Monday Night Raw – May 21, 2001 – The Tag Match

Monday Night Raw
Date: May 21, 2001
Location: Compaq Center, San Jose, California
Commentators: Jim Ross, Paul Heyman

We have arrived. This is the show with probably the most famous and best TV tag match in company history if not wrestling history. It’s Austin/HHH vs. Benoit/Jericho in a tag title match. The rest of the show doesn’t matter but last night was Judgment Day and HHH lost the IC Title while Austin is still world champion. Let’s get to it.

Austin is here immediately to open the show. He says he’s still the champion no matter how much the people hate him. Austin represents all of them and even though he’s a fighting champion, Undertaker doesn’t get a rematch. There’s no one in the WWF that can beat him, and here’s Jericho. He asks if Austin would shut up and asks him why he sold his soul to Vince. He sold his soul and is as big a slut as Stephanie. The challenge for later on is made (Benoit/Jericho won a match last night to determine the #1 contenders) and it’s a big brawl with the partners coming in as well.

After a break the Two Man Power Trip (which has three people in it) rant a lot with HHH being the main hot head.

Angle gets here with his medals again. He shows them off to various people because there’s a ceremony later. Oh it’s this show. Nice.

Hardcore Title: Big Show vs. Rhyno

This is a more even match than it sounds. Rhyno gets weapons out but gets beaten down quickly. The size difference here is massive. Show suplexes him on the ramp but misses a charge into the post. Here are the weapon shots as Rhyno works over the arm. Getting rid of the chokeslam makes sense. Rhyno sets for the Gore but it hits a chair. Show hits something like a Van Daminator (minus the jump) and a chokeslam onto said can gives Show the title.

Rating: C-. This could only be so good. The match lasted about 4 minutes so it’s not like this was supposed to be a classic or anything. Show shrugged off the arm work which was kind of stupid and made Rhyno look weak, but the reign wound up being pointless as Jericho would win it the next week but lose it back to Rhyno the same night. Go figure.

Angle shows the medals to someone else.

Terri comes in to hit on the APA and pours beer on her top to mess with them. They’re facing the Radicalz next. The Radicalz jump the alcoholics.

Austin can’t find Debra.

Spike and Molly talk about their families fighting. Are they Romeo and Juliet? He gives her some Dudley Glasses as a good luck gift.

Perry Saturn/Dean Malenko vs. APA

Farrooq beats on Dean to start us off. The beating they took doesn’t seem to really be hurting them that much so far. The double neckbreaker gets two on Malenko as this has been one sided so far. Suplex gets two for the future JBL. The heels have to cheat and a superkick puts Bradshaw down for two. Off to Farrooq who can’t get the Dominator on Saturn so Perry hooks a suplex.

Farrooq takes a quick beating but snaps off a powerslam to set up the double tag. Bradshaw cleans house so Terri flashes him….to no effect at all. Saturn takes a big beating with a ton of power moves, getting pinned by a pair of double powerbombs. This would be the start of the Saturn is loopy angle.

Rating: D+. This was pretty stupid. The pre-match beatdown didn’t mean anything and neither did the flashing. Saturn was getting too popular or something so they decided to give him the upcoming gimmick where he was nuts and wanted to date a mop. I can’t stand the idiocy of this company at times.

Regal is talking to someone when Austin comes up looking for Debra. Regal says she might have been attacked by Taker.

The soon to be face Edge and Christian decline to be in on Kurt’s gold medal ceremony.

European Title: Matt Hardy vs. X-Pac

Fast paced feeling out process to start with no one being able to take over so far. The fans all chant for Lita as this is still fast paced. Justin Credible distracts Matt so Pac can take over and let the cheating begin. JR and Paul argue over who “they” are (as in they call Justin the one man crime spree) as Pac/Credible crotch Matt on the post. Bronco Buster is still annoying. They slug it out and Matt blocks the X-Factor into a slingshot.

Pac grabs a backslide for two with the feet on the ropes. Other than a chinlock they’ve been going strong for like 5 minutes. Out to the floor where Jeff interferes and it turns into a big brawl. Lita tries to jump Pac which results in her getting flipped. Here’s Eddie for the save and he throws Pac into the Twist of Fate for the pin as Matt retains.

