The SmarK Rant for WWF Monday Night RAW – 04.24.00
OK then! It’s time for a random Patreon request, in this case someone wanting the go-home show for Backlash 2000, which I can easily accommodate. I had been kind of doing the 2000 shows again off and on but lost interest a while ago. And hey, if you’d like to become a Patron and earn the ability to influence my reviewing decisions, head on over to the PATREON OF DOOM at https://www.patreon.com/blogofdoom and check it out.
Live from Raleigh, NC
Your hosts are JR & The King
Kurt Angle joins us to start, and everyone is wondering why he would put aside his quest for gold in order to focus on the Big Show, who by the way is a BIG ASS, and he doesn’t appreciate big asses. Which naturally sets up…
Rikishi Phatu v. Kurt Angle
Angle attacks to start and that goes poorly for him, as he’s unable to suplex Rikishi. Rikishi tries a sitdown splash and misses, and this time Angle DOES suplex him and slugs away in the corner. Rikishi comes back with CHEEKS OF FIRE, but Angle shoves the ref in the way and it’s a DQ at 1:24. And this brings out Big Show to take out Angle, allowing Rikishi to give Kurt a Stinkface and then sending him running away. And so, with that dealt with, Show gives Rikishi the glasses and lets him dance in peace.
Meanwhile, a bus pulls up with Shane and the McMahon-Helmsley Regime.
Meanwhile, Trish Stratus is apparently horny for tables. Somebody better call Peacock!
Shane McMahon and the Helmsleys join us for a little family bonding session, as Shane has finally forgiven Hunter for everything that went down between them and they hug it out tearfully. Stephanie is also tearful over people calling her horrible names, which I’m sure Peacock would not want repeated on their streaming service. Anyway, all the jibber-jabbering about Hunter and his fair behavior, like reversing Jericho’s title win and firing Earl Hebner, brings out Chris Jericho. Man, imagine if THEY were still sniping at each other all these years later! Anyway, Jericho wants a rematch of the match that was erased from history, and to be fair that makes no logical sense. Legally the match never happened! You can’t rematch that! Also HHH points out that he has no incentive to reward Jericho for making derogatory comments towards his delicate flower of a wife, and Jericho notes that “Stephie baby lost her flower a long time ago, and that’s how she became a disgusting brutal bottom-feeding trashbag ho.” Well that’s not gonna get him a title shot. And in fact, Shane stands up for his trashbag ho sister and challenges Jericho to a tag match with himself and Hunter against Jericho and the Rock tonight instead. Well that should be good.
Meanwhile, Eddie dresses way up for his prom, complete with green suit jacket over tuxedo t-shirt, but Chyna is having none of it. This early incarnation of Latino Heat is a bit far into the Cheech spectrum. OKAY FINE MAKE THE SASHA BANKS JOKES AND GET IT OUT OF YOUR SYSTEM, SCOTT’S A BIG DUMMY, HAHA. I’ll wait, I’ve literally got nothing better to do today.
Meanwhile, Chris Benoit suddenly jumps Jericho backstage and assaults him. Well that’s out of character.
Intercontinental title: Chris Benoit v. Road Dogg
This is leading to Road Dogg & X-Pac v. Edge & Christian at Backlash for the tag titles, so E&C join us on commentary, which is not quite the comedic tour-de-force in April 2000 that it would be a few months later. And then they immediately shut me up, as Benoit beats on Road Dogg and Edge notes “JR, in wrestling circles we’re here to do what’s known as a run-in, because we’re going to wait until Road Dogg is winning and then “run in” to the match and cause him to lose.” YES. OK, never mind, they’re awesome already. JR thanks them for the warning. Benoit takes Dogg down with a leg drag and sends him to the floor for a beating on the table while Tori joins us and E&C bury her as “trailer trash”. Well Edge is one to talk about dating trailer trash. Back in the ring, Road Dogg makes the comeback for two while Edge & Christian discuss when they’re going to do…how you say…the “run in”? “Nope, he’s still going to kick out, not yet.” They fight to the floor again and Road Dogg gets the advantage, so Christian declares that now is a good time for a run-in, and they run in. Edge spears Dogg while Christian takes the ref, and Benoit finishes with a diving headbutt at 3:21. Lawler is very proud of being “smartened up” to wrestling lingo by Edge & Christian. Meanwhile Edge & Christian double-team Road Dogg and Tori tries to save, so Christian gives her an inverted DDT and Edge adds a crotch chop for her. Well THAT was a lot of stuff going on. * I laughed a lot, I’ll give it that, but I have no idea what exactly it was supposed to make me want to see.
