Monday Night Raw
Date: August 26, 2002
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
We’re past Summerslam and that means a lot of things have changed. To begin with, Shawn Michaels shocked the world and beat HHH in one heck of a street fight. Other than that, Brock Lesnar is the new WWE World Champion but is exclusively signed to Smackdown. It’s not clear if that’s going to mean we need something new around here for HHH to likely dominate. Let’s get to it.
Here’s Eric Bischoff to open up “his” Monday Night Raw. Tonight we’re going to combine the Hardcore Title with the Intercontinental Title which is probably best for everyone. On top of that, we’re going to have a special Lifetime Achievement Award for a member of the WWE Hall of Fame.
As for right now though, Bischoff brings out Brock and Heyman for a chat. The fans are happy when Lesnar comes out but cut Paul off with the ROCKY chants. Heyman finally gets to talk and says every legacy before Lesnar’s doesn’t matter, including Hulk Hogan and Bruno Sammartino. Enough of that though as Paul goes into a glorious rant about how no one believed him when he promised that Lesnar would do all this. Lesnar brags about being twenty five years old….and here’s HHH to Shawn’s music because THIS NEEDS TO BE ABOUT HIM.
That’s the last time you’ll ever hear Shawn’s horrible music because HHH has gotten rid of him for good. As for right now though, Lesnar only has that title because HHH softened Rock up for him. HHH wants a title shot but here’s Undertaker to cut them both off. Undertaker wants the first shot at the young pup and the fight is on. Lesnar gets knocked to the floor but HHH is allowed to leave mostly unscathed. WAY too much non-Lesnar here but we all need more HHH in our lives.
Booker T. vs. Christian
After what looks like a quickly fixed lighting problem, Booker hammers away until a reverse DDT onto the knee puts him down. A chinlock sets up some choking until Booker pops up with the spinning sunset flip out of the corner for two. Goldust and Lance Storm get in a fight (of course) and it’s the scissors kick for the pin on Christian.
Rating: C-. Just a quick match here to keep the Tag Team Title feud going, though I’m not sure what they’re waiting on at this point. It’s not like the Un-Americans are all that interesting as heels or champions so just let them lose the belts already to an interesting team. Booker is getting hotter and hotter every week, which almost guarantees his imminent destruction.
The WWE was in New York for the Smackdown Your Vote campaign.
Test has plans for the American flag tonight. This isn’t likely to end well.
Bubba Ray Dudley/Spike Dudley vs. Christopher Nowinski/William Regal
The villains have Molly Holly in their corner due to one heck of a horribly acted segment between Chris and Molly. Bubba side slams Chris to start and Spike adds a top rope stomp (that always looks so painful) for no cover. Chris pops back up and distracts the referee so Spike can get crotched against the post. The beating doesn’t last long as Spike gets up and tags Bubba so everything can break down. What’s Up hits Molly and it’s table time. That goes nowhere so it’s the Bubba Bomb to end Regal.
Rating: D+. Not much to see here as I didn’t know this story was still going. Are we really supposed to be interested in Nowinski wanting to sleep with Molly? It’s the start of a character at least but Nowinski really isn’t the most interesting guy in the world no matter what. At least it’s better than making fun of Molly’s weight.
Post match Nowinski saves Molly from the table.
Bischoff tells the guest to come out when Eric says.
Molly thanks Chris and offers to help him if need be.
Apparently that would be after the break as Bischoff brings out Jimmy Snuka. Highlight package, Bischoff cuts him off, 3 Minute Warning, JR is aghast. Chris Jericho comes out and puts Snuka in the Walls of Jericho and tells the has been to get out of the ring. Who would guess that we would see something similar at Wrestlemania one day? Jericho shows us some clips from last night and claims that he made Flair tap out. Since Fozzy’s concert was cut off last week, Jericho belts out his own version of New York, New York.
Chris Jericho vs. Jeff Hardy
Jericho knocks him around to start until Jeff gets in a dropkick of his own to take over for a bit. Lawler talks about a tuxedo vs. evening gown match later tonight as Jeff sends Jericho outside for a big dive off the top. The dive off the apron is countered into a powerslam (cool looking spot) and Jericho starts choking with Jeff’s shirt.
