Welcome to another WWF in 2000 review for the first episode of Raw following Fully Loaded 2000. The next PPV on the schedule was SummerSlam and I’ve already reviewed that on the site as part of the SummerSlam section. We know the main event of that SummerSlam was The Rock defending the WWF Title against Triple H and Kurt Angle, so let’s see how they got there over the next month.
Here is the synopsis for this episode on WWE Network:
“Shane McMahon and his allies begin to take out their enemies, starting with The Undertaker. Chris Jericho calls out Triple H for another fight. Plus, WWE Champion The Rock competes in a tag team main event, The Dudley Boyz take on Edge & Christian and The Hardy Boyz, and much more. / 14+ (D,L,S,V)”
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 #374
July 24, 2000
From Frank Irwin Center in Austin, Texas
The Raw intro video aired to begin the show. That was followed by an impressive pyro display and a loud crowd in Austin, Texas with a lot of signs on display. The announce team of Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler welcomed us to the show.
Let’s Hear from Commissioner Foley
It’s promo time to start Raw with the WWF Commissioner Mick Foley, who got a big pop as the babyface commish that the fans loved.
Foley said he was just a little bit nervous before Fully Loaded last night because he wanted to make sure that the first pay-per-view that he had something to do with as a Commissioner was worth the price. Foley said when people lay down their hard-earned money, they get a hell of a show in return. Foley said that at Fully Loaded, the WWF came up big time. I agree with that.
Foley mentioned Val Venis and Rikishi inside a Steel Cage. Foley said he’s done a few death-defying moves before, but he’s never seen anything like a 425 pound man standing 16 feet in the air and coming down full force on Val Venis. Foley said that Val will return to action in the near future, but they damn near had to scrape him off the canvas with a spatula. Foley recapped the three big main events where Kurt Angle found out first hand just why they call The Undertaker the American Badass. Foley said that “King” Kurt has demanded a rematch with The Undertaker, so Foley said he wants to see Kurt get his ass kicked just as much as all of you and that rematch is tonight…right here in Austin, Texas for the cheap pop. The fans loved that.
There was a lot of praise from Foley for the Last Man Standing match between Triple H and Chris Jericho, who showed a lot of testicular fortitude in putting on one of the greatest WWF matches of all-time.
When Foley mentioned The Rock, the fans went crazy cheering for the WWF Champion. Foley noted that he got a little bit involved in that WWF Title match. Foley said when he sat four feet from the ring watching Benoit and Rock, he missed the ring and he was wishing it was him in the main event. Foley said that the outcome was controversial…and here comes Benoit with Shane McMahon.
Analysis: Most promos in this era were interrupted. It happens a lot in present day in WWE, but it was even more common in the Attitude Era.
Shane and Benoit got in the ring with Foley. Benoit said there was no controversy, he was screwed and he called Foley a fraud. As Shane spoke, fans chanted “Rocky” while Shane said that Benoit should be the WWF Champion. Shane said that there are rules in this company while talking about his father, grandfather and great grandfather were running things. Shane said even when Steve Austin was running things, there were constants and that is things like the referee’s decision is final.
The replay was shown from last night with the announcement that Benoit was the new WWF Champion. The fans booed. Shane wondered why Mick wanted to change that lineage.
Foley said that up until last night, the referee’s decision was always final, but Foley said that things change. Foley noted that 10-12 years ago, Shane was dancing to Vanilla Ice singing “Ice Ice Ice Baby” but now that LP is in a garbage. Foley said that maybe 15 years ago, Benoit smiled, but that has changed as well. Foley joked that the only thing that doesn’t change in life is Shane’s dad’s hairstyle which will remain after all of us are long gone. Good joke.
Benoit spoke up with anger because Foley treated this like a joke while saying he was the greatest technical wrestler in the history of the WWF and he is the WWF Champion. Benoit said that Foley’s decision was an abuse of power. Benoit said that he demands a title fight with The Rock to prove to the world that he is the WWF Champion. Foley said that Benoit will get a rematch, but he said a rematch tonight is something he’ll take under advisement. Benoit said that’s not good enough.
