|16th||Hornswoggle is revealed as Mr. McMahon's illegitimate son. Irish eyes were smiling, even if the Chairman wasn't.|
|15th||Monday Night Raw premieres.|
|14th||Chris Jericho makes his WWE debut.|
|13th||Mr. McMahon's limousine explodes.|
|12th||Roster split in the first-ever WWE Draft|
|11th||Mr. McMahon receives a special hospital visit|
|10th||Mr. McMahon introduces WWE to Eric Bischoff|
|9th||The Game weds the Billion Dollar Princess|
|8th||Mick Foley captures the WWE Championship|
|7th||Edge and Lita's Live Sex Celebration|
|6th||Mick Foley hosts a special night in The Rock's life|
|5th||"Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Mike Tyson have an in-ring face-off|
|4th||DX invades WCW|
|3rd||The Rock and "Hollywood" Hogan meet eye-to-eye|
|2nd||Austin's beer truck joyride|
|1st||Shane McMahon announces the purchase of WCW|
Raw has had so many great moments they couldn’t be contained in a list of only 15, especially this little shocker from Sept. 10, 2007.
The revelation that Mr. McMahon had an illegitimate child and that the child was a WWE Superstar was shocking enough. But when little Hornswoggle was ultimately revealed as the bastard fruit – dare we say grape – of the Chairman’s grapefruits, the news sent giant shockwaves that are still being felt today and earns an honorary mention as No. 15 ½ in WWE.com’s Greatest Moments in Raw history.
For weeks, speculation ran wild about the identity of McMahon’s illegitimate child. Though he initially dreaded the news, the Chairman was desperate to find out who was the long-lost McMahon. From ECW’s Balls Mahoney to The Great Khali to longtime nemesis “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, almost everyone on the WWE roster was suspected of being a McMahon – even Triple H.
Once upon a time, The Game was like a son to the Chairman, but even Mr. McMahon was horrified at the possibility that his former son-in-law could be, gulp, his bastard. Still, he never imagined that a key clue in the search for his lost child, “things are looking up,” referred to a little guy who had a taste for Lucky Charms and liked to hide under the ring.
Today, Hornswoggle is still trying to win his dear old man’s love – and we can’t really tell whether No. 16 is a Raw moment the Chairman would rather forget.
Premiering on USA Network and originally hosted by Mr. McMahon, Randy “Macho Man” Savage and actor-comedian Rob Bartlett, Raw broke new ground as it aired live and was not taped with voiceover commentary like previous shows.
In the first episode’s one hour of action (not two with today’s shows), Superstars such as Yokozuna, Mr. Fuji, Koko B. Ware, Shawn Michaels, Max Moon, Razor Ramon and The Steiner Brothers provided our fans with non-stop action. The first Raw main event featured Undertaker overcoming the challenge of Damien Demento.
Of the Superstars who competed on the first Raw, only The Deadman and HBK remain on the WWE roster. They are cornerstones, anchors in the ever-changing world of WWE, just like Raw has become a mainstay on Monday nights. But greatness has to start somewhere, and that’s why the first episode is WWE.com’s No. 15 Greatest Raw moment.
The Windy City held its collective breath for WWE.com’s No. 14 Greatest Moment in Raw History, when the “Countdown to the Millennium” clock ticked down to zero on Aug. 9, 1999.
Colored lights flooded the United Center, and then went dark. The Rock, who was in the ring at the time, was transfixed along with the rest of the arena, partly because he was annoyed that someone would dare interrupt his address to our fans.
An explosion of pyro revealed one name in 20-foot-high letters across the TitanTron that brought the arena to its feet.
Loyal fans knew of Chris Jericho from his exploits in WCW. The charismatic, world-renowned newcomer stood on stage, soaking in the roars of the Chi-Town crowd as an unimpressed Rock fumed.
“Welcome to Raw … is … Jericho,” the brash new Superstar boasted. “For those who don’t know me, I am Chris Jericho, your new hero, your party host, and most importantly, the most charismatic showman to ever enter your living rooms via a television screen.”
