Monday Night Raw – December 2, 2002: 500th Episode And No One Cares

Monday Night Raw
Date: December 2, 2002
Location: Frank Erwin Center, Austin, Texas
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

This is the 500th (ish) episode of Raw. Shawn is in his final reign as world champion as he won the title in the first Elimination Chamber. HHH is of course next in line for a title shot because he’s always next in line for a title shot. That was the big criticism of this time period: way too much focus on HHH vs. Shawn and nowhere near enough elevation of new guys. Let’s get to it.

We open with clips of last week’s RVD vs. Shawn title match. Rob hit the Five Star but HHH ran in and Pedigreed RVD on the floor. He also gave Shawn a backbreaker onto a chair.

Dudley Boys vs. 3 Minute Warning

We get a recap of the Dudleys stripping the tag champions (Christian/Jericho) of their clothes and then their towels. Brawl to start as the Dudleys clear the ring. A double suplex puts Rosey down but Jamal runs both of them over. Bubba and Rosey both try cross bodies and everyone is down. Double tag and here are Jamal and D-Von. Back to Bubba who pounds Jamal down.

Here’s something I really didn’t expect to see: Bubba hooks a cross armbreaker to control Jamal. D-Von works on the arm too. That’s not something you often see from the Dudleys. D-Von winds up playing Ricky Morton for a bit but he DDTs Jamal. This doesn’t work (thank goodness) as the referee misses the tag. A neckbreaker puts Rosey down and there’s the tag to Rosey. Something like a spear gets two. It looked more like a running Bossman Slam. Rico interferes and Bubba gets suplexed. Spike comes out to hit Rico and shove Jamal off the top. What’s Up Jamal but Rosey comes back in. 3D gets the pin on Rosey.

Rating: C-. Not a terrible match here but going eight minutes was probably a bad idea for these four. 3 Minute Warning could only be so interesting in long matches which is the problem that came up here. The Dudleys had recently reunited at this point and it really didn’t help their staleness that much.

HHH and Flair arrive.

During the break, Christian and Jericho apparently destroyed all three Dudleys. Thanks for letting us see all this stuff guys. Spike was thrown from the stage to the announce table while D-Von was put in the Walls and got a one man Conchairto.

GM Bischoff and Chief of Staff Morely say nothing of note, other than he’s now to be called Chief Morely. HHH and Flair come in and Trips is mad. He doesn’t like the idea of having to face RVD tonight because the shot at Shawn is his and the title is his. Eric says he’s been more than fair to HHH as he handed him the title. If HHH wants the title back, give him some great TV. The fans seem to agree with Bischoff. HHH promises a trainwreck. There’s going to be a guest referee to be named later.

Trish Stratus vs. Ivory

Trish was rapidly improving at this point. Ivory grabs the arm to start and they trade control over that for a few seconds. Clothesline gets two for Trish. Ivory hits an enziguri to take over and rips at Trish’s face. Trish gets a neckbreaker to escape and they’re both down. Chick Kick gets two. A really bad Stratusfaction gets the pin.

Rating: D. Ivory was the Divas jobber at this point and she just wasn’t any good. Trish was getting there but it was clear she wasn’t quite ready yet. Not a good match at all although Trish in leather is never a bad thing. Ivory is another of those girls that I don’t think anyone ever cared about at all.

Jackie yells at Victoria in the back and my goodness I’m actually reaching levels of caring about Jackie even lower than I thought. She beats up Victoria and they have a match later.

Video of the WWE float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Al Roker calls King Jerry the Ring Lawler.

Jericho and Christian warn the locker room to pay attention to what they just did. Nowitski congratulates them and Jericho gets a pep talk for his match with Booker later.

Lance Storm/William Regal vs. Jeff Hardy/Tommy Dreamer

The foreigners hurt Dreamer’s jaw and gave him a concussion. The brawl starts on the ramp and Dreamer is in his patriotic jobber shirt. Jeff runs the barricade to take them both down. Dreamer and Storm officially start and Tommy hooks a Mapleleaf on Storm. Storm gets in a kick to the head and they work over the injury. Regal comes in to do nothing of note and Storm hooks a cravate. Jeff gets a tag but there’s no referee. While he tries to comes in, Regal and Storm throw Dreamer into the exposed buckle for the pin.

