And money is burned to keep us warm.

Monday Night Raw
Date: July 9, 2001
Location: Phillips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Commentators: Jim Ross, Paul Heyman

We’re in WCW territory tonight and this is one of my all time favorite Raws, if not my favorite ever period. We’ll get to why later, but I remember watching this and absolutely losing it, which doesn’t happen often. Anyway, this absolutely has to be better than last week’s show. Also tonight, we get our first taste of an official WCW vs. WWF match. Let’s get to it.

We open with a rematch from Smackdown where they actually did ANOTHER WCW Title match with Booker facing Page. Angle came in again but Booker escaped the Angle Slam and beat Angle down. Taker and Page fought to the back and about 6 guys beat Taker down. Shane called them off, so Page beat up Shane and Booker.

Tonight it’s Taker vs. Storm/Awesome. That would be changed.

Shane McMahon vs. Diamond Dallas Page

This is a street fight. And never mind because Undertaker comes out instead of Page. Taker says tonight Page is his. Shane is ok with this so here’s Page.

Undertaker vs. Diamond Dallas Page

Page starts fast and pounds Taker in the corner but Taker counters that easily and beats on Page. Here come the chokeslam but Shane turns on Taker (was he with him in the first place?) and saves DDP. This was like a minute long.

Taker fights on the kendo stick shots and fires away on Shane in the corner. Page saves Shane with a chair and Taker is double teamed. Sara comes in with a kendo stick and gets in some shots on Shane but walks into a Diamond Cutter to kill her dead. She gets taken out on a stretcher. What does it say when Sara is better at taking a Diamond Cutter than Kane does?

DDP steals Taker’s motorcycle and Shane gives him the night off.

Taker promises Sara he’ll get Page.

Tag Titles: APA vs. Dudley Boys

Apparently Spike is going to be out for awhile with a broken leg. The APA clears the ring to start and we get down to Bubba vs. Farrooq. Off to Bradshaw as the Dudleys take over. The reverse 3D gets two. D-Von pounds on him and it’s off to Bubba. He goes to the corner for the ten punches but gets powerbombed out and both guys are down. Off to Farrooq and D-Von with Simmons getting a spinebuster for two. 3D doesn’t work but What’s Up does to Farrooq. Bubba goes for a table but Spike comes out, hits Bubba with the crutch and throws him in where Bradshaw’s Clothesline gives the APA their third tag title.

Rating: D+. Pretty boring match but I guess the idea here is that if the APA is leading the WWF’s army so give them something to make them seem important. That’s not a terrible idea actually and it’s better than another boring Hardys vs. Dudleys feud for the 7000th time. Not a terrible match and it did its job I guess.

Off to Austin and Vince with Austin repeating everything Vince says. Even the audience is laughing now which is a good thing. Angle comes in wearing a cowboy hat that Austin gave him on Thursday. Angle has presets for everyone except Debra of course. They’re big boxes but they have small sheriff badges in them. Angle’s is a lot bigger and golden to match his medal. Austin goes on a huge rant, quoting The Treasure of Sierra Madre to a nice pop. He calls Kurt a jackass and says that the hat was a joke. Austin tells Kurt to go beat up Booker T for the WCW Title.

Kane is just getting here.

Intercontinental Title: Rhyno vs. Albert

Slugout to start (I’m as shocked as you are) with Rhyno stomping the champ down into the corner. Pac runs in while Albert has the referee and superkicks Rhyno for two. Rhyno manages to get in a shot to buy himself some time and they slug it out for a bit. Belly to back suplex and a top rope splash combine for two. The Gore misses though and the Baldo Bomb is countered. Pac comes in and gets Gored. The distraction lets a bicycle kick keep the title on Albert.

Rating: D+. Back to back power matches probably isn’t a good idea but it wasn’t all that bad. Albert is a guy that was on the roll of his life at this point but soon enough he’d be just another guy in the Alliance war. Not much to see here but they were at least trying to make a new star with him as he beat up various power guys.

Angle goes to talk to Booker. He yells at Book and Mr. T. doesn’t seem that interested or upset by it. Angle challenges him and Booker agrees. Kurt says yippee kay yay Mother Hubbard. Good stuff and I had to listen twice.

Kane goes into Regal’s office so Tajiri hides behind the suit of armor. Regal says that Sara is ok but is being held for observations. Kane says he’ll take Taker’s place in the handicap match against Awesome and Storm.