Rating: B-. For a six minute match, this was pretty awesome. They didn’t stop moving the entire time and it made the match a lot better. Pac can go when he’s in there with a smaller guy like Hardy and this is what you get out of it. As long as he’s not around big guys and overcoming the odds and making said big guy look like an idiot, this was fine.

Saturn is still out of it.

Angle is very happy looking as he comes to the ring. After a break here’s the medal celebration, complete with an Olympic style three place podium. Kurt reads from a scroll about what a hero is because San Jose is stupid. It’s pretty epic with fireworks and Heyman saying John Wayne wishes he could be the American that Angle is. Imagine how JR takes that.

This brings out Shane McMahon to I believe new music which is still awesome. I know he didn’t have it at Mania. He talks about WCW which is starting soon. Shane goes through the letters WCW, starting with W, which stands for World. We live in the world on the planet Earth. There are other planets like Mars, Jupiter, Pluto, and they all have moons. Kurt: “What are you talking about?”

Shane goes on to talk about the letter C, which stands for championship, which Kurt currently doesn’t have. It can also stand for crayon, coyote and for cookie, which is good enough for me. Kurt: “WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?” (According to Eric Bischoff, it stood for commitment but continuity didn’t mean anything in WCW). The final W is for wrestling which he says as he walks up the podium. Angle runs up and hits a big old Angle Slam and the ankle lock to leave Shane laying. This was odd as Shane had no real reason to come out here. It set up a great brawl at KOTR though so no complaints there.

Debra is in the back and is fine. Austin comes in and she says she was just gone getting coffee. She apologizes and Austin says he was worried about her. He talks about Regal thinking it might have been Taker and here is that Taker, getting right in Debra’s face. Taker says it’s not over, which it more or less was. He says it’s personal and to keep his family out of it. Austin isn’t that much shorter than Taker. Taker leaves and Austin says he didn’t fight because Debra was there. Austin came off looking like a face here while Taker looked like a heel.

Shane is escorted out. And I’m sure we won’t see him all night long right?

Dudley Boys vs. Hollies

Molly isn’t tall enough to be the Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress and I don’t know of any Bus Stops in Dudleyville. That’s all the Hollies songs I know so no more references. Big brawl to start and Hardcore is sent outside so double teaming ensues. Bubba vs. Crash officially gets us going. Off to Bob vs. D-Von as the fans want tables. Spike and Molly are near each other on the floor which distracts D-Von, giving the Hollies the advantage.

Heyman is making Jewish references which are probably pushing the limits a bit too far. Suplex gets two. Hardcore’s dropkick is still sweet to watch. Crash gets a DDT for two. Bubba gets the hot tag and there’s What’s Up to Bob. It’s Table Time and JR asks why it’s always D-Von that has to get the tables. Spike tries to convince Bubba not to use it but Crash hits a baseball slide to send it into their faces. Crash tries to use the bell but Molly breaks that up. The bell winds up in the ring and upside D-Von’s head for the pin.

Rating: C-. The Hollies were an interesting team that were actually former tag champions, having a totally forgotten two week reign back in 1999. That being said, they were interesting in that they were rarely put into storylines other than hardcore matches or against each other but they were a fairly decent tag team. Fun little match here with a nice surprise at the end, which is usually the best part of a match.

Vince gives Kurt an IC Title shot against Kane. Kurt isn’t sure if that’s a reward. Vince wanted Kurt to hurt Shane even worse.

The more famous Dudleys yell at Spike about Molly. They declare that Molly is going through a table.

Eddie comes in to check on Matt before he and Jeff team up against Edge and Christian.

HHH reminds Austin that they’re a team.

Steven Richards is at WWF New York and announces that…..well I’m not sure as Heyman yells that NO ONE CARES and to go tell someone who cares. I don’t know if it was his voice or what but that cracked me up.

Eddie Guerrero/Jeff Hardy vs. Edge/Christian

Eddie vs. Edge starts us off and this is a pretty stacked tag match. Jeff speeds things up but Christian cheats like a good heel. He comes in legally now and gets a powerslam for two. Heyman shows what an analyst is supposed to do by asking the question of who would make a better partner for Eddie: Jeff or Matt.

See, that simple question is pertinent to the match and angle at hand, gets JR into the conversation, and isn’t something that there’s a clear cut answer to. Today you would hear about how one isn’t in the Fave Five and something about how Cole is going to do this or that and how something is trending on Twitter or talking about the main event. In about 4 seconds, Heyman has probably played more attention to a match than Cole has in a year.

