Home > WWF > WWF Raw Is War 2.05.2001

WWF Raw Is War 2.05.2001

Monday, February 5th, 2001

Live from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA

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 (2/04/2001)
●  WWF Women’s Champion: Ivory (11/02/2000)
●  WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Dean Malenko (4/27/2000)

~ Raw comes on the air with highlights of Steve Austin ruining Triple H’s chance at the title on Smackdown Xtreme. Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler then welcome us to the show and announce both guys will be here tonight. Will there be a zero tolerance violation? Plus The Undertaker and Kane will challenge the Dudleys for the Tag Titles and The Rock will be on hand as well.

  • WWF INTERCONINENTAL TITLE: Chris Jericho © vs. Matt Hardy (w/Lita)

Jeff isn’t in Matt’s corner tonight since he’s still recovering from the Bubbabomb off the stage through the table on Smackdown. However before the match begins some music cues up and Dean Malenko comes out to the stage, making eyes at Lita. Matt and Jericho lockup to start and jockey for position then end up in a corner where they’re forced to break. Jericho locks up with Matt again and gets a headlock and a hammerlock but Matt slings him through the ropes. Jericho trips Matt and pulls him out to the floor then hits some chops before suplexing him right onto the floor. Jericho tosses Matt back in the ring then climbs to the top rope and connects with a flying elbow for a two count. Jericho kicks away at Matt then whips him into a corner and hits a clothesline followed by a backbreaker. Jericho sets Matt on the top rope then goes up but Matt throws him back down then hits a flying clothesline. Matt gets in his shots and goes for a whip, Jericho reverses but Matt comes back with a running clothesline. Matt goes for another whip, Jericho reverses into a corner but eats a boot. Matt hops to the middle rope and hits the guillotine legdrop when Malenko starts down the ramp but backs away when Matt looks his direction. Matt rams Jericho into a turnbuckle then climbs to the top rope but Jericho causes him to straddle the buckle. Jericho then ties Matt in a tree of woe and stomps away at him before the referee orders Jericho to back off. However Lita climbs to the top and takes Jericho out with a huricanrana and Matt covers him but only gets two. Matt goes for a whip, Jericho reverses it when Matt tries to go for the Twist of Fate but Jericho fights it off. Jericho then suplxes Matt over the ropes but hotshots himself on the ropes as well and both guys are out of it. Lita tries to help Matt up when Malenko comes down and nails Matt from behind, taking Lita out as well. Malenko tosses Matt back in the ring and the unaware Jericho hits the bulldog and the Lionsault for the pin. (4:48) Pretty good opener for the most part. ***

Malenko starts advancing on the hurt Lita on the floor but Matt goes out and pounds away on him. Perry Saturn comes out and attacks Matt but Jericho comes to Matt’s aid and manages to fight off both Radicalz. Jericho heads back in the ring and dares both guys to come and face him but behind him is…Eddie Guerrero! Eddie jumps Jericho from behind and stomps away at him as Malenko and Saturn join in for a 3-on-1 beatdown. Matt tries to help Jericho out but Malenko decks him while Saturn plants Jericho with a butterfly powerbomb. Eddie lays the IC belt over Jericho’s face then climbs to the top and hits the Frogsplash right on the belt! The Radicalz then head out triumphant with Eddie showing Jericho that he’s back from his injury in a big way.

~ Backstage we find The Rock making his arrival to the building and he doesn’t appear to be in a good mood. Kevin Kelly walks up looking for a comment to but Rock just brushes past him without even a hermaphrodite joke.

