The road to WrestleMania continued as The Rock’s quest to get into the main event of WrestleMania 2000 continued. On the previous Smackdown, the evil McMahon kids Shane and Stephanie worked together with Big Show and Triple H to make like difficult on Rock as well as other popular wrestlers like Kane and Rikishi. They all lost handicap matches, so going into Raw, the expectation was that the faces would get some revenge.
Check out our WWF TV in 2000 archives in case you missed anything from earlier in the year. Let’s get to it.
WWF Raw #355
March 13, 2000
From Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey
This show has a TV-14 rating and the “V” for Violence on WWE Network.
The opening video package focused on what happened on the previous Smackdown when The Rock had a rough night that saw him wrestle in two handicap matches and get his ass kicked a few times.
The Raw opening video aired. We were welcomed to the show by Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler.
Speaking of JR, there was a crowd shot of a fan with a JR sign that had an air bubble quote saying “Terri gives me a boner.” I’m sure that the WWF was happy that sign made it on the air! Just because I care about you, here’s a screencap of it.
Let’s Hear From Triple H and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley
Triple H, the WWF Champion, made his entrance with wifey Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley-Haitch-Game along with his precious water bottle so that he can do his spit on the apron. They were booed.
The fans greeted Stephanie with “slut” chants as she said “hello” and here comes Shane McMahon with Big Show to join the fun. They got into the ring.
Shane said that last Thursday on Smackdown marked a historic occasion and then fans chanted “Asshole” at Shane. He said that the occasion was not just because they put their differences aside while Shane pointed out that Big Show will become the WWF Champion. Shane said that last Thursday was the systematic destruction of The Rock.
They showed clips of Rock getting beat up on Smackdown, which was already shown in the opening video of the show. The fans kept on chanting “Rocky” during the clips as Shane narrated what happened. Triple H said it felt great hitting Rock with the lead pipe.
Triple H took over saying that all Rock had to do was go away. He pointed out that Rock could have gone after the European Title, he could have dropped the love handle section to go after the Light Heavyweight Title and the list goes on about what he could have done. Hunter pointed out that Rock felt like he had to come back to get in their business. Fans chanted “Asshole” at Hunter. Hunter said that Rock got his ass kicked three times in one night on Smackdown because it’s his own fault. Hunter made a joke saying Rock did what he does in a hotel room…basically he beat himself. Good line. Hunter said it was humiliation and it gets the job done. Hunter claimed that Rock was going to be humiliated tonight, Thursday night, all the way through to WrestleMania and they will humiliate him to accept it.
Stephanie said that as far as WrestleMania is concerned, they have to give the people what they want. Stephanie told Rock he will compete in WrestleMania, but not in the main event. Rock will have a handicap match against suitable competition…the biggest tag team to ever enter the WWF…the Twin Towers!
They were two little people in suits. The heels in the ring laughed out loud about it while Ross and Lawler made short jokes about them. They also had cheesy music. One of the short guys did a People’s Eyebrow.
Analysis: Going to the little people is a classic Vince McMahon booking thing to try to generate laughs.
Shane suggested a Tuxedo Match at WrestleMania. Hunter said midgets can’t find tuxedos, so he suggested an Evening Gown handicap match. Show suggested 2 out of 3 falls. Hunter suggested a Midget on a Pole Match because everything is better on a pole. Here comes The Rock.
There was a huge ovation for The Rock as he appeared on the stage in one of his expensive shirts. The pop for Rock was massive after the heels bored us for about ten minutes.
The Rock let the “Coalition” know that they come out here running their mouth and cracking jokes, but tonight the joke is over. Rock said that they can throw all they can at Rock in different matches and that’s fine. Rock said it’s not fine to try to embarrass Rock. He said that they drove Mick Foley out of the WWF and tonight he’ll give them a chance to drive Rock out of the WWF. Shane asked him what he had in mind.
