Monday Night Raw
Date: November 25, 2002
Location: North Charleston Coliseum, North Charleston, South, Carolina
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
We’re still in the Shawn Michaels Era and he’s actually defending the title this week against Rob Van Dam. Other than that we’re still waiting on the return of HHH, who was injured at Survivor Series but probably needs to grace us with his presence again. Other than that, I’d assume we’ll get a bunch of Testicle jokes. Let’s get to it.
We open with a long recap of Shawn winning the title and Van Dam earning the shot last week.
Tag Team Titles: Christian/Chris Jericho vs. Dudley Boyz
Christian and Jericho are defending. D-Von drops Jericho with a clothesline to start and elbows Christian for the same result. We get some championship miscommunication and Chris gets pummeled in the corner. Christian finally scores with a backbreaker though and the champs take over for the first time.
The pace slows WAY down (as is the Canadian way) but Christian takes too much time yelling at Bubba, allowing D-Von to grab a neckbreaker. Bubba comes in and cleans house but misses the middle rope backsplash. Everything breaks down (as is the tag team way) and D-Von gets two off a small package. Chris rams him into Christian though and a rollup retains the titles clean.
Actually hang on a second as here are Eric Bischoff and Sean Morely (the former Val Venis), who is now Chief of Staff. All four shoulders were on the mat at the same time for the cover so there’s no pin, meaning this match MUST continue. I’m assuming this is the “heel bosses act nice to start before going really evil” segment of the night.
The match continues after a break with Bubba slamming his way out of trouble and making the hot tag off to D-Von. Notice the crowd not being as thrilled, mainly because the good guys just got pinned about as clean as you can get but the match continues on a technicality. 3D gives Bubba the pin on Christian……but Bubba wasn’t legal, so Morely restarts the match again.
The third fall begins and you can hear the fans getting annoyed. Jericho nails D-Von from behind and sleeper drops Bubba for two. That earns him a Flip Flop and Fly with What’s Up making things even worse. Since there haven’t been enough shenanigans in this match, it’s table time but Christian dropkicks it into D-Von’s face. Bubba blocks the Lionsault but Christian hits him with a belt, setting up the Walls to retain the titles for real.
Rating: D+. WAY too much going on here when they could have done a regular match with some extra time or just done a 2/3 falls match, despite the lack of any reason for this to go longer than usual. If nothing else though, it’s nice to have some fresh blood in the title scene and the Dudleys are hardly a stretch for the automatic #1 contendership.
Shawn Michaels is ready to face Van Dam in his first Raw match in five years. He leaves to go talk to Rob for some reason when Christian and Jericho show up with champagne to celebrate. Jericho isn’t happy with Scott Steiner but Christian says “forget about his freaks, peaks and Iron Sheiks”. Chris goes with it and suggests that they hit the town because they need some Vitamin C. Christian: “YEAH! My name starts with a C too!”
They head into the locker room when the Dudleys come up and want to go after the champs again. Bubba says wait, because he has a plan. I think I like this better than cutting to conveniently timed segments where people just happen to be ready to talk when someone else is done but it was still really scripted.
Test vs. Steven Richards
This is fallout from Steven taking a Testicles shirt to the testicles. I think Test is a face now despite doing nothing new other than having the catchphrase. The threat of a big boot sends Steven bailing to the floor but he comes back in with some right hands. We’re already off to a reverse chinlock so at least this is going to be short. Some clotheslines and a full nelson slam give Test two and he hammers away in the corner. A low blow (that the referee should have seen) sets up an X Factor for two, only to have Test Roll the Dice for the pin.
Rating: D. See, he has a catchphrase which a nine year old would find funny so I’m sure the writers are impressed enough to push Test again. Richards got in a lot of offense here, which probably isn’t the best way to push Test, though then again neither is a bunch of testicle jokes. Stacy is gorgeous but that smile is only going to carry the act so far.
Christian and Jericho are in towels after their shower but the Dudleys have stolen their bags. Chase is given and the champs are locked out of the locker room. So how did the Dudleys know that the champs were getting in the shower when they turned the corner two seconds after Christian and Jericho decided to do that? I guess they overheard them but if that’s the case, why didn’t they jump the champs when they were standing there talking?
Test and Stacy are happy with the win and Test goes to take a shower (common theme tonight). As Stacy beams, Victoria jumps her from behind and says she’ll be thinking of Stacy during the match. Instead of her long hair and long legs though, she’ll be thinking of Stacy’s fear. Victoria licks Stacy’s ear and that’s that.
Christopher Nowinski vs. Maven
Before we get going, Chris says this is the last time that anyone can say Maven is better than he is. Maven won Tough Enough because of politics when he mentioned his sick mother and that means it’s on. Nowinski hits him with a big book and Maven is out. No match.
Jericho and Christian are in a search for clothes and find 3 Minute Warning and Rico’s gear. They’re far from impressed (Jericho: “Do you get a free bowl of soup with this outfit?”) but Rico and the Samoans come in to scare them off.
Women’s Title: Trish Stratus vs. Victoria
Trish is challenging and looks very nice in blue. They slug it out to start with Victoria grabbing something like a Thesz press before hitting some awkward kicks to the ribs. A rollup gives Trish two and the kickout sends her outside. She lands hips first, with JR saying is like a stone bouncing across a river. Victoria’s slingshot legdrop gets two as Lawler thinks there’s something in these two’s past before explaining the backstory.