The cocky, yet confident Jericho vowed he would save WWE from the boring and mundane, touting himself as the “Y2J problem” – a play on the “Y2K” computer bug that struck fear in programmers as the year 2000 approached.
Raw’s millennium man would, in fact, change WWE, as Y2J would go on to become the first-ever Undisputed Champion in history when he defeated both The Rock and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in one night in December 2001.
But he set the tone for his WWE career in one of the greatest moments in Raw’s history.
“On behalf of WWE SmackDown, I, Vince McMahon, choose … The Rock!”
With those words, the first-ever WWE Draft was underway. Raw and SmackDown were on their way to becoming separate brands, and WWE ventured into completely uncharted territory. The official launch of the WWE Brand Extension – March 25, 2002 – was an unlucky night for some, but still so momentous that it ranks as No. 12 among WWE.com’s Greatest Moments in Raw History.
Following WrestleMania X8, the WWE Board of Directors chose to split Raw and SmackDown into separate entities, giving Mr. McMahon control of SmackDown and Ric Flair control of Raw. SmackDown won a coin toss to earn the No. 1 selection, and every WWE Superstar – with the exception of a select few who were exempt – would end up in their permanent home by the end of the night. Each brand had 10 selections to make live on Raw, with a lottery being held later in the night to determine the remainder of the draft.
In front of a capacity crowd at Penn State University, Mr. McMahon strode to the podium and uttered the opening quote, touching off a night of controversy, surprises and good old one-upsmanship. Friendships were strained, teams were split up, and our fans were left aghast at some of the choices.
The Rock wasn’t happy, nor was Ric Flair’s No. 1 Raw choice, Undertaker – a man who had just brutally destroyed Flair at WrestleMania X8 nine days earlier. Nearly two hours later, following 20 draft picks and a night filled with chaos, Triple H capped off draft night, winning a Triple Threat Match to retain the WWE Championship and remain eligible to appear on both Raw and SmackDown.
Over the years, more draft lotteries have been held, Superstars have switched brands – some multiple times – and WWE has even added a third brand. However, March 25, 2002 will always be the night that WWE was divided, and one of the biggest moments in Raw history.
With Mr. McMahon in the hospital recovering from a broken ankle, some Superstars took the opportunity to visit the Chairman, which led to our No. 11 Greatest Moment in Raw History in October 1998.
The cameras in Mr. McMahon’s room saw his corporate lackey, Mankind, bring clowns and balloons for the Chairman. But that wasn’t all. The ever-enthusiastic Mankind continued to entertain his brooding boss with an impromptu sock puppet which would go on to become the most famous sock in WWE history, Mr. Socko.
An annoyed McMahon shoved the animal balloons off his bed and ordered Mankind and his clown friend out of his room. But the Chairman’s torment wasn’t over. As the nurse left the Chairman’s side, McMahon’s nemesis, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin struck from the shadows.
Disguised in doctor scrubs, the Texas Rattlesnake jumped the bedridden McMahon with a flurry of punches, then clubbed at the Chairman’s wounded leg, making him howl in excruciating pain.
As McMahon struggled to escape, Stone Cold grabbed a nearby bedpan and clanged it loudly off his skull, knocking the Chairman out of his hospital bed. Watch the video...
Then the Rattlesnake charged two defibrillator paddles and gave the Chairman a jolt, ending a “shocking” night for Mr. McMahon in Raw’s history.
They say anything can happen in WWE. Perhaps no event better epitomized that statement more than WWE.com’s No. 10 Greatest Moment in Raw History, when Mr. McMahon introduced Eric Bischoff – the man who had tried and failed to destroy the Chairman and WWE – as Raw’s new General Manager.
Bischoff was WCW’s general that waged the infamous Monday Night Wars between Nitro and Raw. As the architect of Nitro’s 83-week winning streak in the ratings battle with Raw, he gleefully employed the dirtiest of tactics (like revealing Raw’s match results on the occasions the show was pre-recorded) and openly challenging the Chairman. But internal company turmoil, Bischoff’s ego and WWE’s ingenuity and sheer refusal to give up led to WCW’s downfall.
