Dasha talks to Road Dog, Scott Hall, Sean Waltman, the Hardys and more at the Manhattan Center.

Disc 2

Raw 25th anniversary pre show
Live from the Barclays Center, Renee Young welcomes us to the kick-off show. Peter Rosenberg (I’m still not sure where they found this goof) and David Otunga are at the desk with Renee. They discuss what Raw has meant to them. They throw it to Jim “JR” Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler over in the Manhattan Center, and the crowd there is much more raucous than at Barclays. Lawler references the time he went up to the balcony there and insulted Stu and Helen Hart.

Back at the Barclays Center, the triple threat discuss their favorite Raw moments. Rosenberg picks Tyson-Austin. Otunga picks when he hosted Raw, or the Nexxus debut. Renee picks the Triple H and Stephanie drive-thru wedding.

Charly Caruso is back at the APA office, talking to JBL and Ron Simmons. They should have been called Bradshaw and Farooq.

Renee hypes the Royal Rumble, which took place six days later. Then we see a clip of Bobby “The Brain” Heenan trying to get into the MC the night of the first Raw, in drag. Sean Mooney is somehow not fooled by the disguise.

Sam Roberts (who I thought was Peter Rosenberg. Ugh.) is, um, somewhere surrounded by fans. We see Steve Austin driving the zamboni from 1998.

Some guy I don’t recognize interviews Roman Reigns about his Intercontiental title defense tonight against the Miz. He name-checks his cousin Yokozuna wrestling on the first Raw. We then see a selfie interview with Miz and Maryse from Twitter. He enters himself in the Rumble match.

We see Mankind winning his first WWF title from the Rock on January 4, 1999. I feel like something bigger happened that night…

Speaking of WCW, we see the time WWE pissed away having a potential McMahon vs. Bischoff feud, with Vince bringing Eric Bischoff out and hugging him. Bischoff then is at the announce table. The first thing he did when he arrived that night was go to meet the Undertaker. God help you if you don’t do that.

We see a Twitter video from New Day. They seemed to be filming WWE Main Event in the arena. They also show a tweet from Bret Hart, who is sorry he couldn’t make it. It’s just like the first episode, then. Then we see Chris Jericho’s Raw (and WWF) debut.

Sam Roberts is back amongst more fans. We see the DX “invasion” of Nitro on a jeep. Next.
We see the Shield breakup. I think they should have left that idea in the oven for a little longer.
We see the return of Brock Lesnar. The best part is his ultimate heel move- kicking Cena’s hat out of the ring.

They recap Braun Strowman’s path of destruction last week.

They wrap up the kickoff show, as Shane McMahon is making his surprise entrance.

Top 25 moments

(I guess stop reading if you don’t want spoilers)
25. Mae Young’s Great Ride- Mark Henry and, um, She Who Will Not Be Named, push Mae Young in a wheelchair to the entrance as the Dudley Boyz are coming out. Henry comes out and the Dudleys beat on him. Mae’s already in a neckbrace here, so I’m wondering what will actually happen here. It is, in fact, Bubba powerbombing Mae off of the stage. The huge pop for that is quite disturbing. Who chose this, exactly?
24. The Greatest Upset Ever- This is, of course, The Kid (Sean Waltman) beating Razor Ramon. I’d have rated it higher, as it blew my mind when I saw it that night.
23. Hell Freezes Over- This is the Bischoff Raw debut I spoke of earlier. It’s notable that we see Bischoff walk by during a Booker T promo, BEFORE Vince brings him out as the new GM. Again, having them immediately hug, instead of feuding for control of the WWE, seems like a gigantic blown opportunity.
22. Here Comes the Money- Vince McMahon comes out during the simulcast with the last Nitro. He names WCW talent and asks the crowd for a thumbs up or down. Goldberg gets the biggest pop. Shane McMahon walks out at Nitro in Panama City Beach, Florida, and announces he bought WCW out from under Vince.
21. The Baddest Man on the Planet- Vince brings out Mike Tyson. At first Tyson talks about what a big fan of wrestling he is, and name-drops Bruno Sammartino. Then as Vince starts to announce Tyson’s role at Wrestlemania 14, the glass breaks and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin enters. Austin was disgusted seeing Tyson out there shaking hands with everybody. He doesn’t want to make friends and he flips off Tyson, starting a melee.This was so money.
20. This is Your Life, Rock- Mick “Mankind” Foley holds a special ceremony for The Rock, complete with people supposedly from the Rock’s past. It goes really long, and was I believe the highest-rated cable wrestling segment ever. What I didn’t remember, is that the segment ends with Triple H coming in swinging his sledgehammer.
19. Wedding Crasher- This is the Stephanie McMahon-Test wedding ceremony. Another long segment, with wrestlers as groomsmen and a duet on the “Together” song WWE has used a few times. This of course ends with Triple H showing a video of him actually marrying a passed-out Stephanie in Las Vegas.
18. Festival of Friendship- I’ve never actually seen this one before. Chris Jericho held this for his “best friend” Kevin Owens. Owens isn’t impressed. The best part is the “Creation of Kevin” painting, which Owens says he can’t hang up in his house. “You don’t even have pants on!” The whole thing is very reminscient of “This is Your Life, Rock,” which makes it odd that this was rated higher. Perhaps this gets the nod because Owens produces a List of KO, and Jericho’s name is on it. Owens attacks, turning Jericho face.
17. Goodbye Edge- This is from 2011, after Edge has his last match at Wrestlemania 27. He retired because of his neck, which caused him to lose feeling in his arms. I thought I remembered a longer segment involving Christian and Edge’s mom, but I think that was from a Smackdown. This one ends with Edge walking backstage shaking hands and hugging the boys.

