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Welcome to my review of the first Raw of my favorite year in WWE history in 2000. You may recall that I plugged the shit out of the TJRWrestling on Patreon project that I launched in August. I tried it for about two months, it wasn’t going that well and I’m going to devote all my time to growing the TJRWrestling website. I don’t plan on continuing the Raw and Smackdown audio content of the current WWF product, but I do want to continue my review through WWF in 2000.

I’m going to post the reviews for the first six Raw’s of 2000 and five Smackdowns because I have already written them. After that, the WWF in 2000 reviews will be posted on the following schedule:

  • Raw on Mondays
  • Smackdown on Thursdays
  • PPV reviews whenever they come up in the order

During this week, I’ll post a lot at once to get you ready for the regular weekly content, so expect more to come. You can read all of it in the WWF in 2000 archive here on TJRWrestling only.

Here we go. The first WWF Monday Night Raw of 2000. It will be like my Raw Deal reviews on the current product, but I might cut back on some match play by play a bit. For these first shows in January I’ll try to update you on the storylines going on at the time.

WWF Raw #345
January 3, 2000
From the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida

This show earned a TV-14 “S” for Sexual Content rating.

It was a packed house in Miami with a lot of sounds in the crowd, the pyro went off to start the show and Jim Ross welcomed us to the show. JR was on commentary with Jerry Lawler.

Let’s Hear From The Rock

The Rock made his entrance to a huge ovation. He was wearing his street clothes including a leopard jacket as JR plugged Rock’s new book that was out. It was a book in character for most of it, so it wasn’t that great. Huge ovation for Rock’s entrance in his hometown of Miami.

The fans chanted “Rocky” before Rock could say a word. Rock said “Finally The Rock has come back…home.” The crowd was going wild for him. Rock said it’s home to the Miami Dolphins, home of Ziggy Marley (he’s in the crowd with his son) and Rock said he would introduce us to his family, who he said were the millions and millions of Rock’s fans. Rock said since this is the very first millennium Raw and The Rock is surrounded by the people of Miami and The Rock is the People’s Champion, Rock sees it fit on this day in 1,000 years in the year 3,000,  they will look back on this day and hear the sound of people chanting his name, which led to “Rocky” chants. JR said it was amazing. It sure was.

Rock said that since this is the very first year of The Rock’s millennium, he had one resolution that he would be the best damn WWE Champion there ever was. Rock said that before he becomes champion he is dealing with an issue and that is Mick Foley. Rock complained about how Foley was fired last week on Raw while noting it was the biggest pile of monkey crap he had ever seen. Rock said speaking of monkey crap, he called out Triple H and told him to go one on one with the Great One, look Rock in the eyes, so he can take his horns, shine ‘em up real nice, turn em sideways and stick em straight up your candy ass. The fans cheered that of course.

Triple H made his entrance. This was when he had the “My Time” song as his theme song. Hunter walked out with Stephanie McMahon and they were hand in hand. They were storyline married over a month earlier, then Stephanie turned on daddy Vince and that made Triple H and Stephanie were in charge.

Hunter and Stephanie stood on the ramp as fans chanted “Asshole” at him. Hunter ripped Rock for his jacket saying it looked like an old lady jacket. Hunter talked about how he wanted to beat up Rock in front of Rock’s “family” so that all of them can watch. Hunter said he had bigger fish to fry than him. Hunter said he had a New Year’s Resolution is similar to Rock’s except his resolution will take place tonight in that ring because tonight “The Game” will go one on one with the Big Show for the WWE Championship. Hunter said he will become the three-time World Wrestling Federation Champion and he’ll do it because he is that damn good.

Hunter said that they had room in the show for Rock. Hunter said he knows likes to make history and a first for things such as last week for the Pink Slip on a Pole match, which he claimed was Stephanie’s idea. The fans booed her. Hunter said it was the match where Rock fired Mick Foley. Hunter told Rock he gets to be in another first: A “Handicap You’re Fired” match. Hunter said that means that tonight, The Rock will go 1 on 3 and if Rock does not win that match then his ass is fired. Hunter said that if anybody interferes in the match, they will be fired on the spot. Rock asked who Hunter had in mind for his opponents, Hunter tried to say who, then Rock said “it doesn’t matter who you had in mind” and the crowd popped for one of Rock’s famous lines. Hunter brought out Rock’s opponents: Billy Gunn, Road Dogg and X-Pac of Degeneration X.

