Review for WWE RAW Is 30 – 30th Anniversary Special
I often think that it is strange when WWE release full shows as a set. I understand when there is a relevance (which there is here), but by the end you have to realise that in a year’s time this will just be a random episode of a show. It would be like releasing the 1000th episode of a Soap, yes it is significant, but unless it is something really special it is highly unlikely that you will watch it again. In my opinion when WWE do these shows they should forget the storylines for a week have a few hours of showing the best of what Raw is and was and pepper in a few matches for good measure. By doing this it would make me want to watch again and not worry that I wasn’t caught up in the storylines.
This show is a bit in the middle of all this. Hulk Hogan introducing the show was fine and he didn’t outstay his welcome, which is more than I can say for The Trial of Sami Zayn which was entertaining, but went on way too long. The APA segments were a nice throwback to what they used to do, but nothing hugely memorable and just seemed to be an excuse to shoehorn as many Legends like DDP, IRS, Million Dollar Man and The Godfather into it.
LA Knight being confronted by The Undertaker is fine and always great to see the Deadman, but the interaction between him and Bray Wyatt was just amazing. DX returning was fine with it been mainly to make fun of Kurt Angle and the introduction by Imperium made no sense, but at least served as a good segue to the match they had with Street Profits and Seth Rollins. The use of Ric Flair to introduce Charlotte was a little cheap and as she is the Smackdown Women’s Champion, it seemed a little pointless other than to have a confrontation between her and Bianca Belair (which goes nowhere).
Like most Raw episodes it consists of only a few matches, just four matches. FOUR!? Yes I get that they have to push all the returning legends, but seriously this is a pitiful amount of wrestling. That being said, the Raw Tag Team Championship match between The Usos and The Judgment Day was a great match, but the issue I have is that both are Heel teams and so I was never sure who to actually cheer for. A great match bell to bell and both work really well together.
The Steel Cage Match between Becky Lynch and Bayley would have been amazing, if it meant something. I went into this thinking this is a great way to highlight the Women’s Championship, but neither held it and it wasn’t for a title shot and the storyline/feud they had was flimsy at best. It is just a shame that it was simply just an excuse to watch Damage CTRL destroy Beck Lynch and so the match doesn’t even start and though great to make you hate Damage CTRL it left a bitter taste afterwards.
The Six Man Tag Match putting Street Profits and Seth 'Freakin' Rollins against Imperium was a great match and all six work together really well and I was impressed with all members of The Imperium and Seth Rollins is always amazing. It was fun to see Kurt Angle as the special referee too.
Bianca Belair against Sonya Deville was a waste of time. It could easily have not happened or been a squash as it did not mean anything and this made it all the more pointless. How easy would it have been just to add Charlotte and have it be a tag between match between Belair/Flair and Deville/Bliss?
The main event was the NO DQ United States Championship match between Champion Austin Theory and Bobby Lashley was a good match and I was impressed by the work of both. I don’t think the No DQ stipulation was needed unless they were really going for it. It’s only purpose was to allow Brock Lesnar to interfere and make the massive impact he did, but he would have done this anyway.
The one odd thing about this whole show is how un-special it felt. Yes, it was nice seeing the Legends and everything, but the actual show itself just felt like any other show with a few pops here and there. I expected for the 30th Anniversary that WWE would have went all out, put on some Dream Matches with some of the Legends or really go to town with some of the retrospective parts as it just felt like if you hadn’t told me it was the anniversary show I wouldn’t have noticed.
This could also be said about the set itself. Personally, with it being so close to the PPV, it would have made more sense to have just included this as an extra disk on the Royal Rumble release. The only extra is a ‘Raw’s Most Shocking Moments’ feature. Now I will say that I appreciate that this not just a few minutes and actually a full hour, but that still feels too short of a time to look at the history of Raw. The other odd thing is that it runs 2022 to 1993 so it’s almost like watching the devolution of Raw with the last few going back to the smaller arenas.
As only one moment is chosen (by who and why we are left to guess) but some that are missed are CM Punk’s Pipebomb (which was more shocking than The Rock returning, Eric Bischoff’s debut (more shocking than Brock Lesnar’s debut), ECW invasion in 1996 (more shocking than Mankind attacking Undertaker) but some are missed such as Bret Screwed Bret mainly because other things happened in that year and you could almost create a whole list itself on all the shocking things that happened in 1998 alone.
Of them there are six Money in the Bank or WWE Title wins, multiple debuts or returns and it is hard to argue with most of them but the only one that does stand out is Rikishi revealing he ran over Stone Cold in 2000 which I would have replaced with Mick Foley announcing his match with Triple H was going to be a Hell in a Cell, when the Cell actually meant something. Maybe if they had split this into a few Top Tens ‘Raw’s Title Victories’ ‘Shocks’ ‘Debuts’ etc. it would have been better. However, I do appreciate the attempt to do something to make this set feel special, but really they could have stretched this to a second disk (or a Bluray) and added some matches and maybe people talking about Raw and what it means.
Raw is 30: 30th Anniversary is a tale of two stories. One is simply just another Raw, some ups, some downs, some in betweens and really just the three hours that everyone goes through every week. The other is a glimpse at the history of Raw which is really what this should have been. The sad thing is that WWE never understand that most TV shows at least once in a while do ‘clip shows’ with people reminiscing about the past and that is what this should have been and I would have been happy with that much more than just business as usual, with a party going on behind us that we are ignoring.
If you love Raw and want to know about its thirty year history, then this is not the disk for you. If you want to watch a few good matches and a good (if incomplete) look at the history of Raw then you will still get some enjoyment out of this set.