The WWF in 2000 reviews are back. I took the month of July off from writing these reviews because I needed a bit of a break. I figured if I stopped at the midway point it would be a good time for it.
There will be a slight change with my reviews because WWE Network has changed the way it looks. I used to put 10-15 screencaps in the review. It was a simple pause, then hit a button for the pic, save it and upload it. Simple, right? However, now on WWE Network when you hit Pause it looks like this.
The UI play controls don’t go off the screen except when the video is playing when I’m watching on my laptop. It used to go away when I hit pause, but not anymore. The only thing I could do is hit the screenshot button while the action is moving. It’s harder to get a great image that way. I’ll still have some images. It will just be a lot less until WWE fixes that on WWE Network, which may never happen. When I try to watch it on my iPhone, the controls do go away, but I’m not going to use that to grab the images for these reviews.
(If anybody has a solution to this to make it easier to get screencaps again, please let me know.)
Here is the synopsis for this episode on WWE Network:
“Shane McMahon goes one-on-one with The Rock for the WWE Championship in the main event. While Triple H’s quest for the WWE Championship is put on hold, he is given an opportunity at Rikishi’s Intercontinental Championship. But when Chris Jericho makes presence felt at The Game’s expense, Y2J finds himself in a Handicap Match. Kurt Angle in action.”
Check out our WWF TV in 2000 archives in case you missed anything (Raw, Smackdown and PPV reviews) from earlier in the year. Also, make sure to visit TJRWrestling.net daily for my reviews of the current WWE shows, plus historical columns and all the relevant current news in the wrestling business. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport and tweet me to talk about this show or anything else. Let’s get to it.
WWF Raw #371
July 3, 2000
From TD Waterhouse Center in Orlando, Florida
This edition of Raw is rated TV-14 (D for Suggestive Dialogue, L for Coarse Language, V for Violence) on WWE Network.
Triple H and wifey Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley were walking down a hallway. Hunter was mad at Stephanie for letting Jericho kiss her and she said Jericho forced himself on her. Pretty sure that’s a crime! Anyway, Hunter said he wants the WWF Championship and he wants to face Jericho. Foley said that a match with Jericho needs to be saved for the pay-per-view. Foley told Hunter he’ll get an Intercontinental Title shot against Rikishi. Hunter said that tonight, as far as he’s concerned, Rikishi is Jericho. They certainly don’t look the same!
The Raw intro video aired. The crowd was loud in the arena, the pyro went off and they showed us the fans at WWF New York as well. The announce team was Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler as usual.
European Championship: Eddie Guerrero (w/Chyna) vs. Chris Benoit
Pre-match notes: Guerrero was the face European Champion and Benoit was the heel. They used to be allies in the Radicalz group earlier in the year.
Guerrero with a running shoulder tackle followed by a headscissors takeover. Benoit sent Guerrero stomach first onto the top rope. There were “Eddie” chants as Guerrero hit a backbreaker followed by a suplex for two. Benoit suplexed Eddie onto the top rope leading to Guerrero bumping to the floor. Back in the ring, Benoit with a knee to the ribs and a press slam. Benoit launched Guerrero into the air and Eddie hit a hurricanrana, but Benoit came back with a clothesline to take control again. Guerrero with a forward rollup, Benoit with hard chops, Guerrero with a reverse headscissors like move and chops of his own. Benoit sent Guerrero face first into the turnbuckle. Benoit grabbed the title, Chyna grabbed the title from Benoit and slapped him, so that’s the DQ finish at 4:17.
Winner by disqualification: Chris Benoit (Eddie Guerrero is still champion)
Analysis: ** It was a good match technically speaking with some smooth moves from both guys, but the non-finish and short time kept it from being memorable. The cheap ending was no surprise since Benoit was getting a big push, so they didn’t want him doing the job or winning this title.
Post match, Guerrero hit a dropkick that sent Benoit into Chyna. For some reason, JR called Eddie “Jericho” who wasn’t even there. Benoit hit Guerrero with the European Title to the head. Benoit put the Crippler Crossface on Chyna and the fans screamed about it. Benoit smiled about what he did.
