Monday Night Raw – August 19, 2002 (2017 Redo): The Summer Heats Up

Monday Night Raw
Date: August 19, 2002
Location: Norfolk Scope, Norfolk, Virginia
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s the go home show for Summerslam 2002 and there’s actually a big match set up here as the Rock isn’t defending the WWE World Title against HHH. The other question is what Brock Lesnar will be doing to mess with Rock tonight because the Brand Split doesn’t mean anything when we’re close to a major pay per view. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Here’s Undertaker to get things going. He’s never been one to make his political opinions public but he doesn’t take anything from anyone, just like America. Only in America can a man like him be himself because all he has to do is back it up with his fists. As you might expect, this turns into a rant on the Un-Americans and Test in particular. Sign: “Test Still Works Here?” Anyway, after more AMERICA IS AWESOME stuff, Test comes out on a motorcycle to Undertaker’s music. Test says Undertaker sucks so the fight is on. The Un-Americans run out but Booker T. and Goldust make the save. Booker sets up the six man.

Hardcore Title: Battle Royal

Tommy Dreamer, Johnny the Bull, Bradshaw, Spike Dudley, Crash Holly, Bubba Ray Dudley, Steven Richards, Jeff Hardy, Terri

Bischoff says the 24/7 Rule is done and this is a six minute match with the last person to get a pinfall being the champion. Dreamer is defending and Terri wisely runs away to start. Bradshaw gets in the Clothesline to pin Dreamer and we get a countdown clock for our convenience. The weapons are brought in and a kitchen sink shot to Bradshaw’s head gives Crash the title.

Like most hardcore matches there’s just nothing to talk about here as it’s just a bunch of weapons shots with nothing being built up anywhere. Crash tells Bubba to get the tables and of course goes through one. A kendo stick shot is enough to give Dreamer the title back. Bubba superplexes Tommy for two and everyone hits everyone else as time expires, giving Dreamer the title.

Rating: F. What am I supposed to say here? There’s almost no wrestling involved and it’s for a title no one cares about with Dreamer winding up leaving with the title anyway. The hardcore division died a long time ago and we’ve been stuck watching its dead body walking around for years now. Hopefully this wraps up soon.

Kane’s music hits and HIS PATH IS CHOSEN.

Stacy and Trish are catty to each other about various sexual escapades of the past. Bischoff comes in and says they’re here for sex appeal. Instead of a match, it’s going to be a bra and panties match in the mud.

Trish Stratus vs. Stacy Keibler

They’re in underwear and fighting in a mud pit. Trish is launched into the mud and Charles Robinson is pulled in with her. I’m not going to waste your time here so we’ll just skip to Trish winning off a rollup outside the pit.

Fink gets thrown into the mud as well.

Rock arrives and is given a package from Paul Heyman. After some Rogaine jokes and an introduction to the production woman who gives her the package (“How you doing? Dwayne Johnson. Good to meet you.”), Rock finds a bunch of pictures of a bloody Hulk Hogan as the mind games continue.

Here’s HHH with a clipboard for a chat. HHH isn’t going to fight Shawn at Summerslam until Michaels signs a release to prevent any legal liabilities. As for tonight though, Brock Lesnar needs to be paying attention to what happens to the Rock. Tonight’s match will be No DQ so Rock is getting softened up for Sunday. After that, HHH is coming for Lesnar and the title.

Chris Jericho of all people cuts this off (Where was he five minutes ago?) to say they have a lot in common. First of all, they both hate each other. Well at least there’s some continuity. As for Summerslam, they’re both fighting people WAY past their primes…and here’s Flair to attack Jericho with a trashcan.

Booker T./Goldust/Undertaker vs. Un-Americans

So it’s Texas vs. Canada. It’s a brawl on the floor until Christian and Undertaker start for a rather odd pairing. That switches over to the much more normal Christian vs. Booker and as you might expect, some Canadian cheating puts Booker in trouble. Christian rams him into the mat a few times before it’s back to Test for a chinlock. The pumphandle slam doesn’t work and a side kick puts Test down.

