World Heavyweight Champion: Brock Lesnar (since May 18, 2003) Intercontinental Champion: Randy Orton (since June 23, 2003) World Tag Team Champions: Batista & Ric Flair (since September 1, 2003) WWE Women's Champion: Gail Kim (since August 24, 2003)
Al Snow - Batista - Billy Gunn - Booker T - Bradshaw - Brock Lesnar Chris Jericho - Christian - Christopher Nowinski Danny Basham - Doug Basham - Gail Kim - Garrison Cade - Goldust The Hurricane - Jacqueline - Jamal - Jazz - Hulk Hogan Johnny Stamboli - Kane - Kevin Nash - Lance Storm - Lita Mark Henry - Mark Jindrak - Maven - Molly Holly - Randy Orton - Ric Flair Rico - Rob Van Dam - Rodney Mack - Ron Simmons - Rosey Scott Steiner - Shawn Michaels - Stacy Keibler - Stone Cold Steve Austin Stevie Richards - Terri Runnels - Test - Theodore Long - Tommy Dreamer Triple H - Trish Stratus - Val Venis - Victoria - William Regal
WWE Chairman: Vince McMahon RAW Co-General Manager: Eric Bischoff RAW Co-General Manager: Shane McMahon Assistant to the General Manager (Bischoff): Scott Steiner Assistant to the Assistant to the General Manager (Bischoff): Christopher Nowinski RAW Announce Team: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler and Lilian Garcia Backstage Personnel: Jonathan Coachman and Terri Runnels
WWE Royal Rumble 2003 - January 19, 2003 - Boston, MA - FleetCenter Monday Night RAW/HEAT - January 20, 2003 - Providence, RI - Dunkin' Donuts Center Monday Night RAW/HEAT - January 27, 2003 - Chicago, IL - AllState Arena Monday Night RAW/HEAT - February 3, 2003 - Washington, D.C. - MCI Center Monday Night RAW/HEAT - February 10, 2003 - Los Angeles, CA - Staples Center Monday Night RAW - February 17, 2003 - Columbus, OH - Nationwide Arena WWE No Way Out 2003 - February 23, 2003 - Montreal, Quebec, CA - Bell Centre Monday Night RAW/HEAT - February 24, 2003 - Toronto, Ontario, CA - Air Canada Centre Monday Night RAW/HEAT - March 3, 2003 - Long Island, NY - Nassau Coliseum Monday Night RAW/HEAT - March 10, 2003 - Cleveland, OH - Gund Arena Monday Night RAW/HEAT - March 17, 2003 - St. Louis, MO - Savvis Center Monday Night RAW - March 24, 2003 - Sacramento, CA - Arco Arena WWE WrestleMania XIX - March 30, 2003 - Seattle, WA - SafeCo Field Monday Night RAW/HEAT - March 31, 2003 - Seattle, WA - Key Arena Monday Night RAW/HEAT - April 7, 2003 -Milwaukee, WI - Bradley Center Monday Night RAW/HEAT - April 14, 2003 - Richmond, VA - Richmond Coliseum Monday Night RAW - April 21, 2003 - Atlanta, GA - Phillips Arena WWE Backlash 2003 - April 27, 2003 - Worcester, MA - Worcester Centrum Monday Night RAW/HEAT - April 28, 2003 - Boston, MA - Fleet Center Monday Night RAW/HEAT - May 5, 2003 - Halifax, Nova Scotia, CA - Metro Centre Monday Night RAW- May 12, 2003 - Philadelphia, PA - First Union Center WWE Judgment Day 2003 - May 18, 2003 - Charlotte, NC - Charlotte Coliseum Monday Night RAW/HEAT - May 19, 2003 - Greenville, NC - Bi-Lo Center Monday Night RAW/HEAT - May 26, 2003 - Mobile, AL - Mobile Civic Center Monday Night RAW/HEAT - June 2, 2003 - San Diego, CA - San Diego Sports Arena Insurrextion - June 7, 2003 - Newcastle, England, UK - Telewest Arena Monday Night RAW - June 9, 2003 - Miami, FL - American Airlines Arena WWE King of the Ring 2003 - June 15, 2003 - Houston, TX - Compaq Center Monday Night RAW/HEAT - June 16, 2003 - Dallas, TX - American Airlines Center Monday Night RAW/HEAT - June 23, 2003 - New York City, NY - Madison Square Garden Monday Night RAW/HEAT - June 30, 2003 - Buffalo, NY - HSBC Arena Monday Night RAW/HEAT - July 7, 2003 - Montreal, Quebec, CA - Bell Centre Monday Night RAW/HEAT - July 14, 2003 - Indianapolis, IN - Conseco Fieldhouse Monday Night RAW - July 21, 2003 - Los Angeles, CA - Staples Center WWE Vengeance 2003 - July 27, 2003 - Denver, CO - Pepsi Center Monday Night RAW/HEAT - July 28, 2003 - Colorado Springs, CO - World Arena Monday Night RAW/HEAT - August 4, 2003 - Vancouver, British Columbia, CA - PNE Coliseum Monday Night RAW/HEAT - August 11, 2003 - Moline, IL - Mark of the Quad Monday Night RAW - August 18, 2003 - Grand Rapids, MI - Van Andel Arena WWE Summerslam 2003 - August 24, 2003 - Phoenix, AZ - America West Arena Monday Night RAW/HEAT - August 25, 2003 - Tucson, AZ - Tucson Convention Center Monday Night RAW/HEAT - September 1, 2003 - Lafayette, LA - Cajundome Monday Night RAW/HEAT - September 8, 2003 - Huntsville, AL - Von Braun Civic Center Monday Night RAW/HEAT - September 15, 2003 - Columbia, SC - Carolina Center WWE Unforgiven - September 21, 2003 - Hershey, PA - Giant Center Monday Night RAW/HEAT - September 22, 2003 - Washington, D.C. - MCI Center Monday Night RAW/HEAT - September 29, 2003 - Chicago, IL - Allstate Arena Monday Night RAW/HEAT - October 6, 2003 - Uncasville, CT - Mohegan Sun Arena Monday Night RAW/HEAT - October 13, 2003 - Pittsburgh, PA - Mellon Arena WWE No Mercy - October 19, 2003 - Baltimore, MD - 1st Mariner Arena WWE Survivor Series - November 16, 2003 - Dallas, TX - American Airlines Center WWE Armageddon - December 14, 2003 - Orlando, FL - TD Waterhouse Centre WWE Royal Rumble - January 25, 2004 - Philadelphia, PA - Wachovia Center WWE No Way Out - February 15, 2004 - Daly City, CA - Cow Palace WWE WrestleMania XX - March 14, 2004 - New York City, NY - Madison Square Garden
WWE Champion: Kurt Angle (since April 27, 2003) United States Champion: Rhyno (since August 7, 2003) WWE Tag Team Champions: Los Guerreros (since August 24, 2003) WWE Cruiserweight Champion: Matt Hardy (since July 31, 2003)
A-Train - The Big Show - Bill DeMott - Bubba Ray Dudley Billy Kidman - Brian Kendrick - Charlie Haas Chavo Guerrero - Chris Benoit - Chris Kanyon - Chuck Palumbo Dawn Marie - D-Von Dudley - Eddie Guerrero - Edge Funaki - Goldberg - Hardcore Holly - Ivory - Jackie Gayda Jamie Noble - Jeff Hardy - Jimmy Yang - John Cena - Kurt Angle Matt Hardy - Nidia - Nunzio - Orlando Jordan - Paul Heyman - Paul London Rey Mysterio - Rikishi - The Rock - Scotty 2 Hotty - Sean O'Haire Shannon Moore - Shelton Benjamin - Spike Dudley - Tajiri - Torrie Wilson Ultimo Dragon - The Undertaker - Vince McMahon
WWE Chairman: Vince McMahon SmackDown! General Manager: Mick Foley SmackDown! Announce Team: Michael Cole, Tazz & Tony Chimel Backstage Personnel: Josh Mathews & Funaki
WWE Royal Rumble 2003 - January 19, 2003 - Boston, MA - FleetCenter SmackDown!/Velocity - January 23, 2003 - Albany, NY - Pepsi Arena SmackDown!/Velocity - January 30, 2003 - Green Bay, WI - Resch Center SmackDown!/Velocity - February 6, 2003 - Philadelphia, PA - First Union Center SmackDown!/Velocity - February 13, 2003 - Bakersfield, CA - Centennial Garden SmackDown!/Velocity - February 20, 2003 - Indianapolis, IN - Conseco Fieldhouse WWE No Way Out 2003 - February 23, 2003 - Montreal, Quebec, CA - Bell Centre SmackDown!/Velocity - February 27, 2003 - London, Ontario, CA - Labatt Centre SmackDown!/Velocity - March 6, 2003 - Bridgeport, CT - Harbor Yard Arena SmackDown!/Velocity - March 13, 2003 - Pittsburgh, PA - Mellon Arena SmackDown!/Velocity - March 20, 2003 - Louisville, KY - Freedom Hall SmackDown!/Velocity - March 27, 2003 - San Jose, CA - HP Pavilion WWE WrestleMania XIX - March 30, 2003 - Seattle, WA - SafeCo Field SmackDown!/Velocity - April 3, 2003 - Spokane, WA - Spoke Arena SmackDown!/Velocity - April 10, 2003 -Chicago, IL - AllState Arena SmackDown!/Velocity - April 17, 2003 - Norfolk, VA - The Scope SmackDown!/Velocity - April 24, 2003 - Nashville, TN - Gaylord Entertainment Center WWE Backlash 2003 - April 27, 2003 - Worcester, MA - Worcester Centrum SmackDown!/Velocity - May 1, 2003 - Mancester, NH - Verizon Wireless Arena SmackDown!/Velocity - May 8, 2003 - Halifax, Nova Scotia, CA - Metro Centre SmackDown!/Velocity - May 15, 2003 - Baltimore, MD - 1st Mariner Arena WWE Judgment Day - May 18, 2003 - Charlotte, NC - Charlotte Coliseum SmackDown!/Velocity - May 22, 2003 - Greensboro, NC - Greensboro Coliseum SmackDown!/Velocity - May 29, 2003 - Pensacola, FL - Pensacola Civic Center SmackDown!/Velocity - June 5, 2003 - Anaheim, CA - Arrowhead Pond Insurrextion - June 7, 2003 - Newcastle, England, UK - Telewest Arena SmackDown!/Velocity - June 12, 2003 - Orlando, FL - TD Waterhouse Centre WWE King of the Ring - June 15, 2003 - Houston, TX - Compaq Center SmackDown!/Velocity - June 19, 2003 - Houston, TX - SBC Center SmackDown!/Velocity - June 26, 2003 - New York City, NY - Madison Square Garden SmackDown!/Velocity - July 3, 2003 - Rochester, NY - Blue Cross Arena SmackDown!/Velocity - July 10, 2003 - Toronto, Ontario, CA - Air Canada Centre SmackDown!/Velocity - July 17, 2003 - Columbus, OH - Nationwide Arena SmackDown!/Velocity - July 24, 2003 - Fresno, CA - Selland Arena WWE Vengeance 2003 - July 27, 2003 - Denver, CO - Pepsi Center SmackDown!/Velocity - July 31, 2003 - Colorado Springs, CO - World Arena SmackDown!/Velocity - August 7, 2003 - Kelowna, British Columbia, CA - Skyreach Place SmackDown!/Velocity - August 14, 2003 - St. Louis, MO - Savvis Center SmackDown!/Velocity - August 21, 2003 - Detroit, MI - Joe Louis Arena WWE Summerslam 2003 - August 24, 2003 - Phoenix, AZ - America West Arena SmackDown!/Velocity - August 28, 2003 - El Paso, TX - Haskins Center SmackDown!/Velocity - September 4, 2003 - New Orleans, LA - New Orleans Arena SmackDown!/Velocity - September 11, 2003 - Birmingham, AL - Jefferson Civic Center SmackDown!/Velocity - September 18, 2003 - Raleigh, NC - RBC Center WWE Unforgiven - September 21, 2003 - Hershey, PA - Giant Center SmackDown!/Velocity - September 25, 2003 - Philadelphia, PA - Wachovia Center SmackDown!/Velocity - October 2, 2003 - Milwaukee, WI - Bradley Center SmackDown!/Velocity - October 9, 2003 - Hartford, CT - Hartford Civic Center SmackDown!/Velocity - October 16, 2003 - Cincinnati, OH - U.S. Bank Arena WWE No Mercy - October 19, 2003 - Baltimore, MD - 1st Mariner Arena WWE Survivor Series - November 16, 2003 - Dallas, TX - American Airlines Center WWE Armageddon - December 14, 2003 - Orlando, FL - TD Waterhouse Centre WWE Royal Rumble - January 25, 2004 - Philadelphia, PA - Wachovia Center WWE No Way Out - February 15, 2004 - Daly City, CA - Cow Palace WWE WrestleMania XX - March 14, 2004 - New York City, NY - Madison Square Garden
WWE Championship Kurt Angle (April 27, 2003 - Present) The Undertaker (March 30, 2003 - April 27, 2003) Kurt Angle (December 15, 2002 - March 30, 2003)
World Heavyweight Championship Brock Lesnar (May 18, 2003 - Present) Triple H (April 27, 2003 - May 18, 2003) Brock Lesnar (March 30, 2003 - April 27, 2003) Triple H (December 15, 2002 - March 30, 2003)
United States Championship Rhyno (August 7, 2003 - Present) Chris Benoit (July 27, 2003 - August 7, 2003) Edge (May 18, 2003 - July 27, 2003)
Intercontinental Championship Randy Orton (June 23, 2003 - Present) Booker T (May 12, 2003 - June 23, 2003) Chris Jericho (March 30, 2003 - May 12, 2003)
Cruiserweight Championship Matt Hardy (July 31, 2003 - Present) Rey Mysterio (May 18, 2003 - July 31, 2003) Matt Hardy (February 23, 2003 - May 18, 2003) Billy Kidman (November 17, 2002 - February 23, 2003)
Women's Championship Gail Kim (August 24, 2003 - Present) Trish Stratus (March 30, 2003 - August 24, 2003) Jazz (February 23, 2003 - March 30, 2003) Victoria (November 17, 2002 - February 23, 2003)
WWE Tag Team Championship Los Guerreros (August 24, 2003 - Present) The Dudley Boyz (July 27, 2003 - August 24, 2003) Team Angle (April 27, 2003 - July 27, 2003) Chris Benoit and Edge (March 30, 2003 - April 27, 2003) Team Angle (February 23, 2003 - March 30, 2003) Los Guerreros (November 17, 2002 - February 23, 2003)
World Tag Team Championship Batista and Ric Flair (September 1, 2003 - Present) Chris Jericho and Christian (July 14, 2003 - September 1, 2003) Rob Van Dam and Kane (June 2, 2003 - July 14, 2003) Kevin Nash and Ric Flair (May 19, 2003 - June 2, 2003) Rob Van Dam and Kane (March 30, 2003 - May 19, 2003) The Dudley Boyz (January 19, 2003 - March 30, 2003)
1) Brock Lesnar def. Big Show (w/Paul Heyman) via pinfall for a spot in the Royal Rumble Match 2) The Dudley Boyz def. Lance Storm and William Regal(c) via pinfall for the World Tag Team Championship 3) Torrie Wilson def. Dawn Marie via pinfall 4) Triple H(c) (w/Ric Flair) def. Scott Steiner via pinfall for the World Heavyweight Championship 5) Kurt Angle(c) def. Chris Benoit via submission for the WWE Championship 6) Brock Lesnar last eliminated The Undertaker to win the 2003 Royal Rumble Match
January 20, 2003: Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, RI
Following the intro of the show and the pyrotechnics display across the stage of the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island, the voice of Jim Ross gives the introduction from commentary. "Welcome everyone to Monday Night Raw!" He says. "We are just twenty-four hours removed from what was an incredible Royal Rumble pay-per-view event!" Jerry Lawler chips in that we are on the road to WrestleMania and that he knows he is ready to go and asks if J.R. is too!
Arriving to heavy boos from the audience is Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff. A microphone in hand, he enters and stands in the center of the ring. He prepares to speak multiple times but stops himself, clear frustration as he says he has had a headache for about a week straight now. "Last week, Mr. McMahon himself came down to this ring and told me that I was doing a good job but not a great job and gave me thirty days to turn Monday Night Raw around!" Bischoff laughs and says that he has done a lot to ensure that Raw is the flagship brand and believes deep down in his heart that he does not deserve to be treated this way and his job should not be at risk in the slightest. "But if even better is what Mr. McMahon wants, even better he will get! Last night at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view it was a Smackdown guy — Brock Lesnar — that won the Royal Rumble match." Cheers come from the crowd as Bischoff says that was a blow to Raw because of how big it is to be the Royal Rumble match winner and go on to WrestleMania to challenge for the WWE or World Heavyweight Championship. He says that due to those circumstances, he has gone to great lengths since last night to light a fire under Monday Night Raw and he thinks he found the spark.
