The big news coming out of Backlash one night earlier was that The Rock became the WWF Champion for the fourth time when he defeated Triple H in a thrilling main event match. Rock didn’t do it alone because he got some help from Steve Austin, who saved Rock from Triple H and the McMahon family making things difficult. It was one of the most thrilling main event matches ever. The Rock’s feud with Triple H continued as they headed into the month of May on the road to Judgment Day, which was three weeks away.
The synopsis for this episode on WWE Network is: “The Rock defends his WWE Championship against Shane McMahon in a Steel Cage main event. Plus, Chris Jericho, Triple H, and more!”
Check out my website TJRWrestling.net for reviews of all the current WWE shows like Raw, Smackdown and PPV Previews/Reviews as well. We also have our WWF TV in 2000 archives in case you missed anything from earlier in the year. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport and tweet me to talk about this show or anything else. Let’s get to it.
WWF Raw #362
May 1, 2000
From the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland
This edition of Raw is rated TV-14 with the dreaded “S” for Sexual Content.
The pyro went off in the arena, there were signs all over the place and it was a packed house in Baltimore. The announce team of Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler welcomed us to the show.
Edge & Christian made their entrances by walking down the aisle and they joined the commentary team for this next match. They were the WWF Tag Team Champions.
There was a huge pop for the Dudley Boyz since they are now a face tag team. Bubba put Trish through a table with a Powerbomb at Backlash, so images were shown of that. They face T&A in a rematch from Backlash…but there’s no Trish Stratus due to selling the injury. That’s a shame.
The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley) vs. Test & Albert
Pre-match notes: The Dudleys were faces that were gaining popularity by week while T&A were heels.
Albert dumped Bubba out of the ring. Albert splashed D-Von and Test kicked D-Von down. Lawler asked if E&C had any more insider lingo, so Christian said they are going to “shoot” with us. D-Von hit a running shoulder tackle on Test. Bubba worked over Test with chops with Edge saying they’ll probably do a run-in again. Bubba hit a clothesline off the middle ropes on Test. The fans chanted “tables” for the Dudleys as Bubba hit a suplex on Test. D-Von hit the headbutt to the groin of Test after the ref was distracted by Albert. Edge said that the tables chant sickened him. Test and Albert hit a double team slam on Bubba. Albert with a shoulder tackle on Bubba. Test with a boot to the face of Albert. Bubba avoided a corner charge from Albert and Bubba hit a cutter to take him down. D-Von got the tag, punches for the heels followed by a forearm to the back of Test’s head and an elbow for Albert. The Dudleys hit a double team neckbreaker. The Dudleys hit a 3D on Test, so Edge said: “I think that’s our cue.” Edge went on the apron, Albert pulled Bubba out of the ring and Christian hit D-Von with the Unprettier, which the referee didn’t see. Christian put Test on D-Von and that gave the pinfall win to T&A at 4:49.
Winners by pinfall: Test & Albert
Analysis: *1/4 It was okay, but a bit boring too. Edge and Christian were hilarious on commentary while doing their usual routine of saying they are going to do a run-in. It was the start of E&C’s feud with the Dudleys. It’s tough to watch T&A matches without Trish because then I have to pay attention to Test and Albert, who were boring.
The McMahon-Helmsley regime were shown walking backstage because they were up next.
Let’s Hear from the McMahon-Helmsley Regime
The music of the former WWF Champion Triple H hit as Hunter walked out with Women’s Champion Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley, Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, X-Pac, Tori, Road Dogg, Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco. Triple H had his left arm in a sling. They were greeted with “Asshole” chants before they could say a word.
Hunter started off saying he’s sure that all of the fans are jubilant over the fact that Hunter isn’t the WWF Champion, which led to cheers from the crowd and “Rocky” chants. Hunter said that he’s sure that The Rock is just ecstatic and he should be because he is the WWF Champion. Hunter said that more importantly than that, Rock beat the best to become the champion. Hunter claimed that Rock isn’t quite as happy as you think and the reason for that is because Rock’s an honest man. Hunter pointed out that Rock could not get the job done by himself. Hunter said that although Rock did win, it was not just Rock that beat him leading to another “Asshole” chant. Hunter said it took The Rock, it took Stone Cold Steve Austin (huge pop), it took Linda McMahon and it took that little piece of crap Earl Hebner to screw Hunter out of being in the WWF Champion.