Rock said that at 27 years old, his career hasn’t even begun to reach its peak. Rock said that tonight he’ll face Big Show one on one and if he wins, he goes to WrestleMania for the WWF Title, but if Rock loses, you will never ever see The Rock again. The heels huddled in the ring to discuss it. Shane said that if Rock can “pin” or make Show submit then he is on.
The Rock said he is not done. Rock added that there will be no interference, no candy asses at ringside and if there is then The Rock still wins the match, goes to WrestleMania and wins the WWF Title.
Hunter told Rock he is so much dumber than he ever thought possible. Hunter said he had no idea why Rock would put everything on the line, but if it gets them a chance to get rid of him then Rock has a deal.
Rock said he puts it all on the line because unlike them, he doesn’t have somebody in his corner like Shane or Stephanie, but The Rock has…the people. Rock’s music played as he walked to the back. That opening segment took 21 minutes.
Analysis: The Rock’s part of that was great. The first ten minutes bored me because it was the same stuff the heels always say. I don’t think the part with the little people was really needed, yet the creative team probably felt like it was a good way to get cheap heat. They set up a huge match for later in the night, so it was effective in terms of letting us know what’s coming up.
A replay showed Steve Blackman beating Jeff Hardy in singles action on Smackdown.
The Hardy Boyz entered for a tag team match.
Al Snow and Steve Blackman were backstage with Snow pitching some idea to Blackman about having a TV show together. Blackman told him it was dumb and left. Snow knocked on a door where a guy dressed as Abe Lincoln was there. Snow told him he’ll use him another time. Snow and Blackman made their entrance.
The Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff Hardy) vs. Al Snow and Steve Blackman
Pre-match notes: The Hardys were faces and Snow/Blackman were heels.
The Hardys were in control early with Jeff hitting a running attack in the corner, but Snow came back with a blind tag leading to a knee to the ribs. Blackman back in, Jeff avoided a corner attack and Jeff went for a diving attack out of the ring. Blackman kicked Jeff over the barricade. Snow hit Matt with neckbreaker on the floor. Back in the ring, Snow tagged back in, Jeff avoided a corner attack and hit a dropkick to the back. Jeff with a hurricanrana that took down Snow. Matt back in and he tossed Snow over the top to the floor while hitting Blackman with a stun gun onto the top rope. Matt with a leg drop on Blackman. Snow back in and Matt hit him with a clothesline. Jeff went for a hurricanrana and Blackman hit a Powerbomb to counter. Blackman up top and he hit a pump kick to knock down Jeff. Matt was still the legal man, he went up top and jumped off with a moonsault that missed everything. I think he was supposed to hit Blackman with that, but Blackman was not there to take the bump. Matt no sold that miss, they had a quick talk, must have called an inside cradle and that’s what Matt won with after 3:17 of action.
Winners by pinfall: The Hardy Boyz
The pic below is Matt rolling onto his back after the missed moonsault. They went to the inside cradle from there.
Analysis: * I can’t go higher than that due to the botched finish. Blackman was in the wrong spot and Matt just hit the mat hard. At least they went to the finish right after it.
Kurt Angle was shown backstage talking to a guy that was part of the Event Staff talking about how he’s a role model for everybody.
A replay aired of Bubba Ray Dudley putting Mae Young through a table on Raw last week and it’s sponsored by Lugz. Remember Lugz? They were shoes that didn’t have a lot of success.
Mark Henry was in the locker room with Mae Young in a wheelchair with Fabulous Moolah by her side. Mark told Mae to stay there. Mae had a neckbrace on.
The Dudleys, the WWF Tag Team Champions, made their entrance for a two on one handicap match against Mark Henry. Henry walked out looking determined and ready to go.
The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley) vs. Mark Henry
Pre-match notes: The Dudleys were the heels and Henry was the face trying to get revenge for Mae Young.