Before Bischoff gets the opportunity to continue on, however, he is interrupted by the theme music of the World Heavyweight Champion, Triple H. 'The Game' arrives along with Ric Flair and the pair head to the ring together. The duo stand across from Bischoff with Triple H apologizing for interrupting but saying that the spark that Bischoff is looking for is standing right in front of him. "Because last night at the Royal Rumble I defeated Scott Steiner! I defeated 'Big Poppa Pump' and I am standing here still the World Heavyweight Champion because I am 'The Game', I am Triple H!" He says that he went to battle with 'Freakzilla' and got banged up pretty good, he'll credit Steiner there, but he walked out of that battle as champion and proved why he is the face of not just Monday Night Raw, but the entire WWE. "So, Eric, whatever you have planned you can go ahead and just forget about it because all you need is right here." The General Manager clarifies that he appreciates Triple H more than anybody else around here and he knows how blessed he is to have him as a member of Raw. "But Mr. McMahon made it very clear that things need to change and you're not change, Hunter... but I am glad you are out here because when I say change I mean that I have found your next challenger for the World Heavyweight Championship at No Way Out." Flair steps forward and laughs, saying if he means change, he definitely doesn't mean Scott Steiner. "Because Triple H took care of him last night! Woo! And you don't mean Shawn Michaels because Triple H took care of him time after time after time! Woo! So who do you got, Eric?! Who do you got for the World Heavyweight Champion?!"
The smiles on the faces of Triple H and Flair fade quickly, the Dunkin' Donuts Center absolutely erupting at the sound of glass shattering and Stone Cold Steve Austin marching his way out from the back! "By God! Stone Cold is back!" J.R. exclaims. "Stone Cold is back! I don't believe it!" Austin hits the ring and climbs the turnbuckles, throwing his middle fingers up to the joyous fans. After playing up the crowd some more, Austin stops at the side of a smiling Bischoff, whom says he promised a bombshell before offering up the microphone to 'The Texas Rattlesnake'. The Raw GM applauds as the crowd continues to buzz, Austin staring at Triple H as he raises the microphone up slowly. He stops himself, however, and looks all around the building. He goes to speak once more but halts again, instead handing Bischoff back the microphone. He then takes one step forward and flips Triple H and Flair off! "Hey! That wasn't very polite!" Says Lawler. Austin then turns back to Bischoff and hits him with the Stone Cold Stunner! The arena erupts yet again, Austin back to his feet as Triple H and Flair bolt from the ring as fast as they can! Austin marches around the squared circle over the body of Bischoff, climbing the turnbuckles and throwing fingers to the sky to the delight of the Providence fans as it appears Bischoff's big bombshell announcement has backfired on him!
After the commercial break, Ross and Lawler show replays from what just happened moments ago with the return of Stone Cold Steve Austin as Triple H's next opponent for the World Heavyweight Championship and him stunning the Raw General Manager that brought him back to WWE, Eric Bischoff! "Austin is back for one night — one night, J.R.!" An upset Lawler shouts. "And he does this! And you're smiling about it like it's funny! It's not funny! There will be hell to pay for Stone Cold!"
1) 6-Man Tag Team Match: Jeff Hardy, Kane and Rob Van Dam def. 3 Minute Warning via pinfall Jamal, Rico and Rosey work well together to begin things as they control the contest over Hardy. Jeff kicks Rico in the face from the corner though and dives across the ring to tag in RVD, whom comes in and unloads on Rico. Jamal and Rosey try to make an assist after Kane is tagged in but RVD and Hardy are right at his side. After cleaning house of the two big men, Rico is left by himself to fall to a Chokeslam from Kane, a Swanton Bomb from Hardy and a Five Star Frog Splash from RVD to end it.
Hardy, Kane and Van Dam celebrate the win together as the cameras cut backstage to show Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff sitting on his couch in his office with an ice pack on his chin. Standing in front of him is the trifecta of Chief Morley, Lance Storm and William Regal as they discuss how unhappy they are with last night. "You know whose fault this is? That bloody referee Nick Patrick's!" Says a disgusted Regal. The three continue to bicker when Bischoff rises up from the couch, holding his ribs and groaning. "You know, I did that ingrate Steve Austin a favor by bringing him back to the WWE!" He looks at the three and says that if Austin wants to come back to Raw and kick some ass and raise some hell, he's going to learn the hard way that things aren't how they were when he decided to take his ball and go home last year. "This is my show! And if Steve Austin is looking for a fight then I know just the man for him to face right here tonight — Batista!" He grins but holds his jaw in pain, being aided by Morley and Storm to his seat as he re-applies the ice pack.
Following the time away, Jim Ross makes the announcement that Scott Steiner will be back on Monday Night Raw next week after recovering from several sledgehammer shots at the hands of Triple H and Ric Flair last night at the Royal Rumble. Speaking of the Royal Rumble, he sends things backstage to Terri whom is standing by with a controversial superstar from last night's Royal Rumble match, Chris Jericho. Terri mentions how last night, Jericho and Christian conspired to what some would say 'screw' Shawn Michaels out of the Royal Rumble. The two look to the television behind them and show still images of Jericho and Christian's actions with the latter posing as Jericho and allowing his friend to attack Michaels from behind and take him out of the Rumble right off the bat. "Last night was a different story than tonight, Terri. Last night was about winning the Royal Rumble and I outsmarted 'The Heartbreak Kid', 'The Showstopper', 'The Main Event'... and what did he do because of that? He cost me my chance at headlining WrestleMania because Shawn Michaels is a sore loser!" He says that is why he has asked for a match with Michaels tonight and why he is going to show Shawn and the entire world that he is the showstopper of today.
Transitioning to footage from earlier in the day, Test and Stacy Keibler are seen at a meet-and-greet with some of the Rhode Island fans, Keibler encouraging the people to prove that they are a real 'Test-icle' by getting an autograph and a picture with her boyfriend!
2) Maven def. D'Lo Brown (w/Teddy Long) via pinfall An aggressive Brown comes out of the gates strong, Maven coming back after avoiding a splash in the corner. After some back and forth between the two, Long gets on the apron and Brown almost runs in to his manager. Brown holds his hands up in front of him, allowing Long to step down. Maven takes advantage of the situation as he rolls Brown up from behind for the sudden three count!
Long is in disbelief as Maven rolls under the bottom rope with both fists in the air. As he celebrates the victory on his way up the ramp, Teddy jumps up and down and yells in frustration over the loss.
Seen making his way toward the ring backstage is Shawn Michaels when he is stopped by Jonathan Coachman, whom mentions that Jericho called Michaels a sore loser for taking him out of the Royal Rumble match last night after being outsmarted. "Chris wants to call me a sore loser and thinks that he outsmarted me, huh, Coach? Well, either way, neither one of us is going to WrestleMania and he only has himself to blame for that." He says that he's going to go out there and continue extracting his revenge just as he did last night and show Jericho that he's not done by a long shot.
'The Heart Break Kid' makes his entrance following the break and awaits the arrival of his opponent, the lights coming down and the music hitting, Jericho posing atop the stage only to turn and reveal for the second night in a row to be Christian! "Oh, give me a break!" Says a disgusted J.R. Christian has a big smile on his face, a microphone in hand as he asks Michaels if he was expecting somebody else. "Because Shawn, it turns out that your opponent tonight is not Chris Jericho — it's me! Maybe that's not what you wanted but... hey! Look out!" Christian points behind Michaels and it causes HBK to turn around to see nothing. He then turns back around to Christian and is met with a clothesline!
3) Shawn Michaels def. Christian via disqualification Yet another blindside as the mind games of buddies Jericho and Christian continue. The match is competitive with a lot of back and forth, going through a commercial break. A perhaps overconfident Christian goes to the top rope, crashing and burning on a crossbody attempt. After Michaels hits a series of forearms, he gets up in the corner and begins to stomp his feet to the mat. Just as the crowd is getting in to it and Michaels looks prepared to strike! However, as he begins to shuffle across the ring, Chris Jericho comes in from behind and chop blocks the leg of 'The Heart Break Kid'!
Y2J stomps away at HBK, pulling him up in the corner but getting a bit of fight back! Christian tries to get in on things but Michaels ends up teeing off on him and hitting a clothesline over the top rope. Jerichco once again takes out Michaels' knee from behind afterward, taking hold of both legs and applying the Walls of Jericho! Jericho strains back on the hold as Michaels yells out in pain, Chris not letting up until he feels the need to say something. "I thought you'd have more fight in you, Shawn!" He yells after grabbing a microphone. "But I should have known better after I dumped your ass out of this ring like it was nothing last night!" He holds Michaels up by his chin, slapping the legend across the face while shouting that Michaels was better off never coming back. "You call yourself 'The Showstopper' and it's time to put a stop to your show! A stop to this facade! You're washed up, Shawn! You're nothing!" After a few more slaps across the face, Jericho cracks Michaels across the head with the microphone and lays him out in the center of the ring. He steps over Michaels' body and stares down, disgusted, as the Rhode Island audience lets out an 'assh*le' chant toward him.
Back from a break, more footage from earlier today with Test and Stacy Keibler are shown when Test is greeted by a voluptuous fan, whom expresses that she is his 'biggest Test-icle'! A smile forms across his face as she asks if she can have a hug, telling her that's more than okay! Keibler places her hands on her hips, asking if they are serious. "You do realize that is my man, right?" She says to the fan while taking a step forward. "So that means that any 'Test-icle' of his, is a 'Test-icle' of mine..." All three smile to one another as Stacy hugs the other side of Test, much to his approval!
Returning live, Stone Cold Steve Austin is seen marching through the back to a big ovation inside of the arena. He is approached by Johnathan Coachman, whom says it is great to see Austin back but they have yet to hear out of him tonight and he was just wondering if Austin has anything to say. Before 'The Rattlesnake' can give a response, however, he is approached by a fired up Ric Flair. "Big mistake, Austin! Big mistake!" Hollers the 16-time World Champion. "You shouldn't have taken Eric Bischoff up on his offer and you should have stayed home! Because at No Way Out — Woo! — You are going to wish you never and I mean never came back and that's if you even make it through tonight against my main man! The six foot five, three hundred and twenty pound Batista! Woo!" Austin steps forward takes Flair by his collar, backing him in to a wall until Batista himself steps around the corner and goes nose-to-nose with 'The Texas Rattlesnake'. The two breath heavily but exchange no words, Flair intervening and backing Batista up while warning Austin he's going to regret all of this!
In his office with his ice pack melting, a frustrated Eric Bischoff is still hearing it from Chief Morley, Lance Storm and William Regal about last night's loss to The Dudley Boyz and their continued complaints about Nick Patrick. Bischoff gets up and groans in pain, saying he has been listening to this all night long and he can't take it anymore. "I've got enough of my own problems. Morley, you're the Chief of Staff. How about you show some initiative and do something about it rather than talk my ear off all night instead, huh?!" Morley looks to Regal and Storm and says that Bischoff is right. He apologizes to Bischoff and says they're going to go to the ring and take care of some things.
Morley, Storm and Regal stand in the ring after a break with the Chief of Staff saying that last night, The Dudley Boyz stole the World Tag Team Championship from Storm and Regal. "However, it was not because they deserved or even earned those titles! It was because they blatantly cheated when D-Von Dudley used a pair of brass knuckles on Lance Storm!" He says that he can't blame The Dudley Boyz for stooping so low, knowing they couldn't beat Regal and Storm and he isn't going to blame them but rather he is going to blame referee Nick Patrick! He calls Patrick down to the ring and after a few moments, the official does so while looking confused as to what is going on. Once inside of the ring, Morley explains that Patrick failed as a WWE referee last night when he missed the use of the brass knuckles by D-Von. "Now, if I could tell you to reverse your decision I would and it would be as easy as that! But, I can't do that so what I'm going to do is give you another chance here tonight." Morley says that Regal is about to have a match with Booker T and Patrick is going to make sure he does his job right and if he doesn't — he might find himself unemployed!
4) William Regal (w/Chief Morley and Lance Storm) defeats Booker T (w/Goldust) via pinfall A slow start to the match with Regal controlling until Booker picks things up with some quick offense. After a leaping side kick leads to a near fall, Storm aids Regal to the outside and Morley gets on the apron to address Patrick. "You're going to do what I say or else!" He warns, saying some more about doing things the right way until Booker steps forward and knocks Morley off the apron! Regal returns to the ring with a pair of brass knuckles and clocks Booker with them! Patrick sees it blatantly and goes to call for the bell but Morley is back up to tell him not to do it! After some hesitation and inner conflict, Patrick decides against it and instead makes the three count for Regal.
Goldust hits the ring as soon as the bell sounds and takes it to Regal only for Storm and Morley to quickly intervene and begin an assault on both Goldust and Booker. The three-on-two overwhelms the two until The Dudley Boyz' music hits and the new World Tag Team Champions hit the ring! Regal and Storm manage to escape from Bubba and D-Von but Morley is left in the ring. After Booker and Goldust stand in his way, he quickly turns around but right in to a 3-D from The Dudley Boyz! As Storm and Regal back down angrily, The Dudley Boyz, Booker and Goldust stand tall together.
A preview for this Thursday night on Smackdown is given, including words from the Royal Rumble match winner Brock Lesnar, Kurt Angle remaining WWE Champion and the return to Smackdown of The Undertaker as he faces A-Train! Afterward, more footage of Test and Stacy Keibler with fans earlier in the day are shown when their fun is put to a halt by the arrival of Christopher Nowinski. "You people actually call yourself 'Test-icles' like it is something to be proud of?" He asks the nearby fans. "You must be the lowest of lows to degrade yourself in that way... lowest of the lows like you, Test!" Keibler looks to keep her boyfriend calm as he stands up from his seat, Test saying that he isn't going to resort to kicking Nowinski's ass. "I'll leave that to all my 'Test-icles'! Show him!" The fans then begin to approach Nowinski, the graduate of Harvard putting his hands up and racing off in the opposite direction. Test shakes his head and sits back down, smiling again as he asks who is next.
Seen talking in the back are World Heavyweight Champion Triple H and Ric Flair, the prior saying he hopes that Batista knows what he is in for in a match with Stone Cold Steve Austin. "Batista isn't afraid of anything, Hunter, don't worry about it!" Assures Flair. Triple H says he hopes so and he hopes that Batista crushes Austin because it could lead to bigger and better things going forward. He does mention that aside from Austin, he also keeps hearing that Scott Steiner will be here next week. "If that jacked up moron comes anywhere near me..." Flair puts his hands up and tells Hunter not to worry about Steiner, but keep his eyes on Austin and what is going on tonight, not next week.
Elsewhere backstage, The Hurricane is seen doing some superhero poses when Trish Stratus walks up beside him and poses along. "Hey, I just wanted to thank you for having my back last week!" Trish says. Hurricane claims he was just doing his job, to which Stratus says she would like to become a superhero too. Hurricane smiles and says they can work on some top secret superhero stuff after they win their match with Victoria and Stevie Richards! Stratus places a Hurri-mask on her face and the two 'fly' off the screen together as their mixed tag team match is up next.
5) Intergender Tag Team Match: Trish Stratus and The Hurricane defeat Women's Champion Victoria and Stevie Richards via pinfall A fast-paced contest with the intergender rules applying, things are mixed up a couple of times between the two. After Victoria pulls off Stratus' Hurri-mask, Hurricane hits the ring and chases her off where Richards makes a tag. Stevie steps in with Hurricane and the two have an exchange of words with Richards pointing Stratus' direction, wanting to get his hands on her. Hurricane takes him by the throat but Richards breaks free, the two having a brief exchange with Hurricane hitting a Shining Wizard in to Stratusfaction from Stratus! Trish covers Richards and gets the one, two, three!
Cheers from the crowd as Stratus and Hurricane have their arms raised as the winners. As the two are enjoying the win, Victoria returns to the ring and gets in the face of the two of them. Raising her Women's Championship up, Richards strikes Hurricane from behind! The two men begin to throw fists and end up taking things to the outside, Victoria quick to back down from Trish and follow after the other two as they brawl toward the back. As Stratus stands in the ring, however, she is picked up from behind! "Who the hell — that's Jazz!" Indicates Ross. The powerhouse holds Stratus up in a double chickenwing before slamming Stratus face first in to the mat! The crowd boos as Jazz steps over Stratus with a scowl as she has made quite the return after nearly eight months away.
Seen walking through the back is Stone Cold Steve Austin, the crowd loud inside of the Dunkin' Donuts Center as he steps back in to the ring after the break in tonight's main event with Batista!
After Ross and Lawler discuss things that have happened tonight before moving on to talk about next week: The Women's Championship will be on the line when Victoria defends against Trish Stratus in a Chicago Street Fight! Plus, The Dudley Boyz team up with Booker T to battle Chief Morley, Lance Storm and William Regal. And, 'Big Poppa Pump' Scott Steiner will be back after being off this week.
6) Stone Cold Steve Austin def. Batista (w/Ric Flair) via disqualification Red hot out of the gate, Austin takes it right to Batista but man nicknamed 'The Animal' stays strong against Austin's offense. Flair provides a distraction that allows Batista to nail a spinebuster but Austin manages to kick out of a pin attempt. Batista and Flair grow more and more frustrated, Flair trying to get involved again but Austin having had enough and leveling him with a punch that knocks him off the apron! He turns to Batista and delivers a Stone Cold Stunner! The building erupts but before Austin can even go for a pin on Batista, Triple H hits the ring and drops an elbow on Austin's head! The referee quickly calls for the bell and the disqualification on Batista.
