Retro Review: Raw And Nitro, 20 Memorial Days Ago

Our Stateside representative looks back to Memorial Day 2000, when the Monday Night Wars were still alive – just…

Photo: WWE

It’s Memorial Day here in the States. And as the only ‘Yank’ writer for this site so far, I decided to celebrate my country on this day by watching wrestling. So I decided to look back at both RAW and Nitro from 20 years ago. 

These are two companies headed in different directions at the time – specifically, one straight up and the other straight down.

The year 2000 was the most profitable in the history of the WWF at the time. They are winning the Monday Night War rather easily as this point, with it resembling more of a Monday Night Massacre (well, until TNA redefined that a decade later).

Steve Austin isn’t around, but The Rock has quickly taken over as the top guy. The McMahons haven’t lost their lustre yet. At least they are all on the same page and not feuding with each other. 

Meanwhile, WCW is trying anything possible to compete once again. We are a month into the whole New Blood angle, where Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff have taken over.

I’m not going to lie, two years ago I did an entire rewatch of Nitro. And I didn’t hate this era as much as I thought when it started. Minus the David Arquette title win, I would much rather watch this than 1999 Russo Nitro or late 2000 Russo Nitro.

It starts to come off the rails around this point, but I would say the first few weeks are better than I remembered.

WWF RAW 5.29.2000

We get a recap of what’s been going on over the last week. We have just seen the return of The Undertaker at Judgement Day as the American Bad Ass.

As a 12 year old at the time, seeing Taker like that was just confusing to me. I didn’t process it then. Taker and Rock tormented the Corporation all of last week. 

RAW is live from Vancouver tonight. The amount of signs in the crowd is ridiculous. I would estimate that every other person has one.

Undertaker comes out to start the show, and they have dubbed over the Kid Rock song and blocked out the CD ad for it on the left. We get the generic one that Taker used after Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit. 

Before Taker can even utter a word, the McMahon Helmsley Regine comes out. Oh man, speaking of 12 year old Justin, he loved Stephanie McMahon during this time period. Gerald Brisco is the Hardcore Champion during this time. We get two very loud “asshole” chants.

Triple H says it is truly great to have the true American Badass back in the WWF. I have a feeling he is lying. Triple H actually thanks Undertaker for helping him win at Judgement Day. If you remember, Shawn Michaels was the special referee and DQ’d Rock when Undertaker interfered, giving HHH the win in what was an Ironman Match.

Triple H is prepping for his 2002-2003 run here by going on forever and using as many words as possible. Undertaker says HHH better thank him for not coming over there and whopping his ass. Undertaker says the belt on Triple H’s shoulder belongs to him. How did Vince not have an aneurysm when Taker said the word belt? Triple H said he will only get it when he shoves it down Taker’s throat.

As the McMahon Helmsley faction surrounds the ring, The Rock comes out. Vince says it looks like Rock and Taker have a little buddy system going on. Man, the crowd pops the second Rock says one word. Nobody is like that today.

Rock says it’s a great day when he can get his hands on any of them, and it’s a great day when he can make change out of that $2 slut Stephanie. Imagine saying that on TV today.

Vince says it looks like we have two common enemies with two common goals. We aren’t seeing Triple H defend the title. But we will see the Rock 1-on-1 with the Undertaker. Oh, that evil genius Vince. 

The Godfather, Dean Malenko and The Kat vs D-Lo Brown, Perry Saturn and Terri

I know The Godfather was a mid-card act. But could you imagine if he was given a one off WWF title match at some point? The crowd LOVED him.

Speaking of loved, who didn’t love D-Lo Brown? That head bobble is great. Terri and Kat are both wrestling in heels. That goes to show you how much they care about women’s wrestling at this point.

Seriously, every move Godfather does gets a reaction. Godfather eventually gets the heat. Terri comes in and slaps him and celebrates. Kat comes in and to her credit hits a decent running bulldog from behind. The four men brawl in the ring as we get a “We Want Puppies” chant. Saturn ends up connecting on a top rope elbow for the win. 

