Written by: Bob Colling
World Wrestling Federation presents RAW
From: Phoenix, AZ
The Undertaker opens the show coming down to the ring wondering why his title match at Backlash was taken away and given to Hulk Hogan. Ric Flair comes out and admits that he made a mistake and that Vince had the right to make the match at Backlash. Taker demands to be the number one contender for after Backlash. That brings out Steve Austin and he asks Taker how he deserves a title match. Flair makes two matches for the number one contender. First, Taker will wrestle RVD and Steve Austin will wrestle Scott Hall. Taker says that Flair will make him the number one contender and proceeds to brawl with Austin with Austin getting the better of the exchange. Austin thinks about stunning Flair but decides against it.
Before the hardcore match, Booker and Bubba dance with Bubba getting cheers.
Opening Contest: WWF Hardcore Champion Bubba Ray Dudley vs. Booker T: Bubba works over Booker with a few jabs and clotheslines Booker over the top to the floor. Booker gets control on the floor briefly before being sent into the ring steps. Bubba gets a trash can lid and trash can. Bubba plants Booker with a back suplex for a two count. Booker avoids a splash from the middle rope and hits a leaping side kick. Booker hits the scissors kick and works over Bubba with a stop sign and trash can. Bubba ducks a clothesline to hit a Samoan Drop. Bubba scoop slams Booker and follows up with a few elbow drops. Bubba gets a table from under the ring. Booker plants Bubba with a spine buster and sets the table up. Goldust comes out and hits Booker with trash can lid. Booker is met with a DDT as well. Bubba power bombs Goldust through the table and gets the win. (*1/2. I mean, he didn’t pin Booker so how does the match end? Regardless, it was an inoffensive hardcore brawl.) After the match, they play the music that Bubba had danced to earlier and he does a few moves on the ramp.
Backstage, Coach is with Trish Stratus to talk about Molly Holly’s attack last week. Trish says that Molly will have to face her tonight and she is pissed. WWF European Champion Williams Regal enters the scene to talk about Spike Dudley, but gets made fun of by Trish and leaves the scene angry.
Backstage, Terri is with Kane. Kane says he was ashamed to be a freak, but with everyone cheering him last week, he realized that freaks kick ass! He hypes up his match with X-Pac and lets us know that X-Pac does indeed suck!
Backstage, X-Pac tells Scott Hall and Kevin Nash that he wants to handle Kane by himself.
Second Contest: Kane vs. X-Pac in a falls count anywhere match: Pac wastes no time to hammer away on Kane in the corner with kicks. Kane is fine and drops him with a couple of clotheslines. Pac runs into a big boot and Kane drops Pac gut first to the mat. Pac is sent over the top to the floor with a clothesline and Kane continues to attack his former friend as they head into the crowd. They are backstage where the NWO attacks Kane with a 2×4, a pipe and a chair shot to the face. Pac covers Kane and gets the win! After the match, the New World Order continues to beat up Kane. Pac rips off Kane’s mask and delivers another chair shot. Bradshaw runs over and chases off three guys with weapons. (1/2*. Effective way to write Kane off of television, though I’d hope the feud with Pac would not continue much longer.)
Backstage, Ric Flair tells the NWO that Nash is suspended indefinitely without pay and threatens to do the same to Hall and Pac. Nash tells Flair that he is going to sue him.
Third Contest: WWF European Champion William Regal vs. Spike Dudley: As Regal enters the ring, his brass knuckles pop out but a second set are put under the top turnbuckle. Dudley comes out and grabs them while the referee is distracted and knocks Regal out and gets a quick three count to win the title. (NR. A fine surprise there and the fans popped big for it.)
Backstage, Spike Dudley celebrates his title victory with a few wrestlers, including Bubba Dudley.
Fourth Contest: WWF Intercontinental Champion Rob Van Dam vs. The Undertaker: It’s a rematch from Vengeance in December. Taker hammers away on Van Dam in the corner with strikes and elbow shots in the corner. Taker delivers a few knee lifts in the corner as well and hits a clothesline in the corner for a near fall. RVD boots Taker in the corner and fights back with a series of strikes but Taker puts an end to that with a side slam. Taker misses a leg drop on the apron and RVD kicks Taker to the floor. RVD leaps off the apron to hit a moonsault! RVD slams Taker head first into the announcer table. RVD sends Taker shoulder first into the ring post and rolls Taker into the ring. RVD leaps off the middle rope to kick Taker and gets a near fall after a spinning leg drop. RVD hits the rolling thunder but only gets a near fall. Taker crotches RVD on the top rope and connects with a superplex! Taker has a chair but RVD kicks it into his face! RVD heads to the top rope looking for the Five Star Frog Splash but leaps off to the floor to take out Eddie Guerrero! RVD brawls with Guerrero before returning to the ring. Taker plants RVD with a choke slam but Van Dam kicks out at two! RVD counters the Last Ride and kicks Taker to the mat. RVD leaps off the top to deliver another kick and goes for the Five Star Frog Splash and hits it this time. The referee is checking on Taker when Guerrero hits RVD with the WWF Intercontinental Championship! Taker covers but RVD manages to kick out at two, again! Taker wastes no time putting RVD away with the Last Ride. (**. Some decent action but the point here was to advance the RVD/Guerrero feud. Taker seems to be getting frustrated with not being able to put people awry since his recent attitude change.)