Triple H continues his attack on Austin but Stone Cold ends up fighting back! "Stone Cold hasn't given a proper ass whooping in over six months!" J.R. yells. Just as he seems to be getting the upper hand on the World Heavyweight Champion, however, he is struck from behind by Randy Orton! The entire arena seems confused by Orton's presence aside from Triple H, Flair and Batista as all four surround Austin and begin to stomp away at him together. The World Champion mounts over Austin and pummels him with punches, Orton and Batista holding Austin up and allowing the assault to continue further. After a devastating Pedigree in the center of the ring, Flair presents Triple H with the World Heavyweight Championship belt and has him raise it up over Austin's body. The group of four then stand together and raise their arms in unison. "I don't know what the hell is going on around here but I damn sure don't like it!" Says Ross. With this apparent new alliance forged and having rained on everyone's parade for Austin's return tonight, Monday Night Raw concludes.
After the opening Smackdown video, the cameras enter the Pepsi Arena from Albany, New York where the voice of Michael Cole welcomes all to the show from commentary alongside Tazz. He says that this past Sunday at the Royal Rumble was a big night for Smackdown. The winner of the Royal Rumble match Brock Lesnar will be here to address his big victory. Plus, The Undertaker returns to Smackdown tonight to take on A-Train and we are about to hear from the man who came up just short of becoming the WWE Champion this past Sunday — Chris Benoit!
After his hard fought battle for the WWE Championship this past Sunday, Chris Benoit makes his way out to a nice ovation via the Albany fans. Once in the ring, he is greeted with more cheers beyond his theme music playing and he says that he usually isn't like this, but the reaction he got at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view and the reaction he got tonight is incredible. "Y'know, I came this close to beating Kurt Angle and becoming the new WWE Champion this past Sunday. It has always been a dream of mine to become the WWE Champion and I've beaten Kurt Angle before and you better believe that I am not finished with him!" Before Benoit has the opportunity to say anything more, the music of Kurt Angle hits and the WWE Champion arrives along with Team Angle. Angle, Benjamin and Haas head down to the ring together, standing across from Benoit and laughing.
"Wow, Benoit! How touching, how sweet that these people got you feeling so good!" Angle says with a smile, adding that it is funny, though, that he believes that they aren't finished. "See, you might think you're not finished with me, but you don't make that decision! I made you tap out at the Royal Rumble, I proved that you couldn't hang with the best wrestler there is today! I proved why I am the WWE Champion and why you never will be!" Angle says that standing ovation the audience gave Benoit wasn't out of appreciation, but rather out of sympathy. Benoit quips back that Angle sounds afraid of what would happen if they did in fact have a rematch. "Because I think you and I both know that at any given moment, I could have you tapping out in the middle of this ring!" The two have a stare down before Angle says that Benoit can believe all he wants, but he lost at the Royal Rumble and it's time to move on. As Team Angle prepares to leave the ring, out comes Smackdown General Manager Stephanie McMahon, telling the WWE Champion to hold on just a minute. "The match between you and Chris this past Sunday was one of the best WWE Championship matches I have ever seen!" She says proudly, suggesting that maybe it isn't time to move on just yet. Angle is livid over the suggestion of that, telling McMahon that Benoit needs to get to the back of the line. She asks the Albany crowd if they think Benoit deserves another chance, prompting cheers in response. Angle continues to argue against it, Benoit telling McMahon that he'll do whatever it takes to get another shot at Angle and the WWE Championship! Kurt looks to Shelton and Charlie, then back up the ramp at Stephanie. "You heard that, right Steph? Benoit says he'll do whatever it takes! How about he faces Team Angle right here and right now in a handicap match then!" While McMahon seems hesitant about agreeing to that, Benoit steps forward and says he has no problem with that. Stephanie seems surprised by the willingness of 'The Rabid Wolverine'. She says that sounds like a match and if Benoit wins, he gets another opportunity at the WWE Championship at No Way Out!
1) Handicap Match; If Benoit Wins He Faces Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship at No Way Out: Chris Benoit def. Team Angle (w/WWE Champion Kurt Angle) via submission Well aware of what he is getting himself in to, Benoit still faces an uphill battle as Haas and Benjamin work together to stay fresh. As soon as Benoit begins to gain some momentum, however, Angle hits the ring with the referee distracted and blasts him with a shot to the head with the championship belt! Benjamin looks to get the win off of it but Benoit finds a way to kick out! The match goes through a commercial break, Benoit beginning yet another comeback with a flurry of suplexes handed out to both members of Team Angle. Kurt looks to get involved once again with another strike with the belt but Angle ducks it — Haas taking the shot directly to the face! Benoit grabs Angle and hurls him between the ropes in to Benjamin to dispose of both men. With Haas down on all fours, Benoit places him in the Crippler Crossface! Haas struggles in the hold, trying to reach the ropes and find a way to stay in it. Just as Benjamin slides under the bottom rope, however, Haas ends up tapping out!
Benoit rolls out of the ring as Benjamin and Angle try to come after him, fists raised in the air with a smile on his face as he has earned himself another shot at the WWE Championship!
Standing by backstage is Josh Mathews as he introduces Big Show and Paul Heyman as his guests at this time, asking them for their thoughts on The Undertaker being back. "I took Undertaker out three months ago. If A-Train doesn't do it himself tonight, Undertaker will be taken out again another way." Mathews then brings up Brock Lesnar, saying that if Show had won the match with Lesnar earlier in the night, Brock would have never entered the Royal Rumble match to win it to begin with! Heyman throws his hands up and thanks Mathews for stating the obvious. "Of course Brock Lesnar would have never entered the Royal Rumble match if he had not been a part of it! But you know what, Mr. Mathews? Brock Lesnar may have won the Royal Rumble match but there is not a snowballs chance in hell that he goes on to WrestleMania and becomes WWE Champion without me!" He urges Show that they get out of here and the two of them walk away together.
Following the break, John Cena and B-2 are seen backstage with Cena asking B-2 if he understands why he got jumped like he did last week. "You tried to show me up and my boys weren't gonna have it, alright?" Cena says that he doesn't want to have to resort to something like that again, so he hopes B-2 can show him the respect he deserves. "You want to run with John Cena you're going to have to smarten up!" He says that he's giving B-2 one more chance tonight in a rematch with The Guerreros. Back inside of the arena, Matt Hardy and Shannon Moore make their way out as Moore is going in to a Cruiserweight Championship match. Hardy hops on commentary, Cole asking how Moore got this opportunity. "That's the power of Mattitude, Michael! Maybe you should climb aboard!"
2) Cruiserweight Championship: Billy Kidman(c) defeats Shannon Moore via pinfall Moore comes out of the blocks hot, knocking Kidman down repeatedly and getting a couple of near falls on quick pin attempts. "Look at Shannon go! The power of Mattitude is going to lead him to the Cruiserweight Championship!" Says Hardy as Moore goes to the top rope. Moore goes for a moonsault only for Kidman to roll out of the way! A big clothesline from Billy follows and the champion heads to the top rope, stands up straight and nails the Shooting Star Press for the three count.
"Perhaps Mattitude only gets you so far, huh?" Asks Cole. Hardy tells him to shut up as he removes his headset and makes his way over to Moore, assisting him to the outside. Kidman suggests that Hardy get in the ring, to which Matt calls for a microphone. "You want me to get in the ring with you?" He questions. "No, see, I would. But Mattitude means I do things Matt's way, not Billy's way! That would be Billytude, my friend!" He then assists Moore around the ring and toward the back.
Seen arriving in the parking lot on his motorcycle is The Undertaker, the crowd inside of the Pepsi Center cheering loud as 'Big Evil' makes his return to Smackdown after the break!
3) The Undertaker def. A-Train via pinfall A slug fest between the two big men, Taker looking good out of the gate until A-Train delivers a powerful clothesline. A-Train wears Taker down and perhaps shows some ring rust from the veteran. After near falls frustrate A-Train, he takes Taker to the outside but it appears to backfire as heavy fists and hard tosses in to the announce table follow. The match eventually returns to the ring after a big leg drop on the apron from Taker, he returns to the ring and delivers Old School. Taker looks for the Last Ride after but is flipped up and over. After A-Train fails to get the win on the Derailer, he attempts to squash Taker in the corner but misses, being caught with the Chokeslam and pinned.
A big victory in his first match back to Smackdown, Undertaker gets to his feet and marches around the ring proudly. As he throws his arms out in celebration against the ropes, however, he ends up being jumped from behind by Big Show! With Paul Heyman giving orders from the outside, A-Train eventually comes to and joins in on the assault. Taker tries to put up a fight but it ends up too much as Show delivers a Chokeslam in the center of the ring. As he goes to the outside, A-Train delivers a ring-rattling Derailer. Show separates the steel steps and A-Train drags 'Big Evil' to the outside, Heyman continuing to direct traffic as Show raises the steps over his head and drives them down in to the ribs of Undertaker! "The ribs and the back of The Undertaker kept him out of action for the past three months," Says Tazz. "And obviously these two giants and Paul Heyman are going to try and put him out for another three months — if not longer!" With Taker left curled up in pain, Heyman calls Show and A-Train back, the three making their way up the ramp and toward the back together.
A promo video featuring Sean O'Haire airs, with O'Haire suggesting that the government is stealing hard earned money and that paying taxes is un-American. He asks who needs your money more: You or filthy, rich Uncle Sam? "Hey, I'm not telling you anything you don't already know!" He concludes.
Returning in the backstage area, Paul Heyman is seen walking through the halls with Big Show and A-Train in tow. Approaching Heyman for the second time tonight is Josh Mathews, whom tries to ask about what just happened out there but it just prompts an angry response from Heyman. "Was that more up to your standards and expectations, Mr. Mathews? You felt like putting Big Show on blast for what happened at the Royal Rumble but what do you have to say now, hm?" Mathews looks down at the floor and Heyman says that now that they have taken care of that issue with The Undertaker, he has freed up some time for himself later on. "See, I have some things to say to Brock Lesnar and I'm going to go out there later tonight and give him a piece of my mind on my own."
Seen walking through the halls elsewhere in the back is Rey Mysterio when he accidentally walks in to Nidia. He quickly apologizes as she smiles to him, saying that's okay. "But you did scare me!" She says with a laugh, running her hand across Mysterio's mask and chin. He awkwardly looks away and tries to walk off but ends up being approached by Jamie Noble. "Are you trying to mess with my girl?" He questions angrily. Mysterio tries to explain what happened but Noble isn't listening. "Stay away from my woman, Rey! Stay away from her!" He then takes Nidia by the wrist and pulls her away.
4) Non-Title Match: WWE Tag Team Champions Los Guerreros def. John Cena and B-2 via pinfall After a slow start from B-2, he tags out to Cena whom actually puts up quite the competition with Eddie and Chavo. Just as he seems to be gaining momentum, B-2 tags himself in and makes it clear that he's got this. "B-2 wants to prove himself to Cena! I like that!" Tazz says. After a brief argument between B-2 and Cena, the latter steps out to the apron and B-2 steps toward Eddie — whom points toward the referee. "Hey, ese, he isn't the legal man, is he?!" B-2 is confused and asks the official what Eddie is talking about, although he is just as unsure. B-2 turns to Cena to question what is going on, Eddie taking him by the tights from behind and rolling him up for the sudden one, two, three!
While Eddie and Chavo escape from the ring laughing hysterically over the victory, Cena blankly looks at B-2 with an incredulous look, shaking his head. As B-2 continues to question the referee as to what just happened, Cena runs in from behind and hits a Throwback! He gets right back to his feet and stands over B-2, still looking disgusted as he dusts himself off. Cena then leaves the ring and heads up the ramp as it appears that maybe this time around, he really is done with B-2.
Seen in the General Manager's office out of a break is Stephanie McMahon and Torrie Wilson with Torrie saying she is glad to have the drama with Dawn Marie behind her once and for all. "I'm really looking forward to continuing to be an asset to Smackdown going forward, Steph." Before McMahon has the opportunity to respond, the door opens and in walks Ivory. McMahon says she has been waiting for Ivory, to which she replies that she is glad to be back on Smackdown. "A real woman. Not some skimpy outfit wearing, trashy, no talent wannabe Diva!" Wilson takes exception to those comments but Ivory laughs it off, saying she's bringing some dignity back to Thursday nights. She then turns around and leaves the room, McMahon advising Wilson to let it go for right now.
In another part of the backstage area, Los Guerreros are joking about how they fooled B-2 to win their match a few minutes ago when they come across Kurt Angle and Team Angle. "Hey, vato, I think you guys need to be taught a lesson in lying, cheating and stealing!" Says Eddie, Chavo adding that they suck at that! The WWE Tag Team Champions continue on as Angle, Benjamin and Haas have no response. After Eddie and Chavo are gone, Kurt looks to his proteges and asks why they didn't have a comeback. "intensity, integrity and intelligence and neither of you could come up with anything smart?!" Benjamin tries to say something but Angle tells him to shut up. 5) Edge defeats Bill DeMott via pinfall A competitive match featuring power and speed, Edge gets things going after an Edge-o-Matic and prepares for a Spear in the corner. DeMott avoids it, however, causing Edge to crash in to the turnbuckles. After a big powerslam, DeMott makes his way to the top rope and goes for his signature moonsault only for Edge to roll out of the way at the last second! Both men get up and the Edgecution is delivered in the center of the ring, allowing Edge to hook the leg and get the pinfall.
Victory in hand, Edge rises to his feet and has his arm raised by the referee. As he makes his way backstage, DeMott looks visibly upset in the ring over being defeated. The cameras then pick up in the back afterward to a shot of Brock Lesnar's locker room door. The winner of the 2003 Royal Rumble match will be here to address his victory — next!
Coming back from the commercial break, Cole and Tazz announce that next week we will see WWE Champion Kurt Angle go one-on-one with Eddie Guerrero! The theme music of Brock Lesnar then hits and the Albany crowd cheers him loud as he makes his way down and in to the ring. Microphone in hand, he says that over the course of the past year he has been meeting every goal he has set for himself. "I made an impactful debut the night after WrestleMania. I won King of the Ring. I beat The Rock at Summerslam. I beat The Undertaker in Hell in a Cell and last Sunday I won the Royal Rumble match!" He says that he sets goals for himself and he achieves all of them and his next goal is going on to his very first WrestleMania and becoming the next WWE Champion.
The voice of Paul Heyman is then heard saying 'enough' repeatedly as the former agent for Lesnar comes out from the back shaking his head. He makes his way straight down to the ring and, albeit a little hesitant, steps between the ropes and stares Lesnar down. "Let's clear something up, Brock! The night after WrestleMania last year? You would have never have had that opportunity if it weren't for me, Paul Heyman. You would have never ran through the King of the Ring tournament if it weren't for me, Paul Heyman. You would have never beaten The Rock or The Undertaker if it weren't for me, Paul Heyman!" He says that he also never would have lost the WWE Championship in the first place at Survivor Series if it weren't for him, either. Lesnar simply stares at Heyman, whom continues to talk down to his former client by saying that he had one night of sheer luck this past Sunday and when it comes to WrestleMania, there is no chance that Brock walks out as champion without him at his side. As Lesnar continues to give no response, Heyman grows angrier as he steps forward and questions if Lesnar is going to say anything or just keep standing there. Heyman runs his hand across his face, frustrated, then goes for a slap across Lesnar's face only for his arm to be caught! "That wasn't very smart!" Says Cole. After a bit of a struggle, Lesnar ends up pulling Heyman on his shoulders!
Before Lesnar is able to do any harm to Heyman, however, Big Show and A-Train arrive on to the scene. Lesnar drops Heyman off to the side and tries to combat against the two big men, only for the numbers game and size advantage to overwhelm him. Show and A-Train take turns holding Lesnar for the other to get some punches in before Heyman steps up and demands a turn. Both Show and A-Train hold Lesnar's arms and allow Heyman to slap 'The Next Big Thing' across the face repeatedly. To the surprise of the trio, however, The Undertaker comes charging out from the back with his ribs taped up and a steel chain wrapped around his fist! "I thought The Undertaker would've gone home after the beating he took earlier, Cole!" A shocked Tazz says. He hits the ring and A-Train charges at him, taking a punch right to the mid-section. Show steps forward and in to a punch as well, Taker unwrapping the chain and whipping it across the backs of both men! They each roll under the bottom rope with Heyman stumbling after them, Taker backing up and bumping in to Lesnar. The two turn around and put their fists up and stare one another down before coming to the realization that they're on the same side in this situation. They slowly take their eyes off of each other to look toward Heyman, Show and A-Train, this situation turning very interesting as the show comes to an end.
1) Rikishi def. Chuck Palumbo via pinfall A competitive contest that, after a missed corner clothesline from Palumbo, Rikishi puts to an end with a superkick. After the match, Rikishi plays up the crowd before giving Palumbo the stinkface.
2) Tajiri def. Jeff Starr via pinfall Despite the best efforts of the local Star, Tajiri eventually puts him away with the Buzzsaw Kick. 3) Rey Mysterio def. Nunzio via pinfall Although almost knocking Mysterio off a few times, Nunzio ends up falling to the 619 and West Coast Pop. Following the match, Mysterio's celebration ends up being cut short as Jamie Noble ends up attacking him from behind. With Nidia watching on from the outside, Noble asks to make sure she sees what he is doing. After hitting a double underhook powerbomb, Noble stands over Mysterio, warning him to stay away from his girlfriend. He, Nunzio and Nidia then head backstage together.
