Written by: Bob Colling
World Wrestling Entertainment presents RAW
From: Dallas, TX
RAW opens up with Ric Flair letting Arn Anderson know that he has some stuff to say right now and heads to the ring with Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero. They have plenty of security guards with them. Flair told Anderson to go to the ring if Steve Austin arrived. They head to the ring following the RAW opening with Flair being happy that a plan coming together. Benoit blames Austin for being the reason he can’t compete tonight. Benoit claims that last week was the beginning of a painful payback. Guerrero is upset that he lost the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Flair knows that Austin wants to compete tonight in Dallas, but Austin is still benched. Austin appears on the big screen has beaten up Arn Anderson. Austin wants both Benoit and Guerrero tonight or he’ll take Flair out. Flair says that Guerrero is already in a match and Benoit isn’t medically cleared to compete. Flair agrees to a match with Austin, but if he beats Austin then Stone Cold is benched forever. Austin proceeds to pee on Arn Anderson.
Opening Contest: WWE Hardcore Champion Steven Richards vs. Bradshaw: Bradshaw goes right after Richards with strikes and knees in the corner. Bradshaw counters a backdrop attempt with a strike but Richards gets a few shots in before running into a big boot. Bradshaw whacks Richards over the head with a cowbell. Bradshaw plants Richards with a pump handle slam and hog ties Richards. Oh boy, Bradshaw grabs a lasso, saddle and horns. Richards whacks Bradshaw with a trash can lid a few times. Bradshaw tosses Richards with a fallaway slam and Spike Dudley tries to steal a victory but that doesn’t work. Bradshaw knocks Spike to the floor and takes Richards out with the Clothesline From Hell. Justin Credible enters and gets knocked down by Bradshaw. Crash Holly runs down with a trash can and gets kicked into his face. (*. It was quick and painless. Bradshaw is of course over with the Texas crowd.)
Backstage, Kevin Nash is talking with his NWO members and mentions that both Booker T and X-Pac have King of the Ring qualifying matches. Goldust enters and is pretending to be the Coach asking Nash when will Goldust be entered in the NWO. Booker suggests that if Goldust beats X-Pac tonight, then Goldust is in and Pac is out. Nash will consider it.
Second Contest: X-Pac vs. Goldust in a KOTR Qualifying Match: Goldust wants a too sweet but Pac cheap shots Goldust to get the upper hand. Goldust atomic drops Pac followed by a clothesline. Goldust drops Pac throat first across the top rope and rakes the back of Pac. Goldust follows up with a leaping butt attack for a two count. Pac ducks a wild right and spin kicks Goldust for a two count. Pac elbows the forehead of Goldust and delivers more strikes in the corner. Pac misses the bronco buster! Goldust hammers away on Pac with right hands in the corner and delivers an elbow strike. Goldust hits an ugly looking bronco buster, which the fans popped for. Goldust goes for the move again but is met with a foot to the groin. Pac hits the X-Factor and wins the match. (*. At least there was a story to go along with the match, right?)
Backstage, Coach interviews WWE Intercontinental Champion Rob Van Dam who is honored to be the champion. Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar enter the scene and Van Dam is challenged to a match, which Van Dam accepts.
Backstage, Jeff Hardy is playing his guitar and tells Matt Hardy that he bummed that they don’t live by extreme anymore. Matt doesn’t understand and Jeff says he will show him.
Backstage, Ric Flair is adding stipulations to the match with Austin saying that if Austin loses he must be his assistant. If Austin throws a punch, then Austin is disqualified. Austin enters and signs the contract and asks why Flair is so happy. Flair says Austin will see soon enough.
Third Contest: Terri vs. Trish Stratus in a Lingerie match: Trish wins the match with her bulldog. After the match, Molly Holly attempts to attack Trish but punches the championship on accident. Trish knocks Molly out with the championship. Molly had brass knuckles on her fist. Trish takes her pants off and has a thong on.
