Written by: Adam King
WWF RAW IS WAR
Monday, September 25th, 2000
Live from the Bryce Jordan Center in State College, PA
List of WWF Champions at the time:
● WWF World Heavyweight Champion: The Rock (6/25/2000)
● WWF Intercontinental Champion: Eddie Guerrero (9/04/2000)
● WWF World Tag Team Champions: The Hardy Boyz (9/24/2000)
● WWF European Champion: Al Snow (8/31/2000)
● WWF Hardcore Champion: Steve Blackman (9/24/2000)
● WWF Women’s Champion: Lita (8/21/2000)
● WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Dean Malenko (4/27/2000)
~ The first Raw on TNN comes on the air and goes right to the intro with Jim Ross welcoming us to the show along with Jerry “The King” Lawler and proclaiming this the dawning of an “exciting new era” in the WWF. (For the five years it lasted, that is.)
~ Things kick off with Steve Austin coming out to the ring, returning after a long absence fromRaw. After his usual posing Austin grabs a mic and says things have changed in the 10 months he’s been gone. Austin mentions Vince McMahon left the company to go make babies and hopes he’s shooting blanks after the way Shane and Stephanie turned out. Austin points out Triple H and Stephanie’s marriage calling it the worst in the history of the business. Austin also mentions Mideon running around naked, asking him to buy Clearisil to clear up his rear. Austin says the only thing that hasn’t changed is he’s going to continue to drink beer and do what he wants. Austin then talks about searching for the one who ran him down last November at Survivor Series and says he tried to find him last night at the pay-per-view but was not successful. Austin promises to go through the entire WWF roster to track down the guilty person and destroy him. Austin adds that day will be the worst of that person’s life and that’s the bottom line. Just when we think this will be a short segment, Commissioner Mick Foley makes his way to the ring and gets on the mic saying tonight’s not about him; it’s about Austin. Foley says he never thought he’d see Austin and himself in the ring together after he retired then points out that Austin forgot to mention his becomimg Commissioner. Foley tells Austin he supports his quest for his attacker but can’t agree with his more physical methods so he asks that he sit back and let him seek out whoever it was who ran over Austin himself. Austin reminds Foley he doesn’t respect authority figures and feels his investigation isn’t making much progress, plus he hasn’t totally eliminated him as a suspect yet.
Before Foley can respond, Chris Benoit comes out with a mic and introduces himself to Austin. Benoit then says a greater injustice was done to him last night during the title match when he got the pin and was announced as the new WWF Champion only to have it was robbed from him for the second time. Benoit says if anyone deserves payback it’s him and demands a shot at the Rock’s title tonight. Foley admits he may have cheated Benoit last night and proceeds to give him his title shot. Kurt Angle then comes out with a mic to join the discussion in the ring and tells Benoit he agrees with what he says but he too got screwed at the pay-per-view. Angle says he almost lost a friend when Stephanie McMahon attacked him and cost him his match with Triple H but he understands and forgives her after seeing how Triple H “forced himself upon her”. Angle says he doesn’t forgive “the abusive husband” that won the match and demands another shot at Triple H but Foley says he wasn’t impressed with Angle’s performance and denies him the rematch. Angle is disappointed but accepts it for now, saying Triple H needs time to “lick his wounds.” Angle then turns to Austin saying he doesn’t appreciate his accusing eyes looking at himself and Benoit. Angle points out Benoit wasn’t even in the WWF at the time Austin was run over while he himself a man of integrity, that he could never do something like that himself. Angle mentions he offered Austin his friendship and a gold medal at the pay-per-view but got attacked for his trouble and thus demands an apology from for the way he treated him. Austin tells Angle that’s probably not going to happen tonight … before laying him out with a Stunner! Benoit charges but Austin ducks a clothesline and take him out with a Stunner before leaving the ring. New network but still getting the same old 20-minute opening segments.
