Friday, December 31, 2021

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Monday Night Raw Review - April 21st, 2003

April 21st, 2003
Atlanta, GA

World Heavyweight Champion: Triple H (since 12/15/02)
World Tag Team Champions: Rob Van Dam & Kane (since 3/31/03)
WWE Women's Champion: Trish Stratus (since 3/30/03)

Jerry Lawler & Jonathan Coachman 

Ric Flair is in the back with Eric Bischoff to start the broadcast. He's pissed about H having to defend the title against Booker tonight so Eric makes Shawn Michaels the special referee. 

1) Chris Jericho vs. The Hurricane

Oh this fucking rocked. 6-7 minute sprint. Hurricane flies around and so does Jericho. Jericho’s a great dickhead and they have the crowd into it. A true BLAST. Jericho taps out Hurricane and Flair runs down after the bell.

Match rating - **3/4 

Flair assaults Hurricane. I think Naitch is pissed about last week. He locks him in the figure four and ain’t much else Shane can do. Refs come down and Flair scurries while yelling UR A DEAD MAN.

Backstage, THE ROCK shows up in a god damn hummer limo.. with a guitar. 

Theodore Long is here with Rodney Mack. They come out and announce the 5 MINUTE WHITE BOY CHALLENGE. Where Rodney beats a white boy’s ass for five mins/in under five mins. Love it. 

2) Rodney Mack vs. ???

Rodney wins in 2-3 minutes and Teddy roasts Lawler on commentary. 


She’s back!!!!’ AHHHABEHEIE. She says she’s ready to wrestle again and has been cleared to compete. Eric Bischoff comes out to ruin the party. He starts being creepy and fucking weird and it makes my mark ass mad because I love Lita. He basically wants her to be in Playboy and be more of a diva than a wrestler. Lita says she would be in Playboy if she wanted, not because he wants him to. He continues to try to coax into her showing him how much she wants her job and nasty shit like that. Lita tells him to go to hell and walks out. Eric fires her since she said that and walked out on him. Ah great. 

Backstage, Flair and H are talking about tonight’s match with Booker T. H is mad about Shawn being the ref. Flair says there has to be a way they can find some insurance. H agrees and has an idea. He walks off. 

3) Test (w/ Stacy Keibler) & Scott Steiner vs. 3 Minute Warning (Jamal & Rosey) (w/ Rico) 

Chris Nowinski is on commentary since him & Steiner have been going at it lately. This match stems from 3MW’s attack on Steiner last week. It actually turns out to be pretty fun and the crowd gets fairly hot near the end when things break down. Test gets distracted by Steiner helping Stacy after Rico kicked her to the floor. This turns the tide in 3MW’s favor, but Steiner hops back in for the save and gets the win.

Match rating - *3/4

Backstage, Test goes off on Steiner for touching Stacy and also tagging himself in. Stacy interjects to calm things down. 

The Rock concert II is next. This is the hilarious segment where The Rock brings out Gillberg. Goldberg arrives and Rock has some flimsy security in front of the ring. Goldberg charges through them and Rock retreats. Goldberg destroys the security in the ring and Rock is talking shit through his headset mic the whole time and it’s hilarious. Goldberg grabs Gillberg and Rock uses the opening to hit a Rock Bottom on Goldberg. They end up and chasing each other through the back where Rock tricks Goldberg into thinking he left the building as Goldberg takes off running to catch him on foot because his car won’t start. It appeared that Rock had hopped in his hummer and retreated, but as Goldberg runs off, Rock walks back in the building. 

Back from commercial, Chief Morley sets up Trish Stratus & Spike Dudley to face the Dudley Boyz. It just turns into a somewhat reluctant assault as Morley orders Bubba & D-Von to put Trish through a table. D-Von hesitates and Bubba reminds him that Morley is giving them a tag title shot so they do it. 

We see Triple H & Kevin Nash talking in a stairwell. 

The Rock comes back out next to try and do the concert again, but Goldberg shows back up and drops his ass. 

Backstage, Kevin Nash brings Triple H to Shawn Michaels’ locker room for a talk. H enters the locker room and cameras cut to Booker T heading to the ring for the main event. 

4) Triple H (c) vs. Booker T - World Heavyweight Title Match - Special Ref: Shawn Michaels 

Oh man.. I fucking loved this. The overbooking at the end with the interference may throw some off, but I don’t think it hindered things at all. You also have to consider this time period and how common this was, even in huge matches, so yeah. This was everything I wanted from the Mania match that we didn’t get or was hindered by Jerry Lawler’s racist commentary. There’s even more drama here due to the controversy between H, Nash & HBK not to mention Chris Jericho whom comes down to ringside for the match. This is all in route to building the trios match we are getting at Backlash involving everyone that surrounds this story. Once again, another aspect of this that makes it so awesome is how well they built to that match because after all this I’m dying to see those six mix it up. But yeah, this ruled. H wears down Booker early, being absolutely fantastic in his role as the heel champion. Sometimes his work in this run is dreadful, other times, especially when paired with someone as great as Booker is here, it’s fantastic. Book just sells everything so well and draws you into his eventual comeback which does come and it rocks. He starts firing back and gets a near fall off a scissors kick, then the odds start stacking against him again. A Flair interference attempt, a Jericho attempt, everything that was already stacked against him is physically thrown toward him and he combats it all. WE MAKE MOVIES BROTHER. Book overcomes it all and the crowd (and myself) FEEL IT. HES GONNA WIN. But he doesn’t and is cut off AGAIN, this time by Jericho and Flair physically jumping on HBK as he is counting. This just hit all the notes for me. It told the story of Book & H, it built the trios match for the PPV this coming Sunday, and everything along the way was outstanding. H retains thanks to this ending in a DQ, but man what a ride it was. 

Match rating - ***1/2

Show ends in controversy as all six of these men have so many different story arcs heading toward Backlash, but what a way to sell that damn PPV. 

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