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Beginning as WWF Monday Night RAW, the program first aired on January 11, 1993 on the USA Network for one hour. The original RAW broke new ground in televised professional wrestling. Traditionally, wrestling shows were taped on sound stages with small audiences or at large arena shows. The RAW formula was very different than that of its predecessor, Prime Time Wrestling: instead of taped matches, with studio voice overs and taped chat, RAW was a show shot to a live audience, with angles as they happened. The first episode featured Yokozuna defeating Koko B. Ware, The Steiner Brothers defeating The Executioners, WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels defeating Max Moon and The Undertaker defeating Damien Demento. The show also featured an interview with Razor Ramon.
RAW originated from the Grand Ballroom at Manhattan Center Studios, a small New York City theater and aired live each week. The combination of an intimate venue and live action proved highly successful. However, the weekly live schedule proved to be a financial drain on the WWF, and taped shows began airing every other week. From early 1994 to September 1999, RAW was shown live on one Monday and then the next day (Tuesday) next Monday's RAW was taped. This meant that RAW was live one week and taped the next.
The storylines and characters during the early years of RAW still had a healthy dose of the old Federation "gimmick-heavy" style. For instance, there were moments such as Irwin R. Schyster tearing up Tatanka's headdress, the various "Undertaker sightings" (during the Undertaker vs. Undertaker storyline, leading up to SummerSlam 1994); and characters like Duke "The Dumpster" Droese, Doink the Clown, or Thurman "Sparky" Plugg.
RAW was also one of a kind, in which they covered the unexpected, exciting moments, a prelude to the "Attitude Era", in which it coined RAW as "Uncut, Uncooked, Uncensored." Some of those moments include Razor Ramon losing a match unexpectedly to Sean "The 1-2-3 Kid" Waltman, who was later known as X-Pac, Marty Jannetty beating Shawn Michaels to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship, and RAW was the first WWF television program of any kind to show footage of Lex Luger bodyslamming Yokozuna at the USS Intrepid.
The original hosts of RAW were Vince McMahon, Rob Bartlett and Macho Man Randy Savage. Sean Mooney conducted the interviews and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan also helped contribute. Later in 1993, Rob Bartlett was dropped from the broadcasting team and was replaced by Bobby Heenan. Then on December 6, 1993, Gorilla Monsoon "kicked Bobby Heenan out of the WWF forever." In reality, this was a storyline between Monsoon and his close friend Heenan, who decided to leave the World Wrestling Federation in order to lighten his travel schedule and because he didn't want to take a 50% paycut. After about a year, RAW moved out of the Manhattan Center and traveled to various regular Federation venues in the United States.
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