A missed dropkick has Jeff in even more trouble (it might help if he did something other than throw dropkicks) so we hit the abdominal stretch. This isn’t exactly burning up the mat so far. When the hold goes nowhere, Jericho heads up top but gets dropkicked out of the air. Even that’s not enough to pop the crowd very strongly but the Whisper in the Wind does a bit better. The Swanton is good for two as Jericho grabs the rope. Jericho grabs the Walls and Hardy grabs the rope, only to have Jericho refuse to break for the DQ.
Rating: D+. These two are capable of doing so much better and I’m not sure why they were this dull here. I don’t know if Jeff is just done or if Jericho’s stuff with the submissions isn’t working but I don’t know how you go from good last night to a near disaster just a day later. Maybe it’s a bad night but this was a big disappointment.
Brock doesn’t care who wins tonight.
Test wants to burn the American flag. After a break, here are the Un-Americans with Test carrying a blowtorch. Kane’s pyro goes off but Booker and Goldust make the save instead. The Texans are cleaned out and it’s Kane (with a new half mask) coming in for the real save. So we owe one to Spain. Make that two as we get a Kane-A-Rooni.
Intercontinental Title: Tommy Dreamer vs. Rob Van Dam
Officially this is a unification match but the Hardcore Title is done no matter what so I guess it’s not on the line. This is however under hardcore rules so Dreamer has a bit of an advantage. They shake hands and we’re ready to go. We actually start with some technical stuff until Dreamer dropkicks him in the face to take over.
It’s time for the first kendo stick and a White Russian legsweep gets two on Rob. They head outside with a ladder being bridged between the ring and the barricade. Dreamer hits a quick spinebuster but can’t suplex Rob onto the ladder. Instead Van Dam shoves him face first into the ladder, setting up a kick off the ladder for two.
Back in and the DDT gives Dreamer two, followed by a middle rope elbow which only hits the ladder. Rolling Thunder onto the ladder onto Dreamer and Rob crotches him for a bonus. The dropkick drives a chair into Dreamer’s face and the Five Star gets rid of the Hardcore Title for good.
Rating: C+. Not a bad match actually and it’s nice to see the division go out on a nice note instead of 18 people who never do anything else hitting a single weapon shot for a pin. I’m no Dreamer fan but it’s cool to see him having a good match in his element like this, even if he had no chance of winning.
Lillian Garcia vs. Howard Finkel
The winner is permanent ring announcer. It’s a tuxedo/evening gown match, meaning whoever is stripped first loses. Stacy Keibler comes out to keep an eye on Trish so Howard says she’s interfering with something in his trousers. JR: “Howard may get aroused!” Thankfully the fans boo this out of the building until Trish and Stacy object to Howard insulting blondes. Fink is stripped and Lillian wins. As you might expect, that just makes the fans hate the match even more.
HHH vs. Undertaker
The winner gets Lesnar at some point in the future. HHH jumps Undertaker as he gets off the bike and we’re ready to go in a hurry. They get inside with an early Pedigree attempt being blocked so Undertaker can hammer away in the corner. Old School gets two but HHH hits a jumping knee to the head. The very slow beating continues and we hit a HHH chinlock.
That shifts over to a sleeper in case we were going too fast for you. Back up and Undertaker hits him in the head a few times but the ref gets bumped. One of the worst big boots I’ve ever see (there was a good six inches between the boot and HHH’s face) sets up a chokeslam but here’s Lesnar for a distraction. HHH gets in a low blow and, after a belt shot from Lesnar, the pin and the title shot.
Rating: D. Boring match of course but that’s what you have to expect when two older guys get to be the focus instead of the new World Champion. This was really weak stuff from two guys who should be more than capable of doing something better. Lesnar felt like an afterthought here, which has been the case all night long.
Oh look: it’s Stephanie, who is all happy because she’s never allowed to lose any face. Lesnar is officially signed to Smackdown and the title is coming with him. So now she can change the rules of the Brand Split. Stephanie to Eric: “How do my peaches taste now?”
Overall Rating: D-. I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen two shows on back to back nights be such polar opposites. Last night was all about energy and entertainment while tonight was all about HHH vs. Undertaker and Stephanie vs. Bischoff with Lesnar being little more than a plot device in either. The best thing on the show was Dreamer vs. Van Dam while the rest was spent on stuff they knew wasn’t going to be interesting while having almost no focus on anything that mattered. In other words, it’s back to what Raw has been doing in recent months.
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