Monday Night Raw – February 17, 2003

Monday Night Raw
Date: February 17, 2003
Location: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s the go home Raw for No Way Out and thankfully Scott Steiner vs. HHH II doesn’t feel like it’s anywhere near the biggest thing on the show anymore. Unfortunately what is the biggest story on this show is the chance that Steve Austin will be here on Sunday, which leaves a bunch of talking and nothing to see building up to the show. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Lance Storm vs. Rob Van Dam

Warmup for Sunday’s Tag Team Title match. Storm cartwheels out of a monkey flip but gets kicked in the face for his efforts. A middle rope crossbody gives Rob two so Storm sends him into the corner for some right hands. After telling the referee that he has until five, Storm gets caught with a spinwheel kick for two more as the crowd is rather silent for this. You don’t often get that with a Van Dam match.

Storm is right back with a chinlock but Rob comes back with even more kicks for another near fall. The Maple Leaf doesn’t last long as Rob gets to the ropes and comes back (again) with kicks and Rolling Thunder. Regal tries to break up the Five Star but has to deal with Kane. The distraction lets Storm get up and try a superplex, only to be shoved down so the Five Star can finish him off.

Rating: C-. Rob didn’t seem interested in trying here as it was almost all kicks plus Rolling Thunder and the Five Star. Normally he’ll add in a little more than that for the sake of some flavor but this was pretty dull stuff. At least the right team won before we get to the title match on Sunday.

Shawn Michaels and Jeff Hardy are in the back with Shawn complaining about the airline losing his bag. Eric Bischoff comes up so they wish him luck against Austin on Sunday. That’s not cool with Eric for some reason and he threatens the two of them, saying they’ll need luck later.

Here’s Bischoff to say there’s someone here in Columbus who needs to be addressed. It’s Chief Morely, who is reinstated as Bischoff’s Chief of Staff. Bischoff doesn’t want to hear about the fans, nor does he want smiles from Shawn and Hardy. Actually, let’s just have Shawn and Jeff team up to face Chris Jericho and Christian in a No DQ match.

As for the Dudleyz, they’ve been suspended and thrown out of the building. We see a clip of them being thrown out so Bischoff makes Spike vs. 3 Minute Warning and Rico. Finally, Bischoff brags about his martial arts skills and wants to showcase them a bit. Therefore, tonight it’s Bischoff vs. STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN……..’s best friend Jim Ross! You can hear the crowd die as soon as he said best friend and with good reason.

This is more of the same story we’ve been seeing: Bischoff and Morely being all evil and messing with the same people while Austin will certainly be here one day. Last week Vince did various things to Bischoff and now we’re right back where we were Vince showed up last week. Why would I want to keep watching if they keep bringing us back to this same point over and over again?

Steven Richards tries to get Victoria to talk to Jazz before their tag match. They finally do talk, but Jazz just threatens to take the title.

Jazz/Victoria vs. Molly Holly/Jacqueline

Jazz drops Molly in a hurry so it’s off to Victoria, who gets small packaged for two. Victoria starts choking as Lawler mocks Molly’s attire (it’s not the best, basically pants and a regular top). The slingshot legdrop is loaded up but Jazz tags herself in before Victoria can use it, much to the champ’s chagrin. A splash misses though and it’s off to Jackie to clean house. Jazz sends her into Victoria though and finishes with a DDT.

Rating: D. Just like earlier, the crowd completely died for this one as Jazz and Jackie may be tough but she’s not interesting. Molly is talented but doesn’t have charisma, leaving Victoria who is crazy and gets your attention but is a heel, leaving no one for the fans to care about in the whole thing.

Jazz beats on Molly as well and has the staredown with Victoria to a grand non-reaction.

We look back at Goldust being electrocuted.

Booker T. says Goldust will be back in a few weeks but he’s having neurological issues and isn’t right. As for tonight though, Booker is ready to fight Batista and Randy Orton for making fun of Goldust’s condition.

Evolution makes fun of Goldust and preps for the tag match tonight.

JR and King mention the passing of Mr. Perfect and we get the video tribute. Thankfully they include Perfect doing all the sports, which he really could do…..if the camera wasn’t on. Apparently he would mess up while the cameras were on so the director kept having to lie about them being off so he could do them right.

Here’s Teddy Long with the debuting Rodney Mack, who used to be known as Red Dawg on Smackdown. It seems that Long has gotten rid of D’Lo Brown for not being able to handle the man. Tonight it’s Mack vs. Al Snow. Teddy: “Did I say Snow? It don’t get no whiter than that!” See, Snow has the same chance tonight as a black man ever has of being President.

Rodney Mack vs. Al Snow

Snow charges in and gets stomped down as Teddy preaches the virtues of backing the Mack. The Snow Plow connects but Al goes up for a moonsault for no apparent reason, only to hit knees. A double underhook driver/powerbomb (imagine a double arm DDT but Mack pushed him forward a bit and let him go so the back of Snow’s head crashed to the mat) gives Mack the pin.

Jericho and Christian have a discussion about screaming girls and sexy beasts. A surprise is promised for Shawn. Jericho swats his gum away ala Mr. Perfect because Jericho is cool like that.

Shawn Michaels/Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Jericho/Christian

No DQ and Lillian sounds like she’s in a tunnel for the entrances. Shawn is in street clothes due to the airline losing his bag but he’s able to crotch Christian against the post to start. The announcers try to figure out Jeff’s heel turn, even though it doesn’t seem to actually exist anymore.

Jeff gets dropped in the ring though, leaving Shawn to take a double teaming on the floor. That’s not all though as Shawn gets handcuffed to the bottom rope rung, making this a handicap match, complete with tags because agents don’t understand No DQ matches. Christian chokes away with the boot and cuts off Hardy’s comeback with the reverse DDT.

Jericho decides to taunt Shawn with the key before ripping Shawn’s shirt off and whipping his chest with a belt. A quick Whisper in the Wind drops Christian though and Jeff gives Shawn the key. Jericho eats a superkick and Christian gets slammed off the top, followed by a good looking dive. Now Jericho comes back in with a chair, only to have it superkicked into his face. The Swanton finishes Jericho.

Rating: C. We’re building to Shawn vs. Jericho so Chris gets pinned in this match when Christian is RIGHT THERE? And for what? The sake of pushing Hardy, who doesn’t even have a pay per view match at the moment? Then again Jericho is facing Test of all people at No Way Out so I have no idea what they’re thinking at this point.

Jericho flips out in the back and wants Hardy, who hasn’t won a match in four months. Two actually but I think the point stands.

Hurricane vs. Christopher Nowinski

During Hurricane’s entrance, we see Bischoff’s announcement about facing JR. Did they really have to get that in again? The fans think Harvard suck but barely react when Hurricane catches him with a clothesline. Hurricane sends him to the floor for a slingshot hurricanrana as Lawler tries to explain that Nowinski was so popular at Harvard that no one liked him. Back in and they trade rollups until Hurricane misses the Blockbuster. A modified spinebuster gives Nowinski two but the Eye of the Hurricane puts him away.

Rating: D. These are the kind of guys who could benefit from having the Intercontinental Title around. Not that they would be champion or even serious contenders for it, but you could buy them as trying to get into the title hunt. No one is going to buy them as World Title contenders though, making this nothing more than filler otherwise. A midcard title is a conceivable goal for someone like Hurricane but without it, he’s just kind of there for random matches like this one.

Morely makes fun of JR (how original) while Bischoff warms up. They’re ready to see Spike Dudley get beaten up.

Spike Dudley vs. Rico/3 Minute Warning

There’s nothing to say here: Spike gets beaten up for three and a half minutes with every single move you would expect from these three. A splash from Jamal lets Rico get the pin (while grabbing tights). This is a thing that happened and we’re moving on.

No Way Out rundown.

Scott Steiner gives a shockingly normal interview about Sunday. HHH says he’s the best but he couldn’t beat Steiner so Steiner must be the best. He’ll prove it on Sunday when he wins the title. Booker comes up to exchange catchphrases.

Scott Steiner/Booker T. vs. HHH/Batista

Booker throws HHH (with his taped thigh) around to start and gets two off a backdrop. The jumping knee drops Booker though and it’s off to Batista for some clubbing forearms. Steiner comes in and glares at HHH but stops to go after Flair, allowing HHH to jump him from behind.

Orton gets in a few cheap shots on the floor, sending JR into a funny rant about how long Orton has been on the shelf with a shoulder injury. Back in and Steiner has to fight out of the sleeper for the hot tag to Booker so house can be cleaned. Everything breaks down and Steiner beats up Evolution, leaving Booker to ax kick HHH for the surprise pin.

Rating: D. Nothing to see here but it’s nice that they’re not even trying to hide the fact that Steiner is DONE in the main event and Sunday is just a formality. Booker seems to be the next challenger for the title, which would have been better a few months ago but at least it seems to be happening.

Bischoff comes out for the match with JR but first he has to beat up some boards and watermelons.

Eric Bischoff vs. Jim Ross

Coach is on commentary. Eric makes it no holds barred and does the Karate Kid pose so JR hits him in the face, drawing in Morely for the beatdown. Morely puts a cinder block next to JR’s head for the big kick and JR is out. Cue Lawler for the save attempt but Morely beats him down, leaving Bischoff to pin the bloody JR with a kick.

Rating: F. This wasn’t a match and that’s about what was expected. I know Bischoff is all cocky because he has Val Venis in his corner and knows karate but this is reaching a pretty low point in stupid evil boss history. At least Vince would hire a big name or some monster to fight for him. Morely isn’t enough and it’s not exactly a secret.

Bischoff drinks beer in Austin fashion to end the show.

Overall Rating: D. Raw is in big trouble at the moment and I’m not sure if Austin is the solution. To be fair though, a lot of the problem is talking about Austin all the time despite him never showing up on TV. This show was a lot of filler and a lot of Bischoff and that really doesn’t make for a good two hours. Another lame show this week but now it’s just directionless and boring instead of horrible and I guess that’s a step up (I think?).

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