The trio of Gunn, Dogg and X-Pac went after Rock in the ring. They stomped away on Rock in a 3 on 1 attack. Gunn worked over Rock with punches. Fans chanted “Rocky” as X-Pac hit a spinning heel kick on Rock. Referees ran into the ring to break it up. Hunter said that he’ll get his ass kicked again later and he’ll be fired. Hunter and his buddies left.

Analysis: Great promo from Rock. I think he’s the best talker in the history of the business. I know he didn’t have as many years as some of the legends that are great talkers, but I would put Rock’s promos up against anybody in terms of getting a reaction. Hunter did a good job of getting heat with his promo by his using his power as the guy running the show. It was an effective segment that set up the main event for later in the show, which is something they did a lot in that era and they still do it a lot in WWE today.

(Commercial)

Replays aired of The Rock getting attacked from before the break.

Too Cool (Grandmaster Sexay and Scotty 2 Hotty) w/Rikishi Fatu vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley)

Pre-match notes: Too Cool were the faces while the Dudleys were the heels. A clip aired of the Dudleys working with the Mean Street Posse to beat up The Acolytes.

The match was about to begin when the Mean Street Posse trio of Pete Gas, Rodney and Joey Abs stood on the ramp to watch the match.

Too Cool with some tag team offense on D-Von early on. Scotty hit a bulldog on D-Von leading to the WORM into an elbow drop, which drew a good pop, but the pop would get bigger over the bears. D-Von sent Scotty throat first into the top rope to give the heels control as Bubba tagged in with a back body drop on Scotty. Bubba yelled “screw you” at the fans as Scotty hit a clothesline off the middle rope on D-Von. Sexay back in with dropkicks followed by a double DDT on both Dudleys. The Posse went to ringside to attack Rikishi, so The Acolytes duo of Bradshaw and Farooq chased the Posse to the back. Bubba with a Powerbomb on Sexay. D-Von up top, Scotty tripped him up, Rikishi in the ring and he superkicked Bubba right in front of the referee, so there’s the DQ finish at 3:15.

Winners by disqualification: The Dudley Boyz

Analysis: * A short match with a weird finish because Rikishi going in the ring to hit a superkick leading to his buddies losing by DQ was so weird. The DQ didn’t make that much sense because the Dudleys didn’t do anything to Rikshi, so it felt pretty random.

Post match, Rikishi picked up D-Von and hit a Rikishi Driver, which was like a shoulder breaker. Rikishi and Too Cool danced to celebrate even though they lost the match.

The Acolytes were interviewed by Michael Cole backstage. They trash talked the Mean Street Posse with Farooq saying they’ll give them an ass whipping even with one hand tied behind their backs.

Hunter and Stephanie were in their office. They set up the tag team match for later. Steve Blackman showed up with Hunter telling him if he hits Kane with the kendo stick he is fired. Stephanie asked why. Hunter said that Kurt Angle is wrestling Kane and Hunter wanted to end Angle’s winning streak.

(Commercial)

Kane entered for a match with Tori as a clip aired of Tori freaking out in a backstage segment with Test. Tori was the girlfriend of Kane and she spent the holidays with X-Pac, which led to her behavior changing. Tori kept telling Kane that wrestlers were making her uncomfortable, so Kane kept beating up the wrestlers.

Kurt Angle did a pre-match promo about how he was undefeated. Angle said that he’s the favorite in the match while ripping on Kane for lacking integrity and intelligence while noting that Kane does have intensity. Angle said he has all three I’s in his corner: intensity, integrity and intelligence. Angle told the fans to cheer him on.

Kane (w/Tori) vs. Kurt Angle

Pre-match notes: Kane was the face and Angle was the heel. Tori was Kane’s storyline girlfriend that was wearing a tight top and a short skirt. Easy on the eyes. Tori, I mean.

