Raw (WWE brand)

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Raw
Logo for the brand and the Raw television program as of September 30, 2019
Product typeProfessional wrestling
Sports entertainment
OwnerWWE
Produced byPaul "Triple H" Levesque
Bruce Prichard
CountryUnited States
IntroducedMarch 25, 2002
(first split)
July 19, 2016
(second split)
DiscontinuedAugust 29, 2011
(first split)
Related brandsSmackDown
ECW
NXT
205 Live
NXT UK
TaglineMust be Monday[1]

Raw is a brand of the American professional wrestling promotion WWE that was established on March 25, 2002. Brands are divisions of WWE's roster where wrestlers are assigned to perform on a weekly basis when a brand extension is in effect. Wrestlers assigned to Raw primarily appear on the brand's weekly television program, Monday Night Raw, also referred to simply as Raw. It is one of WWE's two main brands, along with SmackDown, collectively referred to as WWE's main roster. The brand was discontinued between August 2011 and July 2016.

In addition to Raw's main television program, less-utilized wrestlers also appear on the brand's supplementary show, Main Event. Raw's wrestlers also perform on the branded and co-branded pay-per-view and livestreaming events. During the first brand split (2002–2011), Raw wrestlers also competed on the former supplementary show, Heat, and on ECW under a talent exchange program with the former ECW brand, while during the second brand split (2016–present), the brand's wrestlers have appeared in the interbrand Worlds Collide, Mixed Match Challenge, and annual Tribute to the Troops events. Additionally during the second split, Raw's cruiserweight wrestlers competed on 205 Live when WWE's revived cruiserweight division was exclusive to Raw from 2016 to 2018 before 205 Live became its own brand.

History[edit]

First split (2002–2011)[edit]

Eric Bischoff was the first Raw General Manager.

In early-to-mid-2002, then World Wrestling Federation (WWF) underwent a process they called the "brand extension".[2] The WWF divided itself into two de facto wrestling promotions with separate rosters, storylines and authority figures.[2] Raw and SmackDown! would host each division, give its name to the division and essentially compete against each other. The split came about as a result of the WWF purchasing their two biggest competitors, World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW); and the subsequent doubling of its roster and championships. The brand extension was publicly announced by Linda McMahon during a telecast of Raw on March 25 and became official the next day.

At the time, this excluded the WWE Undisputed Championship and the original WWE Women's Championship as those WWE titles would be defended on both shows. In September 2002, then WWE Undisputed Champion Brock Lesnar refused to defend the title on Raw, in effect causing his title to become exclusive to SmackDown. The following week on Raw, Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff awarded a newly instated World Heavyweight Championship to Raw's designated number one contender Triple H. Because the WWE Undisputed Championship was now a SmackDown exclusive title, it was no longer referred to as "undisputed". Following this, the original WWE Women's Championship soon became a Raw exclusive title as well. As a result of the brand extension, an annual "draft lottery" was instituted to exchange members of each roster and generally refresh the lineups.

Raw was the home brand for many top WWE stars including Triple H, Ric Flair, R-Truth, Batista, Randy Orton, Chris Benoit, CM Punk, Goldberg, Booker T, Chris Jericho, Christian, Shawn Michaels, John Cena, Kane, Cody Rhodes, Trish Stratus, Lita and Stacy Keibler.

The 2005 draft was held on the June 6 episode of Raw. The first draft lottery pick was then WWE Champion John Cena, thus moving the WWE Championship to Raw and having two titles on the brand. Eventually, then World Heavyweight Champion Batista was drafted to SmackDown as the last draft pick, leaving only the WWE Championship on Raw. In the 2008 draft lottery, CM Punk got drafted to Raw and then won the World Heavyweight Championship from Edge, who was a SmackDown wrestler. Triple H, who was the WWE Champion at the time, got drafted to SmackDown while Kane, who was the then ECW Champion, got drafted to Raw. After the draft lottery in 2009, the WWE Championship was brought back to Raw when Triple H was drafted from SmackDown while the World Heavyweight Championship was brought back to SmackDown when Edge defeated John Cena to win the title at Backlash.

