Triple H recently spoke with USA Today’s For The Win to hype up the 25th anniversary RAW coming up on January 15th. During the interview, he talked about how running NXT shows makes him appreciate the 25 year milestone for RAW that much more. He also discussed what RAW was like in the early days and what Stone Cold Steve Austin meant to RAW during the Attitude Era.
On how running NXT shows the last few years gives him a deeper appreciation of the upcoming RAW milestone:
The truth is, over 25 years, to have the level of consistency that it’s had… for a majority of that time, the No. 1 show on cable television. It’s extraordinary. I don’t know that you can even put it into words, and it’s hard, I think, for people to get that. And I think for people within the television world, sometimes they go ‘yeah, but…’ They just don’t understand what we do, fully. ‘Ehh but it’s the wrestling thing, right?’
Yeah, but it’s an episodic television show. You take a show that’s been on the air, a drama or whatever it is, an episodic show, and you go five, six, eight years into that show – which is rare – is the show nearly as good? Are the characters nearly as good? Is it fresh. You can go over our 25 years and there’s new characters all the time, there’s fresh storylines, there’s always something happening. And when you think ‘eh, it’s not quite what it was,’ all of a sudden there’s a moment in time when it changes.
Before the Attitude Era hit, for talent, we’d sit in the locker room and think ‘you think it could ever be as big as it was in the ’80s? Man that must have been a special time.’ And then six months later it was bigger than it had ever been. You’re always on the cusp of that.
On what RAW was like in the early days:
It was ‘hang on by the seat of your pants.’ It still is now, when you think about the amount of live content WWE puts out on a weekly basis – it’s a lot.
…. I think for talent, it was a completely different feeling. And I can tell you this, when you go back in time in the last few years to when SmackDown was a recorded show – with Raw live and SmackDown recorded the next day – the energy level at the actual show backstage from the talent was completely different. There’s a safety net in not being live. There’s less urgency to it. When you’re live and there’s no safety net and it’s there in front of the world, that adrenaline rush is completely different. And I think, also, our fans feel that. Their energy level kind of reflects that as well. The live component changed everything, especially from a talent standpoint because it just put an urgency and a excitement level that hadn’t been there before.
On what Stone Cold Steve Austin meant to RAW during the Attitude Era:
Oh man. In that timeframe, everything. I said earlier those first episodes of Raw almost had this feel of the start of the Attitude Era, but then the Austin timeframe and DX and all that…. It wasn’t the longest run on the planet because of injuries for Steve, but there was no bigger star ever in the business, probably. Just in that moment in time, it was huge. And anytime Steve is around, he just has a personality and an intensity that’s just hard to beat.