January 26, 2003: Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, RI
1) Christopher Nowinski def. Spike Dudley via pinfall Dudley stuns Nowinski with his quick offense but his attempt at the Dudley Dog is reversed in to a roll up with both feet on the ropes by the Harvard graduate, leading to the sudden victory.
2) Tommy Dreamer def. Aaron Stevens via pinfall After being stopped of using his kendo stick to strike Stevens, Dreamer finds a loophole by hitting a Russian legsweep with the weapon of choice instead and gets the pinfall. After the bell, Dreamer gets the crowd going before delivering one big shot across Stevens' head with the kendo stick. 3) Jacqueline def. Molly Holly via pinfall A hard fought battle by both women, Molly goes to the top rope after gaining the upper hand and taunts to the booing crowd before hitting the Molly-Go-Round. As they hit the mat, however, Jacqueline rolls through in to a pin and gets the three count.
January 27, 2003: Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois
Footage from last week's edition of Raw is shown where Stone Cold Steve Austin made his return, being named by Eric Bischoff as the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship at No Way Out as a way for Bischoff to try and shake Raw up per Mr. McMahon's orders in the wake of possibly losing his job. In the main event, Austin would go one-on-one with Batista when Triple H and Randy Orton would join Batista and Ric Flair in a beat down of Austin, apparently having formed a new alliance as they would stand tall together. The cameras then enter the Allstate Arena from Chicago, Illinois live as Jim Ross gives the introduction from commentary alongside Jerry Lawler.
The theme music of Triple H hits to kick things off this week, the World Heavyweight Champion stepping out to the stage before being flanked by Ric Flair, Batistaand Randy Orton. The four slowly make their way down and in to the ring together, 'The Game' with a microphone in hand as he looks out to the booing Chicago crowd. "Today marks the beginning of a new era. You see, in this industry just like in life, everything evolves and what you see in this ring is the greatest example of Evolution you will ever see!" He turns to Flair, mentioning that he is a 16-time world champion and calls him the greatest professional wrestler of all time. He credits Flair for all of his attributes and says that he has put them in to a body that every man wishes he had and every women wants to be with. After talking about himself even more briefly, he turns to Batista and says that looking to the future, he has a 6-foot-5, 325 pound animal with unmatched power. "In a war, when all seems lost, you take out your biggest gun and you mow them all away." He then moves to Orton, saying that the business is in his blood as a third generation superstar with every gift that a man can be given, possessing Raw genetic talent. "Randy Orton is the coal that will be squeezed in to the next diamond of WWE... you see, in life, everything happens for a reason: It's just a natural process of evolution. If you don't have what it takes, evolution will leave you behind." He says that if you wake up in the morning in a hospital bed and wonder what the hell happened, there is just one answer: Evolution has passed you by.
Triple H moves forward to say that the four of them came together last week the same week that Stone Cold Steve Austin made his return. The crowd cheers for the mention of Austin, Triple H quick to shut them down by saying that Austin's return was overshadowed by the formation of Evolution because at the end of the night, Austin was the one left laying, waking up in the morning wondering what the hell happened to him. "Now, I've been told that Austin isn't even in the building tonight!" He says to the disappointment of the Chicago crowd. "The only question is if Austin decided to take his ball and go home... again... or if the ass kicking he received last week was that bad!" The group chuckles but before Hunter can say anything more, Scott Steiner's theme song hits and after missing last week's episode of Raw, 'Big Poppa Pump' comes out to the stage and stares down to the ring. "Don't tell me that you've forgotten about me because I damn sure haven't forgotten about you!" He says while pointing toward the squared circle. He says that at the Royal Rumble, he had Triple H on the ropes and on the verge of losing the World Heavyweight Championship when Ric Flair got involved. "So I don't care what the hell is going on here, I don't care what this group is about, I want my hands on you tonight, Ric!" Flair loosens his tie and laughs as he struts a bit around the ring, taking the microphone from Triple H and asking Steiner if he realizes what he is asking for. "You want a match with me?! 'The Nature Boy' Ric Flair — Woo! You're on, man! You're on!" Steiner nods at the accepted challenge and tells Flair he'll see him tonight before returning backstage.
1) Chicago Street Fight for the Women's Championship: Victoria(c) (w/Stevie Richards) def. Trish Stratus via pinfall Jumping Stratus during her entrance, Victoria brings weapons in to the match right away. After a DDT on to a trash can doesn't get the job done, the champion grows visibly frustrated. Richards tries to get involved as Stratus is making a comeback but The Hurricane arrives on to the scene to chase him off and through the crowd. After a big shot across the back with a kendo stick, Stratus looks poised for the chick kick only to have her leg grabbed from the outside by Jazz! "Jazz again?" Asks Lawler. "What is she doing out here?!" Stratus leans between the ropes to try and get at Jazz but ends up being smashed over the head with a steel chair! Trish falls back and Victoria covers her for the pinfall!
The referee brings the Women's Championship in to Victoria and she begins to celebrate the win only to end up turning right in to Jazz — whom squares right up to her. The two stare down, Victoria a bit hesitant to do anything. She then slowly begins to back away before sliding under the bottom rope, backing down from Jazz while the powerhouse stands proudly over the motionless body of Stratus.
Backstage, General Manager Eric Bischoff is seen walking through the halls when he is stopped in his tracks by Scott Steiner. "Hey, Bischoff!" Yells Steiner as he draws in on the GM. "Once I'm done with Ric Flair tonight, I want my rematch for the World Heavyweight Championship!" Bischoff says that Steiner doesn't have a rematch clause, to which Steiner says that he was screwed at the Royal Rumble and he wants another match with Triple H. After giving it some thought, Bischoff tells Steiner that he'll give him another shot, so long as he beats Ric Flair tonight. Steiner nods and tells Bischoff that won't be a problem before continuing on his way.
2) Christian def. Jeff Hardy via pinfall The two former rivals from the days of E&C versus The Hardy Boyz, Christian and Jeff have a competitive match. After a Whisper in the Wind from Hardy, he goes for the Twist of Fate but ends up being pushed in to the corner chest first, planted with the Unprettier and covered for the three count.
Leaping to his feet with a smile and fists held above his head, Christian smack talks Hardy a bit before leaving the ring. As he heads to the back, Jeff sits up in the corner visibly upset with himself.
Standing by backstage is Terri with Christopher Nowinski, whom she asks about his run in with Test last week. "Last Monday proved how unintelligent Test and his... fans... truly are!" Nowinski says that the people should be proud of a Harvard graduate like himself, not a pea-brain with an atrocious and derogatory name toward his fan base. Stacy Keibler walks up to Nowinski, telling him that the power of the 'Test-icles' will weigh him down. "Because Test fights for every single one of them and is going to do just that in your match next." Keibler continues on her way, Nowinski left looking disgusted.
Seen backstage in the locker room area is Chris Jericho, his eyes on a television snickering to himself. Lawler says that Jericho apparently has something to show us later on tonight!
3) Test (w/Stacy Keibler) def. Christopher Nowinski via pinfall Nowinski seems to make it a mission to outsmart Test, eventually delivering a low blow after providing a distraction of the referee by removing the corner turnbuckle padding. As Nowinski moves over to say something to Keibler on the outside, however, she pulls up her patented T-shirt cannon and fires a shirt right in to the groin of Nowinski! With the official busy checking on Test, the big man rises to his feet and waits for Nowinski to get back up before nailing a running big boot that leads to the victory.
Test and Keibler gather together on the outside, sharing a kiss and raising their arms up with smiles as Nowinski is curled up inside the ring, still feeling the pain while having to deal with a loss as well.
Seen backstage is the newly formed Evolution group with Ric Flair talking about Scott Steiner. "He wants to go toe-to-toe with me?! Does Scott Steiner realize who 'The Nature Boy' is?! Woo!" Triple H plays up that Flair is the greatest of all time and he wants Batista and Orton to come to ringside along with him and watch first hand as Flair teaches Steiner a lesson in respect.
4) Ric Flair (w/Evolution) def. Scott Steiner via disqualification Steiner and Flair have quite the contrast in styles with Steiner looking to be very physical and Flair play more of a cat-and-mouse game. As soon as Steiner begins to gain control of things, the trio of Triple H, Batista and Orton begin to get involved. As Steiner is distracted with Batista, Flair chop blocks the back of the knee and applies the Figure-four Leglock! Steiner struggles in the hold as Triple H yells from the outside for Steiner to tap out! The cameras then pick up on the titantron to show Stone Cold Steve Austin arriving in a truck to a huge ovation from the crowd! "Stone Cold is here! Stone Cold is here!" Exclaims J.R. "Triple H thought Austin wasn't going to be here tonight but by God, Stone Cold is here!" Evolution doesn't initially notice but once they do, Austin is already on his way through the back! He bursts through the curtains to another big ovation and storms right up to Orton and Batista as they come at him and pummels them each with strikes. He then comes in to the ring and leaps in to Flair charging at him and fires away — prompting the official to call for the bell!
Orton returns to the ring and gets a few shots in on Austin but Stone Cold comes back at him. Triple H orders Batista to get in there and the muscle of Evolution tries to get a double team in only for Steiner to come back in and assist Austin in disposing of both men to the outside. Evolution gathers up together as Austin and Steiner march around the ring. The music of General Manager Eric Bischoff hits and he marches out to the stage, Bischoff scolding Austin for ruining this perfectly fine match. "But since you want to get in on the action, I say we re-visit things later on tonight when we have Batista and Ric Flair team up against Scott Steiner and Stone Cold Steve Austin!" The crowd cheers the idea while Evolution yell toward Steiner and Austin as they're backing down.
Seen talking backstage are the World Tag Team Champions The Dudley Boyz and Booker T, preparing for their upcoming match. Up to them approaches Goldust, Booker saying he has been waiting for him all night! "Now, let's go out there and teach those morons a lesson!" Bubba suggests. Booker asks if they can dig that, to which D-Von gives a "Oh my brother — testify!" They then look for Goldust, whom simply asks them 'what?' before walking off with the 6-man tag match up next.
4) 6-Man Tag Team Match: Chief Morley, Lance Storm and William Regal defeat World Tag Team Champions The Dudley Boyz and Booker T (w/Goldust) via pinfall A fast paced, frantic contest with many tags in and out and pin attempts. After a 3-D from The Dudley Boyz on Storm, they take out Regal and leave Booker in the ring with Morley, hitting a big leaping side kick and performing a spinaroonie to cheers from the crowd. As Booker gets to his feet, however, he notices Goldust walking away from the ring. "Where's Goldust going?" Asks Lawler. As Booker tries to call for Goldust to come back, Morley gives referee Nick Patrick a quick order before rolling Booker up for the quick count of three to score the win for his team!
Morley rolls under the bottom rope fast and gathers up with Regal and Storm as The Dudley Boyz return to the ring quickly, coming to Booker's side and questioning what happened. Goldust makes his way through the curtains while Morley, Storm and Regal celebrate as Booker looks very confused.
Back from a break, Rico and 3 Minute Warningmake their entrance as we cut to footage of earlier today where Rico went in to the office of Eric Bischoff to express how he was sick of Kane and Rob Van Dam and how he wanted them tonight, to which the Raw General Manager would agree to have happen. Live, Rob Van Dam makes his way out to the stage and stops himself. "Rico, dude. You said you wanted Kane and myself tonight but you didn't specify who. Now, as much as I'd love to get in there and beat you, I think my big masked friend is much more interested." That brings Kane out, 'The Big Red Machine' heading down to the ring with Rico looking a bit more worried than earlier.
5) Kane (w/Rob Van Dam) def. Rico (w/Jamal and Rosey) via pinfall Rico tries to evade Kane right off the bat, Jamal and Rosey wasting no time in an attempt to get themselves involved. RVD hits the ring and runs right at Jamal to take him down off of the ring apron and in to the barricade. Kane then turns to Rosey and drills him with a boot to the face. Rico charges up behind Kane and clubs the back, only to just anger Kane rather than do any damage. Rico tries to beg for mercy but Kane is having no part of it as he delivers a Chokeslam and gets the pinfall.
As Kane and RVD celebrate, Rico, Jamal and Rosey all recover at ringside. The cameras then pick up backstage to Johnathan Coachman attempting to get a word with Jazz, asking about her return and why she has seemed to have targeted Trish Stratus in particular. She simply stares at him and gives no answer, rather just walking away. Elsewhere, Chris Jericho is seen coming down the halls as we will finally find out what it is he has to show us tonight and what he has to say — next. Jericho arrives out of the break and 'Y2J' makes his way down to the ring, a microphone in hand as he says that all night long he has been making sure the footage he is going to show everyone tonight was done perfectly. "That, and I personally got a kick out of it." He says we should get right in to it and points up to the titantron, footage of the Royal Rumble event eight nights ago where Jericho played Michaels and eliminated him from the Rumble match in the beginning with the help of Christian and how he left Michaels bleeding, only for Shawn to come back later in the match and cost him his opportunity at WrestleMania. "See, what I did at the Royal Rumble showed that Shawn Michaels is no longer the 'showstopper', he's no longer 'the main event', not even the 'The Heartbreak Kid'... he is just a desperate old man trying to hang on to that last bit of youth he doesn't have left!" Jericho says that he grew up idolizing Michaels, wanting to be HBK. He points up to the titantron again and shows side-by-side footage of him mimicking Michaels' moves when he was younger, to which he says that it was all he ever wanted to be until he finally got the chance to see Michaels in person, expressing how excited he was when Michaels came back last year and watching him... ultimately fail.
"See, I'd always enjoyed and appreciated the idea of being 'The Next Shawn Michaels' but I've come to realize that I am 'The First Chris Jericho' and I have been that way for a very long time, baby!" He adds that is why he is going to lay down the challenge for Shawn Michaels to face him at No Way Out so he can prove to himself and the entire world that he is better than Michaels and that Shawn should just walk away and this time never, ever come back! The theme music of Shawn Michaels hits soon thereafter, HBK bringing himself down to the ring and having a long, silent stare down with Jericho before finally speaking up. "I want to make one thing clear, Chris, before I accept your challenge. I want to make it clear that me accepting this challenge is not about revenge for what you did to me at the Royal Rumble and it's not about revenge for what you did to me last week or revenge for what you've said about me tonight. It's about redemption." He says that Jericho likes to talk and he should keep on talking while he can because he won't be doing that anymore after No Way Out after he has his teeth kicked down his throat! "I still have what it takes, Chris. And I'm going to show you just that at No Way Out." Michaels drops his microphone as he and Jericho continue staring down.
After a break, Booker T is seen walking through the back when he comes across Maven. "Hey, man, you seen Goldust?" Maven says he saw Goldust leaving earlier, apologizing to Booker as he says he has no idea what his deal was. Booker places his hands on his hips and shakes his head. J.R. then brings up that this Thursday night on Smackdown, the WWE Champion Kurt Angle will be taking on one half of the WWE Tag Team Champions in Eddie Guerrero. But right now, we've got big tag team action of own here in the main event of Monday Night Raw!
6) Stone Cold Steve Austin and Scott Steiner def. Batista and Ric Flair (w/World Heavyweight Champion Triple H and Randy Orton) via pinfall Batista and Flair keep Steiner away from making a tag to Austin, building up anticipation from the crowd and growing the anxiousness from Austin. After Steiner manages to clothesline Batista down, however, both men crawl to their corner and tags are made — Austin coming in and cleaning house! As he stomps a mud hole in Batista in the corner, Orton tries to get involved on the apron but ends up being knocked down by Steiner. Flair tries for a roll up with the tights on Austin but Stone Cold kicks out, gets back to his feet and hits the Stone Cold Stunner! He hooks the leg and gets the pinfall!
As soon as the match is over, Batista and Orton pull Steiner from the ring apron and begin to beat him down against the barricade. As Austin is prepared to go and assist Steiner, he is hit from behind by Triple H, whom continues to throw punches at his challenger for No Way Out. "Of course, Triple H once again gets his shots in on Austin when it favors him!" Says an angered J.R. Austin begins to come back with punches of his own, however, before taking Triple H down with a clothesline! Austin gets the crowd fired up as he gets in his prepared position for the Stone Cold Stunner. Hunter gets back to his feet and Austin delivers a kick to the stomach only for Batista and Orton to pull their leader by the legs to the mat and out of the ring to save him from the Stunner! Flair stumbles to their side as Evolution backs down, Austin leaning over the ropes with a smile on his face knowing he was ever so close to dropping the World Heavyweight Champion as Monday Night Raw draws to a close.
Standing in her office to open the show is Smackdown General Manager Stephanie McMahon. She smiles to the camera and welcomes everyone to the show. "Unlike Monday Night Raw, we have some control here on Smackdown. We have some organization and because of that we have a great show planned for you tonight." She mentions the main event between Kurt Angle and Eddie Guerrero, The Undertaker facing The Big Show and right now, Brock Lesnar will be in action with Bill DeMott! The opening Smackdown video then airs, the cameras in to the Resch Center from Green Bay, Wisconsin afterward as Michael Cole and Tazz welcome everyone to Smackdown on UPN from commentary.