So, when Bischoff suddenly showed up in the Raw locker room on July 15, 2002, the Superstars’ jaws dropped as everyone wondered why he was there. The answer to that question came, but it only triggered more intrigue. Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler were left almost speechless at the sight of McMahon and Bischoff hugging and lifting each other’s hands in victory.
“J.R., I used to sit in the same broadcast booth and watch Vince wish death upon this man,” Lawler said incredulously. “Now look at this! They’re hugging each other!”
The Bischoff-McMahon union was a match made ultimately in hell – for Bischoff. The Chairman seemed to take delight in making his former rival squirm every chance he could during his tenure. Bischoff was unceremoniously – and literally – taken out with the trash during his public firing in 2005. Nevertheless, no one will ever forget his most unlikely hiring.
Nobody can deny that Triple H hasn’t always played by the rules, and throughout his career, The Cerebral Assassin has found ways to continuously torture one man – Mr. McMahon. One night in November 1999, however, The Game took his disdain for the Chairman down a shocking different aisle when he disrupted the nuptials between Stephanie McMahon & Test in WWE.com’s No. 9 Greatest Moment in Raw History.
As the Billion Dollar Princess and the groom-to-be prepared to exchange their vows, Triple H played the part of wedding crasher. An incensed McMahon family could only stand in awe and watch as The Game produced video footage of a drive-thru wedding ceremony in Las Vegas. When all was said and done, Triple H had done the unthinkable and married the apparently drugged daughter of the Chairman, spoiling the biggest wedding in WWE history.
Adding to the shock of Triple H’s despicable actions, weeks later at Armageddon, The Game went one-on-one with the Chairman in a Street Fight, with Stephanie seemingly supporting her father at ringside. “Daddy’s little girl” turned her back on her father and showed the world that her marriage to The Game was truly a match made in hell – for the Chairman. The Game and Stephanie ushered in the McMahon-Helmsley Era, but its seeds were planted on Raw.
WWE.com’s No. 8 Greatest Moment in Raw History was a night that made Mrs. Foley very proud and marked a major turning point in the Monday Night Wars.
Mick Foley winning his first WWE Championship from The Rock was a surprise no one saw coming. Adorned in a dirty, tattered shirt and wearing a Hannibal Lector-esque mask, Mankind, one of Foley’s many personas, may have been the unlikeliest WWE Champion. Shaped like a pear, with scars from years of Barbed Wire Matches overseas, he wasn’t Hulk Hogan. And he sure as hell wasn’t a corporate dreamboat like The Rock.
When Foley received an opportunity at the WWE Championship, Raw and Nitro were in the midst of a heated ratings war. At the time, Raw was pre-recorded and Eric Bischoff, president of WCW, often announced the outcome of Raw matches during Nitro’s broadcasts.
The night of Jan. 4, 1999 was no different.
“Tonight, fans, Mick Foley, who wrestled here as Cactus Jack and now wrestles in WWE as Mankind, will win the WWE Title,” quipped Nitro announcer Tony Schiavone. “Hmmph! That’ll put some butts in the seats.”
WCW’s sabotage attempt failed miserably as fans almost immediately tuned in to Raw to see Foley’s magical moment. Raw won the ratings battle that night, and Foley’s title win was considered a pivotal moment in the war WCW ultimately lost. Although Mr. McMahon cried at the site of Mankind holding the WWE Title, he still had to credit Mrs. Foley’s Baby Boy for helping him bring WCW to its knees.
WWE.com’s No. 7 Greatest Moment in Raw History is also one of the most watched segments on any edition of Monday Night Raw. Defrosting the chill of a brisk January night in 2006, Edge and his main squeeze, Lita, engaged in a steamy and obscenely unprecedented Live Sex Celebration on Raw.
The Rated-R couple nearly turned NC-17 in an attempt to consummate Edge’s controversial WWE Championship victory at New Year’s Revolution. Twenty-four hours after the new champion cashed in his Money in the Bank title opportunity against John Cena – who moments before had just barely prevailed in an intense Elimination Chamber Match – Edge tried to land yet another spear on live television.
