This is an episode of Raw that I remember well from the era because of the huge main event took place in the main event. They were building the WrestleMania card, so some of the undercard stuff was rushed, but most of the top guys were hitting on all cylinders in terms of matches and promos. There was a lot of excitement in the air with WrestleMania 13 days away.
WWF Raw #356
March 20, 2000
From Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois
This show has a TV-14 rating and the “S” for Sexual Content on WWE Network. The dreaded “S” is back.
The show began with Michael Cole going into Vince McMahon’s dressing room with Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco. Vince announced a tag team elimination tournament with the winners of each elimination match leading to a battle royal with the winners get a title shot. Patterson told him to tell us about the big one. Vince says that if this big match is made, it will rock the WWF right down to its foundation here tonight. Cole said he enjoyed Saturday Night Live the other night. Vince grabbed the microphone to yell: “Live from Chicago it’s Raw is War.”
Analysis: It’s a good way to tease a big announcement coming during the show and the tag team title situation sounds fine. The Rock hosting SNL was a big deal during this year.
The Raw intro video aired. The pyro went off in the arena and the crowd was loud with signs all over the place. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler were on commentary for the show.
The Degeneration X duo of Road Dogg and X-Pac with Tori made their entrance to the Run DMC version of the song. That was from the new Aggression CD that was released on the Tuesday of that week. Road Dogg did a pre-match hype promo. The Hardys made their entrance for this tournament match.
Degeneration X (X-Pac and Road Dogg) w/Tori vs. The Hardy Boyz (Jeff and Matt Hardy)
Pre-match notes: The Hardys were faces while DX were heels.
The crowd was very loud to start the match with “X-Pac sucks” chants. Spin kick by X-Pac knocked down Matt. Matt came back with a powerslam and a back elbow. Dogg and Jeff tagged in with Jeff avoided a dropkick and hitting a running dropkick that sent Dogg to the floor. Jeff with a dropkick to Dogg’s back and the Hardys did a double team leg drop. X-Pac went into the ring with a spin kick on Matt while the ref was making Jeff leave the ring. Matt with a DDT on Dogg and Jeff tagged in leading to a Hardy double team move against both guys. Double clothesline by the Hardys sent X-Pac out of the ring. Kane’s music hit as he walked out with daddy Paul Bearer. Kane grabbed X-Pac by the throat, so Tori hit Kane in the back with a forearm. Kane stalked her outside the ring. Matt hit a Twist of Fate on Road Dogg, who was the legal man, and Jeff went up top with a Swanton Bomb for the pinfall win at 4:29.
Winners by pinfall: The Hardy Boyz
Analysis: **1/2 It was a pretty good match with a lot of action. The crowd was hot for everything and it got louder when Kane went out there. The Hardys popularity was growing every week. The finish was a bit cheap with the Kane thing, but it fit the storyline.
After the match, Tori went into the ring, the Hardys pushed her into Kane and Kane dropped her with a Chokeslam to a huge ovation. Kane posed with Bearer over Tori, who JR called a “jezebel” like he usually did.
Analysis: He did not take it easy on her with that Chokeslam. She took it. Tough woman.
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were standing backstage, then they must have got a cue and they started walking because they are up next. Usually, the people are already walking when we see them, so whoever set that up was a bit slow.
Let’s Hear from Triple H and Stephanie…plus others
Triple H, the WWF Champion, made his entrance with wifey Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley. The promo segment usually takes place during the opening of the show, but this week it’s in segment two. That’s cool with me.
Stephanie tried to start her promo, but the fans greeted her with “slut” chants. Hunter: “Show some damn respect for my wife! And show some respect for me!” The fans booed loudly followed by an “Asshole” chant. Hunter said that after WrestleMania, you will have no choice but to bow down on your knees and respect him. He said that at WrestleMania, he will not only beat Big Show…and the fans chanted “Rocky” at him. He said that at WrestleMania he’ll beat The Rock too. Hunter said that as far as tonight goes, Vince McMahon claimed he had a match that will rock the foundation of the WWF. He said that he knows if the match is that big then Hunter has to be in it. Hunter called Vince out, but here comes Big Show.
