WWE RAW 7/22/2002

Written by: Bob Colling

World Wrestling Entertainment presents RAW
From: Grand Rapids, MI

RAW GM Eric Bischoff makes his way out to start the program. Bischoff is getting a great heel reaction from the crowd. Bischoff is bringing the WWE Undisputed Champion the Rock to the fans tonight. He’s got more for the fans. Bischoff also has the man that will make RAW the number one show and stole from Stephanie McMahon… Triple H. HHH makes his way out to the arena and storms to the ring spitting his gum on, which didn’t look like it was suppose to happen. HHH stops Bischoff from continuing and says that he will be bringing his best friend, Shawn Michaels. Shawn Michaels makes his way out to join the segment. Bischoff reveals he’s going to make Michaels the manager for Triple H. Bischoff is making a note to make Michaels a supporting role to Triple H being the main star.

Michaels gets a microphone and knows that Bischoff doesn’t know him very well. Michaels has a huge problem with Bischoff telling him what he’ll be doing. He has no problem being HHH’s manager. Bischoff says he’s telling Michaels that because of who he is. The fans are calling Bischoff an asshole. Bischoff tells Michaels that he doesn’t have the same stroke that he did a few years ago. Michaels suggests that Bischoff realizes who he is and he doesn’t handle being told what to do very well. Michaels tells Bischoff that he always takes the highway and walks off. Triple H is not happy in the ring about what is going on. Bischoff suggests Triple H go talk some sense into Michaels. HHH leaves the ring to go talk to Michaels. Bischoff reveals that he’s unifying the Intercontinental and European Championships in a ladder match.

Backstage, Shawn Michaels tells Triple H that he has earned the right to do whatever he wants to do. He doesn’t handle people telling him what to do very well. Michaels brought HHH onto RAW and HHH says that Michaels is going to walk out on everyone. HHH asks if being his manager would be that bad. Michaels has a back injury and he still has his pride. HHH doesn’t want Michaels to walk out the door like Stone Cold did. HHH wants to make the ride together. HHH thinks that he came up with a plan to make this work.

Opening Contest: WWE Intercontinental Champion Rob Van Dam vs. WWE European Champion Jeff Hardy in a ladder match: They start off with some mat wrestling counters leading to a standoff. RVD dropkicks Hardy and tries for a cover, but those don’t count in this match. Hardy head scissors RVD out of the corner and clotheslines RVD over the top to the floor. RVD baseball slides the ladder into Hardy’s ribs. RVD leaps off the apron to moonsault onto Hardy on the floor. RVD sets the ladder up and tries to climb, but is yanked off by Hardy. Hardy leg drops RVD and goes to climb, but is shoved off quickly. RVD has the ladder, but Hardy dropkicks the ladder to the floor. They both go to the floor to slide in two ladders. They ram each other with the ladders with RVD nailing Hardy with a spinning kick. RVD lays Hardy onto the ladder and hits a cartwheel splash. RVD climbs the ladder, but Hardy stops RVD. Hardy bits a back suplex off the apron to the mat. Hardy lays the ladder onto RVD’s body and climbs to the top rope hitting the Swanton Bomb. Hardy slowly climbs the ladder, but RVD climbs the other side. RVD stops Hardy by ramming his face on the top of the ladder. RVD hits a sunset flip powerbomb off the ladder! RVD delivers a spinning leg drop and hits the rolling thunder on the ladder. RVD sets the ladder up and begins to climb, but Hardy hits RVD in the ribs with the ladder. RVD kicks Hardy on the other ladder and Hardy crashes to the mat. RVD leaps off the top of the ladder to splash onto Hardy. RVD climbs the ladder and retrieves the championship to unify the titles. (***. A fun ladder match with both men hitting their key spots to keep the fans invested. This felt like a moment where Hardy should have gone over since he was made a star against Undertaker earlier in the month. With the loss, it seems as if Hardy may have failed to be elevated out of his current role. Besides, how many ladder matches has Hardy ever actually won?)