On the August 29, 2011, episode of Raw, it was announced that performers from Raw and SmackDown were no longer exclusive to their respective brand.[3] Subsequently, championships previously exclusive to one show or the other were available for wrestlers from any show to compete for—this would mark the end of the brand extension as all programming and live events featured the full WWE roster.[4] In a 2013 interview with Advertising Age, Stephanie McMahon explained that WWE's decision to end the brand extension was due to wanting their content to flow across television and online platforms.[5]

Second split (2016–present)[edit]

On May 25, 2016, it was announced that WWE would be reintroducing the brand split in July, with distinctive rosters for both Raw and SmackDown.[6] On the July 11 episode of Raw, Vince McMahon named Stephanie McMahon the Commissioner of Raw.[7] The draft took place on the live premiere of SmackDown on July 19, with the General Managers of the respective brands hand-picking the wrestlers for their brands.[8] Raw's Commissioner Stephanie McMahon and General Manager Mick Foley created a new championship—the WWE Universal Championship. This championship would be exclusive to the Raw brand, as the WWE World Championship had become exclusive to the SmackDown brand.[9] Clash of Champions was scheduled as the reintroduction of the cruiserweight division and the first Raw-exclusive pay-per-view since January 2007, whereas Elimination Chamber was scheduled as the final Raw-exclusive pay-per-view two years later. Subsequently, this saw all upcoming pay-per-views interbranded after WrestleMania 34.

After SmackDown moved to Fox in October 2019, Raw lost its status as the main "A" Show.[10]Following WrestleMania 38 it also didn't have a world title and tag team title, although raw superstars were allowed to challenge for them.

Beginning in December 2021, talents from Raw begin to appear on NXT 2.0. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Radio reported that a Raw-NXT crossover between their talents as a way to help boost NXT 2.0 ratings as both shows air on the USA Network.[11]

Champions[edit]

Initially, the WWE Undisputed Championship and the original WWE Women's Championship were available to both brands.[12][13][14] The other championships were exclusive to the brand the champion was a part of.[12][13][15] When the brand extension began, Raw received the Intercontinental Championship and the European Championship when their respective holders were drafted.[16] In September 2002, the WWE Undisputed Championship became the WWE Championship again and was moved to SmackDown, prompting Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff to create the World Heavyweight Championship for Raw.[17] Shortly thereafter, Raw became the exclusive brand for the World Tag Team Championship, the Intercontinental Championship and the original WWE Women's Championship.[18][19]

On July 19, 2016, the brand extension was brought back and for the first time ever the draft was held on SmackDown Live. Raw drafted the WWE Women's Championship, the United States Championship, and the WWE Tag Team Championship.[20] With the WWE Championship being defended exclusively on SmackDown, Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley introduced the WWE Universal Championship to be Raw's world title.[21] At Crown Jewel on October 31, 2019, SmackDown wrestler "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt won the WWE Universal Championship, thus taking the title to SmackDown.[22] On the next night's episode of SmackDown, WWE Champion Brock Lesnar quit SmackDown and moved to Raw, bringing the title with him.[23] A new World Heavyweight Championship was created for Raw after Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns was drafted to SmackDown in 2023.

Current championships[edit]

Raw
Championship Current champion(s) Reign Date won Days
held
Location Notes Ref.
World Heavyweight Championship Seth "Freakin" Rollins 1 May 27, 2023 280 Jeddah, Saudi Arabia Defeated AJ Styles in the tournament final at Night of Champions to become the inaugural champion. [24]
Women's World Championship Rhea Ripley 1 April 1, 2023 336 Inglewood, California Defeated Charlotte Flair on WrestleMania 39 Night 1.
Won the title as the SmackDown Women's Championship and it was renamed as the Women's World Championship on June 12, 2023.
[25]
Intercontinental Championship Gunther 1 June 10, 2022 631 Baton Rouge, Louisiana Defeated Ricochet on SmackDown.
Won the title as part of the SmackDown brand but was moved to Raw in the 2023 WWE Draft.
[26]
Raw Tag Team Championship
The Judgment Day
(Finn Bálor and Damian Priest)
2 October 16, 2023 138 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Defeated Cody Rhodes and Jey Uso on Raw. [27]
SmackDown Tag Team Championship 2
WWE Women's Tag Team Championship The Kabuki Warriors
(Asuka and Kairi Sane)
2
(4, 2)
January 26, 2024 36 Miami, Florida Defeated Katana Chance and Kayden Carter on Smackdown. [28]
  • The Raw and SmackDown Tag Team Championships—while maintaining their separate lineages—are jointly defended across both brands as the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship.
  • The WWE Women's Tag Team Championship is defended across Raw, SmackDown, and NXT.

