This past Monday, WWE celebrated Raw’s 25th anniversary. An incredible achievement which definitely warranted a grand celebration, as stars young and old came back for this three-hour show. From Stone Cold to The Undertaker, we saw a plethora of legends, and this show certainly highlighted the pros and cons of filling a show with WWE legends.
Raw 25 does not deserve to go down as one of the great shows in WWE history, I mean, aside from Miz v Roman and Brock Lesnar’s segment there was very little time devoted to current storylines. However, with the show clearly designed to be a celebration, it did produce a lot of fun moments.
Stone Cold opening the show with the McMahon’s was certainly fun, seeing The Undertaker put a lot of smiles on faces, and just the visual of all the different legends and current stars playing poker was certainly pretty cool.
To be fair, not a lot of work really had to go into these segments because just seeing these legends took us back to “the good old days”. The memories we have of these great legends came flooding back and just the opportunity to see them perform once again was entertaining enough. That’s the power and strength of nostalgia, it’s easy entertainment.
For years, WWE relied upon this too much. They relied on stars such as Cena, Triple H, and Shawn Michaels for the better part of seven years, and they did very little to create new stars. When Shawn Michaels retired in 2010, and The Undertaker and Triple H shifted to part-time schedules, WWE certainly felt the effects.
At one point, it also felt like every other big pay-per-view match had Stone Cold Steve Austin as a special guest referee. It’s only in recent years that WWE finally shifted their focus and have now assembled a roster full of stars with plenty of years left in the tank. They also have a plethora of younger stars waiting in the ranks as well.
This does not mean WWE does not like to bring back the big guns such as Stone Cold and The Undertaker. But while there are negatives to this overdose of nostalgia, there are also positives.
The Pros of Nostalgia
The influx of WWE legends creates exciting opportunities for young stars such as Elias. On Raw 25, Elias had a fun and a somewhat memorable backstage segment with Chris Jericho. Being the first superstar to work with Jericho after his programme with Kenny Omega certainly did not hurt Elias, and the fact Jericho put him on “the list”, well… that might have hurt Elias.
Elias then seized his opportunity to perform on the biggest Raw in years by singing songs which included the names of Shawn Michaels and The Rock. Not only did he insult them, but he also put himself over in the process. Elias then took shots at Jimmy Fallon and stood toe-to-toe with John Cena.
Elias ended the segment standing over the top of the WWE’s top star. Not a bad night for Elias and even the likes of Finn Balor, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson were endorsed by the original WWE faction D-Generation X.
Also, the Raw 25 ratings were reportedly the biggest in three years. So not only did this Raw episode give younger stars a chance to shine with the legends but also it gave them a chance to shine in front of the biggest Raw audience in years. However, the most telling thing about the ratings is it shows the world just how powerful nostalgia is.