WWF Raw Is War 1.29.2001
WWF RAW IS WAR
Monday, January 29th, 2001
Live from the Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, PA
List of WWF Champions at the time:
● WWF World Heavyweight Champion: Kurt Angle (10/22/2000)
● WWF Intercontinental Champion: Chris Jericho (1/21/2001)
● WWF World Tag Team Champions: The Dudley Boyz (1/21/2001)
● WWF European Champion: Test (1/22/2001)
● WWF Hardcore Champion: Raven (1/22/2001)
● WWF Women’s Champion: Ivory (11/02/2000)
● WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Dean Malenko (4/27/2000)
~ Raw comes on the air and goes right to the intro with Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler welcoming us. Tonight The Rock, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho and the Big Show will do battle in a four-way #1 contender’s match. Plus The Undertaker takes on Haku and we have the big Steve Austin/Triple H contract signing for No Way Out. We even get a shot of Austin arriving at the building moments ago, stopping only to look at a black limo nearby. Does anybody want to place any bets on how long before the table is overturned?
~ Things kick off with Kurt Angle heading to the ring to address his hometown fans who give him a good reaction. Angle gets on the mic and talks on coming home as Pittsburgh’s hero, champion and the most-requested sperm donor, but also feels he’s Pittsburgh’s savior after doing the impossible because of something he said on Raw last year. Angle shows a clip on the TitanTron of him daring Mario Lemieux to find the courage and return to the Penguins and feels that lit a fire under Lemieux’s rear to return to action so he wants to tell the Pittsburgh fans ‘you’re welcome’. Angle says he’s not defending his title tonight but he will face the winner of tonight’s four-way match on Smackdown, whether it’s Jericho, Benoit, Big Show, but then snubs Rock by saying it doesn’t matter who the participants are. Angle then starts to tell a story about Jim Leyland when he’s interupted by The Rock making his way out to the stage.
Rock gets in the mic and asks Angle to forgive him for crashing his homecoming but wants to correct what he said. Rock calls Angle motivating Mario Lemieux to return a bunch of penguin(*bleep*) then calls Angle a roody poo. Rock mentions Angle showing past footage then says he has some footage of his own and asks Angle if he likes pizza. Angle realizes what Rock means and warns him but Rock shows an old TV commercial Angle did for “Pizza Outlet”, which shows Angle geting a pizza delivered to him when the toppings come to life as cartoons and wrestle. Angle doesn’t appreciate being embarassed like that as Rock makes fun him then pulls out his “It doesn’t matter” bit. Rock then reminds Angle that he’s in the main event and promises to win it then go on and beat Angle on Thrusday. Rock then starts to wrap up with his “If ya smell…” bit when The Big Show suddenly appears and blindsides Rock. Show throws Rock repeatedly into the entrance set then nails him with a big short-arm clothesline. Rock is down and Angle likes what he’s seeing … until Show turns and lets him know that he’s going to be coming after his belt as well. A little long at 10 minutes but that was actually one of the better openers. And that old commercial was pretty funny and worth checking out if you can find it on YouTube.
~ Back from break we get a replay of Rock humilating Angle with the commercial only to get laid out by Show. JR reports Rock is being attended to by the trainer but his status for the main event is currently uncertain.
