Monday Night Raw – December 16, 2002

Monday Night Raw
Date: December 16, 2002
Location: TD Waterhouse Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

We’re past the final pay per view of the year and that means it’s time to get ready for the 2003 Royal Rumble. That also means that the new Raw World Champion HHH needs a new challenger, which means we’re in for a major problem in the next month or two. Words don’t do the upcoming nightmares justice so let’s get to it.

Read moreMonday Night Raw – December 16, 2002

Monday Night Raw – December 2, 2002

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.

Read moreMonday Night Raw – December 2, 2002

Monday Night Raw – November 25, 2002

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.

Read moreMonday Night Raw – November 25, 2002

Monday Night Raw – November 11, 2002

Monday Night Raw
Date: November 11, 2002
Location: US Bank Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s the go home show for Survivor Series 2002 and that means we’re in for a lot of talking about the Elimination Chamber. Why do I have a feeling that means we get to hear about HHH being amazing and being able to overcome the odds? I know the others are just window dressing around the HHH vs. Shawn match but would at least giving us a reason to believe something is possible be that much to ask? Let’s get to it.

Read moreMonday Night Raw – November 11, 2002

Monday Night Raw – October 28, 2002

Monday Night Raw
Date: October 28, 2002
Location: Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

This show comes in with a very simple advantage: it’s not the Katie Vick episode. There have been well over 1000 episodes of Monday Night Raw (we’ll hit #500 by the end of 2002) and last week’s might have been absolute rock bottom. There have been horrible shows before, but even the 1993/1994 episodes mainly focused on wrestling. Last week focused on sexual intercourse with a mannequin in a casket. Something tells me this one will be an improvement. Let’s get to it.

Read moreMonday Night Raw – October 28, 2002

Monday Night Raw – October 7, 2002

Monday Night Raw
Date: October 7, 2002
Location: Thomas and Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nevada
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

We’re in Las Vegas for a special show as WWE continues to fight (in vein) against Monday Night Football. This week it’s Raw Roulette, meaning every match is Spin the Wheel, Make the deal. I was always a fan of that gimmick back in WCW but having a full show built around it could be a mess. Let’s get to it.

Read moreMonday Night Raw – October 7, 2002

Smackdown – May 30, 2002

Smackdown
Date: May 30, 2002
Location: Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

We’re still in Canada and maybe we can find the next challenger to Undertaker for the WWE World Title. As much fun as it was to see him make Tommy Dreamer drink tobacco juice and then beat him up, I could go for an actual match with a challenger instead of just random attacks. Let’s get to it.

Read moreSmackdown – May 30, 2002

Smackdown – May 23, 2002

Smackdown
Date: May 23, 2002
Location: BankcorpSouth Center, Tupelo, Mississippi
Attendance: 7,450
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

We might be in for a major announcement this week as new WWE World Champion the Undertaker has suggested that Hulk Hogan will be retiring tonight. I know 2002 was a different time but does anyone believe that Hogan’s retirement is coming on a regular Smackdown in Mississippi? Let’s get to it.

Read moreSmackdown – May 23, 2002

Smackdown – April 4, 2002

Smackdown
Date: April 4, 2002
Location: Blue Cross Arena, Rochester, New York
Attendance: 8,500
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

After Monday’s less than amazing debut for Raw, it’s time to see if Smackdown can save the opening week of the Brand Split. This show has its share of stars including The Rock, Chris Jericho, Hulk Hogan and Kurt Angle. Those names alone should be enough to help carry this past Raw but this company has managed to disappoint me with less. Let’s get to it.

Read moreSmackdown – April 4, 2002

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – March 22, 1999

Steve Austin arrives at the arena and comes across a driver of a Coor’s Light truck.  Product placement 101.

Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are calling the action and they are live from Albany, New York.  This is the last RAW we have to hear called by Cole for a while so I am happy about that.  This is the go home show for WrestleMania XV.

Read moreWhat the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – March 22, 1999

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – February 22, 1999

A video package recaps the Rock winning the WWF title in a ladder match against Mankind on last week’s show.

Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are taped from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Vince McMahon comes out to hype tonight’s Inferno Match between the Undertaker and Kane.  He welcomes Paul Wight to the ring, who is booked to be the guest referee at WrestleMania.  Cole is trying to get Wight over as “The Big Nasty,” so I guess it is good that “The Big Show” name was chosen instead.  WWF Champion The Rock also comes out, quickly getting into a verbal confrontation with Wight, telling him to “Know his role.”  McMahon’s efforts at playing peacemaker get nowhere until Mankind marches onto the stage and volunteers to referee the WrestleMania main event, as well as referee a Rock-Wight encounter tonight.  Wight then proceeds to challenge the Rock to a match, which the Rock gladly accepts and he says he will put the WWF title on the line too.

