This week on Monday Night Raw, Shane McMahon returned to TV for the first time in 2020 to introduce the Raw Underground concept, which is basically WWE’s version of Fight Club.
The concept, which has received mixed reviews online, drew some similarities with Lucha Underground, not only because of its name but also because of its presentation and feel.
However, it seems like the Raw Underground concept is actually something that has been done very similarly by an independent promotion in Detroit called Sanctuary Fight Club.
In the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer spoke about the possibility of WWE taking this idea and even the name from Sanctuary Fight Club:
The Raw Underground idea looked very similar as far as look to a Detroit-area promotion called Sanctuary Fight Club. The look is identical as far as fans standing right on top of the ring, the same gritty look and the dancing girls. It’s not exactly the same because those shows did use ring ropes and also the in-ring style was not an attempt to look like an MMA fight but do the usual style of independent pro wrestling matches. But the idea was to do events in a punk rock bar with no chairs or barricades with fans around the ring and the catch phrase, “Join the Underground,” so the WWE not only took the look but also the name.”
“Several Impact guys including Jake Something (Cousin Jake), Hakim Zane (Rohit Raju) and Tyson Dux were working there when it closed down for the pandemic. After last year’s SummerSlam show, Davey Boy Smith Jr., actually talked to Shane McMahon and came up with this type of idea as something new and different, although it’s not likely that’s where this came from”
For what it’s worth, I’d guess that Vince McMahon and other higher-ups within WWE haven’t ever seen of or even heard of Sanctuary Fight Club.
Speaking of the new concept, it has been reported that WWE sent out a casting call last month looking for female talent. It has since been speculated that this could be for a role in Raw Underground.