~ Back from break The Rock makes his way to the ring to perhaps enlighten us on why he’s in a bad mood tonight. Rock gets on the mic and doesn’t do his “Finally” intro but instead talks about the unasnwered questions of time such as “why are we here?”, “are we alone in the universe?”, and “how can Triple H be such a horses’ @$$?” Rock mentions Triple H got himself involved in his championship match on Smackdown and got beaten all over the ring but he wasn’t the only one who got involved. Rock says he understands Steve Austin did what he had to but when he counted the three with the referee’s hand he also screwed Rock out of the title. Rock also says that he’d do the same thing if the roles were reversed, plus feels Austin was only out there because of Triple H. Rock tells Triple H to play his games on his own time, his wife’s time or even Vince’s time but not on Rock’s time. Rock says Triple H’s involvement on Smackdown and cost Rock the title so he’s looking to return the favor tonight. Rock dares Triple H to come in the ring tonight and try to earn his shot at being #1 contender at his expense. Rock then feel that Triple H doesn’t have anything between his legs so he should bring the hoodrat of a wife with him. At that point Stephanie makes her way out to the stage and tries to offer a response on the mic but Rock cuts him off then says some unflattering things about her. That brings Triple H out to take the mic and takes offense to what Rock said about not belonging in the title match, saying he’s been beating Rock up since he arrived in the WWF and he feels that he earned the title shot. Triple H claims that he was the one cheated by Austin just when he was about to become five-time WWF Champion so Rock won’t need his catchphrases to raise his ire because he’s already p—ed off. Triple H says he can’t beat Austin up right now but he’d be more than happy to give Rock the beating he wished for.

Triple H starts to head in the ring when Kurt Angle comes out to the stage to add his thoughts and stir the pot. Angle calls it ridiculous that Rock and Triple H want to fight for a title shot at him since neither of them can beat him. Angle also feels the Wrestlemania main event is already set and it’ll be him defending the title against Steve Austin. Angle tells both men to go ahead and have a match to see who gets beaten by him again because this is getting boring. Now Vince McMahon comes out because he just has to get a word in even though this segment is already long enough. Vince first tells the jeering fans to shut up or else the city of Atlanta won’t get an expansion XFL franchise in the future. Eh, the joke’s too obvious so let’s just move along. Vince starts talking about fairness but Rock cuts him off not wanting to hear another 20-minute tirade and demands to know if he has Triple H or not. Rock says if not then Vince should do a certain thing with an XFL football. Vince soon announces that Rock and Triple H will face each other in the ring tonight, but not the way they’re thinking. Vince feels Triple H should team up with someone he has a relationship with and that’s Stone Cold Steve Austin! Triple H is not happy with this as Vince mentions the zero tolerance stipulation will still be in effect during the match, that they’ll both suffer the punishment if either man attacks the other no matter which of them starts it. Vince suggests Triple H and Austin find a way to co-exist then announces that Rock’s partner will be Kurt Angle! Angle balks and begs Vince to reconsider while Rock has words with him as we finally wrap up after 14 minutes.

~ Back from break we get a shot of the Georgia Dome as JR announces the main event is now no disquaification.

  • Edge & Christian vs. Kaientai

This match was suppsoed to take place on Smackdown but Kaientai had the Acolytes sub for them and saved Faarooq from a ConChairto as well. E&C come out first and get on the mic to cut their pre-match promo, however their voices are dubbed … in Japanese, even. The Katientai guys make their way out but Taka gets on the mic to cut his own dubbed promo in response and tells E&C their Japanese is bad because they just said they want to have sexual relations with a camel. Taka says he and Funaki don’t need sunglasses because they reek of evil and Funaki concurs with “Indeed”. Kaientai rush the ring but Edge clotheslines Funaki down while Christian tosses Taka through the ropes and goes after him. Edge pounds on Funaki and slaps him while taunting him then hits a neckbreaker. Christian tags in and hits a backbreaker then goes into a Dragon sleeper but Taka comes in to break it up. Edge tags in and ties Fuanki in the Tree of Woe then he and Christian climb the ropes and step on Funaki’s crotch. Christian tags back in and snapmares Fuanki then kicks him in the back and covers him for a two count. Edge tags back in and helps Christian whip Fuanki then hits a sidewalk slam while Christian adds a Slop Drop. Edge scoops Funaki up when Taka dropkicks them over with Funaki landing on top of Edge but only gets a two. Edge connects with a clothesline then goes for a suplex but Funaki floats over and rolls him up for a near fall. Edge whips Funaki but Funaki comes back with a headscissors then crawls over and makes the hot tag to Taka. Taka dropkicks Edge and catches Christian coming in with a heelkick. Taka goes for a whip, Edge reverses it but Taka kicks hiss face while Funaki follows it up with a bulldog. Funaki trips Christian with a drop toehold then puts him in a Camel Clutch while Taka dropkicks the face. Christian rolls out to the floor while Taka drills Edge with the Michinoku Driver then covers him for the upset but Christian pulls him out to the floor. Taka comes back and rams Christian into the apron then climbs to the top rope while Funaki works over Edge. However Edge tosses Fuanki into Taka, causing him to straddle the buckles, then nails Funaki with a Spear. Christian goes after Taka when Edge sets him on his shoulders and E&C hit a stackplex that gets the pin. (4:35) Decent, competitive match, though the result was never in doubt. **

