Raw is War

Columbus, Ohio
Febuary 17, 2003

WWE Raw kicked off from the Nationwide Arena in snowy Columbus, Ohio and things got started with the first match.

Rob Van Dam (with Kane) defeated Lance Storm (with William Regal) in 7:21. A good solid opener was put on by these two to hype up their tag title match at No Way Out. Storm locked in a half-crab toward the end but Van Dam made it to the ropes. RVD went up top but Regal interfered only to have Kane come around and take care of him. Storm tried a superplex off the top but Van Dam countered and hit the Fivestar Frog Splash for the win.

Backstage, Shawn Michaels was talking with Jeff Hardy when Eric Bischoff walked by and Michaels wished Bischoff good luck against Steve Austin this Sunday. Bischoff told Hardy and Michaels that he was on his way to the ring to address the Raw locker room and it might be Hardy and Michaels who need luck.

After the break, Eric Bischoff made his way out and said it was great to be the new general manager of Raw (once again). He called out someone he had "unfinished business" with and out came Cheif Morely who Bischoff gladly reinstated. Morely tried to get the fans to give Bischoff a round of appluase but all that was heard were boos so Bischoff berated the fans and then said he was sick of seeing everyone smirking at him and wishing him luck backstage so he booked Shawn Michaels and Jeff Hardy in a match against Chris Jericho and Christian. Bischoff then asked the fans if they liked the Dudley Boyz and if they'd like to see someone go through a table tonight, but he said that wasn't going to happen because he had suspended the Dudleyz. A clip rolls on the Tron showing Bubba Ray and D-Von being escorted out. Bubba tells a security guard that the situation between them and Bischoff is far from over. As payback, Bischoff put Spike Dudley in a handicap match against Rosey, Jamal and Rico. Lastly, Bischoff said a lot of people don't know he's an eighth degree black belt and he's been in martial arts for over 20 years. Bischoff said he was going to give a little demonstration tonight of what he's capable of by competing in his first ever match on Raw agaisnt "Stone Cold Steve Austin's best friend, good ol' JR." Ross was shown on screen and he looked upset as Lawler tried to get him hyped up.

After the break we join Steven Richards (in some awful pink tights) and Victoria. Richards tried to get Victoria to patch things up with Jazz but when she confronted her, Jazz told her that she was there for two things, one, to take out Trish Stratus, and two, to be the most dominant female in WWE. Victoria mentioned she was the Women's Champion to which Jazz replied, "Not for long."

Jazz and Victoria (with Steven Richards) defeated Molly Holly and Jacqueline in 3:12. The crowd was beyond dead for this match. Molly took a beating from Victoria and Jazz for a bit but eventually tagged in Jacqueline who took control. Jacqueline pulled Victoria into the ring but Jazz then shoved her into Victoria and followed up with a DDT for the win. Afterwards, Jazz applied her modified chickenwing to both Molly and Jacqueline and then shoved Victoria aside on her way out. As she was exiting, Victoria brought her back in and got a shove from her. Victroia slapped Jazz back but she simply laughed and left the ring.

After the break, Terri was backstage with Booker T who had an update on Goldust's condition. He said Goldy was at home recovering but he "isn't right." Booker mentions some neurological problems that need to be checked out. Terri mentioned that Triple H and company had been making fun of the whole situation and Book replied that he'd get his payback tonight.

Meanwhile, "Evolution," if that is their official name yet, were sitting in a locker room making jokes about Goldust's situation. Triple H and Batista talked about their tag match against Booker T and Steiner. H told Batista that they don't stop on Steiner, he wanted him unable to compete at No Way Out.

After that, Ross and Lawler were on screen and they mentioned the unfortunate passing of Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig. They had nothing but kind things to say about him and rolled a short video montage including a couple of highlights throughout his career and his old vignettes.

Rodney Mack (with Teddy Long) defeated Al Snow in 1:52. Long got on the mic before Snow entered and said he was done with D'Lo Brown (poor D'Lo) and his new player was Rodney Mack and the new slogan was "Back the Mack." Snow hit the ring and a short, unenthused match went down, ending when Snow's moonsault was blocked and Mack hit a double underhook powerbomb for the win.

Backstage, Jericho and Christian hyped up each other for their match. Jericho did his own Mr. Perfect-esque gum spit-n-slap as Christain mocked Michaels, the "Sexy Boy" by calling himself a sexy beast.