Stephanie McMahon=Helmsley was up next for the interruption and she was the Women’s Champion. She joined brother Shane, Benoit and Commish Foley in the ring. The fans greeted Stephanie with “slut” chants.
Stephanie said that her husband Triple H proved that he is The Game and his that damn good. Stephanie said that her husband proved to her multiple times just how good he really is. Poor Chyna. Anyway, it may not have been a shoot comment. Stephanie demanded that Foley books The Rock vs. Benoit for the WWF Title tonight. Foley responded said that last year for about 2.5 seconds while recovering from a serious head injury, he found Stephanie “moderately attractive.” Foley said now he finds himself inclined to agree with Chris Jericho’s assessment, so Stephanie slapped him in the face. Foley said he could fine her or fire her and the fans cheered.
Foley said that Shane and Stephanie always want to get involved in WWF matchups, so tonight they will both be involved in a WWF matchup. Foley said for the first time in wrestling history, he’s going to book them a brother-sister tag team match right here in Austin, Texas (cheap pop again) against two opponents of Mick’s choosing. Foley also said Benoit and Triple H can’t get involved because if either do then he will fire the whole damn bunch of them. That took up about 18 minutes.
Analysis: It’s the classic long promo segment to start the show. Sometimes they would set up multiple matches in that opening, but this time it was just the Shane and Stephanie tag team match. Foley was tremendous in the Commish role with the right amount of serious talk along with comedy mixed in. Shane and Stephanie did well too. Benoit wasn’t a great talker, so that’s why they kept his promo time shorter.
The Rock was shown walking backstage to show that he was in the building.
Road Dogg and X-Pac entered for Road Dogg’s match. Dogg did a pre-match promo about his opponent Steve Blackman and led the crowd in chanting “suck it” as well. Steve Blackman was the Hardcore Champion set to defend his title.
Hardcore Championship: Steve Blackman vs. Road Dogg
Pre-match notes: Blackman was the Hardcore Champion with no personality that was a face and Dogg was a heel.
X-Pac joined commentary for this match. Dogg used a chain to punch Blackman, but then Blackman got his hands on a trash can lid that he used for two shots to Dogg. Blackman with a spinning trash can lid to the head of Dogg. Blackman with a bulldog on the trash can lid for two. Blackman set up a trash can by the turnbuckle, Dogg avoided an attack and tripped up Blackman into the trash can. Dogg with a dropkick into the trash can. Dogg set up Blackman on the steel steps, then a kick to the back and Dogg hit Blackman with a trash can to the ribs. Dogg grabbed a stick from under the ring, but Blackman got fighting sticks as fans cheered. Blackman with some stick shots to the ribs. Dogg with a kick to the ribs and the stick to the back. Blackman charged, then he hit Dogg repeatedly with the sticks. Blackman did some crotch chops that looked awkward and Dogg hit an overhead suplex on Blackman while X-Pac said he was the better singles wrestler between him and Dogg. Blackman brought a chair in with Dogg hitting a DDT on a chair for two. Blackman avoided a chair shot and did a pump kick into Dogg’s face for the pinfall win at 5:29. Dogg was talking to Blackman at that point, so JR covered to say that Dogg was talking in his sleep. That’s why JR is the best.
Winner by pinfall: Steve Blackman
Analysis: **1/2 This was okay for a Hardcore Title match. There isn’t much in the way of psychology for this. It’s more about setting up spots with weapons and trying to have a decent match. Good use of weapons with Dogg getting in some offense, but then Blackman was able to finish him off with the pump kick into the chair in Dogg’s face. It worked well as a finish.
Post match, X-Pac said that he’s challenging Blackman for the Hardcore Title on Smackdown.
