Monday Night Raw
Date: August 5, 2002
Location: Baltimore Arena, Baltimore, Maryland
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
Summerslam continues to approach and that means we’re in need of some major matches. The big story around here though is someone attacking Shawn Michaels, sending HHH right back into caring about his former best friend who he just happens to beat up every now and then. Let’s get to it.
The opening recap looks at Shawn Michaels being attacked and everyone being a suspect, set to Rey Mysterio’s old WCW music for some reason.
Here’s Chris Jericho to get things going. This is his show now and only a certified genius like Eric Bischoff would bring him to Raw. After calling the fans losers (you’re better than that Chris), he says Bischoff gets the difference in talent between Jericho and Ric Flair. JR: “I just totally disagree with that.” HHH cuts him off because we haven’t seen these two fight enough this year. HHH suggests that Jericho had something to do with Shawn’s attack as a way to get back at HHH for the loss at Wrestlemania. That…..really doesn’t make sense but neither does most of what HHH says.
Jericho says it wasn’t him and brings up the problem with HHH’s theory: he just beat up Shawn a few weeks ago and now it would hurt HHH to have someone else attack Michaels? Jericho accuses HHH of being the attacker but HHH says he was in the ring when it happened. That’s not exactly beyond a reasonable doubt but I’ll take what I can get.
Anyway, HHH is going to find out who did it because he Pedigreed Shawn for his own good. HHH leaves and is quickly replaced by Rob Van Dam, whose chants annoy Jericho all over again. Rob is here for the official welcome to Raw and to ask Jericho what he’s been smoking. A match is set up due to Jericho getting annoyed at the RVD chants.
Big Show vs. Bubba Ray Dudley
Tables match. Show has slightly altered gear this week as the one piece swimsuit look now ends in shorts. So he’s wearing a woman’s one piece swimsuit but is self-conscious about his thighs. Bubba slugs away to start but gets caught in a good looking belly to belly. Some shots on the floor stagger Show for a few seconds until Show beats him down again. There’s a side slam to Bubba and it’s already time for a table.
Show kicks the table in half by mistake so Bubba folds it up and hits him in the head. That goes nowhere so here’s Trish to distract Show (the leather skirt helps with that), allowing Spike to come in and hit the big man with a football helmet. Show staggers into a flapjack through the table to give Bubba the win.
Rating: D-. As you might expect, Trish’s outfit was the only good thing about this one. I have no idea why Show is jobbing to Bubba Ray Dudley and a football helmet but I’m sure it’s going to result in Bubba getting a push because THAT’S what the world is waiting for. There’s something to be said for trying something new but there’s no real logic behind picking someone whose push is guaranteed to be a failure.
The Un-Americans run down America and the Undertaker. This involves talking about slaughtering innocent people in response to 9/11 and yeah, that’s too far. Like, way too far. Sgt. Slaughter comes in and offers to show them some real American aggression. This is going to be a very, very long night.
We look back at Moolah and Mae Young getting beaten down last week.
Hardcore Title: Tommy Dreamer vs. Bradshaw
Dreamer is defending and this seems to take JR by surprise as he says this was coming later in the show. They actually start fighting in the back, which is an interesting idea for the division for a change. Therefore, they’re almost immediately in the arena to make sure this is your run of the mill hardcore match. JR calls this a Raw exclusive and I wouldn’t brag about that.
Bradshaw beats him around the arena for a few near falls until Dreamer pulls him into the post. After some more weapons shots, Dreamer gets tossed with a middle rope fall away slam. A powerbomb gets two for Bradshaw and Dreamer gets the same off a shot to the head. Dreamer DDTs him on the floor for the pin and the title.
Rating: F. Nothing interesting and nothing new here, save for JR bragging about the division. It says a lot about the show when the announcers don’t seem to know what’s going on with the format. The division is so far beyond a waste of time at this point and I have no idea why so many of these people are still employed.
William Regal and Christopher Nowinski are talking about their tag match later when they run into Molly Holly and her new friend Victoria. Nowinski likes the idea of de-virginizing Molly and has to read the back of Victoria’s trunks to remember her name. Funny, but still rather disturbing.
Goldust complains to Booker T. about Mike Myers stealing his idea for Goldmember. As retaliation, Goldust introduces Minidust, who promptly enjoys Booker’s leg. Thankfully HHH (What am I saying?) comes in and accuses Booker of attacking Shawn. Booker isn’t happy.
Howard Finkel asks Bischoff if he can challenge Lillian Garcia to be the official ring announcer. Bischoff actually agrees because WE’RE HAVING A STORY ABOUT BATTLING RING ANNOUNCERS! Were the referees busy this week? Fink has a letter to deliver to Bischoff and it turns out to be from Stephanie, listing off various talents appearing on this week’s show. If nothing else we get to hear Fink do his big introductions voice which I’ll never get tired of hearing.
Kane is coming back. Oh yeah. He’s been gone.
Test vs. Sgt. Slaughter
Test kicks him in the face before the bell and there’s no match. Seriously that’s the whole thing.
Booker T./Goldust vs. William Regal/Christopher Nowinski
Goldust punches Nowinski in the face to start and follows up with a running hip attack because that’s how Goldust’s offense works. The bad guys start working on Goldust’s arm to take over as the fans tells Chris that Harvard sucks. Lawler starts talking about Molly wanting to sleep with Nowinski and those old awkward feelings start up again. Regal is finally sent into the corner for the hot tag off to Booker so house can be cleaned. Everything breaks down with both teams getting near falls off secondary finishers. An atomic drop into the ax kick puts Regal away.
