This was the last episode of Raw before Backlash 2000. Things were really heating with most of the Backlash card known at this point. The main storyline was Triple H defending the WWF Title against The Rock at Backlash with Vince McMahon in Triple H’s corner and Steve Austin would be in The Rock’s corner.

The synopsis for this episode on WWE Network is: “As Backlash approaches, Mr. McMahon reminds The Rock not to trust a rattlesnake. Shane McMahon issues a challenge to Chris Jericho.”

Check out our WWF TV in 2000 archives in case you missed anything from earlier in the year. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport and tweet me to talk about this show or anything else. Let’s get to it.

WWF Raw #361
April 24, 2000
From the Raleigh Entertainment & Sports Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina

This show has a TV-14 rating and “S” for Sexual Content on WWE Network.

The Raw intro video aired. There was a live shot of the arena with a full crowd, there were signs everywhere and the pyro went off by the stage. It was loud just like every week in this era. The announce team of Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler welcomed us to the show.

Kurt Angle’s music hit as the Olympic Hero talked trash about Big Show calling him a Big Ass. Angle: “I do not like, nor do I appreciate big asses.” That led him to insult Rikishi’s “repulsive rectum” and I was distracted by this wonderful “Vince Eats Poo!” sign in the crowd.

Rikishi Phatu made his entrance to a big pop. JR wished X-Pac the best for a loss his family and said X-Pac wasn’t there this week.

Analysis: Raw normally began with a promo in the first segment just like it still does today. Smackdown usually started with a match and then a promo in segment two, so this Raw had more of a Smackdown start to it.

Kurt Angle vs. Rikishi Phatu

Pre-match notes: Angle was a heel and Rikishi was a face.

Rikishi worked over Angle with several punches. Angle tried a suplex, but Rikishi blocked it and hit a suplex of his own. Angle tried a sunset flip, Rikishi tried to sit on Kurt, but Kurt moved and Angle hit an impressive belly to belly suplex. Two corner clotheslines by Angle, Rikishi no sold the second one, hit a clothesline of his own and Angle shoved the referee into Rikishi, so the ref got back up to disqualify Angle at 1:23.

Winner by disqualification: Rikishi Phatu

Analysis: 1/2* They barely got going when the match suddenly ended with the DQ. I think it’s a case of the WWF not wanting either guy to lose a match like this.

After the match was over, Big Show went into the ring and gave Angle a sidewalk slam. Rikishi did the Stinkface to Angle against the turnbuckle. Angle ran away, Big Show chased after him and they were set for a match at Backlash. Big Show gave Rikishi his dancing glasses and left while Rikishi danced. The crowd loved it.

The DX Express bus was back with JR saying it was a $250,000 bus that DX often traveled in. That led to Shane McMahon, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley walking off of the bus.

(Commercial)

Trish Stratus was in a room with tables while wearing a bra, panties and a coat. She talked to “Bubba Ray” (Dudley) saying something about tables drive her crazy. She talked about larger ones, round ones, smaller ones and the one thing they have to have in common is they have to be…hard.

Analysis: This was the first of four videos featuring Trish taunting Bubba while dressed in lingerie. Lots of innuendo with those promos. She looked amazing, of course.

Let’s Hear from Hunter and the McMahons

Triple H, the WWF Champion, made his entrance with wifey Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley, who was the Women’s Champion that didn’t wrestle and Shane McMahon. It’s promo time in segment two.

Shane McMahon said his dad Vince will be there soon. Shane said he owed Hunter an apology for his actions last week leading to an “Asshole” chant. Shane said he knows Hunter loves the McMahon family as much as he does and he knows Hunter would never Pedigree Linda McMahon in this very ring. Shane said he was sorry for hitting Hunter in the face. Shane said that Hunter was the best brother-in-law a guy could have and he loves him. JR: “Pass the barf bag! This is nauseating!” JR rules.

