WWF Raw Is War 4.23.2001
WWF RAW IS WAR
Monday, April 23rd, 2001
Live from the Pepsi Center in Denver, CO
List of WWF Champions at the time:
● WWF World Heavyweight Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin (4/01/2001)
● WWF Intercontinental Champion: Triple H (4/16/2001)
● WWF World Tag Team Champions: The Undertaker & Kane (4/19/2001)
● WWF European Champion: Eddie Guerrero (4/01/2001)
● WWF Hardcore Champion: Rhyno (4/19/2001)
● WWF Women’s Champion: Chyna (4/01/2001)
● WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Crash Holly (3/18/2001)
~ Raw comes on the air with clips of the Undertaker & Kane winning the Tag Team Titles on Smackdown and their war with Steve Austin and Triple H. We also get footage from the following Sunday Night Heat of the Backlash main event being booked: Steve Austin & Triple H vs. The Undertaker and Kane for the World, Intercontiental and Tag Titles. Yes, they waited until the week before the pay-per-view to actually announce the main event and and they did it on Heat as well.
~ Anyway Jim Ross welcomes us to the show along with Paul Heyman. Tonight Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho face Kurt Angle and William Regal in a tag-team submission match. And we might get more on Backlash.
~ Things kick off with the newly-crowned Tag Team Champions Undertaker and Kane making their way to the ring to address the fans. Taker gets on the mic and says in the years he’s been here he and Kane aren’t known for their sense of humor but Triple H said something funny two weeks ago. Taker shows a clip from Smackdown on the TitanTron of Triple H calling he and Steve Austin the most dominant pair in the WWF and he and Kane laugh at it. Taker says he and Kane wanted any match against Austin and Triple H to see who the dominant pair really is but the stakes have been raised with the top three titles on the line in their match at Backlash. Taker says they still wants a regular match with Austin and Triple H and throws out a challenge for tonight but instead it’s Edge and Christian coming out to the stage. Edge gets on the mic taking exception to Taker’s words, saying he and Christian are the most dominant tag team in the WWF after winning the titles seven times. Christian claims they only lost the belts because Taker threatened Regal into the match by setting his office on fire. Christian says Taker and Kane won’t put the titles on the line tonight but he and Edge still want a fight with them so Taker dares E&C to come in the ring and face them. As E&C come near the brothers bring them in the ring the hard way and work them over. However Steve Austin and Triple H run in the ring and jump Taker and Kane from behind. Austin brings a pair of chairs in the ring and he and Triple H beat Taker and Kane down with them. Austin ties Taker to the ropes with his belt and jabs him with the chair while Triple H works over Kane’s bad arm. A number of referees come out but don’t do anything as Austin and Triple H continue their assault with the chairs. Austin and Triple H finally depart the ring leaving Taker and Kane in a heap as we go to commercial.
~ Back form break we get a replay of Austin and Triple H attacking Undertaker and Kane from behind. We then find Vince McMahon and Stephanie watching the replay from the back and adding in their own comments. As Vince gloats we suddenly cut to some footage of Mick Foley arriving at WWF New York earlier today and Vince isn’t happy with Foley’s prescence, feeling he’s up to something. Maybe he is and we’ll find out what that something is.
- WWF HARDCORE TITLE: Rhyno © vs. Spike Dudley
Rhyno won the Hardcore Title on Smackdown and gets his first title defense. Spike comes out with Bubba Ray and D’Von Dudley who join the announcers for commentary as JR announces the three Dudley brothers will take on X-Factor in a six-man tag at Backlash. However before the match starts X-Pac and friends come out to the stage for some reason, probably because Spike cost them a match on Heat. Rhyno rushes Spike to start and clubs him in the back with forearms then whips him but lowers the head and Spike kicks the face. Spike hits a dropkick that sends Rhyno through the ropes then climbs to the top rope and connects with a flying crossbody on the floor. Spike rolls Rhyno back in the ring then starts pulling out various weapons and tossing them in as well. Spike crawls in while holding a trash can lid but Rhyno is ready and kicks it into his face. Rhyno goes for the Gore but Spike whacks him with the lid to stop it. X-Factor starts heading down the ramp when Bubba and D’Von go over to head them off all five men go at it. In the ring Rhyno grabs a lid and takes a swing at Spike but Spike ducks it then hits the Dudley Dawg. Spike covers Rhyno when Albert pulls him out of the ring but Spike whacks him with a trashcan lid. Spike heads back in but Rhyno greets him with the Gore and gets the three to retain. (1:40) Okay but mainly used to fuel the Dudleys/X-Factor feud. Rhyno would go on to be one of the better Hardcore champs, though. *½
Rhyno takes off while X-Pac and the others head in the ring looking to triple-team Spike. However Bubba and D’Von nail X-Pac and Albert with trash lids then slam Credible with the 3D.
