At one point it felt like having a Monday Night Raw in Sioux Falls would be nothing more than a dream. Tonight that dream turns into a reality.

For the first time, WWE will hold its flagship show Monday Night Raw live from Sioux Falls. This is also the first time that WWE has brought Monday Night Raw to the state of South Dakota in general. WWE Raw will be the second televised show from Sioux Falls with the prior taking place last September when they brought Smackdown! to the PREMIER Center.

I've lived almost my entire life in Sioux Falls and I've always been a pro wrestling fan. To understand how crazy this is for tonight, we have to take a look back at the history of the WWE in this city.

Sioux Falls was mostly an AWA town. The AWA was stationed out of Minneapolis and would routinely run shows in the 1970s and 1980s. That kept most WWE shows in Sioux City in the mid 80s, and it wasn't until the late 80s that WWE started coming to town.

WWE popped back up in Sioux Falls in 1987 with a card at the Sioux Falls Arena that featured Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake.  They consistently ran house shows in the month of January in 1989, 1990, and 1991. After the show in 1991, it would be a long time before the WWE would return to town.

Wrestling itself didn't disappear from Sioux Falls. WCW started running shows at the Sioux Falls Arena yearly starting in 1996. That relationship even developed to a point where WCW Monday Nitro was held at the Arena in 1999. The last WCW house show in Sioux Falls was in 2000, and WWE bought WCW in March, 2001.

During the stretch of time WCW was running Sioux Falls, the WWE stayed away. After a 11-year hiatus, WWE finally brought a house show back to the Arena in September, 2002. The event featured South Dakota native Brock Lesnar making a special appearance against Triple H in the main event.

It became obvious from 2002 and on that Sioux Falls would only receive house shows in regards to the WWE. The Arena wasn't cut for hosting TV shows, and the venue would become a stop on the way to running a Raw or Smackdown in Minneapolis, Sioux City or Omaha. The bright side to it though was that the WWE was running shows in Sioux Falls every other year in the mid 2000s, and switching over to a yearly schedule starting in 2012.

The Denny Sanford PREMIER Center has opened the doors to hosting WWE in a televised capacity. WWE ran its first house show at the PREMIER Center in 2014 and followed that up with more stops in 2015 and 2016. Talking with the people at the PREMIER Center, they told me at the time that it was only a matter of time before WWE would run a televised show here.

WWE Smackdown! from Sioux Falls was held on September 5, 2017. Following the show, WWE expressed their excitement with the PREMIER Center over the attendance and the venue itself when it comes to running a televised event. The decision was made to run a Monday Night Raw here for the first time.

On a personal side, I've been to many Monday Night Raw's in my life in cities like Sioux City, Omaha, Minneapolis, Orlando, Phoenix, Dallas, and New Orleans. I've never had the chance to go to a Raw and not be faced with a long drive home after the show, or a night in a hotel. Add that with being able to see the show in the city I grew up in, and that all makes tonight a very special event for me.

For the city, this is a special night as well. WWE Raw will go live on USA Network right at 7:00 tonight and Sioux Falls will be showcased worldwide. This is a fantastic opportunity for this city in the upper midwest to be highlighted in front of millions of people. That again is beyond special.

Monday Night Raw is like attending an athletic event mixed with a rock concert and circus. It is a live experience that cannot be matched and is a guaranteed fun time. WWE runs family-friendly shows, and tickets are very reasonable. If you're on the fence about going, I can't recommend it enough.

Be a part of history tonight. Tickets for Monday Night Raw at the PREMIER Center are available at the PREMIER Center box office or on Ticketmaster.

See you there. - Jerry P.


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