Goldust comes in and cleans house with the usual, including ten right hands to Christian in the corner. Of course that sets up Shattered Dreams with Undertaker running interference so the referee doesn’t see it. A clothesline puts Test on the floor and there’s the chokeslam to Storm. As the big guys fight outside, a Tag Team Title is brought in and Christian knocks Goldust silly for the pin.

Rating: C+. Not a bad match here actually though the ending was a bit messy. The other problem here of course is having Test vs. Undertaker which should be little more than a squash that doesn’t break five minutes. The Tag Team Title match should be fun though, especially if Booker and Goldust get to talk a bit more beforehand.

Video on Rock training, which is certainly for a match and not for a movie.

Bischoff gives Van Dam a pep talk when Big Show comes up to ask why he didn’t get the title shot. Van Dam: “Maybe because you’re a tool?” Show: “I’m a giant!” Van Dam: “Ok, you’re a giant tool.” Bischoff makes a match between them for later but doesn’t want Van Dam getting hurt. The title match is NOT on the line.

Flair says his announcement from three weeks ago is on hold because he’s ready for Jericho on Sunday. Cue Jericho to attack him with the trashcan again.

Big Show vs. Rob Van Dam

Van Dam fires off the kicks to start and knocks Big Show outside for even more of them because he doesn’t have much else to use on a giant. Show sends him into the steps and then throws the steps back inside. A chokeslam plants Van Dam and Show loads up the steps, only to have Bischoff send in Jamal and Rosey for the DQ.

Show is beaten down as you would expect.

Rock knows tonight is a No DQ match and sure HHH has beaten him before. He’s beaten HHH before too though, all the way back to when they were babies and HHH diaper was that censored wet. They were fighting back in the colonial days and the caveman days before that. That’s not exactly funny.

Anyway, Coach has a video tape from Paul Heyman, which Rock thinks is Heyman on a beach without anything on. For some reason he agrees to let it be shown and it’s a Lesnar highlight video. Rock agrees that Lesnar is great but the fact is very simple: Rock is walking out as champion. This was longer than a lot of Rock’s usual stuff but it was a good combination of comedy (albeit not funny comedy) and intense, which is the right balance.

HHH goes in to Bischoff’s office because Eric has received the fax from Shawn, who has agreed to wave the right to sue HHH. The match is officially unsanctioned and this takes WAY longer than it needs to.

Fozzy performs To Kill a Stranger with Lawler talking about how awesome they are the whole way through. After the song, Jericho rips on the Norfolk fans and offers to play another song, only to have a bloody Flair come in and clean house. Various guitars are broken and Summerslam is set up.

Rock is getting ready and ignores a phone call.

In the arena, Lesnar and Heyman arrive and of course it’s Paul calling Rock.

After a break, Bischoff has security guarding Heyman and Lesnar.

The Rock vs. HHH

Non-title, No DQ and for the last time ever. HHH tells Rock to just bring it and that means a bunch of right hands to the face. Rock knocks him over the top and a big clothesline in front of the additional security puts HHH down again. Back in and a cheap shot lets HHH take over and it’s time to start the slow offense. We hit the abdominal stretch as JR tries to make it seem like the most important hold in wrestling history. It doesn’t last all that long (shocking) so a double clothesline puts both guys down.

The spinebuster sets up the People’s Elbow but the bad ribs mean it’s a delayed two. HHH takes it back outside and sends Rock into the steps so it can be sledgehammer time. The referee gets decked (cue the no contest) but here’s Shawn to go after HHH. Brock takes Sweet Chin Music and goes out into the crowd. Rock gives chase and HHH brawls with Shawn to end the show.

Rating: C. Rock vs. HHH is always going to be worth a look even if they have the two angles being built up instead of really going anywhere. That’s not exactly surprising but given how this show has been all over the place, you kind of had to expect it. I’m not sold on having the same ticket buying idea two weeks in a row but at least they’re building something up.

Overall Rating: D+. Some of the wrestling helps a bit here but that first hour with the mud and the hardcore stuff was just a mess. Summerslam is getting stronger every day but it’s going to take a special performance to make the show into a good night. Rock vs. Lesnar and HHH vs. Shawn have my interest though and that’s the best thing that can happen with a big show like this.

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