Kane was in control early with punches followed by a clothesline. Kane dumped Angle over the top to the floor. Kane sent Angle throat first into the barricade at ringside. Back in the ring, Kane hit his top rope clothesline. Angle got some offense with punches against the turnbuckle, Kane pushed Angle down, Kane missed an elbow drop and Angle hit a dropkick to the knee. Angle up top, he jumped off, Kane caught him and Kane hit a Chokeslam. Steve Blackman walked down to ringside, he went into the ring and Blackman hit Angle in the head with the kendo stick. That led to the DQ finish at 3:27.

Winner by disqualification: Kurt Angle

Analysis: *1/4 It was the second straight match with a DQ finish. Angle barely got any offense in the match, so it was booked to keep Kane strong since he lost the match.

Post match, Kane walked up the ramp to try to go after Blackman. Angle was selling in the ring as the winner of the match.

Hunter and Stephanie were in their office with both of them wondering what happened there. Stephanie she had an idea for the IC Title while Hunter went in a room to get ready for his match.

(Commercial)

Stephanie McMahon made her entrance with three referees: Jimmy Korderas, Tim White and Chad Patton. She had the IC Title with her.

Analysis: Chad Patton still works for WWE as a referee. I didn’t realize he has been there that long.

Stephanie did a promo about the Intercontinental Championship situation. A replay aired from Smackdown with Jericho and Chyna doing a double pin in their match leading to a controversial finish. Stephanie asked Jimmy and Chad who they think should be the Intercontinental Champion. Jimmy said Chyna and Stephanie introduced Chyna to the ring, who got a good ovation.

Chyna had The Kat with her and The Kat was the Women’s Champion even though she was not really a wrestler. It was not a good time for the women’s division.

Stephanie asked Chad who should be the IC Champion and he said Chris Jericho. That led to Jericho making his entrance, so he joined everybody in the ring.

Stephanie said she has made a decision. She said since it’s the McMahon-Helmsley Era, it’s a new millennium and business is being done as it has never been done before, so they are making a ruling that has never been done before. Stephanie said that Chyna and Jericho are both the Intercontinental Champion. Everybody was confused. She said that only one of them can defend the title at a time and if one of them loses, they both lose the title. Stephanie said she was very confident they’ll find a way to get along.

Hardcore Holly made his entrance with Crash Holly. Hardcore said that he wants a title shot tonight and he wants it right now. Stephanie suggested that Hardcore go to the ring to get the title shot.

Analysis: This was a dumb angle. They were trying to do something different by saying there were two Intercontinental Champions at the same time, but I think it was silly. I doubt the wrestlers liked it either. I know Jericho wasn’t a fan of the storyline when he wrote about it in his book covering this period. Also, young Stephanie was very green on the microphone at this point, which was no surprise because it was early in her run as an on-camera performer.

Intercontinental Championship: Chyna (w/The Cat) vs. Hardcore Holly (w/Crash Holly)

Jericho joined commentary for the match to complain about it being a conspiracy and a stupid decision. Chyna hit a cartwheel elbow followed by a DDT for a two count. Holly came back with a dropkick with Jericho yelling at Chyna to get back up. Holly with a clothesline that sent Chyna over the top to the floor. Chyna did a sloppy sunset flip, Kat and Crash argued with the ref, Jericho punched Holly and Chyna covered Holly for the pinfall win at 1:58.

Winner by pinfall: Chyna

Analysis: 1/2* A short match with a cheap ending for the third match in a row. At least there was a pin in this match. It would eventually lead to a match at the Royal Rumble between Jericho, Chyna and Holly.

Post match, Jericho left with the IC Title. Chyna was mad at him, so she went after him. Hardcore Holly beat up Crash Holly and followed him into the crowd. They had the “fighting cousins” gimmick.

Analysis: It was a bad storyline with the multiple IC Champions. I never liked it.

Hunter and Stephanie were in their office with Big Boss Man and Prince Albert. Hunter said they’ll face Test and a partner. The guys left. Stephanie told Hunter he’s going to win the WWE Championship.

A clip aired of the previous week of Raw with Triple H nearly beating Big Show to become WWE Champion, but Mankind stopped it with a chair to the back and Show hit a Chokeslam to win. On Smackdown, Show had to deal with a 4 on 1 match with DX beating up Show and leaving him bloody.

Big Show was shown walking backstage with Cole asking him for a comment before his match, but Show just stared at him and kept walking.

