– USA Today recently interviewed WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels, who looked back on being part of the first live edition of Raw, 25 years of the show, and not realizing what it would become. Below are some highlights.
Shawn Michaels on being part of the first live edition of Raw: “The nerves of it being live, just all of the unknowns. Honestly, getting over the no longer being what I grew up with, the traditional Saturday morning or Saturday night wrestling program, we were now going to primetime on Monday nights. Gosh, and then live you were going to have to maybe deal with commercial time. So many things that were just new from a television standpoint that really none of us, or certainly myself, had never handled before. And so most of it was the fear of [being live] and not wanting to mess up on live television, because if you did everybody was going to see it.”
Shawn Michaels on if he thought of Raw as the future of the business: “No I don’t think — there’s no way. I know I didn’t. I can’t say that in that time in my life I had the maturity or the vision to understand what it was we were doing. You could look back now and easily say that that Raw was the genesis — was the nucleus of everything that was the huge expansion and globalization of the WWE. Because without Raw, you don’t then move into WCW starting and then the Monday Night Wars and the huge outcome of that, and then the WWE winning and taking over and becoming this unbelievable global franchise that it has become today. I think all of that starts with that very first Raw at the Manhattan Center.
“Let’s put it this way I’m sure if you would ask Vince McMahon, that was his vision. But certainly for the guy that was out there in the zebra stripes with the Intercontinental Championship and a really bad mullet, I had no idea. So to fast forward all these years later, it’s a pretty amazing thing.”
His thoughts on DX invading WCW Nitro in 1998: “I was a guy, at that time, watching that as a fan. That was after I had hurt my back and left, and so I was home watching that as a fan. I have to tell you, as a guy sitting there at home watching it, not calling anybody and finding out what’s going on, it was huge. I can remember sitting there thinking ‘Oh my goodness, that is genius.’ And that they were doing that for me it was absolutely one of the greatest moments, I think, in wrestling history, period. And ooh, it almost stings a little bit to say that because I wasn’t a part of it.
“That was just something you didn’t see. You could talk about it all day, you could reference somebody on TV. Think of it [like], it’s no different at the Oscars if somebody says something mean about the president. It’s a whole other thing to, during the State of the Union, you walk up on stage while he’s talking and say something do him. Nobody does that. That’s what these guys were doing. They were going to the back door of the competition and knocking on the door, and they weren’t answering. It was absolutely huge.”