Read moreWhat the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – February 22, 1999

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – December 14, 1998

Pictures and
commentary from last night’s Rock Bottom pay-per-view are aired.
Michael Cole and
Jerry “The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from Tacoma,
Washington
.

D-Generation X
comes out dressed as the Corporation as Cole is so nice to tell us that all of
this is supposed to be funny over and over again.  Jason Sensation also makes a return as
Commissioner Shawn Michaels.  Aside from
Sensation, the only entertaining part of this segment is X-Pac’s imitation of
Shamrock where he screams about how he is in the zone and how its “five knuckle
shuffle time!”  After this long segment
comes to a close, Shawn Michaels, the Big Bossman, Ken Shamrock, and the Rock
walk out.  Michaels books a rematch of
last night’s tag team title match between the New Age Outlaws and Shamrock and
the Bossman.  Michaels takes a dig at
Triple H as being a “midcarder for life,” but Triple H goads the Rock into
putting the WWF title on the line in the main event.
Vince McMahon
gives a pep talk to the Corporation in the locker room
, ending it with a promise to go after Kane
since Kane is deemed as one of the primary reasons Steve Austin qualified for
the Royal Rumble at Rock Bottom.
Opening
Contest:  Supply & Demand (w/The Hos)
defeat Edge & Christian (w/Gangrel) when Val Venis pins Christian with a
fisherman’s suplex at 2:34:
The Godfather was beginning to get the “Pimpin’ ain’t
easy” line over at this point, adding to the number of catchphrases by the
company’s stars.  The Brood is so weird
that the Godfather does not bother to give them any hos.  Edge and Christian make one of their first
appearances as a tag team as the company was realizing that they could put on
better matches than Edge and Gangrel.  Or
maybe the company realized that if you are going to bill Edge and Christian as
brothers that it was nonsensical to not have them for a tag team.  This is just a quick TV bout, typical of the
era, with the ending being messy as Venis enters the ring too late after a
blind tag and Edge does not even bother trying to break up the final pin.   With the Brood’s gimmick you would think
Russo would find more for these guys to do, but they keep losing to other
midcard acts week after week.
After the match,
Gangrel says that there is going to be a bloodbath the next time that the Brood
appears.
Kevin Kelly
interviews Steve Blackman who says he will unmask the Blue Blazer tonight.  For a guy who is a legitimate bad ass like
Blackman, it is a shame that he cannot cut a convincing promo.
Goldust beats The
Blue Blazer via disqualification when Jeff Jarrett interferes at 2:10:
This is a revenge match from the previous evening as the
Blue Blazer kept Debra McMichael from finishing her striptease at Rock
Bottom.  As several have commented in my
reviews it is tough to watch this Blue Blazer angle when you know how it is
going to end in six months.  This match
hardly gets going before Jeff Jarrett interferes to break up Shattered Dreams.  Steve Blackman lives up to his promise to
also do a run-in and he does unmask the Blazer as Owen.  Why not do the unmasking on
pay-per-view?  In a humorous bit, Jarrett
tosses a black cloth over Owen’s head as if he is too ugly to be seen after the
unmasking.
Mark Henry gets
ready for a match backstage
.
The New Age
Outlaws and the Big Bossman and Ken Shamrock are prevented from having a
confrontation backstage by WWF officials
.
Mark Henry &
D-Lo Brown (w/PMS) beats Scorpio & Bob Holly (w/Al Snow, Duane Gill &
The Blue Meanie) when Henry pins Holly after a powerslam at 3:00:
This might be the RAW debut of the “Sexual Chocolate”
theme song, although it is not a great tag team entrance theme since it does
not work for D-Lo.  Before the match,
Henry talks about his date with Chyna and how it got intimate, with D-Lo giving
fantastic facial expressions throughout. 
The Chyna angle is where Henry started to show the personality that made
him an effective superstar as he participated in some ridiculous segments that
were meant to discourage him and get him to quit.  The whole point of this match is to keep
building D-Lo and Henry, as well as PMS, and the JOB Squad are manhandled and
outwitted.  Rating:  *
Mankind’s attack
on the Rock before the Rock Bottom pay-per-view is the Acclaim Sports Slam of
the Week
.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  Ken Shamrock &
The Big Bossman (w/Shawn Michaels) defeat The New Age Outlaws (Champions) when
Shamrock makes Billy Gunn submit to the ankle lock to win the titles at 6:45:
One fan has a big “Clinton 3:16” sign near the front of
the ring that cracks me up since that is not something that you would expect to
see at a wrestling show.  Unlike last
night’s pay-per-view, the challengers focus on a body part, targeting Billy
Gunn’s left knee after Shamrock smashes a chair into it.  The Road Dogg also gets a chair to the back
and a Bossman slam, which leads to a second hot tag to Gunn, which is a bad
