TJR Retro: WWF Raw Deal 01/31/00 Review
The January 31, 2000 edition of Raw was a memorable show because some big name talents from WCW appeared on Raw for the first time. It was a surprise to a lot of us. The next PPV on the schedule was No Way Out 2000, so I’ll mention that a few times in the review as they build to the matches on that card.
WWF Raw #349
January 31, 2000
From the Pittsburgh Civic Arena in Pittsburgh, PA
This show earned a TV-14 and “V” for Violence rating on WWE Network.
The Raw intro video aired to start the show. Pyro went off in the arena as the Pittsburgh crowd made a lot of noise. The announce team of Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler welcomed us to the show.
The New Age Outlaws made their entrance as the WWF Tag Team Champions. They did their usual promo to hype up the crowd even though they were heels. Shoutout to the fan with the “you are heels” sign in the crowd. My point exactly.
Al Snow and Steve Blackman were shown backstage with Blackman telling Snow to concentrate on their title match. Snow suggested the team name Snowstorm complete with an umbrella and jacket. Blackman left, Snow held up a jock and suggested “Snowballs” as the name. Nope. They made their entrances.
WWF Tag Team Championships: New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg and Billy Gunn) vs. Al Snow and Steve Blackman
Pre-match notes: The New Age Outlaws were the heel tag team champions. Snow and Blackman were heels, but they were turning into faces. Snow and Blackman earned the title shot when Snow beat Gunn by DQ on Smackdown.
The foursome of Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko and Perry Saturn were shown at ringside with the announcers wondering what they were doing there. Al Snow hugged them at ringside. JR said it was a “radical” strategy for them to show up unannounced. Good choice of words, huh? Indeed.
Snow worked over Dogg with headbutts early on. Dogg came back with a boot to the face. Gunn hit a neckbreaker on Snow for a two count. Snow hit a few headbutts on Gunn and an overhead suplex for two. Some fans chanted “Headcheese” for Snow and Blackman as Gunn hit a slam followed by a corner splash on Gunn. Dogg back in wit ha knee drop. Blackman with a punch on Dogg gave control for his team. Snow with a suplex on Dogg for two. JR was talking about the guys at ringside a lot. Dogg hit a low blow back kick that the referee didn’t see. Gunn tagged in with a back elbow drop and a back body drop on Snow. Gunn with a Jackhammer slam on Blackman for two as Snow made the save. Snow whipped Dogg into the barricade at ringside and Snow kicked Dogg over the barricade right in the laps of the former WCW wrestlers. Dogg punched Benoit, so the “four radicals” as JR called them jumped the barricade and stomped away on Road Dogg. The match went about 4:45. The bell never rang to end the match.
Match Result: No Contest
Analysis: *1/2 This is one of those instances where I’ll use the phrase that it felt like an angle more than a match. They were just building up to that spot to involve the Radicals at ringside.
In the ring, Saturn with a suplex on Gunn. Guerrero went up top and hit a Frog Splash on Gunn. Malenko with a suplex on Dogg, Benoit up top and he hit a headbutt off the top onto Road Dogg. The crowd cheered wildly for them. JR called them “radical young men” as they went up the ramp. The announcers were confused because they thought those guys didn’t work there.
Analysis: That was a great and memorable WWF debut for those four guys. The crowd was really into it and they were loud responding to it. JR was really putting over the “radicals” name from the beginning, which is something I didn’t realize back in the day, but listening to it now it really stands out.
Replays aired of the four former WCW guys attacking the New Age Outlaws.
There was a shot of Cactus Jack with the four guys saying that they accepted his invitation that this was the place to come. Saturn said that they haven’t had that kind of fun in a long time. Jack had a joke about how big the crowd was and that the fans paid to be there rather than getting free tickets. Jack said that they are going to have fun all night long. JR realized that it was Jack that invited them to be there.
Analysis: That was the explanation for why the four former WCW guys were there because Jack invited him.