Big Show made his entrance and he was joined by his buddy Shane McMahon. They stood on the ramp. Shane said that the match must be Triple H defending the WWF Championship against Big Show. The fans chanted “Rocky” again.
Triple H responded to that by saying that he would love to do that, but no. Hunter said that he doesn’t have to defend the title before WrestleMania, but he would do it because he doesn’t care, but Hunter claimed that Big Show didn’t deserve it.
Vince McMahon made his entrance to a big ovation since he was in face mode. Vince stood on the ramp for his promo. Vince said Shane didn’t have a bad idea and he told Hunter that he’s going to defend the title. Vince announced Triple H vs. Big Show vs. The Rock for the WWF Championship, which drew a massive pop from the crowd. Vince said he knew WrestleMania is less than two weeks away, but why not have the main event tonight? The crowd loved that idea. Vince said let’s have that triple threat match main event right there tonight.
Shane said that he likes that and Vince is making sense. Vince called Triple H a coward for taking his time to accept the challenge.
Triple H said here’s the deal. He’ll do the triple threat match tonight in this ring, right here in Chicago, but…this match will never take place again. Hunter said this match does not happen at WrestleMania. He said it’s one time. He said that if that is the stip then you have got a deal.
Vince said he wants Triple H to pucker his lips, but not kiss his daughter because it makes him puke. Vince said that he didn’t want to kiss Vince’s ass. Vince wanted Hunter to pucker up and kiss that WWF Title goodbye. Vince left while Hunter was angry in the ring.
Analysis: Huge announcement by Vince. It’s rare to get a WWF Championship match on Raw and to give the fans what was the planned WrestleMania main event match (there was actually another plan as we found out later) two weeks earlier is a nice way of giving this Raw a boost. Everybody played their parts well with Vince doing a great job of sucking up to the crowd, Hunter going into angry mode and Shane/Show realizing it was a good opportunity. I like how it was set up.
The Rock was shown arriving to the arena.
The Godfather made his entrance along with the Ho’s. There were four of them…or eight of them depending on what you are counting. The Godfather did a promo to hype up the crowd while reminding us that he was pimpin’ ho’s nationwide.
Big Boss Man made his entrance with Bull Buchanan, who was his new buddy after the Albert experiment failed.
Boss Man and Buchanan went into the ring to attack Godfather before the bell even rang. Buchanan hit a scissors kick to the back of Godfather. Buchanan went up top and hit a leg drop. Boss Man’s music played to end it as the heels left.
Analysis: No match, which is fine because it would have been shitty if they had a match. This was done to showcase the athleticism of the newcomer Buchanan. He was an athletic dude for a big guy, but he never developed into a star.
Road Dogg and X-Pac went into Hunter’s office while Hunter was chilling with Stephanie. Hunter told them to calm down. Hunter put Kane in a match against Rikishi, do Dogg and X-Pac were happy about that.
This was the next match in the Tag Team tournament that was done to determine contenders to the Tag Team titles.
Too Cool (Grandmaster Sexay and Scotty 2 Hotty) vs. Perry Saturn and Dean Malenko (w/Eddie Guerrero)
Pre-match notes: Too Cool were the faces while Saturn and Malenko were the heels. Guerrero no longer had a sling, but he had a big elbow pad on the left elbow.
