Written by: Bob Colling
World Wrestling Federation presents RAW
From: Albany, NY
RAW Owner Ric Flair welcomes everyone to the new RAW and lets us know that he will present a new WWF Undisputed Championship to Triple H. He will also try the best he can to sign Steve Austin to the brand.
Opening Contest: WWF Intercontinental Champion Rob Van Dam vs. Booker T: RVD takes Booker over with a hurricanrana in the opening minute of the match and plays to the crowd. A few chops by Booker to gain control but RVD fights back with a step over heel kick. Booker drops RVD throat first across the top and delivers a standing side kick. Booker side slams RVD but can’t get a three count on the cover attempt. RVD comes off the ropes but is knocked down by an elbow from Booker. RVD walks into a short arm side kick, which gets Booker a near fall. RVD ducks under a clothesline and hits a spinning heel kick. RVD catapults Booker out of the corner and leaps off the top to deliver a kick for a near win. Booker kicks RVD but misses a scissors kick. RVD kicks Booker himself and leg trips the challenger but misses the rolling thunder. Booker with the spinarooni and a leaping side kick but RVD kicks out at two! Booker rolls RVD up out of the corner for a near win. RVD walks into a super kick from Booker. RVD is placed on the top turnbuckle and Booker goes for a superplex. RVD shoves Booker off and hits the Five Star Frog Splash to retain the title. (**1/2. A fine way to kick off RAW with a nice clean win for the champion. They both worked well and the fans enjoyed it.) After the match, Eddie Guerrero comes out of nowhere and power bombs RVD off the top rope and pummels RVD with right hands! Guerrero heads to the top rope and hits the frog splash! Eddie Guerrero is back in the WWF after a year absence!
Smackdown Owner Vince McMahon comes out and is here to sign Steve Austin. Instead, Ric Flair comes out and tells McMahon to leave. McMahon declines until Big Show comes out and carries McMahon out on his shoulder. Show drops Vince at the exit and then tosses McMahon out the arena after McMahon tried to return a microphone.
Second Contest: WWF European Champion William Regal vs. Spike Dudley: This is a non-title match. Regal puts his brass knuckles under the top turnbuckle prior to the start of the match. Regal starts by taking Spike down to the canvas a couple of times and works over Spike in the corner with several strikes. Regal stops Dudley with a forearm strike as he ran the ropes and gets several near falls on cover attempts. Spike rolls Regal up and nearly wins. Regal casually strikes Spike on the back of the head and hits a vertical suplex for a near fall. Regal plants Spike with a full nelson slam and Spike rolls to the floor. Regal tosses Spike into the ropes from the floor and rams Dudley chest first across the apron. Spike head butts Regal in the midsection trying to fight back. Regal goes to find his knuckles but they are gone. Spike his the Dudley Dog and wins the match! (*1/2. Not a bad match as it was a quality filler match. The upset may see Spike get a title shot soon.)
Backstage, the New World Order take a seat at the vacant APA office. Moments later, Crash Holly informs Bradshaw what is going on and he leaves to see what’s going on.
Backstage, Terri confronts Trish about her attitude since being on the cover of the Divas magazine. Ric Flair enters and books them in a paddle on a poll bikini match.
Backstage, Debra lets Coach know that Steve Austin hasn’t made up his mind on which brand he will be joining.
Backstage, the New World Order spray paints the APA door. Bradshaw comes into the scene and attacks the NWO but is eventually laid out by the group.
Third Contest: WWF Hardcore Champion Raven vs. Bubba Ray Dudley: Raven tosses a bunch of weapons into the ring and is met with several strikes by Bubba. Dudley clotheslines Raven over the top to the floor and follows Raven where he juggles oranges before hitting the champ with them. Raven uses a crutch on Bubba before sending him back into the ring. Raven low blows Bubba and hits Bubba with trash can lids a few times. Raven whacks Bubba with a stop sign but only gets a near fall. Bubba gets out of a sleeper hold with a stop sign. Bubba hits a Samoan Drop for a near fall. Dudley fires off the fire extinguisher into Dudley’s face but Dudley hits a senton splash off the middle rope for a two count. Raven drop toe holds Bubba onto a chair but can’t get a three count. Bubba counters the DDT with the Bubba Bomb and wins the match. (*1/2. An average hardcore match. Nothing spectacular taking place here.)