~ Backstage Stephanie is with the makeup lady griping about the maid knocking on her door this morning and saying she found “her mother’s” earring in Vince’s hotel room. Stephanie says the earring in question isn’t Linda’s and feels she finally has proof that Vince and Trish Stratus are more than just friends. Stephanie then rants that she’s tired of the rendezvous and bubble baths and decides to finally have a talk with Vince. Stephanie heads out but in the background William Regal is poking his head through a curtain and eavesdropping.

~ Back from break we find Vince talking on the phone about how the XFL debut on Saturday did a huge rating on NBC, and also blasts the critics who put him down saying the fans love the XFL and that’s all he cares about. Stephanie then barges in the room and Vince asks if she a problem with the match but Stephanie says it’s not that, she demands to know once and for all the story between him and Trish. Vince claims Trish is just a friend but Stephanie shows the earring that was found in his room, asking if good friends just hang out in the bedroom. Before Vince can respond to her, William Regal comes in and thanks Vince for letting him use his hotel room last night. Regal claims there wasn’t a room available in the whole town and claims Vince was gracious enough to offer his room which he used for a rendezvous. Regal then grabs the earring from Stephanie, promising to return it to the owner and heads out. Stephanie is left flabergasted while Vince reiterares that he and Trish are just friends.

~ Elsewhere Steve Austin is arriving at the building when Kevin Kelly informs him about tonight’s main event. Ausitn doesn’t seem too happy to be teaming with Triple H and storms off to find Vince to discuss this.

~ Meanwhile The Kat visits the Acolytes and complains about the Right To Censor ruining her speech on Smackdown. Kat says she wants to start a new group, Right to Nudity, and wants them to ensure her speech isn’t interupted again. Bradshaw demands payment first before they help her out and Kat tells them she has no money or any beer on her. Instead Kat gives them a look under her raincoat as payment and the Acolytes decide they can make an exception.

~ The Dudleys are shown making their way to the ring ready to defend their tag team titles against Undertaker and Kane who are also shown heading to the ring as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break we get clips of Raven’s mystery woman saving him from a Hardcore Title loss to Crash last week. We then get footage of Michael Cole meeting with Molly Holly on why she’s been in the parking garage all night long. Molly explains she’s been waiting for the ninja woman to arrive here so she can give her the beating she owes her. Molly tells Cole that she weighs 275 pounds, all muscle, and feels if the ninja woman has any guts she’ll face her.

  • WWF WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES: The Dudley Boyz © vs. The Undertaker & Kane

