Raw completely revitalised and re-invented wrestling on television as we know it. Taking a moribund formula, and adding a much needed injection of adrenalin, WWE Raw gave the whole world a sports entertainment a kick up the arse and single-handedly instigated the Monday Night Wars – arguably the single most important element in launching wrestling into the stratosphere.
Pillman’s got a gun, Edge and Lita’s live sex show, Bobby Heenan being fired, McMahon’s infamous ‘Bret screwed Bret’ interview, Mr Socko, the arrival of Y2J… if it made waves and happened on Raw, it’s here. We’re also provided with and undervalued gems like Shaun Michaels and Kurt Angle’s Iron Man match, and Bret Hart’s epic battle against the 1-2-3 Kid.
The four disc set is a strong representation of how the WWE’s focus has shifted over the years. Beginning with nothing but in-ring action, by the end of the collection you’re lucky to see a whole match, with most of the disc-space being taken up with behind the scenes skits, sketches and soap opera-esque histrionics. It’s a little unsatisfying after being treated to some brilliant full-length matches, but it’s necessary in depicting the full colourful history of this groundbreaking series.
Wrestling fan or not, you’ll get a real kick out of this.
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