- Kane vs. Rikishi
Yes, the WWF uses these guys for the first match of the TNN run. Kane meets Rikishi on the ramp and brawls with him down to ringside when Rikishi throws Kane into the steps. Rikishi grabs the ringbell but Kane cuts him off then takes the bell himself and clocks Rikishi in the head with it. Both men roll in the ring to start the match and Kane pummels Rikishi but Rikishi comes back with a superkick. Kane grabs Rikishi by the throat but Rikishi fights out of the chokeslam and hits Kane with a Samoan Drop followed by a pair of butt charges in a corner. Kane bails out to the floor with Rikishi behind him and both men exchange punches as the referee tries to restore order. Kane shoves the referee down when Rikishi rams Kane into the steps then grabs a chair and nails Kane in the back with it. The referee decide he’s had enough and calls for the bell, throwing the match out. (2:02) Well that was a whole lot of nothing. DUD
Rikishi swings the chair at Kane again but misses and hits the ringpost and Kane takes the chair and jabs Rikishi with it then whacks him into the back. Both men roll back in the ring and continue going at it as a swarm of referees try to separate them. Rikishi clotheslines Kane over the top rope but Kane lands on his feet on the outside and nothing is settled. The TNN era sure isn’t getting off to a good start.
~ Just before the commercial JR and Lawler lay out more of tonight’s card. In addition to the Rock/Benoit title match, the Hardy Boyz will defend their newly-won Tag Team Titles against Edge & Christian in a ladder match and Chris Jericho will battle X-Pac in a First Blood Match.
~ Back from break we get an outdoor shot of the Bryce Jordan Center as JR buzzes about the action to come.
~ Backstage Austin enters the lockerroom room and finds The Undertaker who immediately knows what Austin wants. Taker reminds Austin he was taking some time off at the time of the incident so he’s not the person he’s looking for. Taker adds if he knew who did it he’d tell Austin because that person might come after him too. Taker then says it’s a shame that someday he and Austin will have to step in the ring against each other again. Austin asks if that’s really a shame and Taker pauses before saying maybe it wouldn’t be so bad after all.
~ Elsewhere Mick Foley is in his “office” which is in a bathroom this week when Edge & Christian come in and complain about having to compete in a ladder match less than 24 hours after their grueling cage match. Foley explains he needs a big, historic match for the first Rawon TNN and what better match than to put his top two tag teams in a match they made famous. Edge and Christian seem to agree with what Foley is selling until tells them if they don’t win this match they get no more title shots against the Hardys. E&C are forced to go along but promise the Hardys’ title reign will be shortest one ever. Foley produces a drink umbrella and says they may need them but Edge and Christian don’t find that funny. However a female arena employee who’s been using the nearby stall does as she leaves a tip in his jar.
- Bubba Ray Dudley (w/D’Von Dudley) vs. Tazz
Tazz gets on the mic and makes fun of Bubba needing D’von to watch his back them suggests Lawler, JR and the fans could also help Bubba out. Tazz dares Bubba to fight him one-on-one and Bubba complies and sends D’Von to the back. Bubba gets in the first shots and slams Tazz to the mat then follows up with some elbowdrops for a two count. Bubba works Tazz over with chops and shoulderblocks then whips him into the opposite corner and hits a splash followed by a back suplex. Bubba takes a swing at Tazz and misses but stops himself before hitting the referee while Tazz kicks him below the belt. Tazz snapmares Bubba to the mat then comes off the ropes with a clothesline and Bubba tries to fight back but Tazz jabs the eye and chokes him in a corner. Tazz whips Bubba and hits an elbow followed by a right hand to the head for a two count. Tazz grabs at Bubba’s face and Bubba again fights back and hits a forearm then pummels Tazz in a corner. Tazz escapes and goes for a whip but Bubba reverses it and hits a sidewalk slam for a two count. Bubba plants Tazz with a sit-down powerbomb but that only gets two as well. Bubba attempts a whip but Tazz reverses and whips Bubba into the referee, knocking him out. Tazz hits a T-Bone Tazplex then rolls out of the ring and taunts Lawler at the announce desk before swurting water in his face. Lawler looks ready to go when Raven hops the rail nearby and drills Lawler with a DDT onto the floor. Tazz heads back in the ring and Bubba plants him with the full nelson bomb but Raven goes in and lays out Bubba with a DDT as well and Tazz is able to grab the cheap pin. (4:01)D’Von comes back out and chases Tazz away but the damage is done. Unmemorable match to continue Raven’s WWF debut. *
~ Backstage Triple H is with Stephanie who seems upset at him for some reason and asks her what her deal is. Stephanie tells Triple H that he forgot her brithday while Kurt Angle actually sang “Happy Birthday” to her but Triple H says he didn’t forget and claims her presents are waiting for her when they get home. Stephanie says she’s also upset with the rough kiss at the pay-per-view saying it wasn’t very romantic. Triple H says that’s not what that kiss was about, it was a message to Kurt Angle after the beating he gave him and that he beat up Angle for her.
