Raw (WWE brand)
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|Product type||Professional wrestling|
|Produced by||Vince McMahon|
|Introduced||March 25, 2002 |
July 19, 2016
|Discontinued||August 29, 2011 |
|Tagline||Uncut. Uncooked. Uncensored.|
|Executive Director |
(June 11, 2020 – present)
Raw is a brand of the U.S. based professional wrestling promotion WWE. The brand was first established on March 25, 2002 during a special episode of Monday Night Raw and went into effect one week later on April 1. The brand was discontinued for a period between August 2011 and July 2016.
Wrestlers assigned to the Raw brand wrestle predominantly on the eponymous television program; the supplementary show, Main Event; and on Raw branded or co-branded pay-per-view events and WWE Network events.
The brand has also appeared in the Worlds Collide and Mixed Match Challenge events. During the first brand split, they also competed on their former supplementary show, Heat; on ECW, under a talent exchange program; and 205 Live, when WWE's cruiserweight division was exclusive to the brand.
First split (2002–2011)
In early-to-mid-2002, then World Wrestling Federation (WWF) underwent a process they called the "brand extension". The WWF divided itself into two de facto wrestling promotions with separate rosters, storylines and authority figures. 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, Batista, Randy Orton, Chris Benoit, Goldberg, Chris Jericho, Christian, Shawn Michaels, John Cena, Kane, 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. 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. 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.
Second split (2016–present)
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. On the July 11 episode of Raw, Vince McMahon named Stephanie McMahon the Commissioner of Raw. 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. 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. 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. And recently, they put another segment, Raw Underground (with a cage fight theme).
Initially, the WWE Undisputed Championship and the original WWE Women's Championship were available to both brands. The other championships were exclusive to the brand the champion was a part of. When the brand extension began, Raw received the Intercontinental Championship and the European Championship when their respective holders were drafted. 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. Shortly thereafter, Raw became the exclusive brand for the World Tag Team Championship, the Intercontinental Championship and the original WWE Women's Championship.
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. 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. At Crown Jewel on October 31, 2019, SmackDown wrestler "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt won the WWE Universal Championship, thus taking the title to SmackDown. On the next night's episode of SmackDown, WWE Champion Brock Lesnar quit SmackDown and moved to Raw, bringing the title with him.
|Championship||Current champion(s)||Reign||Date won||Days held||Location||Notes|
|WWE Championship||Bobby Lashley||1||March 1, 2021||69||St. Petersburg, Florida||Defeated The Miz in a Lumberjack match on Raw.|
|United States Championship||Sheamus||3||April 11, 2021||28||Tampa, Florida||Defeated Riddle at WrestleMania 37 Night 2.|
|Raw Tag Team Championship||AJ Styles and Omos||1||April 10, 2021||29||Tampa, Florida||Defeated The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) at WrestleMania 37 Night 1.|
|Raw Women's Championship||Rhea Ripley||1||April 11, 2021||28||Tampa, Florida||Defeated Asuka at WrestleMania 37 Night 2.|
- Note – The WWE Women's Tag Team Championship and the WWE 24/7 Championship can also be defended on Raw as they are shared among the brands
|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 21, 2002 — December 13, 2008|
|WWE Women's Championship||September 24, 2002 — April 13, 2009|
|Million Dollar Championship||April 5, 2010 — November 15, 2010|
|World Heavyweight Championship||September 2, 2002 — June 30, 2005|
June 30, 2008 — February 15, 2009
April 5, 2009 — April 26, 2009
|WWE Divas Championship||April 13, 2009 — September 19, 2010|
|WWE Cruiserweight Championship||September 14, 2016 — November 29, 2016|
|WWE Intercontinental Championship||August 25, 2002 — April 13, 2009|
April 10, 2017 — April 16, 2019
|WWE Universal Championship||August 21, 2016 — October 31, 2019|
Pay-per-view and WWE Network events
First brand split events
Second brand split events
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