Kurt Angle did a promo on the stage saying “finally” it is good to be back home in Pittsburgh and the fans booed him even though it was his hometown. Angle said he was still undefeated, which is not true and he’s facing The Rock. Angle said that The People’s Champion is no match for the Olympic Champion leading to “Rocky” chants. Angle named himself their new hometown hero. Angle rippled on NHL legend Mario Lemieux while adding that he’ll take over as their hero. Angle said that he’ll defeat The Rock in the middle of the ring for the second time in front of his hometown fans.
Analysis: It was a simple promo from Angle to set up a big match for later in the show.
Still to come: Rock vs. Angle, Triple H vs. Kane and Jericho vs. X-Pac.
A WWF Super Bowl commercial aired because the Super Bowl was one day earlier.
The New Age Outlaws were in the office with Triple H and Stephanie complaining about the four new guys. Triple H was all like “who cares?” and said kick their ass. Big Show showed up with a new short haircut that everybody was staring at because it looked silly. Triple H brought in their security guy Jim Dotson as his proof, who said that it looked like Rock’s feet touched at the Royal Rumble. Hunter told him to get some video proof before Smackdown on Thursday. Show threatened Hunter if he messes with him and Show left.
Christian (w/Edge) vs. D-Von Dudley (w/Bubba Ray Dudley)
Pre-match notes: Christian was the face while D-Von was the heel.
Christian with a cross body block, who JR called Edge even though he’s not in the match. Christian with a Tornado DDT. Bubba tripped up Christian with JR saying he hopes the Dudleys get their asses kicked after they put Terri through a table last week. Christian hit a cross body block on Bubba on the floor. D-Von whipped Christian stomach first into the ring post. D-Von hit a reverse suplex. D-Von to the middle ropes, he took too long and Christian avoided a splash attempt. Christian with a back body drop, atomic drop and a Russian legsweep for two. D-Von slammed Christian face first after going off the turnbuckle. Bubba distracted the referee, Edge kicked D-Von and Christian hit a reverse DDT for a pinfall win at 3:21.
Winner by pinfall: Christian
Analysis: *1/4 It was a quick match with Christian’s “brother” Edge helping him before D-Von’s “brother” Bubba could help him. A basic story to a short match.
Post match, Bubba dumped Edge out of the ring and sent him into the barricade. Bubba pulled out two tables from under the ring. D-Von went up top and hit a headbutt to the groin of Christian. Bubba brought a chair into the ring. The Hardy Boyz ran out for the save as they attacked the Dudleys and Matt hit D-Von with a DDT off the top that sent D-Von through the table. Bubba was whipped into the steel steps at ringside. Bubba was put on a table. Jeff went up top and hit a Senton (Swanton) Bomb that put Bubba through the table. Bubba was bleeding from the mouth.
Analysis: That was payback after the Dudleys put Terri through the table last week. Since Terri was the Hardys manager, the Hardys got the revenge thanks to help from Edge and Christian.
They showed Edge, Christian and The Hardys backstage talking to Cactus Jack, Benoit, Malenko, Guerrero and Saturn. The Mean Street Posse showed up to talk to the newcomers telling them not to mess with them. That led to a fight with the “four young radicals” as JR called them beat up the three Posse guys. Saturn broke a broom stick over Joey Abs’ back. It was like a Moppy preview! Oh, Moppy.
Big Show vs. Too Cool (Scotty 2 Hotty and Grandmaster Sexay)
Pre-match notes: Show was the heel while Too Cool were the faces. It was noted that Rikishi was out with an ankle injury.
Big Show’s short hair cut looked silly, but I guess that’s the point when you are a heel. Show shoved Scotty out of the ring. Show with a chop to Sexay’s chest, but Show missed a corner splash. Scotty jumped on Show’s back, Sexay with two dropkicks, Show dumped Scotty off his back and Too Cool hit a sloppy double DDT on Show. Too Cool with a double chop block to Show’s legs to take him down. Scotty did the W-O-R-M into the chop on Show’s head. Show with a boot to the face of Sexay and Show hit a one-armed Chokeslam on Scotty. Show hit a Powerbomb on Sexay and Show covered Scotty to win it at 2:15.