Analysis: Benoit was being built up as a main event heel, so they were all about trying to get him heat and that cheap attack on Chyna got him a lot of heat. It worked. The fans hated him for attacking Chyna like that.
There were replays of Benoit’s actions. The announcers talked about it. Chyna was shown getting checked by doctors.
Let’s Hear from Mick Foley
Mick Foley, the WWF Commissioner, made his entrance to a big pop from the crowd with JR noting that Foley had more power than any WWF Commissioner before him. Foley said: “I thought Hegstrand was back there for a second.” That was a reference to Road Warrior Hawk and getting that “Road Warrior Pop” (aka a big ovation) from the crowd. Lawler: “Who?”
Foley said that he has the greatest job in the world. He said it’s been one week as Commissioner of the WWF and look what’s happened. Foley said that the faction is splitting up, WWF stock is going through the roof and they’ve got themselves a new WWF Champion – The Rock. Foley said that as Commissioner, he has to make decisions that he knows are not going to be popular. Foley said he was going to ban The Worm…which drew boos and then he said he was just kidding because he loves that move! Foley said that he has an important decision about the number one contender, but Triple H and Kurt Angle screwed up the whole thing. Foley said tonight in Orlando, Florida (cheap pop) the possibilities are wide open.
The Rock made his entrance to a thunderous ovation that was louder than the pop that Foley received. That’s not a surprise since The Rock was the WWF Champion. Rock entered the ring with Foley.
The Rock talked about all the history they’ve been through while listing their stipulation matches, The Rock said “welcome back” and they shook hands. Foley congratulated Rock for being a five-time WWF Champion with JR noting that Rock was only 28 years of age. Foley said that it puts Rock in the elite list of the greatest WWF Champions of all time and he wants to know how does that make him feel? The Rock was about to answer…and Foley said, “IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW IT MAKES YOU FEEL!” Foley celebrated his Rock-ism by running around the ring, chanting “FOLEY” and laughing about how he finally got him. And that crowd loved it! That was hilarious.
Analysis: I remember that moment very well. People loved The Rock of course, but Foley was very funny too and to have him utter a Rock-like catchphrase like that was clever. It worked perfectly.
When things settled down, The Rock reminded Foley not to steal his catchphrases and said that they had business to talk about. Rock told Foley to just make a new number one contender.
Shane McMahon made his entrance after being off last week due to The Undertaker putting him through a table at King of the Ring eight days earlier. Shane did a promo on the stage. Shane claimed he suffered knee and rib injuries at King of the Ring while adding that a normal man wouldn’t be there, but he has never just been a normal man. The fans chanted “Asshole” at him. Shane claimed he graduated as the Valedictorian, plus he captain of his Debate and Water Polo teams. JR had a funny line about those not being “contact” sports. The fans chanted “Shane’s a pussy” at him, which was a common chant for him in those days. Shane said he overcame a Chokeslam at KOTR when Undertaker slam dunked him through the announce table. Shane complained about his parents embarrassing themselves in public and Triple H losing the WWF Title without being pinned himself. Shane said that week in and week out, he has witnessed fans calling his baby sister a “slut” so that led to the “slut” chants right on cue.
Shane complained about how the balance of power has now shifted to a slob that we now have to call Commissioner Foley. Shane said that he is declaring his Independence Day and it should be him that takes the WWF into the next millennium. Shane said he should decide who should be the number one contender. Foley asked if Shane was thinking he should be number one contender, Shane said no and Foley asked Rock if he heard Shane say that. Rock said it sounds like Shane wants to be the number one contender. Foley said he watched the tape of Shane going through that table, he saw “testicular fortitude” in Shane and Shane has got it.
Foley said he’s telling everybody right here in Orlando, Florida that we’ve got a new number one contender right here tonight. Rock said that what Commissioner Foley has said is Shane runs his mouth about Independence Day and Rock says it’s the year 2000 and just like George Washington, he cannot tell a lie and he’s going to kick Shane’s ass. Rock ended it with “if ya smell” and the fans cheered.
