Written by: Bob Colling
World Wrestling Federation presents RAW
From: College Station, TX
Ric Flair opens the show saying that he has no desire to go to war with Steve Austin and instead sees him as the man for the RAW brand. Flair has a problem with being hit with a Stunner, and that brings out Austin himself. Flair proceeds to fine Austin $5,000 for putting his hands on him. Stone Cold warns Flair that it may happen again and that he doesn’t need Flair’s help at Backlash. The Undertaker makes his way down and tells Austin he is focusing on the wrong guy. Taker is confident that he will beat Austin at Backlash and win the WWF World Championship. Taker thinks that Austin needs Flair’s help at Backlash. Taker threatens to knock Flair’s teeth out at Backlash if he gets involved. Flair will be the special referee. The New World Order come out and Hall wants a singles match with Austin, but that gets denied. Thus, a brawl takes place with Bradshaw coming out to help Austin clean house and stand tall.
Backstage, Flair sets up a handicap match with Austin teaming with Bradshaw to take on X-Pac, Scott Hall and the Undertaker.
Opening Contest: WWF Hardcore Champion Bubba Dudley vs. Raven: Early on, Bubba scoop slams Raven and follows up with a trash can lid shot to the head. Bubba heads to the top rope but Raven hits him with a cooking sheet and slams him off the top. Raven continues with a clothesline and a knee lift for a near fall. Raven breaks a piece of wood over Bubba’s face and a trash can shot as well. Bubba wants more and gets a stop sign shot which gives Raven a near fall. Bubba elbow strikes Raven and they hit each other with trash can lids before Bubba hits a reverse neck breaker. Bubba hits a flapjack and drops a few elbows on the challenger. Raven baseball slides a table into Bubba. Raven quickly hits a DDT back in the ring and gets the three count. (*. The referee didn’t seem to make a three but whatever.) After the match, Tommy Dreamer pins Raven after a Death Valley Driver. Steven Richards pins Dreamer after a super kick. Bubba breaks a guitar over Richards head and pins Steven to regain the title.
Backstage, Shawn Stasiak tells Coach that he picked Big Show as an opponent because he has a plan.
Second Contest: Big Show vs. Shawn Stasiak: Early on, Stasiak trips Show and focuses his attack on the knee but that doesn’t last long as Show delivers a hard clothesline. Show isn’t playing around and drives Stasiak down with a choke slam for the win. (NR. A quick squash match.)
Backstage, Terri interviews Eddie Guerrero who says he will rightfully regain the WWF Intercontinental Championship along with the frog splash he made famous.
Backstage, Goldust tries to convince Booker T that their tag team will be great, but Booker disagrees.
Backstage, Debra runs away from the Undertaker, who snuck up on Debra.
Backstage, Jacqueline tells Terri that Crash Holly cheating to beat her on HEAT will prove to be costly tonight.
Third Contest: Crash Holly vs. Jacqueline: Crash decks Jacqueline and drops her across the top rope and has his feet on the middle rope, which the referee sees. Jacqueline hits a missile dropkick and rolls Holly up with a sunset flip to win the match.
Backstage, Coach talks to William Regal about losing the WWF European Championship to Spike Dudley, which Regal says was the most embarrassing moment of his life. Coach decides to remind him of the time he kissed Vince McMahon’s ass. Regal is going to punish Spike and threatens Coach to never that ass kicking moment again.
Fourth Contest: WWF Intercontinental Champion Rob Van Dam & WWF European Champion Spike Dudley vs. Eddie Guerrero & William Regal: Regal sends Spike to the floor and the heels double team RVD early on. RVD backdrops Regal and delivers a spinning heel kick. RVD connects with a step over heel kick as well. Dudley tags in as does Guerrero. Spike misses a dropkick and Eddie works over the smaller opponent until Spike hits an atomic drop and neck breaker. The referee is distracted to allow Regal to knee lift Dudley from the apron and Guerrero hits a tilt a whirl back breaker. Regal takes Spike over with an overhead suplex. Eddie slams Dudley on the floor to help Regal maintain control of the match.
Spike continues to be double teamed as RVD is distracting the referee on accident. Spike comes out of the corner with a head butt to stop Regal and hits a hurricanrana on Guerrero. RVD tags in and spin kicks Regal before hitting the rolling thunder for a near fall. RVD comes off the top to kick Regal in the face. RVD hits a split legged moonsault but Guerrero breaks up the cover attempt. RVD shoulder blocks Regal in the corner and hits a springboard cross body for a near fall. Eddie hits a neck breaker and Spike tags in to hammer away on Regal. Spike runs into a boot from Regal in the corner. Eddie drops Dudley with a back suplex. Regal and RVD brawl on the floor while Guerrero hits a brain buster on Spike and hits a top rope frog splash for the win. (**. A decent tag match between these four guys. I felt like it was pretty obvious that Spike was going to take the pin here as the other three are strong characters on the brand.) After the match, RVD kicks Guerrero and goes for the frog splash but Regal pulls Eddie to safety to end the segment.
Backstage, Coach is with Trish Stratus who is going to beat Molly tonight and regain the title against Jazz at Backlash. Molly entered the scene to tell Trish that she will go to Backlash and that she is the more beautiful female.
Fifth Contest: Molly Holly vs. Trish Stratus in a number one contenders match: Holly arm drags and scoop slams Trish early on. Holly bails to the floor when Trish starts to get some momentum going so Trish baseball slides Holly into the announce table. Back in the ring, Molly whiplashes Trish down to the canvas to regain control of the bout. Molly misses a somersault dive from the top and Trish fights back with a kick and almost gets a pin fall. Molly misses another kick and rolls Stratus up for a near fall. Trish rolls through and uses the tights to win the match. (1/2*. A quick match between two divas that could probably put together a good one given enough time.)
Backstage, Bradshaw is happy to have a match against Scott Hall at Backlash. He proceeds to cut a pro Texas speech.
Backstage, Paul Heyman enters Lita’s locker room to intidmate Matt Hardy’s girlfriend as Matt will be wrestling Brock Lesnar at Backlash. Lita tells Heyman to get out and slaps him. Heyman tells Lita that he likes to play rough too before leaving.
Sixth Contest: The Hardy Boys vs. Booker T & Goldust: Booker and Matt kick off the match with Hardy getting the better of the exchange until Goldust delivers a clothesline and a jumping butt strike. Booker comes back in and hammers away on Matt. Booker misses a spin kick and Matt connects with a Side Effect! Jeff gets tagged in and drops Goldust with a few clotheslines and a leg drop to the lower midsection. Poetry in Motion on Booker in the corner and Booker is sent to the floor with a clothesline. Goldust feels the Poetry in Motion as well. Matt with the Twist of Fate on Goldust and Matt runs after Paul Heyman. Jeff hits the Swanton but Booker hits a leaping side kick and Goldust pins Jeff. (*. Well, this was just a way to continue the Hardy/Lesnar feud.) After the match, Heyman is sniffing Lita’s panties at the top of the ramp way. Matt comes up and Brock Lesnar is there. Hardy goes after Lesnar and low blows him. Brock hits the F5 on the steel ramp and Jeff runs up with a steel chair but it’s too late.
Jim Ross interviews WWF Undisputed Champion Triple H in the ring. HHH says that Hogan made a big mistake on Smackdown and that he will not make any mistakes. Instead, he is going to beat Hollywood Hogan at Backlash. JR asks if HHH prefers Austin or Taker, but HHH says it doesn’t matter to him.
Main Event: X-Pac, Scott Hall & The Undertaker vs. Steve Austin & Bradshaw:/ Austin and Bradshaw fight off the three heels with Bradshaw sending Pac over the top to the floor. Taker and Austin legally start the match with Taker working over Austin with a few strikes. Taker drops Austin with a leaping clothesline and pummels Austin in the corner with more strikes. Taker delivers a clothesline in the corner and Bradshaw distracts the referee. Austin fights back with a Thez Press and goes for the Stunner but Taker avoids it. Pac enters the match and quickly gets booed as Austin works over Pac in the corner with stomps. Austin goes for a suplex but Pac gets out and delivers a spin kick. Austin hits a spine buster on Pac and Hall before tagging in Bradshaw.
Bradshaw works over Pac with heavy strikes in the corner and a back suplex after a clothesline in the corner. Pac ducks a clothesline to hit a spinning heel kick for a near fall. Hall gets tagged in and hammers away on Bradshaw. Bradshaw drops Hall with a few strikes and a DDT for a two count. Austin is tagged back in and chops Hall several times. Taker decks Austin from behind and Hall manages to hit a fallaway slam. Taker hammers away on Austin on the floor while the referee was distracted. Bradshaw punches Pac down and Hall continues to work over Austin in the corner. Pac kicks Austin in the corner and follows up with a clothesline for a two count. Austin and Hall collide with a double clothesline in the middle of the ring. Pac and Bradshaw get tagged in with Bradshaw cleaning house with strikes.
Pac attempts a cross body but instead Bradshaw hits a fallaway slam. Bradshaw works over Taker but runs into a knee lift and is dropped face first across the top turnbuckle. Bradshaw hits the Clothesline From Hell on Taker! Bradshaw catches a spin kick attempt by Pac with a slam for a two count. Austin enters the match and clotheslines Taker to the floor. Austin brawls with Taker while Bradshaw hits a Clothesline From Hell on Pac for the win! After the match, Hall attacks Bradshaw and hits a fallaway slam. Austin comes back in and went for the Stunner but Hall sends Austin to the floor. Taker has a chair and whacks Austin over the head with it. Hall and Pac work over Bradshaw in the ring. (**. A decent match to end the show with Bradshaw getting a pretty big win. The action was non-stop and there weren’t many rest holds so it felt like it went by rather quick.)
Nothing memorable on this show as everything felt kind of flat and rather uninteresting if I’m honest. There wasn’t a match that was horrible or anything, but for a RAW in 2002 there needs to be some better worked matches considering the roster at the time. A thumbs down from me for the episode.
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.