idea since he is fighting on one leg. 
Still, it takes a Michaels night stick shot to the back of the head to
put the Outlaws down for the count.  So
why could we not have just done this finish last night?  Rating:  **
Vince and Shane
McMahon walk out to conduct the drawing of Steve Austin’s number for the Royal
Rumble.  Vince says that he will get
revenge against Kane and Mankind tonight and he books them to face each other
in a no holds barred match.  In the
subsequent drawing, Austin is awarded #1, but you see, the drawing is rigged as
it appears that all of the numbers in the tumbler are #1.  To make Austin’s job of winning the Rumble
even more difficult, Vince also promises to give the superstar that tosses
Austin over the top rope $100,000 (which will be taken from one of Shane’s
trust funds).  As a final announcement,
Vince says that another participant in the Rumble match, someone who is the
only person that “could save Ted Turner’s WCW,” will be him.  Shane proceeds to draw a number out of the
tumbler for Vince and he gets #30. 
Christening his new theme song, Vince says there is “no chance in hell”
that Austin will win the Rumble.  Mankind
then appears on the Titantron from the boiler room and challenges Vince to a
match instead of facing Kane, but Vince does not accept.
Get your Jesse
“the Body” Ventura videotape!  You know,
the guy that the WWF tried to purge from its history until he won the Minnesota
gubernatorial election!
Debra McMichael’s
striptease at Rock Bottom is the Glover Rewind segment.
Vince huddles with
stooges about what to do with Mankind until deciding that he is better off
coming up with his own solution for the problem.  Gerald Brisco is still offering to get him
coffee
.
Guitar on a Pole
Match:  “Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra
McMichael) pins Steve Blackman after Owen Hart hits Blackman with a guitar at
3:33:
Russo’s pole fetish finally finds its way to television
here.  It would have made more sense to
book this as Jarrett-Goldust since Goldust is the one that got blasted with a
guitar last night at Rock Bottom.  Debra
starts stripping to distract Blackman and allow Jarrett to get the guitar, but
then we also get a ref bump after Blackman avoids getting hit with it.  Then, Owen Hart runs in with a guitar and
hits Blackman to give his partner in crime a victory.  This match was like a sick preview of what
Russo would do to WCW a couple of years later. 
Rating:  *
Tiger Ali Singh
calls the stooges into his locker room where “Bloodbath” has been written on
the wall.  He said that he does not want
to compete tonight under these conditions.
Vince tells Shane
that he is going to face Mankind tonight, but he will do it his way.
The next match is
booked as Gangrel-Tiger Ali Singh, but it never gets started as Tiger tries to
flee but the Broods prevents him from doing so, beat him down, and pour blood
on him.  You have to use your imagination
for all of this, though, because it takes place in the darkness of the Brood’s
entrance.
No Holds Barred
Match:  Mankind and Kane wrestle to a
no-contest at 4:28:
In this match, Lawler claims that the steps weigh 150
pounds, but last year’s TLCS pay-per-view told me they were over 500
pounds.  Poor Art Donovan would be so
confused.  This match is more about
angles as Mankind and Kane brawl for a few minutes before Vince comes out and
asks Mankind to come into the parking lot to face him in a street fight.  Then, while we are away at a commercial
break, Ken Shamrock and the Big Bossman beatdown Kane so that orderlies can
take him to a mental institution. 
Meanwhile, Mankind destroys Vince in the parking lot before the Rock
shows up and Rock Bottoms Mankind on the hood of a car.  Rating:  *
WWF Championship
Match:  The Rock (Champion w/Shawn
Michaels) defeats Triple H (w/Chyna) when Test interferes at 10:49:
Seeing the Rock and Michaels by each other just makes you
wish that they would have had a match at some point.  This match shows how wild crowds used to be
as people mob Triple H during his entrance when he gets close to the guardrail
and some fans even try to prevent the Rock from attacking Triple H near the
ringside barrier on the floor.  The Rock
is bit too liberal with the chinlocks in this one, but one could say the same
for Triple H’s knee attacks in this era. 
In true WWE style, they kick out of each other’s big moves, but when the
referee is distracted Test makes his in-ring debut by nailing Triple H with a pumphandle
slam and helping the Rock retain.  Rating: 
***
The Final Report:  Despite the absence of Steve Austin this show
effectively framed some of the big angles heading into the Royal Rumble
pay-per-view.  The matches were really abbreviated,
something that could be expected of WWF television at the time, but the main
event was solid since the Rock and Triple H usually had fantastic
chemistry.  On the basis of the main
event and the entertaining McMahon segments, this show garners a thumbs up.
Monday Night War Rating:  5.2 (vs. 4.2 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up