Rating: D. Let’s see: Jeff was never in, the match was short, and the injury that was already established was used again. I don’t get the point of this match existing as a tag match but whatever. Jeff would kind of float around for awhile before doing anything of note. I think he was released in 2003.

The heels try to hurt Jeff’s knee but Dreamer makes the save.

Flair sucks up to Batista, telling him to show some fire.

Batista vs. The Hurricane

Flair comes out with Batista. Batista jumps him before the match as the announcers talk about the guest referee. Gee, I wonder who it’ll be between HHH and RVD in a match to decide who faces SHAWN for the title. Hurricane has bad ribs from something not important enough to tell us about. Batista Bomb ends this in about a minute.

Flair tells Batista to powerbomb him again post match but Kane comes in for the save.

Terri asks Shawn how his back is and he says he’s here. Rob comes in and says nothing of note. He’s upset about the back injury Shawn has but he wants to be repaid for his loss of a title win last week. Eric comes in and names Shawn the referee for later. If Shawn doesn’t call it fair, he’s stripped of the title.

Booker T vs. Chris Jericho

Booker makes small penis jokes about Jericho before the match. Jericho takes over to start and chokes in the corner. He comes off the middle rope and misses though as Booker takes over. Side slam gets two. The side kick misses and Jericho takes over again, this time with the springboard dropkick to put Booker on the outside. Top rope elbow to the chest gets two and we hit the chinlock.

A belly to back suplex puts Booker down and Jericho does a little dance. He goes up but gets crotched and superplexed to put both guys down. Booker hits a one man flapjack for two. Jericho counters a rollup into a Walls attempt but Booker gets a rope. Jericho argues with the referee, allowing Booker to his a missile dropkick for two. There’s a slingshot into the corner and Booker kicks him in the back.

Here’s the Spinarooni but Chris breaks it up with a bulldog. Lionsault misses and Booker kicks his head off. Here’s Christian for a distraction which means nothing. Small package gets two for Booker as Goldust comes out to counteract Christian. Axe kick puts Jericho down but Chief Morely comes out and says make it a tag title match.

Rating: C-. The match was ok but it was nothing all that interesting. That’s the problem with the whole show so far: the wrestling is just ok but I don’t care about anything that’s happening here. Smackdown was the hot show at this point and it seemed that everyone here was made sure to be less interesting than HHH.

Raw Tag Titles: Booker T/Goldust vs. Christian/Chris Jericho

We come back to Goldust getting two on Christian. The champions are rammed into each other and it’s off to Booker. Now the champions get things together and take over on Booker as Goldust is with the referee. Booker avoids a running charge at the ropes to crotch Christian and here’s Goldie off the hot tag.

Shattered Dreams on Christian and Jericho’s head follows Goldie’s boot. A VERY close two off a rollup gets the crowd fired up and start a chant disagreeing with the referee. Booker kicks Jericho down and hits the Spinarooni. Jericho sleeper drops Booker for two and the Bookend gets the same. The fans are into this now. A belt shot by Chris and a Lionsault keeps the titles.

Rating: C+. The crowd got into it and I have no idea why they didn’t just change the titles here in Texas, especially considering Booker and Goldie would get the titles less than two weeks after this at Armageddon. The match was pretty much by far the best match of the night so far.

Raw Retro is the destroyed Vince Corvette. This is for the Raw 10th Anniversary Special. Oh we’ll HAVE TO get to that nonsense someday.

Test and Stacy are making out and she has a marketing idea but Test wants something else.

Jacqueline vs. Victoria

Victoria is the Women’s Champion and this is non-title. The match is happening so that Jackie, from Dallas, can get a hometown pop in Austin. We’ll ignore that Goldust, actually FROM AUSTIN, could have done the EXACT SAME THING. Jackie basically takes Victoria apart but Victoria gets in a shot and the slingshot legdrop for two. Widow’s Peak is countered into a backdrop and wins with a big kick. For the record, this is Jackie’s first singles win on Raw since FEBRUARY OF 2000. It wouldn’t lead to a title win or anything like that. Were they that stuck on keeping the tag titles on the Canadians for thirteen more days?

