Quick recap- We’re a day removed from the 2000 Royal Rumble. HHH retained his title in the mother of all street fights with Mick Foley/Cactus Jack while The Rock was crowned the winner of the Rumble match itself.
Head Cheese vs Edge & Christian ended as a no contest due to Edge’s injury.
Chris Jericho kept his Intercontinental title by besting Hardcore Holly, thanks in part to Chyna’s interference.
Crash Holly and Viscera beat Too Cool.
X-Pac and Kane went to a no-contest. X-Pac managed to plant a big kiss on Tori and even nail Kane with a chair.
The Hardyz beat The Outlaws by DQ after the Dudleyz interfered just as it looked like they’d won the titles. Bubba and D’Von then put Terri through a table!
The Acolytes defeated D’lo and Godfather.
Big Bossman defeated Test by DQ after Stevie Richards interfered, dressed as Test, and took him out. Test then took out Richards!
The Rock & surprise partner Rikishi beat Triple H & Big Show by DQ as the rest of DX came out for a beatdown, only for Cactus Jack to come out and help clear the ring. Rock, Rikishi and Cactus stand tall to end the show.
WWF RAW IS WAR 24/01/2000
Rumble fallout- HHH, Big Show and The Rock aim to get them some.
After admitting that Cactus was the most sadistic freak he’d ever faced in the ring, HHH went into detail about just what both men had left in Madison Square Garden, passionately stating that he’d gone to a level he’d never reached before in his career. His detail was vast yet seriously engaging. Blood, barbed wire, how he was that much more sadistic, etc. This was only a sniff of what was a truly brilliant Triple H promo.
As per, HHH’s authoritative tone and descriptive promo manner made for an excellent opening segment. Big Show coming out to protest his own innocence in losing the Rumble match made for some good grovelling and provided a nice set up for the main event.
We know Show, Rock and HHH can bring it, so to speak, but Rikishi also brought “it” to the main event putting in a strong showing of his own. Rocky got to continue his rivalry with the Big Show and we also got a nice sneak preview of his forthcoming clashes with Triple H.
Speaking of Triple H, top marks must go to him for having the fortitude to wrestle again just 24 hours removed from an absolute bloodbath at the Rumble. Even by WWF standards in terms of how many days the performers wrestle, competing through injuries whilst constantly travelling on the road, this was a mighty effort from the champ.
The mass brawl at the end with Cactus also getting involved was red hot, thanks in part to the energy of the Philadelphia crowd. Top stuff overall, and a super strong finish to the show.
The main event scene was getting more entertaining by the week. Actually, it’s not just by the week, but twice a week because the following Smackdown would be just as essential viewing.
The Dudleyz and The Hardyz- They just need a little TLC.
The Dudleyz took their rivalry with the Hardyz to the next level, putting poor Terri through a table. This was pretty shocking, even by the recent WWF standards of violence, and it just took the tag team division up another notch in the process. The Dudleyz were absolutely brilliant to watch at this point because they seemed to have no boundaries whatsoever, thus anything could happen when they were on-screen. Man on woman violence isn’t my thing, but it sure was effective here!
It certainly made for some much talked about TV. The Hardyz are the perfect foil for their rivals too, young, hungry, just as up for a fight but they possess integrity (and admittedly much better looks) which get the crowd firmly on their side. It’s a smashing pairing for a feud.
The chronicles of Tori- X-Pac and Kane fight for pride and a lady.
X-Pac and Kane had a belter, and it was from here that we had the progression of Tori’s character. You may remember a meeting between Tori and X-Pac had happened over the Christmas holidays, but this is the first time they’ve made such a big deal about it.
X-Pac plays such an excellent sleazy bastard and Kane, despite being a monster, earns total sympathy here for his predicament. These were two of the biggest names in the midcard at the time and both of them were delivering more often than not in their matches.
Like the Hardyz/Dudleyz rivalry and the HHH/Cactus title feud, these two are such good foils for each other. This is one of the main reasons the WWF was so popular, because the feud pairings just fitted together almost seamlessly. That’s half the battle, but when you engage them in terrific moments which amp up the feud then you build up the interest further. Yet another reason why I wanted to cover this period in more depth and yet another reason why it was so epic!
Tazz, Test and tagging- The Rest
Chris Jericho defended his newly won Intercontinental title against a fired up Hardcore Holly. As starts go, they just absolutely WENT for each other here, just flat out leathering each other with some fierce shots. It looked so good I’d be surprised if it wasn’t an extension of some real-life tensions between them. It’s as if the elder Holly was keen to prove a point by roughing Jericho up, but the younger grappler was every bit as hard hitting in return to right for the right to show he’s good enough and tough enough to hold a spot on the roster.
I thoroughly enjoyed their match, a hard-hitting if slightly rough around the edges bout. The Chyna/Jericho/Holly rivalry over the gold continues apace, and at least now it’s getting more interesting, again, largely due to Jericho.
Tazz choked out Kurt Angle a second time in as many nights in a fun segment. Kurt’s rant before the altercation was smarmy in itself, as poor Terri was still getting carted away, but Tazz’s strong initial showing in the company was continued effectively. Again, it’s a shame we never got to see these guys go at it again properly, in their prime, without niggling injuries.
The Acolytes proved their toughness against Godfather & D’Lo Brown with a hard fought win. Rough and tumble seems to be the name of the game tonight and we had four more competitors here who didn’t hold back and the result made for a fun, stiff bout.
Test & Bossman’s match descended into lunacy after Stevie Richards came out and did his best Test impression. The only thing this did was give Test an excuse to look dominant and at least it accomplished that, but I think the timeslot here could’ve been used more effectively. I guess it did give Richards an excuse to get in front of the Philly crowd where he’d made his name in the ECW days.
Head Cheese v Edge & Christian was a short but sweet brawl, though Edge took a vicious bump from a double team move. It looked incredibly nasty, but it’s not clear whether or not this was a work, with Val Venis and Barbara Bush seemingly well placed to make a mad dash to the ring afterwards. Thankfully he seemed ok regardless.
But never mind that though, Head Cheese win the day for me, both for this tag showing and for the backstage segment prior to the match where the Head Cheese name was effectively born. At least it was better than Snow’s idea of “Head count”, which involved Blackman dressing up as Count Dracula!! (Snow: You have the personality of a dead guy, so it’ll be great!)
Crash Holly and Viscera actually make for another fun comedy pairing. Crash himself has good chemistry with the similarly quick and talented members of Too Cool, but Viscera’s brute power actually added something else to the proceedings. Crash loses points for a botched double team spot, but otherwise this was another fun midcard match.
We know the main event scene is hot, but the midcard is slowly but surely getting to an unprecedented level of greatness. The Hardyz/Dudleyz rivalry in particular is probably the hottest of midcard angles, but elsewhere you’ve got terrific comedy with Head Cheese, hard hitting bouts with guys like the Acolytes and X-Pac & Kane’s renewed rivalry with the Tori factor thrown in is fantastic to watch. Really good way to follow up to last nights Royal Rumble and kick off the path not only to Wrestlemania, but the forthcoming No Way Out PPV.
Worth a watch for…
HHH’s opening promo, the main event and the Dudleyz taking Terri to the extreme. And Head Cheese.
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