1) Brock Lesnar def. Bill DeMott via pinfall A battle between two powerhouse big men, DeMott manages to get some limited offense in, boasting to the booing crowd before charging at Lesnar in the corner only to have a clothesline avoided. Brock takes over from there and after a ring-rattling F-5, Lesnar hooks the leg for the three count.
First match since his Royal Rumble victory, Lesnar continues to show his dominance as he continues on his road to WrestleMania where he will be competing for the WWE Championship.
Following the break, Lesnar is seen walking in to the back, stopping as The Undertaker is sitting on a production trunk wrapping a bike chain around his fist waiting for him. "I just wanted to clarify to you, Brock, that last week when I beat the hell out of Big Show and A-Train, that was all business. Just like tonight in my match with Big Show is all business — my business. So stay out of it." Lesnar questions with Taker's banged up ribs if it was a cry for help last Thursday. 'The Dead Man' assures Lesnar that he doesn't want or need his help and once again warns him to stay out of his way tonight.
Back inside of the arena, the music of Kurt Angle hits and the WWE Champion arrives along with his Team Angleproteges of Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin. The trio make their way down and in to the ring, Angle with a microphone in hand as he says that he is proud to be an American. "America is number one! Meanwhile, I've got to defend my WWE Championship — again — at No Way Out against Chris Benoit... a Canadian!" He says that Canadians are nothing but toothless, maple syrup drinking self-entitled brats! He does tell the Green Bay crowd they aren't much better, so they need to stay quiet. "Then you've got my opponent for tonight, Eddie Guerrero... from Mexico!" He says that Mexico is full of people who lie, cheat and steal and Los Guerreros walk around proud of that. ""By the way, are Eddie and Chavo brothers or nephews? Does it freakin' matter?! All 20 Guerreros live under one roof anyway! I've been to Mexico, I know! I've seen it! I've seen how those people live!"
Those comments bring the WWE Tag Team Champions Los Guerreros out from the back, Eddie and Chavo laughing together as Eddie mentions how proud Angle is to be what he is. "You love your white picket fences, your fresh cut grass in the morning!" Chavo asks Angle if he is aware of who it is painting those fences and mowing those lawns! Angle places his hands on his hips as Eddie and Chavo continue to mock him. Making his way out not long after is Chris Benoit, the number one contender for Angle's championship. "Y'know, I don't care what nationality people are or where they're from. If they're anything like the three of you, all I know is I want to kick their ass!" The audience cheers as Benoit says that while Eddie is going to take care of Kurt later on, he's looking to have a match right here, right now against either Haas or Benjamin! "That is, unless you want me to beat you both at once... again!" He starts to head to the ring as we head in to a commercial break.
2) Chris Benoit defeats Shelton Benjamin (w/Charlie Haas) via pinfall An athletic contest that sees Benjamin pull off some surprising near falls, including off of a top rope exploder suplex. As Benoit starts to gain momentum toward a finish, he steps out to the apron and begins to go to the top rope. Haas tries to get involved as he hops up for a distraction but running up behind him is Chavo Guerrero to pull him down and hit Haas' face off the apron. Benjamin tries to leap up with Benoit but ends up being knocked back down with a forward suplex, Benoit then leaping off with a big diving headbutt, which leads to him hooking both legs for the one, two, three.
Benoit gets back to his feet and has his arm raised as the winner, pounding his chest with his free hand and then pointing out to Guerrero as a thank you for the assist.
Backstage, Josh Mathews is standing by with Paul Heyman, A-Trainand The Big Show, asking about Show's upcoming match with The Undertaker. "Everyone is so excited to see The Undertaker back! Everyone is so happy to have 'The Dead Man' back! Well, last week was just the first step in putting him back on the shelf!" He says that tonight, Undertaker won't have his bike chain to use in his match with Show, he doesn't have Brock Lesnar hanging around to back him up just in case and tonight, Show is going to break him in half. "And if that isn't enough, A-Train will be here to make sure that The Undertaker is put away again." The three then head off together for the upcoming match.
A promo video featuring Sean O'Haire airs, with O'Haire saying that everyone has a vice. "There are time where you just need to step back from reality!" He says that you work hard and deserve to reward yourself once in a while: Take a drink, have a smoke, be independent — tip one back, light one up and don't feel bad. "Hell, I'm not telling you anything that you don't already know."
3) The Undertaker def. The Big Show (w/Paul Heyman and A-Train) via disqualification A battle consisting of power and striking, Show eventually targeting the injured ribs of Taker. The match goes to the outside where Show looks to throw Taker in to the ring post only to have it reversed and to be thrown in to the post face first himself. Taker takes things back inside and takes complete control, delivering Old School before holding his hand up for the Chokeslam. As soon as he grabs on to Show's neck, however, A-Train hits the ring and bowls over Taker and cause the disqualification.
The audience boos as Show and A-Train double team Undertaker, pinning him in the corner and holding him up in order to take turns at attacking the mid-section. After a powerful Chokeslam from Show to Taker, Heyman grabs the bike chain of 'The Dead Man' on the outside and hands it over to A-Train. He holds it over his head, the boos of the crowd turning to cheers as Brock Lesnar comes racing down from the back with a steel chair in hand! He ducks a strike from A-Train and blasts Show with a big chair shot that sends him through the ropes, turning and hitting A-Train in the stomach. He goes toward Heyman on the apron but he drops back down quickly, Brock then turning to swing the chair again only for A-Train to side step it and for Undertaker to get blasted in the head with the chair! A-Train, Show and Heyman all back away from the ring as Lesnar stands over Taker looking visibly upset with himself. He looks over his shoulder to stare at the three backing down from the ring, then back down at Taker. "Undertaker told Brock to stay out of his business..." Tazz reminds.
Paul Heyman is seen hurrying through the back out of the break as he heads in to the office of General Manager Stephanie McMahon, exclaiming that The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar are mad men. "I want a match at No Way Out: Undertaker and Lesnar versus The Big Show and A-Train!" McMahon is hesitant to just make the match as she tells Heyman that Undertaker and Lesnar do not get along and with Lesnar as the Royal Rumble winner, he is a very valuable commodity right now. Heyman expresses that Lesnar and Taker want a fight and his clients will give that to them at No Way Out. "Clearly, if this isn't settled in a match... something bad will happen, Stephanie." She takes a moment to think it over before telling Heyman that as much as she hates to agree with him, she does here and makes the match official. Heyman thanks her, turns around and leaves with a twisted grin.
Back inside of the arena, John Cena makes his way out to the stage, rapping to the audience about how he has had running buddies but he's realized very quickly he doesn't need anybody. "Been kept back by a bunch of sloppy slackers, they've been holding me down like the Falcons did the Packers!" The boos rain down on Cena for the shot at the hometown football team as he continues on by saying that going forward he's doing this on his own and he's heading straight to the top and that's where he'll stick. "And if you don't like that, then you can go ahead and suck my..." He drops the microphone on the stage and raises his hands up in signature form before returning to the back.
After Cena heads backstage, Jamie Noble's music hits and he makes his way out alongside his girlfriend Nidia and cousin Nunzio. The trio head to the ring together, Noble with a microphone in hand as he says that last week, Rey Mysterio did something truly despicable. "Rey Mysterio tried to hit on my girlfriend, Nidia, and I'm not having it!" He says that on Velocity, he and his cousin Nunzio taught Mysterio a lesson and tonight they're going to do it again. Rey Mysterio then makes his way out from the back and stays atop the stage, pointing to the ring and telling Noble that he is delusional. "I am a married man and I want nothing to do with your girlfriend." He says that he does, however, want a match with him and Nunzio and that's why he found himself a partner tonight! He holds his hand out and out comes Edge, the crowd cheering for the re-uniting of the former WWE Tag Team Champions as they make their way down the ramp for the match coming up next.
4) Edge and Rey Mysterio defeat Jamie Noble and Nunzio (w/Nidia) A fairly competitive contest, Noble and Nunzio look for any way to win but Mysterio and Edge have each other's backs despite the attempts at cheating from their opponents. Noble goes for a roll up with his feet on the ropes to Mysterio but Edge swipes the legs off to break it up, entering the ring and having a back and forth with Noble. After ducking a strike off the ropes, Edge charges at Nunzio on the apron and sends him flying in to the barricade with a Spear! Noble then walks right in to the Edgecution, Mysterio then catching him with a dropkick to the back followed by the 619! He steps out to the apron and with Edge keeping watch outside, nails the West Coast Pop for the pinfall.
With the Green Bay crowd cheering them on, Edge and Mysterio embrace in the center of the ring and have their arms raised as the victors while Nunzio and Nidia assist a dazed Noble to the back.
Seen coming back from a break is Matt Hardy and Shannon Moore, the two of them heading in to the office of Stephanie McMahonwith Hardy saying he keeps on hearing Billy Kidman talk bad about him and he does not appreciate it. "If Billy Kidman wants a match with me, I want it to be for the Cruiserweight Championship!" McMahon looks down at the floor and puts her hands together, saying she has no problem putting Hardy and Kidman in a match together, but she's not able to give him a shot at that title unless Matt cuts weight. "Are you calling Matt Hardy fat?!" Questions an offended Moore. "He is not fat! He is cultivating mass!" McMahon is quick to dismiss that notion, telling Moore that Hardy is just not classified as a Cruiserweight. "If that is what you want, Matt, then you have three weeks to cut weight and enter that weight class and then we can discuss you facing Billy Kidman for the Cruiserweight Championship." Hardy nods and tells McMahon that with the power of Mattitude, anything is possible. He then smacks Moore upside the head on the way out, questioning if he thinks he is fat — to which Moore profusely apologizes, saying that isn't what he meant! 5) Ivory defeats Lexie Fyfe via pinfall The newcomer to the Smackdown women's division, Ivory takes it to the unknown Fyfe. While taking her time to gloat to the crowd, Fyfe gets a few strikes in but ultimately ends up being laid out with a powerslam and the Poison Ivy, which leads to Ivory hooking both legs for the three count.
A successful arrival to Smackdown, Ivory rips her arm away from the official and celebrates on her own by ascending the turnbuckles and mocking the booing audience.
Talking backstage to the make up crew is Torrie Wilson when she is approached by Ivory, whom just finished her match. "Did you see what a real Diva looks like out there, Torrie?" She questions. Torrie nods and tells Ivory that was impressive but they tend to do things different here on Smackdown so she is inviting Ivory to come down and watch her bra and panties match with Nidia next week! The crowd cheers inside of the arena for the news, Wilson heading off as Ivory looks disgusted.
Preparing for his match coming up is Eddie Guerrero with his nephew Chavo Guerrerohyping him up, saying that this is a big opportunity against the WWE Champion, Kurt Angle. The door is knocked on and in walks Chris Benoit, mentioning he knows they've had their differences in the past, but just as Chavo had his back earlier, he has theirs tonight. "We have a common enemy with Kurt and his goons and as long as we're on the same page, we'll be all set." Los Guerreros agree with Benoit, whom gives a nod before leaving the room and letting them continue to prepare.
Elsewhere is WWE Champion Kurt Angle and Team Angle, getting prepared themselves for the main event when Funaki approaches and excuses himself. "You've got to be kidding me!" Angle yells. "Where's Mark Lloyd? Or Josh Mathews?! I am the WWE Champion not the World Heavyweight Champion! Sheesh!" He shakes his head and says no matter where you're from there's one thing that cannot be denied — with it being no coincidence that he is an American hero — he is the very best in the that ring and he will beat Eddie Guerrero tonight like he will Chris Benoit at No Way Out.
6) Non-Title Match: WWE Champion Kurt Angle (w/Team Angle) defeats Eddie Guerrero (w/Chavo Guerrero) Chain and mat wrestling dominate the contest until Guerrero begins to pick things up on his feet. Using some cheap tactics to try and knock Angle off, the WWE Champion is having none of it. He goes for a steel chair but has it ripped away from him by Chavo, allowing Eddie to hit a baseball slide and take back over in the ring. After a tornado DDT off the turnbuckles, Eddie goes to the top rope for a frog splash only to be distracted by Haas and Benjamin jumping Chavo on the outside. Before Eddie can do anything, however, Angle races on to the turnbuckles with him and hits an Angle Slam from the top rope! He makes the cover and gets the three count for the win.
With Chavo taken out, Angle, Benjamin and Haas turn their attention to Eddie as they stand over him. As Team Angle pulls Eddie to his knees with his arms held, Chris Benoit races down to the ring! Eddie is released and Angle is clotheslined, Haas dropped with a German suplex and Benjamin backed down and through the ropes after a flurry of chops to the chest. Angle races up from behind and goes for the Angle Slam but Benoit slips free of it and latches on the Crippler Crossface! The Resch Center is loud as Kurt taps out to the hold, Haas and Benjamin back up on the outside and pulling their leader by the legs to the outside. As Benoit gets back to his feet, he is joined back in the ring by Los Guerreros. "Chris Benoit just made the WWE Champion tap out!" Says Cole as Tazz suggests that things are far from over between these six men. As Angle, Haas and Benjamin back away from the ring, Benoit, Eddie and Chavo stand tall together to end this week's Smackdown.
1) Non-Title Match: Cruiserweight Champion Billy Kidman def. Funaki via pinfall A strong effort from Funaki against the Cruiserweight Champion as he is given quite the opportunity, ultimately falling to Kidman and the Shooting Star Press. Post-match, the two men show respect for one another with a bow before Funaki exits and allows Kidman to celebrate the win.
2) Rikishi def. Mike Bucci via pinfall Bucci puts up a fight against the big man but ultimately gets caught with a superkick and a Banzai drop from the corner for the three count. Rikishi tops it off with a stinkface after the bell. 3) Matt Hardy (w/Shannon Moore) def. Tajiri via pinfall Mocking Kidman and Funaki earlier, Hardy bows to begin the match and Tajiri unleashes on him. After interference from Moore with a trip up, however, Tajiri turns right in to the Twist of Fate for the pinfall. Tajiri seeks revenge after the match as he attempts to mist Moore, being double teamed for his actions. Kidman races down to the ring to make the save though and fends off Hardy and Moore with Tajiri, prompting the two of them to back down from the fight.
February 2, 2003: Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois
1) Molly Holly def. Jacqueline via pinfall A rematch from last week, Jacqueline almost gets the win in the same exact fashion as last week by reversing the Molly-Go-Round in to a pin only for Molly to turn it in to a roll up of her own for the win.
2) D'Lo Brown (w/Theodore Long) def. Maven via pinfall Seeking retribution for his loss to Maven a couple of weeks ago on Raw, Brown doesn't mess around and after a big boot, he puts Maven away with the sit out spinebuster for the three count.
3) Tommy Dreamer def. Ken Anderson via pinfall Continuing to use a loophole of the rules, Dreamer puts away a local for the second week in a row with the use of his kendo stick for a Russian legsweep. Post-match, Dreamer rocks Anderson with a huge shot across the head via the kendo, sending him crashing through the ropes. 4) The Hurricane def. Stevie Richards via pinfall After their confrontation on Raw during Trish Stratus versus Victoria, Richards looks to unmask Hurricane as an insult to no avail. The super hero swings things in his favor and after Richards crashes in to the turnbuckles on a clothesline attempt, the Eye of the Hurricane is hit for the pinfall.
The Monday Night Raw opening video airs, the pyrotechnics on full display in the MCI Center from Washington, D.C. afterward as the voice of Jim Ross welcomes everyone to the show alongside Jerry 'The King' Lawler as we are continuing the countdown to Eric Bischoff potentially being fired is down to just seven days as this is a crucial night for the General Manager of Raw!
The music of Raw General Manager himself Eric Bischoff hits to begin this week's show, Bischoff strutting his way down to the ring with a microphone in hand as he is quick to call for his music to cut and question the audience if they think he is doing a good job as General Manager. After receiving boos in response, he asks what they know. "I have been an amazing General Manager of Raw! Mr. McMahon has given me thirty days to 'turn things around' and while I personally wouldn't say I had to 'turn things around', I've gone and made things even better than before!" He says that as much as he doesn't like Stone Cold Steve Austin personally, he went out and brought him back to Raw and put him in the main event of No Way Out for the World Heavyweight Championship. "What could possibly be bigger than that?! I think that when Mr. McMahon shows up next week to give me that final review... no, I don't just think, I know, he'll be very, very pleased and I will continue to serve you as the General Manager of Raw! And speaking of Austin... right here tonight, I have been assured that Stone Cold will be here to finally after these past few weeks... break his silence."
As the crowd cheers for Austin, the sirens of Scott Steiner's music hits and out comes 'Big Poppa Pump'. He doesn't appear too happy as he enters the ring and stands across from Bischoff, whom asks what Steiner is doing out here. "I'm not in a good mood, Eric! Last week, I said I wanted another match with Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship and you said I had to beat Ric Flair to get another shot and I did just that! So where's my match?!" He steps closer to Bischoff, whom wags his finger and clarifies to Steiner that he did not beat Flair last week. He says that first off, Steiner lost to Flair in their singles match via disqualification. "And in the main event? It wasn't you, Steiner, it was Stone Cold Steve Austin that won that match! So, therefore, you don't get another match for the World Heavyweight Championship! Do you understand me?" Steiner looks around the arena and wipes away at his face before pressuring Bischoff in to the corner — taking the General Manager by the collar! "That's not very smart, Steiner!" Says Lawler. Bischoff is quick to try and protect himself, reminding Steiner of who he is before telling him that he shouldn't be mad at him. "You should be mad at the man that cost you your World Heavyweight Championship match by sticking his nose in your business! You should be mad at Stone Cold Steve Austin!" Taking a moment to let that sink in, Steiner slowly releases his grasp on Bischoff, whom quickly steps through the ropes and hustles away from the ring. Steiner places his hands on his hips and looks down at the mat, thinking things over.
