The big 25th Anniversary show of Monday Night Raw is tomorrow night and it’s shaping up to be the greatest three-hour nostalgia extravaganza in recent history. WWE’s own confirmed list of faces from the past is already enough of a selling point, and we’re still bound to see a few surprises. On the other hand, WWE hasn’t been big on surprises lately, as they would prefer to gain viewers by simply advertising what you’ll see ahead of time (so much for “anything can happen in the WWE”). And the biggest attraction of them all is undoubtedly Stone Cold Steve Austin, who we haven’t seen on Raw in what feels like an eternity. And rounding out what can be considered the headliners of the show is, of course, The Undertaker, not seen since his WrestleMania defeat and possible last match at the hands of Roman Reigns.
But alongside the Texas Rattlesnake, WWE has confirmed Chris Jericho. While this otherwise wouldn’t be much of a shock, it’s telling of the leniency of his deals with both New Japan Pro Wrestling and WWE. It just goes to show how well respected Y2J is in the wrestling world. I will also be curious if there is at least a joke or an allusion to his big Wrestle Kingdom match and what seems like an ongoing tenure in NJPW. If there’s any place to break the fourth wall, certainly the 25th anniversary of Raw is it.
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As always, it’s the little things that make all the difference. As fans, we somewhat expect to see these faces as long as their in the good graces of Vince McMahon. But there are a few on the list who aren’t always on the chairman’s good side. First of all, his biggest rival on Monday nights, Eric Bischoff. Sure, he’s made appearances on WWE Network, including his own documentary, but he’s definitely made some passing comments about WWE’s “revisionist history” of his leadership of WCW. It will be great to see what he has to say (if they let him) as a master of controversy.
I had the pleasure of seeing a live recording of Bruce Prichard’s “Something to Wrestle With” podcast in Boston recently, and Brother Love doesn’t disappoint. His candid stories on the history of WWE/F are certainly something the McMahon family would rather not be aired publicly; which is why I was a bit surprised that Brother Love was on the Raw 25 confirmed list. Despite the fact that his dirt on the inner workings of WWE are the cornerstone of his popular podcast, Prichard is still a consummate professional and will likely reprise the role of Brother Love without dissention.
This is more of a success story than anything else. Now that Scott Hall is clean and healthy, it’s great to see him able to make an appearance on Raw again. It’s a testament to his work with Diamond Dallas Page and DDP Yoga that he was able to pull himself back to being that respected legend and one of the most influential minds in professional wrestling. Considering what Razor Ramon meant to Raw in the show’s beginnings, it’s only fitting that Hall graces the squared circle at Raw 25. On top of that, the dynamics they can work with are endless. Perhaps we’ll see Bischoff and Hall rehashing some old WCW umbrages with Chris Jericho on a new edition of the Highlight Reel. Either way, it’s bound to be a time warp of a Raw.
Nathan Burke is a standup comedian based in Boston and can be found on Twitter @IamNathanBurke