WWE – Vince McMahon initially wanted to run Monday Night RAW in the building that he purchased: Monday Night Raw has become television’s longest running episodic television program. Since January of 1993, the show has changed and evolved, and it’s even grown into a global juggernaut. It’s gone from being taped in batches to a completely live spectacle. It’s gone from packed crowds to the current situation of the ThunderDome, and it’s possible that it all could’ve started in a building the company owned.
During the Not Sam podcast aired on the WWE Network, Bruce Prichard and Sam Roberts talked about Raw’s beginnings and Prichard revealed one of Vince’s original plans for Raw. Vince wanted to buy a building to produce the entire show in-house to save cost. Eventually, plans changed and WWE rented out the Manhattan Center for the first episode, a building that is quite costly.
“The original concept behind doing Raw was to do a live weekly show to build a small studio arena in Stamford and the concept was to save money by doing that. To tour and then come back to Stamford on Monday and have that studio that we owned. A little arena that we owned, that we could control and ‘this is going to save money, this is going to be revolutionary that we’re not going to go rent a building. Flip that to several weeks later and we’re in the Manhattan Center, one of the most expensive pieces of property in the country and we are just like, ‘holy cow this became a big production.”
The whole history of Raw could have changed had Raw decided to go the original route and be produced in-house. Maybe it could have harkened back to the days of WCW Worldwide where the whole thing looked significantly smaller. Or maybe the whole show would have had no audience. Raw’s beginnings could have been quite different and maybe the history of Raw wouldn’t be as long as it has been thanks to the Manhattan Center.
And who knows? Maybe we never would have started Fandango-ing.