Rating: C. This was your standard tag team formula match, making it by far and away the best thing on the show thus far. Booker and Goldust are a legitimately entertaining tag team and therefore they’re stuck spinning their wheels while HHH accuses Booker of attacking Shawn for his weekly table scraps.
HHH accuses the Un-Americans of attacking Shawn and hits a table with the hammer.
Trish Stratus vs. Victoria
Molly is on commentary and oh my this is going to get rough in a hurry. Twenty seconds into the match, Lawler flat out asks Molly if she’s a virgin. Lawler: “Do you have a fondness for cherries?” The match starts slowly and Victoria hurts her knee as the cherry jokes continue. Naturally it’s a ruse so Victoria can kick Trish in the face, which greatly pleases Molly. JR says it makes her sound “multi-orgasmic”. Trish chops away and now let’s talk about how far Spike got with Molly. A sunset flip is reversed and Victoria grabs the ropes for the pin.
Rating: F. This has nothing to do with the match. Lawler was as disturbing as I’ve ever heard him here and JR didn’t even do much to stop him. There’s no excuse for this story to exist and it’s absolutely disgusting. I know Katie Vick is still coming up this year but this might be even worse as it’s about a real person and is supposed to be from a face.
Show is annoyed at HHH accusing him too.
Tag Team Titles: Hardy Boys vs. Un-Americans
Storm and Christian are defending. Matt and Christian slug it out to start before it’s off to Jeff for the high pitch pop. The heels take over with some double teaming but Jeff scores with the Whisper in the Wind. The hot tag brings in Matt for the Twist of Fate but Christian gets in a cheap shot to give Storm two. Jeff dives off the barricade to take Christian down again and the Swanton connects, only to have Christian pull the referee out for the DQ.
Rating: D. Another horribly uninteresting match here with the Hardys not exactly putting in a ton of effort. The Un-Americans are fine for a basic heel team and they can wrestle a good enough match but you need more than four minutes against an unmotivated team. Nothing to see here but at least Jeff is getting a response.
Test goes after the Hardys until Undertaker makes the save. The Un-Americans bail so Undertaker steals a police motorcycle and gives chase.
Here’s Bischoff to deal with the Howard and Lillian issue, which the fans didn’t seem to know existed. First of all though, Eric promises a surprise for HHH later on. I’m so thrilled. Anyway, the announcers take turns plugging the new movie XXX and of course we see a trailer. Finkel implies that Lillian enjoys servicing multiple sailors and this time he’s the heel, unlike ANYONE who makes fun of Molly for being a virgin. Bischoff sends out 3 Minute Warning to destroy Lillian because this is supposed to be entertaining.
Chris Jericho vs. Rob Van Dam
Jericho starts fast and hammers away in the corner but gets monkey flipped for two. Seriously who goes for a cover after a monkey flip? A slingshot flip dive puts Jericho down again until he grabs a release German suplex to really take over. Jericho goes for the turnbuckle pad but settles for a spinning kick to the face instead. The Lionsault hits knees and Van Dam’s Rolling Thunder is good for two. Rob reverses the Walls attempt into a small package for two and there’s the ref bump. Chris chairs him down but Flair comes in with a chair to Jericho’s head, setting up the Five Star for the pin.
Rating: B-. Match of the night by far here and that’s something that this show was dying for at this point. Flair vs. Jericho should be a lot of fun and Van Dam can do….something for Summerslam. The match was pretty good but this show is just so far beyond saving that it doesn’t matter at this point.
Bischoff is on his way to the ring with a surprise for HHH. This is perhaps the most unnecessary scene I can remember in wrestling this year.
Here’s Bischoff to introduce HHH for his big surprise. The surprise is a live feed from San Antonio so HHH can talk to Shawn. They’re cool at the moment and it seems that the Pedigree is forgotten. We get to hear them make up on air until HHH finally gets to the point by asking if Shawn remembers anything.
That’s a big negative so HHH promises to find out who did it. We have a break in the case though: the Greensboro police have sent Shawn some security footage, which he hasn’t actually watched yet. We see the video, it’s really blurry, Shawn enhances it, and it’s HHH. I mean, you could see that before it was enhanced but let’s stretch this out even longer. HHH admits it (well he kind of had to) and apparently his motive was to show that Shawn needed HHH’s protection. From HHH you mean?
Anyway the doctors have told Shawn that he’ll make a 100% recovery. Say by….Summerslam? HHH: “What are you going to do? Talk me to death?” Shawn wants to fight at Summerslam, even though HHH asks what happens if Shawn can’t take care of his family anymore. Michaels doesn’t really care and the fight is set for Summerslam to end the show.
Overall Rating: D-. This is a rather interesting case where I remember the ending very differently. At the time, I LOVED the idea of Shawn coming back to face HHH in a fight at Summerslam but that’s all I remember about about the segment and really the show in general. While the announcement was a good idea and came off well, almost EVERYTHING else was a mess and really kept everything from having a chance.
Before we get to the rest of this mess, let’s look at the big angle. Now keep in mind that HHH knew the whole idea throughout the show. I get the idea of wanting to put up a front but what in the world was the point of doing that if you’re going to do the big reveal just a week later? Set this up, wait a few weeks and THEN do the HHH reveal. Either that or just cut out the whole Pedigree thing from a few weeks ago. What’s the point of having HHH run around for a week and waste our time? Did he really think he was going to get away with it? I know he has delusions of grandeur but this was a stretch even for him.
That leaves us with the rest of the show, which included a battle of the ring announcers, a horrible table match, an even worse hardcore match, Minidust and finally, an absolutely unnecessary and deplorable batch of commentary during the Trish vs. Victoria match. There’s a difference between bad wrestling and a ridiculous waste of time with this one being far more of the latter than the former.
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