Previous championships[edit]

Championship Time on brand
WWE European Championship March 25, 2002 — July 22, 2002
WWE Hardcore Championship March 26, 2002 — August 26, 2002
ECW Championship June 23, 2008 — June 29, 2008
World Tag Team Championship July 29, 2002 — December 13, 2008
WWE Women's Championship (Original) September 24, 2002 — April 13, 2009
Million Dollar Championship April 5, 2010 — November 15, 2010
World Heavyweight Championship (Original) September 2, 2002 — June 28, 2005
June 30, 2008 — February 15, 2009
April 5, 2009April 26, 2009
WWE Divas Championship April 13, 2009 — September 19, 2010
WWE Cruiserweight Championship September 14, 2016 — April 4, 2018
WWE Universal Championship August 21, 2016October 31, 2019
WWE 24/7 Championship May 20, 2019 — November 9, 2022[nb 1]
WWE Championship November 4, 2019 — April 28, 2023
WWE Women's Championship (2016) / WWE Raw Women’s Championship (Version) July 19, 2016April 28, 2023
WWE United States Championship April 22, 2019May 1, 2023

Personnel[edit]

Pay-per-view and WWE Network events[edit]

First brand split events[edit]

Date Event Venue Location Main event
May 4, 2002 Insurrextion Wembley Arena London, England Triple H vs. The Undertaker
June 7, 2003 Insurrextion Telewest Arena Newcastle, England Triple H (c) vs. Kevin Nash in a Street Fight match for the World Heavyweight Championship
June 15, 2003 Bad Blood Compaq Center Houston, Texas Triple H (c) vs. Kevin Nash in a Hell in a Cell match for the World Heavyweight Championship with Mick Foley as special guest referee
September 21, 2003 Unforgiven Giant Center Hershey, Pennsylvania Triple H (c) vs. Goldberg in a Title vs. Career match for the World Heavyweight Championship
Had Triple H been disqualified or counted out, he would lose the title
December 14, 2003 Armageddon TD Waterhouse Center Orlando, Florida Goldberg (c) vs. Kane vs. Triple H in a Triple threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship
April 18, 2004 Backlash Rexall Place Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Chris Benoit (c) vs. Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels in a Triple threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship
June 13, 2004 Bad Blood Nationwide Arena Columbus, Ohio Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels in a Hell in a Cell match
July 11, 2004 Vengeance Hartford Civic Center Hartford, Connecticut Chris Benoit (c) vs. Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship
September 12, 2004 Unforgiven Rose Garden Arena Portland, Oregon Randy Orton (c) vs. Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship
October 19, 2004 Taboo Tuesday Bradley Center Milwaukee, Wisconsin Randy Orton vs. Ric Flair in a Steel Cage match
January 9, 2005 New Year's Revolution Coliseo de Puerto Rico San Juan, Puerto Rico Batista vs. Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho vs. Edge vs. Randy Orton vs. Triple H in an Elimination Chamber match for the vacant World Heavyweight Championship with Shawn Michaels as special guest referee
May 1, 2005 Backlash Verizon Wireless Arena Manchester, New Hampshire Batista (c) vs. Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship
June 26, 2005 Vengeance Thomas & Mack Center Paradise, Nevada Batista (c) vs. Triple H in a Hell in a Cell match for the World Heavyweight Championship
September 18, 2005 Unforgiven Ford Center Oklahoma City, Oklahoma John Cena (c) vs. Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship
November 1, 2005 Taboo Tuesday iPayOne Center San Diego, California John Cena (c) vs. Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels in a Triple threat match for the WWE Championship
January 8, 2006 New Year's Revolution Pepsi Arena Albany, New York John Cena (c) vs. Edge for the WWE Championship
This was Edge's Money in the Bank cash-in match
April 30, 2006 Backlash Rupp Arena Lexington, Kentucky John Cena (c) vs. Edge vs. Triple H in a Triple threat match for the WWE Championship
June 25, 2006 Vengeance Charlotte Bobcats Arena Charlotte, North Carolina D-Generation X (Shawn Michaels and Triple H) vs. The Spirit Squad (Johnny, Kenny, Mikey, Mitch and Nicky) in a 2-on-5 handicap match
September 17, 2006 Unforgiven Air Canada Centre Toronto, Ontario, Canada Edge (c) vs. John Cena in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match for the WWE Championship
November 5, 2006 Cyber Sunday U.S. Bank Arena Cincinnati, Ohio King Booker (c) vs. Big Show vs. John Cena in a Triple threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship
January 7, 2007 New Year's Revolution Kemper Arena Kansas City, Missouri John Cena (c) vs. Umaga for the WWE Championship