Henry hit a double clothesline to knock down both Dudleys as Mae and Moolah were shown watching on a TV backstage. Henry with back body drops on each of the Dudleys. Bubba got dumped on his head, but he appeared to be okay. Bubba tackled Henry. D-Von worked over Henry as Bubba left to go backstage. D-Von hit a flying elbow to ground Henry. Bubba showed up and grabbed Mae in the wheelchair. Bubba wheeled Mae out of the ring.
Bubba was shown taking Mae down the hallway in a wheelchair as he told her that it will be the last ride she ever takes. Back to the match, Henry worked over D-Von with punches and a clothesline. Bubba showed up with Mae on the top of the ramp. Henry noticed it, but D-Von capitalized with a clothesline. Henry with a back elbow on D-Von. Bubba went back into the ring and the Dudleys hit the 3D on Henry to put him out. They didn’t cover him. I guess the match ended there at around 4:05.
Match Result: No Contest
Analysis: 1/2* The match didn’t mean much. It was just a way to build to the big angle after the match.
The Dudleys went over to Mae, put the titles on her and wheeled her up the ramp. Bubba noticed a table beside the ramp. D-Von picked up Mae up out of the wheelchair, Bubba grabbed her and hit a Powerbomb off the stage onto a table on the floor. Bubba had the crazed look in his eyes after it was over.
Analysis: It was a huge moment that may have been the most memorable thing the Dudleys ever did in WWE because of how crazy it was for them to put an 80-year-old woman through a table. They did a lot in their careers for sure, but most people likely remember this spot as well as anything. I can remember Bubba telling the story years later that she told him to not take it easy on her because she wanted it to look good and it did look good. He protected her as much as she could, but she deserves so much credit for being willing to take that bump at her age. She was a badass, for sure. This is probably the most memorable spot of her career because of her willingness to put the Dudleys over the way that she did.
Replays aired of the huge bump that Mae Young took off the stage through the table. Mark Henry showed up to check on her while EMTs were there as well. Mae was put in an ambulance with Mark joining her.
Kurt Angle, the Intercontinental and European Champion, did a promo saying that he wasn’t going to lose to Chris Jericho or Tazz when Bob Backlund showed up to help Angle. Angle said that Bob Backlund is a true American Hero that’s a two-time WWF Champion. Angle said that New Jersey is in dying need of a hero while adding that Bon Jovi does not count. Angle said he can be their honorary hometown hero.
Chris Jericho made his entrance with a pre-match promo welcoming us to Raw is Jericho. Jericho told “Kirk Angel” he knows he has a special connection with Kurt Angle and said it may be a love connection. Jericho said that Backlund is an idiot, imbecile and ignoramus just like Angle.
Tazz was up next for this triple threat and he gets to do a promo too. Tazz said no disqualification now, so apparently, it’s No DQ as well.
European Championship No Disqualification: Kurt Angle vs. Chris Jericho vs. Tazz
Pre-match notes: Angle was the heel champion while Jericho and Tazz were faces. Why was Tazz allowed to make a stipulation? I don’t know.
Tazz and Jericho worked together to dump Angle over the top to the floor. Tazz knocked down Jericho with a punch. Angle grabbed the title and went up top, but Tazz stopped him. Jericho slammed Tazz off the turnbuckle for a two count. Angle with a belly to belly suplex on Jericho. Tazz with a head and arm Tazzplex on Angle for a two count. Jericho with a Powerbomb on Tazz. Angle went for a dropkick, Jericho held onto the ropes, Jericho with a Lionsault on Angle and Tazz came back with a suplex on Jericho. Tazz with the Tazzmission on Angle, but there’s Bob Backlund again. Tazz with the Tazzmission on Backlund and Angle saved his buddy. Jericho with the Walls of Jericho on Angle and Backlund hit Jericho in the back. Chyna ran out to hit a low blow on Backlund. Jericho with a dropkick on Tazz on the apron and Angle hit Jericho with a belt shot to the head for the pinfall win at 3:13.
Winner by pinfall: Kurt Angle
Analysis: ** It was entertaining and it also felt rushed. Chyna showing up to save Jericho made it look like Jericho would win was a good idea, but Angle found a way to get the job done. The booking of Angle was so clever for almost all of his matches. It really worked in terms of making him look like a star.