(Commercial)

Big Show made his entrance as the WWE Champion. There wasn’t that much of a reaction for him. He was a heel most of the time, but in this storyline it was like he was a face. That didn’t last that long, though.

Triple H made his entrance with his DX buddies and Stephanie McMahon. Hunter told them to stay in the back. Hunter made his entrance, which did not have his usual water spit on the apron that would be part of his signature entrance.

WWE Championship: Big Show vs. Triple H

Pre-match notes: Triple H was a heel of course and Show was something of a tweener that was more of a face in this scenario.

Show with a headbutt early. Show was wrestling in one of his t-shirts. Show with a body slam followed by an elbow drop for two. The DX team and Stephanie were up on the ramp watching the match. Show with a hard whip leading to Hunter taking his usual bump over the top to the floor. Show followed with another headbutt followed by a punch to the back. They battled on the floor with Hunter shoving Show over the barricade into the crowd. Show got back into it by tossing Hunter over the barricade to the floor. Hunter recovered with a hard whip into the steel steps. Triple H jumped off the apron and knocked Show over the announce table. The referee was out there at ringside telling them to get back in the ring instead of counting them out of the ring. Hunter whipped Show into the ring bell at ringside. Back in the ring, facebuster by Hunter followed by a high knee and Show did a power kick out. The crowd was not really into the match. Show came back with a sidewalk slam for two followed by a powerslam for two. Those nearfalls got mild reactions. Show with a Chokeslam right by the ropes leading to Hunter getting his foot on the bottom rope. It was obvious that was coming as soon as Show went for the move. Spots like that don’t work when they are that obvious. Show went for an elbow drop off the middle ropes, Hunter moved and Show hit the mat. Hunter wanted a Pedigree, Show with a back body drop, X-Pac ran to the ring, the referee told him to go back, so Hunter hit a low blow kick to the groin that the referee never saw and a Pedigree finished it for Triple H at 7:08.

Winner by pinfall and New WWE Champion: Triple H

Analysis: *1/2 Poor match. The finish was predictable with a distraction leading to a low blow and a finish. It was one of the more forgettable WWE Title changes that you’re ever going to see. The crowd wasn’t into it because of a lack of a real face in the match. Show was back to being a pure heel after this. It was good in the sense that it put the title back on Triple H, who was much better than Show.

After the match, there were fireworks above the ring and Triple H was joined in the ring by Stephanie and his DX buddies. There were green and black balloons (the colors of DX) in the ring as part of the celebration.

(Commercial)

Replays aired of Triple H winning the WWE Title.

Test made his entrance. Clips aired of him getting beat up in recent times because he was engaged to Stephanie, then she married Triple H (after Triple H drugged her), and she made Test’s life a living hell. The partners of Test were announced as Mae Young and Fabulous Moolah.

Test, Fabulous Moolah and Mae Young vs. Big Boss Man and Prince Albert

Test sent Boss Man into the turnbuckle and Young hit her Bronco Buster. Albert pulled Young off and stomped on her. Mark Henry was at ringside helping out Young because of their ridiculous storyline. Boss Man and Albert tried to double team Test, but Boss Man missed a splash and Test hit Boss Man with a clothesline. Test with a powerslam on Albert. Test up top, Boss Man hit him with a nightstick and Albert hit a Scissors Kick on Test for the pinfall win. It went 1:41.

Winners by pinfall: Big Boss Man and Prince Albert

Analysis: -* I’m going negative stars for this because it was so bad. It was painful watching the attempt at comedy with the old women, and then the same “ref didn’t see it” spot that was used in the match right before it.

After the match, Mark Henry and Harvey Whippleman went into the ring because they were with the ladies. They got beat up. Test hit a double clothesline on Albert and Boss Man. Moolah carried Harvey out of there.

Analysis: This was brutal. The story about Test being treated like crap didn’t really go anywhere and he ended up becoming a heel tag team with Albert.

(Commercial)

Hunter, Stephanie and DX were in the locker room celebrating Hunter’s WWE Title win. Big Show was shown leaving the arena after losing the title.

Bradshaw and Faarooq walked down to the ring with one armed tied behind their backs. The Mean Street Posse showed up to attack, so the Acolytes fought them off. Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley went into the ring with Bubba crushing Bradshaw with a stiff chair shot to the ring. D-Von went up top and hit a headbutt to the groin of Faarooq. The three Posse members took off their belts and whipped on the Acolytes. Referees broke it up to end it.