Backstage, Edge and Christian meet Joe C from Kid Rock’s band. They think he is Mini Me. Kurt Angle walks by. They try to show him. Kurt says no one likes posing with midgets more than him, but he has to concentrate on his match tonight. That was so casually dropped by Kurt. Hilarious. That man picked up on wrestling so quickly.

WWF European Championship: Eddie Guerrero (c) w/Chyna vs Kurt Angle

It really is weird hearing Kurt come out without the “YOU SUCK” chant. Kurt says Canada is lacking Olympic heroes, so he will now represent them as their North American hero.

Kurt brings up BBQs since it is Memorial Day, and realises that Canada can’t have them because you might be attacked by moose or grizzles. But the Grizzles don’t really beat anyone nowadays so you don’t have to worry (if you don’t know the Memphis Grizzles of the NBA were originally from Vancouver). Angle is effing awesome.

Angle and Eddie go out and have an actual wrestling match for a few minutes. Angle then takes out Chyna with a baseball slide. She tries to get back in the ring but the ref stops her. The ref then gets knocked out. Angle goes to the top but Chyna low blows him. Eddie hits a huracarrana off the top and gets the pin despite Angle’s foot being under the ropes.

Edge and Christian try apologising to Joe C, but he tells them to go f*** themselves.

Road Dogg gets attacked backstage by someone.

WWF Tag Team Championship: Edge and Christian (c) vs Too Cool

Listening to the pop for Too Cool and realizing that you would never hear anything like that for a mid card tag team in the WWE nowadays is sad.

A bit messy early on as Scotty 2 Hotty goes for a hurricarrana into a pin and Edge doesn’t fully grab him. Grand Master Sexay sends Edge over the top, allowing Scotty to hit the Worm which gets a huge pop.

Rikishi and Joe C come out. Rikishi distracts the ref, allowing Joe C to come in and low blow Christian with a hockey stick, giving Too Cool the win and tag titles.

I legitimately did not remember Too Cool ever winning the titles so this was a surprise to me. Of course we get a dance celebration after.

Vince is backstage chewing on some celery backstage with Steph. He tells her Rock and Taker are in for another big surprise tonight. The lights go out, and someone attacks Vince. 

King of the Ring Qualifier: Shane McMahon vs Rikishi

Ah yes, a time when we were fine with Shane being in the ring. To his credit, Shane bumps around for Rikishi pretty good. Triple H comes out and distracts the ref, allowing Shane to hit a low blow.

Wait a minute, these Shane punches aren’t anywhere near as bad as they are now. What the hell changed?

Rikishi comes back as Triple H comes in as well. Some how this isn’t a DQ. Rikishi goes to stink face HHH, but Shane clocks him right on the head with a chair. Now THIS is a DQ. This is also back when unprotected chair shots were still cool. Triple H hits the Pedigree on a chair.

Stephanie complains about T&A not taking care of Chris Jericho. Somehow Test is cool with helping Steph after she left him. Steph makes T&A and Val vs Jericho and the Hardyz. When Steph leaves, Test calls her a bitch so I guess that makes up for it.

Chris Jericho and The Hardy Boyz vs Val Venis and T&A w/Trish Stratus

Jericho brings up how he thinks Stephanie has a crush on him given how much attention she pays to him. But he’s not interested, since she’s a no good, bottom feeding, trash bag ho.

The crowd pops for Trish when she makes her way out. Jericho gets the heat on him early on. Test hits a great looking big boot on Jericho. Test was over in 1999 and probably should have had a brief run with the title instead of Big Show. 

Things break down as Jericho comes up a tad short on a springboard crossbody. Matt Hardy hits a Twist of Fate but Trish hits Jeff with her boot and knocks Jeff off the apron. Albert slams Matt and Test gets the pin for the win. Imagine in 2000 telling someone that two guys in this match would main event a PPV twenty years later.

