Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Raw Review - July 15th, 2002

WWE Raw 
July 15th, 2002
Continental Airlines Arena 

After last week's clusterfuck, I pray for an easier on the eyes show. 

The show starts with Paul Heyman trying to sweeten up The Undertaker. Tonight, Taker teams with Heyman's client Brock Lesnar to face Ric Flair & Rob Van Dam. 

NWO's music hits. And we get Vince McMahon? Weird. Vince says he came out to their music so we could all hear it one last time bc the NWO is over. Thank fucking god. He says things are shaking up tonight even more and he's naming a new General Manger later. 

Ric Flair gets interviewed backstage about who the GM could be and he teases the possibility of it being another McMahon. 

1) Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, & William Regal vs. Jeff Hardy, Bubba Ray & Spike Dudley - Elimination Match 

Why is this an elimination match? I don't think anyone could answer that question. But all these men have beef so the pairing makes sense. This was good though and much better than having these six spread across Raw doing a whole lot of shit that amounted to nothing like last week. In the end, it was Jeff Hardy left against Benoit, Guerrero, & Regal. Perfect spot for him even though he comes up short due to interference from Regal. Nice fiery start to Raw and a definite change of pace from recent weeks. 

Match rating - *** 

Benoit & Eddie try to put Jeff through a table after the match but Bubba & Spike make the save. 

Jonathan Coachman is outside Vince's office speculating on the general manager announcement. A lady lets Vince know he has arrived. In walks, Shane McMahon. Vince is pissed bc he's not who he chose. Shane tries to talk him out of his real choice but Vince won't let him. 

RVD and Tommy Dreamer are getting dressed shooting the shit about Paul Heyman. Stevie walks up and challenges Dreamer to a cane match and pops him in the stomach. This all stems from Stevie thinking Tommy "standing up" for ECW alumni last week was fradualent. 

2) Tommy Dreamer vs. Stevie Richards

Crowd didn't get into it til the last minute or two but this was a brutal match honestly just for the sake of it but the simple story was enough for me. Felt like a good mid card ECW bout. Dreamer bleeds and fights like hell and gets the win. 

Match rating - **3/4 

Vince McMahon introduces ERIC GOD DAMN BISCHOFF as the new General Manager of Raw. Insane moment that will be replayed forever. Bischoff basically blows smoke up his own ass for 5 minutes getting himself even more heat than he already had. What a time to be alive. 

Bischoff runs into Undertaker backstage to tell him if he needs anything to call him. Bradshaw tries to introduces himself but Bischoff clearly only cares about Taker. 

3) Molly Holly vs. Trish Stratus 

The highlight of this was hearing JR say "Molly got back" after Lawler made a similar awful comment. This was actually fairly decent and tight unlike the Torrie match on Smackdown. Molly retains after 2 or 3 minutes.

4) Booker T vs. The Big Show

This turned into hell real quick and kept the momentum going for the night. Goes to a DQ finish and Show chokeslams Booker through a table.

Backstage Brock Lesnar is powerlifting a piece of the stage while Heyman hypes him up and fills him in on the plan for the tag match/Undertaker later.

Big Show walks into Eric Bischoff's office and it's all hugs and smiles. Eric grants Show a No DQ or count out match with Booker for Vengeance this coming Sunday.

STAREDOWN between Brock and Taker backstage. Tag match is next!

5) The Undertaker & Brock Lesnar vs. Rob Van Dam & Ric Flair

Good fiery main event to cap off and a nice rebound from last week's flop of a show. Finishing moments are high drama, just your basic good TV main. Taker gets the pin on Van Dam and Brock attacks him immediately after the bell to start planting the seeds for his rise towards the top of the card.

Match rating - **3/4

The show closes with Eric Bischoff on the phone leaving a voicemail for The Rock. He wants the Rock on Raw and is going to RAID SMACKDOWN~~~ EVIL COMMISSIONER 9.0

Final thoughts: This was much, much better than last week. Everything had momentum behind and kept my attention (for the most part). Matches got a bit more time and were slightly higher quality, plus some surprises. Good go home show for Vengeance. Let's hope they can keep it up so I don't die making my way through the rest of summer 2002.

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