Triple H and friends were in the locker room getting ready for something up next.
Ivory was interviewed by Kevin Kelly for her take on The Rock’s match later. Ivory said she hopes The Rock will win because it’s what is best for the fans.
Triple H entered with wifey Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley along with X-Pac, Road Dogg and Tori because the guys are in a six-man tag team match. They entered to the Degeneration X theme song.
The trio of Rikishi Phatu and Too Cool danced their way down to the ring. Good pop for them. When they talked about Rikishi giving Triple a stinkface (it was still not called that), Lawler said that Triple H could open mail with that nose. That’s funny.
Degeneration X (Triple H, Road Dogg and X-Pac) w/Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley and Tori vs. Rikishi Phatu and Too Cool (Grandmaster Sexay and Scotty 2 Hotty)
Pre-match notes: The DX guys were the heels while Rikishi and Too Cool were the faces. The JR spelling would be “Raw-kishi” because that’s how he says it.
Sexay with an atomic drop on X-Pac, Dogg tagged in and Too Cool did a double team elbow on him. Rikishi tagged in and Dogg avoided a stinkface. Rikishi with punches to take out Dogg and X-Pac, who was legal. Hunter into the ring with Rikishi decking him with punches, but Hunter hit a facebuster to the knee. X-Pac with a spinning heel kick. Hunter took over with stomps on Rikishi against the turnbuckle. Hunter choked Rikishi against the turnbuckle. Dogg into the ring, Rikishi overpowered him and hit a butt splash against the turnbuckle. Scotty with a bulldog into the W-O-R-M with punches on the guys on the apron and no chop on Dogg for some reason. The fans actually booed the lack of a chop. Sexay tagged in and hit a Hip Hop Drop leg drop off the top rope. X-Pac back into the ring with an X-Factor on Sexay. Scotty punched X-Pac out of the ring and Hunter hit Scotty with a neckbreaker. Rikishi back in the ring and he hit a belly to belly suplex on Hunter. Rikishi with a running butt splash against the turnbuckle and a superkick. Stephanie on the apron, X-Pac hit Rikishi with the ring bell and Triple H covered Rikishi for the pinfall win even though Road Dogg and Sexay were the legal men. It went 5:03.
Winners by pinfall: Degeneration X (Triple H, Road Dogg and X-Pac)
Analysis: **3/4 Fun match with good pacing by four guys that could always deliver in tag matches like that. It was a bit of a surprise that Rikishi was used as the face in peril when he had two smaller opponents, but it didn’t hurt the story of the match at all. The reason I pointed out the legal men is because they often times got it wrong in this era and the announcers didn’t point it out either. This was all about putting DX over in a solid match.
The Big Boss Man was shown walking backstage and Kane was shown in another part of the arena. Kane walked up to The Rock for a staredown. Kane said “good luck” and left.
Kane made his entrance alone even though the graphic said “with Paul Bearer” but there was no sign of daddy Paul. Big Boss Man entered as the opponent.
Kane vs. Big Boss Man
Pre-match notes: Kane was the face and Boss Man was the heel.
Kane with a clothesline and Boss Man bailed to the floor. Kane left the ring, whipped Boss Man into the barricade and hit another clothesline. Boss Man drove Kane’s throat into the top rope. Kane with punches. Boss Man grabbed a chain out of his pocket and punched Kane with it, but the announcers missed it because they were talking about Mae Young. Boss Man went for a corner splash, Kane with a choke, back elbow and boot to the face for Kane. Kane jumped off the top with a clothesline. Kane set up for a Tombstone, Boss Man sent him into the turnbuckle and hit a belly to back suplex. Kane avoided a nightstick attack and hit a Chokeslam for a pinfall at 3:11
Winner by pinfall: Kane
Analysis: *1/4 Boring match. Boss Man was just a veteran loser at this point in his career. This was all about putting Kane over to give him some positive momentum.
