Monday Night Raw
Date: December 2, 2002
Location: Frank Erwin Center, Austin, Texas
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
So HHH is back and I’d assume that’s about all you need to know for this show. That whole week without HHH around to really run the show must have scared the company as he interfered in last week’s World Title match, seemingly setting up another pay per view showdown with Shawn Michaels. I’m as thrilled as you are. Let’s get to it.
The opening video is about…..well by George it’s about HHH coming back last week! To be fair it’s not like anything else was treated like it mattered last week.
Dudley Boyz vs. 3 Minute Warning
They don’t waste time with the wrestling to start and Rosey gets dropped with a double belly to back. A double crossbody puts Bubba and Rosey down and we get down to Jamal getting knocked back and forth between the Dudleys. Rosey and Bubba chop it out with the latter taking him down into what can best be described as a cross armbreaker. D-Von stays on the arm as this is already more technical than I was expecting.
Rico gets involved for a distraction though and D-Von gets beaten down for a short while. For some reason a DDT stops Rosey but the referee doesn’t see the tag. A neckbreaker puts Rosey down again and now the tag brings Bubba back in. House is cleaned but Rico gets in a kick to the back of the head. Cue Spike for the way too fast save, allowing the brothers to hit What’s Up. After Rico’s interference doesn’t go anywhere, a 3D finishes Rosey.
Rating: C-. Well that happened. Really I’m not sure what else there is to say about the match as it just came and went. It’s good to have the Dudleys back but it’s very clear that there’s nothing to the division at this point and if 3 Minute Warning is the best they have, they’re in big trouble.
We come back from a break with all three Dudleys down, thanks to an off-camera attack at the hands of Chris Jericho and Christian and 3 Minute Warning. D-Von was put in the Walls for a Conchairto and Bubba was beaten down as well while Spike was already carried out. As much as I’d like to have seen it happen, I can greatly appreciate the idea of having stuff seem more realistic instead of having it so rigidly attached to the schedule.
Sean Morely tells Eric Bischoff that he’s got this covered. Oh and call him Chief Morely. HHH to come in to say that he wrestled for thirty minutes in the Elimination Chamber but now he has to beat Rob Van Dam to become #1 contender. Bischoff doesn’t want to hear it and demands great TV. Morely suggests a guest referee to be announced, likely as Shawn Michaels, so HHH can overcome even more odds.
We look at the Dudleys’ beatdown again.
Trish Stratus vs. Ivory
They hit the mat to start before trading arm cranks. Ivory gets two off a rollup as this isn’t exactly thrilling so far. We hit the chinlock with Ivory pulling on Trish’s face until she fights up for a neckbreaker. The Chick Kick gets two as the announcers debate who the guest referee is going to be. Trish hits a very assisted Stratusfaction for the pin.
Rating: D. I know Trish would get much better in the coming years but she really wasn’t able to lift anything up the ladder at this point. It doesn’t help that Ivory is someone who has been the same performer for years and isn’t going to have a memorable match no matter what she does. They really need to bring in some exciting talent if they want this division to work as Trish vs. Victoria is only going to take them so far.
Speaking of dull women, Jackie yells at Victoria for going through her bag and a match is made. She doesn’t even mind if it’s not for the title, because why would she want that? Jackie beats her up because it’s Texas and that means Jackie is all tough and awesome.
Jericho and Christian threaten violence against anyone who disrespect them. Christopher Nowinski instantly sucks up to them like the worm that he is. Of note: the champs’ bags are chained to their lockers.
Jeff Hardy/Tommy Dreamer vs. Lance Storm/William Regal
This is the result of Regal dislocating Dreamer’s jaw a few weeks back. They start fighting in the aisle with Jeff running around the ring to take both evil foreigners down. Dreamer grabs a half crab on Storm to start and gets his jaw broken again for the gimmick infringement. Regal comes in for a knee to the jaw as there’s certainly a target so far. A front facelock allows Dreamer to get over for the tag to Jeff, which the referee naturally misses. With the referee dealing with Jeff, Regal gets a buckle pad off and Dreamer goes face first into the steal for the easy pin.
Rating: D. Jeff and Dreamer are a really lame low level team and having them waste Regal and Storm’s time isn’t that interesting. Then again, it’s certainly better than the stupid hardcore feud with Nowinski. You really can tell that Jeff doesn’t have any fire in him at the moment but at least he wasn’t out there long enough to horribly botch anything.
Ric Flair talks about Batista’s rough upbringing but Batista doesn’t want to go into it. Flair doesn’t seem to mind and brings up Batista bouncing from foster home to foster home. Now Batista gets to use the anger in the ring.
Batista vs. Hurricane
Spinebuster and Batista Bomb are good for the pin in under a minute. Sounds like Flair has a future as a teacher.
Kane comes out for the save because they were partners for like two weeks.
Shawn and Van Dam go face to face about how horrible HHH is. Bischoff comes in to officially make Shawn guest referee. That was ever in doubt? If Shawn doesn’t play it fair, he loses the title.
