Monday Night Raw – February 4, 2002: Chris Jericho Should Know Better
Date: February 4, 2002
Location: Thomas and Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nevada
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
This is another one of those series that I started but haven’t touched in six months. The good thing for me is I’m up to February and I’ve already done three weeks of March, meaning I can make up a lot of ground in a hurry. This is the first of four shows in a row I’ll be doing as we’re just passed the Rumble and heading towards No Way Out. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of Vince threatening to bring in the NWO if Ric Flair doesn’t sell his half of the company. Flair agreed but Vince waned to sign the documents in the ring. Austin came out as well, convincing Flair to not sell and rip up the contract.
Flair says he’s been having second thoughts but he stands by his decision. However, if Vince brings in the NWO there will be huge problems.
Tonight it’s Rock/Austin vs. Jericho/Undertaker. Now that’s a main event.
Here’s HHH with something to say. He wants a piece of Kurt Angle after Angle attacked him last week on Smackdown. HHH has waited four days and isn’t waiting any longer so get out here RIGHT NOW. Instead he gets Booker T who says the two of them have something in common: intensity. The difference though is that Booker is a winner but HHH is a whiner. Here’s a referee and we have an opening match.
Booker T vs. HHH
HHH sends him into the steps and there’s the bell as we get inside. The Game pounds him in the head but stops to yell at the referee, allowing Booker to superkick him down. A high elbow to the jaw but the Bookend is countered into a spinebuster. There’s the facebuster but Booker escapes the Pedigree. The ax kick misses and the second Pedigree attempt connects, only to have Angle come in for the fast DQ.
The Angle Slam puts HHH down and makes his liver shake, according to JR. How does he know what a shaky liver looks like?
Post break and HHH is looking for Angle. I think we have a running theme tonight. Apparently Kurt was heading for Vince’s office.
We go to the Divas locker room where cameras aren’t a problem. Billy and Chuck come in which freaks the girls out. They show off their new poster and challenge Stacy and Torrie to a pose down on Smackdown.
HHH is still looking for Angle but finds cops guarding Vince’s doors. Angle comes to the door but the cops hold him back. Vince has made Angle vs. HHH for HHH’s Mania title shot at No Way Out. Isn’t Raw Flair’s show?
Rob Van Dam vs. Bubba Ray Dudley
Ray pounds him into the corner but Rob jumps over him, setting up a leg trip and Rolling Thunder. Stacy Keibler, the Dudleyz’ manager, distracts the referee but the Dudleys can’t hit What’s Up. D-Von is ejected but Bubba hits the Bubba Bomb to put RVD down. There’s no one to send in the tables though so Bubba has to get two off a neckbreaker instead. A suplex puts Rob down and Bubba drops a bunch of elbows for two. The middle rope backsplash misses (of course) and the Five Star is good for the pin.
Rating: D+. Nothing to see at all here as there was zero doubt as to who was winning. Bubba as a singles guy was an idea that didn’t work at all in 2002 but they pushed him for months anyway. The problem here was he never became anything other that Bubba Ray as a singles guy, as opposed to an entirely new character in Bully Ray. It’s the same reason why Bret Hart’s singles push took awhile to get off the ground: he took time to come into his own as a character.
Post match Goldust pops up on screen to sing When You Wish Upon a Star. He wants RVD for some reason so he sneaks in through the crowd and hits Shattered Dreams.
Stephanie has a very creepy smile on her face while HHH rants about Angle. She has a surprise for him later. If the internet hat been a bigger thing back then, that face would have been a meme for years.
Undertaker is ticked off but Jericho says it’s all cool tonight.
Tag Titles: Billy and Chuck vs. Spike Dudley/Tazz vs. Acolytes
If there has ever been a more forgettable tag team title reign than Spike and Tazz, I can’t come up with it, hence why it’s forgettable. This is under elimination rules. Chuck pounds on Tazz to start but walks into a hard clothesline. Tazz suplexes Chuck down and brings in Spike for a top rope double stomp, only to have Chuck easily break up the Dudley Dog. Off to Billy for some stomping and a big flapjack for two.