Anyway, Jeff comes in with a jawbreaker to put Edge down and we get a double tag. Eddie snaps off a gorgeous headscissors and the non-Canadians beat Christian down in the corner. There’s Poetry in Motion but Eddie takes a spear and everything breaks down. Eddie might have pushed Jeff out of the way for it. Lita crotches Edge on the post and Eddie gets a sunset bomb on Christian for the pin.

Rating: C. Pretty nice fast paced tag match here. Unfortunately the Eddie and Hardys angle never got any resolution as Eddie would be sent to rehab later this month and would be released in November. After next week, he wouldn’t wrestle on Raw until April of 2002. Shame too because the angle was pretty intriguing.

Intercontinental Title: Kane vs. Kurt Angle

Kane still has a bad wing. He takes over anyway with a powerslam early on. Kurt avoids a chokeslam and goes after the arm. A cross armbreaker doesn’t work that well so Kane gets Kurt on the mat and pounds away. The arm work continues for awhile until Kane fires back with a side slam and the clothesline. A big boot and another clothesline put Angle on the floor and here’s Shane for the return attack. He throws Kurt back in for a chokeslam to keep the title on Kane.

Rating: D. Pretty meh match here but it wasn’t terrible I guess. These two didn’t have a particularly good match when they wrestled at Mania either so maybe they just don’t click well. They had six minutes or so and it went by fast, but everyone was waiting on Shane to return and attack, so it was a pretty moot point anyway.

The Chrises say remember where we came from to get here.

Tag Titles: Steve Austin/HHH vs. Chris Benoit/Chris Jericho

Here we go. Austin vs. Jericho gets us going and one of the belts is laying in the ring. Austin takes over with pounding boots but Jericho snaps off a cross body for two. A top rope elbow to the head scores for Jericho and he works on Austin’s arm. HHH comes in and the Canadians take over. Benoit chops Austin HARD and then hits a snap suplex for no cover. There’s a superplex for two as HHH saves.

Jericho comes in to even things out but it lets the champions take over. Benoit is like screw that and pounds them back, hooking the Crossface on Austin. HHH comes in with a big chair shot to break it up but Benoit kicks out to a big pop. Benoit goes into the steps for no count as he kicks out before the one. Austin pounds away on him and it’s off to HHH who hooks a cheating abdominal stretch.

Make that a sleeper as Benoit is in big trouble. Benoit manages to fire off a suplex to put both guys down and an enziguri is good enough for the hot tag to Jericho….but the referee doesn’t see it. The fans don’t like that at all. Jericho goes off with Austin on the floor as HHH hits the Pedigree. There’s no referee though so Jericho goes up and takes HHH’s head off with a missile dropkick.

There’s your hot tag to Jericho and he takes on the now legal Austin and HHH at the same time. Thesz Press is countered into a spinebuster and then the Walls but HHH makes the save. That right there, that save, resulted in HHH tearing his quad off the bone and would put him out of action until January of 2002. You could see HHH’s leg just stop moving. His leg is dead weight now.

HHH is like screw this potentially career ending injury and goes to set up the announce table. HHH loads up the Pedigree but Jericho counters into the Walls on the table, and remember that HHH has a torn muscle. FREAKING OW MAN!!! Benoit hits the swan dive on Austin but there’s no referee. Stunner to Benoit gets two as Jericho pulls the referee out. Lionsault gets knees and HHH finds the sledgehammer from somewhere. The second Lionsault hits but the hammer hits Austin and Jericho gets the pin and the titles as the place erupts!

Rating: A+. WOW this match holds up really well. After Jericho gets that hot tag, this is full speed ahead the rest of the way. The energy in this is great as they did everything they could to keep the Canadians down but in the end, HHH messes up to end it. Notice one very important thing here: Jericho had Austin (presumably) beat with the Lionsault, so it’s not like they got dominated the entire time and won on a mistake by the other team. That’s huge and it makes Benoit/Jericho look far stronger as the new champions.

Overall Rating: A. This is a great show overall with some very fun stuff throughout the night. Everything clicks and for a TV show, that’s almost unheard of. When you get a classic main event, you’re guaranteed a good show but a great show surrounding it makes this one of the best Raws I can remember in a very long time. Check this show out as it’s awesome stuff.

 

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