Shawn Michaels and Jeff Hardy defeated Chris Jericho and Christian. HBK wasn't in his normal ring gear, as he had explained to Hardy earlier that his bags were lost. Early in the match, Christian and Jericho handcuffed Michaels to a turnbuckle. The match was a No-DQ match so it was legal. Jericho and Christian beat down Hardy for a bit and then Jericho taunted Michaels with the key while Christian took care of Hardy. Jericho got a bit too close and got nailed with a superkick from Michaels. Jericho dropped the key and Michales was able to get it and free himself. He got in the ring and cleaned house. Jericho snuck back in the ring with a chair, only to receive another superkick, this time with the chair in front of his face. Hardy scaled to the top and executed the Swanton Bomb for the win.

After the break, Jericho was backstage, throwing things around, livid that Hardy had won a match.

The Hurricane defeated Christopher Nowinski in 3:40. Hurricane made his return to Raw after a short hiatus. The match was short yet solid and it ended with Hurricane picking up the win with his Eye of the Hurricane finisher.

Backstage, Morely donned a cowboy hat and talked like Ross while holding some kick pads with JR's picture on them for Bischoff to work out on.

3 Minute Warning and Rico defeated Spike Dudley in 3:29. No hope for Spike in this one as he was absolutely squashed. Signature moves hit by both Rosey and Jamal and it ended after a splash from Jamal and Rico made the pin.

Ross and Lawler hyped up the No Way Out card which looks likes this: Eric Bischoff vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan, Triple H vs. Scott Steiner for the World Heavyweight Title, Brock Lesnar, Edge & Chris Benoit vs. Team Angle in a six man tag match, the just announced Undertaker vs. Big Show, Lance Storm and William Regal vs. Kane and RVD for the Raw tag titles, Matt Hardy vs. Billy Kidman for the Cruiserweight title. It was previously announced that Test and Chris Jericho would face off but that match wasn't announced here. As evidenced by Jericho's flipping out over Hardy's win, it just may be Jericho vs. Jeff Hardy. However, Test vs. Jericho is still advertised on the No Way Out website.

Backstage, Terri had a word with Scott Steiner. Booker came into the picture and said he and Steiner were ready to deliver some payback.

Booker T and Scott Steiner defeated Triple H and Batista (with Ric Flair & Randy Orton) in 6:56. Triple H had his thigh heavily taped up and he seemed to work quite cautiously in the ring. Booker played whipping boy and got his ass handed to him for a good part of the match but soon enough Steiner was tagged in and he cleaned house. Eventually, Flair tried to get involved which led to Steiner chasing him halfway up the ramp. The match deteriorated when Flair and Orton got involed but Steiner and Book were able to handle the handicap. Booker nailed Triple H with the axe kick for the win.

Lawler said it was time for Ross' match as we stepped out for a break. (By the way, after the break, Jonathan Coachman took Ross' spot for the remainder of the night.)

After the break, Eric Bischoff and Cheif Morely hit the ring where Bischoff showed off his martial arts skills by breaking a couple of boards and kicking a watermelon he was referring to as Austin's head. Jim Ross entered just as Bischoff was about to show us his ultra karate chop action on a cinder block. Ross entered the ring and Bischoff said he was again the general manager, he had the right to alter any matches, so he made this match a No Holds Barred, where anything and (as he looked at Morely) anyone can get involved.

Eric Bischoff defeated Jim Ross in 3:37. Bischoff mocked Ross with a few karate poses but JR stepped in and slapped Bischoff, knocking him down. That was all the offense for Ross though, as Morely jumped in and attacked him. Bischoff slapped Ross around for a little bit and then had Morely hold a cinder block over JR's head. Bischoff then stomped on it, breaking it over JR's head. (The brick was obviously gimmicked, for those wondering). Lawler had enough and ran down to the ring and beat down Morely but then received a kick to the gut from Bischoff. Lawler rebounded quickly from it and attacked Bischoff for a brief second but Morely came back in and threw Lawler out of the ring and took to beating him down on the outside. In the ring, Ross stumbled around with a busted open forehead, Bischoff gave JR a shot to the gut and followed up with a pin. Afterwards, Bischoff and Morely mocked Austin's celebration routine with the beers and all. Coach hyped up the PPV with the return of Austin, saying Austin can't be too happy seeing what just happened to his buddy JR...