Raw is a brand of the American professional wrestling promotion WWE that was established on March 25, 2002. Brands are divisions of WWE's roster where wrestlers are assigned to perform on a weekly basis when a brand extension is in effect. Wrestlers assigned to Raw primarily appear on the brand's weekly television program, Monday Night Raw, also referred to simply as Raw. It is one of WWE's two main brands, along with SmackDown, collectively referred to as WWE's main roster. The brand was discontinued for a period between August 2011 and July 2016.
|Product type||Professional wrestling|
|Produced by||Triple H|
|Introduced||March 25, 2002 |
July 19, 2016
|Discontinued||August 29, 2011 |
|Tagline||Must be Monday|
In addition to Raw's main television program, less-utilized wrestlers also appear on the brand's supplementary show, Main Event. Raw's wrestlers also perform on the branded and co-branded pay-per-view and livestreaming events. During the first brand split (2002–2011), Raw wrestlers also competed on the former supplementary show, Heat, and on ECW under a talent exchange program with the former ECW brand, while during the second brand split (2016–present), the brand's wrestlers have appeared in the interbrand Worlds Collide and Mixed Match Challenge events. Additionally during the second split, Raw's cruiserweight wrestlers competed on 205 Live when WWE's revived cruiserweight division was exclusive to Raw from 2016 to 2018 before 205 Live became its own brand.
First split (2002–2011)Edit
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, Booker T, 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)Edit
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.
Beginning in December 2021, talents from Raw begin to appear on NXT 2.0. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Radio reported that a Raw-NXT crossover between their talents as a way to help boost NXT 2.0 ratings as both shows air on the USA Network.
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. Soon after, Lesnar lost the WWE Championship to Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania 36. Randy Orton then defeated Drew McIntyre at Hell in a Cell 2020 to win the championship for the 10th time. However, McIntyre regained the championship on the November 16 episode of Raw.
|Championship||Current champion(s)||Reign||Date won||Days held||Location||Notes||Ref.|
|WWE Championship||Roman Reigns||4||April 3, 2022||238||Arlington, Texas||Defeated Brock Lesnar in Winner Takes All match with Reigns's Universal Championship also at stake at WrestleMania 38 Night 2.|||
|United States Championship||Austin Theory||2||November 26, 2022||1||Boston, MA||Defeated previous champion Seth "Freakin" Rollins and Bobby Lashley in a triple threat match at Survivor Series WarGames.|||
|WWE Raw Tag Team Championship||The Usos
(Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso)
|3||May 20, 2022||191||Grand Rapids, Michigan||Defeated previous champions RK-Bro (Randy Orton and Riddle) in a Winner Takes All match on SmackDown with the Usos' SmackDown Tag Team Championship also at stake.|||
|WWE Raw Women's Championship||Bianca Belair||1||April 2, 2022||239||Arlington, Texas||Defeated Becky Lynch on Night 1 of WrestleMania 38.|||
- 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 29, 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 28, 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 — April 4, 2018|
|WWE Intercontinental Championship||March 25, 2002 — July 30, 2002|
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 eventsEdit
First brand split eventsEdit
Second brand split eventsEdit
- "WATCH WWE RAW's New 'Must be Monday' Commercial". 30 March 2020.
- Shields, Brian; Sullivan, Kevin (2009). WWE: History of WrestleMania. p. 55.
- Nemer, Paul (August 30, 2011). "Raw Results – 8/29/11". Wrestleview. Retrieved November 5, 2016.
- Tom Herrera (January 11, 2014). "The 10 most important moments in Raw history". WWE.com. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
- "WWE NEWS: Stephanie McMahon says why brand split is gone". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
- Clapp, John. "Smackdown going live July 19th". WWE. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
- Caldwell, James. "7/11 WWE Raw Results – CALDWELL'S Complete Report". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
- "WWE's destiny to be determined during SmackDown's LIVE premiere". WWE. June 20, 2016. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
- Schwartz, Nick. "WWE creates new Universal Championship for Raw". Retrieved July 26, 2017.
- "WWE is planning to do more Raw vs. NXT feuds". 22 February 2022.
- Zimmerman, Christopher Robin (March 26, 2002). "WWE Draft 2002 Recap". Archived from the original on March 3, 2012. Retrieved February 23, 2008.
- "WWE Raw (March 25, 2002) Results". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved February 23, 2008.
- "WWE Draft 2019 Results". PWWEW.net. Archived from the original on January 26, 2002. Retrieved February 23, 2008.
- "WWE Raw (March 25, 2002) Results". PWWEW.net. Retrieved February 23, 2008.[dead link]
- "WWE Cruiserweight Championship History". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved February 23, 2008.
- "Triple H's first World Heavyweight Championship reign". World Wrestling Entertainment. Archived from the original on February 21, 2008. Retrieved February 23, 2008.
- "WWE Tag Team Championship History". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved February 23, 2008.
- "WWE United States' Championship History". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved February 23, 2008.
- "2016 WWE Draft results: WWE officially ushers in New Era". WWE. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
- Hamlin, Jeff. "WWE Raw live results: title match set for SummerSlam & a new champion is crowned". Wrestling Observer. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
- Powell, Jason (April 3, 2022). "WrestleMania 38 results: Powell's live review of night two with Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar for the Unified WWE Championship, RK-Bro vs. The Street Profits vs. Alpha Academy for the Raw Tag Titles, Edge vs. AJ Styles, Johnny Knoxville vs. Sami Zayn in an Anything Goes match, Pat McAfee vs. Austin Theory, Bobby Lashley vs. Omos". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved April 3, 2022.
- Powell, Jason (November 26, 2022). "WWE Survivor Series WarGames results: Powell's review of The Bloodline vs. Drew McIntyre, Kevin Owens, and The Brawling Brutes in a WarGames match, Bianca Belair, Becky Lynch, Asuka, Alexa Bliss, and Mia Yim vs. Rhea Ripley, Nikki Cross, and Damage CTRL in a WarGames match, Seth Rollins vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Austin Theory for the U.S. Title". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved November 27, 2022.
- Barnett, Jake (March 20, 2022). "5/20 WWE Friday Night Smackdown results: Barnett's review of Smackdown Tag Team Champions Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso vs. Raw Tag Team Champions "RK-Bro" Randy Orton and Riddle in a unification match, Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn, Xavier Woods vs. Butch". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved May 20, 2022.
- Powell, Jason (April 2, 2022). "WrestleMania 38 results: Powell's live review of night one with Steve Austin on The KO Show, Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousey for the Smackdown Women's Title, Becky Lynch vs. Bianca Belair for the Raw Women's Title, Seth Rollins vs. an opponent of Vince McMahon's choosing". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved April 2, 2022.
- Raw 2/18/19 - WWE.com
- Satin, Ryan (May 20, 2019). "WATCH: Mick Foley Unveils New WWE 24/7 Title, First Champion Crowned". Pro Wrestling Sheet. Retrieved May 20, 2019.