Chris Nowinski makes his way out and has something to get off his chest. Nowinski doesn’t understand why the fans hate him because he’s a graduate from Harvard. Nowinski thinks the fans should be honored to have his intelligence in their presence. Nowinski is cut off by the Undertaker. Nowinski is backing off in the corner saying that he’s sure that the Undertaker is likely upset with losing the WWE Undisputed Championship last night. They shake hands and Taker begins to attack Nowinski. Taker clotheslines Nowinski in the corner and plants him with the Last Ride.

Backstage, Eric Bischoff is talking to Rhyno trying to recruit him to RAW. Rhyno has been out with an injury and should be back in nine months. Rhyno thanks Bischoff for the first class travel and wants to keep in touch with Bischoff for when he returns. D’Lo Brown and Shawn Stasiak come over and want a chance to get on RAW. Bischoff says he has a three minute hole in the show and wants them to entertain him in the three minutes. However, if they don’t then it will not be pretty.

Second Contest: WWE Women’s Champion Molly Holly & William Regal vs. Trish Stratus & Bubba Dudley: Bubba and Regal kickoff the match with Regal getting a few strikes in, but Bubba backdrops Regal. Regal crawls to his corner to be consoled by Molly. Molly tags in and wants to do a test of strength with Bubba. Molly slaps Bubba and Bubba responds with a spank. Trish tags in and clotheslines Molly followed by an arm drag and dropkick. Trish hammers away on Molly, but is taken down by Regal from the apron. Regal enters the match and covers Trish for a two count. Regal is playing with Trish after a takedown. Regal knee lifts Trish and decks Bubba off the apron. Molly accidentally dropkicks Regal allowing for a tag to Bubba. Bubba cleans house with clotheslines. Bubba tries for the Bubba Bomb, but Regal low blows Bubba. Molly was on the top rope and was crotched by Bubba. Trish hits a hurricanrana off the top turnbuckle. Bubba slams Regal leading to Trish hitting the diving headbutt off the top to Regal’s groin. Bubba goes to grabs a table. Regal hits a back suplex and locks in the Regal Stretch forcing Stratus to submit. Bubba was distracted by Molly on the floor. (*1/2. I like the combination of Regal and Molly. The match was fine for what it was and didn’t overstay it’s welcome.)

Backstage, Eric Bischoff is telling someone that they know what to do. Bischoff bumps into Chris Benoit and puts over Benoit’s match last night. Bischoff wants to book Benoit in a match with Booker T, and mentions their WCW history. The winner of the match gets a shot at the WWE Intercontinental Championship.

WWE Undisputed Champion The Rock is walking backstage before commercial.

WWE Undisputed Champion the Rock makes his way down to the ring to cut a promo. Rock puts over the match he had last night with Kurt Angle and Undertaker. Rock is cutoff by Eddie Guerrero. Guerrero wants to know who the Rock thinks he is. Guerrero has a problem with Rock. Guerrero says that he has two little girls at home and they idolize him. Guerrero recalls seeing a poster of the Rock on his daughters wall. Guerrero has to teach his little girls a lesson and showed them discipline. Eddie tore the poster off the wall and ripped it apart. Rock calls Guerrero a psycho freak. Rock says that Guerrero is a movie star and wants to know if he was Cheech or Chong. Guerrero says that Rock doesn’t respect anyone. Guerrero thinks that Rock is jealous of him. Guerrero says that everyone knows he’s the better wrestler and better looking than Rock. Guerrero thinks he has the best haircut going saying the mullet is the best look. Rock tells Guerrero that he looks like Billy Ray Cyrus had sex with a retarded hyena. Guerrero wants to wrestle Rock tonight and when he wins tonight he wants a title match. Rock accepts the challenge for tonight. As Rock heads up the aisle, Brock Lesnar walks by Rock and doesn’t even acknowledge him.

