From Prime Time to RAW:
Starting in 1985, Prime Time Wrestling was a weekly show on the USA Network that featured highlights from the various syndicated shows the WWE had at the time. Due to growth in the cable TV industry, WWE decided that their flagship program was going to move from syndication to cable. The new flagship program of the WWE, Monday Night RAW, debuted on January 11, 1993. The show was different from previous WWE programming in that the show was live and featured competitive matches.
The Manhattan Center:
In the beginning, most of the early shows took place at the Manhattan Center. They followed a schedule of two tapings a night. One was broadcast live and one was shown the next week. Due to the logistics of having to make sure all the wrestlers were back in New York every two weeks, the show started to go on the road towards the end of 1993.
The Monday Night War started on September 4, 1995 when WCW broadcast their new show, Monday Nitro, on TBS in the same timeslot as RAW but on a night where RAW was preempted. WCW was owned by Ted Turner, who was also the owner of TBS. Unlike Monday Night RAW, this show was broadcast live every week. When RAW wasn't live, they would give the results of the show away to lure viewers to their program. By the end of 1996, WCW was crushing the WWE in the ratings.
RAW is WAR:
To change the tide in the Monday Night War, the WWE changed the format of their show. On March 10, 2007, RAW is War begun. The new format featured an additional hour, a new set, and an edgier format which later evolved into what is now known as the "Attitude Era". This new material featured the WWE push the boundaries of vulgarity and sexuality with characters like D-Generation X and Sable. This strategy worked and within two years, the company was clearly the number one wrestling company once again.
The End of Several Eras:
Things were going so well for the WWE that they were able to broadcast a new show called SmackDown for the UPN Network. This addition necessitated the current live format of RAW. RAW was broadcast live every Monday night while the new show was recorded on Tuesday and broadcast a few days later. In September 2000, the show moved from USA to The National Network (Spike TV) due to both financial reasons and the fact that the show was always preempted on the USA Network for the Westminster Dog Show and the U.S. Open.
The Monday Night War Ends and a Worse One Begins:
On March 26, 2001, the WWE officially won the Monday Night RAW. That episode of RAW featured a split-screen that featured Vince McMahon bragging about buying WCW while his son was at Nitro purchasing the company away from his father. With ECW going out a business a few months earlier, the WWE had a virtual monopoly over the world of professional wrestling. Later that year, the name RAW is WAR was done away with due to the terrible events of 9/11.
The Brand Extension:
From 1999 until 2002, RAW and SmackDown were just the names of two shows the WWE produced. The March 25, 2002 edition of Monday Night RAW featured the first draft lottery where wrestlers would become the property of either the RAW brand or the SmackDown brand. From that point on, with certain exceptions, wrestlers would only appear on one of the two shows.
RAW Returns Home:
On October 3, 2005, Monday Night RAW returned to the USA Network. In 2008, the set of the show changed to reflect the change to recording in the HD format. In 2009, the show became the wrestling equivalent of Saturday Night Live as every week the show was hosted by either a celebrity or wrestler. For the first few months, the guest host had complete power over the show but that power was taken away in 2010. The concept of the guest host is no longer a weekly gimmick.
RAW Turns 1,000:
In 2011, the brand extension was lifted from the program as members of both the RAW and SmackDown rosters were allowed to appear on the show which temporarily became known as RAW Supershow. The following year, RAW celebrated its 1,000th episode. To commemorate this milestone, the program was expanded from two to three hours and was renamed WWE RAW. That show also featured the debut of the concept of the social media ambassador. On a nearly weekly basis, a different celebrity discusses the show on either Twitter or Tout.
WWE & World Heavyweight Championship Victories on RAW:
- 2/17/97 - Sid beat Bret Hart
- 6/29/98 - Steve Austin beat Kane
- 1/4/99 - Mankind beat The Rock
- 2/15/99 - The Rock beat Mankind
- 6/28/99 - Steve Austin beat The Undertaker
- 8/23/99 - Triple H beat Mankind
- 1/3/00 - Triple H beat The Big Show
- 10/8/01 - Steve Austin beat Kurt Angle
- 7/3/06 - Edge beat Champion Rob Van Dam & John Cena
- 6/15/09 - Randy Orton beat John Cena, Triple H, and Big Show to win the vacant title
- 11/22/10 - The Miz beat Randy Orton
- 7/25/11 - Rey Mysterio beat The Miz in the tournament final for the vacant title
- 7/25/11 - John Cena beat Rey Mysterio
World Heavyweight Championship Victories
- 9/2/02 - Triple H is awarded the World Heavyweight Championship
- 6/30/08 - CM Punk beat Edge
- 11/3/08 - Chris Jericho beat Batista in a Steel Cage Match
- 4/8/13 - Dolph Ziggler beat Alberto Del Rio
Sources used include: wwe.com and thehistoryofwwe.com