The SmarK Rant for WWF Monday Night RAW–01.03.00

The SmarK Rant for WWF Monday Night RAW – 01.03.00

OK, let’s kick off the greatest (and still most profitable!) year in WWF history as we hit THE YEAR 2000!

Actually, if we get far enough into this year, we bump into the time when I started doing RAW reviews for CBS Sportsline and other sites. Around March we get to the point when I was doing Smackdown. How old does THAT make you feel?

Live from Miami, FL, drawing 9272.

Your hosts are JR & King.

And who else but The Rock to start out the show in Miami? Apparently his book “The Rock Says” is out at this point, although it was nowhere near the quality of Foley’s book and didn’t sell particularly well either. It really came off as the usual ghost-written WWF pap. Rock does his first “Finally the Rock has come back…home” introduction and talks about nothing but still comes off as the biggest star in the world. Rock’s resolution for the new year is being WWF champion again, but that can wait. For the moment, he’s got a problem with HHH and the way Mick Foley was fired from the WWF. So if HHH has “an ounce of hair on his ass” he’ll come out and receive the Brahma Bull’s horns up his ass sideways. I mean, if I was HHH, I wouldn’t take that deal. Also, I’m pretty sure he’s mooned people enough in his career to know that he doesn’t have any hair on his ass. Moving on. HHH comes out to answer and busts on Rock’s old lady jacket (OK, that was funny) and he’d just love to beat on Rock and leave him laying in his own blood, but he’s busy tonight. In fact, he’s facing the Big Show for the title tonight. Neat touch I never noticed before: HHH was wearing a wedding ring at this point. Anyway, HHH is a generous booker who knows Rock likes to make history. So tonight Rock faces 3 unnamed people in the FIRST EVER handicap You’re Fired match. And if anyone interferes, they too will be fired. So then Rock waits a few beats, respectfully asks “The Rock is just wondering who his opponents are” and then when HHH goes to answer, hits him with “IT DOESN’T MATTER WHO THE OPPONENTS ARE.” Oh man, he even got me with that one 19 years later. That whole joke was just masterfully built. Hot take: HHH and Rock have some crazy chemistry together. Anyway, it’s of course the other 3 members of D-X who he’s facing, and they head out to beat him down and end the segment. Amazing opening.

Too Cool v. The Dudley Boyz

Sexay quickly hits the Stroke on D-Von and Scotty comes in for the double elbow and quickly hits the Worm, which is slowly getting a bigger reaction but doesn’t have the crowd interaction yet. Bubba comes in and hammers Scotty down, but Scotty gets a middle rope clothesline and gets a hot tag to Sexay, who hits a double DDT on both Dudleys and gets two on D-Von. At this the Mean Street Posse go after Rikishi and the Acolytes chase them off, allowing Scotty to break up the Whazzup and everyone just runs in for the DQ at 3:20. And then we dance. Surprisingly bad match, with a dead crowd. Not surprising since none of the teams involved was going anywhere at this specific moment anyway. ½*

Meanwhile, HHH informs Blackman that if he hits Kane with the kendo stick during Kane’s match with Kurt Angle, then Blackman is fired. Stephanie is none too happy with this, but HHH’s other resolution is to end Angle’s winning streak.

Kane v. Kurt Angle

Angle admits that Kane certainly has intensity, but is obviously lacking in integrity and certainly lacking in intelligence. Well, given Kane’s a politician now, the integrity problem is a given. Kane pounds on Angle in the corner but misses an elbow, and Angle goes up, but lands in a chokeslam. This brings out Blackman with the kendo stick, but instead of hitting Kane, he hits Angle, so Kurt wins by DQ at 2:30 and Blackman has lived up to his word. OK, that was pretty clever. Nothing much to the match. *1/2

Stephanie McMahon is out to solve the Intercontinental title controversy, so we recap the match from Smackdown where Jericho had to “forget” to lift his shoulder on the suplex spot like a complete idiot. So this gives us the moronic “co-champions” ruling, where they’re both champions and if either one loses, then they lose the title. And then Hardcore Holly wants a title shot, so Chyna defends against him right now.

Co-Intercontinental title: Chyna v. Hardcore Holly

Chyna stomps away in the corner and hits the handspring elbow into a DDT for two while a disgusted Jericho rightly points out that the champion is supposed to retain on a draw. Holly hits the DROPKICK OF DOOM and clotheslines her to the floor. Chyna does a sad sunset flip back into the ring and Holly blocks it with a cradle, but the ref is busy with Crash Holly and that allows Jericho to push them over and allow Chyna to “retain” at 1:55. DEATH. This storyline was DEATH. ½*

Meanwhile, HHH informs Bossman and Albert that tonight, Test gets tag team partners. Bossman doesn’t care and aggressively spins his nightstick to prove the point.

WWF title: The Big Show v. HHH

HHH sends the goons back to the dressing room to prove a point. This is, by the way, finally the debut of the water-spit at the end of the entrance, although Show attacks him before he can finish. Hope he doesn’t get blue balls now. Show pounds on him with elbows and drops an elbow for two, and the crowd is shockingly quiet. They fight to the floor and Show clubs on him out there, but HHH sends him into the crowd. Show biels him over the railing for a nice bump, but HHH whips him into the stairs and runs him into the table as the crowd remains really dead for some reason. Kind of surprising because HHH was legit a red hot heel at this point and the previous week’s match between them did a lot to get Show over as a sympathetic babyface. Back in the ring, HHH with a facebuster and he USES THE KNEE for two. HHH slugs away, but Show comes back with a headbutt and a sideslam for two. Powerslam gets two. Blind charge misses, but Show recovers with a chokeslam and that gets two. Show goes up and misses an elbow, but he backdrops out of the Pedigree as D-X decides to run in after all. The ref stares them down, but HHH goes low behind his back and KICK WHAM PEDIGREE wins the WWF title at 7:05, as they FINALLY get him over as the top guy after six painful months of trying over and over. No argument that he should have won here, but it was kind of silly that the ref was literally looking right at the Titantron showing the match and completely ignored HHH’s low blow. **1/2 We get the big pyro and balloon celebration, which made the title win seem like a huge deal. Which it was.

Test & Mae Young & Fabulous Moolah v. Big Bossman & Prince Albert

That joke was a pretty obvious payoff. So Test resignedly goes it alone and attacks Bossman in the corner, then calls in Mae for a broncobuster, but Albert immediately pulls her off and stomps her down. The heels beat on Test’s nose and double-team him, but Test makes a comeback and goes up, only for Bossman to knock him down and Albert to finish at 1:44. Given there was literally no payoff to Test losing like a geek for months on end, I’m still mystified as to what the point was supposed to be.

Meanwhile, the celebration is on in the D-X locker room, while Big Show walks out.

The Acolytes v. The Mean Street Posse

So the Acolytes have to wrestle one-handed because they said they could do so earlier and HHH interpreted that literally. And the Dudleyz run in for the DQ at 0:30 so the stip means absolutely nothing. And again, a reminder that the Acolytes are getting the tag title shot at the Royal Rumble!

And now, D-X presents “Have a Bad Day”, with Dennis Knight playing Mick Foley trying to find a job after wrestling. Sadly, unemployment agent Harry Sack (played by HHH) is unable to find him a job because he’s basically a muppet who walks around with a damn sock on his hand. Mankind: “It’s in my pants!” This was a pretty funny impression from Phineas.

Cage match: Al Snow v. Jeff Hardy

So Snow gets another shot at taking out Jeff. Snow takes out Jeff via a cage door shot right away and then throws Terri in there and locks the door. I’d say she could just squeeze through the gap between the fence pieces, but unfortunately her boobs add another 8 inches to her profile. Snow beats on Jeff in the corner and runs him into the cage while Terri hides in the corner. Snow tries to Pillmanize the ankle, but Terri makes the save and Jeff comes back and dropkicks the chair into Snow’s face. He climbs to the top and Snow cuts him off with a Diamond Cutter of sorts from the top of the cage and beats on him with the chair. JR notes that the match can only be won by pin, submission or escape, but the ref is locked out so I have no idea how that is supposed to work. Jeff makes the comeback with the crowd still dead and tries to climb out again. Snow cuts him off, but Jeff climbs his back and launches himself over the top for the win at 6:46. You’d think this would be a bunch of crazy shit from Jeff, but NOPE. ** I have no idea what the point of Terri being in the cage for the entire match was supposed to be.

Meanwhile, the Have a Bad Day story continues as Mankind visits a children’s hospital and meets Dr. Hung Lo, who does karate on him. They should have quit while they were ahead with this joke, to say the least.

Meanwhile, the Stooges hang out with the Rock backstage and lament his inevitable firing tonight. Rock’s like “Who let you two into my locker room anyway?”

Meanwhile, it’s another round of Mankind’s life after wrestling, as no one shows up for his book signing and the bookstore owner beats him up for running his business. OK, they DEFINITELY should have stopped after the first skit.

Meanwhile, DX decides that they’re going to make Rock suffer tonight, but Rock bursts into the dressing room and beats up the Outlaws. X-Pac: “Nice security, jerks!”

The Rock v. X-Pac, Billy Gunn & Road Dogg

I’m sure you can all see the finish of this one coming on a billboard 8 miles away but I’m sure Rock will make it work anyway. HHH of course “reminds” us that it’s no-DQ, and Rock quickly attacks and gets beaten up on the floor as a result. JR wonders who would be stupid enough to interfere and get fired. I know someone stupid enough. STUPID LIKE A FOX. So they triple-team Rock on the floor but he fights back and throws Dogg into the stairs and crotches X-Pac on the post, but Gunn cuts him off again and drops him on the railing. Back in, the Outlaws do their stuff and X-Pac hits a spinkick on Rock for two and they continue stomping him down. But I mean, seriously, does ANYONE believe he’s losing this match, even three-on-one against the top heels? Dogg hauls him out for a suplex on the floor, but Rock blocks it, and X-Pac nails him from behind to cut off the comeback again. Rock fights back alone again, but the Outlaws beat him down behind the announce desk and haul him back into the ring and JR is SURE Rock is getting fired in his hometown. And then Rock makes the comeback with a DDT on the Outlaws and spinebuster on Dogg to set up the People’s Elbow for two, as Gunn takes the ref. Broncobuster from X-Pac, but Mick Foley runs out of the crowd, hits D-X with a chair and then knocks out HHH for good measure, and Rock Bottom finishes Gunn at 9:16. Rock could literally do no wrong at this point. ***

Not exactly an all time classic episode, but the pieces are really starting to move into place now for the explosion of awesome at the Rumble.