Stephanie took over leading to the “slut” chant. Stephanie said she wanted to apologize to the fans for hurting their feelings with her actions. She said she knows what it’s like to have her feelings hurt. Stephanie claimed she was a deeply caring soul that’s extraordinarily sensitive and when they chant that name at her, she almost cries. JR: “Give it a rest!” She said that you can’t pass judgment on her without knowing the real Stephanie. She hugged Hunter and Shane.

Triple H took over saying that the fans owe Stephanie a big apology. Triple H wondered if it was unfair to take away Chris Jericho’s “win” last week and if it was unfair to fire Earl Hebner last week. Hunter also wondered if it was unfair for The Rock to get his ass kicked in the lumberjack match on Smackdown right before he gets his ass kicked by Hunter at Backlash. Hunter said he’s not an unfair guy, so that’s why tonight…here comes Chris Jericho.

Analysis: These promos were long-winded and boring. That was probably intentional because the fans were clamoring for an interruption and Jericho was a good choice for that.

Chris Jericho got a big pop from the crowd as he stood on the ramp to welcome us to “Raw is Jericho.” Jericho said Triple H should apologize for that boring promo and said nobody gives a damn about what Triple H has to say. That led to cheers. Jericho pleaded with Hunter: “SHUT THE HELL UP!” Jericho said if “Trip” wants to be fair then he should agree to give Y2J a rematch for the WWF Championship and he should do it tonight, which drew a big pop from the crowd. Jericho walked halfway down the ramp.

Hunter didn’t seem interested in rewarding Jericho for all of his insults to his wife and claimed Stephanie is like a flower. Jericho had a good line saying she lost her flower a long time ago. That led to Jericho’s classic rant about Stephanie being a “filthy, dirty, disgusting, brutal, trashbag ho.” Shane said he was sick of Jericho and Rock insulting his sister. Shane said he’ll team with Triple H against Jericho and The Rock. Hunter denied Jericho’s WWF Title shot opportunity. Stephanie held the WWF Title over the ropes, Jericho stole it from her and Jericho hit Hunter in the head with the title. Jericho’s music played to end it as Shane and Steph checked on Hunter. The crowd was really into the last minute of that.

Analysis: Jericho got some good lines in and the crowd loved him, so at least he made it entertaining. They also set up a match for later in the show, which was typical for this kind of promo. The same format has been used for over 20 years in WWE.

Eddie Guerrero and Chyna were in the locker room getting ready for the prom on Sunday at Backlash because Eddie passed his GED. Eddie had on a green jacket with a tuxedo shirt, Chyna mocked him for it and told him he can’t wear that.

(Commercial)

A replay aired of Jericho knocking out Triple H.

There was a shot of Jericho during the break when Chris Benoit showed up from behind and knocked Jericho down with Benoit’s IC Title. Benoit said that this is another title that he won’t win. They were set for a match at Backlash.

During Road Dogg’s intro for the next match, he said “if you ain’t down with Dennis Knight, I’ve got two words for ya” leading to the “suck it.” Knight was Mideon’s real name, so he was referencing him for some reason. (The reason was that Knight was in the hospital dealing with something, so Road Dogg was just giving a shoutout to his buddy.) Chris Benoit entered. Edge & Christian showed up to do commentary on the match.

Intercontinental Championship: Chris Benoit vs. Road Dogg

Pre-match notes: Benoit was the heel IC Champion. Road Dogg was also a heel that did a babyface intro for his matches because catchphrases are cool. Edge and Christian were set to defend the Tag Team Titles against Dogg and X-Pac at Backlash.

Benoit stomped away on Dogg. Christian said that if Road Dogg is in the upper hand in three minutes, they’re going to interfere and cost him the match. Edge said that’s called a run-in. Lawler was excited about it while JR was shocked by their bluntness. Benoit with a dropkick that knocked Dogg out of the ring as Tori walked down to ringside. Back in the ring, Dogg did his punch combo followed by a knee drop for two. Benoit dumped Dogg out of the ring where he sent Dogg back first into the barricade. Dogg hit suplex Benoit onto the barricade. Edge and Christian did their run-in, Torie grabbed Christian and Edge hit a Spear on Dogg, which the referee never saw because he was looking at Christian with Tori. Benoit went up top, hit a headbutt on Dogg and got the pinfall win at 3:13.