~ Out in the arena Lawler tries to recover form Raven’s ambush claiming it was a setup. We then get a shot of the Tag title belts haning from the ceiling signaling the ladder match is next!
- WWF World Tag Team Titles: The Hardy Boyz © vs. Edge & Christian – Ladder Match
E&C come out first with a ladder and start climbing it during the intros hoping to snatch the belts right away. However the Hardys quickly make thier way out and prevent E&C from getting the quick win. Matt props the ladder in a corner and whips Edge into it then whips Christian into Edge and drops to the mat while Jeff hits the Poetry in Motion on both men. Matt & Jeff lay the ladder on its side and spread it open before shoving it into E&C’s forbidden zones. Matt pounds on both E&C as Jeff climbs up the ladder for the belts but both men whip Matt into the ladder, knocking Jeff off it to the mat. Edge lays the ladder on the top rope in a corner and E&C flapjack Matt onto it. Edge slides another ladder in the ring and he and Christian lay Jeff inside it then fold it up with him in it. E&C stand him up in a corner then Edge drops to the mat and Christian lanuches off Edge into the crossbody crushing Jeff in the ladder but also hurting himself. E&C set up both ladders in the center and start climbing up for the belts but the Hardys bring a tall ladder in the ring and nail Edge and Christian from behind, cauing them to fall off. Matt sets up the tall ladder near a corner and dukes it out with Edge while Jeff climbs up the shorter ladder and nearly grabs the belts when Christian interupts him. So Jeff connects with a dropkick from the ladder and Matt slams Christian to the mat. Matt climbs up to the top of the tall ladder and sets up for the guillotine legdrop when Edge shoves him off the ladder onto the top rope. Jeff climbs up the other ladder and grabs the belts but can’t pull them down when Christian knocks the ladder away, leaving Jeff hanging from the belts. Edge then leaps off the tall ladder, spearing Jeff in mid-air!
The Hardys are down as Edge sets the ladder back up and starts climbing up for the titles. Edge touches the belts when Lita runs in the ring brandishing a chair and and whacks Edge with it. Lita turns toward Christian but Christian stops her and lays her out with a Slop Drop. Christian moves the tall ladder next to the belts and after some difficulty starts climbing up but Matt makes it back in the ring and pulls Christian off to the mat. Christian stomps Matt down while Edge and Jeff are going at it on the outside. Edge sets up a ladder on the floor then climbs up it and hits Jeff with a flying clothesline. In the ring Christian climbs up the ladder again and nearly reaches the belts but Matt stops him and suplexes him off the ladder to the mat. Matt starts climbing up the ladder as Edge crawls back in the ring and pulls him off with a Diamond Cutter. Edge climbs the ladder and manages to touch the belts but Matt makes it up and powerbombs Edge to the mat. Matt starts climbing up again but Christian comes in jabs Matt below the belt with a chair. Matt hangs onto the ladder as E&C set up the two smaller ladders on either side of the big one then Christian climb up brandishing the chairs. E&C ready for a ConChairto on Matt when Jeff and Lita crawl in and tip both ladders over and Edge lands on the top rope while Christian misses the ropes and splats on the floor! Matt climbs up a few more rungs and snags the belts to retain the titles! (11:24) The Hardys win so Edge and Christian can’t challenge them for the belts anymore. It’s not No Mercy ’99 but still a good ladder match and kudos to both sides for working this match despite still feeling the cage match. ***½
~ Backstage Steve Austin is interrogating Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco about the night in question and the Stooges both deny they were at Survivor Series, accusing the other of being there. Austin says he knows they’re both lying because they were both there but doesn’t think either of them did it because neither has the sack to do it. Austin warns both men he better not find out they knew who did it and didn’t tell him then departs and the two continue to squabble like an old married couple.