Stephanie McMahon was shown in a t-shirt and pants. Triple H showed up with Stephanie wondering where Hunter was and she informed him that she got put into a tag team match. Stephanie summarized what happened with Hunter looking frustrated about it. Hunter said he’s not in the best of moods today, now he has to deal with this and he sees flowers in the room again. Hunter refused to read the card, he threw the flowers away and Stephanie said that the flowers from her to Hunter. She was sad about it as she left.
The WWF Slam of the Week showed Rikishi’s amazing steel cage dive on Val Venis at Fully Loaded. It was an amazing visual.
Shane McMahon and the WWF Women’s Champion Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley entered to daddy Vince’s “No Chance in Hell” song that Shane was using at this point as well. The first opponent was Lita, who entered to a big pop from the crowd while Stephanie wasn’t happy about that.
Shane said that just because they got forced into this match doesn’t mean anything. Stephanie said he’ll unleash his sister all over Lita and he said nothing will happen to his baby sister, no matter who the opponent is. Shane said he is proud to be in the ring with his sister. Then Big Show’s music hit. Great facial expressions here.
Big Show entered with JR yelling “OH MY GOD” twice for Show’s return after being off for two months after Shane destroyed Show at Judgment Day. The fans popped huge for Big Show here in his “Big Nasty Bastard” tank top. Show went after Shane at ringside, so Shane ran to the back and Show chased him up the ramp.
Lita and Big Show vs. Shane McMahon and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley
Pre-match notes: Lita and Big Show were faces while Shane and Stephanie were the heels.
The fans were screaming as Stephanie turned around and Lita decked her with a forearm followed by a hair toss across the ring two times in a row. Lita with a suplex. That’s when Trish Stratus ran down to the ring as Lita went to the top rope and Trish tripped her up. The referee didn’t call for a disqualification even though that’s what it should have been. It was about 1:00 of action before Trish got there.
Winner by disqualification (I guess?):Lita
Analysis: 1/4* This was more about Stephanie getting her ass kicked rather than a meaningful match. It was so rare to see Stephanie getting beat up that the crowd was going crazy for this and responding in a big way to everything Lita did to her. At least Stephanie’s bumping looked good enough.
Trish took out a leather strap that she had around her waist and Stephanie took off Lita’s shirt to expose Lita’s ribs. Trish worked over Lita with the strap to the ribs again while Stephanie did some weak looking kicks. Lita had more marks on her lower back. Stephanie and Trish left happily together.
Analysis: The Trish and Lita story was on fire at this point thanks to the interaction they had at Fully Loaded, so it was smart for it to continue. Stephanie and Trish as buddies did not last in the long term.
Big Show was shown walking backstage looking for Shane McMahon. Show kicked open a door, but there was no sign of Shane with him.
The Godfather made his entrance with eight ho’s including the future Victoria, who was part of the ho party for a few weeks while the others were likely “local talent.” Steven Richards entered with Bull Buchanan. Richards said one sentence and the fans chanted “Asshole” at him.
Godfather went after Richards, then Godfather sent Buchanan into the steel steps. Godfather sent Buchanan into the ring.
The Godfather vs. Bull Buchanan (w/Steven Richards)
Pre-match notes: The Godfather was the face and Buchanan was the heel. The stipulation was that if Godfather lost then he had to stop bring ho’s to the ring and if Godfather won then Richards can’t try censoring Godfather.
Godfather worked over Bull with punches and kicks. Bull with a boot to the face, Godfather sent Bull over top followed by some tie choking. Bull hit a neckbreaker using the top rope and two elbow drops. Bull did some choking against the middle rope. JR complained about Richards saying that he didn’t need somebody else to tell him what to watch on television. Bull hit a running clothesline with Lawler rooting for Godfather because Jerry wanted the ho’s at ringside. Bull sent Godfather out of the ring as fans chanted “save the ho’s” and Richards hated that while Bull sent Godfather into the steps. Back in the ring, Bull hit a back elbow to block a charge and then a powerslam got two. Godfather made the comeback by avoiding a corner charge and then two clotheslines. Two of women went over to Richards, he shoved one down and gave a superkick to the future Victoria! Richards and Victoria would go on to be allies. The kick hit her shoulder, but it’s the thought that counts. The fans booed that. Godfather hit a back body drop. The referee Tim White was checking on the ho’s for some reason, then Godfather charged and Richards hit him in the head with a steel chair! The referee didn’t see it or hear it. Buchanan went up top and hit a leg drop off the top on Godfather for the pinfall win at 4:40. The fans booed that loudly.