- WWF WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES: The Dudley Boyz © vs. Edge & Christian
This is E&C’s rematch after losing the titles to the Dudleys at the Royal Rumble … only they come out in street clothes and not dressed to wrestle. Chrsitian gets on the mic saying he and Edge have a clause in their contract guaranteeing them a tag title rematch but Edge says he’s still suffering from food poisoning and has a doctor’s note excusing him from competing. Edge then announces that the Dudleys will have replacement challengers tonight and brings out … Kaientai. Taka and Funaki come out with Taka taking the mic and thanking their blonde brothers for this oppertunity then promising “by the power of Grayskull” they will capitalize because they’re evil and Funaki says “Indeed”. That reminds me of a guy in WCW who used this same gimmick. The Dudleys aren’t happy at losing their chance to settle things with E&C but nonetheless we now have…
- WWF WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES: The Dudley Boyz © vs. Kaientai
I believe this would be Taka and Funaki’s only shot at the tag belts. Edge & Christian join the commentary while Taka and Funaki rush the ring but the Dudleys overpower them. Bubba press slams Taka while D’Von drops Funaki onto the buckles then head out leaving Bubba to whip Taka and hit a backdrop followed by a clothesline. Funaki gets the tag and is a little hesitant to go in but does charge at Bubba and runs right into a right hand. D’Von tags in to take over and whips Funaki then plants him with a powerslam and covers but Taka saves it. D’Von slams Funaki and hits a legdrop for a two count then goes for a whip but doesn’t see Taka’s blind tag and Funaki reverses him into a kick from Taka. Funaki puts D’Von in a camel clutch while Taka dropkicks the face. Taka slaps D’Von in the face and comes off the ropes but D’Von catches him into his version of the Curtain Call. Both men crawl to the corners and Taka tags Funaki but Bubba also gets the tag and hits him with a clothesline. Bubba slings Taka in the ring and whips him into Funaki in a corner then squashes both guys with an Avalanche. Bubba slams Funaki and sets him up while D’Von climbs to the top rope and nails the “Wassup” headbutt. The Dudleys whip Taka but lower the heads and Taka kicks D’Von’s face. Taka hops on Bubba’s shoulders but Bubba turns it into an electric chair while D’Von adds in a neckbreaker when E&C decide it’s time for a run-in. Christian distracts the referee and Fuhnaki pulls Bubba out the floor while Edge goes in and spears D’Von. E&C then dash up the ramp and watch as Funaki covers D’Von looking for the upset … but only gets two. Funaki goes for a whip but D’Von reverses it and the Dudleys hit the 3D to retain, much to E&C’s dismay. (3:46) As if there was any doubt. The Dudleys then have words with E&C on the ramp, daring them to come get the titles if they want them back. Okay match but the usual Dudleys fare. **
~ Backstage Johnathan Coachman interviews Vince McMahon on the stauts of tonight four-way #1 contender’s match and Vince says if The Rock can’t compete then it’ll be a triple threat but Kurt Angle will have an opponent on Thrusday. At that point the Helmsleys barge in the room with their lawyer while Triple H demands to know where Austin is. Vince asks them why they brought their attorney here and Stephanie says they trust him but they don’t trust Austin. Vince then asks Triple H to cool his jets until the contract signing but Triple H insists that he wants a piece of Austin. Vince reminds Triple H the last time he and Austin tangled he (Vince) got clocked in the head because of him and Triple H claims it was Austin’s fault but Vince doesn’t want to hear it and dismisses him as we go to commercial.
~ Back from break we get footage of Rock getting checked out by the trainer and insisting that he’s good to go as he gets up from the table. Looks like Rock will be able to participate in the main event after all.
~ Backstage Michael Cole interviews Billy Gunn about Chyna’s condition follwing her re-injury at the Royal Rumble. Billy says Chyna’s doing fine and he’s done what he could to get her to concentrate on other positive stuff in her life like her book and her upcoming fitness video. Billy then says how Chyna may never compete in the ring again after the Right To Censor took that away from her but regardless of that Chyna’s star will always shine and there’s no stopping the 9th Wonder of the World.
- Val Venis (w/Steven Richards & Ivory) vs. Steve Blackman
The previous night on Heat Richards tried to bring Blackman into the Right to Censor and got beaten up so Val is looking to defend his honor. Val tries to elbowdrop Blackman as he comes in the ring but misses it and Blackman gets in the first shots then whips him and hits a clothesline. Blackman whips Val again and trips him with a legsweep then does a split before nailing a right hand. Blackman whips Val hard into a corner and hits a superkick when Richards hops on the apron and Blackman decks him. Blackman whips Val but Val catches him with a back suplex. Val gets in his offense and stomps Blackman down in a corner then chokes him while Ivory gives him lip service. Val throws Blackman through the ropes then distracts the referee with Richards works him over on the floor. Val goes out and throws Blackman into the steps then rolls him back in the ring and hits a suplex for a near fall. Val gets a headlock and Blackman fights out then hits a chop but Val clitheslines him down and gets a two count. Val goes for a whip, Blackman reverses it and hits a snap suplex but hurts himself and can’t make the cover. Both men are up when Blackman whips Val and hits a series of chops followed by a belly-to-belly suplex. Val rakes the face and comes off the ropes but runs into a powerslam that gets Blackman another two count. Blackman goes for a whip, Val reverses into a corner and eats an elbow when Richards grabs Blackman’s leg, distracting Blackman enough for Val to roll him up and get the three count. (4:22) Dull match with no heat. Who’s idea was it to put this on Raw anyway? DUD
After the match Blackman clotheslines Val then brings Richards in and works him over. Ivory then gets Blackman’s attention while Bull Buchanan and Goodfather jump him and double-team him. Suddenly Hardcore Holly runs in with a fire extingusher and makes the save by spraying CO2 at all the RTC’ers. Hardcore brings in some weapons and tosses Blackman the nunchucks and the two of them clear the RTC’ers from the ring then look ready to go at it but nothing comes of it.
