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The five coolest Raw items we found in the WWE vault
Ever wonder what happened to all that cool stuff you’ve seen on Raw like Paul Bearer's urn, Mankind's Socko and Mantaur's head? Well, some of it ends up next to the lawn mower in Mr. McMahon’s garage. The rest of it is carefully curated and filed by WWE’s resident archivist, Benjamin Brown.
In honor of this Monday’s 1,000th episode of Raw, Brown invited WWE Classics into his rarely opened vault to rummage through closets stuffed with ring jackets, trunks full of championships and a mysterious crate simply labeled “Max Moon.” Here, we present five of the coolest Raw-related items we discovered. ( PHOTOS) Next month, we’ll dig a little deeper.
Triple H's jacket from Raw on Jan. 7, 2002
It had been nearly eight months since WWE fans had seen Triple H when The King of Kings made his highly anticipated return to Raw on Jan. 7, 2002. Standing before an electric Madison Square Garden crowd, The Game stared out on the thousands of WWE fans crammed into the World’s Most Famous Arena and received what was, arguably, the biggest ovation a returning Superstar ever received. And he was wearing this leather and denim jacket when he did it. ( WATCH)
That night, Triple H made it clear that he had recuperated from the career-threatening quadriceps injury he’d suffered in May 2001 when he announced he would be competing in that year’s Royal Rumble Match. And if The Game appeared especially hulking on that unforgettable Raw, it wasn’t a trick of the camera. When a WWE.com staffer tried Triple H’s jacket on for size, he looked like a kid playing dress up in daddy’s clothes. ( PHOTOS)
Kane's mask from Raw on June 23, 2003
The first thing you notice about Kane’s mask is the smell. The very hood that The Big Red Monster removed on the infamous Monday night when he finally revealed his face, the mask had soaked up the saliva and sweat of the 7-foot ghoul for months before it was sealed in a box and stored in WWE’s archives. But odors are something to be expected when entering a vault filled with ring worn boots and 20-year-old spandex. ( PHOTOS)
This item entered the archives in June 2003, only days after Kane unmasked following a loss to Triple H. ( WATCH) Up until that point, WWE fans had no idea what The Undertaker’s half-brother looked like and stories of a house fire that disfigured him as a child left people thinking the visage underneath wouldn’t be a pleasant one. After exposing his horrific face that night, Kane went without a hood for the next nine years before returning in 2011 with a new mask. Thankfully, The Big Red Monster didn’t come looking for this one.
Papa Shango's hat from Raw on March 15th, 1993
Full disclosure, Papa Shango didn’t have too many memorable Monday night moments — that is unless you consider beating Scott Taylor memorable. The bizarre voodoo priest made his biggest impact in the year before Raw debuted when he used black magic to make strange goop drip from Ultimate Warrior’s head. That stellar moment is probably why the WWE Classics team got so excited when WWE archivist Benjamin Brown opened a box to reveal Shango’s hat and necklace inside. ( PHOTOS)
Worn by the bizarre Superstar on the night he made his Raw debut against Bob Backlund, the stove pipe hat may seem better suited for an Abraham Lincoln impersonator. ( WATCH) Big Papa wasn’t paying tribute to our 16th President, though. His look was based on a Haitian voodoo spirit known as Baron Samedi, who is depicted in tuxedo and top hat, which is the traditional dress for a corpse in the Caribbean nation.
Mr. Backlund's campaign sign from Raw on May 15, 1995
You might think there’d be more signage from Mr. Backlund’s failed 1995 presidential run taking up space in the WWE offices. After all, when Americans stuffed themselves into voting booths in November 1996, they didn’t see Backlund’s name slotted between that of Bill Clinton and Bob Dole. His campaign was a bust, but what did you expect from a candidate who would Crossface Chickenwing anyone who didn’t agree with his stance on the economy?
More than 17 years since the former WWE Champion announced his aspirations to become the commander-in-chief, this lone booster sign is all we have to remember the most unpredictable presidential hopeful this side of Ross Perot. This patriotic red, white and blue placard was held aloft by a member of a brass band tooting a clunky version of “Hail to the Chief” on the May 15, 1995, Raw that Backlund revealed his madcap plan. ( WATCH) A candidate wouldn’t appear on WWE's flagship again until 2007, when President Barack Obama popped on Raw to ask his rivals, “Do you smell what Barack is cooking?”
Bret Hart's Superstar of the Year trophy from Raw on Nov. 29, 1993
Save for a rusted Slammy or two, there aren’t many trophies in the WWE vault. Most of the awards handed out over the years ended up busted or broken after a dejected loser cracked the prize over the head of whoever won. Maybe that’s why we discovered Bret “Hit Man” Hart’s oversized 1993 Superstar of the Year trophy entombed in enough bubble wrap to cover a football field. Any award that survived a WWE event unscathed merits preservation. ( PHOTOS)
Presented to The Excellence of Execution by Lex Luger and Mr. McMahon on the Nov. 29, 1993, episode of Raw, ( WATCH) the honor is rarely mentioned when the WWE Hall of Famer’s many achievements are discussed. But in a way, the recognition made it clear that Hart was going to be the man to watch in WWE in the years to come.