15 YRS AGO – Powell’s WWE Raw Report (2-17-03): Bischoff tells Austin he’s still standing, The Rock brags about whipping Hogan’s ass, Bischoff vs. Ross headlines, HBK, Jericho, Batista, Flair

By Jason Powell, PWTorch assistant editor


Eric Bischoff (art credit Grant Gould © PWTorch)

The following was published 15 years ago this week on PWTorch.com…


WWE Raw virtual time ongoing review
Aired Feb. 24, 2003
Live from Toronto, Ont.
Broadcast live on TNN

1st Quarter Hour

The photo of Eric Bischoff opened the show… The opening montage played… Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler introduced the show and hyped that Steve Austin returned at the previous night’s pay-per-view…

A battered and bruised Eric Bischoff walked onto the stage wearing a pair of shades and with his arm in a sling. As Bischoff walked to the ring for a promo, Ross said he doesn’t feel the least bit sorry for him. “Despite what Steve Austin tried to do to me last night, I’m still standing,” Bischoff boasted. Bischoff ticked off the live crowd by saying that he’d banned Austin from the building, then added, “It’s really too bad because Stone Cold is going to miss out on tonight’s main event, a 20-man over the top rope battle royal in which the winner will face Triple H for the World Title at WrestleMania.”

Bischoff, who appeared to have cotton balls in his mouth to create the impression that his mouth was swollen, said Austin would be allowed back at next week’s Raw. He said Austin wasn’t on the show because he wanted to give the stage to the biggest star in the industry. Rock’s new entrance video played mostly to silence in the building, because evidently most of the live crowd didn’t see the pay-per-view the night before. As soon as Rock’s face appeared in the video, the live crowd popped. The Rock walked onto the stage as the announcers questioned what he was doing on Raw when he’s Smackdown property.

Once his slow march to the ring was complete, Rock entered the ring and said, “Finally, the Rock has come back to Toron… Toron… to run his mouth on all your candy asses.” A small “Rocky” chant broke out, which Rock stopped by telling the crowd they should hear what he has to say before they decide whether to chant his name or not. Rock bragged about whipping Hulk Hogan’s ass. Seconds later, Rock explained that Vince McMahon had given him the option to go where ever he wanted. Rock drew the crowd into a cheap pop by saying he wanted to go to Toronto. Then Rock pulled the rug out from under the fans by mocking them for cheering the mere mention of their hometown.

Rock said the reason he wanted to come to Toronto was because it was the same city in which “the mother Canuckers” turned on him. He said he was also offended that WWE fans voted Steve Austin the Raw superstar of the decade at the Raw X anniversary show. “Everybody loves Steve Austin,” Rock said. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, the Rock doesn’t love Stone Cold.” Rock proclaimed himself the one and only superstar of the decade, then drew cheap heat in a creative way by working “the Maple Leafs suck” into one of his rhymes.

2nd Quarter Hour

Rock added himself to the main event battle royal, saying he would go onto win the World Hvt. Title at WrestleMania. Rock cut the crowd off from joining him in saying, “If you smell what the Rock is cooking.” After forbidding them from saying his line, Rock delivered it and left the ring…

(Commentary: A strong opening promo, although he didn’t draw as much heat as WWE was probably hoping he would. Here’s hoping WWE goes all the way with the “Rock’s a sell out” theme, as it would be pretty entertaining to watch him play it up by getting facials and hiring a personal assistant to escort him to ringside.)

[Commercial break]

(1) Jazz beat Jacqueline at 2:24. Victoria and Steven Richards sat in on commentary. Jazz dominated the match and won with the STF. The live crowd couldn’t have cared less. Afterward, hometown girl Trish Stratus made her return to a nice ovation. She ran to the ring and brawled with Jazz until they were separated by four referees…

3rd Quarter Hour

[Commercial break]

Ross and Lawler hyped Lawler’s match against Chief Morley for later in the show…

A video aired of Test meeting “Girls Gone Wild” owner Joe Francis, who introduced Test to the girls of GGW. Back in the building, Test told Maven that after all of the “stupid things” Stacy Keibler hooked him up with, he couldn’t believe she came through with something right up his alley. Stacy entered the picture and wasn’t happy about GGW. Maven made his exit as Morley entered the scene. Morley booked Test & Stacy vs. Chris Jericho & Christian for later in the show. Test promised Stacy that nothing would happen to her during the match…

Highlights aired of Goldust’s “electrocution”…

Jim Ross’s sit-down interview with Goldust aired. As Goldust talked, he twitched and shouted uncontrollably. Amazingly enough, Goldust was somehow able to fight off his medical condition long enough to deliver his catch-phrase. What a trooper…

[Commercial break]

(2) Kane (w/Rob Van Dam) beat Lance Storm (w/William Regal) at 2:23. Kane dominated the match and chokeslammed Storm twice for the win. The Canadian crowd wasn’t crazy about Storm losing, but they didn’t put up too much of a fuss. The announcers used the match to sell the ongoing tension between Kane and RVD…

Backstage, Randy Orton told Batista that what they did to Goldust wasn’t funny, but only because he was initially concerned that he threw his shoulder out. Orton said his shoulder is 99 percent, and he’s ready for tonight’s match against Booker & Scott Steiner…

[Commercial break]

(3) Booker T & Scott Steiner vs. Randy Orton & Batista (w/Ric Flair) concluded in the show’s second hour.

This concludes our first hour coverage of Raw. Check the “TV Reviews” section for our second hour coverage of the show.