~ JR and Lawler then hype Tough Enough by showing some more hilariously bad videos from the applicants.
~ Back from break Vince is talking on the phone to someone (most likely Trish), saying how everyone is looking forward to her return and talking bout massages and Nature’s tranquilizer. William Regal comes in the room and tells Vince he knows how much he’s been stressed lately so he offers him some tea he’s imported from India. Vince thanks Regal and sends him on his way then tells Trish how big the contract signing will be.
~ We then get a look at the ring which has a table and chairs set up signaling the contract signing is coming up. That’s followed by a highlights package of the violent Steve Austin/Triple H feud since the beginning of January. Backstage Triple H warns his lawyer to make sure the contract doesn’t screw him over or he’ll beat him up. Triple H then asks Stephanie how he can trust her father even as his wife tries in vain to calm him down. Elsewhere Michael Cole interviews Steve Austin on if he’s reviewed the contract and if he’ll indeed sign it. Austin says there’s no doubt he’ll sign and once Triple H adds his name he’s signing his rear end to him. We then see Vince making his way to the ring with said contract in hand as we go to commercial.
~ Back from break it’s time for the big contract signing as Vince makes his way out first to oversee the proceedings. But of course Vince won’t pass on this chance for a promo so he gets on the mic and talks about tonight being historical as Steve Austin and Triple H will sign to meet in the ring at No Way Out in a match yet to be determined. Vince mentions how these two have had a violent history but have both agreed to a special stipulation on the contract, that from now until Februrary 25th there can be no aggressive physical contact between them unless in a sanctioned match. Vince also says that if either man engage in such contact then both will be punished regardless of who starts it; Triple H will be suspended for six months while Austin will lose his WWF Title match at Wrestlemania. Vince proceeds to brings the participants out and the Helmsleys make their way out first with their attorney in tow. Austin makes his way out next but stands on the table and flips Triple H the bird then has some beer tossed his way. Once everyone is seated Vince presents the contract to both guys and Austin takes the pen and signs the last page. Vince then slides the contract over to Triple H for his signature but Triple H wants his lawyer to look it over first. The laywer then points out something troubling to Triple H who stares at it as Austin and Vince start to get impatient. Austin soon stands up and storms over to Triple H who explains he’s just making sure that he doesn’t get screwed over then finally signs the last page and hands the contract over to Vince who declares the match official. Everyone starts to head off when Triple H suddenly grabs his lawyer’s haliburton and clocks Austin in the head with it! Vince watches in shock as Triple H pounds away on Austin and stomps him down then caps it off with the Pedigree. With Austin down Vince gets in Triple H’s face telling him he’s been suspended for six months and the crowd cheers! However Triple H grabs the contract and shows that he never signed the last page which has a single ‘H’ on the line. Triple H finishes singing the contract then brags to the fallen Austin that Line 3:16 says that he can’t touch him. Not much different from other contract signings but still a nicely executed segment.
~ Back from break we get a replay of Triple H signing the contract after he already punked out Austin. We then get footage of Austin trying to recover during the break as JR mentions a certain look Austin had in his eyes and wants us to look into them once he comes to, promising something that’ll haunt us for the rest of our days. Yet we’re getting footage of the Helmsleys climbing into their limo instead. What about all that stuff JR described? Anyway the limo departs the arena for the night but not before Triple H pops out of the sunroof and gloats to Austin. JR then apologizes for not having that shot of Austin’s eyes he rambled about but wants us to take his word for it. Geez, build up something and don’t deliver.