Stevie comes out to check on Victoria post match. Back from a break and they won’t leave until Scott Steiner comes out to clear the ring. He’s a free agent at this point. Steiner hits on Victoria and reminds her that he’s Freakzilla. She says he doesn’t have what it takes and Stevie jumps him. A suplex sends him flying as does a gorilla press. Bischoff comes out and sucks up to Steiner. He has a special gift for Scott tonight and takes him to the back where a bunch of girls are waiting. However, he has a Super Freak in the limo. And it’s Stephanie. He would sign with Raw in like a week anyway. Stephanie as a slut works though.

It’s time for RNN BREAKING NEWS!!! This was a thing that Randy Orton did which I thought was brilliant. Orton had legit injured his shoulder and no one cared because he was a goofy kid that got on people’s nerves because he was so perky and excited to be here. The idea was that they were intentionally trying to recreate DIE ROCKY DIE but it didn’t work as well. The idea of the skits is that he gives updates on his shoulder, talking about how he has an irritation because of the sling and what percent its at and he treats it like world stopping news when no one cares. It actually worked really well as a heel idea.

Of course that doesn’t happen here because JR says we have breaking news that is more important. It’s Shawn and HHH in the back with HHH saying he wants the title. Heaven forbid we didn’t get this scene. Shawn says he’ll DQ HHH for doing anything wrong.

HHH vs. Rob Van Dam

Shawn is guest referee and the winner faces him at Armageddon. Also if Shawn isn’t a good referee, he loses the title. Flair is ejected before Rob’s intro. RVD jumps him to start and hits some kicks for early control. A few kicks get two each. HHH tries the Pedigree but gets backdropped to the floor. Out to the floor and Van Dam hits the spinning kick to the barricade onto HHH’s back.

Top rope kick to the face gets two. HHH gets a jumping knee but Shawn counts very slowly for him. Rob rolls him up and gets a very fast two count. Van Dam hooks a sleeper for awhile but the split legged moonsault misses. RVD misses a cross body off the ropes and hits Shawn who is down WAY longer than he usually would. Facebuster takes Rob down and HHH gets a chair. Shawn takes it away and Van Dam hits Rolling Thunder for no count. HHH clocks RVD with the chair to set up the obvious match with Shawn at Armageddon.

Rating: D. Much like the match earlier, everyone knew how this was going to end and the match was just a formality. Van dam could have been any jobber and he would have had the same chance at winning here. That would be the case for a long time on Raw: it’s about HHH and that’s it.

HHH and Shawn brawl and beat up referees to end the show. Shawn hits the superkick.

Overall Rating: F. That’ll likely be the first on many when I get to Raw in 2002. From about September 2002 until roughly Wrestlemania 21, HHH dominated things and the fact that NO ONE WANTED TO SEE IT didn’t mean anything. Evolution would form in February of 2003 and no one touched HHH other than a quick run by Goldberg and a ruined Benoit title reign. Bad show here as it seemed like no one cared in the slightest, and who can blame them?

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  1. dude_d_dude says:

    This is probably where all my hate for HHH comes from. Just AWFUL at this point was he.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    And somehow, 2003 was even worse.

    dude_d_dude Reply:

    Oh you mean his 5 Star Classics with Captain Belly-To-Belly?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    And Nash. The Goldberg ones weren’t that good either.

  2. dude_d_dude says:

    Oh yes, his good buddy.
    Did he have ANY feud that was REMOTELY interesting at this time?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    The one with Booker was with the implied racism and all that. Then they screwed that up too.

    dude_d_dude Reply:

    Wait what? I don’t remember this, what happened here?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Booker got the title shot at Wrestlemania 19 and the story was that “someone like Booker” couldn’t be champion. They never flat out said it was because he was black but it was clearly what they meant. Then HHH beat him at Mania with Flair’s help, just like everyone else.