~ We then see Chyna heading to the ring for the next segment as we go to commercial.
~ Back from break Chyna comes out to the ring where two large copies of her Playboy cover are set up. Chyna takes the mic and talks about how proud she is to have made it to the pages of Playboy. Chyna says she was always called ugly and a freak for many years so she worked hard to mold her body into something people would perceive as being beautiful. Chyna thanks the WWF for this oppertunity and the guys int he back for supporting her. Chyna wraps up just before Steven Richards and the Right To Censor come out to the stage and Richards takes a mic telling Chyna they do not agree with what she said. Val Venis says Chyna’s speech only had feeling and emotion but didn’t have any fact or logic in it. Val also claims what Chyna did is immoral while calling Playboy “sugar-coated pornography” and urges the fans to boycott the magazine saying Chyna isn’t worth the money. Just then Eddie Guerrero comes out to the ring from beside the ramp and gives Chyna some roses. Eddie then takes a mic and says his Mamacita is more than worth it for anyone who buys the magazine and tells the RTC they insulted him by insulting Chyna. Eddie offers to defend Chyna’s honor by challenging any member of the RTC to face him for his Intercontinential Title tonight. Val steps forward and accepts the challenge while Chyna gives them some parting words. That’s 12 minutes I’ll never get back (especially when Chyna was talking) so be glad I slimmed it down for you.
~ Backstage Kurt Angle is in his lockeroom reading the USA Today sports page and mentioning which Olympic wrestlers he’s either beaten or could beat. Trish Stratus then comes in and asks Angle if he’s seen Chyna’s Playboy pictures but Angle says he doesn’t read it. Trish says what Steve Austin did to him last night was disgusting and that she’d never turn down a gift so she asks Angle if he still has that gold medal he offered him. Once Angle lets her see it Trish asks if she can try it on and Angle obliges. Only once Trish puts it on, it drops down her cleavage. Trish asks Angle how it looks and a wide-eyed Angle says “it’s true *gulp!* it’s true!”
~ X-Pac and Chris Jericho are both seen heading to the ring for the next match as we go to commercial.
- Chris Jericho vs. X-Pac – First Blood Match
Jericho is out first but hides on the stage besides the entranceway and jumps X-Pac as he makes his way out. Jericho beats X-Pac down the ramp and rolls him in the ring then hits some chops. Jericho goes for a whip, X-Pac reverses it but Jericho comes back with a spinning heel kick then clotheslines him over the ropes. Jericho goes after X-Pac who grabs a chair and takes a swing but Jericho ducks it and gets in his shots. Both men climbs back in the ring and X-Pac nails Jericho with a spinkick to take control. X-Pac whips Jericho but misses a clothesline and Jericho connects with a flying forearm. X-Pac rolls out the the apron and Jericho knocks him off with a slightly-botched springboard dropkick. Jericho comes off the apron with an anxehandle on X-Pac then chops him and whips him into the barricade. Jericho charges at X-Pac but X-Pac sidesteps him and spinkicks Jericho over the barricade into the crowd. Both men brawl among the fans until Jericho throws X-Pac back across the barricade the climbs onto it and hits a flying clothesline. Jericho hits a chop when X-Pac comes back with an elbow but Jericho bulldogs X-Pac onto the ringsteps. Jericho grabs the chair and takes a swing at X-Pac but misses and hits the ringpost. X-Pac grabs a glass bottle at ringside and smashes it in Jericho’s face. X-Pac throws Jericho back in the ring and rubs a piece of the bottle on Jericho’s forehead and eventually cuts him open for the win. (2:50) I guess the bookers felt this way X-Pac could get his win back without Jericho suffering another pinfall job. **
X-Pac decides he’s not done yet as he pulls a pair of nunchuks from under the ring. X-Pac scares off the referee but Jericho low blows him from behind then takes the nunchucks and cracks X-Pac in the head, busting him open as well. X-Pac tumbles through the ropes and Jericho goes out to continue his punishment then throws X-Pac across the announce table and and puts him in the Walls of Jericho on the table. Officials come out to pull the two apart while Ross declares this a “blood feud” just begun.
