Written by: Bob Colling
World Wrestling Federation presents RAW
From: New York, NY
1.) Rob Van Dam defeated Test
2.) Billy Gunn & Chuck Palumbo defeated Scotty 2 Hotty & Albert
3.) WWF Intercontinental Champion Edge defeated Lance Storm to retain the title
4.) Steve Austin & The Rock defeated Booker T & Big Bossman
5.) WWF Undisputed Champion Chris Jericho defeated Rikishi in a non-title match
6.) Tazz & Spike Dudley defeated WWF World Tag Team Champions Dudley Boys in a hardcore match to win the titles
1. Vince McMahon comes down to the ring with a present wrapped in blue paper. He has something that is more important than HHH’s return to talk about. He wants to talk about his match with Ric Flair at the Royal Rumble. McMahon thinks that there are people who think that Flair isn’t in his league, but those people are wrong to think that. We see footage of Flair’s career highlights from the 1980’s and 1990’s. Vince says he needed five stitches because Flair attacked him on Smackdown. Eventually, McMahon reveals a wig and robe in the box and begins to mock Flair, until Flair comes out. Flair demands that Vince take off the wig and robe. McMahon does so but also has a lead pipe and whacks Flair in the head causing him to bleed. McMahon rams Flair into the ring steps and ring post as well.
2. RVD passed the Test after hitting the Van Daminator and followed that up with the Five Star Frog Splash for the win. It was a rather quick bout with there not being much offense presented.
3. Outside, the Coach is waiting to interview HHH but Kurt Angle instead enters the picture and demands he be interviewed because he is on time. Angle has big news that he will not share but he says that tonight is his night!
4. Trish Stratus was at WWF New York, where she was challenged by Terri Runnels to compete in a wet t-shirt contest. Terri doesn’t think that Trish measures up to her, but Trish accepted the challenge anyway.
5. Scotty 2 Hotty appeared to have the win set up for himself and Albert after hitting the Worm on Billy Gunn, but Palumbo pulled his partner out just in time. Palumbo was able to keep Albert occupied long enough for Gunn to hit Scotty with the Fameasser for the three count.
6. Backstage, WWF Undisputed Champion Chris Jericho talked to Paisley. Jericho liked seeing Flair get beat up by Vince McMahon earlier tonight. He also says that despite the people wanting to see him get the stink face, that will not be happening.
7. Backstage, Michael Cole interviewed Steve Austin who said he didn’t want to wish HHH luck because he came back from an injury. Austin also announced that he will be in the Royal Rumble match and will eliminate twenty nine other guys. Lastly, tonight he will team with the Rock to beat up Big Bossman and Booker T because he said so!
8. Edge made very short work of Lance Storm after reaching the ropes while in the Maple Leaf, Edge was able to hit the Edgecution to retain the championship. Everything was going great until after the match when William Regal came out and attacked Edge with brass knuckles.
9. Kurt Angle is chatting with Christian. Angle doesn’t understand all the hype about HHH returning. Angle wants to know where HHH was when he saved the WWF from the Alliance. Christian thinks that HHH was listening to the U2 CD. Angle tells Christian that it was a beautiful day when he won his gold medals.
10. Rock and Austin controlled the early moments of the contest until Bossman pulled down the top rope to send Rock crashing to the floor and hit Rock with his nightstick. Rock fights back with a backdrop on Booker and follows up with a spine buster. Bossman prevented Rock from hitting the people’s elbow but Austin entered to hit Booker with another spine buster. Rock is beaten down by Booker and Bossman again until Rock is able to plant Booker with a DDT after avoiding a scissors kick and tags out to Austin. Austin worked on Bossman while Rock hammered away on Booker. Bossman tried to use the nightstick on Austin, but Austin avoided it and hit the Stunner for the win.
11. Rikishi splashed Jericho in the corner to get the early advantage of the contest. That didn’t last because on the floor Jericho rammed Rikishi head first into the ring post after bailing to the floor. Jericho connected with a missile dropkick. Rikishi fought back with a Samoan Drop and a leg drop. Rikishi tried for the Bonzai Drop but the referee got in the way long enough to give Jericho a chance to move. Jericho avoided the stink face, but the referee didn’t. Rikishi gets out of the corner and is hit in the head with the championship belt to give Jericho the victory.
12. Backstage, Kurt Angle reminds the Big Show, Tajiri and Torrie Wilson what HHH was doing in the WWF before he got hurt by showing them a sledgehammer.
13. The Dudley Boys try to bully around Spike Dudley before the next match in the backstage area until Tazz comes over and says his catchphrase…. “beat me if you can…survive if we let you!”
14. The Dudley Boys are controlling the early moments of the title match with Bubba hitting Tazz with a cooking sheet and blowing the fire extinguisher into Spike’s face when he tried a sunset flop. Tazz enters the ring but is met with the What’s up after being hit with a trash can lid. Dudley hit’s the Acid Drop on D-Von but missed the table because Bubba moved it out of the way. Spike ends up being tossed away by Bubba on a second Acid Drop attempt. Stacy Keibler gets on the apron and distracts Tazz but showing her booty. Bubba tries to attack Tazz but gets distracted and is suplexed onto the table by Tazz! Spike sends Bubba crashing through the table with the Acid Drop to win the titles!
15. Triple H makes his return to the World Wrestling Federation and is greeted with an enormous pop from the MSG crowd! It takes him nearly four minutes to get done posing to the crowd, which kind of kills the crowd reaction the more he does it. HHH decides to remind the fans who he is. “I am the game. You can bet your ass I am back!” HHH officially enters the Royal Rumble. Kurt Angle cuts HHH off and makes his way out from the backstage area. Angle asks who the hell HHH thinks he is. Angle disregards HHH’s injury since he won a gold medal with a broken neck! Angle has a big announcement that is bigger then HHH’s return. Angle’s big announcement is that he will enter his first ever Royal Rumble match! Angle didn’t enter the Rumble last year because he was too busy pinning HHH! HHH spears Angle down to the canvas and attacks Angle in the corner with several stomps! Angle connects with a release German suplex! HHH quickly comes back to take Angle down and plants angle with the pedigree to end the segment and show!
I thought the beginning and ending to this show were really nicely done. For some reason I like the buildup of McMahon/Flair for the Rumble. The fans were going nuts for HHH, who proceeded to overdo it and killed the reaction a few minutes into it. It’s a great idea to keep his reaction strong by feuding with Angle who is far from being popular at the moment.
Quite a few positives from this show that also included the tag team title switch. I’m just glad to see Tazz getting some form of push.
It’s going to be interesting to see how everything builds up going into the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania XVIII
Overall, it was a solid RAW show to kick off 2002.
Thanks for reading