Analysis: It was a fun promo segment thanks to the Foley/Rock interaction. Shane also made some good points in making his return after missing the previous week of action. It was an intriguing main event match to do because fans wanted to see Rock kick Shane’s ass, so it was a smart match to promote to keep the audience interested.
Rikishi was shown walking backstage.
Rikishi made his entrance for the IC Title match. Triple H entered as the challenger along with wife Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley, who was still the Women’s Champion that barely defended the title.
Intercontinental Championship: Rikishi vs. Triple H (w/Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley)
Pre-match notes: Rikishi was the babyface Intercontinental Champion and Hunter was the heel challenger.
Hunter with punches, Rikishi came back with a back body drop, Hunter got a knee to the face and Hunter hit a clothesline. The fans chanted “slut” at Stephanie as Hunter hit a running knee to the face. They also chanted “Stephanie swallows” as Hunter and Rikishi battled on the floor with Lawler saying don’t listen to the redneck fans in Florida. Hunter hit a running clothesline with Rikishi doing a flip bump to sell it, which was impressive by him. Rikishi sent Hunter into the ropes, Hunter with a DDT, Rikishi no sold it since Samoans no sell head moves and Rikishi hit a superkick followed by a Samoan Drop. Rikishi with a clothesline that sent Hunter over the top to the floor. Hunter and Rikishi exchanged punches, the referee was counting them out, Rikishi punched Hunter, he went close to the ring and didn’t make it back before ten, so it was a double countout finish at 4:30. The fans hated that ending.
Match Result: Double Countout
Analysis: ** It was decent, but I can remember them having some much better matches earlier in the year. The finish was weak. This was also the second straight title match with a non-finish. I understand not wanting Hunter or Rikishi to lose, though.
Post match, Chris Jericho showed up and whipped Hunter into the steel steps. Jericho sent Hunter into the ring, Rikishi with a running back splash and Jericho left. Rikishi gave Hunter the Stinkface with JR saying that Triple H’s nose was all the way in the Grand Canyon known as Rikishi’s ass. Triple H and Stephanie were furious about it. Too Cool went into the ring to dance with Rikishi.
Analysis: The rivalry between Hunter and Jericho was built up well. This segment added to it because Jericho tossed Hunter into the ring to have him take a Stinkface, which is a humiliating move. It made the fans happy, so it worked perfectly.
They replayed the Rikishi, Triple H and Jericho interaction from before the break.
Triple H was shown backstage going into Mick Foley’s “office” in the boiler room. Foley said he’ll put Jericho in a Handicap Match against X-Pac and Road Dogg. Foley told Hunter if he interferes, then his match at Fully Loaded with Jericho is out the window. Hunter was fine with it.
Jeff Hardy made his entrance with Lita. Val Venis entered with his manager Trish Stratus, who was looking great in purple.
Val Venis (w/Trish Stratus) vs. Jeff Hardy (w/Lita)
Pre-match notes: Venis was a heel and Hardy was a face.
Hardy with a dropkick and Venis came back with a stun gun that sent Hardy into the top rope. Hardy with a back body drop to send Venis over the top rope followed by a somersault dive over the top onto Venis on the floor. Hardy ran across the top of the barricade into a clothesline, but Venis came back by sending Hardy face first into the steel steps. Venis with a suplex to bring Jeff back into the ring for a two count. Venis with elbows followed by a knee drop and Venis grounded Hardy with a submission move where he pulled back on the arms of Hardy. After Hardy got out of that, Venis hit a double underhook suplex for a two count. Hardy and Venis each hat brief sleeper holds applied, but then Venis hit a sitout Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count. Venis missed an elbow drop off the middle ropes because Hardy moved. Venis sent Hardy to the apron and Hardy came back with a springboard moonsault for two. Hardy hit a version of the Twist of Fate with a neckbreaker. Hardy up top, he went for a Swanton Bomb and he connected, but he barely connected with it. Stratus on the apron, Lita pulled her down, the referee was distracted and Tazz went into the ring to attack Jeff with a Tazzmission. The ref never saw any of it. Venis went up top and hit a Money Shot splash on Hardy for the pinfall win at 6:02.