Saturn and Malenko attacked before the bell, but Too Cool fought them off. Scotty hit a belly to back suplex on Malenko. Sexay tagged in with a suplex. Saturn tagged in with Sexay hitting an arm drag. Sexay with a back body drop that sent Saturn across the ring. Sexay missed a corner splash and hit the turnbuckle, so Saturn slammed Sexay into the turnbuckle. Sexay came back with a suplex followed by a missile dropkick off the middle ropes. Scotty tagged in leading to a clothesline from Saturn. Fans chanted “Eddie sucks” at Guerrero. Malenko hit a vertical suplex on Scotty. Saturn back in with a body slam. Saturn went up top, but Scotty tripped him up and Sexay got the hot tag against Malenko. Sexay with clothesline on both heels, body slam by Sexay on Malenko and Scotty hit a bulldog on Saturn. They aren’t the legal men, but Scotty set up for the Worm anyway. Eddie tripped up Scotty. Sexay punched Eddie off the apron. Sexay tossed Guerrero into Saturn. Malenko had the Texas Cloverleaf on Scotty, but Sexay got back into it with a superkick on Malenko leading to Sexay covering Malenko to win. They were the legal men. The match went 5:47.
Winners by pinfall: Too Cool
Analysis: *** That was a very good tag team match for the time given. It was all action. I thought the finish was clever with Guerrero getting involved, then Sexay managed to use it to his advantage by tossing Guerrero into Saturn and Sexay ended up kicking Malenko for the win. The crowd was really into the match.
Rikishi was shown watching on a TV backstage. He was happy about that result for his Too Cool buddies. He is up next.
There was a shot of members of the NFL’s Chicago Bears at ringside.
Kane made his entrance with Paul Bearer. As Rikishi made his entrance, JR announced that Rikishi would team up with Kane against Road Dogg and X-Pac. I guess the storyline was that Vince McMahon made the match.
Kane (w/Paul Bearer) vs. Rikishi Phatu
Pre-match notes: They were both faces.
It started out as a slugfest with both guys throwing punches. Rikishi hit a superkick followed by a Samoan Drop. Kane hit a boot to the chest. Kane picked up Rikishi and hit him with a Chokeslam. X-Pac and Road Dogg came out for an attack, so that led to a DQ at 1:13.
Winner by DQ: Kane
Analysis: 1/2* This was more about storyline development than the match. They got into their big moves quickly, which told us that a cheap ending was coming.
Post match, X-Pac hit Kane with a low blow and an X-Factor. Rikishi got back into it with punches and kicks. Rikishi teased a splash on Dogg, but X-Pac kicked him in the balls twice. X-Factor by X-Pac on Rikishi. The heels left as Kane and Rikishi slowly got back up.
Analysis: They were set for a WrestleMania tag team match, so it was a way to build that up.
Chris Benoit was interviewed by Kevin Kelly why Benoit attacked Jericho on Smackdown. Benoit said Kurt Angle should watch what Benoit does to Jericho.
Michael Cole was outside The Rock’s locker room because The Rock is up next.
The Rock was interviewed by Michael Cole and Rock told Cole to go suck on a monkey’s nipple leading to the image I posted above. Rock told Cole to go find a monkey and kicked him out. The Rock said “bring it” about doing the triple threat match tonight. Rock said that he’s ready, he was ready this morning, yesterday, the day before that and so on – The Rock has been ready since he lost the WWF Title last year. The crowd started a “Rocky” chant so he paused to soak in the chants. Rock said that the only two things Triple H and Big Show should know their role, shut it and smell what The Rock is cooking.
Analysis: Classic Rock promo as usual. Insulting Cole is always great to me.
Kurt Angle made his entrance with the Intercontinental and European Championships around his waist. No Bob Backlund with him. It was announced that Angle vs. Benoit vs. Jericho was set for WrestleMania for both titles.
Chris “All Elite” Jericho made his entrance to a big ovation as he welcomed us to Raw is Jericho. Jericho talked about how Benoit (he pronounced it wrong on purpose) takes himself very seriously and he would do that too if he spoke in a monotone, robotic voice like Benoit. Jericho said that this supposed number one contender will give him a Y2J beating that you will never, ever forget again. Benoit showed up at ringside to attack Jericho before the bell. Angle joined the commentary team.
Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho
Pre-match notes: Benoit was the heel and Jericho was the face. As mentioned earlier, they are in a triple threat with Kurt Angle at WrestleMania 2000. It will be the first WrestleMania for all three of them.
They exchanged hard chops at the start of the match with Benoit taking over with a snap suplex followed by a backbreaker. Jericho countered a suplex into a cross body block and a clothesline. Jericho hit a backbreaker for a two count. Jericho charged and Benoit sent Jericho throat first into the top rope with a stun gun. Neckbreaker by Benoit followed by a clothesline. Lawler was sucking up to Angle on commentary by saying that he’s honest. Benoit with a knee to the ribs to stay in control. Benoit with a suplex that sent Benoit stomach first onto the top rope. Benoit with another knee to the ribs. Jericho with a drop toe hold and a flying forearm to the head. Jericho with a bulldog for a two count. Jericho avoided a suplex attempt followed by a dropkick that sent Benoit out of the ring near Angle on commentary. Benoit touched Angle’s titles on the table, so Angle got up and Benoit shoved Angle down. Jericho hit a springboard dropkick to knock Benoit off the apron. Angle tossed Benoit back in the ring. Angle grabbed a title and hit Benoit in the head while the referee was distracted by Jericho. Jericho saw it and capitalized with a Lionsault on Benoit for the pinfall win at 6:02.
Winner by pinfall: Chris Jericho
Analysis: *** Good match for the time given and they went at a very fast pace with a hard-hitting style for both guys. The ending was cheap with the Angle involvement, but I thought it was booked well and done in a smart way that didn’t hurt the quality of the match at all. It furthered the storyline between these guys.
Bob Backlund went down to the ring, so Jericho decked him with a punch to the head. Angle went into the ring and hit Jericho in the back of the head with a title. Backlund went into the ring to celebrate with Angle.
A replay aired of Angle’s cheap attacks on Benoit and Jericho from before the break.
Angle and Backlund were shown backstage. There was some random guy backstage that wanted to give them a high five. Nothing happened from there.
Al Snow and Bob Backlund were in the locker room with Snow trying to bribe Blackman with some idea for $1 and a guy was dressed as Benjamin Franklin.
Analysis: Those two segments were random and weird. Neither one was really funny.
Hardcore Holly and Crash Holly vs. Al Snow and Steve Blackman
Pre-match notes: Crash was the Hardcore Champion. He was mostly a face while cousin Hardcore was a heel. I think you can say both were tweeners. Snow and Blackman were faces by this point although they started out as a heel team. This match is part of the tag team tournament to set up a battle royal later.
Snow worked over Crash with headbutts plus a kick to the back. Crash came back with a hurricanrana, Blackman with a kick to the back and a Snow clothesline. Blackman tagged in as fans chanted “Headcheese” at them. Blackman hit a tilt-a-whirl slam on Crash. Hardcore and Snow tagged in with Hardcore hitting a body slam. Hardcore with an atomic drop and a clothesline. Crash and Hardcore hit a double team slam that looked a bit sloppy, but Snow sold it anyway. Tazz went down to the ring with referee Teddy Long. Tazz went after Crash with an overhead suplex and tossed crash over the barricade. The wrestlers went into the hallways where there were a lot of people. Hardcore got a rollup on Snow, but Blackman broke it up with a kick. The fans were all around the wrestlers, so we could barely see them. Blackman hit a pump kick on Holly. Snow went up top, Blackman held Holly and Snow hit a top rope leg drop for the pinfall win at 4:48.
Winners by pinfall: Al Snow and Steve Blackman
Analysis: *3/4 It was okay while it was a tag team match until it fell apart when Tazz attacked Crash. That led to the obvious finish with Hardcore Holly failing to win against two guys.
The announcers informed us that Crash left the building with the title, so that was the end of that storyline.
There was a video that aired showing the Run DMC version of the DMX song that was called “The Kings.” It was pretty cool and it was part of the Aggression CD that the WWF released around this time. The video featured the DX group in a strip club.
