Top 10 WWE moments at Joe Louis Arena
For more than 30 years, Detroit has drawn the WWE back for body slams and smackdowns. Now, for the final time, ‘Monday Night Raw’ comes back to Joe Louis Arena, the place that spawned so many highlight reels.
Detroit has always been a strong wrestling town, going back to the 1970s and the bloodletting battles between Ed “The Sheik” Farhat and Bobo Brazil (Houston Harris) at Cobo Hall. WWE carried on that legacy, and without the Joe — which opened its doors in 1979 — many WWE Superstars’ highlight reels might look a little different.
Here are 10 of the best WWE moments at Joe Louis Arena:
1. Stone Cold makes an entrance (“Monday Night Raw,” Sept. 28, 1998): Stone Cold Steve Austin’s feud with Vince McMahon was peaking as Austin decided to interrupt a championship presentation ceremony by driving a zamboni to the ring.
2. Shane McMahon surprises everyone (“Raw,” Feb. 22, 2016): After a nearly six-year absence, Shane McMahon made a surprise return to the ring to crash the party between his sister and his father.
3. The Rock throws Stone Cold over the Belle Isle bridge (“Raw,” April 12, 1999): “Raw” spilled outside of the Joe when The Rock baited Stone Cold Steve Austin to meet him on the Belle Isle bridge and proceeds to throw him — and his “Smoking Skull” championship belt — into the Detroit River.
4. Undertaker wins his first championship (“Survivor Series,” Nov. 27, 1991): The dead man defeated Hulk Hogan (with a helping hand from Ric Flair (Richard Morgan Fliehr) to capture his first WWE Heavyweight Championship. At the time, he was the youngest competitor to ever hold the strap, though his title reign would only last a few days.
5. Kurt Angle makes his debut (“Survivor Series,” Nov. 14, 1999): The WWE Hall of Famer-to-be’s career started here, when he made his TV debut fighting Shawn Stasiak (and the fans’ chants of “Let’s go Red Wings!”) at the 1999 PPV event.
6. The nWo returns (“Raw,” March 11, 2002): Hulk Hogan returned to action, wrestling his first match in WWE in nearly eight years. He teamed with fellow nWo members Scott Hall and Kevin Nash to take on “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock, a blockbuster showdown of five of the biggest names in the history of the sport.
7. Randy Orton wins the Rumble (“Royal Rumble,” Jan. 25, 2009): The Viper, Randy Orton (Randal Keith “Randy” Orton), was the last man standing among 30 competitors when he punched his ticket to the main event of WrestleMania XXV with this victory.
8. John Cena hits the mic (“Raw,” March 22, 2004): During “Raw’s” annual talent draft, then-rapper John Cena swung by to drop some rhymes — while wearing a Barry Sanders jersey, no less.
9. Hogan takes on Macho Man (live event, April 26, 1986): A vintage bout between the two mega powers.
10. Shawn Michaels dances on Triple H’s casket (“Raw,” Oct. 28, 2002): Shawn Michaels (Michael Shawn Hickenbottom) interferes in a casket match between Triple H (Paul Michael Levesque) and Kane (Glenn Thomas Jacobs). After Kane rolls his opponent into a ringside casket, Michaels celebrates on top of it.
Do you have any to add to the list? Let Adam know on Twitter or in the comments.
‘Monday Night Raw’
7:30 p.m. Monday
Joe Louis Arena,
19 Steve Yzerman Drive, Detroit
or (313) 471-7000