Swapping the Money in the Bank briefcase for a satin-sheeted bed in the middle of the ring, the Rated-R Superstar slowly stripped his fishnetted Diva down to the barest essentials, then joined her under the covers for some further exploration. Under pale purple lighting, Edge and Lita’s sexual wooing of one another was suddenly interrupted by the much more recognizable “Woo”-ing of “Nature Boy” Ric Flair.
To make matters worse for the prurient pair, former WWE Champion John Cena also made his way to the ring to crash the Rated-R couple’s uncouth coital encounter. With an intervention from the Dr. of Thuganomics, an em-bare-assed Edge’s sex celebration ended and the champion fled.
Unfortunately for Lita, the closest she got to scoring in the arena that evening was an FU at the hands of a justifiably irate Cena. Still, as calculated by the Rated-R Superstar, that night was certainly memorable; for years to come, the millions of viewers who witnessed Edge’s fornicating festivities will undoubtedly remember its premature finish.
WWE.com’s No. 6 Greatest Moment in Raw History roars onto the list like a full belly laugh, thanks to a pair of sports-entertainment’s most charismatic jokers: The Rock and Mick Foley.
The Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection — named after the third-generation Superstar and Foley’s trusty hand puppet, Mr. Socko — helped Raw earn one of its highest ratings ever during a segment entitled “This Is Your Life, Rock,” which aired September 27, 1999. Watch the video...
Mankind hosted the parody of the popular 1950s program and cast the spotlight on his tag team partner and guest of honor, The Rock. The segment featured people from the Great One’s past, including a matronly home-economics teacher, a grumpy high school football coach and a “skanky” former high school sweetheart.
“You cut The Rock off on second base,” The Brahma Bull reminded the ex, in one of his more memorable lines. “The Rock just has one thing to say to you: Pootang your ass on outta here!”
In an attempt to salvage the busted evening, Mankind introduced Yerfel the Clown, who led the audience in a rendition of “Happy Birthday” for The Rock. The whole program was an olive branch offered up by the gentle Mankind to make peace with a man whom he had battled over the WWE Title with several times throughout the year.
There was only one problem with the kind gesture: The Rock’s actual birthday wasn’t for another six months.
WWE.com’s No. 5 Greatest Moment in Raw History was one of the most memorable events of the “Attitude” era. And who better suited this time than two of the baddest men on the planet, Mike Tyson and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin?
On Jan. 19, 1998, WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon was in his glory because “Iron” Mike Tyson was on Raw and he had big plans for boxing’s controversial former heavyweight champion. But Stone Cold quickly rained on his parade, marching down to the ring and then announcing he wanted to cash in his Royal Rumble-earned title opportunity against WWE Champion Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania.
Of course, he only wanted to do that after he got “a piece of Mike Tyson’s a**.” Some “sign language” with his middle fingers sparked a brawl between The Rattlesnake and Tyson, and the Chairman was livid, screaming, “You ruined everything! You ruined everything, Austin!”
Tyson would briefly align himself with HBK and DX – but then show his true colors at WrestleMania XIV when he played a key role in Austin winning the WWE Championship. He provided WWE with some unforgettable moments, which began on Raw and his respect for Stone Cold showed that Austin was the “World’s Toughest Son of a Bitch.”
Invading WWE.com’s Greatest Moments in Raw History at No. 4 is one of the instrumental battles fought during the epic Monday Night Wars – one fought on enemy soil … by D-Generation X.
Breaching enemy lines for the first time ever, Triple H field-led a camo-clad quintet of D-Generates onto the turf of rival wrestling franchise WCW on April 27, 1998. Never before had any individual from a competing sports-entertainment promotion come so close to the frontlines, let alone acknowledge the competitor. That didn’t stop their sergeant, The Game, from leading the DX troop to The Scope in Norfolk, Va. – the arena hosting Monday Nitro that very evening.
“WCW, let my people go!” Triple H exclaimed, as he stood mounted atop a war-bound jeep with a cannon nestled between his army fatigue pant legs. With his subordinate DX soldiers at his side in their “X” labeled helmets, The Game corralled scores of supporters outside the arena and turned many WCW ticket holders into WWE diehards.