~ Back from break we get a clip of the Right to Censor losing the eight-man tag match on Smackdown. We then get footage of Steven Richards earlier today trying to rally his fallen troops from their doldrums. Richards tells his men how they try to fight the good fight but at the same time they continute to lose all of their matches and as a result everyone is laughing at them and making a mockery of their cause. Richards wants it stopped so he asks his mates that tonight, don’t fight for good but for victory and survival, otherwise they’re nothing.
- Bull Buchanan & The Goodfather (w/Steven Richards) vs. Kaientai
Richards leads the RTC to the ring after which Kaientai come out wearing John Elway jerseys to get some cheers. Taka Michinoku gets on the mic and says the RTC have lost their way and become repetitious and that RTC’s good is no match for their evil, by the power of Elway and Funaki concurs with an “Indeed!”. Buchanan and Goodfather pound on Kaientai to start with Buchanan tossing Taka through the ropes. Goodfather whips Funak into a shoulderblock then hipstosses him across the ring. Buchanan tags in and whip Funaki into a boot then follows up with a short-arm clothesline. Buchanan pummels Funaki in a corner then throws him into Kaientai’s corner alloing Taka to tag in. Buchanan brings Taka in the hard way and pounds on him but Taka and Funaki start to fight back. Goodfather comes in and all four men go at it with Buchanan slamming Taka to the mat. Buchanan climbs to the top rope while Goodfather whips Funaki into a corner then goes for the Ho Train but Funaki sidesteps it while causing Buchanan to straddle the turnbuckle. Goodfather charges but tumbles out to the floor after Taka and Funaki pull down the top rope. Funaki slings himself over the ropes into a plancha on Richards. Taka climbs to the top rope and leaps off when Buchanan catches him but Funaki climbs to the top and hits a missle dropkick that knocks Buchanan over. Taka falls on top for a cover and Funaki holds Buchanan’s foot down to get the upset. (1:48) Taka and Funaki quickly scamper leaving Richards frustrated at his team losing again. *
~ We cut back to WWF New York and find Mick Foley enjoying the food and charging it to Vince McMahon.
~ Backstage Vince and Stephanie are watching this with Vince still concerned about Foley’s presence. The Big Show suddenly barges in the room asking Vince if he meant what he said to him on Smackdown about being the biggest disappointment in th WWF. Vince denies he meant it but was serious when he booked Show against Shane McMahon in a Last Man Standing match. Show asks Vince if he’s considered what he might do to Shane and Vince says he’s looking forward to it. Show then produces a videotape and plays a clip from Smackdown of Test badmouthing Stephanie to Jeff Hardy. Stephanie realizes that was after Jeff hit her with the Twist of Fate and Show offers to take care of Test. Vince happily books the match for tonight and wishes Show luck but Show feels he won’t need it this Sunday.
~ Elsewhere Kurt Angle visits Commissioner William Regal in his office and gives props on the decor. Angle complements the submission match syaing Chris Benoit will get a taste of their ultimate submission match and that Benoit will go down faster than Terrell Davis on opening day, drawing boos from the crowd. Regal says he’s also out to show Chris Jericho his future and that he might make either man submit as well. Angle feels he should get the tapout but Regal says the Duchess of Queensbury was rather fond of submissions. Regal then suggests they both apply their holds and whoever gets the first submission wins but Angle blows it off.
~ Michael Cole then reports from the trainer’s room that the Undertaker and Kane were shaken up from the attack but Kane reinjured his arm. Cole says as a result both men have been shut down but will be ready for the pay-per-view. Steve Austin and Triple H then walk up asking if Taker and Kane are done for the night and Cole confirms it. Triple H tells Cole that he and Austin will see about that and walk off as we go to commercial.