Turning backstage, Evolution is seen meeting up together with World Heavyweight Champion Triple H leading the conversation with Batista, Randy Orton and Ric Flair. "You heard Bischoff, we've got Steve Austin on his way here. Apparently, he's going to becoming here and breaking his silence! Breaking his silence on my show? In my ring? I don't think so!" He then orders the three to disperse, keep a look out for Austin and stop him if they see him. They all then head their separate ways.
1) Lance Storm (w/Chief Morley and William Regal) def. Booker T (w/World Tag Team Champions The Dudley Boyz) via pinfall Quite the competitive match up between the two veterans, Booker eventually gaining the upper hand after a leaping side kick from the corner. As he starts getting fired up and does the spin-a-roonie, the four on the outside begin to argue. The referee tries to gain control of things and as Morley is being cornered by Bubba Ray and D-Von, Regal ends up rolling in to the ring from behind and clocking Booker in the head with brass knuckles! Storm covers and the official returns to count the three!
The Dudley Boyz hit the ring as Storm rolls to the outside in to the arms of Morley and Regal, whom smile at the victory while raising the arms up of the winner. As they are celebrating the win atop the stage, the titantron shows the replay of the finish with Regal using his brass knuckles. Back live, Bubba Ray and D-Von are outraged, yelling at the referee about it as Booker stirs to a knee. They check on Booker briefly before stepping out of the ring and heading after Morley, Storm and Regal!
In the back, Jonathan Coachman is standing by and welcomes Shawn Michaels and Jeff Hardy. Coachman mentions that tonight, the two of them team up to take on Chris Jericho and Christian in the main event. "Y'know, a lot like Chris Jericho, I grew up idolizing Shawn Michaels," Jeff says while patting Michaels on the arm. "But unlike Jericho, I appreciate being in the presence of a legend. And I know I can do a lot better than how I've been doing lately..." He says that having an idol of his like Michaels as his tag team partner tonight, he knows he'll be able to turn things around. Michaels says he appreciates Hardy's words. "We're going to go out there tonight and we're going to shut up Jericho and Christian together." They then walk off together with that match still to come later on.
Seen stomping through the halls after a break is The Dudley Boyz, heading in to the office of General Manager Eric Bischoffas he has Chief Morley, Lance Stormand William Regalhiding behind him. Bubba yells about Regal using brass knucks to cost Booker T his match behind the referee's back a few minutes ago. Bischoff questions what he is supposed to do about it but Morley claims he has a solution. "Bubba, D-Von, you're right. The officiating in that last match was not right!" D-Von agrees so Morley says they'll make it up to them in a tag team match. "The two of you versus myself and William Regal and I assure you there will be a different, better referee!" Bubba and D-Von seem content with the decision, warning the two not to try and pull something over on them.
2) D'Lo Brown (w/Theodore Long) def. Test (w/Stacy Keibler) via pinfall Despite the hollering from Long as motivation, Brown is dominated by Test and his raw power. Just as he is closing in on the win, however, Christopher Nowinski makes his way out from the back holding up a picket sign declaring 'I Detest Test-icles'! With Test distracted by the arrival of Nowinski and the sign against his fan base, Brown comes up from behind and rolls Test up for the pinfall!
Test is furious as he gets to a knee against the ropes, eyes locked on Nowinski as Brown and Long celebrate the win on their way toward the back. The Harvard graduate is quick to flee as soon as Test gets out of the ring, chasing after him through the crowd with Keibler trying to keep pace.
Seen in the hallways backstage looking around is Batista, the cameras then going over to Ric Flair in catering. Then, the World Heavyweight Champion Triple His seen watching his TV.
Transitioning elsewhere in the back, Terri is seen standing by with Jazz. She mentions how Jazz made her return to Raw last week and asks what her plans are now that she is back. Jazz remains silent, however, similar to her interview with Jonathan Coachman last Monday night. Terri tries to get an answer out of her which leads to Jazz delivering a slap across the face! Terri is stunned by the strike, General Manager Eric Bischoff then arriving on to the scene and asking what is going on. "Clearly there seems to be some tension here. An issue between you two ladies... so, how about the two of you take it to the ring later on?" He grows a smile across his face as Terri tells him that she isn't a wrestler. "Then what the hell do I pay you for?!" Snaps back Bischoff. "Either you go down to that ring and face Jazz tonight or you're out of here! Got it? Good." He then walks off in the other direction, Jazz with her arms crossed as a grin of her own forms across her face as Terri looks very afraid.
Seen coming through another part of the back is Scott Steiner when he is suddenly stopped in his tracks by Randy Orton, whom wields a lead pipe in his hand. "What the hell are you doing, Steiner?" He questions with Steiner not phased in the slightest. "I'm looking for Stone Cold Steve Austin, you seen 'em?" Orton laughs and tells Steiner to get to stepping, which prompts Steiner to challenge him to a fight — backing the youngster against the wall behind him. "I'll fight you Steiner!" Orton barks back. "I'll fight you... in the ring." He points his pipe at Steiner and backs away.
3) Scott Steiner def. Randy Orton via pinfall Steiner rips the lead pipe out of Orton's hand right off the bat, the third-generation Orton resorting to running away from Steiner and getting shots in at opportune times. Steiner gains back control of the match with his power but Orton rakes the eyes in the corner, leaping to the second rope with a smile before leaping off for a crossbody only for Steiner to catch him in mid-air, make an adjustment and hit a huge belly-to-belly suplex! Steiner then hooks the leg and it leads to the three count.
Steiner gets to his feet and poses to the crowd atop the second rope before returning to the downed Orton, flexing his muscles before dropping an elbow on Orton. He then does some push ups over the body of his beaten opponent before leaving the ring and heading up the ramp.
The World Tag Team Champions, The Dudley Boyz, arrive after the break and once in the ring, out comes Chief Morley, Lance Storm and William Regal. Staying atop the stage, Morley mentions that The Dudley Boyz weren't happy with the officiating of the match between Booker T and Storm earlier. "So I promised you I'd find a different and better referee and who better than... Nick Patrick!" Out comes Patrick, Ross quick to point out on commentary that Patrick has had his job threatened lately by Morley in order to get things his way. "This is totally unfair!" J.R. says in disgust. 4) Non-Title Match: Chief Morley and William Regal (w/Lance Storm) defeat World Tag Team Champions The Dudley Boyz via pinfall Bubba Ray and D-Von know that the deck is stacked against them so they do their best to take out their aggression on not just Morley and Regal, but Storm as well. After D-Von is ejected from the ring by Morley, D-Von is rolled up by Regal and referee Nick Patrick makes a very quick count!
D-Von and Bubba Ray are furious as they have witnessed screwjobs at the hands of their rivals for the second time tonight. Morley, Regal and Storm rush from the ring laughing, Patrick putting his hands up as he is cornered by The Dudley Boyz. Before they can do any harm to him, he slips through the ropes and hurries off and past the celebrating trio on the ramp. In the parking lot out back, Batista and Ric Flair are seen talking with each other, Flair saying he just got word that Stone Cold Steve Austin was just seen here. They stop in their tracks as they see a car beginning to leave, stepping in front of it and holding it up. Batista steps to the driver's side and rips the door open, revealing Maven to be inside of it. "What the? Where's Steve Austin?!" Yells Batista, to which Maven says he has no idea. Flair says he doesn't believe him and orders Batista to yank him out of the car! He does so and Maven tries to put up a fight against both men but after a big punch to the face from Flair, he turns to a spinebuster on to the hood of the car from Batista! Flair holds Batista back from doing anything more, saying that's enough as they head off with Maven left out cold.
At the announce table following a commercial break, Ross and Lawler discuss what we just saw moments ago with Batista and Ric Flair attacking Maven in the parking lot in their search for Stone Cold Steve Austin. "Things like that, in my opinion, don't look very good on Eric Bischoff's resume for Mr. McMahon next week when his job is at risk!" J.R. says, prompting Lawler to defend Bischoff and say he has done a bunch of great things like bring J.R.'s friend Stone Cold Steve Austin back in the first place and that he should be supporting Bischoff as General Manager of Raw! 5) Jazz def. Terri via pinfall Obviously not being used to in-ring competition, Terri does her best to try and evade Jazz but ends up being taken by the hair and brought to the center of the ring. Jazz toys with the interviewer a bit, Terri rising up and giving a big slap across the face! "Oh no, Terri! Bad idea! Bad idea!" Exclaims Lawler. Jazz responds with a big slap back. That is followed by the Bitch Clamp, which leads to the easy win.
As Jazz stands over Terri, down from the back comes Theodore Long. He enters the ring and stands at Jazz's side, a microphone in hand. "Let me holla at all of you for a minute, playa!" He says proudly to the crowd. "The bitch is back and the bitch is black represented by yours truly, Theodore Long! And the bitch wants Victoria and the WWE Women's Championship!" Jazz and Long then turn their attention up the stage as Victoria cautiously comes out from the back, clutching her title belt close. Behind her follows Stevie Richards, grabbing Victoria by the arm as she gets on to the ring apron, urging her to back down. Jazz shows no fear as she motions for Victoria to come in to the ring. Richards continues to suggest otherwise, Victoria eventually listening and stepping back down.
Backstage, Scott Steiner is seen walking with his bag over his shoulder when he is approached by Eric Bischoff, questioning where he thinks he is going. "Obviously Steve Austin isn't here! So I'm going out there and finding him myself!" Steiner continues on his way, the cameras then turning to a separate hallway where Chris Jericho and Christian are seen as their tag team match is up next. 6) Chris Jericho and Christian def. Jeff Hardy and Shawn Michaels via pinfall A very competitive bout, Hardy is cut off from his corner throughout the majority of the bout. After the match goes through a commercial break, a hot tag is made to Michaels and he comes in and cleans house. After a clothesline to Jericho sends him to the outside, HBK tangles up with Christian. After a powerslam and a diving elbow drop, he makes the tag to Hardy whom goes to the top rope. As he prepares for the Swanton Bomb, however, Jericho leaps on the apron and knocks him off! Michaels charges and gets the ropes pulled down on him, Jericho coming in to the ring and stomping his foot in to the mat. The crowd boos as Hardy gets up and turns in to Sweet Chin Music from Jericho! "That's Shawn Michaels' move!" Says Lawler. Hardy then falls back in to the Unprettier from Christian, whom hooks both legs and pins the shoulders down for the three count for his team.
Michaels re-enters the ring and fires off on Jericho but Christian is quick to come to his aid and knock Michaels down from behind. The duo stomp away at HBK with Jericho giving orders, Christian listening and pinning Michaels' arms behind his back as Jericho proceeds to apply the Walls of Jericho on Hardy! "This is gonna be you at No Way Out, Michaels!" He yells. "Do you hear me?!" Hardy taps out to the hold repeatedly, Jericho eventually letting go and slapping Michaels across the face. Christian then pulls him up and nails the Unprettier in the center of the ring, leaving Michaels laid out next to Hardy. With the crowd booing, Jericho and Christian raise their arms together proudly.
Seen in the back talking on his phone is Triple H, talking on the other line. "Yeah, Ric, I heard he's at that run down bar down the road we saw earlier. Just take care of it, alright? I'm going to head down to my ring." He hangs up and the cameras transition to Ric Flair hanging up on his end in the parking lot as Batista is getting in to a car. "Alright, Dave, you know what to do. Go take care of Austin, I'm going to go check on Randy and Hunter is headed down to the ring. Evolution, baby! Woo!" Batista says he's on it and proceeds to drive out of the lot, Flair with a smile on his face until he is tapped on the shoulder. The crowd erupts from inside the MCI Center as Flair slowly turns and comes face-to-face with Stone Cold Steve Austin. "Looking for me?" He asks before leveling 'The Nature Boy' repeatedly! He sends Flair flying across a car and then drops him with a Stone Cold Stunner! "By God, Stone Cold is here! I knew he'd be here!" Shouts an excited J.R. Austin stands over Flair and tells him he'll catch him later and then heads off as Lawler asks if Triple H knows Austin is here!
The music of World Heavyweight Champion Triple H hits coming out of the break as he makes his way down and in to the ring with a big grin. He holds a microphone in his hand and as the crowd is buzzing, he tells them to shut up and listen. As he tries to get words out, chants of 'Austin' ring out and it prompts him to shake his head and laugh. "I hate to break it to you all, but Stone Cold Steve Austin isn't here tonight! But you know who is? You know who has been here all night? Your World Heavyweight Champion, me, Triple H!" He continues going on about how he is sick of people loving the likes of Austin, Scott Steiner among others. He claims that the fans don't know how to respect and accept a real champion like himself. As he keeps talking, Eric Bischoff begins to march his way down from the back, entering the ring with a microphone of his own as he tries to interrupt Triple H to no avail. "Eric, I understand you're worried about losing your job, but interrupting the WWE World Heavyweight Champion is not going to do you any favors when Mr. McMahon asks me what I think of you!" Bischoff tells Hunter to shut up and listen for a damn minute. "Listen because Austin is—"
The never mistaken glass shattering is heard, Stone Cold Steve Austin's music hitting as he steps through the curtains to a loud ovation from the Washington D.C. audience. Triple H's eyes widen in the ring as Austin heads down, stopping in his tracks and staring both Hunter and Eric down. "Triple H looks like he's seen a damn ghost!" Exclaims J.R. "He's got no back up now!" Austin looks around at the buzzing crowd. "If you want to hear Stone Cold Steve Austin break his silence tonight, give me a hell yeah!" He holds the microphone up and gets the expected reception from the fans. He paces back and forth a bit and runs his hand over the top of his head. "Or... if you want Stone Cold to save it for later, kick these two sons of bitches' ass all across the nation's capital — give me a hell yeah!" Another big reaction from the audience as Triple H steps forward in to a series of punches to the face! The two have a back and forth exchange until the World Heavyweight Champion swings his title belt, Austin ducking underneath it and dropping 'The Game' with a Stone Cold Stunner! The building erupts as Triple H rolls to the outside, Bischoff stepping up to Austin and getting in his face. "I should have never brought you back, Austin! You show up whenever you damn well please! You pick fights with anyone you feel like! I should have never, ever brought you back!" Austin looks down at the mat briefly before lifting his head back up, giving Bischoff two middle fingers before laying him out with the Stone Cold Stunner as well! With the MCI Center rocking, Austin scoops up the World Heavyweight Championship belt up from off of the mat and holds it over his head, ascending the turnbuckles with it and calling for some beers from ringside in celebration to conclude this week's edition of Raw.
February 6, 2003: First Union Center in Philadelphia, PA
'The Beautiful People' by Marilyn Manson leads the Smackdown opening video, the cameras then entering the First Union Center from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as Michael Cole welcomes all to the show on commentary alongside Tazz, Cole mentioning that we have a big night with a big time main event as Kurt Angle, Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas take on Chris Benoit and Los Guerreros!
Tony Chimel introduces everyone to Paul Heyman, whom stands in the center of the ring with a twisted grin on his face. "Philadelphia, the place that I built! The place that I built just like I am building the demise of the careers of The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar!" He says that at No Way Out, Lesnar and Undertaker will be teaming together and it will be abysmal. He brings up how he saw first hand the two of them rip each other limb from limb inside of Hell in a Cell. "The Undertaker and my former client Brock Lesnar don't stand a chance against the behemoths A-Train and The Big Show at No Way Out! While Brock and Undertaker destroyed each other back inside Hell in a Cell just a few months ago, it will pail in comparison to what over eight hundred pounds of humanity will do to the two of them in seventeen nights at No Way Out! That is... if they don't tear each other apart first!"
As Heyman snickers, the music of Stephanie McMahon hits and out to the stage comes the General Manager of Smackdown. "Paul, if you think that you outsmarted me last week by goading me in to making that match at No Way Out, you're mistaken." She says that she understands the history between Lesnar and Undertaker but says that meant nothing to her when she considered that the two of them, while they may not like one another, have a common enemy. "That common enemy being you, Paul. That is why I made the match for No Way Out because at the end of the day, Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker have it out for you, A-Train and The Big Show and if you know anything about your former client and 'The Dead Man' — and I know you do — you know that when it comes down to it at No Way Out, they'll be ready for a fight." She says that speaking of fights, she has arranged for a big match tonight between A-Train and this man: Brock Lesnar. The music of 'The Next Big Thing' hits throughout the building and Lesnar ends up charging toward the ring, getting in and stepping toward Heyman but unable to get his hands on him as his former agent slips through the ropes. "Brock Lesnar can't wait to get his hands on Paul Heyman," Says Cole. "And I personally hope that one of these days he does! But tonight, he'll have his hands full with A-Train!"