Winner by pinfall: Val Venis
Analysis: **1/2 Good match with Venis getting the win with Tazz making the random attack. It was done that way because Tazz turned heel after his face run was a major flop. Getting over six minutes was a lot of time for a TV match in 2000. The finish was booked well by using the women to distract the referee. Venis and Hardy worked well together.
There was a shot of WWF New York with Terri Runnels walking into the building. The Mayor of New York City, Rudy Guiliani, was also shown at WWF New York.
The DX duo of X-Pac and Road Dogg were shown walking backstage for their match up next.
Mick Foley was back in his “office” when Pat Patterson was there saying that Mick has to stop Shane’s match against Rock because Shane is hurt. Foley said he’s not going to stop the match and he hit Pat in the hand with a gavel. At least that’s how Pat sold it.
Road Dogg and X-Pac made their entrance. The announcers talked about how Tori has to have major shoulder surgery after the injuries sustained at King of the Ring. As I have written previously, she never really came back from it. Road Dogg did a pre-match promo hyping up the crowd.
Chris Jericho made his entrance to a loud ovation. No pre-match promo from him, which was a bit of a surprise.
Mick Foley appeared on the stage with some more news. Foley said we’re ready for a Handicap Match and we will see one, but it’ll be 3 on 2. Foley introduced Jericho’s partners…The Acolytes. The fans popped for that.
Chris Jericho, Bradshaw and Faarooq vs. Road Dogg and X-Pac
Pre-match notes: The trio of Jericho, Bradshaw and Faarooq were faces while Dogg and X-Pac were heels.
Bradshaw and Faarooq went into the ring with punches and kicks to clear the ring. X-Pac tried to leave, but Faarooq stopped him. Bradshaw decked Dogg with punches. Jericho with a spin kick on X-Pac. Bradshaw with a shoulder tackle on X-Pac, then X-Pac jumped on him and Bradshaw hit a fallaway slam to send X-Pac out of the ring. Faarooq tagged in with punches for Dogg, then a clothesline and X-Pac went in for a spin kick on Faarooq. There was a powerslam by Faarooq on X-Pac and Jericho tagged himself in. Dogg got in a cheap shot elbow to Jericho, but then Jericho avoided a corner attack and Jericho hit a flying forearm on X-Pac. Jericho with a bulldog on X-Pac for a two count. Jericho slapped on the Walls of Jericho on X-Pac, but Dogg made the save. Bradshaw hit Dogg with a Clothesline from Hell and Faarooq with a spinebuster on X-Pac. Jericho hit a Lionsault on X-Pac for the pinfall win at 3:54.
Winners by pinfall: Chris Jericho, Bradshaw and Faarooq
Analysis: **1/4 It was fine for a handicap match that felt different from the usual because the faces had the advantage for a change. Jericho getting the win made sense since he was getting the push against Triple H.
Speaking of Triple H, he was shown in the office with Stephanie and he was throwing food around because he was mad about what happened.
Shoutout to the fan that had a Jericho sign and spelled the name wrong.
Good effort…I guess. The H is silent after all.
Triple H and Stephanie were shown leaving in a limo.
Edge and Christian made their entrance for a Tag Team Title match. They got a big win over Kane on Smackdown thanks to Tazz. Christian complained about Mick Foley for making them defend their titles and he said that Foley scraped the bowels of sucktitutde. Christian got heat for saying they are from Canada and he wished you a Happy 4th of July especially Undertaker and Kane. E&C did their five-second pose to try to suck up to Kane and Undertaker.
Kane made his entrance for his team followed by The Undertaker, who was on the motorcycle as usual.
WWF Tag Team Championships: Edge and Christian vs. The Undertaker and Kane
Pre-match notes: It was a battle of fake brothers with E&C as the heels while Taker and Kane were faces.
Undertaker overpowered Edge early, then he missed an elbow drop and Edge hit a neckbreaker on Taker for two. Taker came back with a clothesline for two. Taker hit a powerslam on Edge with Christian making the save. Christian tagged in and Taker hit him with a boot to the face. Kane cleaned house with clotheslines on both guys. Taker tagged back in, he teased a Chokeslam on Christian and Kurt Angle slid into the ring to hit Undertaker in the back of the leg with Kurt’s scepter, which led to the DQ ruling at 2:24.