Meanwhile, Kurt Angle finds the APA offices backstage. “Hey guys, I don’t know how to do this, but can I pay you guys to beat up the Big Show?” They clarify that they don’t beat people up per se, they PROTECT people for money. So Kurt offers some constructive criticism: Maybe if they didn’t smoke and drink and swear so much, they could afford a better workspace. And then the APA is like…
Meanwhile, Big Bossman and Bull are busy bragging to Stephanie backstage about stuff, and Kurt Angle bursts in, all flustered from his encounter with the APA. “Hey, you guys don’t like the Big Show, would YOU beat him up for me?” Well you don’t have to ask THEM twice! So Stephanie makes a handicap match tonight to seal the deal. You know, because Kurt asked her so nicely. Oh man, Angle’s delivery of these lines even this early on made him look like a guaranteed megastar. He GOT it. And that Stephanie storyline was building slowly to start, which I’m sure will pay off in a totally satisfactory manner that everyone will be happy with.
The Hardy Boyz v. Crash & Hardcore Holly
Crash is Hardcore champion at this point, and apparently Hardcore has sworn on the family name not to go for the belt tonight. Bob gets a powerslam on Matt for two and beats him down, but Matt comes back with the yodeling legdrop for two. Crash comes in and puts Matt down with an elbow while Lawler insinuates that Vince is attending a Promise Keepers rally in the state. Ouch. Hardyz with the Whisper in the Wind on Hardcore for two, but Crash saves, and Jeff tries the swanton, but Crash breaks it up with a trashcan to the back and Bob pins him at 2:41. ½* But then the Hardyz continue the match with Crash because now it’s for the Hardcore title, and Tazz and Saturn both run down and it turns into a four-way brawl, with Matt Hardy pinning Crash to win the title in all the chaos.
Meanwhile, Eddie continues modelling outfits for Chyna, and vice versa. “Is this the one? You’re positive?” “Yes, I’m positive! That’s the perfect one!” “OK. I’ll go try on the red one.” Yeah that’s clearly written by someone who’s been married.
Big Show v. Big Bossman & Bull Buchanan
What in the blue hell is Big Show’s music here supposed to be? The heels double-team Show and that’s pretty bad, but Show fights them off and hits them with a double clothesline. And then Kurt Angle runs in for the DQ at 1:22 and hits Show with an amazing Angle slam, at which point the APA hit the ring and brawl with Bossman & Bull. Big Show is all fired up and full of hatred for Kurt Angle in advance of their match at Backlash, but of course the actual match was absolutely nothing like that and went in a drastically different direction.
Meanwhile, Trish is still all over those sexy, sexy tables. WHERE ARE THE PEACOCK CENSORS, DAMMIT? Probably a bunch of table fetishists.
Vince McMahon joins us and HOLY SHIT we’re already at the halfway mark of the show? Why can’t today’s garbage TV fly by like this one has? Anyway, Vince is here to remind us that Steve Austin is going to be in the Rock’s corner this weekend and his family is falling apart, and he recaps the whole McMahon family storyline thus far. And while Shane has forgiven HHH for the stuff that went down, he hasn’t, so HHH can’t team with Shane tonight and it’ll be a handicap match against Rock and Jericho unless he can find another partner. And then just to stir things up, he reminds us of the night that Austin crushed Rock’s car with a monster truck, and then reminds us that Rock vowed revenge on Austin after that. So Vince puts forth a conspiracy theory that Rock might have been the guy who ran over Austin with the car at Survivor Series. Hmm, or maybe someone who did on his BEHALF? #VinceWasRightAllAlong. Anyway, Vince thinks that Austin is going to screw Rock over at Backlash and deposit his venom into Rock’s neck.
Meanwhile, Eddie and Chyna are both dressed up, but then Chyna remembers that Eddie has a match coming up and they get all distracted behind the curtains.
The Godfather & Al Snow v. D-Lo Brown & Steve Blackman
So to set the stage here, both Head Cheese and the former Nation have broken up as tag teams and apparently rebounded with each other’s partners, which gives us Al Snow dressed as a pimp and Head is his ho. Also, AGAIN with the wrecked music as Godfather’s theme has been remixed into some god-awful abomination. D-Lo goes after Snow to start, but Al comes back with a rana and slugs away in the corner, and it’s over to Godfather, who appears to be wearing silk pajamas as his ring gear now and still doesn’t look 25% as ridiculous as Al Snow in his pimp gear. He misses an elbow and D-Lo takes over with a slam, but Godfather makes the hot tag to Snow, who promptly walks into a Low Down and gets pinned at 2:30. Blackman literally never even tagged into the match, such as it was. ½* And then Snow wants to dance with the ladies, but Godfather lays him out and that’s the end of that team. Well they had a good run. “Al Snow should switch to decaf” notes JR in summation.