- The Hardy Boyz (w/Lita) vs. The Acolytes (w/Jacqueline) vs. Bull Buchanan & The Goodfather
The winners of this match will challenge the Dudleys for the tag titles on the Xtreme Smackdown. Plus the Hardys and Acolytes still have heat after the double cross Matt and Jeff pulled on Smackdown. Those two teams are out first and decide not to wait for the third team to appear and start duking it out. Lita and Jackie are also battling it out on the ramp until a group of referees come out and take them to the back. Back in the ring Bradshaw whips Jeff and hits a boot while Faarooq whips Matt into the steps on the floor. The RTC’ers finally join the fray and double-team both guys before tossing Bradshaw out through the ropes. Matt comes in and goes after Buchanan then goes for a whip but Buchanan counters with a short-arm clothesline. Buchanan hits Matt with a backbreaker then holds him on his knee before slamming him and getting a two count. Buchanan whips Matt into a corner and eats an elbow and a boot then Matt comes out with a bulldog clothesline. Jeff tags in and hits Buchanan with a jawbreaker then takes him down by the legs and hits the double legdrop. Jeff covers Buchanan when Goodfather saves it but Bradshaw also comes in and works Goodfather over. Faarooq and Matt also come in and those two quickly spill out to the floor along with Bradshaw and Goodfather. In the ring Buchanan whips Jeff into a corner and Jeff runs up the buckles but misses the Whisper in the Wind. Buchanan nails Jeff with the Axe Kick and covers him but Bradshw is able mkae it back in and break up the pin. Bradshaw goes for a whip, Buchanan reverses him into a corner then goes for a splash but Bradshaw dodges it and nails the Clothesline from Hades. Bradshaw covers but the referee says he’s not the legal man. Jeff climbs to the top rope and hits Buchanan with the Swanton Bomb and he’s able to get the pin. (2:40) The Hardys get the title shot on Thursday. Maybe they’ll also remember how the Dudleys screwed them out of winning the belts last December. **
~ Back from break we get a replay of the Lita/Jacqueline catfight that opened the previous match. JR announces that a match between the two laides has been signed for later tonight.
~ Backstage Michael Cole interviews The Rock on his thoughts and his condition for the fatal four-way match later on. Rock mentions what the Big Show did to him earlier and admits that Show did attack him from behind and hurt him but also managed to p— him off. Rock warns that when you mess with The Rock, payback is guaranteed.
~ Elsewhere we get a shot of Big Show watching Rock’s interview on a monitor and laughing at what he just said.
- WWF HARDCORE TITLE: Raven © vs. Crash Holly (w/Molly Holly)
Crash comes out first with Molly then goes to meet Raven on the stage but Raven greets him with a road sign then knocks him off the ramp with his shopping cart of plunder. Raven throws several weapons down his way then hops down and goes for a whip but Crash reverses him into a guardrail then grabs a trash can and nails him with it. The two fight through the crowd when Crash climbs onto a balcony and nails Raven with a flying axehandle. Crash then catapults Raven into an overhead sign but a bad angle shows Raven hitting it with just his hands. Crash chokes Raven with a curtain as they make their way to the back when Crash grabs a plastic trash can but Raven comes back with a drop toehold. Raven climbs up and across an rampway and Crash follows when Raven throws a mop and bucket at him. Raven swings the mop but misses so he throws Crash across an anvil case. Raven grabs Crash for a bulldog but Crash shoves him into a garage door then rams him with an information cart. Crash then dives over the cart looking for a plancha but flies into the garage door after Raven dodges it. The two head through the door outside when Crash bulldogs Raven into a bench then rubs his face into the snow. Crash has Molly grab a leg and the two of them try to pull him into a tree but Raven kicks Molly away first and Molly goes flying into the snow. Crash crotches Raven in the tree by himself then moves in to cover him when a parked car suddenly comes alive. The mystery woman who helped Raven on Smackdown then appears and attacks Crash with a pipe. Molly is back up and shoves the woman aside but Raven grabs her ankle allowing the woman to kick her down. Both Hollys are out of it as Raven covers Crash and grabs the pin to retain. (4:10) Raven and the woman pile into the car and make their getaway with another title defense under their belt. Some interesting stuff but still can’t call it good. *
~ The Undertaker and Haku are shown heading to the ring with their respective partners as we go to commercial.