Winner by pinfall: Bull Buchanan
Analysis: *1/2 Boring match between two wrestlers that didn’t have good matches. The fans only cared because of the stipulation of the match. Cheap finish to give the heel Buchanan the win and the fans hated that. It’s funny because Lawler said where’s Mick Foley for that one and that’s true because this was similar with a heel cheating to win, yet there’s no action taken to reverse the decision. That’s different from what they did at Fully Loaded in the Rock/Benoit match.
The loss by Godfather meant that he was no longer around to bring the ho’s to the ring. Richard and Buchanan were very happy about the win.
There was a shot of Shane McMahon in the parking lot with Big Show going after him. Shane jumped onto a car to get away with Show chasing him back into the arena.
Kurt Angle was shown walking backstage because he’s in action up next.
There was a shot of WWF New York and it looked busy.
Kurt Angle made his entrance with Kurt grabbing the microphone for a pre-match promo. Angle said that Undertaker did not beat Kurt Angle at Fully Loaded – he beat a man living in fear. Angle said the fans in Austin know what it’s like to live in fear. Angle said they had fear about whether their welfare checks are coming and whether or not the kid is yours, your brother, the neighbor or the mailman and he could go on and on. The point is that Angle was in fear for his own life, but he’s still there and he’s A-ok. Angle said in sports they say “wait til next year” but he’s going to do it right now and that is true.
Analysis: These Angle promos are always a highlight for me. I enjoy them so much.
The Undertaker entered on the motorcycle. It’s hard to tell what the pop was like because of the noise and the dubbed in music. This was the top of hour two match.
The Undertaker vs. Kurt Angle
Pre-match notes: The Undertaker was the face while Angle was the heel. Undertaker beat Angle in about eight minutes at Fully Loaded one night earlier.
Angle left the ring, Taker went after him, Angle with a punch and Taker decked him with a harder punch. Back in the ring, Angle with punches. Taker sent him into the ropes and hit a huge Chokeslam. That led to Shane McMahon showing up at ringside with Big Show slowly walking towards him. Shane went into the ring, so Undertaker punched him in the face. Taker grabbed Shane by the throat, Show was in the ring and he wanted Taker to let Show have him. Show grabbed Shane by the throat, then he let him go and Show decked Undertaker with a clothesline! I guess we can say the match ended there after about 1:20.
Match Result: No Contest
Analysis: There’s no point in rating this. It was an angle more than a match just to set up Big Show’s heel turn.
It was a heel turn for Big Show as the announcers realized that Show was working with Shane. Big Show did elbow drops and leg drops onto Undertaker’s left knee. Angle threw the referee out of the ring. Show with another elbow drop on the left knee. Taker tried to grab Shane, but he couldn’t do it and the three heels scared the referees out of the ring. Show picked up Taker and hit him with a Chokeslam. JR: “This was nothing but a conspiracy! A well thought out, well planned conspiracy!”
Big Show left triumphantly with Shane and Angle. The Undertaker was down in the ring as EMTs brought out a stretcher to check on him. Undertaker didn’t want any help.
Analysis: It was the second turn from Big Show in 2000. Show was a heel in early 2000, then he turned face after WrestleMania and here’s the heel turn after being off for two months. I thought this was great in terms of a heel turn and a cheap attack. It was very effective in terms of putting over the heels for a well thought plan while Undertaker sold it very well.
They replayed the 3-on-1 attack on Undertaker from before the break.
