A Top 5 wish list for WWE's Old School Raw
Tonight, WWE turns back the clock with as it presents its second Old School Raw, loaded with retro wrestling flavor from years gone by.
The company is already promising "historic WWE theme music, graphics, entrance ramp, ring posts and colors" as well as appearances from such names from long ago as Ric Flair, theHonky Tonk Man, Sgt. Slaughter, "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, Dusty Rhodes, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, and Mean Gene Okerlund will return.
I loved this gimmick when the company first unveiled it in November of 2010, and was pleasantly surprised by the lengths WWE went to capture the authenticity of a 1980s/1990s era broadcast. They went as far as to have a Lord Alfred Hayes sound-alike announce the show's sponsors with his trademark "Promotional consideration paid for by..." line.
This time around, my expectations as a wrestling nostalgia buff will be twice as high. Here are 10 things I'd love to see.
Update with Mean Gene Okerlund: From the pages of the WWE Magazine, for years update was the destination segment to find out the biggest news wrestling news of the week. From a control room settling, Okerlund would recap hot angles from the previous week, title changes or any other breaking news, and introduce a new promo from one of the involved parties. It typically came at the conclusion of the opening match, and was a great, condensed way to get caught up.
A toned-down Titan Tron: Before wrestling shows were transformed into drive-in movie theaters, the entrance ramp for wrestlers consisted of little more than a WWF logo and a curtain. I get that the Tron provides a practical purpose (allowing fans in the nose bleeds to follow the action). But if WWE wants to capture the look and feel of a retro Raw, it needs to scale down the gigantic laser light show that is the typical Raw, and maybe consider getting rid of the ramp, putting up some steel railings, and hanging up some giant fabric banners.
Managers!: Back in the day, it was rare to see a wrestling villain make his way to the ring without a sinister manager by his side. Whether it was Bobby Heenan, Jimmy Hart, or Mr. Fuji, a good manager was an essential part of a heel's act, not only to do the talking for some verbally-challenged wrestlers, but also just to help get heat on their charges by passing on the hate they earned from fans. If only for one night, I'd enjoy seeing today's baddies take up with some notorious managers. I'm thinking the Primetime Players and Slick would get along swimmingly.
The WWE Event Center with Sean Mooney: I won't hold my breath for this one. Long before the era of monthly pay per views, WWE's feuds were settled at non-televised live events. And, each week, Sean Mooney sat behind his desk and sold the heck out of the house show line-ups, before throwing it to some combatants for pre-recorded promos. These days, WWE usually doesn't even know the line-up for a house show until the wrestlers arrive in the building. But this could still be a fun and useful segment to hype some mid-card WWE feuds. As long as Sean Mooney returns, I'll be happy.
The WrestleMania Report: It was simple and it worked: A weekly segment running down all the matches for the biggest show of the year, and featuring promos from some of the participants. WWE used this model for all its pay per views throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was originally hosted by Okerlund, and later by Todd Pettengill. I'd love to see it back tonight, complete with the retro-WrestleMania theme song. But, whatever you do, WWE, please don't bring back Pettengill.