Second brand split events[edit]

Date Event Venue Location Main event
September 25, 2016 Clash of Champions Bankers Life Fieldhouse Indianapolis, Indiana Kevin Owens (c) vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE Universal Championship
October 30, 2016 Hell in a Cell TD Garden Boston, Massachusetts Sasha Banks (c) vs. Charlotte Flair in a Hell in a Cell match for the WWE Raw Women's Championship
December 18, 2016 Roadblock: End of the Line PPG Paints Arena Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Kevin Owens (c) vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal Championship
March 5, 2017 Fastlane Bradley Center Milwaukee, Wisconsin Kevin Owens (c) vs. Goldberg for the WWE Universal Championship
April 30, 2017 Payback SAP Center San Jose, California Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns
June 4, 2017 Extreme Rules Royal Farms Arena Baltimore, Maryland Bray Wyatt vs. Finn Bálor vs. Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe vs. Seth Rollins in an Extreme Rules match to determine the #1 contender for the WWE Universal Championship
July 9, 2017 Great Balls of Fire American Airlines Center Dallas, Texas Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Samoa Joe for the WWE Universal Championship
September 24, 2017 No Mercy Staples Center Los Angeles, California Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Braun Strowman for the WWE Universal Championship
October 22, 2017 TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs Target Center Minneapolis, Minnesota Dean Ambrose, Kurt Angle and Seth Rollins vs. Braun Strowman, Cesaro, Kane, Sheamus and The Miz in a 3-on-5 handicap Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match
February 25, 2018 Elimination Chamber T-Mobile Arena Paradise, Nevada Braun Strowman vs. Elias vs. Finn Bálor vs. John Cena vs. Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins vs. The Miz in an Elimination Chamber match for a WWE Universal Championship match at WrestleMania 34