Kane starts for his side against D’Von and gets in the first shots then plants him with a sidewalk slam. Kane whips D’Von into a corner but eats a boot and D’Von gets in his offense until Kane hits a back suplex. Kane goes for an elbowdrop but misses and D’Von hits a dropkick followed by an elbowdrop for a two count. Bubba tags in and gets in some right hands then goes for a whip but Kane reverses it and hits a backdrop. Kane climbs to the top rope and connects with the flying elbowedrop then covers but D’Von makes the save. Taker tags in and pounds away at Bubba in a corner then whips him into another corner and clotheslines him. Taker whips Bubba back the other way but eats a boot then Bubba comes out but he runs into a clothesline. Taker grabs Bubba’s arm and walks the top rope then clubs him in the back and whips him, hitting a big boot. Taker goes for an elbowdrop but misses just like Kane earlier and Bubba comes back with a Russian legsweep. Bubba trips Taker by the leg and sets him up while D’Von climbs to the top rope and hits the “Wassup” headbutt. Kane then comes in but the Dudleys catch him with a double flapjack before clotheslining him over the ropes. The Dudleys whip Taker looking to hit the 3D but Kane trips Bubba from the floor while Taker DDT’s D’Von. Taker covers D’Von but Bubba barely saves it then heads out while Taker tags Kane to take over on D’Von.

Kane pummels D’von in a corner and hits a suplex followed by a legdrop then covers but Bubba saves it again. D’Von starts to fight back and comes off the ropes but Kane boots him down then tags Taker to take over. D’Von fights back and whips Taker but Taker hits a flying clothesline and again Bubba has to make the save. Taker whips D’Von but lowers the head and D’Von hits a swinging neckbreaker then makes the tag to Bubba. Bubba exchanges punches with Taker who then whips him and Bubba kicks the face but Taker no-sells it. Bubba hits a back suplex for a two then whips Taker into a corner and charge but runs right into a choke. D’Von breaks up the chokeslam when Kane comes in and all four men duke it out then spill out to the floor. The referee tries to restore order when Kane scoops D’Von up but D’Von slips out and shoves him into the post. Bubba and Taker roll back in the ring and Bubba whips Taker but Taker comes back and hits the chokeslam. Suddenly Edge & Chrstian run in brandishing chairs and look for the ConChairo on Taker but Taker ducks it. Taker fights off E&C then grabs a chair and nails Chrisitan with it before he and Edge can escape from the ring. The referee is back in and Taker covers Bubba … but instead of counting the pin the referee calls for the bell? Apparently the referee saw Taker holding a chair and assumed he used it on Bubba so he’s DQed the brothers. (8:02) The referee then wisely beats it out of the ring while Taker and Kane glare at E&C for costing them the belts. Match was decent but needed a real finish after going that long. Plus there was no reason the Dudleys couldn’t have gotten the quality win. **

~ Backstage Vince is meeting with Trish and they both agree it’s hot in there so they remove their jackets. Trish then gripes about Stephanie jumping to conclusions but before Vince can respond Austin barges in the room. Vince tries to explain the fairness of the main event when Austin says he loves the match, much to Vince’s shock. Ausitn says he just wanted to check on Vince and Vince says he didn’t want Austin to think he was out to screw him. Austin then responds with the obvious comeback so let’s just keep it moving, people.

~ Out in the arena The Kat leads the Acolytes out to the ring to perhaps fill us in on her Right To Nudity idea. Kat says the Right To Censor is making freedom of expression a thing of the past and she can’t just let it happen. Kat says the human body is a beautiful thing and what the RTC call scantily-clad women are simply expressing themselves. Kat says the fans have been programmed into thinking that nudity is dirty and only approrpiate with the lights off and feels that’s not freedom so the Right To Nudity will break the chains and allow everyone to be their naked selves. Kat then starts to remove the raincoat but sure enough the Right To Censor makes their out to put a stop to this. The Acolytes head out to meet them and are able to fight most of them off but Steven Richards makes it in the ring and gets in Kat’s face calling her nothing but a little s(*bleep*) when Kat responds by kissing him. Richards is reeling when Bradshaw takes him out with the Clothesline from Hades. Kat feels the coast is clear and tries to disrobe again but Ivory nails her from behind so Kat chases her to the back while Richards is out.

~ Backstage we find Molly doing push-ups while still waiting for the mystery woman when Raven walks up to her saying he’s glad that his parents aren’t related. Molly demands to know when his woman is going to show up and Raven says she’ll be here but she’s not his woman and he doesn’t have a woman, yet, as he strokes Molly’s cheek.

