WWE Monday Night Raw has been the flagship program for the company for decades. Over a quarter-century’s worth of bodyslams, beer baths, and beatdowns. Here are the 5 highest-rated episodes in the history of WWE’s flagship show.
5. May 22, 2000 (7.1) – The return of The American Badass
The show after the Judgment Day PPV saw RAW doing an incredible 7.1 rating. The big news coming out of that show was that Triple H beat The Rock to regain the WWF Championship in a 60-Minute Iron Man Match that had a controversial finish.
Plus, The Undertaker returned after missing about eight months of action. He was out for that long due to a groin injury and a torn pectoral muscle that required surgery. The Undertaker returned as the American Badass and chased the McMahons and the members of D – Generation X to the back after they ambushed the Rock.
4. July 26, 1999 (7.1) – Goodbye Vince!
‘Na na na na, oh hell yeah, goodbye! The fans sang along, as a defeated Vince McMahon strutted his way to the back, irate at Stone Cold Steve Austin, but not before flipping the champion the bird one last time. Austin celebrated Mr. McMahon’s departure with a few beers.
As Mr. McMahon got in his limousine to leave the arena, Howard Finkel approached him, tears in his eyes, and told Vince thanks for everything and “I love you.” Vince got right in Finkel’s face and growled, “get the hell away from me.”
Towards the end of the night, Austin and Triple broke through the Spanish announcers’ table on the outside as RAW came to an end.
3. May 24, 1999 (7.15) – Celebration of the life of Owen Hart
This special episode of Monday Night Raw took place on May 24, 1999 in St. Louis, Missouri. Storylines were thrown out of the window, as the WWE Superstars cerebrated the life of Owen Hart after his fatal accident the night before at the Over The Edge pay-per-view.
2. May 1, 2000 (7.4) – Shane McMahon v. Rock for the WWF Title
At Backlash 2000, The Rock defeated Triple H to become the new WWE Champion. The next night on RAW, The Rock was put in a Steel Cage match against Shane for the WWE Championship with Gerald Brisco and Pat Patterson as the special guest referees for the match.
The Rock retained the WWE title after Earl Hebner interfered in the match, which lead to The Rock climbing out of the cage.
This episode was when WWE started to win the Monday Night Wars. WCW made actor David Arquette their champion, while WWE put their world title on The Rock. WCW fans tuned out and it ended up with a 2.5 rating, while WWE pulled in an impressive 7.4.
1. May 10, 1999 (8.1) – Shane McMahon, The Undertaker, and Triple H versus WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, and Vince McMahon
The highest-rated episode of Monday Night Raw in WWE history (and the only one to ever break the 8.0 mark) took place on May 10, 1999.
With no Nitro that week due to the NBA playoffs on TNT, RAW was the only wrestling program on that night. That lead to the flagship show getting a record 8.1 television rating (translation: about 1 in 12 televisions with cable were watching this show).
The main event was a six-man tag team match with Triple H, Undertaker and Shane McMahon versus Vince McMahon, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and The Rock.