May 13, 2003
WWE RAW Report - May 12, 03
By NICK TYLWALK -- SLAM! Wrestling
A new era began last Monday when Steve Austin returned to become co-general manager of Raw. Unfortunately for Stone Cold, his partner Eric Bischoff wasn’t too happy with the new working arrangement and has promised to “raise the bar” tonight in the home of extreme wrestling, Philadelphia.
Grab your barbed wire-wrapped 4x4 and cordon off the top level of the First Union Center for Raw, just six days out from Judgment Day.
We’re apparently wasting no time this evening, as the steel cage is already down and Christian is on the stick to address his impending destruction, a.k.a. his cage match with Goldberg. I, too, am wasting no time, as I’m watching tonight’s show on tape and may have to resort to the fast-forward button if things get too dull. The new self-proclaimed People’s Champ thinks his peeps have no interest in seeing the tilt, but Austin begs to differ. Christian counters by calling the Rattlesnake jealous and he tries not to lose his temper. Austin finally threatens to yank Christian out of Sunday’s I-C battle royal if he doesn’t shut up. The cage retracts and Rob Van Dam’s music hits. It’s odd timing, but Mr. Monday Night just wants to announce that he’ll be entering the battle royal and plans on winning it. Christian tries to get RVD to take his place against Goldberg tonight, but Austin (and the fans) will have none of it. The co-GM finally gets Christian to leave, though not before someone else comes out: Kane. He’s also entering the battle royal, which means he just might have to throw his tag team partner over the top rope to do it. Tension is in the air, so Austin proposes another beer bash to relieve it. The music guy is getting tired now as Bischoff enters to put a kibosh on the bash. Referring to his promise to raise the bar, Eric says he’s making the tag team champs defend their belts right now against one of the greatest tag teams of all time, one whom they’ve never faced before. What… a… rush.
Match 1 – Rob Van Dam and Kane vs. The Legion of Doom
The King slips a couple times and calls them the Road Warriors, but he’s probably just as amused as I am to see L.O.D. again. Animal and Hawk look to be in fairly good shape, but the champs retaliate quickly with a spinning kick from RVD and a jumping lariat by Kane. L.O.D. turns the tide and has Van Dam elevated for the Devastation Device, but he ducks and escapes unscathed. A minute or so later Rob ends the match with a Five Star Frog Splash, leaving L.O.D. on the first bus back to Topeka for more indy shows. Or not, I guess we’ll see.
Trish Stratus is minding her own business making herself pretty when Victoria and annoying p-whipped boyfriend Stevie Richards show up to harass her. Evidently they will meet in a hardcore match later tonight, and Victoria vows to do enough damage to rob Stratus of her good looks. That would take quite a bit. Elsewhere, Triple H drops by Jericho to remind him that he’ll be facing Kevin Nash tonight in one of the most famous arenas in the world. Funny, I don’t remember the Flyers or Sixers winning anything since they moved to the F.U. Center. He also reminds Jericho that his stock took off after he injured H’s quad, so he could soar even higher if he takes out Big Daddy Cool tonight. And still elsewhere, Goldberg tries to get out of his limo and nearly gets run over by a passing car that clips the door. Needless to say, he’s not pleased.
Austin bumps into Theodore Long, who thinks his protégé Rodney Mack was overlooked and should be entered into the battle royal. The Rattlesnake agrees that someone was overlooked, but that person is Booker T, not Mack. Long says the proof will be tonight in a special five minute double white boy challenge.
Match 2 – Mike and Ken Phoenix vs. Rodney Mack
Now this is what the fast-forward button is made for. Mack gets both men to tap out in 1:31. Let’s move on.
The Coach gets absolutely no comment from Bischoff about the Goldberg situation. And look who’s backstage: it’s “Classy” Freddie Blassie, on hand to promote his book. Rico happens by to ask Bischoff for a chance to help Three Minute Warning get back in the groove, and Eric turns to look at Blassie and says he has an idea. You don’t think… hey! Meanwhile, Goldberg tells Austin he didn’t see the driver of the car. Psst, we’ve seen this one before. The driver is Rikishi! Just kidding. Goldberg resolves to take his anger out on Christian.
Blassie’s wife wheels him to the stage, where Bischoff steps in and volunteers to push the wheelchair the rest of the way to the ring. It’s time to promote the book, but only for, say, three minutes. The Dudley Boyz come out to stop something despicable from happening, complete with a Bubba Bomb and the ever-popular Whassup headbutt. Blassie calls for the tables and Rico tastes wood. Beer starts flying – Austin’s second beer bash erupts and the Dudleys are his guests.