Winner by pinfall: Big Show
Analysis: * Easy win for Big Show. They loved doing handicap matches in this era and Show won a lot of them. I don’t think anybody watching this thought that Too Cool had a chance to win.
The Rock was backstage soaking up cheers while Show was still on the apron watching this promo. Rock said that Show just got a hard fought victory and he congratulated him. Rock said “somebody got a haircut” while adding that saying that Show is now a short haired 7 foot steaming piece of monkey crap. Rock noted that Show said that he claims he has an eyewitness about what happened at the Royal Rumble and Rock is sick of Show’s whining. Rock said that he wants Show to hear Rock’s fans chanting his name, which led to the “Rocky” chants. Rock told Show to go back to Supercuts to get his $5 back. Rock said that Angle has never, ever beaten The Rock (he did by DQ actually) and Rock said that he should get a gold medal for kicking Angle’s ass all over Pittsburgh. Rock did his “if you smell” bit to end it.
Analysis: A great promo from Rock as usual. I say it every week because he’s such an awesome talker that always gets the crowd involved like nobody else. Rock and Jericho are the best ever at doing that with the promos.
There was a shot of a square “ring” with “snow” it for some stupid women’s match later. It’s not good.
Kurt Angle made his entrance first. Rock entered last to a big pop. JR mentioned Angle beating Rock by DQ a few weeks earlier on Smackdown.
The Rock vs. Kurt Angle
Pre-match notes: The Rock was the face while Angle was the heel that was yet to be pinned in a match although he did lose by submission to Tazz.
The Rock decked Angle with a clothesline leading to Angle leaving the ring. Rock whipped Angle face first into the announce table. Rock spit some water in Angle’s face. Angle got back into it with a punch. Angle did a promo saying he was born in Pittsburgh about five blocks from there, so Rock punched Angle in the back of the head. Rock: “It doesn’t matter where you were born.” The crowd popped. That was great. Rock sent Angle into the barricade again. Rock with a suplex. Angle with a low blow, which the ref saw and did nothing about. Angle with a belly to back suplex. Rock with punches, but Angle stopped him with a belly to belly suplex. Rock came back with a kick to the gut and a DDT for two. Rock with a Samoan Drop for two. Angle tried to leave, but Tazz showed up to toss Angle into the ring. Rock with a spinebuster on Angle. Rock with a People’s Elbow to a huge ovation and Rock pinned Angle to win at 5:34. That was Angle’s first pinfall loss.
Winner by pinfall: The Rock
Analysis: **1/2 Good match that was entertaining from start to finish. Rock getting the win was expected since he was a top guy while Angle was still a guy on the rise. I liked the story of Tazz dumping Angle back in too. It’s fun to watch these early Angle matches just to see how good he was in his first full year as a full timer.
After the match, Tazz went ringside, he went to clothesline Angle, but Angle ducked and Tazz hit Rock with a clothesline. Angle ran away, so Tazz chased him to the back.
The Acolytes were backstage when the Mean Street Posse showed up asking for help. They showed up with money saying they will pay them. Bradshaw said fine and Bradshaw pitched the “Acolyte Protection Agency” aka the APA.
Analysis: There’s the birth of the APA gimmick, which was a lot of fun.
Chris Jericho with Chyna was shown backstage while X-Pac with Tori were shown walking because they have a match up next.
The four radical dudes Benoit, Guerrero, Malenko and Saturn were shown with Cactus Jack in the locker room. They were talking to more of the midcard faces like Test, Val Venis, Godfather, D-Lo Brown and they all shook hands. Saturn asked for the girls, so Godfather took her to some girls.
X-Pac entered with Tori, who just turned heel on Kane on the previous Smackdown. Chyna made her entrance even though she wasn’t in the match. They plugged Newsweek magazine with an article asking “Why America is Hooked on Wrestling.” Chyna was there to support Chris Jericho, who was the Intercontinental Champion that was up last.
Jericho ripped on X-Pac saying that he finally got to kiss a girl and that Tori was stupider than X-Pac. Jericho said he’ll give X-Pac a beating that he’ll never, ever forget.