Analysis: The bell actually rang and about 30 seconds later the bell rang again for the disqualification, but I don’t think you can really call it a match. It was more of an angle designed to continue that rivalry.

There was ANOTHER shot of Hunter, Stephanie and DX in the locker room celebrating.

(Commercial)

Howard Finkel appeared on the stage to say that Degeneration X prevented a film called “Have A Bad Day.”

It was a sketch where “Harry Sack” played by Triple H was working at the unemployment office and somebody showed up dressed like Mankind. It was really Mideon. Harry told Mankind that he was stinking the joint up and he was killing the product. Harry said that Mankind was basically a muppet. Harry said he had nothing for him.

Analysis: It was comedy that didn’t really work, but at least the name Harry Sack was creative. This also told the audience that even though Mankind was “fired” he was still being talked about, which meant that he was going to be back in some capacity.

(Commercial)

Jeff Hardy entered with Matt Hardy and their manager Terri Runnels. Al Snow was the opponent for this cage match. Snow hit Matt in the head with “Head” as they began the match.

Steel Cage Match: Al Snow vs. Jeff Hardy (w/Matt Hardy and Terri )

Pre-match notes: Hardy was a face while Snow was a heel.

Snow pulled Jeff out of the cage and hit him in the back with a steel chair. Snow even tossed Terri into the steel cage. Snow had a steel chain and locked the door. Hardy hit a moonsault followed by a leg drop to the stomach. Hardy tried to let Terri out, but Snow stomped on Hardy. There was no referee in the ring even though Jim Ross said you can win the match by pinfall, submission or escaping the cage. Snow took the turnbuckle pad off and sent Hardy into the top turnbuckle. Snow with a body slam on Hardy. I guess I should point out here that Terri’s nipples were clearly visible in her tight top. Terri jumped on Snow’s back, Snow grabbed the chair and hit Matt Hardy off the cage, so Jeff hit a dropkick into the chair in Snow’s head. Hardy tried to climb, Snow went to the top rope and dropped Hardy with a Diamond Cutter like move to take out Hardy. Snow slammed Hardy down and hit Hardy in the ribs with a steel chair. Hardy with a spinning heel kick took down Snow while Matt was on the floor selling his hand injury. Hardy with a back body drop. Snow picked up Jeff and sent him face first into the cage. Terri was up against one of the turnbuckles during all of this. Hardy shoved Snow into the cage, Hardy jumped off of Snow’s back, jumped to the top of the cage and climbed out of the cage at 6:45.

Winner by escaping the cage: Jeff Hardy

Analysis: ** It was okay with Snow controlling most of it and they came up with a creative finish. That’s not the kind of finish that I would want to see that often in a cage match because Hardy basically no sold the beating and jumped out of the cage like he was fine. I don’t have a lot of memories of this heel run of Snow. I know within a few months he was doing the comedy “Head Cheese” tag team with Steve Blackman, so this didn’t last that long. The crowd was dead for a lot of it.

Post match, Terri tried to climb out of the cage, Snow, went after her and Matt got into the cage by going over the top. Referees finally showed up wit ha key for the lock and Matt left with Terri to save her.

Analysis: There was not much of a reaction to Terri being in despair like that. This angle just didn’t get over.

Part two aired of “Have a Bad Day” produced by Degeneration X. It was another skit with Triple H in disguise at a children’s hospital and Mankind was there portrayed by Mideon. Triple H played “Dr. Hung Low.” Of course that was the name. They got into an argument, Hung with a kick to the groin and that was it.

Analysis: They sure loved the dick jokes in this era. That’s for sure.

(Commercial)

There was a shot of “Mankind” played by Mideon at a book signing.

A replay aired of The Rock being attacked earlier in the show.

The Rock was in the locker room with Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco with him. They wished Rock luck, they said they will miss him and Rock fired back saying he’s not going anywhere while uttering his catchphrases.

Triple H and Stephanie had a pep talk for their DX buddies about how they are going to beat Rock and fire him.