Backstage, Molly Holly tells Terri that the superhero gimmick was holding her back. She was sick of watching women in bikinis. She wants to showoff her skills. She thinks she is the most desirable diva and is pure.
Fifth Contest: Molly Holly vs. Trish Stratus: WWF Women’s Champion Jazz is on commentary for the match. She has a black eye thanks to Trish at a recent house show. Trish quickly goes to work on Molly, who starts to beg off but is met with stomps in the corner. Molly ducks a clothesline but not a kick to the head. Holly bails to the floor to regroup. Holly gets control of the match with a clothesline and chokes Stratus. Molly hits a handspring back elbow in the corner but can’t get a three count. Stratus crotches Holly on the top and hits a hurricanrnaa. Trish goes to the floor and confronts Jazz for some reason. Trish tries to bulldog Molly but Jazz hits her with the championship. Molly rolls Trish into the ring and pins Trish. (*. The beginning of Molly’s run as a heel in the company. Sure, the cheap win wouldn’t be ideal, but it’s a good start. Both girls worked hard and that’s all you can ask for.)
Paul Heyman comes out and talks about how he managed guys like Steve Austin and the Undertaker and helped create the WWF Attitude with Extreme Championship Wrestling. Heyman says he has the ability of spotting the next big thing and that is Brock Lesnar! After a video package, the Hardy Boys come down and attack Lesnar but are sent to the floor. They return with chairs and hit Lesnar sending him to the floor, but Brock lands on his feet and is virtually not affected by the blows.
Sixth Contest: The Big Show vs. Mr. Perfect: Before the bell, Perfect goes after Show but the offense doesn’t last long as Show kicks Perfect to the floor. Show viciously chops Perfect on the apron. Show tosses Perfect from the floor over the top back into the ring. Show nearly splashes the referee in the corner but Perfect low blows Show and manages to hit the Perfect Plex but Show kicks out at one! Show is pissed and hits the choke slam to win the match. (*. The Perfect Plex was quite impressive. This was just a match to give Show a win and be seen as a force on RAW.)
Backstage, Steve Austin asks Flair what happens if he beats Hall since Taker already won his match. Flair tells Austin that they will wrestle at Backlash to determine the number one contender.
Main Event: Scott Hall vs. Steve Austin: Wasting no time, Austin works over Hall with several strikes and chops in the corner. Austin chokes Hall with his vest and jumps on Hall as he was across the middle rope. Austin gets a near fall after a short arm clothesline and they go to the floor. Hall sidesteps Austin and sends him over the top. On the floor, Austin fights off X-Pac and drops him across the guard railing. Austin sends Hall weakly into the ring steps. Back in the ring, Hall avoids the Stunner and manages to low blow Austin. Hall kicks Austin to the floor where Pac gets a few shots in. Hall hits a short arm clothesline and gets a two count on the cover. Hall slows down the match with a sleeper hold. Austin is able to break the hold with a back suplex. Hall avoids a splash across the middle rope and nearly pins Austin. Hall comes off the middle rope but is met with a punch to the midsection. A double clothesline spot knocks them both down. Pac punches Austin from the floor to help Hall, but Austin just tackles Hall and delivers several blows. Austin Thez Presses Hall and follows up with a forearm drop. Hall avoids the Stunner and sends Austin into the referee. Austin drops both men with a spine buster. The Undertaker comes out and attacks Austin. Taker choke slams Austin but here comes Bradshaw to make the save sending Taker to the floor. Hall covers Austin but only gets a near fall! Hall goes for a fallaway slam but the referee is knocked down. Pac returns and double teams Austin. Ric Flair runs down and confronts Pac. Hall can’t hit the Razors Edge. Flair punches Pac and Austin hits a Stunner on Pac and on Hall to get the win. After the match, Austin stuns Flair as well! (*1/4. Um, talk about way overbooked. It was obvious that Austin was going to win and the ref bumps and interference were not needed at all. The action wasn’t all that great due in large part to Hall having bad timing taking some bumps.)
RAW is certainly not the brand to produce top quality matches. It seems to be focusing more on the character and angles rather than in-ring quality. Not a bad show, but the show didn’t have anything standout to me with the Austin/Taker feud not really catching my interest, currently.
Thanks for reading.
34-year-old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Long-time fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls, and Minnesota Vikings. An avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on old-school wrestling.