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iamthedoctor

What was the greatest raw of the attitude era?

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Thinking about this I'm not sure. Everyone tends to hype the highest rated raw from May 99 but there's been a lot of good ones like the beer truck one or the corvette cemented one. 

No idea if the show itself was good or it's just a one hit pony segment. 

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I would probably go with the RAW in January 99 when Mick Foley won his first WWF Championship. Just for the sheer pop the finish got with Austin costing The Rock the title and everything. Also, this is where it completely changed for WWF in the Monday Night Wars, following the infamous Tony Schiavone "Boy, that's gonna put butts in the seats!" line.

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This is a weird one since this era has a ton of individual moments but it's hard to say what full shows stand out since the in-ring stuff wasn't hot. Are we including 2000? Because I'd be tempted to say the Raw with the Radicalz turn and that awesome 10-man main event. 

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Yeah, depends a bit on what we are counting as the Attitude era, but one of the best has to be 13th April 98 RAW which has the show long Austin/McMahon angle building up to their first 'match', which is just a terrific example of episodic wrestling TV. 

The RAWs in 97 which have the Hart Foundation/Austin angles are also terrific, probably the best one involving Austin hijacking the ambulance.

While boasting mega ratings, the 99 RAWs are actually a tough watch as crash TV was out of control, but the RAW where Triple H breaks up Test and Stephanie's wedding is pretty iconic. As Stiva says though, RAW was built on memorable moments but it's challenging to think of consistently great whole episodes. The Dallas RAW referenced with the 10 men tag is also a good example.

If we count the Attitude era extending into 2001, then the RAW that sees the ECW guys join up with WCW is a great episode, even if they do burn through months of potential storylines in 2 hours.

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4 hours ago, SirEdger said:

Also, this is where it completely changed for WWF in the Monday Night Wars, following the infamous Tony Schiavone "Boy, that's gonna put butts in the seats!" line.

This is not where anything 'completely changed' sure Nitro never had higher ratings then Raw after that but they were losing most weeks at that point anyway and were in the early stages of the decline already.

Oh and the best Raw of the Attitude era might be 02/07/2000

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I'm going to pick two that I was there for because Defend Cleveland. (Both shows were held at the Gund Arena, now Quicken Loans)

03/2/98

- Build-up to WM14 with DX starting the show by talking down their respective opponents: Owen Hart and Steve Austin. Austin arrives to a huge pop, but there's some mindgames played as Kane and Bearer show up too. Austin comes out looking like the toughest guy on Earth, promising to take them all out and Mike Tyson for good measure.

- Later in the show, Michaels and Tyson go nose-to-nose. The crowd is owed money because while they paid for the whole seat, they were only using the edges here. Masterful work out of Shawn on the mic as he tells everyone to clear the ring and practically begs Tyson to deck him - only for it all to be a swerve as Tyson has joined DX! In the arena, you could imagine what JR's call was because this was executed so well. 

- Hot main event angle that starts off with Shawn hitting a Sweet Chin Music on Austin on the stage. This leads to Bearer and Kane cutting a promo in the ring but getting interrupted by the return of the Undertaker. Tons of fire, lightning, crazy special effects for the closing segment and the crowd went (justifiably) insane for it. When nerds fantasy-book angles involving Taker and Sting, this is the type of hair-raising, ultra-campy horror movie production they are envisioning. When its done right, like it was at the end of this show, it makes for compelling TV.

- Elsewhere on the show, Cornette is around to lead the lame nWa angle, the Marc Mero/Sable drama is showcased, and it is announced that Gennifer Flowers will be at WrestleMania. Kama and Steve Blackman wrestle and the crowd chants "boring." Not much substance to this show, but a perfectly fine snapshot of what the WWE was doing to combat Nitro in the weeks leading to WrestleMania

* Bonus - The Austin/Kane match did actually happen in the end in as the post-RAW dark match. I don't recall too much about it beyond Austin winning and probably drinking some beers in the ring. 

 

06/29/98

- The previous night, Kane won the WWE Championship from Steve Austin in a First Blood Match so the show opens with Vince and Co. celebrating Kane's victory with the full red carpet on the mat. Austin arrives, though, and demands a rematch tonight! Great opening segment. At the end of the show, Austin wins back the title to a mega-pop. Elsewhere on the show, Undertaker and had a good in-ring segment too to explain his actions (and he also appears in the main event). 