It was awkward interview time with The Godfather hanging out with ho’s and Kevin Kelly asked who he thought would in in the Rock/Big Show match later. Godfather and the ho’s went with Rock.
The replays aired of Bubba putting Mae through the table from earlier.
Fabulous Moolah was interviewed backstage by Michael Cole. Moolah said she got what she deserved. She said that Mae was nothing and is still nothing as far as she’s concerned. Moolah complained about Mae showing puppies, giving birth and stealing the spotlight. Moolah said she didn’t give a damn if the bitch never came back.
Analysis: Angry Moolah time. I guess they had to set up a huge grudge match between two old chicks.
Essa Rios entered with the Light Heavyweight Championship and the lovely Lita by his side. Dean Malenko entered as the challenger with Eddie Guerrero, who had his left arm in a sling due to the elbow injury.
Light Heavyweight Championship: Essa Rios (w/Lita) vs. Dean Malenko (w/Eddie Guerrero)
Pre-match notes: Rios was the face and Malenko was the heel.
Malenko tripped up Rios and hit a dropkick followed by a clothesline. Malenko grounded Rios with an armbar. Malenko worked on the legs of Rios with a leg lock, but Rios got to the ropes to break the hold. Rios hit a power slam. Rios up top, Malenko tripped him up and Rios came back with a moonsault attempt, but Malenko moved. Rios hit a hurricanrana into a pin for a two count. Malenko with a suplex attempt, Rios got a rollup, Guerrero on the apron and Rios punched him off. Malenko with a suplex on Rios. Lita jumped on Guerrero and Guerrero hit her with a stiff Powerbomb on the floor. Ouch. That was a hard one. That drew a big reaction from the crowd. Rios tried a rollup, but Malenko tripped him up and sat on top for the cover for the pinfall win at 4:15.
Winner by pinfall and New Light Heavyweight Champion: Dean Malenko
Analysis: * That was rough to watch because they lacked chemistry and Rios seemed off the entire time. Maybe he was mad about doing the job. I don’t know. It just did not look like a good performance from him. Rios had a forgettable run as Light Heavyweight Champion, so it was smart to put the title on Malenko. This was a few months before Malenko would have that famous angle with Lita.
There was a shot of the APA offices with Terri talking to the APA guys, who asked her if she was sure she wanted to do this. She said yes and left. Mideon showed up with beers and the APA guys complained that they weren’t cold enough.
There were some New Jersey Nets NBA players in the crowd including Jayson Williams and Kendall Gill along with Ray Lucas of the New York Jets. Williams “accidentally” shot and killed his limo driver a few years after this.
Edge and Christian entered for a tag team match. Terri made her way down to ringside as well. The APA guys entered with Mideon as their stooge that worked for them.
Edge and Christian vs. APA (Bradshaw and Faarooq) w/Mideon
Pre-match notes: Both teams were faces. Edge and Christian had issues with Terri since she kept costing them matches.
Edge started with Faaroq while Christian sent Bradshaw out of the ring. Christian hit a dive onto Mideon on the floor, so Bradshaw threw Edge into the steps. The APA guys hit double clotheslines on Edge, but Edge came back with a shoulder tackle. Christian tagged in and Bradshaw gave him a fallaway slam. Faarooq with a powerslam on Christian. Side Russian legsweep by Christian on Faarooq. Bradshaw back in there, Christian with a kick and a Tornado DDT out of the corner. Edge went up top and hit Bradshaw with a missile dropkick followed by a neckbreaker. Faarooq hit Christian with a spinebuster. Edge with a DDT on Faarooq and a Spear on Mideon, who went into the ring. Bradshaw hit Edge with a Clothesline from Hell for the pinfall win at 3:07. Christian was distracted by Terri, so he couldn’t make the save as you can see in the image below.
