ARCO Arena – Sacremento, CA | TV Rating – 5.2
One night removed from Summerslam (which was a good in-ring show but as we learned had no jeopardy behind it at all from an ongoing WWE Vs The Alliance Storyline) we start things off with an “earlier tonight” look at Steve Austin and Debra arriving at the arena where they are met by a cheerleading Alliance. Austin tells them he has lead by example since joining the Alliance and he will continue to do that tonight. Not least because we’re getting a first-ever “Austin Appreciation Night” tonight. I’d argue it’s only semantics that makes it the first, but there you go.
Jacqueline, Lita & Molly Vs Ivory, Stacy Kiebler & Torrie Wilson
Lita was beaten up by the Alliance last night and comes out limping. Which at least is a nice surprise in 2001, that someone is hurt at the PPV and still hurt the night after. Anyone expecting the second coming of Flair Vs Steamboat in this one clearly hasn’t been paying attention. It’s very rudimentary, despite attempting to work around the Lita injury in the storyline. At the end from out of nowhere a Jacqueline Tornado DDT gets the pin on Ivory. These are not the glory days of the women’s division by any means.
The Dudley’s and Test are having a chat backstage about their win last night when Stephanie comes in. She acknowledges that she and Test have had their “issues” in the past (and that’s putting it mildly) but they are now mature enough to move forward. Last night Stephanie didn’t get what she wanted as Rhyno couldn’t defeat Chris Jericho. And when Stephanie doesn’t get what she wants she can be a witch. Test says she’s not a witch, but a bitch. In a good way apparently. He says he’ll take Jericho out tonight.
Back in the ring, we get The Rock, the new WCW Champion. He notes that Booker had said pre-Summerslam that he would take the Rock to school but that it was Rock who took Booker to school. He asks Booker to come out and instead we get a little person dressed as Booker. It’s as “hilarious” as it sounds. Lance Storm comes out to stop the shenanigans and once again Rock buries WCW by saying he doesn’t know who Storm is. I get that it’s the Rock’s shtick but it achieves nothing. Storm challenges Rock to a WCW title match for later tonight, that’s accepted and then Storm superkicks the little guy. This takes up nearly fifteen minutes of my life that I’m not getting back.
APA, Scotty 2 Hotty, Big Show, Spike Dudley & Billy Gunn Vs The Dudley Boys, Chuck Palumbo, Sean O’Haire, Hugh Morrus & Tommy Dreamer
Jim Ross tries to push this as a “HUGE” tag team match between the WWE and the Alliance but no one is buying it. If we’re being kind we could say that it’s packed with quick tags and thus never really has the chance to get too boring. And even the “everyone hit finishers for two minutes” thing is fun enough. Big Show almost kills Dreamer with a chokeslam for the win in around five minutes. Spoiler alert, but that’s the longest match we’re getting tonight.
Hurricane Helms gets a moment to tell us that although the Green Lantern is awesome, Stone Cold Steve Austin is better. It is Austin Appreciation Night after all. We then get to see Kane’s Chef Boyardee advert. And then we find out that Sara has challenged DDP to a match tonight as we’re shown her doing some shadow boxing. Oh, dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Bring on the Austin Appreciation…
Chris Jericho Vs Test
What’s this. Jericho is also selling being banged up from his match last night. Something must have gotten into the water tonight. Jim Ross puts over that he’s banged up but accepted Test’s challenge for a match tonight. A challenge, if we’re being picky, that was made by Stephanie. But that’s by the by. He takes the mic but it seems it’s more out of habit than actually having anything pertinent to say other than to say Test has no testicles. Hilarious, right? Test goes on the attack straight away but Jericho ducks and fights back. Test hits a nice Full Nelson Slam and Jericho fights back, but when he foes for the Lionsault Stephanie stops it by grabbing the ropes. Jericho goes after her but Rhyno makes a run-in. Jericho smashes him but the distraction allows Test to hit the Big Boot and to get the win in two and a half minutes. Makes you wonder what the point of Jericho Vs Rhyno was last night.
Christian and Edge are chatting. Christian inadvertently speared Edge last night but Edge won anyway. Christian talks about how “we” won the KotR and IC titles and Edge seems bemused by that.