5th Quarter Hour

(4) Shawn Michaels & Jeff Hardy beat Chris Jericho & Christian in a No DQ match. No luck, Christian came to the ring wearing that jobber-looking outfit. Michaels worked the match in street clothes, as he had explained earlier that the airport had lost his luggage. During the match, Ross mentioned that Jericho’s band Fozzy is holding a concert in Montreal prior to No Way Out. The heels handcuffed Michaels to a ringpost early in the match, leaving Jeff to take the punishment. The announcers did a nice job of reminding viewers of the No DQ stipulations. Later, with Jeff down in the ring, the heels went to ringside and attacked Michaels with his own belt. Jericho then teased Michaels with the handcuff key, which Michaels stole after a superkick. After ten long seconds, Michaels was finally able to unlock himself from the post, just in time for a hot tag from Hardy. Michaels entered the ring to a small pop (mostly from the screaming teenage girls). Later, Michaels superkicked a chair into Jericho’s face. Hardy followed up with a Swanton Bomb on Jericho for the win. The live crowd actually came back to life and cheered the babyface team after their win…

[Commercial break]

Backstage, Jericho threw a hissy fit as poor Christian watched on. It looks like WWE is setting up Jericho vs. Hardy for the PPV…

6th Quarter Hour

(5) The Hurricane beat Christopher Nowinski at 3:41. A solid back and forth match with an upset finish…

Backstage, Chief Morley, wearing a cowboy hat, impersonated Ross while leading Bischoff through a brief karate workout. Morley held a pair of karate pads that had Ross’s pictures on them while Bischoff worked on his kicks..

[Commercial break]

(6) Rosey & Jamal & Rico beat Spike Dudley in a handicap match at 3:29. No swerves, no hope spots, just a pure squash. Rico held Spike’s tights for no reason while scoring the pin…

(Commentary: The idea of the last match was to put heat on Bischoff for booking it, and Three Count for following through with a vicious attack. The problem is that fans have seen Spike squashed so many times that it’s just not effective anymore. This episode is quickly closing in on the old Nitro record for drawing the most yawns from me during a two-hour Monday night wrestling broadcast.)

7th Quarter Hour

[Commercial break]

The announcers hyped the pay-per-view while the dreadful theme song played in the background…

Backstage, Terri asked Scott Steiner if he’s going to win the World Hvt. Title on Sunday. “You’re damn right I’m going to win,” Steiner replied. Booker T walked onto the set to get Steiner focussed on their tag match. This interview was quite the departure for everyone involved. First, Terri debuted a more business-like look tonight. Second, Steiner actually talked instead of spouting his usual out-dated rap cliches. Third, Booker’s character is becoming more serious, which is a big improvement…

[Commercial break]

(Commentary: A couple of readers sent e-mails to remind me that Jericho vs. Test is already being advertised for the PPV, so unless there’s a switch, it looks like Jericho vs. Hardy will have to wait.)

Ring introductions took place for the tag match. Triple H came out with his thigh muscle taped and was slightly limping…

8th Quarter Hour

(7) Booker T & Scott Steiner beat Triple H & Batista (w/Ric Flair, Randy Orton) at 6:55. Ross used the opening minutes of the match to sell his own match, as well as offer his final hype for the No Way Out pay-per-view. Hunter worked a safe match. He did very little running, and took bumps on his back rather than putting pressure on his injured leg. Late in the match, Booker and Steiner fought off Flair and Orton’s interference. Booker scored the surprise pin over Hunter, so it’s looking more and more like he will face Hunter at WrestleMania…

After the match, an excited Lawler told Ross that it was time for his match…

[Commercial break]

Highlights aired from last week of Vince McMahon announcing the Austin vs. Bischoff match for No Way Out…

For the second straight week, Jonathan Coachman took over for Jim Ross on commentary. Nobody says boring quite like Coachman…

Eric Bischoff and Chief Morley made their main event entrance. Bischoff showed off his martial arts skills by breaking boards and a smashing watermelon. Immediately after Bischoff smashed the watermelon, Coachman remarked that he was getting more impressed with Bischoff after each demonstration…

9th Quarter Hour

Bischoff called for Morley to bring a cinder block into the ring for his next demonstration, but Ross’s entrance music cut him off. Bischoff took the mic and said that as the general manager, he has the power to make whatever match he wants. Bischoff made his match with Ross a no holds barred match…

(8) Eric Bischoff (w/Chief Morley) beat Jim Ross in a no holds barred match at 3:46. Bischoff struck a Karate Kid pose to open the match. Ross responded by slapping Bischoff to the mat. Morley ran in and attacked Ross from behind, leaving Ross open to Bischoff’s offense. Later, Bischoff had Morley place the cinder block over Ross’s head. Bischoff kicked the block (clearly a gimmick), breaking it over Ross’s head in the process.

Jerry Lawler left his ring announcing post and got the better of Morley with a series of punches. Lawler went after Bischoff, but was caught with a kick to the gut. Lawler doubled over briefly. Just as Lawler recovered, Morley jumped him from behind and tossed him to ringside. A bloody Ross used the ropes to climb to his feet. Ross stumbled toward Bischoff, who punched his chest. Bischoff covered Ross and scored the pin. After the match, Bischoff mocked Austin’s celebration routine by having a ringside attendant throw him cans of beer. Bischoff stood on the ropes while chugging the beer. Bischoff took the house mic and said, “And that’s the bottom line, because Eric Bischoff said so.”

(Commentary: Let’s hope Steve Austin showed up after the show went off the air again. If not, WWE may want to think twice about running in Columbus again this year.)


NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S 15 YEARS AGO FLASHBACK: 15 YRS AGO – Powell’s WWE Raw Report (2-10-03): Curt Hennig death announced, Bischoff opens show, plus Vince, Booker, RVD, Dudleyz, Batista, Hardy, Jericho

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