Backstage, Arn Anderson is angry about what happened earlier and is talking to Chris Benoit. They both talk about the end of Austin’s career tonight.
Fourth Contest: WWE Intercontinental Champion Rob Van Dam & Bubba Ray Dudley vs. Brock Lesnar & Eddie Guerrero: Van Dam and Guerrero kick off the tag match but they both tag out to Bubba and Lesnar. Bubba is double teamed while the referee is distracted. Bubba fights back but is slammed by Lesnar. Guerrero is now legally in and hammers away on Bubba with right hands in the corner. Bubba side slams Guerrero for a two count. Lesnar works over Bubba with shoulder rams in the corner and tosses Bubba hard into the corner across the ring. Bubba plants Lesnar with a DDT but only gets a two count. Van Dam gets tagged in and works over Lesnar with a few strikes. Van Dam kicks Lesnar but Brock stops Van Dam with a back breaker and a power slam for a two count. Guerrero controls Van Dam with elbow strikes. Van Dam drops Guerrero with a step over heel kick. Bubba gets the tag and clotheslines Eddie a few times. Bubba takes Guerrero over with a backdrop and several jabs. Bubba takes Lesnar over with a German suplex! Bubba goes to the outside to grab a table from under the ring. Guerrero dropkicks the table into Bubba’s face.
Lesnar and Heyman cheap shot Bubba on the floor. Eddie takes Bubba over with a snap suplex and hits a slingshot neck breaker from the apron for a two count. Bubba fights off Lesnar briefly until Lesnar overwhelms Bubba with shoulder rams in the corner. Bubba fights back with a Bubba Bomb! Van Dam and Guerrero get the tags trading right hands and Van Dam hits a clothesline. Van Dam drops Guerrero face first in the corner followed by a monkey flip. Van Dam hits the split legged moonsault and knocks Lesnar off the apron. Van Dam follows up with the rolling thunder for a two count. Bubba enters and hammers away on Lesnar. Guerrero stops Bubba with a dropkick but Bubba hits and electric chair slam. Bubba suplexs Bubba and rams Van Dam into the corner. Van Dam spin kicks Lesnar and heads to the top but Heyman shoves him off. Lesnar grabs Van Dam and hits the F5! Lesnar gets tackled by Bubba, but Guerrero comes off the top to hit the frog splash to win the match! (***. That was a fun fast paced match that made everyone look really good, I thought. I’m digging how they are presenting Bubba as a fighter and not about to back down from anyone. This was fun and a win by Guerrero keeps the issues with RVD relevant.)
Backstage, Coach interviews William Regal about Molly Holly getting beaten up earlier and Regal says it was a shame. Regal believes he would be a perfect king, but Booker T comes in and disputes that claim.
Fifth Contest: WWE European Champion William Regal vs. Booker T in a KOTR Qualifying Match: Regal controls Booker early on with some basic counters and pin attempts for near falls. Booker drops Regal with a standing kick and chops Regal against the ropes. Booker decks Regal with a forearm and they go to the floor. Regal rams Booker into the apron back first and then tosses Booker into the ropes from the floor. Regal nails Booker with a running knee strike for a two count. Regal drops Booker after a couple of uppercuts. Regal delivers a double knee strike, but Booker battles back with strikes. Booker hits a spin kick and chops against the ropes. Booker connects with a scissors kick but Regal powers out at two. Booker misses a leaping side kick and crotches himself over the top rope. Regal has his championship and a steel chair. Booker has the championship and decks Regal with it after the referee tossed the chair from the ring. Booker has the cover and pins Regal. (*. All these matches are quick, but the action is at least at a good pace.)
Backstage, Coach interviews Tommy Dreamer who says he has been sick ever sense he found out he’d be wrestling the Undertaker. After footage of Taker assaulting Triple H is shown, Dreamer vomits in a bucket.