~ Back from break Steve Austin and Triple H make their way to the ring to Vince McMahon’s theme because one promo segment isn’t enough. Triple H gets on the mic first and calls the fans braindead from the altitude before refreshing their memories of him and Austin beating Undertaker and Kane down after they ran through mouths. Triple H says as a result Taker and Kane are licking their wound while they stand as the dominant pair in the WWF. Triple H says the WWF and Intercontinential titles belong to them and soon they’ll own the Tag Team Titles as well. Triple H says everything in the WWF belongs to them, from the ring to the lights to all the fans sitting in the seats. Austin then takes over the mic and says what happened to Taker and Kane earlier could have happened to anyone then challenges the brothers to come out and fight them even through they were put out of commission earlier. However The Hardys come out to the stage instead, making us think there’s still in the big storyline. Matt gets on the mic talking about Austin’s challenge and reminds him how he and Triple H jumped him and Jeff some time ago but they’ll just keep coming back. Jeff takes over the mic and accpets Austin’s challenge for a fight saying he and Triple H will see them coming. The Hardys then start to head down the ramp but aren’t coming alone as The Undertaker and Kane join them. The four of them charge in the ring but Austin and Triple H quickly split up and flee into the crowd.
Just then Mick Foley’s music starts playing as we see Foley coming out to the stage at WWF New York. Foley gets on the mic and says he’s been enjoying the great food and the show for the past hour or so but has something that may make the show better. Foley reaches into his bag, pulling out a piece of paper which Foley explains is another of the contracts he sing with Linda McMahon while he was still WWF Commissioner. Russo lives! Anyway Foley says the contract allows him to make any main event at any Raw of his choosing and he’s choosing tonight then books Taker, Kane and the Hardys against Austin, Triple H, Edge and Christian in an 8-man tag. So why couldn’t they do this at the beginning of the show because it just seems too much like “on the fly” booking. Then again the whole ‘contracts’ things was pretty lame to begin with anyway.
~ Back from break we get an exterior shot of the Pepsi Center as Heyman cries foul about the main event.
~ Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho come out to the ring for the big submission match but Jericho decides to get on the mic taling about his Duchess of Queensbury match this Sunday. Jerichosays he doesn’t know what the rules are but Regal knows a lot about duchesses and queens and even says he found a picture. Jericho then displays a picture on the TitanTron of Regal’s head superimposed on a female body before promising to get medevil on Regal at Backlash. I guess Benoit doesn’t get any mic time to hype his match on Sunday as their opponents come out.
- Chris Benoit & Chris Jericho vs. Kurt Angle & William Regal – Submission Match
Standard tag rules expect that the first submission wins, no pinfalls. All four men go at it to start and pair off with their pay-per-view opponents in the corners. Benoit stomps Angle down in a corner then pulls Regal off Jericho and whips him and hits an elbow. Angle nails Benoit from behind as Jerihco goes for the Walls of Jericho on Regal but Angle breaks it up. Benoit puts Angle in the Crossface but Regal breaks that up and throws him out through the ropes. Jericho goes for a whip, Angle reverses it but Jericho comes back with a flying forearm. Jericho whips Angle into a corner then applies an armbar, Angle goes into a front facelock but Jericho counters that with a fireman’s carry. Jericho goes for the Walls of Jericho but Angle fights him off then trips him with a drop toehold and goes into the Anklelock when Benoit comes in to make the save. Regal tags in and hits the kneelifts then goes for a suplex but Jericho counters with an armbar takedown. Regal slips out of that and looks for the Regal Stretch but Jericho prevents it with an enzuigiri. Benoit tags in and hits a German suplex then holds on for a second German suplex. Angle comes in and Benoit hits him with a German suplex then Jericho clotheslines Angle and himself over the ropes. Benoit hits a Dragon suplex on Regal then slaps on the Crossface and Regal..taps out? That’s it? (2:03) Yes, all thay hype for a two minute match. Decent but these guys needed a lot more time to get a great match together. Seems like they had to rush through it becuase of the long talking segments. **
~ The Big Show is shown heading to the ring for his match with Test as we go to commercial.