Winners by pinfall: APA (Bradshaw and Faarooq)
Analysis: *3/4 It was fine for the time given, but it’s another example of a match being rushed. The finish was set up well. The story continues that Edge and Christian were on a losing streak even though they were the number one contenders for the Tag Team Titles.
Post match, the APA left without Mideon and shoved him into Edge and Christian. Double team back body drop by E&C followed by a clothesline that sent Mideon out of the ring.
Big Show and Shane McMahon were shown talking strategy backstage.
There was a clip of the Mean Street Posse and referee Tim White at an airport terminal in Newark with the Posse guys trying to beat Crash for the Hardcore Title. Prince Albert was there too. Pete Gas hit Crash in the head with a suitcase and covered for the title. Crash hit Gas with his scale and covered to win back the Hardcore Title. Crash grabbed his suitcase and ran away.
Analysis: The Hardcore Title wackiness continued.
Shane McMahon and Big Show were interviewed by Michael Cole. Shane said that it was Rock’s idea to put his career on the line. Show and Shane mocked the “Rocky” chant with Shane saying the only way you’ll hear that chant again is on videotape.
The Headbangers were asked by Michael Cole who will win The Rock vs. Big Show later. They said Big Show as if anybody gives a shit about what The Headbangers thought about the match.
Val Venis entered for a tag team match with Test as his partner. They are up against Chris Benoit and Perry Saturn.
Test and Val Venis vs. Chris Benoit and Perry Saturn
Pre-match notes: Test and Val were two Canadian faces. They were not a regular team. Benoit and Saturn were the heels. Venis was out for a few weeks with a neck injury.
Venis with a spinebuster on Saturn and a suplex. The heels took over with Saturn hitting an overhead suplex. Benoit back in with a back body drop and a suplex as Eddie Guerrero made his way down to ringside to support his Radical buddies. Saturn tagged in with a jumping knee attack off the top to the chest of Venis. Saturn with a belly to back suplex on Venis. Saturn jumped off the top, Venis caught him and hit a powerslam. Benoit worked over Benoit with chops to the chest and Venis countered into a sitout Powerbomb for a two count. Test got a hot tag to a bit of a reaction from some screaming girls, but it was not a loud reaction. Saturn with a spinning slam and Venis took Saturn out of the ring. Venis hit a cross body block off the top onto Saturn on the floor. Guerrero on the apron to distract, Test tried a pumphandle slam, Guerrero hit Test in the head with his forearm and Benoit hit a bridging German Suplex on Venis for the pinfall win at 4:26.
Winners by pinfall: Chris Benoit and Perry Saturn
Analysis: *3/4 The match was okay. It was obvious the heels were going over since the faces were just thrown together and not a regular team. Test had no direction. He would be a part of the T&A team soon after this.
Big Show and Rock were shown walking down to the ring down separate hallways.
A graphic reminded us that we are three weeks away from WrestleMania.
Shane McMahon made his entrance to take part in something for the main event. Shane told referee Earl Hebner to get out of the ring. Hebner was reluctant, but Shane told him to get out. Shane took off his jacket to reveal he was the referee. It’s the return of Shane Stevens! That was his name as a referee in the early 1990s.
Big Show made his entrance to boos from the crowd. The Rock entered to a thunderous ovation like usual. The Rock was pissed off that Shane was the ref, so he had a lot of intensity as he walked down to the ring.
Analysis: Shane as referee was a surprise, so Rock selling it like he’s pissed off about it was the right reaction to it.
The Rock vs. Big Show
Pre-match notes: Rock was the face and Show was the heel. I don’t think I need to tell you do that, but I did it anyway.