~ Back from break we check in on Vince as he tries to explain football to Trish and they decide to demonstrate, with Vince acting at the quaterback and Trish acting as his center and you can pretty much tell where this is going. Anyway Vince gets interupted, this time by Al Snow, and Trish says she has to go be in Kurt Angle’s corner anyway. Tirsh starts to leave but Vince tells her not to forget her jacket and suggests that she not leave things hanging around. Vince then turns to Snow who talks about the way his friend Mick Foley was treated while he was out with an injury but Vince doesn’t seem to like hearing those two words. Snow rambles on Vince being fair and caring about everyone when Vince tells him that he doesn’t care about Foley but he does care about him and also how he has a match tonight. Snow seems surprised that he’s competing tonight as Vince wishes him luck and sends him on his way.

~ Back in the garage we see a car pull up when Molly appears and drags the mystery woman out of the driver’s seat. Molly kicks the woman down and tries to pull off her mask to reveal her face when Raven appears and makes the save. Molly nails Raven below the belt but that allows the woman to kick Molly down and nail her with a backhand chop. The woman then helps Raven into the car and they drive off while Molly is left laying as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break we get a pre-taped interview Michael Cole conducted with Too Cool on facing Rikishi and Haku. Scotty 2 Hotty says the Rikishi of today is not the same man who dance with them in every arena across the country. Grandmaster Sexay says he and Scotty don’t need Rikishi and they know all of Rikishi’s strengths and weaknesses. Suddenly Haku bursts in and rants someting in Tongan while Rikishi just laughs and asks his former friends what’s up.

  • Rikishi & Haku vs. Too Cool

Don’t know why Rikishi is facing Too Cool again since he already beat both guys single-handedly not too long ago. Rikishi shoves Grandmaster Sexay down to start us off and Sexay wails away on him then goes for a whip, Rikishi reverses it and Sexay comes back with a foream. Sexay goes for a Sunset Flip but can’t get Rikishi over and Rikishi goes for the sitdown splash but Sexay dodges it and tags in Scotty 2 Hotty who dropkicks Rikishi’s face. The Too Cool guys follow up with their combo elbwodrop then Scotty gets in his shots. Scotty comes off the ropes and blocks a hiptoss but Rikishi clotheslines him down then Haku tags in and helps Rikishi hit a double thrust to the throat. Haku works Scotty over in a corner and caps off with a headbutt then hits a chop followed by another headbutt. Rikishi tags in and Scotty tries to fight back but Rikishi stops that with a right then whips him hard into a corner and goes for the running butt splash but Scotty dodges it. Sexay tags in and peppers Rikishi with rights then goes for a whip, Rikishi reverses him into a corner but eats a boot. Scotty nails Rikishi with a superkick but Haku superkicks him in response and tries to follow him out to the floor but Sexay crotches him on the rope. Rikishi is down as Sexay climbs to the top for the Hip Hop Drop but Haku causes him to straddle the buckle. Scotty is in and bulldogs Rikishi then follows up with the Worm. Haku tosses Scotty out through the ropes and goes after him on the floor while Sexay recovers and this time nails Rikishi with the Hip Hop Drop. Sexay covers Rikishi but pulls up and goes after Haku on the apron instead of getting the three for the win. Haku nails Sexay with a shot to the throat then Rikishi hits a belly-to-belly suplex. Rikishi drags Sexay to a corner and climbs up looking for the Banzai Drop when Scotty tries to stop him. Rikishi headbutts Scotty away then proceeds with the Banzai Drop on Sexay and that’ll do it for this match. (3:53) Not much here but had its moments. *

~ Backstage Kurt Angle is searching for The Rock but instead he comes across … Essa Rios? He’s still around? Angle congradulates Rios for being back in the company before asking him if he’s seen Rock’s dressing room. Rios mumbles something in Spanish then Angle heads out but not before saying how great it is to have Rios back.