Third Contest: Brock Lesnar vs. Tommy Dreamer in a singapore cane match: Dreamer hits Lesnar a few times with the cane followed by a side Russian leg sweep. Dreamer leaps off the apron, but Lesnar tosses Dreamer with an overhead suplex. Lesnar tosses Dreamer into the ring steps. Lesnar sends Dreamer into the corner back first and taunts Dreamer managing to hit a shoulder ram. Lesnar continues with a few backbreakers. Lesnar misses a spear in the corner and hits the post shoulder first. Dreamer low blows Lesnar and plants Lesnar with a DDT for a two count. Dreamer grabs the cane and whacks Lesnar over the back. Lesnar blocks a shot and hits the F5 for the win. (1/2*. A dominating win by Lesnar, which was exactly what it should have been.) After the match, Undertaker attacks Lesnar with a cane shot to send Lesnar to the floor. That’s some revenge for last weeks attack.

Backstage, Big Show meets with Shawn Michaels saying that Michaels gave him tough love with the superkick. Show doesn’t see Michaels as being tough without the rest of the NWO. Michaels doesn’t know how tough he is and asks how bad does Show want to find out. Show suggests that he will do just that.

Fourth Contest: Shawn Stasiak vs. D’Lo Brown: Bischoff is giving these guys three minutes to wrestle. Brown heel kicks Stasiak put is met with a powerslam. Stasiak uses an arm bar and slams Brown. Bischoff basically cuts their time to a minute as two guys enter the ring and attack them. Jamal and Rosey, also known as the Island Boys attack Brown and Stasiak. Jamal hits a top rope splash onto Brown. Rosey hits a middle rope splash, as well. The segment basically destroys Brown and Stasiak for not being entertaining, but I like the team debut.

Backstage, Triple H hands Shawn Michaels a t-shirt and says he’s dead serious. Michaels laughed and seemed to like the idea.

Backstage, Goldust and Booker are talking with Booker saying that Goldust wants him to look like a fool by wearing a crown. Goldust instead gives Booker a wig. Booker isn’t mad and he’s motivated to beat Chris Benoit tonight.

Fifth Contest: Booker T vs. Chris Benoit in a number one contenders match: The winner gets a WWE Intercontinental Championship match against Rob Van Dam. Benoit starts off with wrist control, but Booker counters with a headlock and a shoulder block. Booker has taped ribs due to Big Show’s offense from Vengeance. Benoit shoulder rams Booker in the corner and rams Booker back first into the corner several times. Booker superkicks Benoit followed by chops. Benoit drives Booker down with a backbreaker for a two count. Benoit sends Booker hard into the corner back first. Benoit takes Booker over with a snap suplex for a two count. Booker and Benoit trade strikes until Booker delivers a side kick. Benoit fights back with a few chops, but Booker gets a sleeper on a for a moment. Benoit breaks free with a back suplex. Benoit takes off the middle turnbuckle. Booker backdrops Benoit followed by a clothesline. Booker nails Benoit with a forearm strike. Booker plants Benoit with a spinebuster. Booker climbs to the top rope hitting a missile dropkick for a near fall. Booker kicks Benoit in the midsection and misses a scissors kick. Benoit tries for a German suplex and holds on to hit rolling German suplexs. Benoit ducks a clothesline to hit a bridging German suplex for a near fall. Benoit ducks a spin kick and is nearly pinned out of the corner by Booker. Benoit sends Booker face first into the exposed turnbuckle and locks in the Crossface for the submission win. (**. The crowd was not into this match, which is a bit surprising. They didn’t work to the level that their WCW matches were a few years earlier, but the action was solid throughout and it was a solid competitive match in my eyes.)

Eric Bischoff has joined commentary and puts over Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross saying he’s glad to be where he’s at right now with the best announcers. Bischoff says that Big Show had a tough night last night and wants him to get his momentum back on track tonight.