Winner by pinfall: Chris Benoit

Analysis: * A cheap win thanks to the run-in from Edge & Christian just like they said that they were going to do. It furthered the Tag Team Title storyline, but it wasn’t much of a match.

Post match, Edge and Christian hit a double team sidewalk slam/neckbreaker combo on Dogg. Tori tried to save Dogg, Edge teased a kiss and Christian hit a reverse DDT on Tori. E&C left with their titles.

Analysis: If you have been reading my reviews regularly then you know that I noted E&C were acting heelish before WrestleMania, then they were back to being faces for a few weeks post-WM and here they were back in a heel role. The heel behavior was permanent at this point. E&C were so great as heels. They really started to take off after Backlash.

Kurt Angle was shown backstage in the APA offices and there was no door. Angle asked Faarooq and Bradshaw if he can pay them to beat up Big Show. They mocked Angle for having brown on his nose after the Stinkface. Bradshaw told Angle they don’t beat people up, they protect people. Angle said he had money, then he insulted their office because it was messy and they told them get out of there.

(Commercial)

Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley was backstage with Big Boss Man and Bull Buchanan when Kurt Angle walked by. Angle complained about his problem with Big Show while Boss Man drove the casket of Big Show’s daddy. Stephanie put Boss Man and Buchanan in a handicap match against Big Show. Angle thanked Stephanie to continue their friendly relationship with the teases that she had a crush on him.

The Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff Hardy) vs. Hardcore Holly and Crash Holly

Pre-match notes: The Hardys were faces in their home state of North Carolina. Hardcore and Crash were heels while Crash was also the Hardcore Champion.

Hardcore with a powerslam on Matt. Hardcore with a whip into the turnbuckle, Matt kicked his way out of the corner followed by a leg drop off the middle ropes for two. Hardcore came back with a clothesline. Crash tagged in with a body slam followed by a missed attack off the top with Matt kicking Crash in the groin area. Jeff tagged in against Hardcore with JR busting out his usual “quicker than a hiccup” line as Jeff hit the Poetry in Motion attack on Hardcore against the turnbuckle. Matt threw Crash out of the ring. Matt hit a suplex on Hardcore, the ref made Matt leave the ring, so Crash hit Jeff with a trash can lid. Hardcore with a dropkick on Jeff for the pinfall win with Jeff kicking out right after the three count at 2:38.

Winners by pinfall: Hardcore Holly and Crash Holly

Analysis: * A dropkick wins a match? That’s rare. It was assisted by the trash can lid to the back, but it was a surprise to see a match end after a dropkick.

Post match, the Hardys went after Crash because they wanted to go after the Hardcore Title. They attacked Crash on the ramp and then brought him into the ring. Crash managed to dump Matt over the top to the floor. Perry Saturn ran out to the ring and prevented Jeff from pinning Crash. Saturn hit a delayed suplex on Crash and Tazz broke up the pin. Tazz hit Saturn with a clothesline. Jeff hit a Swanton Bomb on Crash and Matt slid back into the ring to pin Crash to win the title. Let’s call it the end of the match at 1:00. The crowd popped big for it.

Winner by pinfall and New Hardcore Champion: Matt Hardy

Analysis: I’m not going to rate it. The 24/7 Hardcore Title rule strikes again. It was chaotic, fun and well booked. That rule was silly and there were plenty of dumb moments, but it was something people remember in a positive way.

Eddie Guerrero and Chyna were back in their locker room trying on outfits for the “prom” on Sunday. They couldn’t decide on what to wear.

(Commercial)

Trish Stratus had another table tips vignette. She talked about rubbing wood and the more you rub it, the better the wood starts to look.

Analysis: Gee, I wonder what she is referencing. Then again, if you ignored what she said and just looked at her…that’s okay too. She was ridiculously hot here.