Jeff Hardy vs. Big Show

Boy this would be a different match today. Show runs him over and we go outside. Here comes Trish and Show accidentally runs into the post. Jeff runs the rail to get in a shot and a missile dropkick puts Show down. Trish is cheering for Jeff. Jeff goes up again but jumps into a powerbomb position. Instead Show drops him back so he lands face first on the mat which is good for the pin. This was nothing again.

Trish kisses Jeff post match.

Kurt is getting ready for Booker and is bent over in front of Austin’s face which is kind of funny. Austin volunteers to be the leader of Team WWF at Invasion. Angle says if he wins the WCW Title, he should be leader. This turns into a discussion of Gilligan’s Island and who gets to be Skipper. Austin goes Bugs Bunny on him to get Angle to say that he (Angle) is Gilligan and Austin is Skipper.

Vince finally asks the question we’re all thinking: what does this have to do with the WCW Title or the Inaugural Brawl??? Speaking of which, Austin and Angle are both in it and Undertaker probably will be also. Jericho comes in to a big pop and says he’s WWF for live. He wants to be on Team WWF. Vince seems intrigued but Austin laughs him off.

Some Atlanta Falcons are here.

At Invasion, it’s Trish/Lita vs. Stacy/Torrie in a tag team bra and panties match.

Matt and Lita are at WWF New York. They don’t know if they can trust Trish but this is for the WWF and she can follow the Lita. Oh geez. They kiss to end this.

Shane fires Booker up.

Vince and Austin fire Kurt up. Austin repeats everything Vince says again. Angle says this is Atlanta and he won with no one in his corner in 1996 so he’ll go alone tonight.

WCW World Title: Booker T vs. Kurt Angle

Booker hammers him into the corner to start and hits a side kick. Kurt knocks him to the floor with a clothesline and Booker goes into the table. Booker sends him into the post and a missile dropkick gets two back in the ring. Back to the floor and Booker keeps control. Angle reverses an Irish whip back inside and a belly to back suplex slows Booker down but he comes back with a spinning kick for two.

Angle starts snapping off suplexes and a belly to belly looks to set up the Slam. Booker rolls out though and hits the scissors kick. The fans are against Booker now which is a good thing. Kurt charges and they ram heads. Booker gets the advantage and hits a spinebuster for two. Kurt grabs the ankle and there’s the ankle lock. Shane gets the referee so Booker’s tap doesn’t mean anything. Now the Slam hits and Earl Hebner runs in to count two. Now the referees fight and the distraction lets Booker get a belt shot. A seconds WCW referee runs in and Booker retains.

Rating: B-. This is the best match on Raw in weeks and it’s only just above average. Booker and Angle could do some good stuff together with some more time. Amazing what happens when you give two talented guys time and a face and heel combination to work with isn’t it? Good stuff and the referee fight was kind of funny.

Angle rants to Austin and Vince which makes Austin say he’s the leader at Invasion.

Torrie and Stacy say they’ll win at the PPV. Torrie bashes Vince and calls him a dirty old man.

The APA says they don’t want the titles like that and tell the Dudleys they can have another shot as soon as Smackdown. Right now though, cold beers on the APA. The Dudleys say not right now but ask them at the end of the night.

Kane vs. Lance Storm/Mike Awesome

I thought this match was earlier in the show. I guess not as we’re into the second hour. Before we get started though, here’s Jericho. He doesn’t say anything but comes in and we have a tag match.

Kane/Chris Jericho vs. Lance Storm/Mike Awesome

The 24/7 Rule has been waived until after Invasion. Why? Kane vs. Awesome starts us off with the bigger man taking over. Jericho comes in and chops away but gets caught by the power of Awesome (how was that never a t-shirt?). Off to Storm and the Thrillseekers get a nice reunion. Awesome hits a knee to the back and Storm clotheslines Jericho down to take over.

Storm comes in and misses a dropkick but he gets the knees up for the Lionsault. Awesome comes in and hooks a chinlock. Jericho fights back but jumps into a belly to belly for two. Back to Storm who stomps away. Was there a reason for him to stomp like that? He always had that little hop to it. Jericho gets an enziguri which is good for the hot tag.