Part three of “Have a Bad Day” with Howard Finkel introducing it as a cinematic masterpiece. There was a shot of Mideon as “Mankind” at the book signing with Triple H showing up in a costume. There were no people there, so Triple H as the store owner fired him. “Mankind” took out a sock that was like Mr. Socko, so Triple H as the boss tossed Mankind into the wall. That ended that.

Analysis: The skits were cheesy and that was the point.

Triple H and Stephanie had one final pep talk for their three DX buddies. The Rock showed up in the room, he punched Gunn and tossed Road Dogg into a wall and then they went to a commercial.

(Commercial)

Triple H made his entrance with Stephanie and a bottle of champagne. For what it’s worth, Triple H doesn’t drink alcohol, so he was probably drinking something else. I guess it could have been alcohol, though. Anyway, the DX group of X-Pac, Road Dogg and Billy Gunn made their entrance. Triple H and Stephanie were sitting on a leather recliner on the stage.

The Rock made his entrance to a huge ovation. Rock stood on the floor ready to begin when Triple H did a promo saying this is now a No Disqualification match. The announcers talked as if Rock was done. If anybody interferes, they will be fired.

Analysis: It was pretty obvious what was coming with Mick Foley saving Rock since he was already fired, but I thought it was set up well.

The First Ever 3 on 1 Handicap You’re Fired Match: The Rock vs. Billy Gunn (Mr. Ass), Road Dogg and X-Pac

Pre-match notes: The Rock was the face while the DX trio were the heels. If The Rock lost this match, he would be fired.

The first few minutes of the match featured DX punching Rock repeatedly while outside the ring. Rock fought back on Gunn and Dogg while Rock sent X-Pac groin first into the ring post. Gunn sent Rock throat first into the barricade. I guess I should type “Ass” instead of Gunn, but I don’t want to. Back in the ring, Rock hit a clothesline on Dogg. Rock whipped Gunn into Dogg, who was on the apron and went crashing into the announce table. X-Pac came back with a spinning heel kick on Rock for a two count. Rock battled Dogg on the floor with Rock hitting a suplex on Dogg on the floor, but X-Pac was there with punches and kicks. Rock tried to fight back, but Gunn slammed Rock’s head into the announce table. JR ranted about how DX doesn’t have any class. Back in the ring, Rock fought back with punches, a DDT for Gunn, a Samoan Drop on X-Pac and a spinebuster on Road Dogg. Rock hit the People’s Elbow on Road Dogg to a huge ovation, but Gunn pulled the referee out of the ring when Rock went for a cover. X-Pac dropped Rock with a spinning heel kick. Gunn picked up Rock with a Jackhammer slam. X-Pac with a Bronco Buster on Rock against the turnbuckle.

Road Dogg grabbed a steel chair at ringside, that’s when Mick Foley appeared from the crowd and Foley ran at him with a forearm to the chair. Foley hit Gunn and X-Pac with chairs. Triple H went into the ring, so Foley hit Hunter in the head with the chair. Foley left through the crowd. The crowd was going wild for all of this. Rock hit Gunn with a Rock Bottom and Rock covered Gunn for the pinfall win at 9:17. JR called it a miracle.

Winner by pinfall: The Rock

Analysis: **1/2 It was built up well, they told an interesting story and it was booked about as well as you could book a 3 on 1 handicap match, which is obviously not a common match. The “if you lose you’re fired” gimmick made the main event interesting, but I don’t think anybody watching this show felt like Rock was going to lose. The Foley interference was obvious especially after Hunter made it a No DQ match. The crowd liked it, though, so I guess that’s all that really matters.

Post match, The Rock celebrated the win while Triple H and DX were pissed off about what happened. The show ended with JR yelling: “And Triple H is pissed!” He sure was.

This episode had a run time of 1:36:20 on WWE Network.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. The Rock – Thanks to a fun opening promo and a solid main event, he was clear the first star.
  2. Triple H – He was all over the show.
  3. Big Show – At least he tried hard. It was tough finding a third person this week.

 

The Scoreboard

This Raw episode gets a 4 out of 10.

It was a bad show with way too much Triple H and Stephanie. I had forgotten how much they were featured on shows in this era, but they really were out there the entire time it seemed like. I know it was done to get heat and that’s fine. It just felt like there was so much that it hurt the show.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport

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