1) Matt Hardy and Shannon Moore def. Cruiserweight Champion Billy Kidman and Tajiri via pinfall Allowing Moore to do most of the work against Kidman and Tajiri, Hardy's 'MFer' does his best to stay in the match. Hardy eventually tags himself in but almost falls to Kidman after an enzuigiri, prompting Moore to get involved again. Tajiri and him get in to it on the outside as back in the ring, Kidman hits a spinebuster on Hardy and goes to the top rope, preparing for the Shooting Star Press. As he is about to leap off, however, Moore gets on the apron and shoves Kidman down. Hardy covers quickly and puts both of his feet on the ropes with Moore assisting in order to get the three count!
Hardy is pulled to the outside by Moore as Kidman sits up furious, Matt and Shannon celebrating on the outside proudly by leaping up and down. As they make their way to the back, Tajiri returns to the ring at the side of Kidman, whom remains very unhappy with being defeated in cheap fashion.
Seen talking in the back are the WWE Tag Team Champions Los Guerreros when they stop in their tracks as they meet up with Chris Benoit. Chavo questions if Benoit is ready for their six man tag team match tonight with Kurt Angle and Team Angle. "Of course I'm ready. Just like I'm ready to beat Kurt Angle's ass for the WWE Championship at No Way Out!" Eddie says that's exactly what he likes to hear and he hopes he beats 'that gringo' at No Way Out as well as tonight in their match later on.
Stepping out to the stage after a commercial break is John Cena, rapping about how he is on his own now and that he is one man team and that unlike the Eagles, he's not going to blow it on his way to becoming a World Champion. "Nobody in the back has the factor like John Cena does — that being the it, because everybody else in that locker room ain't..." He drops the microphone and brushes his shoulders to the booing crowd. As he begins to head to the back, Rikishi makes his way out for his upcoming match and the two lock eyes before continuing on their separate ways.
2) Rikishi def. Bill DeMott via disqualification A battle of two powerhouses, DeMott ends up also showing off his athleticism with a big moonsault that almost earns him the victory. Arguing with the referee allows Rikishi enough time to get back up and plant DeMott with a superkick, landing him in prime position in the corner for the stinkface! As Rikishi plays up the crowd afterward, he comes back to DeMott and is nailed with a low blow!
The official continues to call for the bell as a furious DeMott tosses Rikishi in to the ring post shoulder first. "What the hell is DeMott doing?!" Questions Cole. He goes to the outside after Rikishi and hurls the big Samoan in to the steel steps afterward and lets out a loud, angry yell afterward. He finally backs down as the referee steps in and checks on the downed Rikishi.
"I can't believe you're going through with this!" Yells Jamie Noble coming out of the break as he follows after his girlfriend Nidia in the hallway. She argues that she wants to do this Bra and Panties match with Torrie Wilson tonight, prompting Noble to say she belongs to him! Nunzio walks up and says to let Nidia do what she wants. "Forget about it, Jamie! She just wants to have some fun!" Nidia smiles, thanking Noble's cousin and giving him a kiss on the cheek. She then heads in to the locker room to prepare for her match later, leaving Noble to question what Nunzio is doing encouraging her!
3) Brock Lesnar def. A-Train (w/Paul Heyman) via pinfall The second straight battle of big men, Lesnar and A-Train have an incredibly competitive match that lasts through a commercial break. After getting some momentum going, A-Train misses on a corner clothesline and Lesnar uses all of his strength to pull A-Train up off of the mat and on to his shoulders in order to deliver a brutal F-5! He hooks the exterior leg and gets the one, two, three.
Lesnar gets back on to his feet and has his arm raised as the winner but he doesn't get much of a chance to celebrate as The Big Show makes his way out from the back. As Lesnar has his eyes on Show, A-Train strikes from behind. Show enters the ring and a two-on-one attack begins. The boos of the audience eventually turns to cheers as The Undertaker's music hits. He storms out from the back with a steel chair in hand and ducks a shot from A-Train, unleashing with a huge shot with the chair to The Big Show! He sends him crashing through the ropes and then returns to A-Train, walloping him with strikes before launching him to the outside as well! As Heyman tends to Show and A-Train on the outside, Undertaker turns back around to Lesnar getting back to his feet and swings the chair straight in to the head of Brock! "Holy crap!" Shouts a surprised Tazz. Undertaker stands over the body of his partner at No Way Out before looking back at Show, A-Train and Heyman — pointing the chair in direction as they continue to back down and make their way up the ramp.
The Undertaker is seen walking to the parking lot after a break, Josh Mathews racing up to him and trying to get his attention. "Undertaker, why did you just hit your own tag team partner for No Way Out, Brock Lesnar, with a steel chair?!" Undertaker gets on to his bike and starts up the engine, giving Mathews a glare but no words as he proceeds to drive off and out of the parking lot.
In the locker room area, Team Angle are seen sitting together when their leader and WWE Champion Kurt Angle steps in front of them. "Tonight is a big night for us," He says with his hands on his hips. "Last week, we did it the cheap Latino way to stick it to Eddie Guerrero! Tonight, we do it the right way and there is only one right way: The Angle way." He says that in their six man tag team match with Chris Benoit and Los Guerreros, they'll show why he is the WWE Champion and why they deserve to not just earn a WWE Tag Team Championship match, but be the WWE Tag Team Champions. Seen elsewhere in the back leaving her locker room is Torrie Wilson, a smile on her face as the crowd cheers inside of the building as she faces Nidia in a Bra and Panties match — next!
A promo video featuring Sean O'Haire airs following the break, saying that everyone has that urge. "You know which one I'm talking about — that sexual urge." He says that your parents, your teachers and even the government tell you not to succumb to those urges yet they do it themselves. "Yes, even the President of the United States. Hey, I'm not telling you anything you don't already know!"
4) Bra and Panties Match: Torrie Wilson def. Nidia (w/Jamie Noble and Nunzio) Obviously far from a technical contest, Noble watches almost in horror on the outside as Wilson pulls the pants off of Nidia. After a shove in to the corner, Nidia tries to get her hands on Torrie's pants but eats a kick to the face and has her top ripped right off of her to earn Wilson the victory.
Noble doesn't waste much time getting in to the ring with a towel in his hand, wrapping it around Nidia and pulling her to the ropes! The crowd boos as he takes Nidia to the outside and rushes her to the back, Nunzio shaking his head in tow. Wilson stands in the center of the ring with a microphone in her hand, saying that the people of Philadelphia didn't come for a Bra and Panties match just for Nidia to be ran out of here immediately! "So, how would Philadelphia like for me to continue the show?" She hands the microphone off to the outside and her music plays, beginning a strip tease to the delight of the audience. Just as she is removing her top, however, Ivory comes in to the ring from behind and drops Wilson with a forearm to the back of the head! She stands over Wilson and drags her up by the hair slowly, giving a slap across the face before hitting Poison Ivy in the center of the ring.
Ivory is seen storming through the back out of the break, Funaki coming up to her and introducing himself as Smackdown's number one announcer and asking why she just stopped Torrie Wilson from stripping to the crowd. "I'm not here to allow Smackdown's women's division continue to be viewed as some slut show! I'm here to to legitimize Smackdown's women's division with in-ring prowess and some dignity." She says that as long as she's around, there will be no room for Bra and Panties matches and no room for the likes of Torrie Wilson! She then continues on her way.
5) Edge def. Chuck Palumbo via pinfall Looking to continue his recent hot run, Edge dominates for quite a bit of the contest until Palumbo catches him off the ropes with a big boot. After a two count on the cover, Palumbo continues working away at Edge and pushes him in to the corner, charging for a clothesline only for it to be avoided and for Edge to come flying off the ropes with a Spear! He then motions for Palumbo to get back up, waiting for him to rise before delivering a kick to the stomach and the Edgecution for the win.
Another victory in the bag for Edge as he gets his arm raised after the match, climbing the turnbuckles afterward and playing up to the crowd in celebration of his continued success.
Edge is seen walking in the back after the break, getting some congratulations on his win from some of the backstage crew when he is approached by Paul Heyman, a big smile on his face as he also gives Edge a congrats. "You know, Edge, you are well on your way to becoming a big time player but you're just not there yet." Heyman says that he has the hair, the looks, the rock star live or let die cool factor but he just isn't there yet but he believes that he can help him put it all together. "Maybe, Paul. Or maybe, because I have all of that, is why people like me aren't seen with people like you." Up behind Heyman comes The Big Show, staring Edge down and suggesting that maybe somebody like him faces somebody like Edge next week. "Bring it on," Edge says with no fear. "I'll see you next week... that is, if you don't slip in to a food coma first, big guy." He lets out a laugh and heads off, Show looking visibly angry and requiring Heyman to hold him back from going after Edge. 6) 6-Man Tag Team Match: WWE Champion Kurt Angle and Team Angle defeat Chris Benoit and WWE Tag Team Champions Los Guerreros A lengthy, fast-paced and back and forth battle between two trios, the contest lasts through a commercial break. As Los Guerreros and Team Angle go at it, Kurt and Chris go at it on the outside. As the referee tries to get things under control, Benoit and Angle continue their fight through the crowd and toward the back. In the midst of the chaos, Benjamin lays Eddie out on the outside with a shot to the face via one of the Tag Team Championship belts. He then hops on to the apron and hangs Chavo up on the top rope, Haas heading over and lifting him up for a superplex with Benjamin leaping off with a crossbody in mid-air! Haas then hooks the legs and gets the pinfall!
Benjamin and Haas are elated as they embrace one another and raise their arms in celebration. "Haas and Benjamin just beat the Tag Team Champs, Cole!" Says Tazz. "Think they've earned a title shot?!" As they are continuing their celebration, the cameras pick up backstage to their leader in Angle still brawling with Benoit. Security and officials arrive on to the scene to pull the two men apart with Stephanie McMahon walking in as well. She stands between the two men and tells them that's enough! "You two want to fight and outlast each other? Rip each other's heads off?! Then I've got just the idea. At No Way Out your match for the WWE Championship will be a Last Man Standing match!" Angle and Benoit continue trying to break out of the grasp of the officials as their rivalry will now be taken to a whole other level! With that big news, the Smackdown broadcast concludes.
February 8, 2003: First Union Center in Philadelphia, PA
1) John Cena def. Bryan Danielson via pinfall A valiant effort from Danielson as he showcases some technical ability but after slamming in to the corner turnbuckles, Cena puts him away with a spinout bomb. After the match, Cena raps to the crowd about how he is just getting started and everybody needing to step aside.
2) Funaki def. Ace Reportman (Brian Kendrick) via pinfall Reportman calls himself 'Velocity's #1 Announcer' prior to the match in an interview with Funaki, whom calls him out as Brian Kendrick. Reportman, challenging Funaki to a match, ends up falling to a Tornado DDT from the second rope, giving 'Smackdown's #1 Announcer' the win. 3) Rey Mysterio def. Jamie Noble (w/Nidia and Nunzio) via pinfall A competitive, back-and-forth contest, Noble tries to use Nidia to his advantage but she doesn't want any part of it. Nunzio tries to get involved but Mysterio ducks a shot from Noble and he runs right in to his cousin. Mysterio then delivers a hurricanrana that drops Noble between the ropes, leading to the 619 and West Coast Pop for the three count. Mysterio escapes from the ring and celebrates on his way up the ramp as a defeated Noble is tended to by Nidia and Nunzio.
February 9, 2003: MCI Center in Washington, D.C.
1) Kane and Rob Van Dam def. American Dragon and Julio Dinero via pinfall Dragon and Dinero are no match for Kane and RVD as after Dinero comes off the top rope at Kane he is caught by the throat and laid out with the Chokeslam. Van Dam then delivers the Five Star Frog Splash for the win. RVD and Kane celebrate afterward as their hot streak as a team continues.
2) Jacqueline def. Molly Holly via pinfall Meeting for the third week in a row, Jacqueline and Molly have yet another competitive match together. As Molly is on the second rope on her way to the top, however, Jacqueline catches her and delivers a back suplex bridged in to a pin, the referee counting the three and not seeing Molly's shoulder is up! Jacqueline rolls out of the ring to enjoy the victory but Molly is clearly upset, trying to explain her side to the official whom continues to claim he did not see it.
3) Spike Dudley def. Rico (w/Jamal and Rosey) via pinfall Thinking this will be an easy feat for him, Rico toys with Dudley but after a sudden jawbreaker, Spike begins a big comeback. Ducking a clothesline from Rico, he surprises with the Dudley Dog for the pinfall! Spike jumps up in celebration but quickly bails from the ring as 3 Minute Warning tries to go after him. Dudley races his way to the back as Jamal, Rosey and Rico are left furious. 4) Batista (w/Ric Flair) def. Al Snow via pinfall After Batista's assault of Maven on Raw this past week, Snow made this challenge at the start of Heat. The veteran tries his best against the massive Batista, but ends up overpowered with Batista eventually putting Snow away with a huge spinebuster. Flair has Batista dispose of Snow after the match by tossing him to the outside, the pair standing tall to end the show.
February 10, 2003: Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA
In memory of 'Mr Perfect' Curt Hennig, 1958-2003
Following the opening Raw video, Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler welcome everyone to the show from commentary as they mention that time is up on Eric Bischoff as he could possibly be fired tonight if Mr. McMahon doesn't think he is doing a good enough job as General Manager of Raw!
Glass shatters and the Los Angeles crowd erupts for the arrival of Stone Cold Steve Austin. He makes his way down to the ring and plays up the crowd a bit before getting on the microphone, saying that he has been mostly quiet since he made his return a few weeks back. "I apologize for that but good ol' Stone Cold had a few ass whoopings to hand out first before talking!" He mentions that a little over a month ago he got a call from Eric Bischoff, somebody he never wanted to talk to ever again, and he hung right up on 'his sorry ass'. He explains that that calls kept coming and the beers kept being drank and eventually he answered the phone and Bischoff didn't ask, but begged for him to come back to the WWE and come back to Raw. "Eh-eh! I told 'em!" He says while shaking his head. "I hung up on that son of a bitch but he called me right back... and he cried over the answering machine 'Oh, Steve, please! I'm begging you! Come back! Come back, please! Mr. McMahon is going to fire me if I don't get you back, please!'... give me a damn break!" Austin says he answered the phone and asked Bischoff why he should come back and that was when Bischoff offered him a World Heavyweight Championship match against Triple H at No Way Out. He leans across the ropes and says that was a pretty damn good offer because he misses running things around here. He says he drank a few more beers, thought about it and agreed to come back. "And good ol' Stone Cold thought he'd be coming back to kick Triple H's ass and become the World Heavyweight Champion but Stone Cold didn't realize that it wasn't one guy holding that championship — it was four." He explains that it's not just Triple H, it's Batista, Randy Orton and Ric Flair: Evolution. "But if Stone Cold has to beat the ever living hell of four different sorry-ass men to become the World Heavyweight Champion then that's just what's gonna be done! And that's the bottom line because Stone Cold said so!"
Just as Austin goes to enjoy himself with some beers on the turnbuckles, Scott Steiner's music hits. 'Big Poppa Pump' arrives from backstage and makes his way down and in to the ring, staring across at Austin and telling him that he hates to interrupt but he has a problem with Austin. "See, you're the reason I'm not competing for the World Heavyweight Championship, Austin!" Stone Cold looks confused as Steiner explains how a couple of weeks back, Austin stuck his nose in business that wasn't his. "See, Bischoff told me that if I beat Ric Flair, I'd get a rematch. But you got involved, you took my win in our tag team match and now I'm out of my shot against Triple H!" Austin mocks Steiner with fake crying, asking who the hell he thinks he is. "Coming out here and blaming Stone Cold for your problems? You got an issue with Stone Cold Steve Austin you'd better be ready for a fight." Steiner says that he knows exactly what he's getting himself in to and he has no problem beating Austin up right here tonight! Austin questions if he's really looking for an ass whooping, prompting Steiner to challenge him to a match later on. Without hesitation, Stone Cold accepts the challenge!
As the two of them stare each other down and exchange some words off the microphone, the cameras catch World Heavyweight Champion Triple H watching a television backstage with a smile on his face as Ric Flairsteps up next to him with a laugh. "Oh baby, looks like Austin and Steiner got
their hands full tonight — with each other! Woo!" Triple H says that those meat heads can slug it out tonight all they want, all he knows is that at No Way Out, he's walking out of there the same way he walked in: World Heavyweight Champion. Batistaand Randy Orton then come in to the room, Orton saying he would love to knock Steiner's head off his shoulders after what happened last week. Flair yells at him to get his head in the game, saying that last week is over with. "You've got a chance to redeem yourself tonight with Batista in your match against those Tough Enough punks, Al Snow and Maven!" He tells Triple H they'll be back and leads the two of them out of the room for their match.
Seen nervously in his office is Eric Bischoff with Chief Morleyat his side. "Everything is going to be fine, Eric. Mr. McMahon knows how much of a genius you are or else he would have never brought you here in the first place! Plus, there is no way he fires you when he finds out what I've got going on later tonight!" Bischoff asks what idea he has now, to which Morley explains he is having The Dudley Boyz taking on 3 Minute Warning and after that, he has some big news for D-Von and Bubba Ray. Bischoff rolls his eyes and starts yelling at Morley. "What a great idea, Chief! That'll really save my job!" He orders Morley to get out of there and do whatever it is he's doing. Morley says he thinks Bischoff needs some space and leaves as the frustrated General Manager puts his face in his hands.