Chris Jericho (w/Chyna) vs. X-Pac (w/Tori)
Pre-match notes: Jericho was the face IC Champion while X-Pac was a heel.
Jericho with a spinning heel kick followed by a springboard dropkick that sent X-Pac to the floor. X-Pac spit on Jericho, so Jericho chased and X-Pac whipped Jericho into the steel steps. Lawler speculated that Jericho and Chyna were attracted to eachother. X-Pac got back into it with a spinning heel kick for two. Jericho with a backbreaker, he missed a dropkick and X-Pac hit a quick legdrop for two. X-Pac worked over Jericho with chops, whip into the corner, Jericho avoided a corner charge and X-Pac hit the turnbuckle. Jericho came back with a powerslam for a two count. Spin kick by X-Pac to the chest of Jericho. X-Pac with a suplex. X-Pac jumped off the middle ropes, Jericho countered with a punch to the chest and Jericho hit the double Powerbomb. Jericho went for the Lionsault, but X-Pac got his knees up to block it. X-Pac with a spin kick to the head, but Chyna tripped up X-Pac. Chyna punched X-Pac in the head and the ref saw it, so the ref yelled at Chyna. Jericho slapped on the Walls of Jericho on X-Pac, so Tori hit Jericho in the back with the IC Title wit the referee not seeing it. X-Pac hit the X-Factor face plant for the pinfall win at 5:44.
Winner by pinfall: X-Pac
Analysis: *** That was an exciting fast paced match between two of the better in-ring workers in the company at the time. The win by X-Pac gave him some momentum since he beat the current IC Champion. The finish was well booked because Tori was a new addition to the X-Pac character at the time, so it makes sense for her to pay dividends in her first match at ringside for him.
The Kat was shown backstage because she’s the Women’s Champion defending the title. The opponent is “Hervina” oh shit this isn’t good.
A WWF Super Bowl commercial aired featuring women at a beauty pageant having a fight where they got into a WWE style brawl.
Bradshaw and Faarooq were shown backstage with Bradshaw talking about their APA group name. The Dudley Boyz showed up to stare at the Posse. Bubba mentioned they wanted protection. Bubba said that he got a chunk taken out of his face after they were jumped. The Dudleys wanted protection, Bradshaw complained about it and Faarooq said that’s okay, but threatened them if the check bounces.
The Lumberjill women were announced for the next match: BB (Barbara Bush), Ivory, Jackie, Luna, Mae Young and the Fabulous Moolah. Worst women’s division ever? Probably. At least BB was easy on the eyes. The Kat entered for the title match against Hervina, who was Harvey Wippleman in drag. Ugh. The Kat was in white bra and panties with a tail on her booty. Hervina was introduced from “Intercourse, Pennsylvania.” That’s not creative, but JR did say that he does exist.
Women’s Champion in a Lumberjill Snow Bunny Match: The Kat vs. Hevina
Pre-match notes: Fuck my life. Those are my notes. I hope this is short.
Hervina tripped up Kat and missed an elbow. The Lumberjills threw snow at the competitors. The Kat with a sloppy tackle for two. Jackie punched The Kat to knock her down and Hervina covered Kat to win the title.
Winner and new WWF Champion: Hervina
Analysis: -**** This was so bad. Minus four stars. One of the stupidest things WWF ever did.
Post match, Michael Cole interviewed Hervina and quickly realized it was Harvey Wippleman, who took off his wig. Cole laughed at Wippleman, so Wippleman shoved Cole down. The women attacked Wippleman in the snow.
Analysis: This was painful. My favorite part of it was when it ended.
Cactus Jack was shown walking backstage with the four newcomers saying they were going to see Triple H and Stephanie.
There was a shot of the fans in WWF New York enjoying the show.
Cactus Jack was in the office with Benoit, Guerrero, Saturn and Malenko with Triple H and Stephanie. Hunter wondered who they thought they were to walk in there uninvited. Jack said that they are sick of seeing guys like the Mean Street Posse and he wants to see these guys instead. Triple H put over their talent. Stephanie complained about those guys having a rep about talking behind people’s backs. Benoit said they wanted an opportunity. Triple H said they’ll think about it and let them know.