Rock punched Show out of the ring. They brawled up the ramp and Rock hit a Russian legsweep on the ramp followed by a punch to the groin. Shane followed them up the aisle, so he had no intention of counting them out of the ring. They went brawling down to the ring and into the crowd a bit. They went back to ringside, Show grabbed a chair, Rock avoided the chair shot, Rock went for a chair shot, but Shane took the chair away and Rock whipped Show into the steps. Rock got the ring bell and hit Show in the head with it. Rock spit water in Show’s face. Show with a press slam that sent Rock face first into the announce table. They went back into the ring with Show in full control with an elbow drop. They left the ring again with Show giving Rock a gentle body slam onto the announce table. Show rolled Rock back into the ring leading to Show getting a two count and Shane doing a fast count. Show with a leg drop leading to another fast two count. Rock with punches and Show hit a sidewalk slam. Rock did a low blow kick to get out of a Chokeslam, they did a reversal sequence and Show accidentally clotheslined Shane over the top to the floor. Rock hit a spinebuster. Rock tossed the elbow pad and set up for the People’s Elbow. Rock hit the People’s Elbow to a huge ovation and he covered, but there was no referee to count the pin. Earl Hebner went down to the ring to count, but Shane pulled him out of the ring and punched him. Shane back into the ring and hit a jumping chair shot to Rock’s face just like at No Way Out. A limo pulled up to the arena and there was Vince McMahon to a huge ovation!
Analysis: Vince was off TV for about three months, so this was his big return.
Shane had a stunned look on his face as he saw it on the Titantron. Triple H and Stephanie left their room as soon as they saw it as well. Vince was shown walking into the building while Hunter and Stephanie walked down a hallway to try to find him. Vince decked Hunter with one punch! The crowd popped huge for that. Vince’s music hit and he entered the arena. JR: “What the hell is happening?!?!”
Vince entered the arena to a thunderous ovation. Holy shit, what a pop! Vince walked down to the ring with a purpose and an angry look on his face. Vince decked Shane with a punch and a chair shot to the head. Vince took off Shane’s referee shirt and put the shirt on himself. Rock picked up Show and hit a Rock Bottom on him. Vince counted the pin, so Rock won the match and he’s going to WrestleMania. It went 9:16.
Winner by pinfall: The Rock
Analysis: **1/2 It’s a hard match to rate in terms of star ratings because it was about four minutes of actual wrestling and then it was about Vince’s huge return. The crowd was so loud for everything Vince did and it basically took over the match. I think as a storyline, it was absolutely perfect. As a match, it wasn’t that memorable, but that reaction for Vince’s return was massive. It was really well done as an angle.
After the match, Vince quickly left up the ramp and he stared at The Rock. The Rock walked back up the ramp and celebrated the win as the show came to an end.
Analysis: The fans were so happy and cheering loudly for all of this. As I said above, as an angle it was so well done and it worked perfectly. I’m sure the creative team was happy with how it turned out with everybody playing their part to lead to the massive ovation. I should point out also that Jim Ross was freaking out and yelling at the top of his lungs to put over how huge of a moment it was.
The win by The Rock meant that he was officially added to the WWE Championship match at WrestleMania against Triple H and Big Show. At the time, we thought it was a triple threat match. Nope. That would change too.
Here’s the video so that you can hear how loud the reaction was for Vince and his actions.
This episode had a run time of 1:35:46 on WWE Network.
Three Stars of the Show
- The Rock – Amazing night for him.
- Vince McMahon – Welcome back, boss.
- Mae Young – I must give the 80-year-old Mae credit for taking that bump.
This Raw episode gets a 6 out of 10.
It’s a tough show to rate because some of the matches were frustrating to watch with how short they were, but I think the main storyline from the opening promo to the execution of the main event was brilliant. The return of Vince McMahon was timed perfectly because if it came too soon it wouldn’t have as much impact as it did here. Vince coming out to even things up for Rock and even help him was a bit of a surprise for sure, but it set things up well for WrestleMania as well.
The Dudleys continued to get massive heat by their actions. That Powerbomb spot with Mae Young off the ramp and through the tables was insane. That’s something people still remember very well nearly two decades later.
It’s funny watching this show today and seeing how many exciting moments there were. Compare it to Raw today when there’s nothing even close to this exciting. There’s such a huge difference between them. That’s what today’s WWE is missing. We need to get that excitement back.
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