~ Back from break Johnathan Coachman interviews Trish Stratus who plugs the new Divas video. Moving right along…
- The Big Show vs. Test
Both men stand nose-to-nose and exchange shoves to start before Test gets in the first shots. Show throws Test into a corner and knees him in the chest but Test slips out and hammers away. Test goes for a whip but Show holds onto the ropes then slings Test into the corner and chops him. Show throws Test across the ring then forearms him in the back and follows up with a backbreaker. Show whips Test into a corner and Test rebounds into a bearhug but manages to fight out of it. Test comes off the ropes and Show presses him up, Test floats over and hits a clothesline but Show doesn’t go down. Test hits another clothesline that fails to get Show off his feet. Test goes for a whip, Show reverses him into a corner and charges but eats an elbow. Test climbs to the top rope and hits a flying elbow. Test goes for the big boot but Show blocks it then spins him around and gets a choke. Before Show can hit the chokeslam Shane McMahon runs in and whacks him in the back with the chair to end this one. (2:35) Show still doesn’t go down so Shane flees into the crowd but Test manages to boot Show over the ropes. DUD
~ Backstage a furious Vince McMahon prowls the halls in search of Shane McMahon but finds Trish Stratus instead. Vince tells Trish he hasn’t seen her since Wrestlemania and mentions her being a goody-two-shoes nowadays. Vince decides to book Trish in a match against Ivory tonight and if she loses she must join the Right To Censor. Geez, was anything on this show actually booked ahead of time?
~ Back from break we get a look at the fans waiting in line for tickets earlier today. Don’t know why we’d care about this but it’s there.
~ Backstage Michael Cole interviews Grandmaster Sexay, Steve Blackman and Raven on their match tonight. Raven says they’re going to expose a myth when they face three individuals who are anything but Radcial. Raven says they’re going to show them their destiny in pain and Sexay mumbles some stuff in agreement. After Raven and Sexay walk off Blackman says he doesn’t know what his partners were talking about.
- The Radicalz (w/Terri Runnels) vs. Steve Blackman, Grandmaster Sexay & Raven
Raven got a pinfall over Eddie Guerrero the previous week while Eddie cost Raven a match on Heat so JR announces the two will fight for the European Title at Backlash. Sure they will. Perry Saturn starts off with Blackman and whips him but Blackman rolls under a clothesline. Saturn ducks a spinkick and Blackman connects with a legsweep but misses an elbowdrop and Saturn hits an exploder suplex. Saturn goes for a whip but Blackman reverses it and drops Saturn to the mat then hits an uppercut. Dean Malenko tags in but he eats a thrust kick. Sexay tags in and busts a move then comes off the ropes and runs into a waistlock from Malenko. Sexay reverses it and goes for an O’Connor roll when Malenko holds onto the ropes to prevent it but misses a clothesline. Sexay hits a hiptoss and a clothesline then goes for a whip, Malenko reverses him into a corner but eats a boot. Sexay hops to the middle rope but Saturn rams him into the ropes while Eddie distracts the referee. Malernko tags Eddie in and trips Sexay into a drop toehold then holds him for a dropkick from Eddie. Eddie pouns on Sexay before tagging Saturn back in and Saturn whips Sexay but lowers the head. Sexay kicks the face and goes for a suplex but Saturn coutners into a gutwrench onto his shoulder. Saturn rams Sexay into the turnbuckles then sets him on the top rope and goes for a superplex but Sexay fights him off to the mat and hits a flying crossbody. Both men crawl to their corners and Saturn tags in Eddie while Sexay makes the hot tag to Raven. Eddie backs away from Raven when Malenko comes in but Raven catches a kick and hits a clothesline. Saturn comes in but Raven whips him into a corner (barely missing the referee) and clotheslines him. Eddie nails Raven and goes for a whip but Raven reverses him into a corner and hits a clothesline. Raven follows up with a running bulldog but Saturn breaks up the pin and Malenko lays the boots to him. All six men start going at it around the ring while Raven works over Eddie in the ring with jabs. Raven goes for a whip but Eddie trips him and rolls him in a La Majistral for the pin. (3:23) Okay stuff but nothing remarkable. But as far as that that Eddie/Raven match for the European Title goes, don’t be too sure about it. **
~ Back from break we find the Right to Censor members arguing with each other as Ivory tries to play peacemaker. Ivory chastises her pals for what they’ve become lately, fighing amongst themsleves and not showing unity. Ivory says she will beat Trish Stratus and bring the RTC a new member tonight by herself and asks the RTC to have her in faith in her abilities.