1) Batista and Randy Orton (w/Ric Flair) defeat Al Snow and Maven via pinfall After last weeks incident in the parking lot, Maven comes out on fire and wild against Batista but ends up getting overpowered and dominated by Batista and Orton. After a brief comeback on Orton, he makes the tag to Snow and the veteran comes in. As Snow and Orton go at it, Batista charges Maven on the outside and drops him with a spinebuster on the floor. Snow tries to go after Batista but Flair holds his Evolution brethren back. As Snow goes to re-enter the ring, Flair grabs his ankle and it ends up allowing Orton to hit a DDT between the ropes and cover for the three count.
Flair and Batista return to the ring, raising their arms up with Orton in celebration as Maven assists Snow under the bottom rope and tends to him. The cameras then pick up back in the parking lot, Jonathan Coachman standing by and saying he is waiting for the arrival of Mr. McMahon. Coachman says McMahon isn't here yet, but he'll be right here when the Chairman does arrive.
2) Molly Holly vs Jacqueline goes to a No Contest Continuing their recent rivalry from Sunday Night Heat, Molly and Jacqueline have a competitive match together but as they are going at it in the corner, Jazz hits the ring and clotheslines Jacqueline in to Molly! She then tosses Molly by the hair across the ring as the referee calls for the bell.
Jazz continues an attack on Molly and then Jacqueline as Theodore Long cheers her on from the outside. After a Bitch Clamp to both women, Long enters the ring with a microphone in hand. "The bitch is back and the bitch is black, playa!" He says proudly. "And I told all of you that Jazz wanted a match with Victoria for the Women's Championship. And Jazz is making it official, alright? Victoria, she's challenging you to a match at No Way Out!" Jazz takes the microphone from Long's hand and tells Victoria to 'man up' and give her an answer tonight. She and Long then leave the ring together.
Cutting to the back, Chris Jericho and Christianare seen talking to each other in the locker room area with Christian bringing up Jericho using the Sweet Chin Music on Jeff Hardy last week. Jericho says that was a great idea, with Christian saying it was his. They argue briefly over the idea before Jericho says forget it and moves on. "Tonight, I've got Jeff Hardy one-on-one and I'm going to make an example of him and show Shawn Michaels what he has coming at No Way Out."
Seen in the hallways pacing back and forth after the break is Eric Bischoff. He stops in his tracks as walking up to him Booker T. Booker laughs and says it was just about seven months ago that Bischoff walked in here and turned this place upside down. "Now your ass is gonna be gone, you couldn't even last a year!" Bischoff snaps back at Booker, telling him to go the hell home like his buddy Goldust. "Or wherever that sick freak is!" Booker nods and tells Bischoff fine, he'll leave, but next week he'll be here on Raw while Bischoff is the one back home. "Now can you dig that, sucka?!" He chuckles and walks away, Bischoff left shaking his head. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, opening his eyes back up to Booker yelling "Sucka!" in his face a second time. Bischoff snaps for Booker to get out, the five time WCW Champion continuing to laugh as he walks away.
3) Chris Jericho (w/Christian) def. Jeff Hardy via submission Hardy and Jericho have quite the match up with Jeff flying high and getting multiple near falls but after having his legs worked, it leads to his downfall as he struggles to go for the Swanton Bomb after a desperation Twist of Fate. Jericho saves himself as he knocks Hardy down and applies the Walls of Jericho. Hardy tries his best to fight through it but ends up having no choice but to tap out.
Jericho continues to pull away at the hold and Hardy keeps on tapping out despite the referee continuing to call for the bell. Shawn Michaels runs out from the back with the crowd cheering but he is cut off on the ramp by Christian. The two of them throw punches and in the mean time, Jericho has Hardy on the outside by the legs and falls back to launch Jeff in to the ring post face first! Michaels runs down to ringside after getting through Christian but Jericho is able to scurry away before HBK can get his hands on him. as Jericho and Christian back away laughing, Michaels checks on Hardy.
In the parking lot, Jonathan Coachman is standing by once again and he says that Mr. McMahon is still not here yet. As soon as he begins to talk about Eric Bischoff, however, a limousine pulls up from behind and he hurries over to it. The driver opens the door and Mr. McMahon himself gets out. Coachman goes to say something but is cut off before he can get a word out. "Not now, Coach, I've got important business to conduct with Mr. Bischoff..." He struts off on his way, Coachman looking back to the camera and saying he guesses we'll find out Eric Bischoff's fate next!
Seen in the back retrieving drinks are World Heavyweight Champion Triple H and Ric Flairwhen they are approached by Scott Steiner. Triple H quickly steps behind Flair as Steiner tells them he's not here to hurt them, he'll do that some other time. "I'm just here to tell you that I haven't forgotten about what you pulled at the Royal Rumble and one way or another I'm gonna get that World Heavyweight Championship!" Triple H snickers, telling Steiner that's nice and all, but he should be a good bitch and go out there and beat Steve Austin up for him tonight. Steiner looks down at the floor and then smacks the drinks from Flair's hands in to the legend's face! Steiner points at Triple H and says that this isn't over and storms off, Triple H having to hold Flair back from going after Steiner. "If Steve Austin doesn't destroy Steiner, Evolution will!" Says an angry 'Nature Boy'.
Mr. McMahon makes his entrance back inside of the arena and says that the clock has been ticking for about a month now. "And now time is up for Eric Bischoff! He has plenty of time to improve things around here, to impress me and the question is: Has he done just that? So, let's get down to business and have Mr. Bischoff come on down to this ring right now!" After initially getting no response, the music of Eric Bischoff hits, the Raw General Manager nervously coming out from the back. Bischoff enters the ring and before he can say anything, McMahon cuts him off and says he has been watching very closely over the past few weeks and he has seen a lot of good while also a lot of bad. "You brought back Stone Cold Steve Austin! That's good! On the other hand, it seems like you're favoring certain superstars as of late such as... Triple H." He mentions that Triple H is the World Heavyweight Champion yet he never seems to be in action and competing on Monday Night Raw. "Mr. McMahon, sir, I assure you that there is no nepotism! As a matter of fact... next week, how about Triple H faces off against Scott Steiner!" McMahon goes to respond but Bischoff cuts him off by adding that it will be for the World Heavyweight Championship! McMahon seems impressed and tells Bischoff that he'll consider setting that up for next Monday. As he tries to go on, Bischoff interrupts yet again and questions what he has to do in order for McMahon to not fire him. "Before we talk about what is next in life for you," McMahon replies. "Let's talk about what you have done. You've let this Evolution run wild, you've allowed Jazz to beat up just about every woman on the roster, concuss Trish Stratus and beat up a backstage interviewer and you allow Val Venis of all people to act like he is General Manager!" Bischoff corrects him to say it's Chief Morley, but McMahon doesn't care.
"Mr. McMahon, please! WrestleMania is coming up!" Bischoff pleads. "If you fire me, you lose all of my ingenious ideas! Think about the Elimination Chamber match! Think about H-L-A! I mean, who else is going to pull of bringing back legends like Stone Cold Steve Austin?! Mr. McMah—" The Chairman orders Bischoff to shut up! He says that he knows damn well the great ideas Bischoff has had before but he is referring to the past month since he was put on the hot seat. He says that Bischoff has been a lot of talk recently but no show. "Now, I think I've come to a conclusion but before I make my final decision, I've got one thing left to do and that is ask the opinion of the people!" He looks around to the Los Angeles crowd and says that in the words of Stone Cold Steve Austin, if they think Bischoff should be fired tonight to give him a hell yeah! The Staples Center reacts as expected and McMahon backs Bischoff in to the corner, about to deliver his famous two words only for Bischoff to stop him. "The Rock!" McMahon stops himself as Bischoff stumbles over his words. "The Rock, sir! The Rock! I've got The Rock!" The Chairman takes a step back and raises an eyebrow, asking what the hell Bischoff is talking about — The Rock as in Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson? "Yes, that very one, sir! The Rock himself! I... I've got him coming back at No Way Out but the only way he will be there is if I am still the General Manager of Raw so if you want The Rock, sir, you're going to have to keep me around!" McMahon steps around the ring a bit, thinking as Bischoff says that he wants things shaken up while what more than Stone Cold Steve Austin and now The Rock. McMahon asks if Bischoff is being serious, Eric still stammering a bit as he confirms that he is. "Well, Eric, if that's what you're pulling out at the eleventh hour, that's one hell of an announcement. What's the matter with you? Why wouldn't you have announced this before, huh?!" Bischoff doesn't even get a chance to give an answer to that as McMahon brushes it off, saying that if Bischoff delivers on this and The Rock is at No Way Out, he'll keep his job as the General Manager of Raw. "But if I don't get The Rock at No Way Out, Eric, I will not hesitate to come right back down to this ring and tell you those two words you narrowly avoided tonight: You're fired!" He walks to the ropes and exits the ring, strutting his way up the ramp as Bischoff is left standing in the ring looking both relieved and concerned.
Seen walking in the back with a picket sign over his shoulder is Christopher Nowinski when he passes by Rob Van Damand Kane, the prior pointing out the picket sign and asks what that is all about. "You like testicles?" Van Dam asks with a puzzled look on his face. "That's cool, man. I mean, it's not my cup of tea, but that's cool man. But what's with telling everyone? No offense!" Nowinski snaps back that it says he detests Test-icles, the so called fans of Test. He asks if Van Dam can read, with RVD answering by suggesting Nowinski hold the sign up higher. He and Kane share a laugh but Nowinski isn't sharing in the humor. "Are you high right now?" He asks to Van Dam, whom says he can't remember. "Well remember this, Cheech, you and me in the ring tonight!" Nowinski continues on his way, Van Dam looking to Kane and asking if he's going to remember that for him.
Back inside of the arena, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler talk about what we just saw before the break with Mr. McMahon deciding against firing Eric Bischoff — for now — as Raw General Manager after Bischoff said The Rock will be at No Way Out! "I think he's full of crap!" J.R. says, prompting a brief argument between himself and Lawler about whether or not it's the truth. Out to the stage then comes Chief Morley, Lance Stormand William Regal with Morley holding a microphone in his hand. "I just want to take a moment to say how grateful I am that Eric Bischoff is still our General Manager! That just means that the dynamic duo of Bischoff and Morley will live on!" The crowd boos as the three enter the ring, Morley then introducing 3 Minute Warning. Rosey, Jamal and Rico make their way down to the ring and Morley proceeds to introduce The Dudley Boyz. Bubba Ray and D-Von make their way out to the stage but Morley stops them right there, apologizing as he says that he misspoke earlier. "When I said tonight that it was going to be 3 Minute Warning versus The Dudley Boyz, I actually meant to say The Dudley boy. Yeah, see, it's going to be Jamal and Rosey here versus your little brother, Spike!" Bubba and D-Von are outraged, Morley saying that this match will take place or else they will be stripped of the World Tag Team Championship! Spike Dudley then steps out to the stage and assures his brothers that it is okay. As D-Von and Bubba begin to follow Spike to the ring, however, Morley also says that if they come down to ringside in an attempt to help their little brother during this match, that will also result in the World Tag Team Championship being vacated! D-Von and Bubba can't believe what they are hearing as Spike angrily makes his way to the ring for the match.
4) Handicap Match: 3 Minute Warning (w/Rico, Chief Morley, Lance Storm and William Regal) def. Spike Dudley via pinfall Just as the match is beginning, Morley also announces Nick Patrick as taking the spot as referee. Patrick reluctantly heads down to the ring with his head held down, the bell ringing and Spike doing everything he can to try and put up a fight against Jamal and Rosey. The size of the two powerhouse Samoans is too much to overcome, however, as after they each run in to Spike in the corner, they each head to the top rope and each deliver a splash with Jamal hooking the leg for the three count.
As soon as the bell rings, D-Von and Bubba Ray race down toward the ring with Morley, Storm, Regal and Rico combating against them. The brothers fight through and get in to the ring but are knocked down at the hands of Jamal and Rosey, a six-on-two beat down then ensuing as the others enter the ring as well. With D-Von and Bubba Ray down at the hands of the assault, Rico instructs Jamal and Rosey to the top rope once again as they deliver a splash on one half of the World Tag Team Champions each. "This is ridiculous and unfair!" Says a disgusted J.R. Morley takes a microphone from ringside and reminds The Dudley Boyz that he had some big news for them. "At No Way Out, you're going to be defending the World Tag Team Championship against Lance Storm and William Regal... and the referee for that match will be Nick Patrick!" He grows a big smile across his face as the tandem of six stand tall, Patrick standing in the corner behind them shaking his head.
Seen backstage having a conversation is the Women's Champion Victoriaand Stevie Richards when they are approached by Jonathan Coachman. He excuses himself and asks Victoria if she has an answer for Jazz after her challenge earlier tonight. Before Victoria has a chance to answer, Stevie chimes in. "There is no way that Victoria is getting in to a ring with that crazy bitch!" Victoria glares at Richards and says that she can handle this. "At No Way Out, I'm showing Jazz what a real crazy bitch is like because I accept!" She storms off, Richards stunned as he follows trying to reason with her. 5) Rob Van Dam (w/Kane) def. Christopher Nowinski via pinfall A clash of styles with Nowinski looking to keep Van Dam grounded and RVD just the opposite. After getting his knees up on a Rolling Thunder attempt, Nowinski taunts to Kane and the audience. The crowd begins to cheer, however, as Test and Stacy Keiblermake their way through the crowd with Keibler asking if we have any 'Test-icles' in the building tonight! Nowinski is outraged by the arrival of the pair, Keibler and Test finding a fan with a "I <3 Test-icles!" sign. Nowinski turns inside of the ring to a spinning wheel kick from Van Dam, whom follows up with the Five Star Frog Splash for the win!
Van Dam gets to his feet and celebrates the victory with the chant of his name with the crowd before leaving the ring and heading to the back with Kane. As they leave, Test and Stacy wave with smiles on their faces to Nowinski, whom looks on angrily from the ring while pulling himself up via the ropes. A shot of the trainer's room in the back is seen when the door opens and Shawn Michaels steps out, taking a deep breath as Jonathan Coachman walks up to him and asks Michaels how Jeff Hardy is doing. "Uh, he's not doing too well... the doctors think he might have a concussion, maybe worse. I wish that I had got out there sooner..." He mutters under his breath in frustration and then stares Coachman in the eyes. "Jeff Hardy, however, is nowhere nearly in as bad of a shape as Chris Jericho will be after I'm through with him at No Way Out." Michaels then returns to the trainer's room.
Lance Storm and William Regalare seen elsewhere in the back talking with referee Nick Patrick, Storm telling Patrick that after they become World Tag Team Champions again at No Way Out, this will all be over for him. "It's quite simple, sunshine." Regal says with a snicker. Chief Morley then arrives on to the scene and says he has even more news to deliver. "Bubba Ray and D-Von were very upset earlier, but they'll be happy to know that next week they'll really be in the ring with 3 Minute Warning in a Tables Match." He smiles and points to Patrick, informing him that he will be the referee for that match as well. Patrick tries to respond about how he doesn't have to put up with this but Morley talks right over him, reminding Patrick that if the referee doesn't see something, it doesn't count. "Catch my drift? Come on, boys. Good chat, Nick." He, Regal and Storm then leave together.
In the General Manager's office is Eric Bischoff with World Heavyweight Champion Triple H, the latter pouring a glass of champagne for Bischoff. "Glad to still have you here, Eric. You really pulled that one out of your ass, huh? Now we can relax and watch Steiner and Austin tear each other's heads off while we sit back and relax. Genius, Eric. Genius." He takes a sip of champagne and laughs, saying he thought it was a great move to suggest himself versus Steiner for next week. Bischoff silently sips from his glass and Triple H tells him to hold on, questioning if he was serious about that. Before Bischoff has a chance to respond, Ric Flair walks in to the room with more drinks and a woman on each arm. Randy Orton and Batistaare in tow with Flair saying it's time to watch those two idiots beat each other up. "What's with all the tension? Come on, now!" Triple H remains staring at Bischoff, the rest of Evolution looking confused as to what is going on.
6) Stone Cold Steve Austin def. Scott Steiner via disqualification A slug-fest right from the sounding of the bell, Austin and Steiner having momentum swings back and forth. Austin avoids a Steiner flex elbow drop, however, and gets back up to unload on 'Big Poppa Pump'. After stomping a mudhole in Steiner, Austin prepares for the stunner but Steiner pushes him off the ropes. Austin comes back with a big clothesline that sends Steiner to the outside and he looks to take a moment to recover while leaning across the ropes. Just as he is about to step through the ropes, however, Randy Ortonand Batista strike from behind — forcing the official to call for the bell.
Austin takes a short beating before fighting back against both men. After taking Batista down with a flurry of punches, Austin turns to Ric Flair coming at him with a chop to the chest. Austin responds by taking Flair by his hair, Triple H coming in to the ring and tackling 'The Rattlesnake' to the mat. He rains down with punches on Austin, the rest of Evolution coming in and attacking Austin as well. Batista and Orton force Austin up by the arms and feed him to Triple H for a Pedigree in the center of the ring! Steiner comes in to the ring and throws punches at Flair, Orton and Batista before walking right in to a kick to the stomach and a Pedigree from Triple H! The boos come down from the Los Angeles audience as Triple H returns to his feet, Flair presenting him with his World Heavyweight Championship belt. The four raise their arms up together as Jim Ross signs things off for Raw.