Outside in a limo, Vince McMahon vows that Austin will be signed to Smackdown by the end of the night.
Ric Flair is in the ring to present the new WWF Undisputed Championship to Triple H, but instead the Undertaker comes out. Taker believes that Flair drafted him so that he could be embarrassed. Taker recalls beating Flair and HHH at the last two Mania’s and says he is going to bring pain to Flair’s life. HHH makes his way out and has a confrontation. Taker challenges HHH to a match at Backlash for the strap. HHH doesn’t want to wait but Taker says that Backlash will be a fine time for the match. Taker gives HHH the belt and tells him to hold onto it while he can.
Fourth Contest: Big Bossman & Mr. Perfect vs. the Hardy Boys: Bossman and Perfect attack the Hardy Boys before the bell. Matt and Perfect start the match with Perfect getting control after Bossman dropped Matt throat first across the top rope. Bossman tags in after a neck snap and tosses Matt across the ring. Bossman side slams Perfect for a two count. Perfect chokes Bossman in the corner while the referee is distracted. Bossman misses a splash in the corner and Matt rolls towards his corner. Jeff gets the tag and cleans house on the heels. Jeff hits a jaw breaker on both men. Poetry in Motion on Perfect and Bossman drops Jeff with a spine buster for a near fall. Matt hits the Twist of Fate on Bossman and Jeff hits the Swanton Bomb for the win. (*. A fine little match to get the Hardy Boys a win. Nice to see Bossman and Perfect have gotten over their issues from eleven years ago.) After the match, Brock Lesnar enters and attacks the Hardy Boys. Lesnar hits a spine buster on Matt and the F-5. Lesnar catches Jeff in midair and delivers a couple of power bombs.
Fifth Contest: Terri vs. Trish Stratus in a paddle on a pile bikini match: It’s certainly nice to look at these two women compete in a bikini. Stratus gets the paddle after a running bulldog. After the match, Molly Holly comes out and attacks Trish and Terri. Molly gets the paddle and whacks Trish over the head with it! The paddle is broken! Molly is one serious woman nowadays.
Backstage, Steve Austin enters Flair’s office. Austin wants Flair to let McMahon into the building. He wants to hear from both men before making a decision.
Main Event: X-Pac vs. Kane: Kevin Nash and Scott Hall are at ringside and distract Kane so that Pac can get the cheap advantage early but that stopped following a tilt a whirl slam. Pac is gorilla press slammed by Kane after running out of the corner. Pac kicks Kane on the side of the head. Kane clotheslines Pac in the corner and side slams his former friend. Kane heads to the top rope as Hall gets on the apron. Kane is distracted and Pac kicks Kane off the top to the floor. On the floor, Hall hammers away on Kane for a brief time. Pac goes for a cross body on the floor and Kane is met with a big boot from Nash. Pac is faking a knee injury as Hall sends Kane face first into the ring steps. Pac drops Kane with a spinning heel kick and Kane kicks out sending Pac to the floor. Hall punches Kane and Pac leaps off the top to hit a missile dropkick. Pac delivers a few more kicks in the corner after avoids a splash. Pac hits the Bronco Buster in the corner. Kane runs over Pac with a few clotheslines and drops Pac down to the canvas midsection first. Kane goes to the floor and decks Hall before heading to the top and leaps off hitting a clothesline on Pac! Kane goes for the choke slam but the NWO attack causing the DQ. Here comes Bradshaw to help Kane clean house. (*1/2. Again, a decent match but nothing overly great to finish this show action wise. This is roughly the end of the near three year feud between Kane and Pac, thankfully.)
Vince McMahon and Ric Flair are in the ring to win Austin for their brand. McMahon brags about making pay per view famous and creating sports entertainment so Austin will sign with him. Austin makes his way out and tells Vince and Flair that he will sign with Vince and shakes Flair’s hand to say no disrespect. Austin looks over the contract and says APRIL FOOLS! Austin hits the Stunner on Vince and celebrates with Flair. That ends with Austin hitting Flair with the Stunner! Austin signs the RAW contract and stuns Vince again to end the show!
Action wise, there was a lot of average wrestling at best. The main event was rather weak in my eyes, but I guess every show can’t feature a huge match. Austin signing with the RAW brand isn’t surprising, at all. The show as mainly about where Austin would sign and I didn’t find it to be entertaining all that much.
Thanks for reading.
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.