Booker T. vs. Chris Jericho
Before the match, Booker makes jokes about Jericho being naked last week and makes jokes about genitalia size. Jericho throws some chops to start and dropkicks Booker out to the floor. The top rope back elbow to the jaw gets two and it’s already off to the chinlock. After a little dance (you always need a little dance), Booker catches him on top for a big crashing superplex.
A missile dropkick gives Booker two and Jericho gets catapulted into the corner for good measure. Christian and Goldust run in but quickly cancel each other out, leaving Booker to hit the ax kick. And never mind as Chief Morely comes out and makes this a tag match, minus any sort of Teddy Long’s charisma.
Rating: C+. The match was just there to fill time before the ending but it’s always helpful to have people this talented in the ring. Even if they have nothing to do and are only having a simple match, they’re going to do it well enough that it’s something you can watch without getting bored. I mean, it’s not good enough to have them get the World Title or anything but that’s just crazy talk.
Tag Team Titles: Christian/Chris Jericho vs. Booker T./Goldust
Christian and Jericho are defending and this is joined in progress with Christian in early trouble. It’s off to Booker to hammer away on Jericho until the champs get in a cheap shot to take over. Jericho’s running crotch shot to the back sets up more dancing but Christian’s attempt earns himself a crotching.
Goldust comes in to clean house and gets two off a rollup for very hot reaction. Booker’s snap spinebuster gets two and he ducks Christian’s belt shot. The Book End gives Booker two more with Christian pulling the referee out. Now the belt shot works and Jericho adds the Lionsault for the pin to retain because the Texas guys have to job in their home state.
Rating: C+. Another solid outing here with all four working hard before the annoying ending that follows the WWE formula of humiliating the hometown favorites. I guess it’s a good sign that Goldust didn’t lose in his hometown and it’s not like Booker has much more momentum to lose, even if the fans seem to love him. They really need to change the titles soon though as Goldust and Booker have been primed up for months now.
This week’s Raw Retro is Austin with the cement truck destroying Vince’s Corvette.
F-View shows us Test and Stacy making out on a couch, only to have her stop for the sake of a marketing idea.
Jackie vs. Victoria
Non-title. Victoria shoves her down to start and stomps a lot as the announcers make sure to talk about how tough Jackie is. Jackie gets in a hurricanrana for two but charges into a boot in the corner. The slingshot legdrop gets two but the Widow’s Peak is countered with a backdrop. Jackie’s spinning kick to the head gives her the clean pin and WOO TEXAS! I mean, Dallas and Austin are totally the same thing. They’re only two hours apart and if you can have someone the fans don’t care about win a non-title match it’s completely the same as the popular team losing a title match right?
Steven Richards comes in to check on Victoria. They’re still in the ring post match with Victoria demanding that Jackie come back out here. Instead it’s Scott Steiner for some rhyming before destroying Steven. Cue a very smiling Bischoff to offer Steiner a contract pitch. The pitch is in the back though, where Bischoff has eight women waiting for him. Steiner says he already has a super freak tonight and opens his limo to reveal…..Stephanie McMahon in a short skirt and low cut top. She has things to offer Steiner that Bischoff can’t. So to sum this up: Stephanie is now hotter than eight good looking women combined.
We go to the World for RNN Breaking News…..but we have breaking news in the arena, where HHH and Flair are looking for Shawn, who is in a referee shirt. Shawn is going to DQ HHH for any broken rule, which is totally going to happen because we’re certainly NOT guaranteed to see HHH vs. Shawn for the title again.
HHH vs. Rob Van Dam
The winner gets Shawn, the guest referee here, at the pay per view. Actually hang on as Shawn needs to eject Flair before we get going. HHH isn’t allowed to throw a closed fist so Rob springboard kicks him down for two. A slingshot dive drops HHH and there’s the spinning kick to the back. Rob kicks him in the face for two more, followed by a small package for a fast counted near fall. HHH gets caught in a sleeper with Shawn sitting in front of the ropes for a nice touch.
Back up and Shawn gets bumped and since he’s a referee here instead of a wrestler, a single clothesline keeps him down for a good twenty seconds. Shawn gets up to pull a chair away from HHH so Rob kicks him down by mistake. Rolling Thunder hits HHH but a chair shot knocks Rob silly for the slow counted pin.
Rating: D. Not only was it short and not very good but this felt like something Austin would have done in his day. His only support is sent outside, he has a guest referee that can’t stand him and he can’t use a right hand. The only cheating HHH did was swinging a chair after Rob hit the referee by mistake. I know HHH is amazing and the best thing ever (save for Stephanie) but this made him look like a face instead of the top heel.
They fight post match and Shawn gets in a superkick to end the show.
Overall Rating: D-. Between the two really bad women’s matches, the HHH/Stephanie worship and Booker/Goldust losing in Texas in a title match they should have won months ago, this was a really bad show. The Tag Team Title match was fine until the end but the rest of the show was the standard problem this era has: bad wrestling, uninteresting storytelling and pushing people who are only there because WWE has decided they’re the best things in the world.
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