Chuck chokes Spike on the ropes and Billy rams him into the barricade a few times for good measure. Spike finally grabs a suplex to put Chuck down and it’s off to Farrooq vs. Billy. A lot of things break down with the APA hitting double spinebusters on Billy and Chuck and a double powerbomb on Chuck, only to have Billy hit a quick Fameasser to pin Farrooq. Spike comes in with a quick Dudley Dog on Billy to retain the titles.
Rating: D+. Well ok then. The idea of pushing the champions makes perfect sense, but having two eliminations in a span of twenty seconds doesn’t make for an interesting ending. That’s the problem here: it was such a fast match that it didn’t have time to go anywhere and it took away whatever they were shooting for.
Here’s Vince for his weekly complaining. He talks about Flair not doing the right thing last week when he wouldn’t sell out to McMahon. After looking at a clip from Smackdown, Vince wants Flair out here RIGHT NOW. Vince demands an explanation but calls Flair a liar before Ric can say anything. See, Flair wasn’t going to sell out because of the NWO but because Flair was selfish.
Flair has to be the Nature Boy and loves the power that comes with being an owner. Ric says that’s not it, so Vince accuses Austin of getting into Flair’s head. Again that’s not it, so Vince finally lets Flair explain. Naturally it’s all because of the fans, sending Vince over the edge. The fans have no idea what’s good for business, so the NWO is coming to take care of Vince’s problems. We get a shot of Hogan, Hall and Nash with Vince saying there will be no way out when they arrive. If there was a point to this segment, it went over my head.
Arn Anderson and the Stooges talk about how bad the NWO is. Anderson thinks Flair made a mistake on Smackdown.
Intercontinental Title: Rikishi vs. William Regal
Regal is defending and has to undergo an intense check for brass knuckles. Rikishi takes over with a quick superkick and a clothesline but Regal comes back with the unnamed knee trembler. Regal pounds away in the corner as the fans tell him he sucks. The champion easily takes the big guy down into a crossface (not the Crippler Crossface but just a face grab), only to have Rikishi power out and send Regal into the corner.
Not that it matters as Regal easily takes over again with a half nelson of all things. Rikishi fights up and sits on Regal’s chest but misses the Banzai Drop. Regal loads up the brass knuckles but Edge comes in for no apparent reason to spear Regal down for the DQ, retaining Regal’s title.
Rating: D. Much like the tag title match, this didn’t have time to go anywhere and was just a way to fill in time until we got to the stuff at the end. Rikishi was reaching the weird point of veteran who commanded respect without ever really doing anything to earn it. Regal was perfect in this role as he waited on a challenger to take the title from him.
Referees break up Regal and Edge but Regal gets a Stinkface.
DDP, the new European Champion, is at WWF New York.
Rock wants to talk about the Undertaker instead of the NWO, but first we pause for some chanting from the fans. Last week on Smackdown Undertaker cost Rock the Undisputed Title so Rock wants Undertaker at No Way Out. Rock isn’t sure why Undertaker jumped him last week, but maybe it’s because Rock mentioned Maven eliminating Undertaker from the Rumble, or maybe because Rock made Coach do the Charleston.
See, Rock is the People’s Champion, but before he gets ready for his tag match, it’s time for some Viva Rock Vegas. Actually no, as Undertaker wants Rock to walk away so Rock does just that. Coach isn’t sure what to do but Rock comes back a second later and takes the mic from him. Time for some singing, but this time it’s just Viva Las Vegas with Las swapped out for Rock. Not exactly funny but the fans liked it.
Here’s Stephanie for her big announcement. If doing more Raw 2002 reviews means Stephanie in short dresses and knee high boots then it’s all Raw 2002 all the time. She immediately asks HHH to come out here but HHH looks cautions. The big idea: renew their wedding vows next week.
