Monday Night Raw – September 17, 2001: How Many Stories Is Stephanie In Anyway?

Monday Night Raw
Date: September 17, 2001
Location: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee
Attendance: 7,641
Commentators: Jim Ross, Paul Heyman

It’s the final show before Unforgiven and obviously based on the date, things have changed tremendously in the whole world. Smackdown basically didn’t happen because of what happened which is perfectly fine, but it’s put them in a bind for building up the show. The good thing is that a lot of things have already been set in stone. The PPV would wind up being solid so let’s get to it.

The show opens with the American flag on the screen and a BIG USA chant. Nothing wrong with that at all.

The main events are Test/Stephanie vs. Rock II and Austin/RVD vs. Jericho/Austin.

WWF Tag Titles: Undertaker/Kane vs. Dudley Boys

Why not for both titles? Because this way if they change hands they can have ANOTHER title match that means nothing on PPVs, because that’s what they needed to fix things right? EVE MORE TITLES! Kane and D-Von start and Kane’s arm is STILL bandaged. Hasn’t that thing been hurt since April now? Kane takes him down with ease and no sells his punches. Sidewalk slam puts D-Von down and Kane drills Bubba so he can hit the top rope clothesline for two.

Off to Taker who has an American flag on his singlet now. D-Von takes him down with a shoulder block and brings in Bubba. Taker knocks down the future Bully almost immediately and hits Old School. Bubba comes back with a belly to back suplex for no cover. Kane comes in and grabs both Dudleys for chokeslams at the same time but D-Von hits him in the arm to break it up. What’s Up Kane?

Here comes a table but it doesn’t get set up. Kane is in trouble but manages to powerbomb Bubba out of the corner and tags Undertaker. A legdrop gets two on D-Von as Kane and Bubba fight on the floor. There goes the referee and cue Kronik. High Times puts Kane through the table and the 3D gives the Dudleys the titles.

Rating: D+. It was another mess but getting at least half of the titles off of Undertaker and Kane was a good thing because you had to have them get cheated to have them lose. That makes their defenses boring because you know no one is going to be able to get a clean win on them. Unfortunately this set up the Brothers vs. Kronik which was horrible.

Shane arrives and is met by Kronik and Richards. Richards offers Kronik’s services to the Alliance which is accepted. Their reward? A WCW Tag Title match on Sunday.

Storm disapproves of the swimsuit photos of Lita in WWF Magazine so he’s going to beat up Jeff tonight. Hurricane flies in and says he needs a sidekick. Storm suggests Ivory (complete with an Ivory soap ad) but Hurricane says he has a better idea and flies away.

Austin and Debra arrive and find RVD on their couch. They’re cool with each other but it doesn’t seem copacetic. RVD implies that he’s the second in command in the Alliance and if Austin is ever on vacation or something, he’d give his best to help out. Austin politely throws him out.

Lance Storm vs. Jeff Hardy

This should be good. They get technical to start and Jeff is fast enough to keep up with Storm. An O’Connor Roll is countered and they head to the floor where Jeff runs the railing for a clothesline. Back inside and Lance hiptosses him over the top and out to the floor. Storm works over the back and a backbreaker gets two. A hard Irish Whip into the corner gets the same.

Lita and Ivory are on the floor. I don’t think that pairing ever got a blowoff match or anything like that, at least not on PPV. Lance stays on the back but Jeff mule kicks out of the hold he’s in. Double legdrop between the legs and a Russian legsweep get two. Whisper in the Wind does as well, and wasn’t it nice for Storm to stand there for Jeff to hit it. Ivory’s quick distraction lets Storm hit a superkick for two. Lita goes after her and has to slap Lance as well. Jeff dives on Storm but the Swanton hits knees. Jeff tries a middle rope rana but gets caught in the Mapleleaf for the rare Jeff Hardy tap out.

Rating: C+. I liked this about as well as I thought I would. The girls were obviously going to get involved and thankfully they were only involved a little. The ending was clean and tied into the majority of the back work that Storm did earlier in the match which is all you can ask for. Fun match but I’d have liked it getting more than six minutes.