Analysis: It was a good setup for what was to come later in the show.
Hardcore and Crash Holly vs. Viscera
Pre-match notes: Hardcore and Crash were heels and so was Viscera, but I think they were trying to turn Viscera.
I don’t see the need for two handicap matches on the same show, but that’s what we got. The Hollys had to tag in and out, so Viscera hit a big suplex on Crash. Viscera with a spinning heel kick that missed, but Crash sold it anyway. Hardcore tagged in with a dropkick that sent Viscera into the ropes. The crowd was dead for this match because they are all heels. Hardcore kicked away on Viscera’s legs. Viscera with a splash in the corner followed by a Samoan Drop for two as Crash broke up the pin. Hardcore with a thumb to the eye. Viscera hit a Powerbomb on Crash for a two count as Hardcore broke up the pin. Viscera held Crash in his arms, Hardcore with a cross body block and Hardcore held onto Viscera’s leg, so it was a cheap win for Crash at 4:51.
Winners by pinfall: Hardcore and Crash Holly
Analysis: 1/2* Boring match. The crowd didn’t care since it was a match with three heels while the big man Viscera was all alone trying to fight them off. This went about two minutes too long. It did not need to go that long.
Post match, Viscera tossed Hardcore out of the ring. Viscera hit a splash on Crash to get his revenge.
There was a Super Bowl commercial that they aired that was supposed to air during the Super Bowl, but ABC rejected it. It was people at an old folks home using some WWF lingo.
They showed clips of Jim Ross talking to Steve Austin at his house that aired on Halftime Heat on Sunday. Austin had a neckbrace on since he had neck surgery 13 days earlier. Austin said he felt pretty good and explained that they cut into his throat to fix his neck injury. Austin was pissed off because the neck brace made it hard to drink beer. Austin said that there ain’t nothing like being in the arena in front of 20,000 people. Austin talked about how the first time (in 1997) he was told not to wrestle again and now he’ll be stronger than ever. Austin said he lived to beat people’s ass in front of 20,000 people. Austin said if he was a betting man he’d bet on Stone Cold. Austin said three or four months and you’ll see him back. JR mentioned that Austin was also engaged to be married to Debra too.
Analysis: It was great to see Austin doing well after his major neck surgery. His timeline was off because he returned in September, so it was about eight months after this or I guess you could say nine since he wrestled again in October. He did look as good as ever when he came back. Austin married Debra later that year and she returned as an on screen character when he did.
They went to Lilian Garcia at WWF New York talking about a big news conference on Thursday featuring an announcement from the WWF and pro football.
Analysis: It was the announcement of the original XFL, which was a huge money loser for the WWF.
The Hardy Boyz were shown walking backstage for a match up next.
Matt Hardy (w/Jeff Hardy) vs. Bubba Ray Dudley (D-Von Dudley)
Pre-match notes: Matt was a face and Bubba was a heel.
The Acolytes were at ringside for Dudleys protection since the Dudleys paid them.
Bubba worked over Matt with a clothesline while JR noted that Terri may not want to come back ever again after Bubba put her through a table last week. Bubba dumped Matt out of the ring. Bubba slammed Matt back into the ring. Bubba hit a corner splash on Matt and Matt came back with a Tornado DDT out of the corner for two. Bubba with a back body drop on Matt. Bubba wanted a chair, D-Von tossed it over Bubba and Matt caught him. Matt with a chair to Bubba’s head for the DQ finish at 2:57.
Winner by disqualification: Bubba Ray Dudley
Analysis: * It was an even match with the heel Dudleys wanting to cheat, but it backfired since Matt caught the chair. Bubba still won the match, though.