Hunter said that he knows that Rock isn’t proud of his victory, but he will do him a favor. Hunter told Rock to enjoy it, shine up that belt and revel in the fact that you are the champion. Hunter told Rock to enjoy the adulation of his people because he’s on borrowed time. Hunter said separated shoulder or arm in a sling, it does not matter because he will kick Rock’s ass and take back the WWF Championship. Hunter said one last thing and he called out JR. Hunter said he heard JR’s commentary, he said that JR is the best at what he does, but he made a mistake when JR repeated “Game Over” again and again That led to cheers from the crowd. Hunter said that JR was wrong. Hunter said that the game is not over, the game is just beginning.
Analysis: It was a fine angry man promo from Hunter. It was a bit long as usual from him, but he got his points across. Hunter used his deep wrestler voice for most of it.
Stephanie was handed the microphone, so fans chanted “slut” at her. She said she’s never been more proud of her husband or her family while adding that Hunter proved he is The Game. Fans chanted “she’s a crack whore” at Stephanie. Stephanie said that her husband isn’t a common man because he fought with a separated shoulder. Stephanie said that she loves her husband and her family.
Analysis: Waste of time. Move along. I know they liked to have Stephanie talk to give her more experience doing promos, but sometimes it was just pointless.
Vince yelled “shut up” when the crowd was booing him. Vince said that Austin is not scheduled to be there, but if he shows up…and fans chanted “Austin” after Vince mentioned him. Vince threatened Austin about coming there and said what would happen would be nothing like a hit and run. Vince moved on talking about his wife Linda reinstating referee Earl Hebner. Vince claimed he is not a violent man, he said Linda has led a charmed life being married to him and he’s never hurt a hair on her head. Vince said that if Linda shows up tonight, he referenced Triple H nearly giving Linda a Pedigree, but then he stopped – he said that’s Triple H, not him. JR was appalled by that. Vince noted that referee Earl Hebner has reported to duty here in Baltimore.
Vince had another guarantee here tonight for when the WWF Champion The Rock shows up here in Baltimore. Vince said that WWF history will be made here tonight with The Rock and it will be made tonight inside that steel cage. A steel cage was above the ring and Vince’s music played to end it.
Analysis: It was classic heel Vince with his facial expressions, egging on the crowd and then setting up a match for later.
There was a shot of the parking lot with Crash Holly driving up to the arena. The guy in the parking lot attacked Crash with a punch to the back and he tossed him into concrete. A referee (Teddy Long) showed up to count the two count, but Crash kicked out. Crash put the guy in the trunk of the car and took off.
Too Cool (Scotty 2 Hotty and Grandmaster Sexay) vs. The Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff Hardy)
Pre-match notes: Both teams were faces. Sexay missed about one month after minor knee surgery, so this was his TV return.
Scotty hit a belly to back suplex on Matt followed by Sexay tagging in for a double team elbow. Matt came back with a Tornado DDT out of the corner. Jeff tagged in with Sexay hitting a full nelson into a facebuster. Jeff came back with a springboard moonsault for two. Scotty tagged back in with a flipping leg drop to Jeff’s back. Scotty hit a bulldog off the ropes, he wanted the Worm, but Matt made a blind tag and hit a neckbreaker. Matt dropped Scotty throat first onto the top rope. Matt and Jeff did their double team leg drop on Scotty for two. Scotty with a stun gun that sent Jeff throat first into the top rope. Sexay and Matt tagged in with two bodyslams by Sexay and a double bulldog on both Hardys off the turnbuckle. Cool spot. Jeff hit the Poetry in Motion attack against the turnbuckle on Sexay. Scotty went back in, Jeff hit a plancha over the top to take out Sexay on the floor. Scotty with the bulldog on Matt followed by a huge pop as he did the W-O-R-M on Matt with the chop. Jeff went back in, Matt hit a Twist of Fate on Scotty and Sexay shoved Matt into the ropes to knock Jeff off the top. Sexay kicked Matt in the head and covered for the pinfall win at 4:50.
