The highest rating to date that "Raw" has ever had was on September 27, 1999, in an episode that featured a 25-minute-long "This Is Your Life" segment with Mankind and The Rock. The segment received an 8.4 rating.
When the show first premiered, it was broadcast from the Manhattan Center in New York. After a few years, the show was taken out on the road and broadcast from major arenas throughout the United States and Canada.
While on the road, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin decided to call Christian (Jason Reso). He left a message on Reso's voice mail, that was completely unclear. When Reso and Austin were talking to each other on the phone, Austin kept saying "What?" With this, Austin decided to use it as his catchphrase, and it as well has became a popular catchphrase to fans.
In an attempt to steal ratings from RAW onto Nitro, Eric Bischoff would reveal the results of the previously recorded RAW episodes. However, this backfired when the episode of Raw in which Mick Foley won the Heavyweight Title for the first time aired. Unlike previous times Eric did this, it caused a lot of people to tune to RAW instead of people staying and watching Nitro.
The May 24, 1999 telecast was mostly rewritten last minute and turned into a tribute to Owen Hart. Hart died the previous night at the WWF Over the Edge (1999) pay-per-view when he fell from the air during a stunt where he was going to be lowered into the ring.
In 2000, many of the skits involving Mick Foley as WWF Commissioner featured a stuffed dog somewhere in the background. The stuffed dog was named "Sarge," a reference to former WWF Commissioner Sgt. Slaughter.
In 1995 - 2001, WWF (now WWE) Raw almost always had at least half of its program shown opposite WCW Monday Nitro (1995) every Monday. WWF and WCW competed for ratings so severely, especially during 1996, that the competition was called the "Monday Night Wars". WCW was owned by Ted Turner and run by Eric Bischoff. This turned into a legitimate ratings feud between Bischoff and WWF owner Vince McMahon. WCW fell into financial peril and was up for sale in 2001 by AOL Time Warner (Turner had lost sole ownership of the company after Turner Broadcasting Systems merger with Time Warner in 1996). McMahon beat Bischoff to purchase WCW and Bischoff was out of a job. In 2002, McMahon hired Bischoff, who was scripted to become Raw's General Manager. McMahon had introduced Bischoff live on Raw and the two embraced in a hug.
On "WWE Confidential", Stephanie McMahon confirms to Eric Bischoff that one of the show's writers works for Conan O'Brien. The writer is Tommy Blacha, who also produced RAW and provided the infamous segment involving Mae Young "giving birth", with disastrous results.
This show was originally called "WWF Monday Night Raw" and it was a one hour show. But in 1997, "Raw" became a two hour show, and the name was changed to "WWF Raw is War", signifying the Monday Night Wars, the ratings "war" with WCW Monday Nitro (1995). After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the name was changed to simply "WWF Raw", to remove the reference to war and to signify that the Monday Night Wars were over (WWF had bought out WCW that year). Finally, in 2002, the name was changed again to "WWE Raw", due to the WWF being sued by the World Wildlife Foundation for use of the WWF logo. In 2012, the show was extended to three hours.
In one of his "rants", comedian Dennis Miller comments that the best way to become a professional wrestler is to go to Harvard. In 2003, Harvard graduate and WWE Tough Enough (2001) runner-up Chris Nowinski made his WWE debut.
The World Wrestling Federation became known as World Wrestling Entertainment, or WWE, in April 2002. The move came after years of litigation between the wrestling promotion and World Wildlife Fund over the use of the WWF initials. All WWE programming, including WWF Raw (1993) began using the initials in their titles.
Early in the "Monday Night Wars" WWF (Now WWE) started to run parodies and skits of WCW and their Ted Turner. WCW threatened legal action and WWF stopped running the skits. Their final skit was a "Geriatric Match" with The Huckster vs. The Nacho Man. In that skit the Turner look-alike said that he can just buy more talent. Ironically in 2001 Vince McMahon bought WCW and their talent.
Two matches featured on the program were awarded Pro Wrestling Illustated's "Match of the Year" awards, both of which featured Shawn Michaels. On May 17th, 1993, Michaels lost the Intercontinental Championship to Marty Jannetty. On April 23rd, 2007, he defeated John Cena.
The show was originally live one week, while being taped on Tuesdays the next day, with tapings being aired every other week. In later years it would be shown live each week on the Eastern and Central time zones and shown on a tape delayed basis in the Mountain and Pacific time zones.