Winners by disqualification: The Undertaker and Kane (Edge & Christian remain champions)
Analysis: * There wasn’t much here because it was just Taker and Kane dominating with a weak finish. It was the third title match on the show with a non-finish. Angle was an ally of E&C, so it made sense for him to interfere although attacking The Undertaker was random at the time. It did set them up for a Fully Loaded match, which was interesting in terms of how they booked it. We will get to that in the weeks ahead.
Post match, Kane gave Edge a Chokeslam and Undertaker gave Christian the Last Ride powerbomb.
There were highlights shown from earlier today with the XFL announcing there would be a team in Orlando. It was a huge money loser and it was bad football. Why would Vince do it again in 2020? Because he’s insane. He’s also rich, so he can sustain the losses.
Kurt Angle was interviewed by Michael Cole backstage. Angle said he was just helping Edge and Christian. Angle said he didn’t mean to offend The Undertaker because he would never do that.
Analysis: Angle was perfect in the role as the cowardly heel that also had credibility as an Olympic Gold Medalist. He was really starting to develop as a performer during this period and he was still in his rookie year on the main roster.
Dean Malenko, who was the Light Heavyweight Champion, entered with two women. One night earlier on Heat, Malenko beat Jacqueline in a match. Malenko said that wrestling Jackie was a low point in his career. Malenko said he doesn’t wrestle against women, he wrestles “with” women. Malenko said he’ll defend this title against anybody…and here’s Crash.
Light Heavyweight Championship: Dean Malenko vs. Crash Holly
Pre-match notes: Dean Malenko was the heel Light Heavyweight Champion. For Crash Holly, the name display said just “Crash” on it instead of Holly, but that changed from time to time.
Malenko was aggressive early, Crash with boots to the face and they each hit a neckbreaker at the same time, so they both sold it. There were multiple nearfalls from both guys. Malenko with a boot to the face, but Crash came back with a powerslam for two. Crash up top, he jumped, Malenko went for the Texas Cloverleaf submission, but Crash got to the ropes. Crash hit a hurricanrana for a two count. Malenko with a Powerbomb to counter a leaping attack and that was enough for the pinfall win at 2:03.
Winner by pinfall: Dean Malenko
Analysis: *1/2 A quick match to put over Malenko. They worked at a fast pace to get a lot of moves in, but there wasn’t much excitement in the match. The title was ignored a lot in the months leading up to this.
Post match, Jacqueline and Ivory went into the ring. They attacked Malenko with punches followed by a double suplex by the women on Malenko. Dean left with his lady friends.
Commissioner Foley was shown back in his office with Gerald Brisco complaining about Shane McMahon in the match with The Rock. Foley told him the match stays and to get him coffee, but Brisco left angrily.
King Kurt Angle was shown walking backstage for a match after a break.
A WWF Rewind video reminded us of the previous Smackdown when Kurt Angle hit a moonsault that broke Hardcore Holly’s arm.
Kurt Angle walked down to the ring with his crown and scepter in his hands. He didn’t wear the crown. Angle told NBA free agents to not come to Orlando because this place stinks. (A few weeks later, Orlando signed Tracy McGrady and Grant Hill, but they didn’t have much success with them.) Angle said last Thursday on Smackdown, he had no intention of breaking his arm, but now that he thinks about it, he’s glad he did it because Holly disrespected his crown. Angle complained about how Commissioner Foley has ruled him out of the number one contender spot. Angle wanted a suitable opponent for Angle because he won’t be disrespected again.
The Brooklyn Brawler made his entrance. JR: “It’s the Brooklyn Brawler. Is he still alive?” He sure was. He worked backstage in WWE for many years.
Angle asked what is going on and said that the Brawler is not a suitable opponent because Brawler hasn’t won since the Carter administration.
Commissioner Foley was back with Lawler saying he missed the faction. Foley said that Brawler is not good enough competition for Kurt…it’s true, it’s true…cheap pop. Foley said that Brawler is his tag team partner leading to Angle complaining about it. Foley said that they will face the Dudley Boyz, who entered to a big pop.