Sixth Contest: WWE Undisputed Champion The Undertaker vs. Tommy Dreamer: Dreamer vomits during his entrance. Dreamer puts the vomit into his mouth and attacks Taker from behind. That was gross. Dreamer hits a running clothesline and clotheslines Taker over the top to the floor. Dreamer comes off the apron but is slammed on the floor. Taker rolls Dreamer into the ring but is grossed out by the vomit. Taker works over Dreamer with strikes in the corner. Taker clotheslines Dreamer in the corner and goes for the choke slam. Taker drives Dreamer down to the mat with a choke slam and delivers several elbow drops. Taker locks in a dragon sleeper and Dreamer submits. After the match, Taker has the vomit bucket on the floor and dumps out on Dreamer! Jeff Hardy comes out of nowhere and dropkicks Taker into the vomit! Taker is not happy with this while Jeff plays to the crowd on the aisle way. (NR. It was a squash for Taker. Credit to Dreamer for trying though.)
Backstage, Undertaker is looking for Jeff Hardy but finds Matt Hardy instead. Taker has a message for Jeff and he proceeds to beat up Matt sending him into the wall.
Kevin Nash is in the ring and has a special announcement to reveal the newest member of the New World Order. It’s none other than Shawn Michaels! They perform their trademark leaping high five.
Backstage, Debra is laughing at the contract because it reads that the loser must be the winners assistant. That means, if Flair loses then he must be the assistant to Steve Austin!
Main Event: Steve Austin vs. Ric Flair: They trade hammerlocks in the ring with Austin getting the advantage on the canvas. Austin drops Flair with a shoulder block and goes to punch Flair but is reminded he’d lose the match. Austin takes Flair down with a half Boston crab trying to get a submission but is unsuccessful. Austin works over Flair in the corner with chops since he can’t throw a punch. Flair fights back with chops of his own. Austin hits a backdrop but only gets a two count on the pin attempt. Flair stops Austin with an eye poke. Austin hits his Thez Press and stops himself from punching Flair. Austin with more chops in the corner and goes for ten punches in the corner but stops and settles for a clothesline for a two count. Chris Benoit makes his way down to ringside as Austin hit the Stunner on Flair but there isn’t a referee! Austin is distracted by Benoit and Eddie Guerrero comes in from behind to low blow Austin! Guerrero hits a frog splash from the top! The referee returns to the ring and counts both men on the canvas.
Back from commercial, Flair tosses Austin to the floor. Flair chops Austin against the railing and goes to send Austin into the ring post but Austin blocks it. Austin backdrops Flair on the floor before rolling back into the ring. Austin brings Flair back into the ring with a vertical suplex. Austin chops Flair numerous times in the corner. Flair avoids a punch thanks to the referee blocking it and Flair decks Austin with a right hand. Flair chop blocks Austin’s knee. Flair focuses his offense on the knee of Austin jumping down onto the knee. Flair works over Austin with several strikes in the corner. Austin battles back with chops but Flair stops Austin with a kick to the gut. Flair kicks Austin’s knee to keep him on the canvas. Flair goes for the figure four and has the hold locked in. Austin is able to reverse the hold but Flair quickly lets go. They collide in the middle of the ring and both go down. Austin slams Flair off the top rope and works over Flair with stomps in the corner. Flair falls flat on his face and pokes Austin in the eye. Flair nearly wins with an inside cradle. Austin takes Flair down with a backslide but only gets a two count. Austin nails Flair with the Stunner and wins the match. (*1/2. It’s a rather boring match, honestly. The stipulations hindered the offense for both men, and I get the story they were trying to tell, but it was just boring. Plus, who really thinks that Austin would be benched forever?) After the match, Austin takes Flair out with another Stunner.
The tag match at the end of the first hour was an enjoyable one and the return of Shawn Michaels in the NWO is odd and yet interesting at the same time. RAW doesn’t have much going for itself since it feels really old and uninspired while Smackdown usually feels young and exciting. It’s not a horrible episode, but it’s lacking a lot of excitement.
Thanks for reading.