The Rock lets everyone know he will do whatever it takes to once again become WWF Champion.

Intercontinental Championship: Chris Benoit (c) vs Hardcore Holly

Hearing Benoit get the pop he got nowadays is a bit eerie. I mean, you can never deny the guy was loved by the crowd. But absolutely no one knew what would come down the road.

If you know the reputation of these two, you know they aren’t afraid to get a little snug in the ring. And that is exactly what happens here. Hardcore grabs a chair after a few minutes of that. Jericho comes out and hits Hardcore square on the head with a chair to cause the DQ. All three men end up chasing each other to the back.

King of the Ring Qualifying Match: Bull Buchanan w/Big Boss Man vs Steve Blackman w/Al Snow

This reminds me: When the hell are we getting the Steve Blackman Bounty Hunter show on the Network? I remember being so excited when I saw the trailer for that.

This is without a doubt the quietest the crowd has been all night. There was a brief ‘head cheese’ chant and that’s it. Big Boss Man looks like he wants to be doing anything else.

I’m pretty sure there is a woman flashing in the audience as we hear a “We Want Puppies” chant and the crowd is looking everywhere but the ring. Bull Buchanan ends up winning with a scissors kick. Head Cheese gets their heat back after the match.

Pat Patterson is getting coffee for everyone and gets dragged into a closet and beaten.

Edge and Christian grab Joe C and stuff him in a trash can. Apparently they cut out the Kid Rock performance scheduled for tonight from the Network feed, as Lawler says they just performed. First they cut out KISS from Nitro and now this? For shame.

The Undertaker vs The Rock

Before the match, Vince comes out and asks them which one was the one that attacked him, Road Dogg and Patterson. Since neither confesses, Vince makes it a lumberjack match and we get a handful of heels as lumberjacks.

 The match doesn’t even start as Taker and Rock go after the lumberjacks. The heels eventually get control after a low blow to Rock and X-Pac jumping Taker from behind.

The heels think they have won, until the flames shoot up from the stage and out comes Kane. He chokeslams Test, X-Pac and Triple H. Kane grabs the title as flames shoot from the ring post to end the show as Rock and Taker stare at Kane holding the title.

Thoughts: Boy do I wish for crowds like this today. The wrestling on this show is nonexistent. Of course that was the case during this time. You’d get longer, better matches on PPV. RAW was all about angles. But could you imagine if you mixed the wrestling of today with the hot angles from 2000? It’d make for some great shows. This crowd was hot for everything but one match and that automatically makes the show a fun watch for me.

WCW Monday Nitro 5.29.2000

We get a recap of Thunder, where Kevin Nash won the WCW title. Yes there were title changes on Nitro during this time (a bloody shedload of them at that – Ed)

Ric Flair arrives at Nitro. His wife and son Reid don’t come in, but R&B security grab them and bring them in. 

You know, WCW is still drawing decent crowds at this time as evident with the crowd pan here. But this is also when they are clearly pumping in fake noise at this point too. 

Kevin Nash and Scott Steiner with his freaks come out to start the show. Nash runs down the New Blood and brings up Scott Hall, which I’m pretty sure he does every Nitro and Thunder until the end of WCW. It wouldn’t surprise me if he still cut a promo to himself every Monday even after Nitro ended. 

Nash tells Russo you can’t kill legends, and proves it as he brings out Ric Flair. Ah yes, Flair went down a couple weeks ago in what I believe was suppose to be a brain aneurysm. But Flair says the medical reasons were unknown. Flair says he will find Russo tonight and whip his skinny little ass. 

Nash takes the mic and says Flair never lost the title (he was stripped by Russo) and says the title is Flair’s. Imagine how hard that probably was for Nash (you’re kidding – he was probably asked to job to someone and pitched giving it away to Flair himself – Ed).

Jeff Jarrett comes out and asks if this is The View, because he sees a bunch of self-serving women. Ok then Jeff.

