Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Monday Night Raw Review - September 9th, 2002

Iowa State University
September 9th, 2002

If they don’t get rid of that god damn Eric Bischoff photo at the start of the show I’m gonna flip.

1) Kane & Bradshaw vs. Christian & Lance Storm (c) - WWE Tag Team Title Match

Show kicks in with big Kane walking to the ring. Raw starting with a match ?? This is nuts. And this match itself was also nuts. Such a random pairing with Kane and Bradshaw which came about last week. But this crowd is on fire for it. I think they just wanna see Christian & Storm lose the titles. Every near fall near the end is hot. Test runs down when it looks like Bradshaw & Kane are about to win and smokes Kane with a boot to the face (following a ref bump). He goes for Bradshaw, he ducks, CLOTHESLINE FROM HELL. But WILLIAM REGAL WITH BRASS NUCKS TO BRADSHAW. Is he joining the fold?? This allows Christian to wake the ref and get the pin to retain the belts.

Match rating - ***

Eric Bischoff is out now. He announces Jericho/RVD/Show/Hardy later with the winner becoming the #1 contender for the World Heavyweight Title. Bischoff then announces “HLA” for later in response to Steph/Smackdown having the Billy/Chuck wedding this week. HLA stands for “hot lesbian action”. Well well well.

Jericho is interviewed while eating an apple about the four way later. Next, they go to Triple H who says it doesn’t matter who wins. Bubba Ray Dudley interrupts. Apparently H faces Spike later. Bubba says H doesn’t have the balls to face him and that when he’s done with Steven Richards, he’ll get his hands on him. Steven Richards ambushes Bubba. He and H share a laugh as Bubba lays in the floor.

2) Bubba Ray Dudley vs. Steven Richards

The pre-match build and hot crowd helped this. Bubba attacks Richards during his entrance and proceeds to beat the shit out of him. This went maybe a minute too long but was still fun and better than it had any right to be on a 2002 Raw. Bubba wins with the bubba bomb.

Match rating - **1/4

3) Trish Stratus & Terri vs. Victoria & Stacy Keibler

Lawler won’t shut the fuck up about HLA and has a pair of binoculars to watch this match because he’s a pervert. This match only solidified one thing for me, Vic But this was 2002 and Terri & Stacy are in this so it’s a little rough. 

Match rating - *3/4 

William Regal is backstage explaining his actions earlier to Chris Nowinski. He is now wearing an UnAmericans shirt. He then tells Chris to start acting like a Harvard graduate and quit being excited over HLA.

Nowinski comes out and shits on Iowa State University. This brings out the resident cheap pop king Tommy Dreamer. They brawl and yeah. 

Spike Dudley is walking backstage and he runs into “The Lesbians” who wish him luck for his match. 

4) Triple H vs. Spike Dudley 

H actually seems very motivated in this. Spike is the perfect underdog so this was fun for what it was. H wins with the sleeper hold.

Match rating - **1/2

Bubba Ray Dudley comes out to make the save during a post match assault. He stares down H from the ramp. It seems like they’re building to something and I wish they were. 

Jericho tries to get Show to team up with him in the four way later. Stamboli is in the locker room and gets chocked out for giving his two cents to Show. 

Booker T interview that ends with Goldust showing up with a Kane mask on his gold mask. Kane arrives and takes it off. Bradshaw shows up and invites them to watch HLA with him.

5) Booker T & Goldust vs. William Regal & Test

Goldust gets isolated. Booker gets the hot tag and it rules. Then it breaks down into hell. Kane, Bradshaw, Christian and Storm are down. Ref calls for DQ. GIVE ME THAT EIGHT MAN TAG NOW. 

Now that Lawler has been yelling about it all night. We "finally" get some "HLA" and it's terrible. Bischoff gets these two women to strip down and they make it out. Then Jamal and Rosey attack them. 

6) Chris Jericho vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Jeff Hardy vs. The Big Show - #1 Contender's Elimination Match

So apparently this is an elimination match and I didn't realize it until things got underway. Big Show gets disqualified for attempting to use a chair. Jericho eliminates Hardy with the lionsault, leaving himself and RVD to go at it. They kill it for a solid 8-9 minutes of back and forth action and near falls. Triple H comes down to watch and seemingly distract Rob Van Dam. It doesn't work, though as RVD nails the five star and as JR said "HE HIT THAT SON OF A BITCH" and 1..2..3.. ROB VAN DAM CHALLENGES TRIPLE H AT UNFORGIVEN FOR THE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE. LEGGO.

Match rating - ***1/4

This may have been the best overall episode of Raw since I started this project. Take away Lawler yelling about HLA all night and I'd say it 100% was. 

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