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WWF RAW- February 18, 2002

by Scrooge McSuck

Hulk Hogan and The Rock

Presented LIVE on TNN from the AllState Arena in Chicago, IL. Jim Ross and Jerry "The King" Lawler are calling the action, unless otherwise noted. We're 24-hours removed from No Way Out, where the nWo made their first impressions and cost Steve Austin his chance at winning the Undisputed Championship. Oh, and Triple H lost his title shot for WrestleMania. I'm sure he won't win it back within the next week or so. Dark matches for the night include Billy and Chuck defeating Randy Orton and Shelton Benjamin, and (checks notes) Spike and Tazz defeating BROCK LESNAR AND LEVIATHAN. Holy crap, someone dig into the archives and unearth that gem.

Steve Austin, with chair in hand, comes out to kick off the night. Wow, we don't get a recap of the PPV first OR The Raw intro? Austin must mean business to change the format of the TV production. He snatches a microphone and even grabs his cooler of cold ones. That can only mean one thing: an in-ring protest. Austin says he's pi$$ed off. He had Jericho where he wanted him and three pieces of trash stuck their nose where it didn't belong. He tells the nWo to bring their a$$es to the ring right now. He can wait all night long if need be. To my surprise, Hogan, Hall and Nash make their presence known immediately, but hang back at the top of the ramp. Austin promises three Stunners with some stink on it. They tease coming to the ring, but turn tail. Austin calls them chicken-sh!ts, and wow, he didn't get bleeped by the censor. Austin promises to not leave the ring until they bring their a$$es to the ring. All they're doing is pi$$ing him off more.

We come back from commercial break and Austin is still in the ring. Kurt Angle, with Chicago's finest and cheapest security, comes out and says if anyone is taking valuable air time it should be someone going for a title at WrestleMania. Austin responds by chucking beers at him. Angle says if there's one thing he can't stand, it's a crybaby. Austin has a pretty good arm to throw from a seated position and nearly hit Angle at the top of the ramp. Angle gets in the ring to make his announcement anyway, and promises to win the Undisputed Championship. Austin picks the legs and unloads with right hands.The "off-duty cops" finally get involved and handcuff Austin while Angle taunts him with his own "What" chant. Angle is going to WrestleMania while Austin is going to jail. Jim Ross calls it "heartbreaking", I call it "trying to recapture the magic of 1997-98". As Austin gets loaded into the backseat, Scott Hall takes advantage of Austin's predicament and taunts him as the police depart the arena.

The Hardy Boyz (w/ Lita) vs. Lance Storm & Christian

This is the first time the Hardys are teaming on Raw in several months, and this is a rematch of one of the falls from last night's Tag Team Turmoil that was ultimately won by the APA. Mr. Professional Jeff Hardy can't be bothered to take his cap off as the match starts. Storm goes to work on the arm of Matt. Whip to the ropes and after a series of counters, Matt takes Storm down with a swinging neck breaker. Whip to the corner and Jeff busts out Poetry in Motion. He catches Christian napping on the apron and drops a double leg across the midsection. Christian with a receipt, dropping Jeff across the turnbuckle. Christian with a fireman's carry into a gut-buster for a two-count. Jeff fights out of an abdominal stretch, but Christian hangs back to avoid a dropkick. Jeff with a surprise small package and again Christian regains control. Jeff fights off Storm and manages to get to his corner. Matt with the hot tag, running wild on both men. He's still working on the execution of the Side Effect. Jeff meets the floor going for a plancha. Christian gets a two-count off a reverse DDT and throws a tantrum. Lita hits Storm with a hurricanrana and Christian is STILL having a tantrum. Matt counters the Unprettier with a Twist of Fate and Jeff finishes with the Swanton Bomb at 4:46. Paint-by-numbers match. I liked their segment from Tag Team Turmoil better.

Kurt Angle and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley are celebrating screwing over Triple H, but here's Ric Flair to give them a reality check. He liked the match last night so much, he wants them to run it back tonight. Kurt Angle vs Triple H for the title shot, and if Stephanie gets involved under any circumstances, Triple H automatically gets the shot.

The Undertaker storms into Flair's office, and Flair is ready to throw hands. Taker wanted to take Flair in the hall and whoop him, but instead he wants Flair in the ring at the grandest stage of them all, at WrestleMania. Flair says maybe 10 years ago he would step in the ring, but he rejects the challenge. Undertaker says he'll see what he can do to change Flair's mind.

WrestleMania Moment presented by Sour Skittles: Kane assaults Pete Rose at WrestleMania XIV.

The nWo tease leaving, but Hulk Hogan says he has personal stuff to take care of and asks for them to send the car back in about half-an-hour.