HHH: “That is the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard. What is wrong with the McMahons? Why does everything have to be on live TV?” That’s a REALLY good question actually. Stephanie says it’s because the fans doubt her and think she’s a failure. HHH wisely says no and goes off on her, but Stephanie is PREGNANT, so HHH gives in. You can see the swerve coming from here and the fans in the crowd think this is nonsense. Since this is a Stephanie segment, it took ten minutes to get through about 3 minutes of talking.
Women’s Title: Trish Stratus vs. Jazz
Trish is defending. HHH and Stephanie are leaving and HHH insists on carrying all the bags. Trish fires off some kicks to start but misses a top rope cross body to give Jazz control. Jazz shrugs off some shots in the corner and slams Trish down. A legdrop gets two and Jazz fires off more right hands to drop Stratus. Off to a half crab and then an STF but Trish crawls (nearly falling out of her top in the process) to the ropes. Trish makes her comeback with forearms but the Stratusfaction is easily countered into a suplex. A fisherman’s DDT is enough to give Jazz the title, exciting no one at all.
Rating: D. This was a squash for Jazz which is fine, but as I mentioned NO ONE CARES ABOUT JAZZ. She was supposed to be some big deal but WWF never realized that no one remembered her from ECW because she never did anything of note in ECW. Nothing match, like the rest of them tonight.
Steve Austin/The Rock vs. Undertaker/Chris Jericho
Austin is challenging Jericho for the title at the PPV if that wasn’t clear. Some fan tries to jump the railing to go after Jericho, earning his ejection from the building. It’s a brawl on the floor to start with the obvious pairings until Austin takes Jericho into the ring for some chopping. The snap spinebuster gets two on Jericho and a clothesline gets the same. Off to Rock who throws Jericho to the floor before telling Undertaker to just bring it. Jericho slips back in and jumps Rock to give Undertaker control.
Rock comes right back with a clothesline to the big man and it’s back to Austin for right hands. The Thesz Press and middle finger elbow are good for two as the fans are awake for the first time all night. Austin runs the ropes again but charges into a big boot, allowing for the tag to the world champion. They trade chops in the corner but Jericho grabs a sleeper to slow things down a bit. Austin suplexes his way to freedom but Taker gets in a cheap shot and throws Austin to the floor.
Taker chokes on Austin with a rope but Rock makes the save unlike some stupid partners. Back in and Jericho clotheslines Steve down before wrapping his arm around the post. Austin tries to come back but charges into the post, sending him back to the floor. Undertaker rams him into the announce table as JR is talking about Oklahoma on a Saturday night. Austin comes back with a Boston crab on Jericho but Undertaker makes the save and puts on a chinlock. Did no one else notice Austin’s arm being sent into the post TWICE?
Austin fights up and they clothesline each other down, meaning even more laying around. Seriously you’re ten minutes into a tag match and they’re already this tired? The hot tag brings in Rock with DDTs all around and a spinebuster into the Sharpshooter on Jericho. Undertaker makes the save and everything breaks down with Jericho hooking the Walls on Rock. Austin breaks it up with a Stunner but Taker pulls the referee out to the floor. There’s the Rock Bottom but there’s still no referee, allowing Taker to blast Rock with a pipe, giving Jericho the pin.
Rating: D+. Again, how could they be that spent to use (VERY sloppy) rest holds in a match that didn’t even run fourteen minutes total? Also, WHERE WAS THE ARM WORK? I can understand that from Biker Taker who was just worthless, but Jericho is better than that and always has been. The match was your usual main event tag with a screwy finish.
Overall Rating: D. When Stephanie McMahon doing her manipulative stuff is the most entertaining part of your show, you’ve got a problem. Angle disappeared after the first fifteen minutes and it seems that his story with HHH has as well. They’ll still have the match at No Way Out, but if you think he’s anything more than a stand-in for Stephanie, you have no idea how WWE works. Dull show here and odds are it’s not getting any better for a long time.
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“Isn’t Raw Flair’s show?”
Not at this point, as the “brand extension” didn’t begin until the week after the first “draft” show (3/25/02).