Winners by pinfall: Too Cool
Analysis: **3/4 Fun match between two exciting teams that the crowd loved. The tag team division was so deep that neither of these teams would have been hurt that much with a loss, but Too Cool getting the win made sense since this was Sexay’s return. The pop for Scotty doing the WORM spot was getting louder by the week.
Post match, Too Cool did their dance routine.
Vince McMahon was shown in his office with Gerald Brisco and Pat Patterson. Vince said he wanted them to get Earl Hebner, so they left.
There was a shot of the steel cage above the ring with the announcers noting they don’t know what will happen in the cage.
Vince was back in the office with Patterson and Brisco there along with Earl Hebner. Vince told Patterson and Brisco to leave the room. Vince intimidated Earl calling him a “sniveling little shit” and asked who he thinks he is. Vince said if it wasn’t for Earl and Austin, Triple H would still be champion. Earl said he just wants his job. Vince told him to shut up. Vince told Earl to stay out of his business and told Earl that bad things happen to people who get in his business. Vince told him to get out of there.
There was a plug for five different covers of Raw magazine featuring WWF divas in bikinis.
The Kat and Jacqueline vs. Ivory and Terri
Pre-match notes: The Kat and Jackie were faces while Ivory and Terri were heels.
Jackie hit a cross body block on Ivory followed by an arm drag and a monkey flip out of the corner. Ivory with a headscissors out of the corner. Terri went into the ring with a double axe to Jackie’s back, so Kat went into the ring and tossed Terri out of the ring. Kat chased Terri up the ramp followed by a comedy roll down the ramp. Back in the ring, Ivory hit a bulldog. Jackie powered out of another bulldog attempt and Kat tagged in against Terri, who tackled Kat with a weak looking spear. Kat and Jackie whipped Terri and Ivory into eachother. That led to two counts. Kat hit a weak looking body slam on Terri and Ivory hit an elbow to Kat’s back. The referee was distracted, then Jackie hit an elbow to Terri and put Kat on top of Terri. Ivory was two feet away and did nothing to try to break it up. It went 4:04.
Winners by pinfall: The Kat and Jacqueline
Analysis: * Bad match especially while Terri and Kat were in there. Ivory and Jackie did okay. It was about two minutes longer than I expected it to go.
Vince was back in the office with Road Dogg, X-Pac, Tori and Stephanie also there. Dogg and X-Pac wanted revenge on Edge and Christian. Vince said not tonight. Vince said Dogg had a special assignment while X-Pac will defend Stephanie’s honor against Chris Jericho. Vince said he wants X-Pac to kick Jericho’s butt and X-Pac was happy with that.
They introduced Earl Hebner as the reinstated referee by the order of Linda McMahon and the fans cheered him.
X-Pac made his entrance with Tori by his side. Chris Jericho was up next with a microphone in hand. Huge pop for Jericho. I didn’t buy a lot of wrestling shirts, but I bought that Jericho shirt because I’m a Jerichoholic.
Jericho said he felt terrible for X-Pac having to defend the integrity of a woman who has absolutely none. Jericho said that as far as Stephanie McMahon goes, the word “honor” means “jump on her” and “stay on her.” Jericho spelled out H-O-N-O-R while going into his routine calling her a brutal, bottom-feeding trashbag h-o and no amount of defending will ever change that.
Analysis: Jericho turned a corner in his WWF career post WrestleMania. He was solidly the second biggest babyface in the company (after The Rock) and his popularity was growing every week.