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The championship was shared amongst all of WWE's brands, until it was retired on November 9, 2022.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "WATCH WWE RAW's New 'Must be Monday' Commercial". 30 March 2020.
  2. ^ a b Shields, Brian; Sullivan, Kevin (2009). WWE: History of WrestleMania. p. 55.
  3. ^ Nemer, Paul (August 30, 2011). "Raw Results – 8/29/11". Wrestleview. Retrieved November 5, 2016.
  4. ^ Tom Herrera (January 11, 2014). "The 10 most important moments in Raw history". WWE.com. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  5. ^ "WWE NEWS: Stephanie McMahon says why brand split is gone". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
  6. ^ Clapp, John. "Smackdown going live July 19th". WWE. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  7. ^ Caldwell, James. "7/11 WWE Raw Results – CALDWELL'S Complete Report". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  8. ^ "WWE's destiny to be determined during SmackDown's LIVE premiere". WWE. June 20, 2016. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
  9. ^ Schwartz, Nick. "WWE creates new Universal Championship for Raw". Retrieved July 26, 2017.
  10. ^ "Report: FOX Originally Wanted TV Rights to WWE Raw". March 30, 2022.
  11. ^ "WWE is planning to do more Raw vs. NXT feuds". 22 February 2022.
  12. ^ a b Zimmerman, Christopher Robin (March 26, 2002). "WWE Draft 2002 Recap". Archived from the original on March 3, 2012. Retrieved February 23, 2008.
  13. ^ a b "WWE Raw (March 25, 2002) Results". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved February 23, 2008.
  14. ^ "WWE Draft 2019 Results". PWWEW.net. Archived from the original on January 26, 2002. Retrieved February 23, 2008.
  15. ^ "WWE Raw (March 25, 2002) Results". PWWEW.net. Retrieved February 23, 2008.[dead link]
  16. ^ "WWE Cruiserweight Championship History". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved February 23, 2008.
  17. ^ "Triple H's first World Heavyweight Championship reign". World Wrestling Entertainment. Archived from the original on February 21, 2008. Retrieved February 23, 2008.
  18. ^ "WWE Tag Team Championship History". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved February 23, 2008.
  19. ^ "WWE United States' Championship History". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved February 23, 2008.
  20. ^ WWE.com Staff (July 19, 2016). "2016 WWE Draft results: WWE officially ushers in New Era". WWE. Archived from the original on July 20, 2016. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  21. ^ Hamlin, Jeff (July 25, 2016). "WWE Raw live results: title match set for SummerSlam & a new champion is crowned". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Archived from the original on July 27, 2016. Retrieved July 27, 2016.
  22. ^ Silverstein, Adam (October 31, 2019). "2019 WWE Crown Jewel results, recap, grades: Major world title change among surprising outcomes". CBSSports. Archived from the original on November 1, 2019. Retrieved March 4, 2023.
  23. ^ Brookhouse, Brent (November 1, 2019). "WWE SmackDown results, recap, grades: Shocking NXT invasion, Brock Lesnar quits and moves to Raw". CBSSports. Archived from the original on November 2, 2019. Retrieved March 4, 2023.
  24. ^ Powell, Jason (May 27, 2023). "WWE Night of Champions results: Powell's live review of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn vs. Roman Reigns and Solo Sikoa for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Titles, Brock Lesnar vs. Cody Rhodes, Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, Bianca Belair vs. Asuka for the Raw Women's Title". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Archived from the original on May 27, 2023. Retrieved May 27, 2023.
  25. ^ Powell, Jason (April 1, 2023). "WrestleMania 39 results: Powell's live review of night one with Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Titles, Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley for the Smackdown Women's Title, Austin Theory vs. John Cena for the U.S. Title, Rey Mysterio vs. Dominik Mysterio, Seth Rollins vs. Logan Paul". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved April 1, 2023.
  26. ^ Powell, Jason (June 10, 2022). "6/10 WWE Friday Night Smackdown results: Powell's review of Riddle vs. Sami Zayn (Riddle earns a title shot if he wins or is barred from Smackdown if he loses), Ricochet vs. Gunther for the Intercontinental Title, Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus and Lacey Evans vs. Xia Li in Money in the Bank qualifiers". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved December 31, 2022.
  27. ^ Powell, Jason (October 16, 2023). "WWE Raw results (10/16): Powell's live review of the season premiere, Cody Rhodes and Jey Uso vs. Damian Priest and Finn Balor for the Undisputed WWE Tag Titles, Gunther vs. Bronson Reed for the IC Title". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved October 16, 2023.
  28. ^ Barnett, Jake (January 26, 2024). "WWE Friday Night Smackdown results (1/26): Barnett's review of the Royal Rumble go-home show, LA Knight vs. Solo Sikoa, Kayden Carter and Katana Chance vs. Kabuki Warriors for the WWE Women's Tag Titles". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved January 27, 2024.