We hit a seated full nelson (that could be a solid finisher) until Trish fights up and gets some rollups for two each. Trish gets sent hard into the steps as this is already starting to drag. Back in and Trish makes another comeback, including a Chick Kick for two. We get an awkward looking shove to send Trish throat first into the ropes but it’s enough to set up the Widow’s Peak to retain the title.
Rating: D. Despite them both looking better than they have in a long time (which covers a lot of ground), the match really did feel disjointed. It was pretty clear that they had no idea how to go from move to move later on in the match, which really makes for some awkward moments. The women were getting better but they weren’t ready for something this long yet, which isn’t a good sign.
Victoria bites Steven Richards’ ear for reasons of general insanity, which he seems to like.
Shawn praises Van Dam’s athleticism but says he’s missing a little something. Rob slaps him and that’s just what the champ was looking for.
Video on Eric Bischoff.
Christian is worried about shrinkage but a shot of the Dudleys in the ring sends the Canadians into the arena. In the ring, the Dudleys are giving away Christian and Jericho’s clothes, including a shirt and jeans. Bubba finds a jar of A** Cream, which has him very confused. Bubba: “WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A** CREAM???” The whole bag of clothes is sent into the crowd but they’re not done yet. Cue Spike to steal the towels and we have naked champions.
Hurricane/Jeff Hardy vs. Lance Storm/William Regal
Jeff dives over the top to take out Storm before the bell and the good guys start fast. Some right hands have Regal staggered and it’s off to Hurricane for a high crossbody. The Eye of the Hurricane is broken up so Hurricane has to settle for a chokeslam instead. Regal comes in for the save and starts working on Hurricane’s back with a few knees. Storm adds some forearms, only to get caught with a Shining Wizard. It’s not enough for the hot tag though as Hurricane tries his own half crab. Regal kicks him in the head for the break though and Storm grabs a Sharpshooter for the tap out.
Rating: D+. Nothing to see here but the ending was a nice touch as they went away from the standard formula for a change. You can only do the hot tag into the finish so many times so it was nice to see something get changed up. Regal and Storm aren’t exactly a big upgrade but at least they’re a regular team.
Jeff gets beaten down as well.
We look at Shawn’s last match on Raw from December 1997 against Owen Hart.
Kane vs. Batista
Hang on a second as we have Ric Flair instead, telling Kane that he’s not out of the woods for what he did to Ric last week. Batista comes in to jump Kane from behind and the beatdown is on. We do get a bell though and Batista gets to hammer on Kane in an actual match. Some clotheslines knock Kane around but he comes back with a big boot. The ref gets bumped so there’s no one to count Kane’s powerslam. Ric chairs him in the head and the Batista Bomb gives Dave the fast pin.
We get the official terms of the Big Show trade: Big Show for Ivory, D-Von, Val Venis and Maven. That’s a horrible trade. Anyway Bischoff tells Morely to bring Scott Steiner to Raw. Morely says he has a connection that can make something happen but RNN BREAKING NEWS. Randy talks about everything he’s thankful for, including that good looking nurse at the rehab center.
Goldust vs. Rico
They trade some armdrags to start until Rico gets in a big kick to take over. A lot of stomping allows JR to list off some of Rico’s accomplishments as they seem to be trying to make him into something. Rico grabs an armbar until Goldust makes a short comeback, including the powerslam for two. The Curtain Call gives Goldust the clean pin.
Rating: D. This was more filler but you have to deal with that from time to time. JR mentioned that Booker was healing, which might have something to do with a rash of illness going around the locker room at this point (dehydration due to some issues on a tour of India). If nothing else that would explain some of the odd booking choices tonight, such as this match, which was only going to last so long.
Raw World Title: Shawn Michaels vs. Rob Van Dam
Shawn, in what looks to be the early Sami Zayn collection of tights, is defending. The champ fires off a dropkick to start but gets kicked in the ribs a few times, followed by a clothesline to send him outside. Rob is smart enough to throw him back inside for a slingshot legdrop to the bad back. A monkey flip is countered into something like Snake Eyes and Shawn starts in on the leg.
We hit the Ric Flair playbook with the leg being crushed on the ropes, followed by a Figure Four. Rob makes the ropes so Shawn forearms him into the nipup, only to miss Sweet Chin Music. Rolling Thunder onto Shawn’s back gets two so Shawn comes back with a DDT. Shawn’s top rope elbow gets two more but it’s another backbreaker to cut him off. Rob gets in the Five Star to the back…..and here’s HHH for the DQ.
Rating: C+. This was totally fine but you could tell that Shawn wasn’t able to hit that other gear. The knee vs. back stuff was fine and I’m glad they didn’t go with a clean fall over Rob, who is still recovering from the HHH loss. Speaking of HHH, thank goodness he was back so quickly to save the show. I mean, it had been a whole week without him and now we’re likely going to get him in another title match.
HHH goes after Shawn post match and shrugs off a comeback. A side slam puts Shawn through an open chair to end the show.
Overall Rating: D. I’d assume the rash of illnesses changed a lot of this show but that really doesn’t make the show any more excusable. It’s not a good show with all the lame matches and quick build towards Armageddon, which is already looking like a boring show with another HHH vs. Shawn match on top. This wasn’t the worst show in the world but it was your standard 2002 dullness.
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