The Undertaker was shown backstage with Michaels Cole asking him how he felt. Undertaker said that payback is going to be a bitch. Big Show, Angle and Shane showed up to attack Undertaker with trash cans. Show hit Taker in the left knee with a steel pipe. Shane and Angle held down Undertaker as Shane walked over with a cinderblock that Shane used to hit Undertaker in the left knee. Undertaker was yelling in pain as Show, Angle and Shane backed off.
Analysis: Good job on the heel attack with the cinderblock, which is something that Shane used in the past as well. I looked up some Undertaker information to find out he got married to second wife Sara on July 21, 2000, which was three days before this Raw. That means this injury angle was likely booked to give Undertaker a honeymoon. That’s nice of them.
Let’s Hear from Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho entered the ring with his ribs taped up and his left elbow was bandaged up. JR put over his toughness. Jericho said that at Fully Loaded he experienced the most violent match of his life. Jericho said it was barbaric and pure brutality while adding that it was the greatest match of his entire career. It certainly was at this point.
Jericho said that Triple H exposed a side of Y2J that Chris and the Jerichoholics have never seen. Jericho also said that he beat the hell out of Triple H, he spilled his blood and Jericho liked it. Jericho said even though Triple H was the Last Man Standing by one second, but if you watch a tape you’ll see that Triple H isn’t the game that you think you are and maybe Y2J is the hunter. Jericho said that he is not finished with Triple H yet and then he sold the rib injury. Jericho said even though he could barely get out of bed, he wanted more of Triple H in a match right here, right now…tonight! The fans cheered.
Triple H was shown watching on a TV backstage. Hunter spoke into the camera (he had a big bandage in his head) and wanted people to listen up. Hunter said that last night, Chris Jericho proved a lot of things to the Jerichoholics and to Hunter that Chris is a whole lot tougher than Hunter gave him credit for. Hunter said that Jericho proved to the world and to Hunter that he’s got the guts, the heart and the desire – you’ve got what it takes. Hunter also said that Jericho proved that he is not in Hunter’s league. Hunter spouted off his “that damn good” catchphrase. Hunter said as far as tonight goes, you want him to get into it with Jericho? Hunter said he didn’t feel like it because he proved it last night at Fully Loaded. Hunter said he already proved he was the better man, so he suggested that Jericho walks into the back and saves himself another ass kicking. Hunter told him to lick his wounds and learn to accept that Triple H is better than him.
Jericho said that I guess that means he will come back there to get a piece of him. Hunter remained in his dressing room.
Jericho went to the backstage area and quickly found the room. Jericho jumped onto Triple H, they exchanged punches and then referees showed up to try to break it up.
Analysis: Good promo work from both guys. Jericho did have the best match of his career at that point at Fully Loaded, so it was nice for him to get that respect from the crowd and from Triple H before Hunter put himself over as the heels tend to do. I thought the quick brawl worked in terms of making fans realize that these guys hated eachother and it wasn’t the end of the rivalry. It was the last singles match they would have on PPV for nearly two full years, though.
There was a shot of Shane, Big Show, Angle and Benoit in the parking lot. Shane and Show left in a limo while Angle and Benoit were in the main event tag team match.
They said that Undertaker was taken to a medical facility due to his knee injury. They did not like to say “hospital” like normal people.
There was a shot of Kane walking in the backstage area with JR noting he didn’t think Kane would be there, but there he was.
Tazz vs. Scotty 2 Hotty
Pre-match notes: Scotty was the face and Tazz was the heel.
Scotty tried the bulldog, but Tazz hit a back elbow to block. Scotty with punches, Tazz caught him against the turnbuckle and hit an Alabama Slam. Scotty ran right into a clothesline from Tazz. Scott with a running forearm on Tazz, then he hit the bulldog out of the corner to set up the W-O-R-M and the crowd was into it as usual as Scotty hit the dreaded chop to the head. Tazz somehow overcome a deadly chop, grabbed Scotty around the neck and made him tap out to the Tazmission submission. It went 2:07.
Winner by submission: Tazz
Analysis: 3/4* A quick match to put over Tazz as a heel. The Worm is such a celebrated move, but then he lost the match right after he hit it.