Jarrett says Nash is facing Rick Steiner and Tank Abbott tonight. Scott Steiner can’t come within five feet of the ring. Scott says Jarrett can come to the ring, bend over, and kiss his ass. 

Jarrett turns his attention to Flair. Jarrett is facing Flair again for the title again. Yep, this is when the Russo/Bischoff stuff starts coming off the rails with all of these title matches. Flair says he is off tonight, but out comes Vince Russo. Russo brings out Flair’s wife and kid and the faces sprint after them and take out R&B security.

Vampiro pulls up in a gas tanker, while Flair is looking for his family. 

Lumberjack Match: Disco Inferno vs Lt. Loco

Disco Inferno is with the Filthy Animalz. Who thought this was a good idea? Disco thought way too highly of himself. Disco challenges M.I.A to a lumberjack match, or a fight, I think he says both. 

OH GOD IT’S VAN HAMMER. The worst wrestler of all time. I thought the Wall had joined the group at this point. Somehow Van Hammer had a job for almost 10 years in WCW and never did jack shit.

He even got his name changed hear to Major Stash because he thought Private was too low a grade. Dude, when you don’t do anything worth a damn in your career you should be a private. The man has been through so many gimmicks and has zero memorable moments in his career. And that makes him the worst wrestler ever.

So we get a two minute match. The lumberjacks start brawling. Major Gunns distracts Rey Mysterio, and Lt. Loco wins with a tornado DDT.

Tygress cat fights with Major Gunns after the match. Tygress is revealed as Rey’s girlfriend.

Vampiro promises a fire tonight. Then suddenly Kronik appears, attacking Horace Hogan until Shawn Stasiak and Palumbo make the save. 

We get a Kidman vs Hogan promo for the Great American Bash. Remember this program did zero for Kidman’s career.

Miss Hancock comes out. She says she isn’t a stick in the mud and knows how to let her hair down and have a good time. She starts dancing until Chris Candido comes out.

Suddenly we cut to David Flair telling Russo he has to go. Candido grabs Miss Hancock. David Flair attacks him, then Ric shows up and goes after David. David takes Miss Hancock away. 

Kimberly shows up with a fake paparazzi. They show Donnie Osmond and Karl Malone in the crowd.

G.I. Bro vs Mike Awesome

Making Booker T go back to G.I. Bro was the stupidest thing you could have done to Booker T at this point. Meanwhile, Mike Awesome is out before WCW royally screwed him up, too.

I was always a Mike Awesome fan and liked his work in ECW. But he never made the same leap in WCW. Of course this is a few weeks after Awesome tossed Kanyon off the triple cage, in the same arena where Owen Hart died.

Another couple minutes of wrestling until they brawl up the ramp. I guess this is an ambulance match? DDP comes out and he and Booker combine to slam Awesome off the ramp through a table. They throw Awesome in the back of the ambulance to give Booker the win.

Kronik attacks Palumbo and Stasiak. Hogan shows up, and we see the Goldberg monster truck show up with Goldberg appearing as well. I don’t believe the crowd saw it, because there is zero pop for it.

Eric Bischoff comes out with Kimberly, Kidman, The Kat, Horace and Torrie Wilson. Mmm prime Torrie and Kimberly.

Bischoff lets us know Horace will be the special ref for Hogan/Kidman at the Great American Bash. Mid life crisis Hogan comes out with his black bandanna, vest and jeans. We suddenly cut to the back as Hogan goes to the ring and we see Goldberg walking in. Hogan of course cleared the ring during commercial.

Kevin Nash vs Rick Steiner and Tank Abbott

Tank and Rick attack Nash on the way to the ring with a wrench. Goldberg’s music hits and the crowd LOSES it. And they lose it even more whe he actually appears. Tank Abbott bails as he spears and jack hammers Rick. Goldberg challenged Tank to a match next week in Atlanta.

Just think, this company did one of the dumbest things possible and turned Goldberg heel at the upcoming Great American Bash.

