Twenty-five years is a long time, especially in the television world. In 1993, television audiences were introduced to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and The X-Files while Cheers and The Wonder Years ended their runs. Also debuting in 1993 was what was to become the then WWF’s flagship show: Monday Night Raw. As the silver anniversary of Raw approaches, I went through twenty-five years of weekly television and tried to find the oldest “All Alive” episode of Raw.
(Thanks to THE BOARD at Wrestling Observer for providing me with this morbid idea and some starting points.)
What is the “All Alive” Raw? Wrestling is plagued with a high number of early deaths. It’s not uncommon to find pay-per-views from the 1990s where 40% of the wrestlers have since passed. An “All Alive” episode is one where everybody involved in the show is still, well, alive. There are a few different ways to define it, though.
Does an All Alive Raw only apply to matches? If this is the case, you can go back to the early days of the show. On March 15, 1993 Monday Night Raw aired its ninth episode. That night produced the results below:
- Razor Ramon defeated Ross Greenberg
- Typhoon defeated L.A. Gore
- Bob Backlund defeated Papa Shango
- The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Sags) vs. The Headshrinkers (Fatu & Samu) ended in a double countout
But what if you include the commentating team? Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan called the matches this night, so this episode is out. Between Monsoon, Heenan, and Randy Savage (along with wrestlers like Owen Hart, Yokozuna, and The British Bulldog) it would be a couple of years before there was an episode where the wrestlers and commentators involved are still alive. In fact, by switching a few numbers you come to March 13, 1995 and the episode we are looking for:
- The Blu Brothers vs. The Headshrinkers ended in a double countout
- Jeff Jarrett defeated Barry Horowitz
- Jerry Lawler (with Bull Nakano) defeated Bret Hart by countout
- Commentators: Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler
And this is where things get difficult. What is the oldest episode Raw where the everyone on the show is alive, including backstage skits and montages? (Insert easy joke here: it has not been in the past few years since the crowd has been dead every week.) The episode above had a feature involving Ernie Ladd, so it’s eliminated. Eddie Guerrero, Umaga, Chris Benoit, Crash Holly and Chyna are just a few of the names that were featured on the show for years. In order to find the oldest All Alive episode of Raw, you have to go all the way to November 10, 2008’s episode from Manchester, England:
- William Regal defeated Santino Marella for the Intercontinental Championship
- Mike Knox defeated D-Lo Brown
- Rey Mysterio defeated Kane in a No-DQ match
- Batista defeated Cody Rhodes (with Manu)
- Beth Phoenix defeated Mickie James to retain the Women’s Championship
- Chris Jericho defeated Shawn Michaels in a Last Man Standing match
- Backstage segments featured: Stephanie McMahon and Randy Orton.
The 25th anniversary of Raw will bring back many stars from the past and highlight the shows greatest moments. Chances are, we will also see a montage of those that are no longer with us. Along with being a touching tribute, it will be a sad reminder of the problems that plague wrestling.