Everything breaks down and Storm is sent to the floor. A powerslam puts Awesome down and there’s the top rope clothesline for two. A missile dropkick takes Storm down but Chris can’t get the Walls on Awesome. He does get them on Storm though, and I’m going to stop the match review there. Storm didn’t tap and the match is still going on, but the next part needs its own attention.

Rating: C+. This was a pretty decent formula tag match between Team Canada and Team Name That Has To Do With Kane And Jericho. Jericho and Storm always have great chemistry together and this was a fine example of it. Also, how in the world did both companies manage to screw up Mike Awesome? Let him be a mulletted killing machine. Why is that so hard?

Kane sets to chokeslam Awesome but Tommy Dreamer and Rob Van Dam jump the railing and it’s a 4-2 beatdown. Here come the Dudleys, Taz, Raven, Justin Credible and Rhyno. It’s a showdown but the six WWF guys that ran in all turn around and destroy Jericho and Kane. Jericho takes a Death Valley Driver and Kane gets a Van Daminator. The fans are loving this. JR asks Heyman what’s going on so Heyman says listen up.

Heyman gets into the ring with the Dudleys holding the ropes open for him. All of the guys celebrate and Heyman says here’s the truth. He’s been sitting there like a sellout for months and talking about WWF vs. WCW. It seems to him like these men were too extreme for WWF vs. WCW so it seems like Storm and Awesome have left WCW. The other six have left WWF and they all have joined ECW. Heyman says either Vince or Shane can come get some at any time. This Invasion has been taken to the EXTREME. When I saw this, my jaw dropped.

After a break, JR turns into Eric Bischoff and wonders how long he’s had this planned.

Shane and Vince bump into each other and Shane is kind of panicking, saying that their guys should team up for tonight only to crush ECW before it spreads. A twenty man tag is set for later.

Light Heavyweight Title: Scotty 2 Hotty vs. X-Pac

This is what we call a filler. Pac is defending and they speed things up to start. Scotty dances around a lot and works on the arm. They go to the floor and Scotty misses a dive. Pac stays on offense for about twenty seconds and Scotty comes back and hits a superkick for two. X-Factor is countered but Pac avoids the Worm. Scotty tries a sunset flip but Pac grabs the rope for the pin.

Rating: D+. Scotty was actually pretty entertaining around this time when he dropped the whole dancing and Cool aspect of his personality. X-Pac on the other hand was just kind of there and doing his own thing which no one really wanted to see. Nothing to see here and all they were doing was filling time.

Vince and Shane try to fire up their boys but can’t get along. Shane is officially put in charge and the agreement is that once ECW is gone, all bets are off. WCW leaves and Vince says ignore Shane and just do it.

Team WWF/WCW vs. Team ECW

It’s the 10 ECW guys listed earlier for their side. WWF is Big Show/Billy Gunn/Hardcore Holly/APA and WCW is Jindrak/Stasiak/O’Haire/Palumbo/Kanyon. WWF and WCW get in a fight before the ECW guys even get here. WCW is sent to the floor and here comes ECW. The ECW guys fight the WWF team and WCW stays on the floor. ECW clears the ring and calls out the WCW guys. And they all hug, officially forming the Alliance. No match obviously.

Vince comes out and wants to know what’s going on. Shane says watch the WWF guys get destroyed. Each one is thrown in and takes various finishing moves (including an F5 to Bradshaw from O’Haire). Shane says he can’t outspend Vince but he can outsmart him. Vince told Shane he was personally responsible for what happens out here and that’s true.

He’s responsible for ECW being here tonight and for the merger of WCW and ECW. Vince’s jaw is further into the Earth’s crust with every word. At Invasion, it’s the two companies against WWF. Oh, and here’s the new owner of ECW: Daddy’s Little Girl, Stephanie McMahon. The place ERUPTS at that. Vince’s eyes roll back in his head and here’s Stephanie, looking drop dead gorgeous in a pink dress. I think that’s why I loved this show when I was 13. Shane and Stephanie pose to end the show. Now THAT is how you end a TV show.

Overall Rating: B. This show depends on what you’re looking for. If it’s wrestling, you’ll probably be a bit disappointed. If you’re in it for drama and something that makes you want to watch next week, this is the show for you! When I was a kid this was an awesome moment and I loved it, but unfortunately it didn’t quite live up to the hype. Still though, I was glued to the screen on Thursday and Monday for awhile, which is the idea. Good stuff here.

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