Monday, February 24, 2020

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Monday Night Raw - June 24th, 2002 Review

WWE: Monday Night Raw
June 24th, 2002 
The start of the Ruthless Aggression Era

As some small back story, I got into wrestling around this time but I was a mere 6-7 years old so these reviews and viewing aside from bigger matches I've seen on compilations/best of's over the years will be completely to fresh eyes. The earliest I consciously remember watching fully is 2005 which we will hopefully get to eventually if I keep up with this project properly, but until then just something to keep in mind. None the less - HERE WE GO

The Infamous Promo 
This is exactly as I titled it. The promo that started it all. Vincent K McMahon has all the lower, mid & upper card stars around the ring and challenges them all to be successful but to do that, they have to have what he has - Ruthless Aggression. Vince sets up Bubba Ray Dudley vs. Eddie Guerrero for later in the night as well as Jeff Hardy vs. The Undertaker. Before he can exit the ring - NWO's music hits. The incarnation featuring Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, Big Show, and X-Pac comes out. (wow, I forgot they did the NWO thing in WWE for a bit.) This leads to Booker T snatching the mic from Vince and says he wants to face one of the NWO members. Vince says it won't be HBK bc he's an icon and it won't be Big Kev Nash bc he's hurt. Vince then says that if Nash doesn't cut it when he's off the injured list, he'll be UNEMPLOYED LIKE SCOTT HALL OMGGGGG. Nash does the old scratch the nose/middle finger thing to Vince in response to that and wow I love this. Booker & Vince go back and forth. Hilarious stuff involving Goldust which leads to Booker/Goldust-Show/X PAC being set up for later on. This segment really stands the test of time. The Ruthless Aggression Era is on BABY. 

1) William Regal & Chris Nowinski vs. Bradshaw & Spike Dudley 

God damn, Bradshaw is a big stiff bastard, even back during this time period. It gets him nowhere though despite Spike diving in Regal & Nowinski as soon as they came out, Bradshaw gets caught in a roll up by the tough enough star and pinned after only a minute or two. 

Backstage, Vince tells Sgt Slaughter to let Raven & Tommy Dreamer know they have a match tonight and the loser is fired. LORD. RIP MY ECW LOVING HEART. 

This is followed by one of the tough enough girls trying to flaunt to Vince in the locker room and Undertaker walks up. The look on his face is hilarious. Taker is pissed bc apparently The Rock showed up during his match and almost cost him the title last week. Vince shifts Taker's focus to Jeff Hardy later. Taker says "I'm gonna make Jeff Hardy a star tonight, the old fashioned way." Wow. The chills that line ensues knowing what's to come later tonight. 

2) Bubba Ray Dudley vs Eddie Guerrero 

Bubba screwed Eddie out of victory in the King of the Ring so here we are. Eddie has an insane pre match promo backstage. I miss him so much. This doesn't go long. Latino Heat rolls up the big man only to get powerbombed through a table post match. EVERYBODY GETTING THEIR SHIT IN. 

Backstage, Goldust is doing an "investigation" of sorts into the NWO Locker Room and finds Big Show asleep. X-Pac chases him out and Booker T pops him with a damn trash can lid. 

They air the WW "get the F out" commercial. I love that. Nice touch for the nostalgia. 

Also backstage, Jeff & Matt Hardy talk about being stars on their own since there aren't even tag titles on Raw and Jeff has a huge opportunity tonight against Taker. 

3) Raven vs. Tommy Dreamer - Loser leaves Raw 

Wow. Tommy Dreamer gets Raven fired via a death valley driver in like three minutes. See ya in NWA-TNA old friend <3 

Raven is walking out of the arena throwing shit and is ambushed by Matt Hardy! Payback from a previous attack on Jeff. Damn they really sent Raven out with a boot to the ass. 

STILL TO COME: The Undertaker vs. Jeff Hardy 

Coronation of the 2002 King of the Ring Brock Lesnar
It feels like 2020 here as Paul Heyman is hyping up Brock. Crazy this was EIGHTEEN years ago. But yeah this was the start of Brock. Paul hypes him as the next big thing and all that. Rob Van Dam attacks  Brock from behind and somehow gets the advantage. This leads to Paul running to Vince backstage and somehow getting Brock an IC Title Match with RVD later tonight. 

4) The Undertaker vs. Jeff Hardy
Taker makes fairly short work of young Jeff. As he is riding his motorcycle out of the ringside area, Jeff calls for him on the mic and challenges him for next week to the infamous Ladder match that makes Jeff Hardy as a singles star. Let's GOOOOO. 

5) Trish Stratus & Linda Miles vs. Molly Holly & Jackie 

Trish calls Molly a fat ass and shows out and gets the win for her team. Match went longer than you'd expect from a women's match in 2002. Honestly most fun and longest match of the night so far somehow. 

Backstage, Rob Van Dam gets interviewed by Coach. Paul Heyman interrupts and says RVD owes him everything. Hell is about to break loose. Brock says he is gonna show RVD the meaning of Ruthless Aggression tonight. 

6) Big Show & X-Pac (N.W.O) vs. Booker T & Goldust 

I wrote up a review for this and lost it. Well damn. This was fine. Nash told Show & X to prove themselves or get their asses kicked, so they did that. Isolated Goldy for a while. Book came in and cleared house only for Show to catch Goldy with a chokeslam and get the three count. 

7) Rob Van Dam (c) vs. Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman) - Intercontinental Title Match 
This was good until the non finish. Crowd was rolling and went flat once the shenanigans started and the bell rang for the DQ as Heyman interfered. Looks like they are building to more between these two. 


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