Shawn Stasiak gets his chance to tell us what Steve Austin means to him. But it’s Shawn Stasiak so he can’t say it right and we see the highlights of over 40 takes. The fact that Stasiak is laughing throughout this actually makes him seem likeable.
Mick Foley is at WWE New York making the most of the free food on offer. He was inspired by Angle’s efforts last night but acknowledges that he got screwed.
We then get a quick promo for the upcoming debut of WWE’s new show, WWE Excess, this weekend on TNN. Triple H is the live guest on the show. I had no idea this show even existed prior to this video.
The Rock Vs Lance Storm – WCW Title
Even allowing for the fact that there is only one winner here this could have been a good seven-minute match, couldn’t it? Storm can work, Rock doesn’t need to bury everyone and they could have a fun encounter. But instead, it might as well be The Rock vs Generic Ham n Egger. Rock wins clean in three minutes after the Rock Bottom. For the giggles “Mini Booker” comes in and hits the People’s Elbow on Storm. It’s even less “hilarious” than the earlier shtick.
We recap the kidnapping of Moppy. Seriously, we do. There’s no real apparent reason why.
Matt Hardy Vs Christian – European Title
These WWE Vs WWE matches aren’t making any more sense as we go along. Christian makes some “local sports” references that fly over my head two decades on. Now stop if you’ve heard this before but this could be a good little TV match couldn’t it? Give it seven minutes even and it could be very entertaining. Instead, they get two and a half. In this time Matt manages to escape/reverse The Unprettier twice, the second time countering it into the Twist of Fate for the three.
After stills from last nights Austin/Angle almost classic, we see Booker T arriving at the arena and everyone in catering laughs at him. I don’t know why they are laughing. He’s clearly now an accepted WWE main event star if he can show up halfway through the show.
Elsewhere Michael Cole is interviewing DDP, who seems quite, erm, aroused about Sara’s challenge for a match tonight. He surmises she doesn’t want to hurt him, she wants to be near him. We’ll see how well that turns out for him.
After Taz’s Austin Appreciation vignette airs, Booker T storms into William Regal’s office and demands he makes a World Title rematch with Rock tonight. Regal can’t as he’s too busy making jokes about what we saw with Mini Booker earlier. No one mentions that surely Shane could book that match as he owns WCW. Anyway, Booker takes offence to Tajiri laughing at him so that’s his match set instead.
Booker T vs Tajiri
Booker is in street clothes (which at least shows someone is paying attention to the little things) and this is little more than a squash. Booker hammers him until the referee calls for the DQ. I mean given that it’s a WCW guy burying a WWE guy for once I should at least be a little happy but it’s a senseless way to treat Tajiri.
Diamond Dallas Page vs Sara
DDP allows Sara a free slap but after that Page pushes her down. This is the cue for Taker to pull DDP out of the ring and chokeslam him onto the concrete. He rolls DDP back in, the bell goes and Sara covers for the pin. Alrighty then. That’ll teach him to want to run through a match before it happens. Sorry, that’ll teach him to stalk the Undertaker’s wife…
We end with the whole of the Alliance making their way to the ring for the Steve Austin Appreciation Night. We’re clearly killing time until Kurt Angle arrives. Hurricane again says Austin is now his hero, not the Green Lantern, Kanyon says that Austin has answered the “Who Betta Than Kanyon” question and Debra has some cookies. Austin notices Taz is the only one not wearing an Austin tee and he tears the orange Taz tee off him. Before this can escalate, Angle’s music kicks in and he drives out in a milk float. He throws some milk cartons at the Alliance (I can’t see if they have Moppy on the side) then gets a hose and sprays the Alliance with milk to end the show. The only plus point in any of this is that, presumably due to copyright issues, the Network version cuts out Stephanie leading the Alliance in a sing-along of Wind Beneath My Wings.
One of the worst Raw’s I’ve seen in this retro rundown. Nothing of any real significance happens, all the matches are short and not so sweet and only the Milk-O-Mania thing raises even the slightest smile from me. And that’s a plot point that makes no sense anyway. Definitely, one to avoid.