Big Show vs. Bull Buchanan and Big Boss Man

Pre-match notes: Big Show was the face while Buchanan and Boss Man were the heels. Please don’t make this a long match.

Boss Man and Bull didn’t need to tag out in this match. Double boot to the face by Buchanan and Boss Man. Show headbutted both guys and he tried to dump Buchanan out of the ring, but Bull skinned the cat back in. Boss Man punched Snow. The heels double teamed Show with punches. Show with a running double clothesline on both guys. Show wanted a double Chokeslam, but Kurt Angle showed up for a low blow punch to Show’s groin for the DQ finish at 1:22.

Winner by disqualification: Big Show

Analysis: 1/2* Thanks for being a short match. It was just a quick match to set up the cheap attack for Angle to continue his rivalry with Show.

Post match, Angle picked up Show for an Olympic Slam, which was impressive considering Show was at (worked weight) 500 pounds at this point. Angle got out of there while the Acolytes showed up to brawl with Buchanan and Boss Man, so they went to the back fighting with them. Show got back up, had an angry look on his face and that ended it.

Vince McMahon was shown arriving in a limo. JR yelled about how the “evil genius” was here. I wonder who paid him to say that? Oh right, that’s Vince. Funny how that works.

(Commercial)

Trish Status was shown backstage once again talking about taking legs. She spoke about Bubba Ray having strong table legs while adding that without the “center leg” you can’t keep it up.

Let’s Hear from Vince McMahon

Vince McMahon made his entrance at the top of hour two for our second McMahon style in-ring prom of the night. The “Vince Eats Poo” sign is still at ringside, which he did not acknowledge.

Vince said that he was in Europe last week doing business while adding that his family’s actions in this ring last week were deplorable and reprehensible. Vince complained about Linda McMahon announcing that Steve Austin would be in The Rock’s corner at Backlash. That drew a big pop from the crowd. Vince mentioned Linda slapping Stephanie down to the canvas, which drew cheers from the crowd. Vince: “What the hell is going on?” I ask that often. Vince continued to summarize everything that we already know. Vince wondered if he was the only level-headed, sane member of the McMahon Family. JR: “Oh hell!”

Vince had a message for Triple H, who nearly hit Linda with a Pedigree last week: “Don’t you ever touch my wife again.” Vince noted that the tag team match tonight is going to change because Shane has been assigned new duties. Vince said if Triple H can’t find a partner then he’ll have to face Rock and Jericho in a handicap match.

Vince moved on to talking about Steve Austin saying that nobody knows Austin like he does. Vince said if Rock believes Austin will lead him to the promised land, he should think again. Vince noted that a year ago this month, something happened between Rock and Stone Cold. A video package aired from one year earlier when Steve Austin drove a monster truck over Rock’s new Lincoln Continental car.

Vince reminded us that night that Rock made a vow to never drive his personal car to the arena and that Rock swore he would get revenge on Austin. Vince suggested that it was Rock’s rental car that ran over Steve Austin at Survivor Series. Vince noted that Rock wasn’t driving because he had an airtight alibi while talking about who might benefit the most from putting Austin on the shelf – only The Rock. Vince claimed that Austin and himself paved the way for Rock’s success. Vince said he leaves his fellow North Carolinians with this thought that Rock stole Austin’s spot. Vince told Rock he needs to think about one thing: “DTA – Don’t Trust Anybody.” Vince wondered if Rock can truly trust Austin in his corner. Vince claimed that Austin would strike Rock and after Rock fails, then Rock will realize how “Backlash” is an appropriate name for this pay-per-view.

Analysis: It was a fine promo from Vince, but it didn’t need to be as long as it was. Do we really need summaries of stuff that happened last week when Triple H, Stephanie and Shane already went over it? I get that they wanted to have Vince talk about it from his perspective. It just came off as repetitive and boring to me. Who ran over Austin? A guy that did it for…The Rock. We’ll get that to that later in 2000 reviews.