~ Back form break Tazz interviews Chris Benoit on if any of his opponents in the main event will prove him wrong. Benoit says he’s dealing with a giant, a big mouth and a prima donna tonight and plans on tearing each of them apart.
- The Undertaker (w/Kane) vs. Haku (w/Rikishi)
JR says Taker demanded this match after Rikishi and Haku took him and Kane out on Smackdown, with Kane suffering injured ribs. Both men trade punches to start until Taker gets the advantage with a knee then whips Haku and hits a boot. Taker follows up with a legdrop for a two count then slams him and hits an elbowdrop for anotehr near fall. Taker grabs Haku’s arm then walks the top rope and hits the club to the back. Taker hits a clothesline then goes out and works over Rikishi on the floor but Haku nails him from behind and hits a headbutt. Haku tosses Taker back in the ring and hammers him with chops then whips him into a corner but eats an elbow. Taker starts fighting back and whips Haku but lowers the head and Haku throws him down then headbutts him. Haku hits a third headbutt and peppers Taker with jabs then whips him in a corner and hits a fourth headbutt. Taker fires back when Haku hits a thrust chop to the throat then whips him but Taker hits a flying clothesline. Taker goes for a whip, Haku reverses it when Taker comes back with a DDT but Haku gets back to his feet. Taker scoops Haku up when Rikishi hops on the apron to get his attention so Taker drops Haku to glare at him. Kane pounds away on Rikishi on the floor but Rikishi grabs a chair and jabs Kane in his injured ribs with it. Haku nails Taker with a thrust kick but Taker comes back with a chokeslam and gets a clean pin. (3:46) Not a good match but not as bad as you might expect, either. *½
Rikishi heads in with the chair in hand but Taker catches him with a boot. Taker pounds away at Rikishi in a corner but Haku grabs the chair and whacks Taker from behind then hands Rikishi the chair and he gets in a shot. Kane tries to come to Taker’s aid but Rikishi and Haku keep him out before Rikishi stomps him on the floor. Taker is back up and busted open but does manage to clear Rikishi and Haku from the ring as Kane joins him.
~ Back from break we get a replay of Undertaker getting the win over Haku as well as a few chairshots for his trouble. Backstage Kevin Kelly interviews the bloodied Taker and Kane as Taker says there’s too much talking going on and that he’s about beating people up. Taker says the “island boys” won’t make a name for themselves at their expense so he challenges them to face both him and Kane on the Xtreme Smackdown in a first blood match. Taker says seeing his own blood doesn’t bother him but making other people bleed is what really turns him on. Kane adds in his thoughs saying that this Thursday it’ll be Rikishi and Haku’s turns to bleed.
~ We then cut over to WWF New York and find Dean Malenko enjoying some drinks as he prepares to address us. Malenko says being apart from Lita has been the hardest thing for him to do but feels it’s been even harder for Lita. Malenko tells Lita that they’ll be back together soon enough and the Hardys will never stand between them ever again. I’m starting to wonder why I still list him as Light Heavyweight Champion since we’ve hardly seen that belt by this point.
- Lita vs. Jacqueline
Ivory comes out and joins the commentary, saying she has a Women’s title match with the winner on Thursday. Lita is out first as we get a shot of Malenko reacting to her entrance then attacks Jackie as she slides in. Lita goes for a whip, Jackie reverses it and Lita hits a flying headscissors. Jackie pounds away on Lita and chokes her repeatedly on the middle rope then hits a clothesline then takes both ladies over the ropes. Jackie and Lita get back to their feet … then both decide to go right after Ivory at the announce table. Lita and Jackie double-team Ivory as Lalwer tries to separate them while the referee throws this one out. (1:15) Ivory makes her escape with the belt with no challenger decided. Well that was a waste of time. NR
~ Chris Jericho is shown heading to the ring but Kurt Angle is also shown heading out as we go to commercial.
~ Back from break JR and Lawler recount some of tonight’s happenings as we get set for the big main event, including replays of the contract signing and Big Show’s attempt to take Rock out of the match in the opening segment.