Rikishi made the save for his buddy as he got into the ring and hit Tazz with punches. Rikishi with the running butt splash in the corner and then a Samoan Drop. Tazz bailed at that point while Rikishi was selling a rib injury.
Analysis: Tazz cost Rikishi multiple matches, so it made sense for Rikishi to get some revenge on him. The fans were really supportive of Rikishi at this point.
Edge and Christian were in Commissioner Foley’s office. Edge bragged about how they are still the Tag Team Champions, which led to a DQ finish. Foley set them up in a triple threat tag team match with the Hardy Boyz and Dudley Boyz for the Tag Team Titles. Foley: “My rulings rule!” Christian and Edge thought that sucked as they left.
Analysis: It’s a bit strange that the Acolytes lost by DQ only because Edge did an intentional attack with a weapon and they didn’t get a rematch.
Kane showed up in the office saying he wanted Shane, Big Show and Kurt Angle tonight. Foley said that Shane and Big Show left the building, but he’ll come up with something. Kane slammed some machine into the ground.
Kurt Angle was shown in the parking lot, but then Mick Foley walked up to him and yelled at him for his attack on Undertaker earlier. Foley said he would kill two birds with one stone by putting Angle and Benoit against Kane and The Rock. Angle wasn’t happy about that.
Analysis: That means it took them midway through hour two to set up the main event.
The three tag teams entered for the title match with the Dudleys out first, then the Hardy Boyz and champions Edge and Christian, who were attacked by the other teams.
WWF Tag Team Championships: Edge & Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy) vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von Dudley)
Pre-match notes: Edge & Christian where heel champions whiles Hardy Boyz and Dudley Boyz were faces.
The Hardys brought Christian to the ring and Christian bailed. The Dudleys hit a double shoulder tackle on Edge followed by Bubba hitting a stun gun into the top rope. Christian tripped up Bubba, then worked over Bubba with some kicks. Edge tried to hit Bubba with a Tag Team Title, but referee Jimmy Korderas took the title away and Bubba got a rollup for two. Edge got back with a DDT on Bubba followed by a dropkick. Christian tagged in, but Bubba hit a leaping clothesline to knock both champions down. D-Von got the tag with a reverse suplex on Christian and Edge broke up the pin, so Bubba threw Edge out of the ring. Bubba put Christian on his shoulders and D-Von jumped off the top with a clothesline for two as Matt broke up the pin. Bubba punched Both Hardys out of the ring. The referee was distracted, so D-Von hit the Whassup headbutt off the top on Christian. Bubba hit a double clothesline on both Hardys. The Dudleys each left the ring to go for tables, but Edge and Christian dropkicked the tables into the Dudleys. Edge went for a Spear, Matt moved and Edge hit a Spear on Christian. Matt hit a Twist of Fate on Edge and Jeff hit a Swanton Bomb off the top on Edge for a two count because Bubba pulled Jeff out of the ring. Bubba whipped Jeff into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Bubba and D-Von hit the 3D (Dudley Death Drop) on Edge, but Christian distacted the referee to prevent a count. Matt went up top, leg drop to D-Von’s head, Christian threw Matt out of the ring and Edge covered D-Von to win at 4:13.
Winners by pinfall: Edge & Christian
Post match, Edge & Christian celebrated the win while JR said that they were two of the luckiest men in the world.
Analysis: **3/4 This was one of those matches where I was very entertained by the whole thing, then I looked at the timer and saw that it was under five minutes, which felt like a surprise because there was so much action. The story was that Edge & Christian got their asses kicked for most of the match, but then they got a lucky win since Edge covered D-Von after a leg drop from Matt, so it made the champs look very lucky to escape with the titles.
Trish Stratus was shown in a makeup chair complaining to the makeup lady about being forced to be involved in a strap match. Trish claimed this is harassment while adding that Commissioner Foley gets his jollies from watching women whip eachother. She said if this continues she would sue him.