~ Backstage Triple H & Stephanie are talking when Steve Austin barges in on them. Stephanie blabbers about giving Austin his hat back and attacking Shane among other things but tells Triple H to shut his wife up before he has to do it himself. Austin tells Triple H about his investigation and points out he’s his prime suspect, accusing him of running him down in the car after his DX friends set him up in the garage. Austin also mentions how Triple H has done well and made a name for himself in his absence. Triple H looks Austin in the eye and says if he wanted to take him out he’d do it to his face like a man before saying he did not run him over with the car. Triple H claims he doesn’t know who did and Austin tells him he’s either lying, crazy, or maybe he’s telling the truth.
~ Back from break Michael Cole interviews The Rock about his title defense against Chris Benoit. The Rock mentions Benoit’s clamis about being cheated before giving him some wrestling knowledge. Rock says Benoit tried to pin the Undertaker but Taker’s foot was on the ropes which means he won absolutely nothing. Rock adds Benoit isn’t an any-time WWF Champion but he is the all time punk*** SOB and promises Benoit will hit Rock Bottom and smell what he’s is cooking.
~ Back from break they show a preview of Chyna’s Playboy photos, edited for basic cable of course.
- WWF Intercontinential Title: Eddie Guerrero © (w/Chyna) vs. Val Venis (w/Steven Richards)
Eddie attacks Val as he slides in the ring and beats him down in a corner. Eddie whips Val across the ring by his tie then throws him and follows up with a shoulderblock. Eddie goes for a whip but Val reverses it and hits an elbow, followed by an elbowdrop and a kneedrop. Val tees off on Eddie then removes his tie and starts choking Eddie with it. Val plants Eddie with a butterfly suplex for a two count then whips him into a corner and hits a clothesline followed by the Blue Thunderbomb. Val climbs to the top rope looking for the Moneyshot but Eddie cuts him off before going up and hitting a superplex. Richards hops onto the ring apron to distract the referee and Chyna tries to pull him off but Richards grabs the ropes to stop it. So Chyna rips Richards’ pants off instead! Val scoops Eddie up but Eddie floats over and shoves Val into Richards, knocking him off to the floor. Eddie then rolls Val up and gets the three to retain.(2:31) Feh match with a pretty silly ending. Eddie and Chyna celebrate on the outside while Richards throws a fit in the ring and tears his shirt off, leaving just his shoes, socks, underwear, necktie and knee brace. *½
~ A promo is shown for Sunday Night Heat which moves to MTV starting this Sunday.
~ Back from break we cut to WWF New York and find Crash there trying to get a drink but the bartender tells him he’s too young. Ross says he shouldn’t be drinking anyway.
~ In the arena Steven William Regal is in the ring and gets on the mic proclaiming himself as the goodwill ambassador to the American people. Regal is out to deliver some more culture to the fans, this time in the form of literature and starts reading “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare to the fans. Regal gets a few lines into his reading when Steve Austin’s music interputs and Austin comes out. Austin goes in and lays Regal out with a Stunner then walks back out, gone as fast as he came. And the point of this was what, exactly?
~ Chris Benoit is shown warming up for his match as we go to commercial.