Hardcore Championship: Terry Funk (c) vs Vampiro

I was also a big Vampiro fan as a kid. I loved his look and even went as him for Halloween in 2000. So they start brawling on the ramp. I think someone was suppose to set off the pyro. It didn’t happen, so Vampiro yells “HIT MY PYRO” and someone does, but they are out of position so Vampiro doesn’t have Funk’s head anywhere near it when it goes off.

They brawl to the outside as a group of production guys are just chilling there watching. A couple are laughing which is never good. They brawl over to the tanker where Vampiro covers Funk with gasoline.

Sting makes the save. Vampiro still tries to set everything on fire until officials stop him. Why Sting had such a problem working with Vampiro baffles me.

DDP pulled up to his house on Friday with all of his stuff on the lawn. Kimberly greeted him with cops and a restraining order.

Kimberly comes out with Palumbo and Awesome and calls out Elizabeth. Liz unfortunately is a dumb face and falls for the bait. DDP makes the save. But he violates the restraining order so DDP gets handcuffed. Then Palumbo takes out the cops and then DDP. Lex Luger then comes out to make the save. He leaves with Liz, so Awesome attacks DDP some more. Karl Malone jumps the railing and hits Awesome with a Diamond Cutter to a huge pop. 

Asylum Match: Scott Steiner vs Shane Douglas

Shane Douglas is always someone I wonder about. If he wasn’t constantly injured could he have been a bigger star? So an Asylum Match for those that don’t remember is a small circular cage put in the middle of the ring. Scott Steiner wins in short order.

Billy Kidman vs Sting

Sting’s Metallica theme is of course dubbed over here. You know if they let these two go over ten minutes this might be fun. But I don’t like the odds of that. Kidman hits a nice running bulldog off the ropes. Sting counters an armdrag and tosses Kidman over the top on to the ramp. Sting tosses Kidman back in then runs up the ramp and dives over the ropes.

Sting hits the Stinger Splash then applies the Scorpion Death Lock. Torrie distracts the ref, allowing Vampiro to come out and hit Sting with a blow torch. Kidman gets the pin for the win.

Vampiro tries to set Sting on fire but Hogan comes out in the red and yellow to clear the ring. Bischoff and his cronies come out and attack Hogan. They end up burning Hulk Hogan’s shirt. Guess what guys, Sgt. Slaughter did that in 1991.

Vampiro tries to set Sting on fire in the can, but Kronik makes the save. 

WCW Championship: Ric Flair (c) vs Jeff Jarrett

David Flair comes out in a referee shirt. Guess he is the ref.

A minute into the match Vince Russo and R&B Security bring out Flair’s wife and Reid. Jarrett gets the upper hand on Flair and hits him with a chair. Of course we know what that means, Ric Flair blades.

Jarrett works over the cut of Flair but Ric comes back with chops. Ric takes out David. Jarrett sends Ric right out in front of Russo, who hits him with his bat.

Jarrett applies the Figure Four in the ring as Charles Robinson comes out. Ric gets to the ropes as he knocks Russo off the apron. Flair and Jarrett exchange punches and chops in the corner. Flair goes to the top and actually connects on an axe handle. Flair knocks Russo off the apron. Flair takes out R&B Security as well.

Vince Russo puts on the ref shirt. David Flair gives Jarrett the guitar and he breaks it over Flair. Russo makes the pin and Jarrett is champion again as he continues to draw no dimes doing it. The ring gets filled with trash as the show goes off the air. 

Thoughts: Goldberg coming back was a highlight. Otherwise that good will that I thought was being built up in the first few weeks of the Russo/Bischoff Era is fading away. There are way too many stories going on at once between wrestlers. Titles changing every week makes it meaningless when it happens so often. Wrestling is nonexistent.

The thing is, unlike WWF at the time, these PPVs didn’t pay off with good wrestling at all. You couldn’t find a clean finish anywhere on this show outside of the Asylum Match. And in two weeks, WCW would kill their last bit of hope and turn Goldberg heel.

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