After all the build-up and anticipation, the 25th anniversary of WWE Raw is now in the books. Things started off with a bang, with some Stunners to McMahons for old time’s sake, but depending on what you were expecting or hoping for, things might have gone downhill for you from there.
No one can deny that the night wasn’t rife with nostalgia, from the IcoPro banner-festooned Manhattan Center, to a parade of general managers past, to the Boogeyman coming to get you. The order of the day was to celebrate things that wrestling fans remember and loved, but there were some notable absences. And the build to this Sunday’s Royal Rumble was a bit of an afterthought. But you only get a chance to celebrate an anniversary like this once every quarter century. Allegedly.
One person who wasn’t around for Monday’s Raw 25 — and someone who has been a big part of WWE for a large chunk of those 25 years in question — was Mick Foley. Foley was shown in numerous video packages and name-dropped by the Undertaker among others, but wasn’t in the house. It probably would have been weird for both him and Kurt Angle. Former employees and new hires and all.
But Foley did find his own way to pay tribute, even if he couldn’t be there. In a loving and lengthy blog post on his website, Mick gushed about the importance and history of WWE Raw, and the took the time to share his own personal top five Raw moments. You can probably already guess what No. 1 is, but let’s let him speak for himself.
5) Mankind vs Stone Cold, sometime in 1996, maybe even 1997. Maybe I can’t remember the exact date, but I remember what it felt like to be giving and taking with The Texas Rattlesnake when we were both heels. Just a cool, totally improvised match when Mankind was on his way up, and Steve was right on the verge of exploding into the stratosphere.
4) My debut as WWE Commissioner – June 2000. On June 7, 2000, I shaved my head as a sign to myself that I would never do anything in public again. Ever. Two days later, I received a call from Mr. McMahon. “Hey pal, how’d you like to be the new Commissioner?” So I showed up a few days later with a new look, a new role, and carte blanche to say or do just about anything I wanted to. One of my biggest career regrets is not recognizing how special that opportunity was, and doing whatever I needed to do to hold onto it for as long as possible.
3) Being fired by Stephanie McMahon. All I wanted when I took the Raw GM job in July 2016 was to make a difference where I could, and to be fired in spectacular fashion on my way out. The March 13, 2017 promo with Stephanie and Triple H (a week before my official firing) allowed me to do just that, and left me with a post show rush reminiscent of the way I felt after big PPV matches.
2) This Is Your Life with The Rock. Rumor has it that Mr. McMahon hated this segment to the point where he had to be talked out of physically ending the segment, which he considered to be a train wreck of epic proportions. Sure it was a train wreck – but wasn’t it magnificent. The Rock at his best, with no rehearsal, not scripting, the return of Yurple, and the debut of the dueling Rock and Sock Connection jackets (hand drawn with gold markers by Jerry Lawler) and Mr Rocko.
1) My first WWE title win – January 4, 1999. Not only was it an incredibly surreal and cool moment to hold the prestigious title for the first time, but “the night the channels changed” also changed the way I was perceived within the business literally overnight.
Longtime With Spandex readers will probably be surprised about him ranking his firing by Stephanie so highly, but as he himself told us in a recent interview, he feels like that storyline ended up hitting all the right buttons. And hey, who the hell are we to disagree with Mick freakin’ Foley?