Kane vs. Mr. Perfect:

Perfect comes out first and insults Brian Urlacher, Linebacker and future Hall of Famer of the Chicago Bears, for the Bears postseason failure (the Bears won their division with a 13-3 record and earned a bye, only to lose in the Divisional Round to Philadelphia). To give you a window into how time flies, Urlacher was only a 2-year pro at this point and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018. I've probably spent more time researching this than the amount of time this match will get. Perfect tries a waist-lock but Kane pops him with an elbow. Whip to the ropes and Perfect with a big sell for a shoulder block, followed by his signature bump over the ropes to sell an uppercut. Kane follows and gets a taste of the post. Back inside, Perfect with the big forearm, followed by the rolling snap mare. Kane pops up immediately and goes for the goozle, but Perfect fights free. He catches Kane with his head down, but Kane fights out of a Perfect-Plex and hits him with a short clothesline. Whip to the corner, Kane charges in with a second clothesline and follows with a side slam. Kane with the flying lariat and he finishes with the Chokeslam at 2:11. A little mistimed on the lift for that spot, but this was an entertaining quickie.

"Hollywood" Hulk Hogan makes his way to the ring, ready to cut his first in-ring promo on Monday Night Raw in nearly 9-years. Despite being a poison brought in to kill the WWF, the crowd is still giving him a mostly positive reaction while J.R. is selling to the audience that Hogan is a despicable POS. Hogan says it feels great to be back in the WWF and credits the WWF in making Hulkamania. They (Hulk and the fans) fought the Russians, the monsters, and even the 700-pound Andre the Giant together. J.R. calls BS on the weight of Andre. Something happened along the way and the people turned on him. He never wanted to leave the WWF but the fans drove him out (he tries to squash the "What" chant, unsuccessfully by attaching a "cha gonna do?" at the end of one) and compares it to sending Michael Jordan out of Chicago. He's the reason the fans are here and the reason wrestling is as big as it is today. He's the biggest star and there will never be a bigger star in wrestling than "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan.

This brings out The Rock, walking with a purpose. J.R. says it looks like wrestling's past is going to meet wrestling's future, then takes a swipe at Hogan's age, noting Rock is a "young man" when Lawler noted the difference in experience. Rock says who would've believed that Hogan and the Rock would share the same ring. Rock agrees with Hulk on some things, but asks if he really thinks it was the fans who drove him out of the WWF. Hogan tries to reply and gets shut down with a "it doesn't matter." "They loved you. They believed in you, and dammit, the Rock believed in you! But you know what happened? It was years after years after years of you eating the vitamins, saying the prayers, ripping the t-shirt off, running wild over everyone. "What'cha gonna do when Hulkamania runs wild over you?!" The Rock will tell you what the people did. The people ran right to the toilet, pulled their pants down, and took one big Hulk-a-crap every time you opened your mouth."

The Rock says without a shadow of doubt that Hulk Hogan is a legend and an icon, quite possibly the best ever. Seeing as he's back in the WWF, the Rock has one thing to say. "You talk about headlining WrestleMania after WrestleMania after WrestleMania... well Hulk Hogan, how about headlining one more WrestleMania with the Rock?!" The crowd splits with chants of Hogan and Rocky as both men look on, with Hogan finally breaking the silence. Hogan calls Rock "flavor of the month." He asks Rock what makes him think he's as big a star as he is. Rock cuts him off and simply asks "yes or no." Rock paints him a picture, a fantasy match-up that transcends the industry and settles who is the absolute best ever. Maybe it's not up to them to decide, maybe it's up to the people. "Do they want to see the Immortal Hulk Hogan go one-on-one with the Great One?" Rock plays to the crowd, cupping his ear, waiting for a response. "Yes... or no?" Hogan finally responds "Yes. It'll be a pleasure to kick your a$$ at WrestleMania."

Hogan offers a handshake and pulls him in tight, wishing him luck, because he's going to need it. Rock holds firm on the grip, pulling Hogan back in and replies "Not as much as you... brother" before planting Hogan with a Rock Bottom! The celebration is short-lived, as Scott Hall and Kevin Nash jump Rock at the top of the entrance ramp. They feed Rock into the ring where Hogan lays into him with the weight belt. "Do you think the Rock regrets his actions now?!" Hall with "the move we used to call the Razor's Edge" to a babyface pop. Nash with the Jackknife Powerbomb. Nash and Hall peel Rock off the apron, holding him open for Hogan to bash him over the head with a hammer. Hogan plays to the crowd some more before dropping the leg and covers while Hall makes the three-count. They give Rock the spray tag treatment to add further insult to injury. Rock gets taken out on a stretcher, BUT WAIT, THE NWO ISN'T FINISHED. They block the exit and chain the doors of the ambulance shut. Hogan climbs into a nearby semi, promises to "lay the smackdown on his crippled ass" and plows into the side of the ambulance. When all is said and done, the three nefarious goons check out their dirty deed and run like a group of pre-teens who just toilet papered their neighbors lawn. I don't think we needed all the gaga after Rock got stretchered out, but this was a hell of a segment and immediately gives us a match for WrestleMania that we can look forward to.

