Raw (WWE brand)

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Raw
WWE RAW Logo 2018.svg
Logo for the brand and the Raw television program
Product type Professional wrestling
Sports entertainment
Owner WWE
Produced by Vince McMahon
Country United States
Introduced March 25, 2002
Related brands SmackDown
ECW
NXT
NXT UK
Commissioner:
Stephanie McMahon
(July 19, 2016 – present)
General Managers:
Kurt Angle (Raw)
(April 3, 2017 – present)
Drake Maverick (205 Live)
(January 30, 2018 – present)
Constable:
Baron Corbin
(June 4, 2018 – present)

Raw is one of WWE's brands which was first established on March 25, 2002 with a draft on Raw and went into effect one week later on April 1. The brand split was discontinued in August 2011, but was brought back in July 2016. Wrestlers assigned to the Raw brand wrestle predominantly on the Raw television program as well as Main Event, the cruiserweight-exclusive 205 Live, and Raw branded or co-branded pay-per-view events and WWE Network events. During the first brand split, they also competed on Heat and on ECW under a talent exchange program.

History

First split (2002–2011)

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".[1] The WWF divided itself into two de facto wrestling promotions with separate rosters, storylines and authority figures.[1] 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 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, it was no longer referred to as "undisputed". Following this, the Women's Championship soon became a Raw exclusive 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, Randy Orton, Batista (under the stable Evolution), Goldberg, Chris Jericho, Christian, Shawn Michaels, Kane and Divas Trish Stratus, Lita, Stacy Keibler and Victoria.

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 took his title to SmackDown, leaving only the WWE Championship on Raw. On 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.[2] Subsequentely, 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.[3] 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.[4]

Second split (2016–present)

Current Raw General Manager Kurt Angle
The cruiserweight division was reintroduced for Raw in September 2016

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.[5] On the July 11 episode of Raw, Vince McMahon named Stephanie McMahon the commissioner of Raw.[6] The draft took place on the live premiere of SmackDown Live on July 19, with the general managers of the respective brands hand-picking the wrestlers for their brands.[7] Raw's Commissioner and General Manager Stephanie McMahon and General Manager Mick Foley, respectly, 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.[8] Clash of Champions was scheduled as the first Raw-exclusive pay-per-view since January 2007 and the reintroduction of the Cruiserweight division where as Elimination Chamber has been scheduled as final Raw-exclusive pay-per-view making upcomings to be interbranded after WrestleMania.

Champions

The current and longest reigning WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar

Initially, the Undisputed WWE Championship and the original WWE Women's Championship were available to both brands.[9][10][11] The other championships were exclusive to the brand the champion was a part of.[9][10][11] When the brand extension began, Raw received the Intercontinental Championship and European Championship when their respective holders were drafted.[12] 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.[13] Shortly thereafter, Raw became the exclusive brand for the World Tag Team Championship, the Intercontinental Championship and the WWE Women's Championship.[14][15]

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 Champion, the United States Champion and the WWE Tag Team Champions.[16] With the WWE Championship being defended exclusively on SmackDown, Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley introduced the Universal Champions to be Raw's world title.[17]

Current championships

Raw
Championship Current champion(s) Reign Date won Days held Location Notes
WWE Universal Championship Brock Lesnar 1 April 2, 2017 477 Orlando, Florida Defeated Goldberg at WrestleMania 33
WWE Intercontinental Championship Dolph Ziggler 6 June 18, 2018 35 Grand Rapids, Michigan Defeated Seth Rollins on Raw
WWE Raw Women's Championship Alexa Bliss 3 June 17, 2018 36 Rosemont, Illinois Defeated Nia Jax at Money in the Bank after cashing in her Money in the Bank contract
WWE Raw Tag Team Championship The B-Team
(Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel)
1
(1, 2)
July 15, 2018 8 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Defeated Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt at Extreme Rules
WWE Cruiserweight Championship Cedric Alexander 1 April 8, 2018 106 New Orleans, Louisiana Defeated Mustafa Ali in a tournament final on the WrestleMania 34 pre-show to win the vacant title

Previous championships

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 United States Championship April 13, 2009 - April 25, 2011
May 1, 2011 - August 29, 2011
July 19, 2016 - April 11, 2017
April 16, 2018 - April 17, 2018
WWE Championship June 6, 2005 - June 11, 2006
July 3, 2006 - June 23, 2008
April 13, 2009 - August 29, 2011

Personnel

Pay-per-view and WWE Network events

First brand split events

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 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 Title vs. Career 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

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 a Fatal 5-Way 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. The Miz, Braun Strowman, Cesaro, Kane, and Sheamus 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

References

  1. ^ a b Shields, Brian; Sullivan, Kevin (2009). WWE: History of WrestleMania. p. 55. 
  2. ^ Nemer, Paul (August 30, 2011). "Raw Results – 8/29/11". Wrestleview. Retrieved November 5, 2016. 
  3. ^ Tom Herrera (January 11, 2014). "The 10 most important moments in Raw history". WWE.com. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  4. ^ "WWE NEWS: Stephanie McMahon says why brand split is gone". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved January 22, 2013. 
  5. ^ Clapp, John. "Smackdown going live July 19th". WWE. Retrieved May 25, 2016. 
  6. ^ Caldwell, James. "7/11 WWE Raw Results – CALDWELL'S Complete Report". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  7. ^ "WWE's destiny to be determined during SmackDown's LIVE premiere". WWE. June 20, 2016. Retrieved June 20, 2016. 
  8. ^ Schwartz, Nick. "WWE creates new Universal Championship for Raw". Retrieved July 26, 2017. 
  9. ^ a b Zimmerman, Christopher Robin (March 26, 2002). "WWE Draft 2002 Recap". Archived from the original on July 23, 2012. Retrieved February 23, 2008. 
  10. ^ a b "WWE Raw (March 25, 2002) Results". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved February 23, 2008. 
  11. ^ a b "WWE Raw (March 25, 2002) Results". PWWEW.net. Retrieved February 23, 2008. [dead link]
  12. ^ "WWE Cruiserweight Championship History". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved February 23, 2008. 
  13. ^ "Triple H's first World Heavyweight Championship reign". World Wrestling Entertainment. Archived from the original on February 21, 2008. Retrieved February 23, 2008. 
  14. ^ "WWE Tag Team Championship History". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved February 23, 2008. 
  15. ^ "WWE United States' Championship History". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved February 23, 2008. 
  16. ^ "2016 WWE Draft results: WWE officially ushers in New Era". WWE. Retrieved July 19, 2016. 
  17. ^ Hamlin, Jeff. "WWE Raw live results: title match set for SummerSlam & a new champion is crowned". Wrestling Observer. Retrieved 27 July 2016. 
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