Match 3 – Christian vs. Goldberg – Steel Cage Match
Before things get underway, Christian has a surprise for his peeps. It seems he’s obtained the same steel chair that The Rock used to beat down Goldberg a few weeks ago and plans to use it to the same effect in the cage. The chair gets tossed outside when the match begins, so Christian tries running away instead. It doesn’t work. Goldberg finally slows thanks to a low kick, leaving Christian just enough time to open the cage door to retrieve the chair. Three, four, make that five chair shots follow, plus three shots from the top edge of the chair just for good measure. That still only keeps Goldberg down for a one count. Christian tries to climb out but is yanked down, so he gives Goldberg another taste of steel and hits a neckbreaker. He goes for a Spear, but Goldberg sidesteps it and tosses his face into the cage, busting him open. Christian gets bounced off the cage a few more times and powerslammed. A Spear and Jackhammer put Christian out of his misery. Next?
Maybe the only person who hasn’t run into Austin since he started his new role – Ric Flair – finds him backstage and congratulates him. Reminding Austin that Triple H is the world champ, the Nature Boy feels the show should revolve around him. Look, up in the sky: it’s The Hurricane. The WWE’s resident super hero raises Flair’s wrath by suggesting that Sunday, Nash will turn Triple H into Triple Bitch. Austin handles the situation by starting a match between the two men right now, provided the action ends up in the ring.
Match 4 – Ric Flair vs. The Hurricane
The battle immediately heads for the squared circle, but not before roaming through the announce position and entangling The King. Flair gets de-pantsed on a sunset flip, exposing us to the Nature Boy’s drawers. A high cross body earns ‘Cane a near fall, then a Hurri-chokeslam and a shining wizard do the same. Ric fires back with a chop block and goes to work on the youngster’s legs. The Figure Four is applied and for the first time in recent memory, it gets a submission win. Flair refuses to release the hold until Triple H comes out to help him celebrate his win.
Match 5 – Test, Scott Steiner and Goldust vs. Christopher Nowinski and La Resistance
Six-man tags are always good for some fast-forward treatment, but Stacy’s ring entrance is a good excuse to test out the rewind button. Everyone works but it’s Steiner who ends up getting the hot tag from Test. As everyone else brawls, Steiner drops Nowinski with an inverted DDT to get the duke.
J.R. and the King run down the Raw brand matches for this Sunday’s pay-per-view. Probably sensing that this wasn’t going to make people rush to their phones to order Judgment Day, Michael Cole and Tazz appear to run down the Smackdown matches. And I’ve got four words to prove why they’re no better: Big Show. Main event. Yikes.
Getting to the bottom of the hot issues is Terri’s job, and right now she’s trying to dig into Chris Jericho to find out if he knows who tried to run down Goldberg. The Highlight of the Night scoffs at the notion that he might be the culprit, claiming he would handle Goldberg face to face. Besides, Jericho would much rather talk about winning the Intercontinental battle royal at Judgment Day.
Match 6 – Trish Stratus vs. Victoria – Hardcore Match
Trash cans full of weaponry sit in the corners by the ringposts, and Tommy Dreamer comes to the ring, kendo stick in hand, to share some of his hardcore expertise. Victoria uses a metal serving tray to good effect, then grabs a trash can lid. Trish pulls off the Matrix to escape harm, but soon finds herself beaten and choked with a leather strap. Her handstand move out of the corner finally saves her; Stevie Richards interferes but is painfully neutralized by Dreamer. Victoria attempts to use the kendo stick, but to no avail as Trish counters with a stick shot of her own and pins her foe with some Stratusfaction.
Main Event – Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Nash
I’m thinking this is not the most stirring way to end the Raw before a pay-per-view and it is awfully quiet in the F.U. Center. Jericho gets tossed around for the opening minutes before rallying by attacking Nash’s legs. A sidewalk slam slows the Canadian, but a bulldog and a Lionsault earn him a near fall. It’s still real quiet. Kev nails a big boot and looks for the Jackknife Power Bomb. No dice as Triple H and Flair enter the fray (and dispose of the ref), then Shawn Michaels follows to help even things up. A second big boot drops Jericho as Flair enjoys some Sweet Chin Music. Nash hits the Jackknife and HBK makes an unofficial three count. Triple H tries to use his belt on Nash, but he eats a big boot and gets a Jackknife of his own. Another fake Michaels count follows, virtually assuring that we won’t see Nash victorious on Sunday. And that’s about it, as the two buddies stand triumphant to bring a rather uninspiring Raw to a close.
Nick Tylwalk has been a contributor and utility infielder for SLAM! Wrestling since 1998. Despite many Raws under his belt, this is the first time he’s managed something as childish as two “F.U. Center” references in one report. Heh, heh.