Sixth Contest: Big Show vs. Spike Dudley: Spike headbutts Show in the midsection, but Show no sells it and stomps on Spike, who also has taped ribs. Show knee lifts Spike in the ribs and rams Spike back first into the corner. Show clubs Spike over the back. Show plants Spike with the chokeslam to win the match in easy fashion. After the match, Bischoff directs Show from the announcers table to use a table. Show slides a table into the ring, but Bubba Dudley comes in and low blows Show from behind. Bubba is hit on the left arm and Show chokeslams Bubba onto Spike through the table to leave them both laying.

DX’s music begins and the crowd erupts at Triple H and Shawn Michaels coming out wearing DX shirts to seemingly reunite the group. Michaels cuts a promo saying that they are back in town. The crowd is chanting for DX. Triple H asks if the fans are ready. HHH proceeds to do the catchphrase where they tell everyone to suck it. However, right after telling everyone to suck it, HHH turns to Michaels and hits the pedigree! HHH rips off his shirt and walks off leaving Michaels laying in the ring.

Backstage, Triple H gets in a limo and drives off. Another limo arrives to the arena as HHH departs. The window goes down and it’s Stephanie McMahon. She wants Bischoff to know that his competition has arrived.

Main Event: WWE Undisputed Champion the Rock vs. Eddie Guerrero in a non-title match: Rock keeps a hammerlock on Guerrero, but Guerrero counters with a headlock. Rock shoulder blocks Guerrero followed by a couple of arm drags. Rock maintains wrist control before delivering a clothesline. Rock tosses Guerrero with an overhead suplex. Guerrero drives Rock down to the mat with a back suplex. Guerrero stomps on Rock in the corner. Guerrero uppercuts Rock coming off the ropes. Rock pulls himself up with help from the ropes and is met with a dropkick. Rock fights out of a headlock and runs into a dropkick leading to a near fall for Guerrero. Guerrero puts a head scissors on Rock looking for a submission. Guerrero uses the ropes for extra leverage until the referee saw it and breaks the hold. Rock fights back with right hands and chops. Guerrero decks Rock with a clothesline and keeps a sleeper on Rock. Rock and Guerrero begin to trade right hands. Rock drops Guerrero with a right hand and a DDT for a two count. Guerrero nails Rock with a short arm clothesline, but Rock kips up and tries for the Rock Bottom, but Guerrero counters with a nice rollup for a two count. Guerrero hits a standing hurricanrana and drops Rock over the top throat first. Guerrero misses a frog splash off the top rope. Rock waits for Guerrero and delivers a spinebuster. Rock hits the People’s Elbow winning the match cleanly. (**1/4. I don’t think anyone was buying into Guerrero was a viable contender or threat to Rock. Guerrero worked well with Rock and was able to hit his big moves. The action wasn’t bad, but Guerrero hasn’t been presented to that level to make this a buyable main event at this point.)

Brock Lesnar enters the ring and grabs the WWE Undisputed Championship. Lesnar stares at Rock, who comes off the middle rope to stare at Lesnar. Rock won’t take his eyes off Lesnar as Lesnar throws the belt at Rock’s feet and walks off.

Eric Bischoff heads to the parking lot and asks Stephanie McMahon if she’s here for a lesson in sports entertainment. Stephanie says she’s here to kick Bischoff in the testicles. Stephanie gets out of the limo as Bischoff does some karate taunts. Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman enter teh scene and Stephane opens the limo door to allow Lesnar and Heyman to enter the limo. Bischoff tells them to get out of the car. Stephanie asks Bischoff how it feels to get kicked in the testicles. Stephanie suggests Bischoff watch Smackdown to see Lesnar. Bischoff continues to yell that he’ll knock Lesnar out if he doesn’t get out of the car to end the show.

Final Thoughts:
I thought this was an enjoyable episode of RAW as we got a fun ladder match, Benoit/Booker was fine and a solid enough main event. RAW appears to have a new main angle with HHH turning on Michaels. That should be interesting to see how it plays out over the next several weeks. Lesnar heading to Smackdown catches my interest as well.

Thanks for reading.

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