|Created By||Vince McMahon|
|Opening Theme||"The Night" By Kromestatik|
|No. of Seasons||20|
|No. of Episodes||1084 (as of March 3, 2014)|
WWE Raw (also known as WWE Monday Night Raw and advertised as Monday Night Raw or simply known as Raw) is a professional wrestling television program that currently airs live on Monday evenings on the USA Network in the United States. The show debuted on January 11, 1993. WWE Raw moved from the USA Network to TNN in September, 2000 and then to Spike in August, 2003 when TNN was rebranded. On October 3, 2005 WWE Raw returned to the USA Network.
Since its first episode, WWE Raw has broadcast live from 203 different arenas in 169 cities and towns in ten different nations (the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Afghanistan in 2005, Iraq in 2006 and 2007, South Africa, Germany, Japan, Italy, and Mexico). As of the show's 1,000th episode, airing on July 23, 2012, WWE Raw has become a three-hour broadcast from two hours, a format that had previously been reserved for special episodes.
Monday Night Raw
Beginning as WWF Monday Night Raw, the program first aired on January 11, 1993. It aired on the USA Network for one hour. The original Raw broke new ground in televised professional wrestling. Traditionally, wrestling shows were taped on sound stages with small audiences or at large arena shows. The Raw formula was considerably different from the taped weekend shows that aired at the time such as WWF Superstars and WWF Wrestling Challenge. Instead of taped matches weeks in advanced with studio voice overs and taped discussion, Raw was a show shot and aired to a live audience, with angles playing out as they happened.
Raw originated from the Grand Ballroom at Manhattan Center Studios, a small New York City theater, and aired live each week. The combination of an intimate venue and live action proved to be a successful improvement. However, the weekly live schedule proved to be a financial drain on the WWF. From Spring 1993 up until Spring 1997, Raw would tape several week's worth of episodes after a live episode had aired.The WWF taped several weeks worth of Raw from the Mid Hudson Civic Centre in April 1993, and again in June and October. The first episode to air outside of New York was taped in Bushkill, Pennsylvania in November 1993, and Raw left the Manhattan Center permanently as the show would be taken on the road throughout the United States and had in smaller venues.
Raw, uniquely in its day, featured some competitive matches between upper level talent such as Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Mr. Perfect, Doink the Clown and the 1-2-3 Kid in its early years. Huge storyline developing matches such as Ric Flair Vs Mr Perfect in January 1993 would be Flair's last appearance in the company for almost 9 years. The Kid's upset victory of Razor Ramon in May 1993 would result in The Kid becoming an upper roster mainstay for years to come.
Vince McMahon, "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Rob Bartlett were the original hosts of the show, Bartlett being a comedian who previously had nothing to do with the wrestling industry. He would be replaced by Bobby Heenan in April 1993, though he left the company in December and would leave McMahon and Savage to host the show alone. Savage would leave in October 1994, leaving McMahon with several different co hosts each week including Shawn Michaels and Jim Cornette. Jerry Lawler would become McMahon's permanent co host in April 1995 in a role he still keeps today.
During the 1,000th episode of Raw, "The Night" by Kromestatik debuted as the theme for Raw. "Energy" by Shinedown serves as the secondary theme-song. From November 16, 2009 to July 23, 2012, the theme song for the Raw brand was "Burn It to the Ground" by Nickelback. Prior to this, the theme song for Raw was "...To Be Loved" by Papa Roach, which had been used since October 9, 2006 and "Across The Nation" by The Union Underground which was used from April 1, 2002 to October 2, 2006. The rap outro of "Thorn In Your Eye" featuring Scott Ian of Anthrax was the theme song from 1998 to March 25, 2002.
Since March 10, 1997, broadcasts of Raw were split into two hours and given hourly names for television ratings purposes, with the first hour being referred to as Raw is War and the second as War Zone by the show's on-screen graphics. Beginning October 1, 2001, the first hour was referred to as Raw and the second as Raw Zone by the show's on-screen graphics; however, announcers would generally refer to the entire two-hour block as Raw on-air. On May 17, 2012, WWE and USA Network announced that Raw would switch to a permanent three-hour format beginning with the 1,000th episode on July 23, 2012. Since then, all three hours of the broadcast have been known solely as Raw, though they are still considered three separate programs for Nielsen ratings purposes (as indicated by the on-screen copyright notice shown near the end of each hour).
Raw's original set featured red, white and blue ring-ropes, a blue ring-apron, blue steps and a simple staging area. In 1997, WWE changed to red ring- ropes for Raw as well as Raw Is War being written along the ring due to their rivalry with WCW. They also updated the stage to feature RAW in giant letters and a large screen known as the TitanTron. Raw updated to a new TitanTron in 2002, and when the War ended began advertising their website on the ring aprons instead. They occasionally used black ropes. In 2008, Raw went HD debuting a new stage. In 2010, WWE retired the red ropes for Raw after thirteen years for an all white scheme, and in 2012 became standard for all WWE programming. In 2012, Raw updated their HD set. From late September through the end of October 2012, the middle rope at all WWE programming was changed to pink due to WWE's alliance with the Susan G. Komen organization for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This was repeated in 2013, from late September to early November.