- The Brawl for All Tournament begins on this show. It was a trainwreck. It was a shit show. It was also pretty novel for the WWE to attempt something like this. Bad as it was, if you were a fan in 98', you remember the Brawl for All. This being the debut of the concept makes it a historically important show (if you count WrestleCrap as relevant wrestling history).

- Looking at a review of the rest of the show, there's some other elements that scream Attitude Era: Owen Hart and Ken Shamrock feuding, Val Venis getting involved with Kaientai, Edge in the rafters, Mick Foley's bump from the night before aired ad nauseum...

 

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Everything listed so far certainly has it's place, but I was blown away by the 9/14/98 RAW when going through the 1998 season recently. Flair returned on Nitro, so the Vinces drew up a card that was more stacked than most WWF PPVs were at the time.

Main Event: Austin vs. Shamrock for the WWE title (a match many had pencilled in for WM15 LOL), Taker-Mankind No DQ, Rock-Kane, Triple H-Owen, Edge-Gangrel, etc...everything was a blow off to a back story or a "dream" match or some sort. And for once, the in-ring action was actually very solid, with the title match going over 10 minutes for a change. Match-for-match, I doubt we'll find anything better until Feb 2000.

 

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What was that Raw in fall 97 where Foley debuted as Cactus Jack for the first time on Raw for some kind of Street Fight against Triple H. I seem to remember that being a great episode at the time, although I don't remember right now what else happened.

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9 minutes ago, TheDuke said:

What was that Raw in fall 97 where Foley debuted as Cactus Jack for the first time on Raw for some kind of Street Fight against Triple H. I seem to remember that being a great episode at the time, although I don't remember right now what else happened.

It was the first MSG RAW where Austin gave the stunner to Vince for the first time.

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10 hours ago, peachchaos said:

It was the first MSG RAW where Austin gave the stunner to Vince for the first time.

And Owen Hart vs Brian Pillman (with Terri Runnels dressed as a whore), having a fake-ass match on purpose, just a few weeks (days ?) before Pillman's death.

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That was also the night Vince told Bret he could no longer afford his contract and telling him he was free to negotiate with WCW, setting the wheels in motion for the Montreal Screwjob and the birth of the Mr. McMahon character.  Didn't happen on screen I know, but it was that night, backstage at MSG.

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The go-home episode for SummerSlam 1998 is one of my favorites. Pretty chaotic with a Hell in a Cell match in the first hour and all the main event storylines intertwining. Then there was the "Highway to Hell" music video for the Austin-Undertaker main event (not on the Network, for obvious reasons). That whole show had fifteen-year old me salivating for the coming PPV.

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Mankind winning the belt is my favorite memory of the era, so that makes it the best show. I didn't see Tony ruin it, or read anything about it as we didn't have a computer. To me, it was my favorite wrestler, who I never thought would win the belt, winning the motherfucking belt. I was 29 years old jumping around my living room celebrating with my friends. Friends who were in no way as invested, but they were also going nuts.

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It goes to show that when it comes to Pro Wrestling, the sum of it's parts are usually greater than the whole. That 1/4 show Sorrow mentioned has that fantastic moment of Mankind winning the title, but the rest of the show is something of a blur. HBK is written off TV, Terri Runnels has a 'miscarriage' and the only other highlight was a hardcore match between Road Dogg and Al Snow. One thing that stands out about that episode is just how good a job the WWF did of convincing the fans the title wasn't going to change hands. The main event very much felt like a run of the mill match that would inevitably end in a DQ finish. It wasn't until Austin's music hit that the possibility of a title change occurring actually became a reality and it ended up being this perfect reign.

Of those '99 shows, I felt that highest rated episode was genuinely a cut above the rest. A fun opening segment with HBK turning the tables on the Corporate Ministry. The card was made up of the heels getting their just desserts and there was even a perfectly solid Pro Wrestling bout between Val Venis & Jeff Jarrett thrown in for good measure. It's the 10th of May 1999 edition and I feel it really does capture the essence of the era quite well.

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