~ Back from break Kurt Angle does meet up with The Rock and says he doesn’t know why Vince booked this match. Angle says Austin and Triple H have their problems but they can win this match if Rock keeps his head on straight and if everything goes well he may be able to talk Vince into giving him another #1 contender’s match. Angle offers a hand of friendship and Rock takes it but doesn’t let go. Rock asks Angle if winning will make him happy and says how he wants to make him happy because one way or another he will take his WWF Championship very soon. Rock tells Angle the coutdown is on and that his days of being happy and being champion are coming to an end.

  • Al Snow (w/Head) vs. Chris Benoit

Both men lockup to start and end up in a corner where the referee forces a break but Benoit gets in a shot. Benoit chops and kicks away at Snow in the corner but Snow reverses positions and gets in his offense. Snow goes for a whip but Benoit counters and throws him shouder-first into the ringpost. Benoit goes for a whip but Snow reverses him into a corner and nails him from behind. Snow goes for a whip but Benoit wrenches his arm then tosses Snow through the ropes. Benoit goes out and Snow fights back but Benoit pulls Snow into the steps and stomps away at Snow’s shoulder before tossing him back in the ring and hitting an armbar takedown. Benoit whips Snow and goes for the shoulder again but Snow slides under him and hits a pump-handle suplex. Snow wails on Benoit while favoring his injured shoulder then whips him and connects with a clothesline. Snow whips Benoit into a backdrop and slams him then climbs to the top rope and nails him with the moonsault. Snow then climbs up to top again and connects with a second moonsault then covers him … but only gets two? Benoit kicked out of two moonsaults. Snow headbutts Benoit’s shoulder and goes for another whip but Benoit reverses him into a corner. Snow slides to stop himself but Benoit slaps him in the Crossface and Snow is forced to give it up. (4:08) Not exactly Double Tables ’95 but a nice match. Too bad the crowd was dead for it. **

~ Backstage we see Vince watching the match on a monitor wondering if Mick Foley is enjoying this as much as he is. Stephanie then comes in and expresses her concern about Austin acting too calm about teaming up with Triple H, fearing he’s willing to sacrifice his Wrestlemania title shot just to get Triple H suspended for 6 months. Stephanie tells Vince that she and Triple H feel the match at No Way Out needs to have a special stipualtion but Vince doesn’t want to hear it and tells Stephanie the same thign he told Triple H, to go and calm down.

~ Back from break we head over to WWF New York and find Chyna standing next to a table with copies of her book. JR asks how she’s doing and Chyna talks about staying positive and plugging her book on all the different talk shows. Chyna says she’s kept herself busy but she misses competing and hopes to be back in the ring very soon.

~ Back in the arena JR and Lawler now buzz about the successful debut the XFL had over the past weekend as we get highlights of the games. The first Saturday Night game on NBC, a 19-0 win for the Las Vegas Outlaws over the NY/NJ Hitmen, drew 25 million viewers for a 10.3 rating and I’ll admit that I was one of them. Unfortunately the sloppiness and overall cheeseness left a bad impression with viewers and killed the XFL right out of the gate. JR and Lawler also bash a USA Toady writer for critizing their XFL commentary performance on the Orlando/Chicago game they covered. Real mature, guys.

~ Backstage Triple H is pacing and getting worked up about the match as Stephanie tries in vain to calm him down. Triple H asks her about pitching the stipulation idea to Vince but Stephanie says Vince didn’t want to hear it. Steve Austin then comes in the room offering a handshake for his partner tonight but Triple H isn’t in the mood.

~ The Rock and Kurt Angle are also shown heading to the ring which means main event time as we go to commercial.