~ Kurt Angle makes his way out and joins the commentary as we get a replay of the old Pizza Outlet commercial. Chris Jericho is out first and gets on the mic to do his thing then says how he came to save the WWF 18 months ago but what really needs saving is the WWF Championship which has been around Angle’s waist for far too long. Jericho says Angle should be selling Rogaine instead of pizza and that the commercial made him hungry for the title.
~ As we await the rest of the participants we’re treated to a rather lengthy yet interesting XFL promo. Here we have a female reporter, Carol Grow, giving us an introduction to the XFL from inside a team’s lockerroom. And as she talks about covering the league she uses lots of innuendos and double entendres to get her point across. Yeah.
- The Rock vs. Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho vs. The Big Show – #1 Contender’s Match
Benoit is out next and he and Jericho decide not to wait for the others and get things going exchanging shots. Show eventually makes his way out and headbutts both guys in succession. Rock comes out last but runs right into a chokeslam from Show already! Show covers Rock but Benoit breaks it up so Show beats on him and tosses him over the ropes. Jericho tries his luck but his blows have no effect when hits a giant chop. Show whips Jericho into a corner and goes for an Avalanche but Jericho dodges it. Jericho then climbs to the top rope and goes for a crossbody but Show catches him and hits the Final Cut. Show covers Jericho and Benoit again saves it then comes off the ropes but Show clotheslines him down. Rock is back up and wails away on Show then comes off the ropes with a forearm but Show just shrugs it off. Rock hits a clothesline that also doesn’t work. Show scoops Rock onto his shoulder when Rock slips out of there and hits a clothesline that has Show reeling on the ropes but he’s still on his feet. Rock eventually pushes Show over the ropes but Benoit nails him and works him over in a corner with chops. Jericho goes after Show on the floor but Show is back up and shoves Jericho around then hits a headbutt. Rock comes back against Benoit and hits the Smackdown then goes for a whip but Benoit counters into a suplex. Benoit then climbs to the top rope and goes for the diving headbutt but misses it and both men are down. Rock hits a Samoan Drop (that almost drops Benoit on his head) and covers but Show makes it in to save it. Show hits Rock with a forearm while Jericho climbs to the top rope and nails Show with a missle dropkick. Benoit dropkicks Show’s knee and Rock adds in a DDT then covers but Jericho dropkicks Rock to save it. Jericho covers Show himself but Show powers out then Rock pulls Jericho out and throws him into the barrier. Benoit then puts Show in the Crossface but Rock makes it back in and breaks it up before Show can submit. Show rolls out while Benoit stomps Rock down and goes for a whip but Rcok reverses and hits the spinebuster. Rock then puts Benoit in the Sharpshooter and Benoit looks ready to tap but Jericho comes in and levels Rock. Jericho slams Benoit and connects with the Lionsault then covers but Rock breaks it while Show is somewhere. Rock whips Jericho but Jericho kicks the face then takes him down by the legs and slaps on the Walls of Jericho. However Show is in and grabs Jericho by the neck but Benoit kicks him below the belt to stop the chokeslam. Benoit pounds on Show when Show grabs him in a double choke but Jericho shoves both guys over the ropes. Jericho then turns back but Rock plants him with the Rock Bottom and grabs the pin to win the title shot. (6:31) Thus Rock gets another shot against Angle and the WWF Title on Smackdown. Solid main event but the crowd was quiet through most of it because it was obvious that Rock was winning. In hindsight the wrong man went over since that decision made the WWF seem like they were hotshotting a potential pay-per-view title match on free TV. Either Jericho or Show should have won and faced Angle on Smackdown instead and that way they could have saved Rock’s shot for No Way Out. **
Conclusion: Better show than the previous week but still pretty much in the mediocre range. The matches ranged from average to poor and the other segments weren’t much except for the Triple H/Austin contract signing which was pulled off nicely. Then again, other than that segment I mentioned there was almost no build for No Way Out as much of this show’s focus was on loading up the card for the Smackdown Xtreme special, all because the WWF was worried about going up against 40-minute Friends episodes and the second edition of Survivor instead of trying to build up the next supercard like they’re supposed to. Sad how the weeks spanning one great pay-per-view to another were such a valley, but I’m guessing worrying too much about the upcoming XFL debut and WCW starting its final descent into the abyss pretty much sapped most of the creative spark the WWF had at this time. Thumbs in the middle leaning down.