The D-Generates even tried to infiltrate the sports complex and ride their vehicle into the rear entrance of the arena, so that they might come face-to-camouflage painted face with their competitors. Though locked out, Triple H and his pack continued to bellow war cries that were undoubtedly heard by the athletes in the WCW locker room mere yards away.
Brazenly confronting the enemy and extinguishing the excitement for that night’s edition of Nitro – for fans and WCW’s roster alike – DX managed to “fire the first shot” in the Monday Night Wars. Not just the first shot, but also one of the most potent; this invasion proved to be a critical turning point in the clash for sports-entertainment supremacy in the late 1990s. And if WCW wasn’t down with that, DX had two very specific words for them.
Our fans remember Monday night, February 18, 2002, like it was yesterday. In fact, who could ever forget WWE.com’s No. 3 Greatest Moment in Raw History – and quite possibly the most electrifying encounter in sports-entertainment – when nWo leader “Hollywood” Hogan was confronted in the ring by the “People’s Champ,” The Rock?
Those attending Chicago’s sold-out Allstate Arena that night couldn’t wait for Hogan to address his New World Order’s deplorable actions less than 24 hours prior, when the faction made their poisonous presence in WWE known – and felt – at No Way Out. Sadly, he preferred to muse over his past glory days of Hulkamania, then verbally abused and accused our fans of turning against him.
The capacity crowd erupted as an irate “People’s Champion” suddenly interrupted the self-professed “biggest icon in sports-entertainment.” Stepping into the ring, The Rock revealed that both he and the fans had loved Hogan and believed in Hulkamania – until it got to the point where they “took one big Hulka-crap every time you opened your mouth!” Though he acknowledged the nWo leader as a main-event mainstay for numerous unforgettable WrestleManias, the Great One wanted to know, “How do you feel about headlining one more WrestleMania with The Rock?”
The challenge instantly prompted dueling roars of “Rocky” and “Hogan” that deafened the Windy City arena. Even the two ring warriors momentarily took their attention off each other, looking around as if they were trying to absorb the unforeseen reception from our divided fans. Hollywood boasted that he had made a career out of conquering supposed in-vogue icons like the Brahma Bull, but Rock stayed on point. Knowing that an “Icon vs. Icon” contest at WrestleMania X8 would determine which of them would go down in WWE history as “the absolute best, ever,” he wanted to hear only one thing from Hogan: “‘Yes’ … or ‘no’?”
Whether you were witnessing Raw in person or on your living-room TV, to this day you can almost still hear Hogan answering “Yes” to the fantasy match-up, then wishing Rock good luck at WrestleMania, “’cause you’re gonna need it.” To this day, you can almost still feel the impact as Rock replied, “Not as much as you … brother,” then planted the nWo leader with a canvas-denting Rock Bottom. And to this day, you still almost reel from the nWo’s brutal ambush, one which left the Great One stretchered into an ambulance following a vicious hammer to the skull, then further victimized as Hogan mercilessly rammed a diesel truck into the emergency vehicle.
Fortunately, The Rock would recover in time for WrestleMania X8, and he and “Hollywood” Hogan would engage in an “Icon vs. Icon” Match that more than lived up to the hype. Yet their epic Raw encounter in February remains the moment that transcends not only their historic rivalry, but nearly every other instant in sports-entertainment lore.
WrestleMania is the biggest event on WWE’s calendar, one that Superstars prepare their entire careers for, so it’s only natural to get a little thirsty on the Road to WrestleMania. On the final Raw before WrestleMania XV, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin apparently thought The Corporation looked a little parched, so he decided to help them out.
On March 22, 1999, The Corporation – WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon, his son Shane and then-WWE Champion The Rock – stood in the ring to berate the Texas Rattlesnake, who was challenging for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania XV that weekend. All of a sudden, the sound of breaking glass was heard; Stone Cold’s music filled the arena, and the Texas Rattlesnake rolled to ringside in quite possibly his dream vehicle – a Coors Light beer truck.
