WWE RAW

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WWE RAW is the Monday night professional wrestling show for World Wrestling Entertainment. It airs live on USA Network in the United States every Monday night, as well as in Canada on TSN, and in the United Kingdom on Sky Sports. RAW is generally seen as WWE's flagship program over its sister program SmackDown!.

The program is usually 2 hours long, with a built-in overrun of about 10-15 minutes. Beginning in 1997, the two hours of RAW had different names for television ratings purposes, so WWE could demand higher advertising charges for the more-watched second hour. Prior to the September 11, 2001 attacks, the two hours were known as RAW is WAR and The War Zone, as WAR is the anagram of RAW. References to WAR were eliminated afterward, calling the first hour simply WWF RAW and the second hour as The RAW Zone. When the change was made, the entire program was just referred to as WWF RAW (and later WWE RAW) on-camera.

The current theme song of RAW is "Across the Nation" by The Union Underground.

Show history

RAW was originally aired on the USA Network. The only networks to have aired RAW in the United States are the USA Network and TNN, which is now Spike TV. It returned to USA Network on October 3, 2005. The current RAW is the successor to WWF Monday Night RAW, which first aired on January 11, 1993 on USA Network for 1 hour and then later moved to 2 hours. 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. RAW originated from the Manhattan Center, a small New York City theater and aired live each week. The combination of an intimate venue and live action proved highly successful. However, the weekly live schedule proved to be a financial drain on WWE, and taped shows began airing every other week. Eventually, RAW aired live shows only about once per month, with the other shows being taped.

WCW then began airing its new wrestling show, Monday Nitro, live each week. RAW and WCW Monday Nitro went head-to-head for the first time on September 11, 1995. On several occasions, World Championship Wrestling head Eric Bischoff, who was also an on-air personality, gave away the results of WWF's taped RAW shows on the live WCW show (a tactic that backfired when they announced Mick Foley's first WWF title victory, causing half a million viewers to switch to RAW to see it). Under this pressure, WWF started presenting RAW live each week, even after the demise of WCW. Although RAW 's sister show, SmackDown!, has had a few live shows, it has never been continually aired live.

Brand extension

In early to mid-2002, WWE underwent a process they called the Brand Extension. This meant that the two WWE television shows, RAW and SmackDown! would become competition for each other. This came about when WWE (then known as WWF) purchased their two biggest competitors, WCW and ECW.

The Brand Extension would bring about a change like nothing the WWF/WWE had seen before. Wrestlers would become show-exclusive, wrestling for their specific show only. At the time this excluded the WWE Undisputed Champion and Women's Champion, as those WWF/WWE titles would be defended on both shows. In late 2002, Brock Lesnar, at that time the WWE Undisputed Champion, refused to defend the title on RAW, causing the title to become exclusive to SmackDown!. The following week on RAW, General Manager Eric Bischoff awarded the World Heavyweight Title, in the form of the old WCW World Heavyweight Championship belt, to RAW's designated #1 contender, Triple H.

The WWE Women's Championship is now generally accepted to be RAW-exclusive, after being mentioned in a backstage scene with then SmackDown! GM Stephanie McMahon on a 2002 edition of SmackDown!.

The 2005 WWE Draft Lottery made a huge impact on the show. RAW drafted several major SmackDown! stars, including WWE Champion John Cena, Kurt Angle, Carlito, who won the Intercontinental Title in his first match on RAW, the Big Show, and Rob Van Dam. But they lost Chris Benoit, Randy Orton, Muhammad Hassan (w/ Khosrow Daivari), Christian and World Heavyweight Champion Batista to the draft.

Return to USA Network

On March 10, 2005, Viacom, the parent company of Spike TV, announced that they would not seek to extend their agreement to air RAW and other WWE programming on the network when their deal expired in September 2005. [1] On April 4, 2005, WWE announced a 3-year deal with NBC Universal to bring RAW back to its former home, the USA Network, with two yearly specials on NBC and a Spanish-language RAW on Telemundo. [2] On the same week as RAW's redebut on USA, Spike TV scheduled Ultimate Fighting Championship's live Ultimate Fight Night in RAW's old timeslot in an attempt to go head-to-head with RAW.

The show's first night back on USA was billed as the "WWE Homecoming" and featured the return of former WWE Champions such as Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mick Foley, Triple H and Vince McMahon along with cameos from legends such as Roddy Piper, Jimmy Hart, "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka, The Iron Sheik and Harley Race. The "WWE Homecoming" was three hours long - the longest an episode of RAW has ever run in its 12-year history. USA also showed RAW Exposed, an hour of the best moments of RAW during its previous run on USA. WWE announced that RAW received its highest ratings in three years, gaining close to six million viewers.

Since its return to the USA Network, WWE.com has hosted a new service called WWE Unlimited which streams live clips of RAW before and after the show along with clips between commercial breaks. The service has shown some exclusive segments including the heel turn of The Hurricane.

Current champions

Footnotes:

1: This is the original WWE (WWF) World Heavyweight Championship. It is currently on the RAW brand after John Cena was drafted from SmackDown! on June 6, 2005
2: This is the original WWE Tag-Team Championship.
3: This is the original WWE Women's Championship.
4: The original WWE Intercontinental Championship was discontinued on October 20, 2002 until May 18, 2003, when it was reintroduced by Stone Cold Steve Austin at WWE Judgment Day 2003.

Recurring segments

In addition to wrestling matches and backstage vignettes, RAW has also aired several recurring segments as part of its program. In 2003, Chris Jericho's "Highlight Reel" was the RAW equivalent of the "Piper's Pit" segments airing on SmackDown! at that time. Also in that year, Rodney Mack and Theodore Long hosted the "White Boy Challenge", a five minute time-limit challenge for any white wrestler to beat Mack. The challenge was eventually ended by Goldberg in the same year. 2004 saw the addition of an annual RAW Diva Search. The next year, 2005 WWE newcomer Chris Masters introduced the "Masterlock Challenge" soon after his debut.

The 2005 draft brought Kurt Angle and his "Kurt Angle Invitational" to the show, which was briefly turned into Eugene's "Eugene Invitational". Carlito brought his interview segment "Carlito's Cabana" from SmackDown! to RAW as well. In the same year, Rowdy Roddy Piper made two guest appearances hosting a special edition of his interview segment "Piper's Pit" in which he interviewed Shawn Michaels and Mick Foley in seperate segments.

General managers and "owners"

1 Long and Eugene were made General Managers of RAW for one night only by Eric Bischoff.

2 These four people had a one-time-only opportunity at General Manager when their team won at Survivor Series 2004, while full-time General Manager Eric Bischoff was on vacation.

See also

External links

es:WWE RAW