Social media-friendly dubbed as #Raw25, the world’s largest wrestling promotion will be celebrating its flagship’s 25th anniversary on Monday evening. In turn, fans are expecting the WWE to put on a show that will leave them breathless.
It will be a difficult endeavor for the WWE’s creative-team. While the company will likely rely heavily on past memories, the Royal Rumble will only be six days away. The chances of any dynamic shifts in modern storytelling are unlikely.
The 25th Anniversary show takes place at two New York venues; the Barclays Center and Manhattan Center, the site of the first episode of Raw. It is expected that one building will feature an emphasis on nostalgia, while the other focuses on the current happenings of the WWE.
This does provide the WWE a chance to mess around with how it operates with its broadcast. Even though each separate live crowd will be unable to feed off what is happening at the other venue, the company can pick-and-choose what they deem best for fans to consume at home.
Considering the WWE has already announced more than a dozen returning stars from yesteryear, this is a good move, as it would be simply too difficult to provide proper time to each legend on the picture-box. And, if we’re being honest about it, not all of the talent confirmed for the show are must-see TV.
Even with many aspects of the anniversary show confirmed by the WWE, here’s a few things that could help in making the milestone celebration of the company’s flagship show entertaining.
Actual shocking returns
The WWE has confirmed plenty of returning stars. That’s great. It is a PR move by the company to try to attract casual fans lost since the Attitude Era went the way of the dinosaurs.
It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, though. By announcing so many of the returning stars, it limits the potential for one of wrestling’s best moments — the stunning return of Old Timey Pro Wrestler-X.
While fans will go bonkers for certain wrestlers no matter if they knew about the return or not, there’s something special about failing to realize Marty Jannetty’s music is about to hit. When an actual surprise return does happen, the live crowd would erupt in glee as the people viewing at home drop their sodas over the shock.
There will be more rumors and reports about other talent joining the fold for #Raw25, but hopefully the WWE doesn’t give away all of the fun. The unknown is so much better than the alternative. Leave a little to the imagination, WWE. We’ll all be better for it.
Eras clashing (In a good way)
This sort of segment wouldn’t be anything new, but it can be the first time it has been done correctly.
Over the years, the WWE has often brought back past acts to help “get over” a current WWE Superstar. The problem usually being, the wrestler from days gone by is so incredibly over, no matter how much they weren’t when originally used, the current talent gets lost in the shuffle. So much so, in fact, it has aided in ruining acts like The Ascension.
Sure, there are times when it is done specifically to feature the returning act (re: Heath Slater against everyone). That being said, considering the issue the WWE has had in trying to push this new era as its own, the company would be best served by not reminding people why the Attitude Era was supposedly better.
If DX wants to come out and interrupt some current act to perform their shenanigans, great, go for it. Allow X-Pac, Triple H and HBK to get off all their jokes. At the end of that segment, let a team like The Revival get the best of them. This could immediately establish the duo as top-notch heels.
It isn’t a guarantee to work, obviously. The opposite — having DX, or whoever else, embarrass the modern talent(s) — is.
At least one reenactment
As much as we love seeing stars from our childhood operate in today’s WWE, there will always be something weird about seeing a near-senior citizen pretend as if s/he’s still as feared as that person once was. Maybe that’s being a bit too cynical for a sport in which a suspension of disbelief is a must, but nothing pauses that disbelief more than seeing a jacked-up 30-something quiver at the presence of some out-of-shape fella.
“But how do I get all excited about the return of Papa Shango,” an astute reader questions.
First off, you don’t. But if we must, how about the WWE scripts a segment in which he’s a few seconds late entering?
Would that segment only be for longtime fans? You bet. That’s the entire point. If the WWE wants us to celebrate performers who haven’t been in the limelight for a decade or longer, maybe a direct recall to their most infamous moments would be neat.
I’d only have this be done once. Anything more than that, and it would likely grow tired.
- Marty Jannetty beating HBK via a towel to win the Intercontinental Title in 1993.
- Anything Katie Vick related.
- Someone doing CM Punk’s pipebomb promo, but with all the irony attached.
- ECW invasion of Raw.
- Mankind becomes WWE Champion.
The options are endless.
John Cena is confused segment
This one is, selfishly, probably just for me.
The WWE is bringing back a bunch of people from a slew of different eras to participate alongside current talent. We’ve gone over this, but it needs to be acknowledged again before this next suggestion.
What if, and hear me out here, John Cena “accidentally” shows up in a nostalgia act because he’s unsure where he belongs in today’s pro wrestling climate.
It would be a hehe-segment. A smart-mark inside joke of sorts. He’s too old for today’s wrestling, but doesn’t really fit with the Attitude Era, either. Get it? Get it?! HE JUST DOESN’T BELONG!
I am terribly sorry for this strange, yet fitting fan-booking.
The payoff to my poorly scripted joke would be stars from the ’80s welcoming him to that version of the WWE. It is truly where he belongs.
Tribute to every Raw performer who has passed
This one is simple. It isn’t really to make anyone feel better, either. It’s merely about celebrating ALL of Raw’s history, including lesser-than characters who had brief tenures with the WWE, but have been lost to the big man in the sky.
Even if brief, a video package can be shown of every performer who has ever appeared on Monday Night Raw, yet can’t be showcased in the celebration due to their passing.
Call me a downer if you must, and this could inadvertently result in a sad live audience, but just because guys are gone doesn’t mean they should be forgotten.