Monday Night Raw
Date: August 12, 2002
Location: Key Arena, Seattle, Washington
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
With less than two weeks to go before Summerslam, it might be nice to add a few matches to the card. Unless I’m missing something, all we have at the moment is Rock vs. Lesnar and HHH vs. Shawn Michaels. While those are both big matches, you need more than that to fill out a show. I mean, Shawn and HHH might disagree but not everyone thinks like they do. Let’s get to it.
Lesnar and Paul Heyman arrive, tickets in hand. You know, the exclusive contract thing kind of stops meaning anything when people keep showing up like this.
Eric Bischoff blames Stephanie McMahon for Lesnar and Heyman being here. You know, because Lesnar and Heyman are the kind of guys who are going to be in on some big promotion vs. promotion war.
Here’s HHH to open things up. All week long, people have been asking him how he could do that to his best friend, but Shawn never was his best friend. Insert your own GASP here. HHH just used Shawn to get to the top of the company, just like Shawn used HHH to stay at the top. He’s better than Shawn was on his best day and blames the fans for his actions.
HHH has crippled people in this ring before and he’ll do it again. One day Shawn is going to be watching the show in his wheelchair and he’ll show his son the man that kept him at home for good. Cue the Rock to say he can beat HHH up anytime but he wants Lesnar tonight. HHH asks Rock who he thinks he is so Rock reminds him who the Undisputed Champion is, meaning HHH can shut up.
A challenge is issued and HHH says he’d love to go. Rock: “Then go get the Rock a bologna sandwich because this doesn’t concern you.” The fight is on but Lesnar jumps to the apron for a distraction, setting up the Pedigree on Rock. This was WAY too long as HHH continues to be one of the most boring talkers in years.
Post break, Rock demands HHH tonight. Bischoff says he’ll try to make it happen.
Trish Stratus/Spike Dudley vs. Christopher Nowinski/Molly Holly
Before the match, Trish slaps the Fink for insulting Lillian. You know, because people remember that. The guys start things off as the fans want puppies. Nowinski slams Spike so Molly can cover for two (JR: “Probably an unfamiliar position for Molly.”) and slap her ex around a bit. Trish (who looks especially good in blue) comes in to make things a bit more fair until Chris pulls her down by the hair. Stratusfaction puts Nowinski down and it’s back to Spike, despite Trish having better luck against the male villain. Spike sends Molly into the Chick Kick but Nowinski grabs a spinning double underhook slam for the pin.
Rating: D. I’m not sure what the point of this one was but the important thing was toning the sex jokes WAY down. There were a few here and there though nothing compared to what it was before. I can live with a bad storyline as long as it doesn’t turn into something that embarrassing again.
We look back at 3 Minute Warning beating up Moolah and Mae Young.
Goldust stops Bischoff in the back and asks for a Tag Team Title shot. Bischoff gives them the shot at Summerslam, earning himself a leg visit from Minidust.
Here’s heel Fink to talk about how great he is and say Lillian got what was coming to her. She’s a ditz who swallowed her way into a job (seriously). Kane’s music hits….and no one comes out. Ok then.
Bischoff makes Rob Van Dam vs. Chris Benoit for Summerslam due to Stacy stealing contracts from Stephanie on Smackdown to keep that nonsense going. The Hardys are annoyed about being ignored so Bischoff flips a coin to give Jeff a match against Van Dam tonight for the title shot against Benoit.
Booker T. vs. Lance Storm
Booker works on the arm to start but crotches himself on a side kick attempt. That means a kick to the ribs and an elbow to the neck until Booker gets the spinning sunset flip out of the corner. Storm suplexes him right back down and grabs a cravate for a bit. As is the custom, the rest hold triggers the comeback with Booker getting in his usual. Christian offers a distraction so Goldust pops Storm in the jaw, setting up the ax kick for the pin.
Rating: C. This was fine and that’s what you would expect from these two talented guys. It’s nice to see some teams put together into a feud and the Un-Americans could be just fine as a three man heel team for a long time. I’d have loved for this to get more time but that would mean less HHH talking time.
Test comes out for the beatdown but Undertaker makes the save. Minidust is here too and gets beaten up until we take a break. Back with Bischoff in the ring with Minidust announcing an eight man tag later tonight with the Un-Americans/HHH vs. Rock/Booker T./Goldust/Undertaker. As for Minidust though, Bischoff would like to see a Spinarooni. The entertainment ends, 3 Minute Warning comes in, JR and King are appalled. I think you know the drill by now. We’re still not done yet as Bischoff brings out Stacy Keibler so stripping and table dancing can ensue while Mini-Dust is taken away on a stretcher.
Chris Jericho/Big Show vs. Ric Flair/Bubba Ray Dudley
Those are some odd teams and one of them would wind up being Tag Team Champions. Flair and Jericho start (thank goodness) and keep it basic with a backdrop to put Flair down as the high spot. It’s off to Bubba, who JR thinks is a big heavier than advertised. Show comes in and powerslams Bubba with ease, followed by some heavy chops.
