Written by: Bob Colling
World Wrestling Federation presents RAW
From: Austin, TX
We start off with Vince McMahon letting us know that Ric Flair will NOT be at the show this evening. The show is being dubbed a fan appreciation night. To show his appreciation, tonight Triple H will wrestle Kurt Angle inside a steel cage. McMahon believes tonight RAW returns to normalcy.
Opening Contest: Booker T vs. Steve Austin: Early on, they trade blows with very basic offense. Booker has a headlock on Austin when the New World Order comes out and attacks Austin to throw the match out. Hall goes under the ring and grabs a wrench. Hall decks Austin over the head, and Austin clearly goes searching for his blade. Sure enough, Austin is busted wide open. The beating goes on for a while, maybe a little too long since it was mainly just stomps and punches. Hall stands over Austin to end the segment. I lied, Hall comes back to the ring and drops Austin with another right hand. Yeah, that went on for too long. It’s still not over as Hall hits the Stunner and finally walks away.
Test comes out for the next tag match and has a microphone. Test reveals he has a surprise tag team partner. Test notes that his partner is usually Booker T, he finds the perfect replacement. Here comes Mr. Perfect. Test is awful on the microphone, my goodness.
Second Contest: Scotty 2 Hotty & Albert vs. Mr. Perfect & Test: Albert and Perfect started the bout with Albert getting the better of the exchange until Test hit a clothesline from the apron and hammered away on his former partner. Albert counters the Perfect Plex and tags in Scotty. Scotty hits a leaping forearm on Perfect and a superkick on Test. Perfect sends Albert into the ring post as Hotty drops Test with a face buster and goes for the WORM. Scotty hits the move but Perfect comes back to hit the Perfect Plex to win the match. (*. A fast pace match considering they had three minutes to get everything in. A team of Perfect and Test seemed promising to me, actually.) After the match, Albert cleaned house until Test dropped Albert with a big boot. Rikishi runs out and gives Perfect a Stink Face! Rikishi embraces Scotty while Albert recovered in the ring.
Backstage, Coach talks to Kurt Angle. Angle notes that he liked seeing Austin get his butt kicked. He also said that Triple H got lucky on Smackdown and that his luck runs out tonight inside the steel cage.
Backstage, Lilian Garcia chats with Goldust. Goldust doesn’t think anyone would attack him, but he is wrong because here comes Tazz for our next match.
Third Contest: WWF Hardcore Champion Goldust vs. Tazz: Tazz tosses the champ over with an exploder suplex and they go to the floor where Goldust hit the challenger with a fire extinguisher. Tazz low blows Goldust back in the ring and delivers several stomps. Goldust goes for the Shattered Dreams and gets a trash can and lid. Goldust still hits the move after several moments. Tazz kicks the trash can into Goldust’s face and locks in the Tazz-Mission. Goldust falls onto Tazz to get the three count. (1/2*. Gotta feel bad for Tazz. The guy use to be such a bad ass, and now he is basically nothing.)
Backstage, the New World Order is sitting in Steve Austin’s locker room drinking Austin’s beer. Nash says he is bored, so Hogan suggests they leave for a walk.
Backstage, Coach talks with Rob Van Dam and gives him props for earning a title shot at Mania against William Regal for the WWF Intercontinental Championship. RVD is confident he will win the championship. Lance Storm enters the picture and slaps RVD, who says they will settle this in the ring later.
Backstage, DDP is trying to motivate Christian. Christian gets a phone call and says to the other person “pull the plug, the sooner she goes, the sooner I get my money.”
Backstage, the New World Order attacks a WWF crew guy wearing an Austin shirt.
Fourth Contest: WWF Women’s Champion Jazz vs. Trish Stratus: Jazz works over Trish early on with strikes and slams Trish down to the canvas by her hair. A near fall for the champ after a leg drop. Trish is trapped in a STF but manages to fight her way to the bottom rope. Trish battles back with clotheslines and a flapjack before nearly winning with a standing kick. Jazz tosses Trish across the ring by her hair and rips Trish’s shirt off! Trish mounts Jazz in her bra to lock in a STF but Jazz gets to the bottom rope. The referee calls for the bell because Trish doesn’t let go of the hold. (*1/2. Not a bad way to show Trish’s mean streak. Not to mention they work well together.)
Backstage, Stephanie McMahon is on the phone telling Jericho to find her lotion. HHH enters the room and dumps a box of stuff to return to her. Stephanie finds her lotion and rubs it all over her body while HHH looks on with a grin. What did he do?!
The Undertaker makes his way down to the ring and talks about Ric Flair saying no to his challenge. Taker introduces a package of him visiting David Flair at the WWF training facility. Taker beat the living crap out of David and issued yet another challenge to Ric Flair for WrestleMania X8.
