Raw is War
July 15, 2002
As RAW began, the Undertaker was seen back in his locker room staring at his WWE Undisputed Championship with Paul Heyman. Heyman told the Dead Man that the main event -- the Undertaker teaming with the "Next Big Thing" Brock Lesnar against Ric Flair and Rob Van Dam -- was all his idea. Heyman said that Lesnar wanted Taker to know that he thought it was a privilege that he was going to team with the Undertaker, and that he hopes that the Dead Man retained the title at Vengeance so he could defend the WWE Undisputed Championship against Lesnar at SummerSlam. Taker told Heyman that he should tell Brock that he'd better hope that the Dead Man lost at Vengeance because he has made a career of ending the careers of many "next big things."
The crowd in the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey, was going wild as the nWo's music hit and out came ... Vince McMahon? The billionaire strutted his way to the ring with a huge smile on his face. He grabbed the mic and said that he knew the fans wondered why he was coming to the ring accompanied by the nWo's music. Vince said the reason he came out to the ring to the nWo's music was because he thought the fans would want to hear the theme for the very last time. He said there was no more nWo. He said the faction was now history, and the group's era had come to an end. He said every era comes to an eventual end in WWE, much like the eras of Buddy Rogers, Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Bret Hart and, most recently, Stone Cold Steve Austin. McMahon said WWE changes with the times, and he said it was time to change once again. Soon, he said, WWE would celebrate its 500th episode of RAW, and it was time to shake-up RAW, SmackDown! and the entire World Wrestling Entertainment brand. He said he had hired two new general managers -- one for RAW and one for SmackDown! McMahon said these general managers would have complete control of their brands, and each would have his 100 percent support. He said in the first hour of the show, he would name the new G.M. of RAW. Vince said the new RAW G.M. would give the fans exactly what they wanted, and he said the new G.M. would give each and every one of the fans what they truly deserved.
Terri interviewed Ric Flair, and
the Diva asked Flair if would care to speculate on who the new
RAW G.M. may be. Flair said that he didn't care who the new G.M.
was, but he did know that running RAW was a thankless job, and he
doesn't know how anyone without the last name McMahon could run
The first match of the broadcast was a six-man elimination match, pitting European Champion Jeff Hardy, Bubba Ray and Spike Dudley against William Regal, Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero. As the men made their entrances to the ring, Jim Ross announced to the fans that Bubba Ray and Spike would be facing Benoit and Guerrero this Sunday at Vengeance in a Tag Team Table Match! The match got off to a red-hot start, as all six men went at it. Spike was eliminated within the match's first minute, as Guerrero rolled up the smallest Dudley for the pinfall. Benoit went right after Bubba Ray and landed a German Suplex on the elder Dudley. Bubba was able to tag out to Jeff Hardy, and Benoit continued his assault against the high flier. After Guerrero worked over Jeff for a while, Regal tagged in and began to enact revenge on the man who defeated him for his European Championship last week on RAW. As Latino Heat had the referee distracted, Regal grabbed the European Championship and tried to nail Jeff in the head, but Bubba Ray grabbed the belt and nailed Regal in the head. But by that time, the ref had turned around and saw Bubba's actions, so the elder Dudley was disqualified. Hardy, taking advantage of a dazed Regal, climbed to the top turnbuckle and nailed a Swanton Bomb to take out Regal. Guerrero began to work over the partner-less Hardy, but Jeff was able to surprise Eddie and flip him over for the 1-2-3. Guerrero wouldn't leave the ring, however, and Benoit and Guerrero continued to double-team Hardy. Guerrero finally left the ring, which left Benoit battling Jeff in a one-on-one battle. Jeff was able to start building an offense against Jeff, but Guerrero returned to the ring apron and distracted referee Earl Hebner. At that point, Regal ran out to the ring and nailed Jeff with his brass knuckles, allowing Benoit to lock on the Crossface on Hardy to become the sole survivor of the match. After the match, Guerrero grabbed a table from underneath the ring, and he and Benoit set the wooden frame in the middle of the ring. But before they could use the table, both Spike and Bubba Ray ran to the ring to save their partner.
Backstage, Jonathan Coachman was standing outside Mr. McMahon's office, and he reported that many rumors were flying around backstage about who the new RAW G.M. would be. Some names that were being thrown around were Mick Foley and even Mr. McMahon's brother, Rod McMahon. Paul Heyman walked up to the door and Coach questioned whether or not he was going to be the new G.M., based on his track record of running Extreme Championship Wrestling. Heyman said that no one was more qualified that he. Heyman entered Mr. McMahon's office and began to talk to Vince, but, suddenly, one of Mr. McMahon's assistants ran into the office and alerted Vince that the new RAW G.M. had arrived at the building. A smiling Mr. McMahon then made his way out of his office, leaving Heyman speechless.