There was a GTV segment with Terri and The Kat in the locker room. Terri complained about her ribs and being in pain after Edge hit her with a Spear last week. Terri said it’s not nearly the pain that The Kat feels by not being on TV anymore. Terri left and Kat was mad about it.
Analysis: That was the start of the setup for their WrestleMania “match” that wasn’t very good, but it got the ladies on the show. It was also the only singles match at that WrestleMania, which was odd.
Edge and Christian vs. The Acolytes (Bradshaw and Faarooq)
Pre-match notes: Edge and Christian were faces and so were The Acolytes.
Bradshaw knocked down Christian with a boot to the face. Faarooq tagged in with a spinebuster on Christian for two. The fans were distracted by something in the crowd and I read up on this episode in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, which told me that the distraction was two women showing their boobs. Welcome to the Attitude Era, my friends. The APA hit a double team shoulder tackle to put Christian down. The fans continued to be distracted as they chanted “Asshole” at somebody. Christian avoided a slam and hit a reverse DDT. Mideon walked out since he was a lackey for the APA. Edge tagged in and he hit a shoulder tackle and spin kick on Faarooq. Bradshaw went in leading to a double team neckbreaker. Mideon had a mop with him. Mideon swung the mop and hit Bradshaw in the back by accident because he thought it was Edge. Edge hit the Downward Spiral on Bradshaw (legal man was Faarooq) and covered for the pinfall win at 2:48. Bradshaw kicked out right after the pin to no sell it.
Winners by pinfall: Edge and Christian
Analysis: *1/4 Boring match with a cheap ending caused by Mideon being an idiot.
Post match, Faarooq and Bradshaw beat up Mideon with Faarooq hitting a sloppy piledriver. The APA guys left.
Val Venis entered for the next match. Test was the opponent and he had Trish Stratus with him as a manager. This was her first time on Raw after debuting on Heat. The show got a lot better when Trish was a part of the product. For $4.95, you could log onto WWF.com on Thursday to see Trish and Tori in bikinis. I don’t remember that, but here it is.
I think you deserve another Trish pic, good reader. You’re welcome.
Test (w/Trish Stratus) vs. Val Venis
Pre-match notes: Venis was a face and Test was a face going into this, but that changed.
Test took control with a full nelson slam. Venis came back with punches, but Test whipped Venis into the turnbuckle two times. The camera zoomed in on Trish’s chest (thank you) with JR asking King if he was seeing double. We all were. Test went for a pumphandle slam, Venis powered out and hit a side slam for two. Venis with two knees to the ribs and a side Russian legsweep. Trish walked up to the ring apron to distract Venis. Test capitalized on that with punches, Venis got a rollup and Test rolled up Venis for a rollup with Test sitting on top and Test grabbed the tights for the pinfall win at 2:42. That was a weak looking cover with Test barely on top of Venis.
Winner by pinfall: Test
Analysis: * Bad match, but at least the presence of Trish made it watchable.
After the match, Venis and Test got into an argument with punches. Prince Albert ran down to the ring and attacked Venis from behind. Albert hit a sitout powerslam on Venis. Test worked over Venis with punches. Trish went into the ring with the guys. Trish did a promo saying that’s enough as Test tossed Venis out of the ring.
Trish did a promo saying they know what everyone wants to see, that’s T and A…that’s just what you’re looking at…Test and Albert. They left.
Analysis: It was a very generic promo and I’m sure Trish would tell you that she was nervous because she looked nervous. She got through it fine, but it wasn’t a great promo by any means. It just got the name across for this new team.
The ring was full with tag teams for the battle royal to determine the Tag Team Title match at WrestleMania. The WWF Tag Team Champions Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley were on commentary.
Battle Royal: Christian & Edge vs. Al Snow & Steve Blackman vs. The Hardy Boyz (Jeff & Matt Hardy) vs. Too Cool (Grandmaster Sexay & Scotty 2 Hotty)
Pre-match notes: All four teams were faces since the champs were the Dudleys, who were heels.