X-Pac (w/Tori) vs. Chris Jericho
Pre-match notes: X-Pac was a heel that was part of DX while Jericho was a face. X-Pac had a big bandage on his forehead after getting cut open by the ring bell at Backlash when Christian hit him in the head. It was a hardway cut and not a blade job.
Jericho was in control early with an armdrag and a chop that led to X-Pac going to the floor. Jericho with a baseball slide dropkick. X-Pac tripped up Jericho on the top rope. Jericho knocked X-Pac down off the turnbuckle and Jericho missed a missile dropkick. X-Pac with a spin kick against the turnbuckle. Jericho with a bulldog. Tori grabbed Jericho’s leg, but it really had no effect as Jericho hit a forearm on X-Pac. Jericho hit a Double Powerbomb on X-Pac to pop the crowd followed by the Lionsault. Tori went on the apron to distract the referee, so Jericho hit Tori with a springboard dropkick off the apron. X-Pac followed up with a spin kick. X-Pac had a bloody forehead again after the bandage covering his cut came off. X-Pac hit a Bronco Buster on Jericho against the turnbuckle, Hebner made X-Pac go back and X-Pac shoved Hebner. That led to Hebner shoving X-Pac back and Hebner called for the DQ finish right there at 3:44.
Winner by disqualification: Chris Jericho
Analysis: ** It was a decent match with Jericho coming close to winning a few times, but Tori was a factor at ringside. Hebner getting involved continued the story with him having issues with the DX guys. They should have had X-Pac argue with Earl more leading to the finish, but I think they got the point across with the shoving attack.
Post match, Jericho put the Walls of Jericho on X-Pac. Road Dogg went to the ring, he hit Jericho in the back and Hebner shoved Dogg down. Other referees went down to the ring to keep Hebner and Jericho back from going after the heels.
The Rock was shown arriving to the arena.
The Rock made his entrance in his street clothes along with the WWF Championship in his hands. Huge pop for the new WWF Champion.
Let’s Hear from The Rock
The Rock soaked up the cheers as the fans chanted “Rocky” for him. It was a massive ovation for the champ. Rock started with his line: “Finally, The Rock has come back to Baltimore.” He said that finally, The Rock is the WWF Champion.
The Rock said that he made a promise and he delivered, but he’s not the only one that delivered, that man is “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. The crowd popped big for that too. Rock said he knows Austin is in Texas with a beer in one hand, beer in the other hand and living up to his word like Rock knew he would, The Rock says…“OH HELL YEAH!” The people loved that.
The Rock said that he knows Triple H and the McMahons were out there running their mouths. Rock ripped on Hunter, Vince, Shane and Stephanie while saying whatever surprises they have for The Rock, just bring it.
The McMahon Helmsley-Regime made their entrance on the stage with Vince McMahon Shane McMahon, Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, Brisco and Patterson on there. Vince said that tonight, Rock will have the shortest reign of any WWF Champion in history. Vince said that tonight inside the steel cage, Rock will defend the WWF Championship against his son…Shane. Triple H was shocked about that. Vince said that in order to spare Rock the humiliation, Shane doesn’t have to make Rock submit or pin him. Vince said all Shane had to do…and fans chanted “Shane’s A Pussy” at Shane. Vince said if you think he is, he’ll be the WWF Champion. Vince said that the winner of this WWF Championship will be the first man out of the cage and that winner and new champion will be Shane McMahon.
The Rock replied to that saying that tonight is going to be the longest night in Shane’s life…if you smell what The Rock is cooking. JR wondered about this while saying “something’s up” multiple times. They went to break there.
Analysis: Big match for later in the show. Rock’s promo was fun. I liked the shoutout to Austin and the crowd was really into everything he said. Vince showed a lot of confidence about the cage match. It was a smart way to keep viewers hooked for later to see if Shane could beat Rock.
Triple H was shown backstage with Shane McMahon with Hunter talking like he couldn’t understand this. Hunter said that’s his title and his championship. Shane said that it doesn’t matter as long as it’s in the family. Hunter said that it matters to him and he left.