After break, Mr. McMahon's assistant escorted the new RAW G.M. to Vince's office, and up walked ... Shane McMahon! A furious Vince questioned why Shane was there, seeing as he was not the new G.M. Shane said he knew he wasn't the new G.M., but he was there to stop his father from making another huge mistake. Vince said that, despite his son's wishes, no one could stop him from doing what he was about to do.
In the locker room, Tommy Dreamer was talking to Rob Van Dam about the possibilities of who the new RAW G.M. was, and both agreed that they were happy that Heyman was not the man. Dreamer congratulated RVD on hitting his Van Terminator on Heyman last week on RAW, and RVD said that Heyman had it coming for a long time. RVD left to prepare for his match, and Dreamer started to walk out of the room before Steven Richards walked up to the Innovator of Violence and challenged him to a Singapore Cane Match on RAW. Dreamer accepted, but before Dreamer could turn around, Richards waffled him in the ribs with a cane! The Singapore Cane Match was next, with Dreamer going one-on-one with Richards. The Innovator of Violence began his assault on Richards, nailing Steven across his back with the cane several times. Richards finally gained the advantage and suplexed Dreamer on the steel ramp! Regal then began to use the cane to choke out a busted-open Dreamer. Now a bloody mess, Dreamer continued to take shot after shot from the cane, but he continued to battle back. Dreamer finally got hold of the cane and began to waffle Richards with the wood! Dreamer hit Richards with a DDT in the middle of the ring, but Steven kicked out. Dreamer went to the turnbuckle and went to nail Richards with the cane again, but Richards caught Tommy in the chin with a Steven Kick! Finally, Dreamer was able to put Richards away after shattering the cane across Steven's forehead for the 1-2-3!
Backstage, Booker T was prepping for his match when Coach approached him. Coach said that the nWo was dead, but The Book still had his issue with Big Show. Booker said that when Shawn Michaels came back, he gave him some Sweet Chin Music to kick him out of the faction. Now, one month later, the nWo was dead. He said he felt like celebrating. He grabbed the mic from Coach and said that The Rock was the not the only one that was able to make fun of announcers. Booker told Coach to give the crowd a Spinaroonie, but Coach's attempt prompted Booker to ask Coach whether or not he was really African American. Booker said he was ready to face Big Show when up walked ... Eric Bischoff! The former president of WCW said that it was great to see Booker T again before walking away. A surprised Booker turned to Coach and told him to tell him that he didn't just see that!
Mr. McMahon made his way out to the ramp with a mic in his hand. Vince said that it took a real son of a bitch to be successful in the sports-entertainment business. So, he said, from one son of a bitch to another, he announced that Eric Bischoff was the new general manager of RAW! Bischoff made his way to the ramp and, in a real surreal moment, the two hugged on the ramp. They both raised their hands in victory before Bischoff made his way to the ring.
"For those of you who may not know me, my name is Eric Bischoff and I used to run WCW," said Bischoff. He said that when he ran WCW, he became famous. He said he was the first person who was able to compete with Vince McMahon on a national level. Eric said that he personified ruthless aggression. He said that, back in the day, he stole every superstar Vince ever had -- Hogan, Randy Savage, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Roddy Piper, Bret Hart ... he signed them just for the hell of it. Bischoff said that when Vince McMahon was focused on his problems with the United States government, Eric had raided all of Vince's talent. Bischoff said he used to purposely go on television two minutes before RAW hit the air and announce to the world what was going to happen on RAW. He also mentioned making Alundra Blayze throw her WWF Women's Championship in the trash live on WCW Nitro. Bischoff said he had single-handedly made Vince change the way he did business so he could keep up with him. Bischoff said that when he created the nWo, Nitro began to defeat RAW in the ratings ... for 84 weeks in a row! He said he was within inches of putting WWE out of business forever. He said he was surprised when Vince called him up and asked him to be the G.M. of RAW, but after he thought about it, he understood why McMahon had called him. Vince knew that only one man could turn RAW around and take the struggling brand to new heights -- and that was Eric Bischoff. Bischoff said that his first priority was to sign the one person that he knew would have single-handedly put WWE out of business -- Triple H! He concluded his rant by stating that Eric Bischoff was going to put the "E" in WWE. Backstage, Undertaker was talking to Hardcore Champion Bradshaw when Bischoff walked up to Taker. Bischoff said that he would have loved to have signed Taker away from Vince back in the ay, but apparently his loyalty to Vince was a problem. Regardless of their past, Bischoff told Taker that if he needed anything, he should just come and ask.
The WWE Women's Championship was on the line next, as Molly defended defended her title against Trish Stratus. Molly began her assault on the blonde bombshell, cracking Trish's back over her knee followed by several mid-section chops. Molly finally picked up the win, as she used the ropes for leverage to pin an ailing Stratus.
Ric Flair was walking backstage when he came face-to-face with Bischoff. Eric said it was really nice to see Flair again. He said they had a lot of history, but he wanted to get off to a fresh start with the Nature Boy. Flair simply told Eric that he had a match to worry about, and he side-stepped Bischoff and continued down the hallway.