Fifth Contest: Lance Storm vs. Rob Van Dam: RVD slaps Storm while doing his taunt and kicks Storm to the floor. RVD follows up with a slingshot cross body. RVD puts Storm over the railing and hits his twisting leg drop from the apron. A sling shot leg drop back into the ring by RVD for a near fall. Storm cuts RVD off with a dropkick to the left knee and goes to work on the knee. RVD knocks Storm down with a kick and goes for the frog splash but Storm recovers to hit a superplex for a two count. Storm wraps RVD’s leg around the ring post. Storm locks in the Canadian Maple Leaf but RVD reaches the bottom rope. RVD knocks Lance down with a spinning heel kick. RVD hits a rolling thunder leg drop and is selling the leg as he goes up top. Storm stops RVD again but this time is shoved off to the canvas. RVD hits a sunset flip powerbomb for a near fall. Storm comes back with a springboard clothesline for another two count. RVD nails Storm with a spinning heel kick and goes to the top rope to finally hit the five star frog splash for the win. (***. A really good TV match here. Constant action, RVD selling the leg and Storm preventing RVD from getting to the top only to lose that way anyway. Enjoyable bout between these two.)
Backstage, the New World Order talk about beating up Austin and fighting Rock at Mania. A poor guy is beaten up by Hall and eventually Hall wins a rock, paper, scissors contest to wrestle tonight. He also picks the opponent out of a hat.
Sixth Contest: Scott Hall vs. Spike Dudley: Hall says whomever came out would be Steve Austin in his mind. So, that’s not good news for Spike. Dudley surprises Hall with an inside cradle but only gets a two count. Jerry Lawler is calling the match as if Spike is Austin, which is rather funny. Hall counters the Acid Drop by dropping Spike groin first across the top rope. Nash and Hogan get a few shots in on the floor. Hall hits the middle rope back suplex and signals for the end. Hall finishes Spike off with the Razors Edge. Hall pins Spike with on foot. Just a squash here.
Backstage, Stephanie McMahon is talking to Kurt Angle and has a rash all over her body, which she is none too happy about. Stephanie wants Kurt to kick HHH’s ass in the cage!
Main Event: Triple H vs. Kurt Angle in a Steel Cage Match: Well, this has to be considered the blow-off to their feud that started when HHH returned at MSG on the first RAW in January. Early on, they trade right hands with HHH getting the better of the exchange. HHH backdrops Angle and delivers a short arm clothesline. Angle counters a go behind with an ankle lock but HHH kicks Kurt away. HHH rams Angle’s head into the cage and Angle tries to leave the cage but Teddy Long doesn’t open it for some reason. Angle drops HHH face first across the top turnbuckle and hits a clothesline. Angle tries to escape the cage but HHH recovers to prevent the escape. Kurt low blows HHH to maintain control of the bout. Angle tosses HHH overhead with a belly to belly suplex. Kurt continues his offense with a series of German suplexs. Angle tries to leave the cage but HHH prevents him. HHH ducks a clothesline to deliver a reverse neckbreaker. Angle runs into a high knee and a spine buster. HHH continues his finishing sequence with a face buster. HHH tries to escape the cage but Angle stops him. HHH kicks Angle off the top to the canvas. Kurt almost misses his chance to stop HHH but yanks HHH down to the canvas. Angle hits the Angle Slam! HHH plants Angle with the Pedigree and both men are down! Here comes Stephanie McMahon. She is distracting Teddy Long but he turns around and is rammed into the cage by Stephanie! HHH tries to go through the door, but Stephanie slams the door into his head! Angle wants to leave but Stephanie wants more punishment. Kurt tosses HHH into the cage a few times. HHH has been busted wide open as well. Angle could easily leave the cage but instead comes back to attack HHH. HHH catapults Angle face first into the cage! Stephanie slides a chair into the ring for Kurt. HHH gets the chair but Kurt avoids it and we get a double clothesline spot. HHH DDT’s Angle onto the chair! HHH tries to climb out but Stephanie enters the cage and whacks HHH with a chair. HHH crotches himself and gets another chair shot. HHH has his foot tangled in the ropes and Stephanie literally pulls Angle out of the cage to win the match! (***. A good cage match to end the show, and I was rather surprised to see Angle win the match. Yeah, it wasn’t close to being a clean finish, but considering HHH is main eventing Mania in two weeks, a loss here didn’t seem likely. A nice surprise and gives Angle and Stephanie more heat moving forward.)
The New World Order stuff was annoying and didn’t seem to fit the group persona that it had in WCW. We got three good matches including the Trish/Jazz, RVD/Storm and main event. Not a bad show this week, so I’ll give it a mild thumbs up.
Thanks for reading.