Post match, Bradshaw punched Matt and Faarooq hit a spinebuster on Jeff since the APA were paid by the Dudleys. Edge and Christian’s music hit. The Dudleys hit a 3D on Matt. Bradshaw whipped Edge into the steel steps. Bradshaw with a big clothesline on Christian. The Acolytes sent Christian into the ring and the Dudleys hit 3D on Christian. The APA set up two tables outside the ring. Bubba told them that he paid them, so they do what Bubba said. A third table was stacked onto the other two tables. Matt Hardy was put on the stacked tables. Bubba stood on the steel steps in the ring, Bubba had Jeff and Bubba hit Jeff with a Powerbomb onto Matt onto three tables. Ouch. That was brutal. JR was ranting about how this is not right and the Dudleys don’t deserve to be in the WWF because of their actions. Bubba went into that shocked/euphoric state with a stunned look on his face.
Analysis: It continued the story of the Dudleys destroying the other tag teams. There was a bit of difference here with the APA supporting the heels, but that’s only because they were paid to do it. I just like the way the Dudleys were portrayed as ruthless heels. That was a painful looking bump for the Hardys.
Cactus Jack was backstage with the four new guys from WCW. Triple H and Stephanie went up to them saying the four of them are not quite ready to work in the WWF. Hunter told them to leave, so he got cops and Malenko said that they can walk out on their own. Jack told Hunter he made a big mistake.
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon made their entrance for the main event for what was supposed to be a WWF Championship match. The announcers talked about a lot of the stories that took place during the show. Kane’s music played, but he didn’t show up after about 30 seconds.
Hunter said that Kane was probably scared backstage and he can’t blame him because of how good Hunter is. Hunter said he can’t blame Kane after the week Kane had since he can’t hang with X-Pac. Hunter put himself over saying that he can’t blame Kane for standing in the back cowering instead of facing Hunter. That led to Triple H doing a ten second countdown to have Kane come down to the ring, the fans chanted it, so Hunter told the fans to shut up and Hunter just left towards the back.
The music of Cactus Jack started, so Hunter went back in the ring. Jack appeared on the stage. Jack complained about Triple H throwing out Jack’s four friends Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit, Perry Saturn and Eddie Guerrero. Jack said that they can tear the house down in any country in the free world while Jack added that they are four men that he actually likes. Jack said maybe he’ll just forgive and forget, but that’s not going to happen. Jack talked about how he was thinking that maybe he’ll kick Hunter’s ass, so Jack went into the ring for a brawl.
Hunter and Jack got into a slugfest with Jack unloading on Hunter with punches followed by the running knee attack against the turnbuckle. Jack with a clothesline. Hunter left the ring, Hunter sent Jack into the steps and threw him back in the ring. Hunter avoided a belt shot and he left. That’s when Malenko, Guerrero, Benoit and Saturn showed up with Malenko hitting Hunter in the back with a punch. The four men worked over Triple H with Jack hitting Hunter in the head with the WWF Title. Jack hit Hunter in the head with the WWF Title again. Jack left with the four guys while Hunter was down in the ring. That was it for Raw.
Analysis: It was a good ending to the show because it left us wanting to see more. What did it mean for the four WCW guys? Would they get full time jobs in the WWF? Of course they would, but we got to see it play out on the next Smackdown and then there was a big twist on the following Raw. At the time, there was a lot of excitement because the four guys were liked by a lot of fans online especially, so I remember their debut well. Hunter did well as the heel that got his ass kicked although there is a question of where his DX buddies were because nobody showed up to help him.
This episode had a run time of 1:36:16 on WWE Network.
Three Stars of the Show
- The Rock
- Kurt Angle
- The Dudley Boyz
This Raw episode gets a 6 out of 10.
It was a pretty good show with some nice angle advancement throughout and the surprise of Benoit, Guerrero, Malenko and Saturn joining the WWF at the same time.
The tag team division was so stacked during this era. I love how much they all interacted throughout this show. The Dudleys continued to impress as the standout team that were put in a position to succeed.
The Hervina stuff was s bad. I don’t know why they thought it was a good idea.
I’ll be back on Thursday with the Smackdown review for the same week.
Thanks for reading. My contact info is below. Go Los Angeles Rams.