Invasion Rewind: Monday Night Raw (April 2, 2001)

Jack Goodwillie walks us through the night after WrestleMania 17.

In 2001, the World Wrestling Federation purchased their competition, World Championship Wrestling, and officially became a wrestling monopoly. In doing so, it spawned one of the most interesting eras in wrestling history, as for the first time ever, all of the top-shelf talent in the profession were under one roof. The WWF had a real opportunity to take advantage of their talent surplus and create a great television product.

Did the WWF make the most of this opportunity? Not necessarily. Did they need to make the most of this opportunity? Not necessarily. But it was a landmark period of wrestling history and it is one that should absolutely be looked at by anybody remotely interested in the concept of pro wrestling.

Beginning with this week, I will be reviewing major WWF/WWE Raws, Smackdowns, and Pay-Per-Views from that. This will allow us to do a few different things, but most importantly, create a dialogue for how the wrestling landscape has changed over the last decade and a half. Hindsight may be 20-20, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn anything from the way things were.

So without further ado, I give you my review, with time cues of the April 2, 2001 edition of Monday Night Raw. Feel free to follow along on the WWE Network for a more authentic experience!


Intro And Opening Promo

The Radicalz vs. Test and the A.P.A

Stephanie Whips Regal's Desk, HHH Looks Cool, Richards Talks To Himself

Whipping Match: Stephanie McMahon vs Trish Stratus

Rhyno vs. Crash Holly

Debra Talks Austin's 'Mania Win, Vince 'Gives' Austin His Crown

WWF Hardcore Championship: Kane vs. Val Venis

HHH Hunts For Vince

Handicap Match: Kurt Angle And William Regal vs Chris Jericho

“The One” Billy Gunn vs X-Pac

Shane Speaks, Rock Chimes In On Stone Cold

WWF Championship: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs The Rock

Overall opinion: I thought it was an overall good show coming off Wrestlemania 17. It was not a great show, but it served the purpose and the booking made sense. It’s important to remember this was before the time that it became cool to chant wacky things on the Raw after Wrestlemania. However, there was not a ton of storytelling, and the only storylines that really saw any kind of development were McMahon-centric. No appearance from Edge and Christian after they won the tag belts is also a concern, but I have to say, I think the lack of storylines had to do with the timing of the way everything happened in 2001. Even before WCW folder, an exodus into the WWF began to take form, so what the company had was a lot of talented guys without any immediate direction. They could go out and have good matches and fight over tertiary titles, but I want to believe the thinking was that everybody was kind of being made idle so that when the Invasion angle took form, nobody would be tied down to other stories. Still, this particular Raw was not bad in the slightest, and I would definitely recommend it if for no other reason but the main event.

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