The eight guys paired off in the corners. Scotty hit the bulldog on Blackman leading to The Worm to a huge pop from the crowd. Bubba called it the stupidest thing he’s ever seen and the crowd went wild for it. Snow dumped Scotty out right after and Matt tossed Snow out, so that meant it was down to the Hardys and Edge/Christian. Christian and Jeff did a double hair whip spot. Edge took down Matt with a headscissors takedown. Christian hit a reverse DDT on Matt. Jeff hit a Twist of Fate on Christian. Jeff went up top and hit a Swanton Bomb on Christian and Edge hit a Spear on Jeff. The Dudleys went into the ring with a 3D on Edge. The Dudleys hit 3D on Matt as well. The Dudleys brought a table into the ring. They grabbed Jeff and Bubba gave Jeff a Powerbomb onto Christian on a table in the ring. Bubba had a crazed look in his eyes. Let’s say it went 3:45.
Match Result: No Contest
Analysis: *1/2 That was a booking formula that WWE has used a lot in the last two decades where one person or team attacks the others vying for a title shot and then it becomes a triple threat match instead. It was the setup for the Tables and Ladders Match for the Tag Team Titles at WrestleMania.
The Dudleys were happy about the destruction they caused while the announcers wondered who the winners were. There were no winners.
The Rock was shown walking backstage because he’s in the main event up next.
Triple H, the WWF Champion, made his entrance first with Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley. I prefer champions to enter last, especially in a WWF Title match, but WWE changed it up sometimes.
Big Show was up next with Shane McMahon by his side.
Vince McMahon was up first because he was in The Rock corner.
The Rock was last as he entered to a thunderous ovation.
WWF Championship: Triple H (w/Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley) vs. The Rock (w/Vince McMahon) vs. Big Show (w/Shane McMahon)
Pre-match notes: The Rock was the face, Triple H was the heel champion and Big Show was a heel. I’ll use “Hunter” to talk about Triple H because that’s what I do. Triple threat matches in the WWE became no disqualification and no countout, but that wasn’t as much of a rule at this point in company history.
Hunter and Show worked together against Rock at he start of the match, but Rock came back with punches on both guys and a Russian legsweep on Show. Rock hit a powerslam on Hunter followed by a clothesline over the top to the floor. Hunter tried to punch Vince, but Vince ducked and Vince punched Hunter. Rock hit a Rock Bottom on Show in the ring and Hunter made the save at two. Rock sent Hunter over the top to the floor. Rock and Hunter went brawling into the crowd. Show went after Rock and they fought around ringside. Rock sent Hunter off the security wall onto Show outside the ring. Back in the ring, Hunter hit a knee to the face of Rock and Show hit a sidewalk slam on Rock. The fans chanted Big Show sucks at Big Show as Show hit a body slam on Rock. Hunter and Show took turns working over Rock with Show hitting a backbreaker followed by a knee to the face by Hunter for a two count. Rock fought back on Hunter with punches, but Hunter stopped that with an elbow to the face. Show knocked Rock out of the ring with a punch to the face. Rock whipped Hunter elbow first into the steel steps. Show choked Rock, Hunter with an elbow to the throat of Rock and Show hit a low blow knee to Rock’s groin. Hunter hit a low blow knee to the groin of Rock as well with Show distracting the referee. Rock tried another comeback, but he was stopped by a clothesline from Triple H.
