Monday Night Raw – December 9, 2002

Monday Night Raw
Date: December 9, 2002
Location: Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, Tennessee
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s the go home show for Armageddon and that means it’s time for the HHH vs. Shawn Michaels Show (as in the official version instead of the unofficial one we’ve seen for weeks now). Other than that, I really can’t think of anything important that Raw has to offer on Sunday but it’s not like Raw cares about anyone but these two anyway. Let’s get to it.

Eric Bischoff and Chief Morely are in the ring with Shawn Michaels and HHH appearing on the screen. Bischoff gets right to the point: Sunday’s match is going to be 2/3 falls. That’s not all though as each fall will have a special stipulation. The first fall will be a street fight, the second will be held inside a cage and the third is a ladder match. HHH and Shawn didn’t say a word. So to clarify, we’re likely getting THREE Shawn vs. HHH matches and HHH will get to beat Shawn in his signature match to become the champion all over again. Oh joy.

Booker T./Goldust vs. William Regal/Lance Storm

During the entrances, a four way elimination match is confirmed for Sunday with Chris Jericho/Christian defending against these two teams and the Dudley Boyz. Booker works on Storm’s arm to start and let’s hit the HHH talk. Goldust comes in for the yet to be named Rear View on Regal. A suplex drops Goldust though and it’s off to a chinlock. That goes nowhere so it’s already off to Booker as the announcers manage to talk about the match for a bit.

Booker’s spinebuster gets two on Lance and it’s already back to the HHH discussion. There’s the ax kick for two more but Goldust tags himself in for a double clothesline. Shattered Dreams makes Regal cringe and something like a Hart Attack gets two on Storm. Lance comes right back with a Sharpshooter though and Goldust tape.

Rating: C-. This was all about the angle building but that doesn’t mean much given how fast they’re throwing together this weak link story for Goldust. I’m not sure why they couldn’t just have Booker and Goldust go on a roll and beat some teams but why do that when you can have them lose over and over in the first place?

Goldust says he’s the weak link and wants Booker to find a new partner.

Trish Stratus is reading Hulk Hogan’s new book for no apparent reason when Chris Jericho comes in to read an excerpt. Apparently he made Hogan tap at one point but he’d rather talk about the sexual tension between himself and Trish. She thinks Vitamin C sounds very nu-Trish-ous. Then again she saw him naked two weeks ago and thinks it’s Vitamin Wee. These two have great chemistry together.

Rob Van Dam is on the phone in Bischoff’s office when the bosses come in to hang up the call. Bischoff needs to keep the line open for his call from Scott Steiner. Van Dam leaves but tells Bischoff that he just hung up on Steiner. I would pay so much money to see Steiner and Van Dam have a five minute chat about…..well anything really.

Steven Richards vs. Jacqueline

Jacqueline is in a triple threat match with Trish and Victoria on Sunday, just in case you weren’t over the card already. Steven easily powers her into the corner to start but gets armdragged down. Richards gets serious and grabs a side slam for two with Jackie’s foot on the ropes freaking him out. A DDT gives Jackie two more but she drops him throat first across the top rope. The StevieDT is good for the pin and I have no idea why this existed.

Victoria comes in to go after Jackie but Trish makes the save. Jackie wants nothing from Trish and the loser’s music plays for some reason.

Jeff Hardy is honored to be compared to a young HBK but the real version comes in to say he’s not dead. Shawn knows Jeff is going to take a beating tonight and says take advantage of HHH when he gets cocky. Jeff is grateful for the advice and says if Shawn needs help in the ladder match, let him know.

Rob Van Dam vs. Batista

Batista throws him around to start as JR gets in his regular mention of Rob’s offense being “unorthodox”. Choking underneath the ropes ensues until Rob gets in a few kicks to take over. Rolling Thunder gives Van Dam two but Flair grabs Rob’s foot. Cue Kane for the fast DQ.

Kane and Van Dam clean house.

Morely yells at Kane, who doesn’t know who Morely is. The Chief explains things so Kane does a Val Venis impression, earning himself a handicap match with 3 Minute Warning.

Christopher Nowinski/D’Lo Brown vs. Maven/Al Snow

And Brown is just a heel now. The good guys clean house to start with Snow armdragging Brown a few times. Maven comes in for some right hands of his own until Nowinski pulls him down from behind. The slow beatdown begins with the fans saying someone sucks. My guess would be the whole match but I’m too big of a Brown fan to say that. Nowinski gets dropkicked off the top and the hot tag brings in Snow. The trapping headbutts have Brown in trouble until Chris makes the save. The Sky High puts Snow away.

Rating: D. This is as low level of a feud as you can get and despite the pre-match video on the match, I have no idea why these guys are feuding. I don’t know if this is still supposed to hype up Tough Enough but it’s really not interesting. Also, this gets nearly two minutes longer than Batista vs. Van Dam? Is Batista really that incapable of wrestling a longer match?

Booker tries to talk Goldust out of splitting up the team. The plea is enough and they’ll be a team at the pay per view. So they set up and blew off the story in about forty minutes. That might be a record even for Raw. The story is fine but could we get a bit more time to let is set in? At least have the story go on longer than two weeks to let it have some impact.

HHH vs. Jeff Hardy

HHH pulls him off the ropes during the entrances but Jeff gets in the legdrop between the legs. That’s enough trouble for HHH as he takes Hardy outside for some whips into the steps. Back in and a spinebuster sets up a side slam, followed by an over the shoulder backbreaker. Jeff’s comeback consists of a running forearm before two Pedigrees (because HHH can’t just have one of anything) give HHH the pin.

