Whether you like wrestling, or you don’t, you more than likely have seen an episode of WWE Raw. At one time, Raw was must see TV, to the point where it became popular culture. It was because of this, people like the Rock or Stone Cold Steve Austin are just popular lexicon in today’s culture.
Raw is going to hit 1000, which is a huge achievement. So we are going to look back to the top 10 wrestlers to influence Raw. These will be guys that have a huge importance to the shows run.
Number 10: The Undertaker
This is one that might make people angry. Don’t get me wrong, if this was a top (X) wrestlers list, Undertaker is either one or two. For someone who has been able to change his character constantly, and to stay so fresh, he is easily one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.
However, ‘Taker is most associated with the other WWE Brand, “Smackdown!” due to the brand split of 2002 (which is ironic, because he was originally Raw’s first draft pick). So while a number of the guys who are on this list aren’t as celebrated as ‘Taker, he isn’t that influential as a Raw Superstar.
Most memorable Raw Moment:
The Ministry of Darkness
Undertaker has this weird “is he or isn’t he evil” relationship with the WWE Universe. When he first started, he was controlled by an Urn, held by his then manger Paul Bearer, and was bad. Then he gain control, and was a good guy on the fringe of evil, fighting people like the Evil Undertaker, the Executioner, and then his own evil spawn of a brother, Kane.
Well in 1999, Undertaker instead became fully evil, on his own accord. Now feuding with Kane and Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker began an unholy reign on the WWE, leading to the kidnapping and almost sacrifice of WWE’s CEO Vince McMahon’s daughter, Stephanie.
Number 9: Mick Foley
Mick Foley, to me personally, is professional wrestling. Mrs. Foley’s baby boy was a man that was easily must see TV. Mick wasn’t cut; in fact he was very pudgy. He didn’t have movie star looks, nor did he wear things that you would say, “yeah I would where that.” But what Mick lacked in looks, he oozed in charisma. You just wanted to be Mick Foley.
‘Taker’s characters are cool and he has been able to adjust them due to the time period. Mick, however, has characters that where completely different and are enjoyable because of that. The first one is Mankind, the deranged individual who was a loner who had no way to express himself. He would constantly try to fie for attention of people, most notably Vince McMahon. Second was Dude Love, a hip cool cat that was like if Superstar Bill Graham never left daddy-o. He was who Mick always wanted to be, and was just too cool. Then there was Cactus Jack. He was the man who blew him self up in Japan and as J.R. said “He slept on nails and barbwire, and set himself on fire.” All of these characters represented Mick, a crazy mad man who would put himself on the line to entertain the masses.
Most memorable Raw Moment:
“That will put butts in seats”
Mankind and the Rock one of the best feuds in WWE, over the then vacated WWE Heavyweight Championship. One of the most important matches was the WWE Championship match on Monday Night Raw.
At the same time as their run, World Championship Wrestling was beating the WWE in ratings night after night. Because Raw was taped, WCW’s head play-by-play announcer, Tony Schiavone announced that Mick Foley became the WWE Champion saying, “That would put asses in seats” It’s was that remark that eventually ended WCW’s run of ratings over Monday Night Raw, and lead to the demise of the company.
Number 8: John Cena
John Cena has one of the hardest jobs in the wrestling industry. He was the next top guy after the biggest wrestling boom. It’s because of this that some wrestling fans, which mainly are adult men, do not like him. It’s kind of unfounded, due to the fact that he is a good wrestler, and has been fantastic since the departure of WWE’s top superstars.
John not only is the top guy in the company, he has both been able to work with younger superstars, and older ones getting everyone over. Wither it’s working with Edge to make him a Main Event guy, to working with CM Punk and making him the toast of pop culture, Cena works with them all, and well.
Most memorable RAW moment:
Cena Old School Rap
When the Rock came back, he had one person on his mind that was John Cena. Cena had called out the Rock about leaving the business and having nothing to do with wrestling, which was true for the time. Being mad at this, The Rock cut a killer promo and called Cena everything from Barney the Dinosaur’s turd, and a giant Fruity Pebble.
How did Cena respond? With what took him to the dance, a rap. When Cena first burst into the scene, he was a guy who did very edgy freestyle rap/promos. But after getting to Raw, he got away from that. So seeing him do it, not only made people feel nostalgic for the old Cena, but it also helped refresh his character in the WWE Universe.