They showed WWF New York with Jacqueline there signing autographs.
Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit were shown in the locker room. Benoit told him he’ll take care of Rock and Angle has to focus on Kane, which led to Kurt looking worried because he was a chickenshit heel in a lot of ways. They left.
The Rock is the WWF Champion that had a bandaid on his head and he was interviewed by Jonathon Coachman. Rock did a promo about how he has earned the right and paid the price to call himself the WWF Champion. Rock said that there was no controversy regarding last night’s match while noting that Shane hit Earl Hebner with a chair and Benoit complained about it tonight. Rock said he earned it with the Rock Bottom in the middle of the ring for the 1, 2, 3. Rock said tonight it’s a tag match and Rock ended with his “if you smell” line.
Lita was shown backstage walking with a leather strap for her match up next.
They WWF Rewind showed highlights of Lita hitting a bunch of cool moves at Fully Loaded, which included the moonsault on Trish leading to a victory.
Trish Stratus was up first with a white leather strap and she looked amazing as usual. Lita was looking great as well and she had a white leather strap with her as well.
Strap Match: Lita vs. Trish Stratus
Pre-match notes: Lita was the face and Trish was the heel. Lita pinned Trish at Fully Loaded in a six-person tag match.
Trish tried to run away, Lita hit her with the strap two times and they went into the ring. Lita took off Trish’s shirt to leave her in a bra, so that exposed more of Trish’s skin. They even did a spot where the referee Chad Patton got too close, so Lita hit him with the strap in the head. Lita continued to whip Trish in the ribs. Lita with a Twist of Fate neckbreaker. Lita went up top and hit a moonsault onto Trish in the ring. Lita wanted the pin, but there was no referee to count. Stephanie McMahon ran down to the ring, Lita got back up and Stephanie was there with the Women’s Title looking ready to attack. Trish got back up, Lita with a clothesline to Trish and Stephanie swung the title towards Lita in a spot where she missed by like three feet, but Lita sold it away. That looked really cheesy. The image below is when there should have been contact or close to contact and you can see how much distance there was. Stephanie put Trish on top of Lita, the referee woke up and counted the pin to give Trish Stratus the victory at 1:38
Winner by pinfall: Trish Stratus
Analysis: 1/2* It’s hard to really rate this as a match because it was more about advancing the story. It put a bit of a pause on the Trish/Lita rivalry while making Stephanie part of the story, so Lita had to try to get revenge on her.
Post match, Stephanie walked away with the Women’s Title while Trish was selling the ribs/back due to all the leather strap shots to her back. Good job by the camera with some “money” shots of Trish.
Analysis: I can remember re-watching this a few times back in the day and not for the match quality. Thank Trish for that. She looked absolutely incredible.
Kane was shown walking backstage looking angry. The Rock was also shown walking backstage in a separate part of the arena.
The introductions took place for the main event with Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit up first for the heel team. The following week’s Raw was at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, so that was going to be a bigger crowd with more seats in a dome. Kane and The Rock, who was the WWF Champion, were up next. Massive pop for Rock as usual.
The Rock and Kane vs. Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit
Pre-match notes: The Rock and Kane were the faces while Angle and Benoit were the heels. Kane was pissed off because his brother The Undertaker was attacked by Angle, Big Show and Shane McMahon earlier.