Rating: D. Well it’s not like Jeff is doing anything at this point. You knew they were going to put HHH over someone very hard to make sure you know how awesome he is before Sunday’s title match. Just in case you didn’t realize how completely awesome HHH was you see. Hardy was treated like a jobber here, though to be fair it’s not that far from the truth.

HHH loads up a chair but Shawn comes out for the staredown as we take a break. Back with Flair saying he’d like a word with Shawn. With Shawn holding the title, Flair talks about carrying that very belt around the airports (not quite) but then someone told him that Shawn was the new man.

Then one day Arn Anderson said Shawn was a tough act to follow and Flair had to take a look in the mirror. Ric realized that he wasn’t the best in the world anymore and there was no way around it. As high as Shawn was on the pedestal though, there’s a new man in town. That man’s name is HHH and he’s the best in the world. Shawn needs to concede the fact that he needs to pass the torch. If Shawn tries to keep going, HHH will kill him on the way to taking the most coveted prize in this business. Shawn seems to buy into the idea and walks away as HHH reiterates what Flair just said.

Great stuff here from Flair but there’s no way around the fact that we’re looking at three Shawn vs. HHH matches on Sunday despite no one wanting to see it. The first match was great but their promos haven’t done much since then. Couple that with the fact that I can’t imagine their match is going to validate crushing everyone else in their paths to get there and it’s hard to imagine this is worth all the effort.

The Raw Retro for the week is Mike Tyson debuting and Steve Austin getting in his face. You can hear WCW collapsing from here.

Kane vs. 3 Minute Warning

Rico offers an early distraction so the Samoans can jump Kane from behind. Double headbutts have Kane in trouble and Rosey gets two off a legdrop. The running DDT plants Jamal and Rosey splashes his partner by mistake. The chokeslam puts Jamal down for the pin in less than three minutes. We have four teams and the Samoans are jobbing in a handicap match?

Rico helps with a post match beatdown until Van Dam makes the save. Jamal even eats a Van Terminator.

Stacy is in a rather sexy Santa outfit and debuts the Test blue ball Christmas ornament. Yes, this really is the joke they’re STILL going with. Just in case you didn’t get the idea, Stacy sings a Christmas carol about the testicles roasting over an open fire.

RNN BREAKING NEWS shows Randy Orton at the New York Stock Exchange.

We run down the pay per view card with all four of its announced matches.

Chris Jericho wants to put Trish through a table in their six person tag. Oh and it’s rather large in case you were wondering. Victoria comes up and says she’ll be the one doing that.

Shawn tells Flair that he’ll be waiting for HHH in the parking lot.

Trish Stratus/Dudley Boyz vs. Chris Jericho/Christian/Victoria

Tables match. D-Von hammers Christian into the corner before it’s off to Bubba for the big elbows. Why they’re tagging isn’t clear but I’d assume it’s because they need to fill in some extra time and don’t have any more matches. It’s off to Victoria, who takes What’s Up. Trish hits one on Jericho to make Lawler a bit envious. D-Von brings in the first table but gets knocked off the apron. That’s fine though as Bubba loads up a powerbomb on Victoria….and we take a break?

Back with Bubba in a chinlock and JR apologizing for the abrupt commercial. Victoria comes in to work on Bubba as we see a clip of Jericho breaking up the powerbomb before the commercial. The referee doesn’t see a tag to D-Von, who can’t come in despite, as JR has mentioned more than once, there being no disqualifications. Now the announcers discuss which version of Shawn will show up on Sunday (Shawn Michaels, HBK or the Showstopper).

The Lionsault hits knees and Bubba covers out of instinct as Christian slides in a table. That table is set up in the corner and Jericho bounces off of it as this just keeps going. Bubba dives over for the hot tag to D-Von and house is cleaned in a hurry. Jericho saves Christian from being suplexed through a table but takes 3D for his efforts.

The Dudleys load Victoria up for a powerbomb but Richards comes out for the save, only to have Spike Dudley get rid of him. Christian eats a good looking double flapjack but now Regal and Storm come in to jump Bubba and D-Von. Booker T. and Goldust make it SIX RUN-INS as they go after the champs.

Jericho takes the Stratusphere for some reason and since it’s just a weak hurricanrana, Chris takes Trish’s head off with a clothesline. Booker saves Trish and stops for a Spinarooni but gets dropped by Storm. That earns Lance a 3D and the Dudleys finally help Trish powerbomb Victoria through the table for the win.

Rating: D. Did I mention there isn’t much on this show and they don’t have enough to fill in two hours? This match ran over fifteen minutes with six people running in. The tagging stuff got old in a hurry, especially with JR mentioning more than once that there were no disqualifications. Why he didn’t mention the tags not being necessary isn’t clear but it might have made too much sense.

HHH and Flair head to the parking lot where Shawn hits HHH in the head with a shovel. Flair takes a shot as well (at least wait for the bar) and a trashcan shot knocks HHH into a dumpster. As you might expect, Shawn climbs the highest thing he can find (the production truck) and dives onto HHH for the big crash. Shawn rants about having heart to end the show.

Overall Rating: D. Yeah this isn’t working and it’s very, very clear that the red side of Armageddon is a horrible show with EVERYTHING banked on Shawn vs. HHH. I’m not even sure why the Tag Team Title match needs to be a four way when you could easily have two tags to flesh things out a bit. The long matches and bad wrestling didn’t help here but above all else, Raw needs something fresh instead of HHH vs. Shawn again.

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