Edge and Christian made their entrance as the WWF Tag Team Champions. Edge noted that ever since they’ve won those titles, going through the crowd for their entrance has become a bit much. Edge said he didn’t want their fans to think that they’ve turned their backs on them, so here’s a five-second pose for those of you with the benefit of flash photography.
Analysis: It’s the debut of the five-second pose! Classic. Of course, I had to use that as the main picture for this review.
Christian said they issued an open challenge, so if any team wants a shot at the titles, it’s their lucky day. The team of Rikishi Phatu and Big Show as Showkishi answered the challenge. Big Show had a thong like Rikishi. Show and Rikishi were a combined weight of 923 pounds, so they were a huge team whether you use their worked weight or real weight. I’m not posting a pic of that, but here’s the entrance walk.
WWF Tag Team Championships: Edge and Christian vs. Rikishi Phatu and Big Show aka Showkishi
Pre-match notes: Edge and Christian were heel Tag Team Champions while Rikishi and Show were faces.
Show with headbutts on Edge and Christian. Show hit a running clothesline on both guys. Rikishi slammed E&C’s heads into eachother. Rikishi missed a splash on Edge and Christian hit a dropkick. Edge dropkicked Show off the apron. Rikishi with a double clothesline on E&C. Clothesline from Show on Christian, Show tossed Edge across the ring and Show tossed Christian onto Edge. Show with a big boot to the face of Christian. Edge grabbed the ring bell and hit Show in the back of the head with it for the blatant DQ at 1:46.
Winners by disqualification: Rikishi Phatu and Big Show aka Showkishi (Edge and Christian were still champions)
Analysis: 1/2* That was bad, but at least it was kept short. Second straight match with a DQ finish.
Post match, Rikishi hit superkicks on Edge and Christian. Show and Rikishi each put E&C by the turnbuckles as they teased Banzai Drops, but Edge and Christian were able to escape. When E&C went up on the ramp, X-Pac and Road Dogg tossed Edge and Christian back in the ring. Referees prevented X-Pac and Dogg from going to the ring, but they had no interest in breaking up the post match attack in the ring. Rikishi and Show did a double Stinkface on Edge and Christian. Show and Rikishi did a post match dance routine. The fans loved that.
Analysis: It was a way to give the faces the advantage following a lame finish to the match.
Triple H and Stephanie were in their office. Triple H complained to her about the cage match because he claimed it’s his belt and the WWF Championship belongs to him. Stephanie said she didn’t understand what dad was doing, but maybe he wanted to see who the better man was. Hunter said “what?” and that ended it.
Essa Rios made his entrance with Lita, who was wearing Chyna’s ripped red prom dress that Lita stripped off Chyna at Backlash. Eddie entered the arena with Chyna.
European Championship: Eddie Guerrero (w/Chyna) vs. Essa Rios (w/Lita)
Pre-match notes: This was Backlash rematch. Eddie was the face champion while Rios was a heel.
Guerrero with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Rios hit a monkey flip that sent Guerrero into the ropes. Rios went up top and hit a headscissors followed by a backbreaker of his own. Rios with a hurricanrana that sent both guys over the top to the floor. Chyna hit Rios with a forearm to the face and sent Rios into the ring apron. Back in the ring, Guerrero went for a DDT out of the corner, Rios avoided it, Guerrero hit the Gory Special into a neckbreaker for the pinfall win at 2:04.
Winner by pinfall: Eddie Guerrero
Analysis: *1/2 I don’t understand the logic of giving these two good workers only two minutes and the bad women’s tag team match got over five minutes. Maybe something else ran long, I guess. Anyway, while the match was too short, it was effective in terms of turning Eddie and Chyna into faces.
Post match, Chyna hit a dropkick that knocked Rios and Lita down. Chyna ripped off the red prom dress that Lita had on (the one Chyna was wearing at Backlash) and Lita was left in her black bra and panties. Eddie and Chyna had a laugh about it.