- Trish Stratus vs. Ivory
Ivory trips Trish with a drop toehold to start and walks over her then hits a facebuster and follows up with a suplex. Ivory slams Trish for a two count then Trish drives Ivory into a corner and hits a shoulderblock. Trish whips Ivory into the other corner and hits a hiptoss followed by an armdrag then slams Ivory for a near fall. Trish whips Ivory into a corner then comes off the ropes but Ivory clotheslines her down and hits a modified Death Valley Driver for a two count. Ivory slams Trish again then climbs to the top rope and goes for a missle dropkick but Trish swats her away. Trish follows up with a bulldog and that gets the three to continue the RTC’s woes. (2:06) Nothing match but Trish was starting to show a little ability around this time. *
~ Backstage Triple H and Steve Austin try to fire up Edge & Christian for the main event, telling them to act like seven-time tag champions and to turn the voltage up. Edge promises he and Christian will do their part before heading out of the room.
~ Back from break we find The Undertaker and Kane talking strategy with the Hardys. The announcers then show the events from earlier tonight leading up to tonight’s main event.
~ Next we get highlights of the XFL Million Dollar Game from last Saturday which saw the Los Angeles Xtreme crush the San Francisco Demons by a 38-6 score the win the first (and last) XFL Championship. And this would the final time we would ever hear about the XFL again as the WWF was quick to bury that failure.
- Steve Austin, Triple H, Edge & Christian (w/Stephanie) vs. The Undertaker, Kane & The Hardys (w/Lita)
All eight men pair off and go at it to start with Austin and Kane spilling out to the floor. Kane throws Austin across the announce table and continues to work him over while Taker uppercuts Triple H over the ropes then goes out and rams him into the steps. Edge and Christian go out for the save but the brothers quickly turn their attention to them and toss them back in the ring. The Hardys whip Edge into a corner and Matt drops into position while Jeff hits the Poetry in Motion. Matt whips Christian into a corner then drops down again and Jeff hits the Poetry in Motion on Christian followed by the double legdrop. Christian comes back with a knee to the chest then clubs Jeff in the back and throws him to the mat. Christian lays the boots to Jeff then pops him with a right hand and chokes him on the mat. Austin tags in but Jeff quickly makes the tag to Taker and Taker hammers Austin then whips him and hits a boot. Triple H comes in but Taker catches him with a boot then whips him and hits a backdrop. Taker clotheslines Austin in a corner before clotheslining Triple H over the ropes. Kane tags in then climbs to the top rope and hits the flying clothesline. Kane pops E&C off the apron then grabs Ausitn by the throat for a chokeslam but Triple H breaks it up by going for Kane’s bad arm. Austin htis an armbar takedown and lays the boots to Kane before Triple H joins him for a double-team until Taker decks him.
Triple H distracts Earl Hebner while Austin stomps Kane below the belt. Triple H wrenches Kane’s arm on the top rope and Austin hits an elbowdrop followed by a series of rights. Triple H tags in and applies an armwringer on the bad arm then works over the arm before tagging Edge in. Edge takes over with an armbar and Kane tries to fight back but Ausitn breaks it up with a sledge promting Taker to come in and get in a shot. Christian comes in without a tag and stomps on Kane’s arm and Triple H rams it into the ring apron. Edge tags in and lays the boots to Kane before applying a standing armbar but Kane kicks him away. Kane hits a big boot on Edge and starts crawling to his corner but Ausitn and Triple H cut off the tag. Triple H pulls Kane back to his corner then distracts Hebner while the others triple-team Kane from the floor. Taker and the Hardys head out to break it up while Kane clothelines Triple H and crawls to his empty corner. Matt gets back to accept the hot tag from Kane then hammers away on Triple H in a corner. Matt goes for a whip, Triple H reverses him into the opposite corner then charges and eats a boot but comes back with a neckbreaker. Triple H covers Matt when Taker breaks up the pin then gabs Triple H by the throat but turns to deal with Edge and Christian. Taker grabs Triple H again and manages to hit the chokeslam but Edge grabs his leg to prevent the cover. E&C pull Taker out to the floor and work him over while Matt covers Triple H in the ring but Hebner is too busy with the outside action to see it. Austin heads in and breaks the pin up then nails Matt with the Stunner and Triple H is able to cover him for the pin. (7:38) Okay main event but really didn’t mean much in the long run. The bookers still could have established the Hardys as main event players by letting them get the pin here but instead Matt gives up the pinfall, slamming the door shut on their main event chances. **
Conclusion: Total go-home show here and not much of one. Way too much talking, forgettable matches, it just seemed like everyone was going through the motions and the booking seemed on-the-fly, which seems appropriate given how Backlash was pretty-much thrown together at the last minute. The company was really starting to get plagued by glass ceilings and short-sighted booking around this time, but with no competiton in sight, why bother to change things up. Thumbs down for this show.