Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Monday Night Raw Review - March 31st, 2003

March 31st, 2003 
Seattle, Washington 

World Heavyweight Champion: Triple H (since 12/15/02)
World Tag Team Champions: Chief Morley & Lance Storm (since 3/24/03)
WWE Women's Champion: Trish Stratus (since 3/30/03)

Commentators -
Jim Ross & Jerry “The King” Lawler

It’s the night after WrestleMania and one more night in Seattle before Mania weekend is fully over.

Awesome video package recapping Mania 19 to start the show. They did such a great job making these PPVs feel so hype and huge with these video packs at the time. As a kid, it truly felt like the PPV’s were something special and a totally different experience than Raw & Smackdown.

The Rock is getting dolled up backstage and it’s announced that it’s Rock Appreciation Night tonight.

And just as it is, glass shatters in the arena and lord have mercy. THE RATTLESNAKE IS HERE. Austin is here to admit that last night Rock was the better man, but that doesn’t mean he will be the better man tonight. Austin calls The Rock to the ring so he can simply shake his hand. BUT IM BAAACK. Eric Bischoff is here, unfortunately. Bischoff says he knows Austin is trying to beat the Rock’s ass, not shake his hand. Bischoff brings out Austin’s medical documents that say he isn’t able to compete tonight. Austin basically says he does what he wants no matter what Bischoff or a doctor says. Bischoff proceeds to terminate Austin “for medical reasons” even using the “YOURE FIRED” line. 

Back from commercial, Austin is in the garage area of the arena looking stressed. 

1) Triple H (w/ Ric Flair) vs. The Hurricane 

Pretty awesome sprint here. Flair starts things off stomping out a mask Hurricane gave a fan which gives this the juice it needs. Crowd is hot and Hurricane gets some good hope spots, even setting H up for a pedigree himself. In the end, as expected, Hurricane gets dropped with the pedigree and pinned for the three count. 

Match rating - **1/2 

Backstage, Kane comes up to RVD and says he thinks they should go their separate ways. RVD says they can, but first, he got them a rematch for the tag titles TONIGHT. Kane is still upset though because the stip is if they lose they have to join the ~Bischoff administration~ 

Goldberg hype package then they show the crowd for like 30 seconds. Ugh. I thought maybe I’d enjoy Goldberg a little more in 2003 than I do in 2019-21, but I’m already annoyed. 

2) Scott Steiner vs. Chris Nowinski 

Nowinski tries to be relatable to Steiner talking about how they both went to universities. Steiner don’t give a fuck and beats Nowinski’s ass. He locks him in the Steiner Recliner, yells “ IM THE GREATEST SON OF A BITCH THAT EVER LIVED “ and that’s all she wrote. Just fine squash. 

Match rating - **

Terri tries to interview Steve Austin backstage and he’s pissed and still trying to figure out what happened earlier with his “firing” so he kinda snaps at Terri and she walks off. 

Back at the commentary table, they let JR go off and he calls Bischoff a no good SON OF A BIXTCH. Jerry tries to get him to calm down and JR continues and says BISCHOFF SHOULD BURN IN HELL FOR WHAT HE DID TO AUSTIN. BY GOD.

Later tonight: Booker T vs. Chris Jericho 

Booker T is in the training room. Ric Flair walks in and mocks him for losing. BOOK SNAPS AND SLAMS HIM AGAINST THE WALL AND GOES OFF ON HIM BEFORE THROWING HIM OUT OF THE ROOM. Great segment and of course Jerry Lawler ends it with “call the police” … hey Jerry if you ever read this.. FUCK YOU. 

3) Maven vs. Rosey 

Maven wins. This sucks.

Match rating - *1/2 

Apparently, Jerry Lawler got to do a photo shoot and be the photographer for some playboy models. And of course he’s being a pervert and even says the line.. “this is a dream come true for me, just like it would be for any red blooded American male” gross. Fuck you, once again, Jerry. Go to hell. 

4) Booker T vs. Chris Jericho 

Fun punches and fire early then it turns into a clusterfuck. Flair runs down and causes a DQ for attacking Booker. Booker whoops his ass and Triple H comes out. 3 on 1 assault on Booker. Shawn Michaels runs down. He gets outnumbered as well, though. Jericho locks HBK in the Walls of Jericho and H has Book in the Indian deathlock. The heels stand tall as we cut to commercial. 

5) Jeff Hardy (w/ Trish Stratus) vs. Steven Richards (w/ Victoria)

This happens. Most interesting thing is the Hardy/Trish stuff. Hardy wins with the swanton after covering Steven in his blue paint and hitting the swanton. DRUGGED UP JEFF HARDY. 

Match rating - *3/4 

Steve Austin is backstage finally leaving the building and is shown doing so. Shaking hands with the backstage officials & crew or whatever. 

Stacy Keibler catches Test talking about Torrie’s Playboy cover. 

6) Lance Storm & Chief Sean Morley (c) vs. Rob Van Dam & Kane vs. The Dudleyz - World Tag Team Title Elimination Match 

As established in a backstage segment earlier in the night, The Dudleyz were just put here by Morley & Storm to help them eliminate RVD & Kane then LAY DOWN for them. Well.. that plan doesn’t work and the Dudleyz are eliminated. It made for a fun story though and this match was actually a blast as a result. Just good shit and the finish sees us get the feel good moment of Van Dam & Kane finally winning the tag team titles!!! Hell fucking yeah. Loved this. 

Match rating - ***

It’s announced that next week we will see Booker & Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H & Chris Jericho. Oh fuck yeah. 

Now it’s FINALLY time for The Rock’s appreciation night to come to a head. He says basically that he is tired of not being appreciated since coming back and so this is actually gonna be the last time we see him. Before he can bid us farewell, GOOOOLDBERG comes out and says UR NEXT and spears The Rock. Crowd goes nuts and I go mild. Feels big, sorta, and also kind of cool, but I also barely felt anything so. Yeah. Goldberg/Rock is the direction now which is obvs first time ever so that’s dope. Anyway, bias aside, hype way to close the show and debut Goldberg. See y’all next week!

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