The SmarK Rant for WWF Monday Night RAW–01.17.00

The SmarK Rant for WWF Monday Night RAW – 01.17.00

It’s Martin Luther King Day! Don’t tell Hulk Hogan. Not a holiday in Canada, of course, because we’re all unified as the same shade of blue from the freezing winter temperatures.

Anyway, it is a giant understatement to say that all hell was breaking loose in WCW at this point, specifically the night before at Souled Out, and this is the last show before what we think of as “WWF 2000” begins for real as a result.

LIVE from New Haven, CT, drawing a sellout 7924.

Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler

Cactus Jack makes his return to RAW (again), and shows us footage from 1997 when he made his original return against HHH at MSG, which explains why they didn’t show that footage on Smackdown. Anyway, Jack is sick of being a nice guy and taking punishment as Mankind all year. Someday Mankind will return and make everyone laugh again, but that won’t be at the Rumble. Actually, I don’t think Mankind ever did return. Every appearance after his retirement was as Mick Foley, wasn’t it? Anyway, once he laces up the leopard skin boots, he’ll kick HHH’s pansy ass with them. But tonight, he wants a little piece, if HHH has the testicular fortitude. So HHH indeed comes out to respond, and he promises that no matter how evil Cactus might be, he’s going to reach down and be JUST a bit more evil and sadistic. And he knows another secret: Cactus Jack might be a son of a bitch, but Mick Foley hates Cactus and might even be a bit afraid of him. On the other hand, when HHH gets to that level, he LOVES EVERY DAMN SECOND OF IT. HHH then agrees to face Jack tonight, but invites some other guests to the party, which brings out D-X for a beatdown. “THIS ISN’T A PARTY AT ALL!” declares JR. No kidding. Rock comes out to save, but Big Show lays him out and throws him into the crowd, and then makes the damn save himself and clears the ring before the Acolytes storm out and take out the Outlaws while Jack and HHH brawl into the crowd.

Holy HELL what an opening promo. No way they’re topping that HHH promo. Talk about stepping up your game at the top!

WWF Hardcore title: Big Bosman v. Test

They immediately fight into the crowd and head backstage through the tunnel, as Bossman smashes a light with his nightstick, possibly to disguise an edit. So they quickly wind up in the bathroom and Test runs him into the stall doors, giving us a poop joke, before Bossman lowers a gate on Test to choke him out, and that gets two. Why raise the door before making the cover? Back to ringside, as Bossman finds a garbage can and beats on Test with that, and then Albert runs down and Bossman turns on him as well. Test is bleeding from the nose from somewhere earlier in the match, by the way. So back in the ring, Albert and Test team up to beat on Bossman, but Test dumps Albert, wallops Bossman with the nightstick, and goes up to drop a flying nightstick elbow to win the title at 4:00. Astonishingly, the Test & Albert stuff would actually go somewhere. Fun little match. **

Meanwhile, HHH is FIRED UP, and books Outlaws v. Rock & Big Show, and then himself & X-Pac v. Acolytes. X-Pac is like “The Acolytes AGAIN?” but HHH once again wants trust.

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HHH actually has a lot in common with Jax.

D-Lo Brown & Godfather v. Edge & Christian

D-Lo slugs on Christian to start, but Christian gets a dropkick and Edge comes in with a leg lariat. Then the Godfather gets the heat on Edge for a bit and goes up with a pump splash that misses by a mile, and over to Christian with a clothesline on D-Lo for two. Edge spears Godfather as everyone brawls, but a ho gets involved and gently bumped off the apron as a result, and Edge goes to check on her, leading to D-Lo hitting the powerbomb on Christian for the pin at 3:50. Godfather is so grateful that he offers Edge the women for his personal pleasure, but he begs off because he’s engaged. Boy, a couple of years later that would SOOOOOO not be the play Edge makes. ½*

Meanwhile, Bossman has had enough of Albert’s shit and beats the hell out of him backstage, which results in Albert accidentally falling into Tori’s dressing room and seeing boobies. That’s not gonna go well for him. Tori stumbles into Stephanie’s office and can barely get out “Prince Albert” before Stephanie sarcastically goes “Yeah, I got it, Prince Albert and Kane, whatever you want.”

Kurt Angle v. Steve Blackman

Blackman stomps Angle down to start, but Kurt fires back with a belly to belly and slugs away in the corner. They clothesline each other and Blackman makes the comeback and clotheslines him to the floor, but Angle runs him into the post, at which point British Bulldog returns from wherever the fuck he’s been, hits Blackman with the stick, and Angle gets the pin at 2:24. This Sunday, however, Angle faces a mystery opponent. Nothing to this one, and a Bulldog run-in finish makes it even less. ½*

Meanwhile, Big Show is sick of being called a jabroni, and he’s gonna win the Rumble and go to Wrestlemania.

Jerry Lawler interviews the Miss Royal Rumble swimsuit competitors, including Terri, Kat, BB, Luna and Ivory. They all promise to win, but Ivory calls everyone a bunch of perverts and a brawl erupts. The whole thing of course ended up being a ridiculous bait and switch, but it’s actually interesting that Ivory’s character shift to the RTC stuff in 2001 was an extension of her original character. Anyway, the ring is cleared and then Mae Young comes out and decides to strip, which quickly brings out Mark Henry and Moolah to cover her up.

