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When Monday Night RAW hit the airwaves in 1993, it immediately became the most important WWE weekly television show — and with that came great responsibility. RAW was never meant to be a Monday night version of the watered-down, easy-to-digest Saturday morning WWE shows Vince McMahon built the company around. Instead, RAW was created with the intent to become the trendsetter of the wrestling world — the show would lead the company and the industry as a whole as it broke the rules and challenged the status quo.
It’s safe to say that after 30 years, RAW has not only lived up to those lofty expectations, but surpassed them.
On Monday, Jan. 23, just days before Saturday’s Royal Rumble on Jan. 28, RAW XXX will be broadcast live from Philadelphia, marking 30 years since the iconic first show at the Manhattan Center in New York.
Since that first fateful show, there have been a handful of moments that have been so shocking, unbelievable, and at times too-hot-for-TV that not only will they won’t ever be replicated — they can’t ever be replicated. Today, that’s what we’re going to analyze: The most unbelievable moments that will never happen again.
The Arrival Of The Nexus – June 7, 2010
The physical WWE ring is a sacred space. In fact, up until one night in 2010, the curtain has never been pulled back on the ring itself — that’s why this particular moment is included on this list.
Factions debut in WWE on a regular basis, but no group’s debut had the “call your friends immediately and tell them to put on RAW” feel like when the Nexus crashed the end of RAW and caused some of the most epic mayhem ever seen on TV.
Not only did the group — composed of that year's Tough Enough participants — lay immediate waste to John Cena by interfering in that night’s main event, the Nexus did something that has never been done before: They destroyed the ring itself.
We’re not exaggerating: They methodically took apart the turnbuckles, they tore down the ropes, the mats were pulled up, exposing the wooden boards underneath the ring, and they dismantled the ringside area. If it could be destroyed, the Nexus destroyed it. What made this moment so breathtaking is for the first time ever, the WWE Universe got a glimpse of what could happen if a faction arrived that didn’t play by the unspoken rules of WWE. It’s a memory that is permanently imprinted into our brains.
Edge & Lita’s Live Sex Celebration – Jan. 9, 2006
Here’s one moment that surely won’t be repeated ever again — the in-ring live sex celebration between Edge and Lita from 2006! And if you’re finding yourself re-reading that last sentence, we get it. But it happened once, live on RAW, and it’s safe to say that it will never happen again.
Edge, firmly entrenched in his Rated-R Superstar character, was coming off winning the WWE Championship the night before by being the first person to ever cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase. Soon afterward, Edge would announce he would be celebrating his title win the next night on RAW by … well, becoming intimate with his girlfriend Lita in the middle of the ring.
Before the WWE Universe even knew what hit them, a bed was brought out to the ring, and just like he promised, Edge and Lita began having … (*pantomimed*) relations under the covers, on a bed, live on RAW.
We thought it was crazy, we’re sure others thought it was in bad taste — and we’re sure there are some people out there who thought it was wonderful. But this moment became one of the all-time best examples of when RAW pushed the envelope — and maybe pushed it too far. It goes without saying that this was the first and only time two WWE Superstars had a “live sex celebration” in the middle of the ring.
(We’re sorry to disappoint you with the embedded video above, but this specific moment has been lost to history, so you’ll have to settle with either our recollection of it or your own imagination!)
Vince McMahon Buys WCW — March 26, 2001
For most of WWE’s existence, it was never the only game in town. From the '80s through the early 2000s, WWE was constantly battling another company for the crown of “most successful wrestling promotion” — and that other company was World Championship Wrestling.
It was a fierce rivalry spanning decades, as wrestlers and staff frequently jumped to and from both companies on a regular basis. It wasn’t uncommon for either company to take shots at the other during their live television shows, either. But that all changed in early 2001 when reports began leaking that the parent company of WCW no longer wanted professional wrestling under its corporate umbrella. And just like that, WCW was for sale and Vince McMahon jumped at the opportunity to outright purchase his largest competitor.
The events that transpired on March 26, 2001, will never happen again. Not only did Vince McMahon appear on WCW’s Nitro program, but he also gleefully announced the acquisition live in the ring on Monday Night RAW — all in front of a completely shell-shocked crowd. It was a landmark “real” moment in wrestling history.
Sure, what followed (Shane McMahon revealing he actually bought out WCW from under Vince) set future WWE storylines in motion for the foreseeable future, but the moment Vince proudly and gleefully announced he had purchased WCW was a moment that can never, ever be replicated.
Brock Lesnar Returns From The UFC – April 2, 2012
After his contentious and tumultuous exit from WWE in 2004, it seemed Brock Lesnar was finished with the wrestling industry entirely. Why would he ever come back? After all, he achieved massive worldwide fame and success in the UFC, capturing its Heavyweight title on more than one occasion. Brock Lesnar in the latter part of the 2000s truly became bigger than WWE — and there was zero expectation that he’d ever be back as an active part of the roster.
But lo and behold, on the RAW after WrestleMania in 2012, Brock Lesnar delivered an F5 to everyone’s expectations — and gave one to John Cena for good measure.
Lesnar’s return was so shocking because nobody could see it coming. Lesnar himself went on the record multiple times saying that he would never entertain any offers from Vince McMahon to return no matter the price. In the end, we have to assume WWE gave Lesnar an offer he just couldn’t refuse, Godfather-style because, in the blink of an eye, the Beast Incarnate was back in the WWE in the most shocking way possible.
(Bonus points to Lesnar for field goal kicking John Cena’s hat immediately after hitting him with that F5. That kick was good from 50 yards. It’s the tiny details that matter, people!)
The Undertaker & Stephanie McMahon's Wedding – April 26, 1999
Let’s backtrack to 1999 and set the stage for you: The Undertaker — fully immersed in his “Lord of Darkness” persona — wanted full ownership of the WWE from Vince McMahon. To move the negotiations along, Undertaker proceeded to stalk and then kidnap Vince's daughter Stephanie McMahon to use her as some sort of demented negotiation tactic. Then the Undertaker tricked Vince into leaving the arena where Monday Night RAW was being held that night and attempted to marry Stephanie live on the air while she was chained to a giant Undertaker symbol. He was calling it the “unholy union.”
(If that sounded like a story straight out of a sleazy soap opera, well, it pretty much was. What can we say? 1999 was weird.)
Luckily, Vince McMahon’s arch-nemesis, Stone Cold Steve Austin, stormed the wedding, fought off the Undertaker and his Ministry of Darkness, and saved Stephanie from what would’ve been a definitely-legally-binding wedding.
It was wacky, it was weird, it was dark, and it’s something that we’re still shocked by.
And let’s be real with each other, Undertaker’s symbol really did resemble a cross, didn’t it? Needless to say, that little detail is just another reason why this was one of the most jaw-dropping moments in RAW history, never to be repeated again.
So there you have it! Five moments that cannot ever be topped throughout Monday Night RAW’s 30 years on the air. And while we’re looking forward to RAW XXX, we’re pretty sure nothing will happen that can top any of the moments on this list!
Catch up on all things WWE Universe on Peacock. And check out RAW's 30th-anniversary special when it premieres on USA Network on Monday, Jan 23.
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