Next up, Booker T battles Big Show in one-on-one action. Show started off hot, throwing The Book around like a rag doll and chopping him several times. Show missed an elbow drop, which allowed Booker to start mounting an offense. Booker laid in a flying kick to Show's face before clotheslining the big man over the top rope. Outside the ring, Booker grabbed a steel chair, but Show attacked him from behind. Back in the ring, Booker again tried to hit Show with a chair, but the big man simply knocked the chair away with a simple punch. After throwing the ref out of the ring, Show nailed Booker twice with the chair, getting disqualified in the process. Afterwards, Big Show chokeslammed The Book through the announcer's table before making his way to the back!
Backstage, Brock Lesnar was doing curls with a huge piece of metal scaffolding as Heyman was prepping the big man for his tag team match later in the night.
After break, J.R. and Jerry "The King" Lawler gave their condolences to the family of WWE employee James Miranda, who passed away last week.
The Hardcore Championship was up for grabs next, as Bradshaw defended against Christopher Nowinski. Nowinski said he was above matches that included street signs and trash cans, so he told Bradshaw that he was going to lay down and allow Bradshaw to pin him for the 1-2-3. Nowinski laid down and Bradshaw went to cover him, but Christopher rolled up Bradshaw and tried to sneak out a victory. The angry Texan kicked out of the cover, and the ass-kicking commenced. Bradshaw eventually chased Nowinski through the crowd into the back, and Bradshaw began to work over the Harvard graduate with anything he could grab. Suddenly, Johnny "The Bull" Stamboli attacked Bradshaw with a fire extinguisher and covered him to become the new Hardcore Champion.
Back in an office, Big Show approached Bischoff and congratulated him on his new position. Show said he thought that the nWo meant he was screwed, but now that Eric was back, he knew he was going to be okay. Big Show told Eric that Booker T was becoming a real pain in his ass, and he wanted Bischoff to give him a no-countout, no-disqualification match at Vengeance. Eric said that it was only his first day and he sort of wanted to ease his way into the position, but after thinking about it for a minute, he decided that Show deserved the match against The Book this Sunday. After Show left, a smiling Bischoff began to watch the new Triple H DVD.
Johnny "The Bull" Stamboli was talking to Bischoff about how he had become the new Hardcore Champion, but Bischoff said that he had just simply given him the opportunity to win. Suddenly, Bradshaw stormed into the room and hit a Clothesline from Hell on Stamboli. The Texan covered The Bull to regain his title before staring down Bischoff and introducing himself as the Hardcore Champion.
Heyman was talking to Lesnar about how he was going to become the Intercontinental Champion at Vengeance, when Undertaker walked up to the duo. The Dead Man and Brock locked eyes in a tense stare-down before Taker followed Lesnar to the ring for their tag team match.
The main event of the night began, as the Undertaker teamed up with Lesnar to battle Flair and RVD in a huge tag team match. Flair started off with the Dead Man, and Taker used his size-advantage over the Nature Boy to his advantage. Flair tagged out to RVD, who made his way into the ring with a huge crossbody onto the Dead Man. Flair made his way back into the ring, and the Nature Boy quickly locked a Figure Four onto Taker. Big Evil was able to counter the move and hit a massive chokeslam on Flair before RVD made the save. Taker tagged in Lesnar, and "The Next Big Thing" began to work over the Nature Boy. Lesnar threw Flair around the ring like a child, hitting a spear and a backbreaker on the blonde veteran. Brock went for the cover on Flair, but, after a two-count, Lesnar decided that he wasn't down inflicting pain on the Nature Boy. Taker was tagged back in and he continued the assault on the legend. The Dead Man capped his assault with a superplex from the top turnbuckle, but Flair was able to kick out. With Lesnar back in the ring, Flair continued his role as a rag doll until Lesnar missed a spear and nailed the ringpost. The Nature Boy was able to finally make a tag to a well-rested RVD, and Mr. Monday Night immediately hit a spinning heel kick on Taker. RVD followed the kick up with a batch of Rolling Thunder, but Brock made the save. With Lesnar in the ring, Van Dam hit a split-legged moonsault on Brock, but Taker came to the rescue. Flair entered the ring, which allowed Lesnar to hit an F-5 on Flair, but RVD took Brock out with a spinning heel kick followed by a Five-Star Frog Splash! Before the ref could count for the pinfall victory, however, the legal man -- the Undertaker -- made his way back into the ring and hit a Last Ride on RVD for the 1-2-3. After the match, Lesnar attacked the Undertaker and hit an F-5 on the 300-plus-pound Dead Man!
Back in his office, Bischoff was making a call on his cell phone, and it was revealed that he was leaving a message for The Rock! Bischoff told The Rock that he believed that RAW was the place for The People's Champ, and he said he would make his way to SmackDown! to try and sign The Great One to a contract! RAW went off the air with a smiling Bischoff happily relaxing in his office, obviously fantasizing about Triple H and The Rock joining his RAW brand!