The Acolytes v. HHH & X-Pac

They immediately brawl and Bradshaw beats on HHH into the crowd while X-Pac chokes out Faarooq in the ring. Bradshaw heads back in and the Acolytes double-team him, but X-Pac fights back with spinkicks until Faarooq puts him down with a clothesline. Bradshaw misses a charge and X-Pac gives him more spinkicks, but goes up and gets caught in a slam. Lariat misses and X-Pac finally brings HHH in for a bizarre heel hot tag, but Faarooq gets a spinebuster and the Outlaws run in for the DQ at 3:55. Hell of a plan there, D-X. That’s right up there with HHH’s usual “Hit the guy with the sledgehammer” level of planning. Also, he couldn’t just tell X-Pac that before the match? “Yeah, if we get in trouble, the Outlaws are gonna run in for the DQ”. How hard is THAT? Nothing to this one, either. ½*

Meanwhile, Dr. Lloyd Youngblood updates us on Steve Austin’s neck surgery, which went well and should provide a full recovery soon! Well, until he wrecks his neck again and gets forced into retirement for good a few years later. But that’s a problem for Future Steve.

Meanwhile, D-X celebrates their brilliant plan where they had two guys run in for the DQ and declare the Acolytes to be SOFTENED UP! Officially.

Meanwhile, finally the Rock has come back to New Haven, and he’s anxiously awaiting Austin to make his return so he can whoop his ass again. Kevin Kelly asks if he wants to retract his previous statement about Show being a jabroni, and Rock clarifies: He’s actually a seven foot stinking pile of steaming monkey crap. Good to know. Rock says that Show should stand on the apron and do the one thing he’s good at. Which is of course making the chokeslam motion and yelling like a brain damaged caveman. You know the bit I’m talking about. Kevin Kelly nearly breaks on-screen but pulls it together as Rock wraps it up.

Bubba Dudley v. Jeff Hardy

Jeff gets the Whisper in the Wind right away and follows with a bulldog out of the corner for two, and Bubba bails, so Jeff FLIES at him with a dive and they head back in. Jeff tries a rana and Bubba powerbombs him to get the heat. He throws chops in the corner and follows with a backdrop, but Jeff takes him down with a flying headscissors. Bubba with the Bubba Bomb, but Terri gets involved, so D-Von goes after her and then drops Matt on the stairs. Bubba goes up with senton, but misses, and Jeff hits a neckbreaker and finishes with the swanton at 2:45. D-Von comes in for the beatdown and 3D on both Hardyz, and for the first time ever they get the tables. They put Jeff on the table and then powerbomb Matt through him, and Bubba gets the look on his face for the first time. To say that paid off big right away would be a massive understatement. Jeff was working a million miles an hour and this was really good. ***

Coming January 30: Halftime Heat 2! Yeah, that ended up being nothing.

Intercontinental title: Chris Jericho v. Rikishi

The storyline of the match is that Jericho literally has no chance to win and is going to get squashed, and in fact was stupid for even taking the match. So Rikishi indeed destroys Jericho in short order and drops the leg on him for two, but Jericho wipes out the ref by accident and then everyone else involved in the title scene runs in and Rikishi destroys all of them until the ref finally wakes up and calls for the DQ at 3:30. DUD So at some point Hardcore Holly got added to the title match at the PPV and this shitty angle made everyone involved in that match look like a bunch of geeks with a capital G. Luckily the show after the Rumble was basically a reset anyway.

Meanwhile, Cactus tries to broker peace between Show and Rock, but Show is tired of being called a jabroni. I mean, if you think about it, Show was completely correct in all his beefs. He didn’t get a rematch for his title and got passed over for the Rock, and Rock treated him like shit and insulted him constantly, and then screwed him over at the Rumble. But it’s the Rock and he’s awesome so it doesn’t matter.

Kane v. Prince Albert

Kane of course beats the piercings out of Albert in the corner, but Albert hits him with a pump kick and clotheslines him to the floor. Kane no-sells it and necks him on the top rope, then comes in with a flying clothesline and kills him dead with a chokeslam at 1:14. Then Albert cuts a promo on the way out, saying that Kane likes to dominated by a woman, and so does he. So there you go, that’s gotta be the setup for Trish Stratus.

Meanwhile, Cactus offers advice to the Rock, who sarcastically thanks him and blows him off.

The New Age Outlaws v. Big Show & Rock

Big Show brawls with his partner right away and then just stands on the floor watching while he gets double-teamed. Rock fights back with a neckbreaker on Billy for two, but the Outlaws haul him outside for more abuse. Rock makes his own comeback and runs Gunn into the post, but Dogg cuts him off again and gets two in the ring. Rock with a Rock Bottom on Dogg for two and JR is like “Show should be standing on that apron to get the tag!” Why? HHH forced him into the match and Rock is being a dickhead anyway. Wasn’t the entire point of the walkout that the guys wouldn’t have to deal with this kind of shit anymore? Billy hits Rock with a jackhammer for two, and Dogg tosses Rock so that Show can beat on his partner some more. Back in, Dogg gets two, but Rock comes back again and counters the fameasser, but then Show just comes in and beats on the Outlaws. Rock grabs a chair and turns on Show with it, and Gunn gets the pin on Show at 6:12. HE’S NOT EVEN THE LEGAL MAN! If we can’t have sanctity for the rules of pro wrestling, what do we have? NOTHING. **1/2

Anyway, overall this was a REALLY interesting show, as a lot of it seemed like nothing matches on the surface, but it set up big stuff shortly down the road that we didn’t realize at the time. Rock, though…what a DICK.