The perfect Monday Night Raw is now seemingly an objective impossibility.
We have enough evidence from the last eight years of three hour editions of the flagship to know that the run-time has a more destructive impact on creative directions than the modern day Vince McMahon himself. Raw 1000 was the first (and best) of its kind and full to the brim of past and present stars with a host of massive angles, and even that wore out its welcome here and there.
Now, with the product too speculative and changeable, such a show simply can't occur. It's been 27 years since Razor Ramon lost to The 1-2-3 Kid and Marty Jannetty took the Intercontinental Championship from Shawn Michaels in perhaps the best one-hour edition of the broadcast. Between 1997 and 2001, Raw was electrified by the period at which commercial and creative endeavour met in the middle like never before, producing thrill rides on the reg bookended by pops for Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock louder than any since and most before.
But that magic left with half the audience in the Ruthless Aggression era slump. The company edged closer to becoming the polished product of the mid-2010s, allowing many of the old ways of telling stories to die at the hands of a team of sitcom writers sh*t scared of Vince McMahon and/or not really bothered how a wrestling show is supposed to work.
We are a long way removed from the perfection the show once strived for, but just how long? And how was it last achieved?