The problems started between Hunter and Show as they exchanged punches. Show with an elbow drop to the chest of Hunter followed by a hard slap to the chest. Rock got back into it with punches on Hunter and a DDT on Show. Samoan Drop by Rock on Hunter got a two count. The crowd was standing and going crazy for every nearfall as Big Show hit a Chokeslam on Rock for a two count with Hunter breaking it up. Hunter with a Facebuster knee to the face leading to Show bumping to the floor. They battled by the announce table, Hunter was on the table and Show gave him a Chokeslam off the table onto the floor! Ouch. Painful landing for Hunter. Back in the ring, Rock dropped Show with a Spinebuster. When Rock ran the ropes for the People’s Elbow, Shane pulled the top rope down, which led to Rock bumping over the top to the floor. Shane hit Rock in the head with a chair. Vince went over to Shane and punched him in the head, which led to a huge ovation from the crowd. This crowd was going crazy! Holy shit. Vince grabbed the chair, Hunter grabbed it and punched Vince. Hunter hit Show in the face with the chair. Hunter back in the ring and hit a Pedigree on Show for the pinfall win at 12:03.
Winner by pinfall: Triple H
Analysis: ***3/4 That was an awesome match that was very fast paced and longer than most TV matches from this era. If that took place today they’d have another ten minutes with rest holds and other things to slow the pace down. I prefer it this way with a more up tempo match. Most of the match was about Rock getting isolated by the two heels, then that strategy failed and it was all about Rock getting back into it and nearly winning. In the end, Triple H outsmarted anybody with the chair shot to Show and the Pedigree to win. That was fun to watch.
After the match was over, The Rock chased after Shane, who jumped over the barricade and went running into the crowd. That took them out of the picture.
Linda McMahon showed up to the “No Chance in Hell” theme song. As that was happening, some fan was on the ramp and Triple H tackled the guy! I’m shocked that WWE left that in this airing of the show, but they did. Here’s Triple H after the successful tackle.
The cameras quickly cut away from that and focused on Linda again.
Linda congratulated Triple H for his WrestleMania victory. Linda wondered what the WrestleMania should be while noting Triple H, The Rock and Big Show should be there. Linda said a special ingredient should be added for some deserving individual whose dream should come true if for one night only. Linda said she’s making the final decision.
She announced the main event at WrestleMania will be a Fatal Four-Way Elimination Match where Triple H will defend the WWF Title against Big Show, The Rock and against…Mick Foley!
The crowd went wild as Foley showed up and attacked Triple H with punches. They went into the ring with Foley unloading on Hunter with punches to the face and a running title shot to Big Show. Foley hit Triple H with the WWF Title as well. The fans were going crazy as Foley posed with the WWF Title in his hands. Jim Ross was screaming in excitement. Foley held up the WWF Title again and that was how the show ended with JR screaming “OH MY GOD” about what just happened.
Analysis: It was a huge thing at the time as you could tell from the crowd going wild. The bad thing about it is that it meant the No Way Out match useless after they made it a career match for Foley. He lost and was gone until this match. Chris Jericho, in one of his books, mentioned that he was originally going to be the fourth guy in the WrestleMania main event (there was even a graphic made), but that was changed when they decided to bring Foley back. I can remember reading at the time that Foley was going to be added to the WWF Title match at WrestleMania. We didn’t know how, but the way they did it made a lot of sense with Linda stepping up to announce it. I think the execution of it was great. If you hated that they brought back Foley then that’s okay, but it never bothered me that much. I always saw it as a one match thing and I don’t blame him for taking a huge payday that was offered to him.
This episode had a run time of 1:35:58 on WWE Network.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Triple H
2. The Rock
3. Big Show
This Raw episode gets an 8 out of 10.
Great show from top to bottom. This may have been the best Raw of the year up to this point. I don’t remember if I rated one higher than 8 so far. The last 20 minutes were amazing with a great main event match and the final five minutes with Mick Foley coming back to receive a thunderous ovation from the crowd. The addition of Foley never really bothered me. The crowd loved it too.
The rest of the show seemed to be more focused in terms of the in-ring action with the tag team division becoming a focus with the mini-tournament leading to the Dudleys kicking everybody’s ass.
The debut of Trish Stratus was big because she went on to have such an incredible career, so it will be cool to see her journey all over again.
On a final note, the Chicago crowd was incredible. They have a rep for being one of the best crowds in WWE and they showed it here.
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