We get a very nice video package profiling the history of Raw and move right into the intros. JR, The King, and The Coach are live from Dallas. Piper’s Pit is up first!
Foley introduces Piper. They go back and forth about how each person is sick minded. Piper plugs Foley’s new book Scooter. The Ortons crash the party as Randy insults Piper. A brawl ensues in which Randy gives the RKO to both Piper and Foley. Please tell me they’re not seriously considering an in-ring return for Piper. Not much to see here as it was merely set up to get Randy Orton even more over as the “legend killer” and to let the fans think that he’s actually going to beat The Undertaker in a casket match. Yeah, right.
1) 30-Minute Iron Man Match: Shawn Michaels vs Kurt Angle - 6
These two have battled each other on and off throughout this year. Their match at WrestleMania was timeless and from what I’ve heard, their match at Vengeance pretty much tore the house down. JR kept touting that the winner of this one would be the #1 contender for the WWE Title. Since the match ended in a draw, does that mean that Angle, Michaels, and Cena will battle in a triple threat? That would be awesome! Not as good as their previous encounters but still a quality match nonetheless. They wrestle back and forth and seem to pretty much know each other move for move and hold for hold. Here’s an idea. Give these two an hour and throw it on pay-per-view. That’ll get some buyrates from those of us who tune in to wrestling to see … um, well … wrestling!
Kevin Von Erich is introduced to the crowd to a tremendous ovation. It should be noted that the guy looks in great shape and could wrestle a match at anytime.
Vinnie Mac comes to the ring doing his signature strut and JR wonders if he walks to the can like that. Vinnie shows us some footage where he one-upped Austin. Austin comes out and shows footage where he got the best of McMahon. Vince tries to leave and is stunned by Austin. Shane-O-Mac comes out and is stunned. Same thing happens with Linda and Stephanie. Wow, that was a lame segment that did nothing but hurt the show. It ran really long and was really bad to watch.
2) Loser Leaves Raw Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Edge v. Matt Hardy - 4
I swear that the only reason the creative team gives Edge and Lita screen time is so that they can make out. Hardy has really been stuck in a rut since he came back to WWE and since creative botched the feud with Edge, you gotta wonder how they’re going to bury him even more. The whole concept behind this that the loser leaves Raw. Guess what? That means that the loser will wind up on SmackDown, even the dumbest wrestling fan could figure that one out. Standard Edge/Hardy match here. The ladder didn’t really come into play at all and there were very few cool spots. Being that I’m a sucker for a good ladder match, I’m being generous here. But even generosity can’t save this one. The finish was really terrible as Hardy was wrapped in the ropes and Lita wrapped herself around his arms to keep him from getting free. Can you say lame? Very good, now let’s move on.
Trish tests Ashley’s attire to make sure it’s rip-proof for the Bra and Panties Match. Mae Young walks in bearing one of the leading causes of ticket refunds in the country while mentioning bras and panties. Moolah stops it and shoves her out of the locker room and right in front of Ted DiBiase, Jimmy Snuka, and Hacksaw Duggan. DiBiase offers Mae money to put her shirt back on. Jimmy steals the money and tells DiBiase that he’ll pay him back and chases after Mae. Funny stuff.
3) Triple H & Ric Flair vs. Chris Masters & Carlito - 4
This one was pretty much your standard TV tag match. Not too much to describe in this one as HHH and Flair pretty much school Masters and Carlito. Carlito has a lot of potential and could be big player in the future. Masters, however, as impressive as he looks, moves about like a wall and wrestles pretty much the same way. HHH turns on Flair after the match by hitting him with the sledgehammer. A HHH vs. Flair feud over the IC Title could really help re-establish its credibility and breathe new life into a long suffering division.
Dusty Rhodes and the legends hold court in the ring. Rob Conway comes out to interrupt the proceedings and promptly gets his ass handed to him by Race, Rhodes, Von Erich, and Snuka, who even graces us with a Superfly Splash. The legends celebrate as Conway bails.
4) Handicap Bra and Panties Match: Trish Stratus & Ashley vs. Torrie Wilson, Victoria, & Candice - 1
Oh come on! Do I have to rate this one? This was a pretty pointless match with a pretty pointless outcome and only two good workers out of the five. And they made one of those look like crap. Basic filler right here. Is there even a point to this feud because if there is, then I’m sure as hell not seeing it.
John Bradshaw Layfield, Eddie Guerrero, & Christian fought Chris Benoit, Rey Mysterio, & Batista to a no contest when Bischoff stopped the match immediately after it started and turns the lights out on it. No rating on this one because nothing really happened. This one doesn’t even qualify as a match.
Mean Gene introduces Hulk Hogan who spews his usual mind-numbing crap about how he beat Andre at WrestleMania III, how he fought The Rock at WrestleMania X-8, and how he beat Shawn Michaels. He challenges Stone Cold and proceeds to pose. Spare me. I don’t give a rat’s ass about Hogan anymore and hate that he’s still hogging the spotlight 20 years later!
6) No Disqualification Match: John Cena vs. Eric Bischoff - 1
Bischoff changed it to a No DQ match after McMahon left the arena. This was laden with interference by Angle and did nothing to help the show’s cause because the whole thing pretty much sucked. Cena wins in brief fashion after Angle whacked himself in the head with a chair. We get a Raw vs. SmackDown free-for-all in the ring following the match to set up a feud between the two shows.
After promoting the crap out of this show, you’d think that WWE would deliver a quality program to really set the standard on USA Network. Well, you thought wrong. This was your typical Raw with the typical matches. The only really big thing to come out of this was HHH’s return and the beginning of the Flair/HHH rivalry as well as to further the Cena/Angle feud as well. I should’ve taped the UFC show instead.