Shane asks Stephanie why she was in the handicap match last week. She says she had a plan which didn’t work that well because Booker was late. Tonight she’s in it again because….? Shane shows her what almost happened last week and Stephanie says he can’t tell her what to do. Taz comes in and wants respect so Shane gives him a match.

Perry Saturn vs. Shawn Stasiak

During Saturn’s entrance we get a recap of the Moppy Saga. Saturn runs in a circle to start so Stasiak clotheslines him down. Tilt-a-whirl slam gets two. A clothesline in the corner hits but Saturn hits something like an armdrag to take over. There’s a belly to belly and a spinning springboard dropkick for two. Stasiak comes back with a jumping back elbow for two. Saturn hits a northern lights suplex but Stacy has the referee. Shawn gets her down and kicks out of a superkick. Saturn runs the ropes and Stasiak falls on his face avoiding a leapfrog. Moss Covered Three Handled Family Credenza ends this short match.

Terri and Raven pop up on the screen with Moppy and put it through a wood chipper. You have Raven and Saturn and the feud is over a freaking mop. And people wonder why this whole Invasion story bombed.

HEY LOOK! IT’S STEPHANIE COMPLAINING ABOUT HER BROTHER! AGAIN! This time it’s to RVD. It’s now RVD vs. Jericho on Sunday for the Hardcore Title.

Hurricane offers his sidekick spot to Molly. Spike comes in to protest. You know where this is going.

Taz comes to see Shane and Booker, only to find out that his match is against the two of them.

Donate to the Red Cross. Nothing wrong with that.

Booker T/Shane McMahon vs. Taz

They double team Taz to start until Booker officially starts. Since Taz is down, Shane comes in for a Hart Attack. Jumping back elbow gets two. Back to Booker and never mind as Shane is in about 15 seconds later. Taz I think tags Booker for some reason before everyone heads to the floor. While Booker has the referee, Shane dives off the barricade with a clothesline.

Back inside Booker drops a knee and hits the Spinarooni. Shane gets in some free shots but slaps him once too often so Taz remembers that he was a killing machine in ECW and runs them both over. Tazmission is broken up by Shane and Booker “hits” the ax kick (Taz dropped about three seconds before Booker hit him. It was Taz’s fault) and the top rope elbow gets the pin.

Rating: D. Uh….ok? A guy that is a much bigger star than Taz and has a partner who is pretty talented in his own part can beat Taz (I’ll let you figure out who I mean by each of those descriptions) in a match that could have easily been cut in half. Not a godo match or anything and I’m not really sure what it proved.

Christian doesn’t care that Edge hasn’t been seen in two weeks. He wants the US Title to go with the IC Title he’s winning on Sunday.

European Title: Hurricane vs. Spike Dudley

Hurricane takes him to the mat followed by Spike taking him to the mat. They fight over a top wristlock with Hurricane throwing in a quick pose, thereby making him awesome. Hurricane takes him down and goes up, but Molly takes the cape. Now that’s just not nice. Spike goes up but gets shoved down and into the barricade. She throws the cape in and goes up (which the referee ignores) and accidentally dropkicks Spike. Eye of the Hurricane retains the belt after a short and uninteresting match.

We run down the Unforgiven card. Ok maybe just two match.

We get a few shots of some fans at WWF New York. Nice touch.

Torrie is looking GOOD in the back and runs into Shane. He thinks Torrie is manipulating Tajiri and is very proud of her for getting as far as she has.

Angle says he’ll win on Sunday when RVD pops up to point out that the fans were cheering for him. Angle says on Sunday, they’ll be chanting USA.

US Title: Christian vs. Tajiri

Christian jumps Tajiri while he’s kissing Torrie and we’re ready to go. They chop it out in the corner but Tajiri gets bored with that and kicks Christian in the head instead. He tries a rana but gets powerbombed down instead. Backbreaker gets two. Christian pounds on him a bit but gets his head kicks off and the champ takes over. The always awesome handspring elbow gets two. There’s the Tarantula but Tajiri misses a lot of kicks. Out to the floor and Christian loads up the Conchairto. Tajiri tries the Mist to defend himself but hits the referee instead and that’s a DQ.