The Godfather vs. Booker T:

I don't know how well the business is going this week, but Godfather's escorts don't seem too happy to be around, frustrating him. Ross and Lawler try to sell it like they are upset over what happened with the Rock, but based on Godfather doing a 2-for-1 special last week for Valentine's Day, maybe he should change professions. Lockup into the corner and Booker takes a shot over the shoulder of the referee. He backs Godfather into the opposite corner and puts the boots to him. Whip is reversed and Godfather with an elbow. Booker avoids an elbow drop and connects with a standing heel kick. Godfather ducks a jumping heel kick and puts Booker down with a clothesline. Whip and Godfather with a side slam. He plays to the crowd and gets minimal response. He's distracted by his disinterested ladies but catches Booker off the ropes with a powerslam. Godfather stops the Escort Train to bark at his ladies, allowing Booker to hit the heel kick for three at 2:23. Godfather immediately rolls out of the ring and continues being a bit of a jerk.

Rob Van Dam & Edge vs. William Regal & Goldust:

I SWEAR TO GOD, I'M OVER THE IDEA OF WATCHING EDGE VS REGAL. I don't care if we're transitioning to RVD vs. Regal, I don't want to watch those two match up for at least a year. Ross is still selling the assault on the Rock with a little too much gusto that reminds me of other, more serious and very real incidents. Regal and Goldust get the jump before the bell, and we get the spot where the heels need to look at each other so they can move on with the spot where they try to whip the faces into each other. We're left with RVD and Goldust in the ring and Lawler says they wrestled FOR NEARLY 30-MINUTES LAST NIGHT. 11 minutes is nowhere close to 30, Jerry. RVD surprises Regal with a body press, but Regal pops right up and blasts him on the side of the head with a knee. Goldust back in with a jumping hip attack. Lawler interrupts J.R. to note a second ambulance has arrived, NEARLY TWENTY MINUTES SINCE THE ATTACK HAPPENED. RVD with the leg trap heel kick and tags in Edge. He runs wild and yay, gets to work with Regal for the 86th time this year. Edge hits the Spear and turns Regal over with a reverse Scorpion for the surprising tap out at 3:32. Post-match, Edge hits Goldust with a Spear and RVD sends Regal to the floor with a missile dropkick. This match was mostly background noise to what happened to the Rock.

Michael Cole is backstage with Kurt Angle, who no-sells what happened to the Rock and is still disgusted by Ric Flair's decision to not only put his title shot on the line, but banning Stephanie from ringside as well. He's going to beat Triple H tonight and end today on a good note.

#1 Contender's Match: Kurt Angle vs. Triple H:

Chris Jericho, reigning Undisputed Champion and mostly an afterthought, joins J.R. and Lawler for commentary for this match. As mentioned earlier, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley is barred from ringside. Angle tries to attack Hunter on the apron but the plan backfires. They brawl at ringside while Jericho questions how many times is Triple H going to get chances at a title shot. Angle sends Triple H crashing into the steps before rolling him in the ring. Angle unloads in the corner with right hands and a flurry of stomps. Jericho asks how sad J.R. was about Austin losing while carrying his bags into the building tonight. Jericho keeps putting himself over while Hunter's comeback is cut short. I don't know what's wrong with the audio, but Jericho's commentary has a static sound to it while Lawler and J.R. sounds fine. Whip and Angle with a knee to the midsection. He locks in an abdominal stretch, using the ropes for leverage until Mike Chioda catches him. Hunter counters but Angle quickly escapes with a hip toss. Hunter blocks a German Suplex but whiffs a swinging elbow and gets thrown with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Whip to the corner and Angle with a second suplex for a two-count.

Angle continues dishing out the punishment in the corner. He misses a charge and smacks his shoulder on the post, buying Triple H time to recover. He lays into Angle with right hands and takes him down with a neck breaker. The crowd starts popping and everyone is looking away from the action, so who knows what is going on in the crowd. Whip and Hunter with a knee to the face, followed by a DDT. Whip is reversed and Trips puts on the brakes to avoid running into Chioda. Angle fights out of a Pedigree while the crowd is still distracted by something happening elsewhere. Angle with a back suplex. He climbs the ropes for a moonsault but Hunter follows and brings him down with an electric chair drop for a near-fall. Angle's head smacking the canvas is a strong enough example why that spot should never be done. They fight on the floor again, with Hunter going splat after taking a third belly-to-belly suplex. Angle stops to talk smack with Jericho and uses one of his belts to lay out Helmsley. The referee wastes time arguing with Jericho and takes forever to get in position to count the fall. Angle with the German suplex trio and THE STRAPS ARE DOWN. Angle with the Ankle Lock, but Hunter gets to the ropes to force the break. Hunter with a handful of tights, sending Angle face-first into the turnbuckle. Angle counters the Pedigree and reapplies the Ankle Lock. Hunter rolls through to break the hold and hits the Pedigree to regain his title shot 12:03. "FINALLY SOMETHING FAIR HAS HAPPENED!" Better match than what we got at the Pay-Per-View, all thanks to cutting Stephanie out of action. ***ΒΌ

Final Thoughts: The historic face-to-face with Hulk Hogan and The Rock easily makes this an episode worth checking out at some point, even if they overbooked things with the whole "Semi running repeatedly into an ambulance" gimmick. It also gives us a match to look forward to at WrestleMania. Oh, and Triple H regained his shot and will challenge Chris Jericho for the Undisputed Title. The rest of the show might as well have been a black screen, with a few matches that didn't serve much purpose other than to fill time.

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