- WWF World Heavyweight Title: The Rock © vs. Chris Benoit (w/Shane McMahon)
Yes, apparenlty Shane remembered that he was Benoit’s buddy and comes out with him this time. Shane get’s Rock’s attention allowing Benoit to get in the first shots and kick away at him in a corner. Benoit goes for a whip but Rock reverses into an elbow then goes for his own whip but Benoit reverses that and hits a knee to the chest. Benoit hits a snap suplex for a two count then hits a backbreaker for another two. Benoit distracts the referee while Shane chokes Rock on the middle rope but Rock counters a kick with a Dragon legwhip and goes into the Sharpshooter. Benoit tries to hold on when Shane comes in and decks Rock before going back out while Benoit covers Rock but only gets a two count. Benoit whips Rock into a corner and beats him down before choking him with his boot. Benoit goes for a whip when Rock reverses him into the opposite corner but misses a right hand. Benoit hits a German suplex then holds on for a second German suplex but Rock fights his way out of a third and hits a DDT for a near fall. Rock comes off the ropes but runs into a neckbreaker and Benoit climbs to the top rope and connects with the diving headbutt but is too hurt to make the cover. Rock fights back and goes for a whip but Benoit reverses and Shane grabs his leg from the floor. Rock takes a swing at Shane, allowing Benoit to nail him from behind. Benoit goes for a whip but Rock reverses and hits a belly-to-belly suplex. Rock covers Benoit but Shane pulls Earl Hebner out of the ring and Hebner yells at Shane on the floor. Hebner climbs on the apron when Rock goes for a whip but Benoit reverses him right into Hebner, knocking him into the batrricade. Benoit chops Rock repeatedly in a corner but Rock reverses positions and works him over, capping off with the Smackdown. Shane comes in and clotheslines Rock from behind then dances around when Rock pops right up. Shane takes a swing but Rock blocks it then whips him and plants him with a spienbuster when Benoit comes back with a clothesline. Benoit brings a chair in the irng and takes a swing at Rock but misses him and nails Shane by accident. Benoit charges at Rock but gets backdropped over the ropes and Rock goes out to continue his assault. Stephanie runs in to check on Shane when Triple H comes out warns Stephanie to go back to the lockerroom. Triple H helps Stephanie roll Shane out to the floor while Rock and Benoit both make their way back in. Benoit goes for a whip but Rock reverses him right into Triple H, knocing him through the ropes. Triple H hops back onto the apron and yells at Benoit for running into him when Benoit takes a swing at him but misses. Triple H snaps Benoit’s neck on the top rope and Benoit staggers into a Rock Bottom that gives Rock the three to retain. (7:34) Ranks behind thier other encounters but still a good match from these two. ***½
Rock celebrates his win while Triple H talks down at Benoit then the two have a staredown. Suddenly Kurt Angle runs in the ring and clotheslines Rock then tries to get a piece of Triple H. Rock comes up but Benoit nails him from behind and helps Angle double-team Rock in a corner. Triple H pulls Angle off and those two duke it out but Angle stomps Triple H down and rips off his shirt. Angle kicks away at Triple H’s taped-up ribs when Stephanie comes in and slaps Angle in the face. Angle asks Stephanie why she did that when Benoit walks over and headbutts Stephanie! Benoit walks off and Angle doesn’t look too happy with him while Rock, Triple H and Stephanie are all laid out as Raw fades to black.
Conclusion: Good but not great start to the TNN era. The matches were “just there” and not real interesting other than the cool ladder match and solid main event, plus it seemed the active roster was a little thin for some reason. You’d figure the other top stars like Triple H, Kurt Angle or The Undertaker would be showcased on this big event. Also there was a little too much talking, especially with the opening segment and Chyna’s snore-inducing promo and there wasn’t much in the way of angle advancement or setup other than Austin’s search that would dominate the next few weeks. Still the effort was there and overall was a nice first show on TNN, it just left you feeling they could have done better for their grand debut.
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.