  • Stone Cold Steve Austin & Triple H (w/Stephanie) vs. The Rock & Kurt Angle (w/Trish)No-DQ Match

We’re already nearing the top of the hour so this is either going to be a short main event or a long overrun. The participants file out to the ring but Austin jumps Angle after his posing in the corners to start us off while Rock and Triple H head out to the corners. Austin stomps Angle down then whips him and hits an elbow and follows up with an elbowdrop. Austin whips Angle again and hits the Thesz Press followed by the right hands then sets Angle on the top rope then goes up and hits a superplex. Austin slaps Triple H to tag him in and Triple H gets in Austin’s face about it but that allows Angle to tag in Rock and Rock wails away on Triple H. Rock then goes for the Smackdown but Triple H jabs the eyes to stop it then gets in his offense in a corner. Triple H whips Rock but lowers the head and Rock kicks the face and this time is able to hit the Smackdown. Rock goes for a whip and Triple H reverses him into a corner but Rock comes out with a clothesline. Rock whips Triple H but lowers the head and Triple H hits the facebuster but Rock comes back with a DDT. Rock readies for the Rock Bottom but Angle slaps Rock’s back to tag himself in the two of them have a chat. Rock eventually heads the corner but not before he decks Angle and Triple H follows it up with a snap suplex. Triple H slaps Austin to tag him back in and Austin chokes Angle on the middle rope then hits the straddle. Austin whips Angle and hits a spuebuster but instead of covering he whips him again and goes for the Stunner. Angle shoves Austin away but Austin backdrops him over the ropes then goes and drops Angle on the barricade. Triple H watches this go on when Rock brings him in the ring the hard way then plants him with a spinebuster. Rock readies again to hit the Rock Bottom but Angle makes it back in the ring and nails Rock from behind. Angle also decks Triple H … when The Big Show comes down the ramp? The heck? Angle tosses Rock out through the ropes and Show attacks Rock on the floor and hits a short-arm clothesline then finishes Rock with the Final Cut. Show departs while Rock is down and out, much to Angle’s delight when Austin nails him from behind to remind him who his opponent is. Austin tosses Angle through the ropes when Triple H goes out and rams Angle into the annoucne table. Austin decides to ram Angle into the table as well and the two take turns ramming Angle into the table while Rock gets helped to the back by a group of referees. Didn’t they do something similar with Chris Jericho a few weeks ago?

Anyway everyone heads back in the ring but for whatever reason Earl Hebner thinks that Triple H is the legal man. Triple H goes for a whip but Angle reverses it and Triple H tumbles out after Austin pulls down the top rope. Austtn goes out to help his partner back to his feet but Triple H shoves him away then rolls back in the ring. Angle hammers away on Triple H and whips him into a corner but Triple H comes back with a neckbreaker. Triple H crawls toward his corner looking to tag but Austin walks over to another corner and holds out an arm. Angle plants Triple H with a belly-to-belly suplex while Austin goes back and this time looks ready to tag in. Angle goes out and brings a chair in the ring but Triple H cuts him off and drills him with the Pedigree. Triple H covers Angle but Austin comes in and ends up distracting Hebner from counting the pin for his partner. Triple H is furious and glares at Austin who flips him off so Triple H takes a swing at him but Austin ducks it. Austin flips Triple H the double bird and Triple H gets all worked up when Angle nails him below the belt. Angle whacks Triple H with the chair then covers and gets the three with no attempt at a save from Austin. (7:51) Angle has pinned Triple H again! Fun main event that did a good job building the Austin/Triple H feud while hinting at the other pay-per-view main event. **½

Angle celebrates but Austin takes him out with a Stunner then departs the ring while calling for his beers. Stephanie checks on Triple H and Trish tends to Angle while Austin chugs his beer on the stage in celebration. Austin got another one over on Triple H but how will Triple H respond? That’s the question as we fade to black.

Conclusion: Decent, entertaining episode of Raw this time around as we finally start to see some significant build toward No Way Out. The wresting was solid for the most part with a nice opener and main event and many of the storylines unfolded at a nice pace, with the Austin/Triple H feud being advanced pretty well. Plus there were a few developments such as Eddie’s return and we’re starting to see other matches blossom for the pay-per-view, including Angle’s challenger for the supercard. I guess with the XFL debut behind them the WWF decided they should concentrate back on their main product and the difference showed. There were still some iffy parts and a couple of silly segments but overall this was a welcome improvement over the past weeks. Thumbs up.

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