Earl Hebner was shown getting some coffee backstage. Tori walked up to him and hit his hand so the coffee spilled on his referee shirt. She claimed she was trying to get some tea. Tori noted that accidents happen. Earl said he’s got another shirt in the locker room. Tori said she didn’t like that tea anyway. JR wondered what she meant by accidents happen.
Tazz did a promo saying he’s going to turn Chris Benoit’s frown upside down. He said Benoit can keep that bad mood because the mood is about to change. That catchphrase never really got over that well.
Intercontinental Championship: Chris Benoit vs. Tazz
Pre-match notes: Benoit was the heel Intercontinental Champion and Tazz was the face challenger.
Benoit with a suplex on Tazz with fans chanting “ECW” for this as Benoit hit a backbreaker. Tazz with a Northern Lights Suplex followed by a clothesline. Perry Saturn walked down to ringside to support his buddy Benoit. Benoit kicked Tazz in the ribs and hit a Fisherman’s Suplex (Perfectplex) on Tazz for the pinfall win at 1:22.
Winner by pinfall: Chris Benoit
Analysis: *1/4 That was rushed. Once again, it’s another match in the second half of this show that didn’t get enough time. The distraction by Saturn wasn’t much, but it was enough to help Benoit win.
Post match, Tazz left the ring (way to sell the finish) and started brawling with Saturn. Hardcore Holly went into the ring and hit a Falcon Arrow slam on Benoit. Holly also jumped off the apron with a double clothesline on Tazz and Saturn. Holly left as his music played.
There was a shot of Earl Hebner talking to the other referees by a stairwell. Triple H walked down the stairs and got in Earl’s face. Hunter didn’t say anything as Earl left. Hunter walked away.
Crash Holly, the Hardcore Champion, was interviewed by Michael Cole backstage. Crash was paranoid and said that the pressure was getting to him. Crash asked if he could get a moment’s rest. Steve Blackman showed up and hit Crash in the head with a trash can. A graphic let us know it’s a Hardcore Championship match.
Hardcore Championship: Crash Holly vs. Steve Blackman
Pre-match notes: Crash was the face Hardcore Champion although his face/heel mannerisms changed by the week. Blackman was more of a heel.
They went brawling into the arena. Crash found some sticks, so he attacked for a bit, then Blackman hit Crash with the sticks to the back. They went into the ring with Blackman hitting Crash in the knee with a cookie sheet and Blackman hit Crash in the back of the head with a cookie sheet as well. Blackman kicked Crash to knock him out of the ring. Crash whipped Blackman into the steel steps at ringside and hit him with a trash can lid to the face. Crash jumped the barricade to escape through the crowd when Jonathon Ogden of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens gave Crash a bearhug followed by a pin attempt! That got two because Ogden’s buddy pulled him off Crash to break up the pin. Crash managed to get up and run away with Blackman going after him to end this “match” if you want to call it that. It went about 3:02.
Match Result: No Contest (Crash retains his title)
Analysis: * The ending to that was funny with Ogden getting involved. I had forgotten about that. Ogden was an All-Pro left tackle for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens for about a decade and now he is in the NFL Hall of Fame. Crash found a way to survive again.
The Rock was shown backstage with the WWF Championship because that main event match was up next.
The trio of Triple H, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley and Vince McMahon led the way for Shane McMahon, who was also joined by Gerald Brisco and Pat Patterson in referee shirts. JR complained about how unfair this was. Triple H gave Shane some tips while Patterson joined Shane in the ring because Pat was the referee of this match. Brisco was the referee outside the ring for this match.
The Rock made his entrance to a big pop as he brought the WWF Championship down to ringside in his right hand. Rock argued with Vince at the start of the match.
WWF Championship Steel Cage Match: The Rock vs. Shane McMahon
Pre-match notes: The Rock was the face WWF Champion and Shane was the heel. Pat Patterson was the heel ref in the ring while Gerald Brisco was the heel ref outside the ring.
The only way to win this match was by climbing out of the cage or leaving by going out of the door.
Shane tried a climb as Patterson got in Rock’s way, but Rock stopped the climb attempt. Rock whipped Shane into the turnbuckle followed by a clothesline. Shane tried to go out the door, Vince held onto his son, Rock pulled Shane back in and Vince went in the ring a bit, so Rock stomped on Vince to take him out of the ring. Shane got some offense going with a jumping back elbow, a clothesline and he choked Rock. Triple H used a stick to hit Rock through one of the holes in the cage. That’s creative. Hunter laughed about it to Vince.
Shane got in some punches on Rock, but Rock started to climb out of the cage. Hunter hit Rock with the stick again, but Rock grabbed the stick and broke it across Shane’s back. Rock whipped Shane back first into the cage three times in a row. Rock worked over Shane with more punches including the spit punch. Patterson hit Rock in the back, so that allowed Shane to come back with a punch to the back. Shane climbed up the cage, but Rock managed to keep him from getting out of there. Rock kicked Patterson down, but Patterson punched Rock with a low blow “right in the People’s Jewels” as JR said. JR: “A dream come true for Patterson, a low blow!” Yes, that’s a joke from JR. Rock recovered, he whipped Patterson into the cage and hit Patterson with a Rock Bottom. Shane tried to climb down the outside of the cage, but Rock hung onto him and Shane bumped off the top of the cage into the ring. Rock hit the People’s Elbow on Shane. Rock tried to leave out the door, but Brisco predictably slammed the door on Rock’s head. Triple H went in the ring, he clotheslined Rock and whipped him into the steel cage repeatedly. Triple H had a partially separated shoulder according to JR. The fans chanted “We Want Austin” very loudly. Hunter whipped Rock into the cage two more times. Instead of Austin, it was Earl Hebner, who walked down to the ring to a big ovation. Brisco shoved Hebner, but Earl came back and shoved Brisco into the cage! Huge pop. When Triple H tried to leave the ring, Hebner shut the door on Hunter’s head. The fans loved that too. Rock hit a Spinebuster on Hunter. Rock climbed up the cage and left the cage to win the match at 9:14. Vince was trying to pull Shane out of the cage, but he was unable to get it done before The Rock’s escape.
Winner by escaping the cage: The Rock
Analysis: **3/4 That was an entertaining main event with a lot of crazy stuff happening, but they made it work as usual. It felt longer than nine minutes too because of how many things were happening around the ring during the match. The Rock found a way to escape thanks to Earl Hebner playing a huge role. The booking was so great that even a referee like Earl was getting a massive pop for getting involved. Shane, Vince, Hunter, Patterson and everybody played their role well.
After the match, Hebner presented Rock with the WWF Title. Vince was sad at ringside as he and Stephanie checked on Shane. Hebner was ecstatic as he raised Rock’s hand as the winner of the match. That’s what ended Raw for this week.
Analysis: That ending scene built to a match on Smackdown later that same week. This was back when WWE followed up on storylines well. In other news about The Rock, he missed the following week of TV because he was filming scenes for The Mummy Returns movie in England.
This episode of Raw had a runtime of 1:33:19 on WWE Network.
Three Stars of the Show
- The Rock
- Edge & Christian
- Chris Jericho
This Raw episode gets a 6 out of 10.
It was a slightly above average show this week. It was also a bit of a step back from the weeks leading up to Backlash. Everything involving The Rock was entertaining while the McMahon-Helmsley Regime were on the show too much. That became an issue in the months ahead too. It just got old after a while.
The match quality was okay with a couple of good matches, but it was frustrating when other matches were so short. The tag team division was really starting to shine even in matches not involving the titles like we saw with Too Cool and the Hardys. As I mentioned earlier, Chris Jericho was also really starting to come into his own as a key guy on the show.
They didn’t set up anything for Judgment Day even though they had three weeks between Backlash and Judgment Day. They had time for that obviously, but I feel like they could have at least mentioned Judgment Day here. Just like at Backlash, it was a happy ending with The Rock standing tall. That didn’t happen all the time, but it was the right finish here.
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