(Commercial)

Eddie and Chyna were backstage again with Eddie in a tuxedo while Chyna was in a red dress. They said they had a match in ten minutes, so they went behind a curtain to change. Eddie wanted to forget the match and stay here.

Al Snow entered with The Godfather with Snow dressed as a pimp like Godfather. JR noted that Snow and Blackman split up as a team, so that was the end of the “Headcheese” duo. Godfather did a pre-match promo while Snow talked to “Head” at ringside. Their former partners D-Lo Brown and Steve Blackman were their opponents.

The Godfather and Al Snow vs. D-Lo Brown and Steve Blackman

Pre-match notes: Godfather and Snow were the faces while Brown and Blackman were the heels.

Brown started with a jumping kick on Snow, then Snow came back with a hurricanrana and a clothesline. Godfather tagged in, sent Blackman into the ropes, back elbow and a missed elbow drop. Blackman with a dropkick followed by a running shoulder tackle and a backbreaker. Brown with a body slam on Godfather, who came back with a jumping clothesline. Snow got the hot tag, back body drop on Brown, Snow with punches on Blackman and Brown managed to hit a Sky High slam for the pinfall win at 2:32.

Winners by pinfall: D-Lo Brown and Steve Blackman

Analysis: *1/4 Boring match. The finish came out of nowhere and wasn’t really set up well. It did give Brown some momentum as a heel although I don’t remember much of a push for him. None of these guys were really going anywhere.

Post match, Snow wanted to dance with the ho’s, they were not interested, so Godfather punched Snow and dumped him out of the ring.

(Commercial)

There was a “Stone Cold Strikes” video showing Austin driving the Zamboni to the ring on Raw in September 1998 for a memorable clothesline on Vinny Mac.

There was a plug for a restaurant called “Vinnie’s Steak House & Tavern” while showing the owner Dusty Anderson in the crowd.

Analysis: I did a search for more info while also remembering Bruce Prichard mentioned on his podcast. The restaurant was named after Vince McMahon because Dusty was one of his best friends when they were growing up in North Carolina. That’s why they plugged it.

The fourth and final Trish Stratus “table tips” video was shown with Trish crawling across the table saying that lying on these tables gets her so excited. She added that it’s just not the same without Bubba Ray Dudley. Trish said that if Bubba plays his cards right then at Backlash, they’ll be a table set for two from “me to you” and she blew a kiss towards the camera.

Analysis: The only way I can really summarize this is by saying that this was the best-looking edition of “mind games” in WWE history. It was a way to utilize Trish’s sexuality to build up the T&A match against the Dudleys and based on the crowd reactions, I think it worked well.

Eddie Guerrero (w/Chyna) vs. Val Venis

Pre-match notes: Eddie was a heel that was becoming a face due to the fun nature of his storyline with Chyna. Venis did not have much going on, but he was a face. This was not for Eddie’s European Title.

Guerrero with a running kick to the face followed by a senton splash for a two count. Venis came back with a delayed suplex. Guerrero came back with a rollup into a pinning situation for two. Venis with a lefty clothesline, back elbow, elbow drop and knee drop for two. Venis hit a fisherman’s suplex for two. Guerrero came back with a hurricanrana that led to a two count. Guerrero dumped Venis out of the ring and Chyna got in a cheap shot forearm on Venis. Essa Rios and Lita went down to the ring. Chyna shoved Lita aside and sent Rios into the ring apron. Lita jumped off the top and hit a cross body block on Chyna on the floor. Guerrero was distracted by that, so Venis hit a spinebuster on Guerrero. Venis went up top and hit the Money Shot splash for the pinfall win at 3:41.

Winner by pinfall: Val Venis

Analysis: ** It was a decent match with a champion losing non-title, which is common booking in WWE. It was also a cheap win since Guerrero was distracted.

Post match, Rios and Lita stomped away on Eddie. Chyna went into the ring, so Rios and Lita left.

(Commercial)

The Castrol GTX replay showed when the Dudleys put Lita through a table on the previous Smackdown.