Meanwhile, in 1998, it’s a BEER BATH, in the days BEFORE they drove that one into the ground.
Meanwhile, Trish is yet another table in yet another outfit, still teasing Bubba Dudley.
Eddie Guerrero v. Val Venis
Eddie is of course the European champion now, but this is non-title in advance of Eddie defending against Essa Rios at Backlash. Eddie gets a backdrop for two, but Val comes back with a brainbuster and Eddie suddenly gets a rolling cradle for two and drops an elbow for two. Val comes back with his elbow drops and kneedrop for two, and the Seaman’s suplex gets two, but Eddie snaps off a rana for two and sends Val to the floor. This allows Chyna to get some abuse, but Lita and Essa Rios storm down and attack Chyna, which I believe is called a “run in” based on the information earlier in the show, and Val finishes Eddie with the Money Shot at 3:44. And then Lita and Rios try for a beatdown on Eddie afterwards, but that triggers Chyna and she makes the save. I mean, they worked hard for the 3 minutes they got, I guess. *1/2
Edge & Christian v. The Dudley Boyz
Apparently Lita went through a table on Smackdown at the hands of Bubba, but she certainly appeared to be OK again here on tonight’s show. Although earlier Edge & Christian were talking about defending the tag titles against the Dudleyz tonight, this is in fact non-title. See, because the PPV pairings are Dudleyz v. T&A and Edge & Christian v. Road Dogg & X-Pac. The Dudz double-team Christian and quickly hit the move later known as the Wazzup, and then Bubba chops him in the corner, at which point we get ANOTHER run-in, with T&A delivering a table with Trish on top of it. And of course Bubba is mesmerized, which allows Edge to come in for some double-teams. Bubba recovers with the Bubba Cutter while Trish is thrusting her boobs out defiantly, and spears Edge for two. 3D on Christian, but Bubba gets distracted by Trish’s seductive table dance and Edge spears D-Von for the pin at 4:30. *1/2 And poor Bubba is left with blue balls, robbed of the chance to put Trish through the table and relieve his madness.
Meanwhile, finally the Rock has come back to Raleigh. And the countdown to Backlash is on, and although he might not trust Austin and vice-versa, neither one of them will ever trust Vince. Don’t speak too soon, Rock. Rock notes that he’s never had it easy, unlike Stephanie, who defines easy. And he’s gonna walk into Backlash and walk out as the champion, because there’s no other way. TICK TOCK.
Chris Jericho & The Rock v. HHH & Chris Benoit
So instead of a handicap match, Benoit takes Shane’s place, and then Shane is special referee, and finally Vince himself is in the heel corner. Jericho puts Benoit down with an elbow, but Benoit runs him into the corner and they exchange chops of CANADIAN VIOLENCE, although Jericho bulldogs him for two. Rock comes in and takes some of those chops as well, but he tosses Benoit out of the ring and wants HHH, who politely declines. But then Benoit attacks Rock from behind and Hunter comes in and slugs away in the corner before running into a high knee for two. And even though Shane is related to HHH and playing evil referee, he STILL counts normal speed! Jericho fights back, but Benoit drops him with a stungun and a snap suplex. Benoit is laying in the leather again in the corner and Hunter gets a suplex, and Benoit clotheslines him for two. Hunter with a facebuster for two as Shane is still counting fair for some reason. Hot tag Rock and he unloads on Hunter in the corner, but Benoit headbutts him before brawling away with Jericho into the ether. Rock Bottom on HHH, but Shane is of course preoccupied, so Vince comes in with a cheapshot, and then kicks Rock in the nuts and KICK WHAM PEDIGREE finishes at 7:25. And so the heels are walking tall and triumphant, but Steve Austin returns at Backlash to hopefully get some revenge. Assuming he can walk. Spoiler: He barely could. And finally a good match to end this show. ***
Say what you will about the quality of wrestling presented here but HOLY CRAP was this paced incredibly well. They didn’t have to take ad breaks in the middle of matches or anything! What voodoo IS this?
Hot take: 2000 WWF was pretty goddamn great.