Rating: C-. How could Christian vs. Tajiri be this boring? Oh, probably because it had four minutes and had no story behind it at all and was there so that Edge could run in at the end to set up the PPV match a little bit better? Not a horrible match or anything but when you had two guys like this out there, you should get a good match. On the other hand, I don’t remember Torrie looking this good in a VERY long time.

Edge runs in post match (duh) to break up the Conchairto and chase off Christian. The look on his face was the first time I thought Edge awesome.

During the break Rhyno Gored Tajiri, which set up their match on Sunday.

Shane makes that title match I just mentioned.

Stephanie McMahon/Test vs. The Rock

Stephanie is on the apron here and is knocked off almost immediately. Rock sends Test to the floor and the beating begins. Back inside Rock gets two but Test pounds him into the corner. Rock fires off some rights but walks into a gutwrench powerbomb for two. Test beats him down again and Stephanie comes in, only for Rock to nip up. The Canadian runs him over again and loads up the big boot but instead he walks into a Rock Bottom. Nick Patrick is with Stephanie though and that earns him a Rock Bottom of his own. Rock goes after Steph but Shane and Booker run in. Everyone hits their finishers and Steph gets the pin.

Rating: D+. I don’t particularly get how this is supposed to make me want to see Booker and Shane vs. Rock on Sunday but it got Stephanie on TV and let her pin the Rock so it must be a good idea right? Just have Rock face Shane and then have Booker and everyone else interfere and let Shane get the pin. How is that any different? Oh right: it doesn’t let Stephanie get to be on TV. Got it.

Austin won’t come out of his dressing room when RVD says their match is next. Austin says he’ll see Rob out there. Rob knocks a few more times and gets him to open the door in a bit I don’t really get.

Chris Jericho/Kurt Angle vs. Rob Van Dam/Steve Austin

They brawl on the floor to start as the fans chant USA. Wouldn’t that chant be more be for the Alliance team since they’re bother Americans? Austin and Jericho start with the champion in control. He puts Jericho on the top rope but gets caught by a dropkick for two. Off to Van Dam who misses some kicks and gets taken down by an enziguri. Here’s Angle who hits a cross body and glares at Austin.

Spinebuster gets two for Kurt. Jericho comes in and has to fight off both guys but walks into a kick from Van Dam to send him to the floor. Austin tries to piledrive him on the floor but Angle makes the save. Van Dam puts Jericho on the barricade and hits the spinning legdrop which gets two back in the ring. Austin comes in and hooks a sleeper which doesn’t last long. Jericho and Van Dam knock each other down and it’s hot tag to Angle.

Van Dam accidentally kicks Austin and gets suplexed for his troubles. Austin throws Angle into the referee and gets caught in the ankle lock but Van Dam saves. Van Dam gets put in the Walls so Austin gets the bell and clocks Jericho with it but the referee stops a similar shot to Angle. Rollup gets two for Kurt as does a suplex. Stunner is countered into the Angle Slam which is good for three.

Rating: C+. Standard good main event tag match here and THIS is how you build up Austin vs. Angle. Angle beat Austin (mostly) clean in a non-title match so there’s a reason to believe that he can do it again on Sunday, giving us a reason to want to watch the match to see if he can. That’s basic booking and no one can seem to get that anymore. This was a good match.

Overall Rating: C+. The show was good again this week but you can still see all of the major problems this show has. It’s like a nice painting covering up a huge hole in a wall: the outside looks good but it doesn’t change the fact that the hole is there. Stephanie needs to pick a story and stick with it, because her nose is in EVERYTHING right now and it’s not helping. Look at Shane: he pops up with different people but he’s not the focal point of anything but Rock’s feud, which makes him much more effect. Well that and he can actually do stuff. Stephanie is heavily involved in multiple stories and it’s not helping.

Also you still have the huge rosters and most of the people have nothing to do other than pop up every now and then. Case in point: Saturn and Raven. You have these two talented guys and the best you can do is throw them together because of a mop? Do they think people are going to care about that? That’s another issue with this: we have no reason to care about these guys and like I’ve been saying for weeks now, the Invasion happened and now….what? There never was an answer to that and it’s becoming more and more of a problem.

Here’s Unforgiven if you’re interested:

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