The Dudleys Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley) vs. Edge & Christian

Pre-match: This is not for Edge & Christian’s Tag Team Titles. The Dudleys were becoming faces by this point while Edge & Christian appeared to be in their heel roles. It was fair to say both teams were evolving post-WrestleMania.

D-Von connected with a running forearm on Edge. Bubba tagged in with a back body drop on Christian. Bubba punched Edge, the ref focused on Edge and D-Von hit a headbutt off the top to the groin of Christian. Bubba worked over Christian with hard chops as Test and Albert brought a table onto the ramp with Trish Stratus laying on the table. Bubba hit a Full Nelson Bomb on Christian and then he was mesmerized by Trish on the table. I can’t say I blame him for that. Christian hit a reverse DDT on Bubba. Edge tagged back in as Trish stood on the table and Edge hit a running splash on Bubba. Edge and Christian each went into the ring, but Bubba fought back and hit a modified cutter on Edge. D-Von got the hot tag with a back body drop and a reverse suplex on Christian. Bubba missed a corner attack on Edge, but then he came back with a Spear off the turnbuckle to take down Edge. Bubba covered Edge for two even though D-Von and Christian were the legal men. Bubba and D-Von hit a double team neckbreaker on Christian. Trish took off her jacket, the crowd popped big and Bubba was distracted by it, so the 3D attempt failed because he left the ring. Edge went back in the ring and hit a Spear on D-Von for the pinfall win even though Christian was the legal man for his team. The match went 4:35.

Winners by pinfall: Edge & Christian

Analysis: ** It was the usual good match from these teams although there was obviously the distraction from Trish that was the big part of the story. I don’t think anybody is going to complain about the distraction. It furthered the story of Bubba’s obsession with Trish while E&C capitalized to get the win.

Post match, Bubba had a shocked look on his face and he was upset about what happened. JR summarized it by saying Bubba has been manipulated.

Analysis: They were setting up for the big spot at Backlash with Bubba putting Trish through a table. Giving Trish the advantage over Bubba the week prior with the kiss and then the taunting during this show was a smart way to build up to the table spot.

There was a shot of The Rock’s locker room to let us know he’s up after a break.

(Commercial)

The Rock was interviewed by Michael Cole and he quickly got rid of Cole while letting us know he’s finally back in Raleigh. Rock said that Vince McMahon ran his mouth, showed his footage and talked about how Rock can’t trust Austin. Rock said maybe he shouldn’t trust Austin and maybe Austin shouldn’t fully trust Rock. Rock said there are two things you can count on because they’re unified that they can’t trust Vince McMahon’s candy ass. Rock said that the second thing is Austin would say something to Rock’s face if he had a problem with him. Rock ranted about how Vince McMahon ran his mouth that Rock has had it easy. Rock said let’s clarify “easy” because Stephanie McMahon is easy (that drew cheers), Rock noted he has never had it easy, he has scratched and clawed and he has earned the right to call himself the People’s Champion. Huge pop from the crowd. JR: “This is amazing! The building is shaking!” Rock said that Vince wants to run his mouth about Austin’s “DTA” while Rock said that he’s going to whip Triple H’s candy ass and he’s going to walk out of Backlash as the WWF Champion. Big pop from the crowd.

Analysis: A great promo from Rock as usual. It was full of energy, some funny lines and a lot of intensity.

Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were shown getting off the DX Express for the main event. She told him not to worry, but he said he was worried. Heels lie.

(Commercial)

Chris Jericho was up first for the main event. Nice ovation for him. The Rock was next and he got a much bigger reaction. Every week when I watch these shows it’s amazing to hear how loud his reactions were. JR was screaming about Steve Austin returning at Backlash to be in Rock’s corner.

Triple H, the WWF Champion, was next with Women’s Champion Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley. Hunter introduced his tag team partner, the Intercontinental Champion Chris Benoit, who was set to face Jericho at Backlash. Triple H announced the special referee for this match is Shane McMahon. Hunter also introduced Vince McMahon to be in their corner for this match with JR calling Vince an “evil genius” again.