The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley) vs. Kurt Angle and Brooklyn Brawler
Pre-match notes: The Dudleys were popular faces while Angle was a heel and Brawler wasn’t a regular wrestler in this era.
D-Von hit a jumping shoulder tackle as fans chanted “we want tables” and Undertaker was shown watching backstage. Angle with an overhead belly to belly suplex. Brawler tagged in with a clothesline on D-Von and D-Von came back with a forearm. Bubba tagged in with a double team shoulder block. Angle tagged himself in leading to Bubba hitting a powerslam. Angle with an exchange of holds with Bubba leading to Angle hitting a German Suplex. Brawler tagged in, the referee was looking at Angle for some reason and D-Von hit the headbutt off the top, right into the balls of Brawler. Angle reached out for a tag, but when Brawler went close to him, Angle left. The Dudleys hit the 3D on Brawler for the pinfall win at 3:50. JR called Angle a coward.
Winners by pinfall: The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley)
Analysis: *1/2 It was a decent match to continue reminding the viewer that we have a face like Foley in charge, so he was making things tough on the heels like Angle, Triple H and Shane. Brawler looked old and slow here…because he was.
The Dudleys brought out a table from under the ring, which they set up in the ring. D-Von lifted up Brawler and Bubba gave Brawler a Powerbomb through the table. The fans loved this. The Dudleys were over with the crowd in a big way.
A replay aired of the finish of the tag team match before the break.
The Godfather made his entrance with four ho’s by his side. There was a sign that said “Welcome to Holando” and Lawler loved that. No promo from Godfather. Test made his entrance with Trish Stratus, who was in black attire instead of purple she had on earlier. A clip aired from Heat with Lita pinning Stratus in a tag team match and then Test pinned Lita with a boot to the face.
The Godfather vs. Test (w/Trish Stratus)
Pre-match notes: The Godfather was a face and Test was a heel.
Godfather worked over Test with kicks against the turnbuckle. Test came back with an elbow to the face and a boot to the face. Steven Richards ran out with sacks that he used to put on the ho’s at ringside. That drew a lot of boos from the crowd. Godfather with a kick on Test, a clothesline and belly to back suplex. Godfather was distracted by it and Godfather gave Test a back body drop over the top to the floor. Test got back into it by sending Godfather throat first into the top rope. Test up top and he hit the elbow drop for the pinfall win at 1:53.
Winner by pinfall: Test
Analysis: 1/2* It was a nothing match that was done to further Steven’s RTC storyline that was starting around this time. I have no complaints about a Godfather match going short since his matches were usually bad.
Shane McMahon was getting ready for the main event with Mick Foley going up to him in the backstage area. Shane complained about injuries, so Foley yelled about injuries to his arm, his ripped ear and matches continuing. Foley joked that he lost both of his “guys” (testicles) in an explosives match, Shane asked if that was true and Foley said no, then said “there they are” as he looked in his pants. I am not making that up. Let’s just move on.
A replay aired of Steven Richards covering up the ho’s at ringside and Godfather losing the match because of it.
Steven Richards was interviewed by Kevin Kelly. Richards said that the women’s attire was plain unacceptable. He complained about freedom going too far, so he’s not going to let it happen. Richards: “The madness stops today.”
Steve Blackman was backstage with his Hardcore Title and Al Snow showed up to say he thinks they should go their separate ways, which Steve agreeing with him. Snow read some poem about their time teaming together. Blackman was attacked by both Kaientai guys and all three Mean Street Posse guys, but Blackman beat them up easily with a kendo stick. Blackman went back to Snow, who complained about Steve not listening to him.
Analysis: Blackman as Hardcore Champion had a different feeling than Crash, who was more of a comedy champion whereas Blackman was a tough guy. They still enforced the 24/7 rule with Blackman.
There was a shot of WWF New York with Terri doing a promo.
Shane McMahon was shown walking backstage for the main event.
The Rock was interviewed by Michael Cole, who asked Rock if he would show Shane sympathy. Rock reminded us that Shane didn’t show him sympathy with all those handicap matches that Rock was in and all of the other times the McMahons tried to screw Rock over. Rock said he’s going to shove his boot up Shane’s candy ass.
Shane McMahon entered for his match. They showed the highlight from King of the Ring when Undertaker gave Shane a Chokeslam off the turnbuckle and through the table. It was a huge bump. Shane was limping a bit.
The Rock made his entrance with the WWF Championship in his hand with only about five minutes left in the show.
Before the match began, Shane said that Rock knows Shane isn’t 100% with cracked ribs and a hyperextended knee. Shane said if he was 100% then Rock knows that Shane would walk out of Orlando as the new WWF Champion. Shane said that they should not be fighting – they should be allies. While Shane was talking, Rock was posing on the ropes. Shane said the old man lost it, his mom is gone, Steph and Triple H blew it, but with Shane by his side, Rock can be WWF Champion forever. Shane extended his hand for a shake. The fans booed that idea. The Rock answered Shane’s offer with a punch to the face.
The Rock vs. Shane McMahon
Pre-match notes: The Rock was the babyface WWF Champion while Shane was a heel. The WWF Championship was not on the line.
Rock hit Shane with a spinebuster. When Rock set up for the People’s Elbow, Chris Benoit attacked Rock with a steel chair in the back for the DQ finish at 0:11.
Winner by disqualification: The Rock
Analysis: There’s no point in rating it since the match was all about the angle that came after.
Benoit hit Rock with three more chair shots to the back. Benoit stomped on Rock repeatedly. Benoit slapped the Crippler Crossface on the left arm of Benoit while Shane slapped and kicked Rock. Shane shoved referee Earl Hebner and then he beat up other referees. Benoit continued to have Rock in the Crippler Crossface as JR screamed about how long Rock was in the Crippler Crossface. It was about one minute. Benoit punched Sgt. Slaughter when he tried to break it up. Benoit put the Crippler Crossface on Rock again. Shane also hit Slaughter with a chair. Benoit continued to hold Rock in the Crippler Crossface with Rock selling it like he was in a lot of pain. Mick Foley went down to the ring as the heels left.
Shane and Benoit left together while Foley was in the ring checking on Rock. Shane held Benoit’s hand with JR wondering what we have here. Rock crawled to the ropes for a show ending staredown.
Analysis: It was a good angle to introduce Benoit as a new challenger for The Rock. The cheap attack worked with Benoit putting Rock in the Crippler Crossface for at least two minutes. I remember this well because I was so excited that Benoit was being elevated to the main event position against The Rock. These days obviously those feelings are gone and it’s hard to enjoy Benoit moments. Benoit was booked strongly even after losing the Intercontinental Title, so it made sense to put him against Rock. It was also smart to pair Shane with Benoit since Shane was a good promo while Benoit was not known for being a good talker.
This episode of Raw had a runtime of 1:36:37 on WWE Network.
Three Stars of the Show
- The Rock
- Triple H
- Mick Foley
This Raw episode gets a 6.5 out of 10.
It was a slightly above average episode of Raw that was hurt by the match quality. The promos were pretty good for the most part. The main takeaway from this episode is that it set up the three big matches that would happen at Fully Loaded with Rock vs. Benoit, Triple H vs. Jericho and Undertaker vs. Angle. They were fresh rivalries featuring some established main eventers against guys who were newer to the company, so it was an interesting dynamic.
As I pointed out in the review, there were three title matches without decisive finishes. I liked seeing title matches on TV a lot in this era, but some of those finishes were weak and that hurt the quality of the show for that reason. The positives are in the storytelling. They had so many storylines going on for most of the roster and you just don’t see that in WWE today. That was a strength of the WWF in this era.
I really enjoyed Foley’s work as the Commissioner. This was one week after he was announced in that role and he would become more comfortable as the weeks progressed. Also, Foley doing the “IT DOESN’T MATTER” line to Rock was the highlight of this episode.
Check out our WWF TV in 2000 archives for my reviews of every other previous Raw, Smackdown and PPV from 2000 as well.
Thanks for reading. My contact info is below.