Ric gets to try his luck and it’s about the same as Bubba with chops having little to no effect on the monster. It’s back to Jericho who misses a charge and crotches himself on the ropes. Everything breaks down and Bubba starts cleaning house with a side slam getting two on Chris. Flair takes Show into the crowd, leaving Jericho to hit Bubba low and grab the Walls for the submission.
Rating: C+. This was a bit better than I was expecting though that’s not really saying much. At least Jericho got the win over Bubba and Big Show didn’t horribly botch anything or injure anyone in the process and that’s a step up for him. Flair vs. Jericho has potential when they make the match for Summerslam and that’s something the card needs.
Post match Flair takes Jericho’s tights down but can’t get the Figure Four because the legs are tied together.
After a break, Jericho is so mad that he wants to face Flair at Summerslam. As a bonus, he’s going to perform with his band Fozzy right here next week.
Video on Shawn’s career in case you’re not familiar. In this case, that makes sense as if you started watching in the last four years or so, you’ve probably never seen him have a match.
Tommy Dreamer vs. Steven Richards
I’m not sure if the Hardcore Title is on the line here but they’re only allowed one weapon each. Dreamer has a kendo stick and Richards brings in a chair as the ECW chants start up. Richards starts fast by stealing the stick and unloading on Dreamer’s knee. That’s like, psychology and stuff. A spinebuster gets Dreamer out of trouble and he ties Richards up in the Tree of Woe for the baseball slide into the chair. Dreamer chairs him in the head for the pin.
Rating: D+. I’ve seen far worse and there was actually a little thinking in this one for a change. It’s still not good or anything but I’m no sure why this wasn’t for the title, especially if Dreamer was just going to win. If nothing else it’s better by not having someone run in and steal the title.
Jeff Hardy vs. Rob Van Dam
The winner gets Benoit for the Intercontinental Title at Summerslam. Lita is shown watching from the World. I’d share a fruit plate with her in New York City. They run the ropes to start with Van Dam missing the spinning kick to the face. Jeff puts him on the floor for the barricade running clothesline, only to have Rob kick him out of the air.
Back in and the top rope kick to the face drops Jeff and Rolling Thunder gets two. Jeff’s Whisper in the Wind gets the same but he takes WAY too much time going up. Rob kicks him in the head but the referee gets bumped, allowing Matt to come in and turn on his brother. The Five Star gives Rob the title shot.
Rating: C. This was watchable and I’m glad they’re splitting up the Hardys for the moment. It’s not like there are a ton of teams for them to feud with so let them move on and do something on their own. It seems that WWE has wanted to split them up for the better part of ever so it’s hardly the worst idea in the world.
On Smackdown: Lesnar vs. Rikishi!
Test gets Undertaker at Summerslam.
Bischoff yells at Kevin Dunn (who really does sound like Cornette’s imitation) for putting up that Smackdown teaser. Apparently that was a commercial, which should mean Bischoff and Raw made money. Eric isn’t happy and makes HHH vs. Rock for next week.
HHH/Un-Americans vs. The Rock/Booker T./Goldust/Undertaker
After some long entrances, Goldust cranks on Storm’s arm to start before handing it off to Booker for more of the same. A good looking superkick gets two on Lance and it’s off to Rock for one heck of a pop. Rock cleans house but makes the mistake of talking trash (Rock? Never.), allowing Storm to get in a few cheap shots to take over. HHH comes in and tries the jumping knee but Test knees Rock from the apron, leaving no one for HHH to hit. Sounds like lame revenge from 1999.
It’s enough for the tag off to Booker so Christian can hammer away. Mr. T. fights back until Storm’s great superkick allows the tag to Test. HHH gets two off a suplex and it’s back to Christian for a chinlock. Since he isn’t bright enough to do something original, Test comes in for a chinlock of his own. A side slam keeps Booker in trouble as the fans want Taker. I know this because they’re chanting WE WANT TAKER.
HHH puts on a sleeper but Booker gets in a side kick, allowing the VERY hot tag to Undertaker. Everything breaks down in a hurry and it’s Rock and Undertaker cleaning house. Test breaks up a double chokeslam attempt but Booker saves Undertaker from a pumphandle slam. Rock punches HHH out to the floor, ducks the big boot and Rock Bottoms Test for two with HHH making the save. Storm gets chokeslammed and Test boots Undertaker down to save Christian from the Last Ride and steal the pin.
Rating: B. That was a very hot finish with the charisma more than carrying some of the weaker talents in the match. They even had a good false finish on that Test near fall at the end. It’s a much better match than I was expecting from an eight man tag and that’s a good sign when Raw hasn’t exactly been great recently.
Overall Rating: C+. It’s amazing how much better a show gets when we don’t have five HHH vs. Shawn segments in two hours. There was a certain energy here to make the show a lot easier to sit through than in recent weeks. Summerslam is starting to take shape too and that’s the best thing that could possibly happen at this point. This was a good show with solid action and storyline advancement which is actually a rare combination in wrestling, as unfortunate as that may be.
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