Analysis: Some of you may remember that Shane actually debuted in the WWF in the early 1990s as a referee named “Shane Stevens” when he was around 20 years old. Vince didn’t want him using the real last name.

Chris Jericho and The Rock vs. Triple H (w/Vince McMahon and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley) and Chris Benoit – Shane McMahon is the special referee

Pre-match notes: Rock and Jericho were the faces while Hunter and Benoit were the heels. Shane was also a heel.

Jericho and Benoit started with a chop fest followed by Jericho hitting a bulldog for two. Rock tagged in, Benoit charged and Rock whipped Benoit over the top to the floor. Rock wanted Hunter to come into the ring, but Hunter was reluctant, so Benoit got in a cheap shot to the back. Hunter tagged in at that point with kicks on Rock. Hunter hit a jumping knee to the face. Rock came back with a jumping clothesline on Benoit. Jericho tagged back in chops, Hunter got in a cheap shot and Benoit send Jericho throat first into the top rope. JR commented on the pace being amazing, which I agree with. Benoit with a snap suplex. Hunter tagged in for a vertical suplex of his own followed by a knee drop for two. The heels made some quick tags as they worked over Jericho in their corner. When Jericho tried to fight back, Hunter knocked him down with a facebuster knee to face for two. Jericho hit a jumping forearm to the face. Rock got the hot tag against Benoit with punches, then he brought Hunter into the ring and dropped him with a DDT. Jericho hit a springboard dropkick to knock Benoit out of the ring. Rock hit a Rock Bottom on Shane, he covered, but Shane was distracted by Stephanie, which was ridiculous. Rock went over to Shane and punched him. Vince went into the ring, Benoit saved Vince and Rock hit Benoit with a spinebuster. Rock wanted a People’s Elbow on Benoit, Vince got back in and hit a low blow kick to Rock’s groin. Hunter hit a Pedigree on Rock and Shane counted the pin to give Hunter’s team the win at 7:31 even though Hunter was not the legal man for his team. JR: “Son of a bitch!” Lawler: “What?”

Winners by pinfall: Triple H and Chris Benoit

Analysis: ***1/4 That was a pretty good tag team match with JR making a valid point about the incredible pace of this match. It wasn’t a surprise because they were all outstanding performers and the crowd was hot for everything they did. The outcome continued a common trend of Triple H winning matches with the idea that he was on a roll and it would be hard to beat him for the WWF Title. It was booked effectively in terms of showing how united the McMahons were while doing everything they could to screw over The Rock. It built up sympathy for Rock, who was always booked strongly, yet you did feel sorry for the guy constantly getting screwed over by the McMahons.

The foursome of Hunter, Vince, Shane and Benoit celebrated together with arms raised in the air. JR ended the show yelling about Stone Cold being in The Rock’s corner at Backlash. Rock stared back at Hunter and that’s how the show ended this week.

Analysis: Triple H was piling up the wins post-WrestleMania. He beat guys like Taka Michinoku and Tazz in singles matches while also going over in multiple tags as well. It’s not a complaint. More of an observation. It set the stage for what was to come at Backlash.

This episode of Raw had a runtime of 1:33:42 on WWE Network.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Triple H
  2. The Rock
  3. Chris Jericho

 

Final Thoughts

This Raw episode gets a 6.5 out of 10.

The big selling point going into Backlash was that Steve Austin was going to return to help Rock deal with all the help that Triple H had. I thought in terms of go-home show before Backlash, the main event storyline was booked well. I still don’t think we needed two McMahon talking segments on the same show.

As for the rest of the show, the match quality felt below average while they tried to build angles for all the Backlash matches. That led to two disqualifications as well as several run-ins throughout the night. If the matches were better, it would have got a higher score. The matches were mainly there to continue the stories going into Backlash.

Since I liked most of the Backlash lineup and this Raw built to nearly every match at Backlash, it didn’t bother me that the match quality was a little weaker this week. I was entertained by it.

Thanks for reading. My contact info is below.

John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport

Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook