Written by: Bob Colling
World Wrestling Entertainment presents RAW
From: Memphis, TN
RAW opens with a tribute to Davey Boy Smith, who passed away on May 18th, 2002.
Rob Van Dam makes his way down to the ring for a match but is suddenly attacked by WWE Undisputed Champion The Undertaker! Taker sends RVD into the ring steps busting him wide open. Taker grabs a microphone saying that he is the champion and should start the show. He is going to do whatever he wants now that he is the champion. Taker talks about ending Hulkamania last night at Judgment Day. Van Dam manages to get up and fights back like his life is on the line. Van Dam comes off the top to kick Taker in the head and hits the frog splash! Taker proceeds to exit the ring while a bloody Van Dam remained in the ring.
Backstage, The Undertaker barges into Ric Flair’s office and demands a match with Rob Van Dam tonight. Flair makes it for the WWE Undisputed Championship.
Opening Contest: Big Show & X-Pac vs. The Hardy Boys: Pac and Jeff kick off the match with Pac taking Jeff to the mat with an arm drag. Jeff takes Pac over with a head scissors and tags in Matt. Hardy’s hit a fist drop/standing senton for a near fall. Matt comes off the ropes to drop Pac with a clothesline. Booker distracts Matt on the floor and Show clotheslines Matt before tagging in. Show drives Matt down with a power slam and sends Matt back first into the corner several times. Show works over Matt with overhand chops several times. Show tosses Matt across the ring and tags in Pac. Pac works over Matt in the corner with kicks dropping Matt in the corner. Pac hits the bronco buster but plays to the crowd and allows Matt to hit a power bomb off the middle rope. Jeff gets the tag and dropkicks Pac. Jeff avoids a dropkick and leg drops the groin area of Pac. Show is knocked off the apron by the Hardy’s. Poetry in Motion on Pac in the corner but Show enters to clothesline both Matt and Jeff. Show tosses them across the ring like they are rag dolls. Booker tries to interfere but misfires hitting Show on accident. Pac hits the X-Factor but Goldust is in the ring dressed like Elvis. That causes a distraction and Jeff pins Pac with a rollup. (*1/2. Seriously, the New World Order is being treated like a B level team with A level players. It’s rather comical that the WWE can book this badly for a once top stable.)
Backstage, Paul Heyman suggests to WWE Women’s Champion Trish Stratus that they get together tonight. Trish tells him she has a match and Heyman celebrates that it wasn’t a no.
Backstage, The New World Order argue about who the leader of the group is. Goldust comes in and says if he joins the group he could be the leader.
Second Contest: WWE Women’s Champion Trish Stratus vs. Jacqueline: Trish wins following a running bulldog. After the match, Trsh and Jacqueline shake hands. Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar make their way down to the ring. Heyman says that Lesnar doesn’t like it when people don’t give Heyman an answer. Heyman asks Trish if it is yes or no and she scream out no. Lesnar jumps into the ring and Trish can’t get out of the ring. She backs into a corner but here comes Bubba Dudley to make the save allowing Trish to escape and he has a stare down with Lesnar. Heyman is telling Lesnar to back off putting over Bubba as a threat to Lesnar, which is a nice touch by Heyman.
A Day In The Life of Tommy Dreamer part two is aired with Dreamer eating his own hair, hair gel and barbed solution.
Third Contest: WWE European Champion William Regal vs. Bubba Ray Dudley: Regal starts the match with a series of strikes and knocks Dudley down for a two count. Regal continues to hammer away on Dudley in the corner until Bubba comes back with backdrop, clothesline and scoop slam. Molly Holly holds Bubba foot from the floor and runs away from Bubba allowing Regal to get a few shots on Dudley to maintain control of the bout. Regal and Bubba collide heads dropping both men. Bubba scoop slams Regal followed by several jabs and an elbow strike. Bubba hits a side slam and gets a two count. He calls for himself to get the tables. Bubba goes to the floor and is attacked by Brock Lesnar from behind. Lesnar has Bubba in the ring hitting the F-5. Obviously, this ended in a disqualification. (1/2*. Predictable involvement by Lesnar to warrant a TV feud between himself and Bubba.) After the match, Regal has his brass knuckles and knocks Bubba out with a shot to the back of his head.
Ric Flair comes out and says that he wasn’t the legal man when Steve Austin pinned him last night and has corrected the record book. Steve Austin comes out and Arn Anderson reminds Austin that Flair will always have backup. Flair admits he has made some of the same mistakes that Vince McMahon made and tonight he is making a change. Flair announces that Austin has been benched and demands that Austin get out of his sight. Austin instead hits both Anderson and Flair with stunners to end the segment.
Raven is at the announcers table with Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler where he insults Lawler for not knowing about wrestling and for his wife leaving him.
Fourth Contest: The Hardy Boys vs. Goldust & Booker T: Matt and Booker kick off the match with Booker working over Matt with a few strikes followed by a leaping kick. Goldust gets tagged in and drops Matt with a leaping butt splash. Raven is on commentary teasing Jerry Lawler. Matt plants Goldust with the Side Effect but Goldust recovers to get strikes in on Matt. Pac kicks Goldust while on the apron and Matt pins Goldust with an inside cradle. This doesn’t even deserve a rating or anything.
Steve Austin and Debra have gone to a local pub to drink beers.
Booker T, X-Pac and Big Show remain in the ring and they bicker about the group. Big Show threatens to take Booker out but suddenly the NWO music hits and Kevin Nash comes out. Nash says he runs the NWO and they could dominate the company if they are united. Nash looks at Booker T and invites him to join, which he does.
Back at the pub we see that Eddie Guerrero is there as well and is sending Debra drinks and teddy bears, which is upsetting Steve Austin.
Raven continues to insult Jerry Lawler leading to a challenge to a match, which Lawler accepts.
Back at the pub, Eddie Guerrero sings a song for Debra, but does so in horrible fashion.
Fifth Contest: Jerry Lawler vs. Raven: Raven has the early advantage taking Lawler down with a backdrop and a clothesline. Raven works over Lawler in the corner with several strikes and stomps in the corner. Raven tries to clothesline Lawler over the top but settles for a right hand to send Lawler over the top to the floor. Raven rams Lawler heads first into the corner a few times but Lawler begins to get a second wind. Lawler pulls his strap down and hammers away on Raven followed by a dropkick. Lawler rams Raven head first into the corner several times. Lawler goes to the middle rope but Raven bails to the floor and leaves the ring to take a count-out loss. (*. Obviously just a hometown hero segment for Lawler and Raven didn’t have any heat here for the segment to be an overwhelmingly positive one. Basic as you would expect it to be.)
Steve Austin is singing at the pub and gets in the face of Eddie Guerrero, who doesn’t even look at Austin. Once Austin turns around, Guerrero breaks a beer bottle over his head.
Main Event: WWE Undisputed Champion The Undertaker vs. Rob Van Dam: Van Dam takes Taker out with a slingshot cross body to the floor to start the main event. RVD chokes Taker with his shirt and sends the champ into the ring. Van Dam avoids a big boot and Taker crotches himself over the top rope. RVD leaps off the top to hit a kick to drop Taker for a near fall. RVD gets out of a power slam and gets a two count following a step over heel kick. RVD clotheslines Taker over the top to the floor but Taker comes back with an elbow shot to the face. RVD sends Taker gut first into the railing and leg drops the back of Taker. Taker clotheslines Van Dam and goes for the Last Ride but Van Dam fights out of it and nearly pins Taker. Taker stops Van Dam with a big boot. Taker clotheslines RVD in the corner and taunts the fans. Taker jabs Van Dam a few times in the corner and goes for a choke slam but Van Dam stops him with a kick.
Taker quickly hits a scoop slam but misses an elbow drop. Van Dam delivers a few quick dropkicks managing a near fall. Taker tosses Van Dam into the corner and hammers away on the challenger. Van Dam spin kicks Taker after he hit an exposed turnbuckle. Van Dam hits the rolling thunder and gets a three count but Taker’s foot was on the bottom rope. Ric Flair comes out and points out that Taker had his foot on the bottom rope. Van Dam drops Flair with a right hand and Taker is up to plant RVD with the Last Ride for the win. (*1/2. Well, that blew, too. Van Dam didn’t come across like a possible winner and then the finish was seemingly just a way to protect Van Dam and probably feud with Flair now. It felt like a flat way to end the program.)
I suppose the most interesting part of the show was the Austin/Guerrero segments but aside from that the show didn’t have anything in-ring that was good. RAW hasn’t found its groove yet while Smackdown has some basic structure set up by comparison.
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.