No one ever said Stone Cold was much of a giver, but on this night, he showed his more altruistic side to his sworn rivals. Unleashing a giant hose from the side of the vehicle, the Texas Rattlesnake turned the truck into a super-sized Super Soaker, blasting The Corporation with a stream of Rocky Mountain refreshment that would make Norm, Cliff Clavin and the rest of the Cheers gang faint. In perhaps one of the funniest visuals in WWE history, our fans witnessed the WWE Chairman and his son on their duffs, literally swimming in puddles of beer as they tried to escape Stone Cold’s liquid attack.
Of course, the Texas Rattlesnake’s night couldn’t be complete without partaking in a frost-brewed beverage himself. So, once The Corporation’s thirst was quenched, Stone Cold obliged his own by climbing his battle tank and chugging a couple “Steve-weisers.”
The damage was done, and while they may not have known it then, the Raw Fan Nation had just witnessed one of Raw’s greatest moments, one that earned Stone Cold and the “Silver Bullet” a silver medal – the No. 2 spot on WWE.com’s list of the Greatest Moments in Raw History.
Irony, thy name is WWE.com’s No. 1 Greatest Moment in Raw History. It’s certainly the most applicable term when describing the events of March 26, 2001, though Mr. McMahon might have some other…choice words regarding the matter.
The evening of irony started in Cleveland, Ohio, where the WWE Chairman opened Raw and WCW Monday Nitro, which had been emanating from Panama City Beach, Fla. In a first-ever simulcast on both programs, WWE’s billionaire Chairman made the shocking announcement that he had acquired WCW. One could argue that WWE had long ago won its ongoing “Monday Night War” with the Ted Turner-owned competition; however, there was no debating that Mr. McMahon, with less than a week before WrestleMania X-Seven in Houston’s sold-out Astrodome, now believed that he was sitting on top of two worlds.
But the boss was a tad premature with his blockbuster proclamation. Inside the ring midway through Raw, Mr. McMahon clarified for our fans how Time Warner had “practically begged” him to buy WCW. He agreed – with the caveat that he would only seal the deal on pay-per-view, “when Ted Turner himself walks down the aisle at WrestleMania and delivers the contract to me!” Evidently, the victor of the “Monday Night War” felt no need to exhibit compassion for the vaunted “Billionaire Ted,” or for a brand he planned to forever “bury” – much like he intended to do to his own son, Shane, in their upcoming WrestleMania Street Fight.
Suddenly, the billionaire Chairman’s vitriolic tirade gave way to startled surprise as his entrance music kicked in, and the face of his offspring filled up the entire TitanTron. Shane, it turned out, was in Panama City Beach for WCW Monday Nitro, and he had just entered the ring to make a special announcement of his own:
“Dad, the deal is finalized with WCW, and the name on the contract does say ‘McMahon,’” he said. “However, the contract reads ‘Shane McMahon.’ That’s right – I now own WCW!”
Our fans were beyond elated; based on the raucous cheers coming from both venue audiences, one can logically presume that many parties took place in Cleveland and Panama City Beach that night. As for WWE’s Chairman, we’ve seen him register utter shock and disbelief many times over the years. But the expression on his face as Shane declared himself the owner of WCW… well, let’s put it this way: It was as if his entire world was a limousine, and it just blew up. (To better appreciate the reference, check out Greatest Raw Moment No. 13.)
Just as Shane would kick his father’s posterior at WrestleMania X-Seven, his invading WCW – allied with a Stephanie McMahon-led ECW – would get the better of Mr. McMahon for much of 2001, until WWE’s Superstars emerged triumphant in a winner-take-all match-up at Survivor Series. WCW and ECW’s rosters would become integrated into the WWE locker room, creating an elite mix of Superstars that to this day entertains our fans around the world under the Raw, SmackDown and ECW brands. Needless to say, the result of what transpired that March evening on Raw forever altered the face of sports-entertainment – for the better, ironically.
Who knows? Perhaps one day Mr. McMahon will even learn to appreciate the irony.