    AttitudeFan Reply:

    KB i think you are a bit mistaken the “Someone like Booker” line was due to Booker T being in jail.

    TheSDQQKidJoe Reply:

    Booker going to jail, prevented him from getting a title? Let’s list all of those who have gotten a title despite going to jail…..Hmm….

  3. dude_d_dude says:

    Good Lord have mercy this era sucked.
    I feel bad for you having to sit through this garbage for our entertainment, you are a man among men KB. A man among men.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Well the problem with this era is how good Smackdown was at the time. You had Eddie and Benoit and Lesnar and Edge and Angle and Chavo and this rookie named Cena tearing the house down every night while Raw was so terrible. Benoit had perhaps the best match I’ve ever seen at the 03 Rumble, but instead of shipping him to Raw where he’s have a chance at winning the title (Lesnar ruled the main event scene at this point), they kept him on Smackdown and put him into a tag team with Rhyno and then had him feud with the FBI for awhile. You know, while HHH was main eventing with Nash because clearly THAT is what should be main eventing PPVs, not this guy getting standing ovations from the crowd.

    dude_d_dude Reply:

    Again, I’m sure it all stems from HHH wanting to hog every goddamn thing at the time. HHH probably realized that since guys like Rock and Austin were gone, it was HIS time to be the “number 1” guy, even if he had to force it. I think he just wanted to have his own era, his own spotlight, and his own “dominant period” so bad that he didn’t care what he had to do to achieve it. And thus we have this atrocious nonsense.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    More or less. I’m sure that had nothing to do with unifying the midcard titles into the world titles either.

    AttitudeFan Reply:

    Don’t forget Rey Mysterio was along with those guys KB damn those 7-9 people together would have awesome matches.

  4. dude_d_dude says:

    Oh don’t even get me started on that -__-
    Didn’t he win the IC title from Kane or something and when he won he didn’t even raise the IC belt? Something like that?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    More or less. He beat Kane I believe at No Mercy in Little Rock, Arkansas.

  5. dude_d_dude says:

    Just proves he had no interest in anything that didn’t say “World Championship”

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Yeah pretty much. It got old fast.

  6. noahconstrictor says:

    You should do Smackdown from this time period.

  7. Evan says:

    True, HHH was pretty terrible in 03 but I mean… Look who he was up against.

    Steiner: Notorious for being a terrible worker since 01..Who had the idea for Steiner to be a big time face ?
    Booker T: I actually REALLY enjoyed the WM 19 match & the Backlash 03 6-man tag.
    Nash: Laziest Wrestler on planet earth. How could anybody be expected to carry Nash in that time period ?
    Goldberg: Not the best worker, HHH was hurt during a majority of their program. I don’t have much issue with HHH not dropping the belt at ANY other time besides Summerslam 2003.. WHY DIDN’T HE LOSE THEN ?

    In 2004-05 HHH was actually pretty great IMO. He had great TV matches with Shelton and Benoit. His matches with Shawn and Benoit were FANTASTIC, and hell, he even got a entertaining match out of Eugene. His heel performance in that match was awesome.

    I’m looking at your ratings for all 04-05 HHH PPV matches and they’re like this: C+,A+,(Backlash not reviewed, but awesome),B-,B+,D(The Eugene match we disagree on), B-,B, B-,D,C+,(Backlash Not Reviewed), A+, B, B-… That’s pretty good.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Yeah but you have to get through 02/03 to get there. That’s not easy to do.

    Sully Reply:

    I think I have a reason why HHH won at Summerslam. Maybe the WWE thought the Elimination Chamber would sell the PPV by itself. So they saved his win for the next PPV because they thought Goldberg finally winning would sell better.

  8. Greg9911 says:

    Gosh I was on the edge of my seat wondering whether shawn or hhh would win that match! Oh wait it was hhh vs van dam … unbelievable. They might as well have just made it hhh vs. shawny and cut van dam out all together. Cuz hhh vs shawny is exactly what that match was.