Disc 3

16. Silence is Deafening- The Undertaker comes to the ring after a video counting down. Triple H follows. They both look at the Wrestlemania 27 sign, and gesture at each other. Does anyone even remember this segment?
15. Bedpan McMahon- I missed seeing this segment live by a week. Vince McMahon is in the hospital, and Mankind and Yerple the Clown try to cheer him up. This is also the debut of Mr. Socko. A mysterious “doctor” beats Vince up and hits him with a bedpan. If you don’t know who that is, I won’t spoil it for you.
14. The Prodigal Son Returning- Vince McMahon comes out to present the Vincent J. McMahon Award. He brings out Stephanie to present her with the award, but Shane returns after a long absence. Shane wants control of Raw. This leads to him facing Undertaker at Wrestlemania 32. Again- who cares about this?
13. Swan Tron- Jeff Hardy backdrops Randy Orton off of the stage. He then climbs up the rigging and executes a Swan-ton Bomb. That was pretty good, and that clip has been used a lot in video packages.
12. DX drives a jeep (not a tank) to the Norfolk Scope where WCW Monday NItro was being held. A few things that have come out since 1998- the sign saying tickets still available was not for the Nitro event, and the show was sold out, not giving away tickets. Also- Bischoff has said he would have had guys like Meng and Fit Finley “greet them,” had he been aware they were at the Scope.
11. The Beast is Back- John Cena is in the ring acting dejected the night after Wrestlemania 28, when he lost to the Rock. Suddenly,familiar music plays…and Brock Lesnar returns from his first UFC run. He F5’s Cena, and most importantly- he kicks Cena’s hat out of the ring.
10. No. 1 Draft Pick- Chris Jericho comes out on the Highlight Reel. He introduces the No. 1 pick for Raw- John Cena’s comically oversized jersey. And also Cena. He just looked like a clown dressed like that. Christian (and his beat-giver Tomko) also comes out, and Cena makes homophobic jokes about him.
9. Mankind Did It!- Mick Foley wins his first world title over the Rock. This aired (taped) at the same time as Hulk Hogan vs. Kevin Nash on Nitro. All I have to add here is the pop for Austin is incredible.
8. Women’s Evolution Begins- Lita beats Trish Stratus for the women’s title in the Raw main event (the first time that had happened). And yet today WWE is still having shows in countries where the women aren’t allowed to compete.
7. Betrayal of Brotherhood- Seth Rollins breaks up the Shield. This came before a scheduled Roman Reigns-Randy Orton match, as Rollins sided with Triple H and Orton.
6. Big Dog’s Yard- Roman Reigns comes out the night after he defeated the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 33, and the crowd is merciless. Eventually he says “This is my yard now,” and throws down the mic.
5. Austin Stuns McMahon- the segment begins with Owen Hart celebrating being an Intercontinental tournament winner, and Steve Austin attacks him. Vince McMahon goes in the ring to try to talk some sense into Austin. This ends with Austin stunnering McMahon for the first but certainly not last time. Austin gets cuffed and taken away by the police after that.
4. Break the Walls Down- The segment starts with the Rock walking down and talking about the Big Show. The Countdown to the Millennium clock comes on the TitanTron, and when it makes it to 0, Chris Jericho debuts. I missed seeing this live by exactly one night, as I went to the Raw taping the next night. Did they edit out the part about Jericho fighting some jabroni named Ju-ven-tud? I didn’t hear it here.
3. Occupy Raw- Daniel Bryan and his fans stage a sit-in until he gets put in the Wrestlemania XXX main event. Damien Sandow comes out for a match but can’t get into the ring. Stephanie McMahon screeches at him, and Bryan finally gets what he wants.
2. Punk Bomb- CM Punk unleashes his famous Pipe Bomb promo of shootiness after interfering in a Cena-R-Truth match. My favorite is Vince McMahon being a millionaire who should be a billionaire. Truth. Bomb.
1. Stone Cold Beer Truck- Of course. I’m a little sad Milk-a-Mania didn’t make it into the countdown. Oh well. You know what this is.

The Wrap

This set is good for what it is. The Raw 25 show is fun, though I wish they had done more at the Manhattan Center. I have several problems with the rankings of the Top 25 moments, but you may feel differently. I’m also kind of disappointed the set didn’t include this behind-the-scenes video:

or the Raw 24/7 show from the WWE Network... Really, with as much as this event has been covered, would it have been too much to ask for this set to include the two dark cruiserweight matches from the Manhattan Center?

This video is available where you purchase DVDs.

Ted Blanchard