Kane chased Angle around the ring while Rock and Benoit exchanged punches in the ring. Benoit with three hard chops, Rock blocked and came back with punches. Rock sent Benoit into the ropes leading to a belly to belly suplex. Rock with a running clothesline on Angle, who was legal and Kane tagged in. Kane choked Angle followed by several punches to the head including an uppercut. Angle with a kick to the chest, then Kane with a clothesline, Angle hit an elbow and Kane hit a spinning powerslam. Kane went up and delivered the top rope clothesline that he did in nearly every match. Angle and Benoit ended up getting in a cheap shot chop block to the back of the left leg. Angle wrenched on the left leg of Kane. Benoit tagged in with Kane hitting a boot to the face and Benoit came back with a dropkick to the left knee and Benoit jumped onto the left knee. Benoit and Angle slammed Kane knee first into the mat. Angle grounded Kane while the fans chanted “Rocky” for the WWF Champion. Kane managed to break free with an enziguri kick to the head of Angle. Rock got the hot tag with the crowd exploding in cheers with Rock punching legal man Benoit and hit a DDT. Rock with a spinebuster on Benoit, but then Angle took out Rock with a clothesline. Kane with a clothesline over the top on Angle. Rock took down Benoit and slapped on a Crippler Crossface submission. Angle escaped up the ramp with Kane going after him. Kane tried to press slam Angle over his head, but Shane showed up with a steel chair to the back of Kane. That led to Big Show hitting Kane with a forearm to the head as they stood on the stage. Show whipped Kane into part of the steel set and then face first into the WWF.com sign on the stage. Show tried to do it again, he had a bit of a trouble, so Shane helped and Show sent Kane into the WWF.com sign. Shane went down to the ring, Rock still had Benoit in the Crossface and Rock chased Shane out of the ring. There was no official match ruling or finish, but let’s call the match there at around 9:00 or so.
Match Result: No Contest
Analysis: *** This was an entertaining tag team match while it was going on with Kane as the face in peril and Rock was incredible getting the hot tag against two heels in Angle and Benoit that were awesome at selling. When things broke down, it was as if they forgot there was still a match going on. I thought it was a really fun match with an extremely crowd, which was pretty common in this era.
Rock got up to Shane and hit him in the back with a forearm. Rock stomped on Shane, but then Angle hit Rock in the back with a steel chair. Benoit got back up and he stomped away on Rock along with Angle while Shane choked Rock. JR was yelling about how it was a conspiracy.
The foursome of Shane McMahon, Big Show, Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit posed together on the stage. Jim Ross was yelling about how he was wondering what Shane has created and what can stop these four men.
Analysis: I remember this ending very well because I thought it would be the start of a new, main event heel stable with four guys that worked very well together. It ended up not being a regular thing although they were all allies.
This episode of Raw had a runtime of 1:35:15 on WWE Network.
Here’s an interesting tidbit from the Wrestling Observer about the main event of this show: “Raw’s Rock & Kane vs. Benoit & Angle main event drew an 8.4 over-run. That translates into approximately 9,866,000 viewers, making it the sixth most-watched match in the history of cable television. The all-time record remains on June 28, 1999 for an Undertaker vs. Austin match that drew 10,721,000 viewers.”
That’s such a huge audience for a main event match. They had about 7.5 million viewers for that Raw. It’s incredible to think about how that many Americans were watching live at the time, especially compared to what those numbers are like 20 years later. I know times have changed in a lot of ways and people consume things differently, but it’s just another example of how popular this era of WWE shows were.
There was a Perry Saturn vs. Crash match scheduled for this show and Jim Ross even mentioned it, but they didn’t have time for it. They did it on the next Smackdown.
Three Stars of the Show
- The Rock
- Kurt Angle
- Shane McMahon/Big Show
This Raw episode gets a 7 out of 10.
There were entertaining moments as usual and it’s easy to watch. It feels like everything has a purpose. I am usually okay with the shorter matches as long as it’s an entertaining show overall, but this show just felt off in terms of some of the finishes. There were three matches where they didn’t bother to book a finish and you could say that they were No Contest finishes or at least disqualifications. Doing that once in a while is fine, but three times on one show including the main event? That felt like too much.
They did start some new angles on this Raw with Big Show turning heel by attacking Undertaker and Angle going after The Rock as well. It was also the start of Stephanie and Lita’s feud with Trish in the mix as well. Other segments involved continuing stories like Jericho vs. Triple H although that wouldn’t lead to a SummerSlam rematch. They didn’t mention SummerSlam at all, but that was coming in the weeks ahead.
Check out our WWF TV in 2000 archives for my reviews of every other previous Raw, Smackdown and PPV from 2000 as well.
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