–A video package recaps the tensions building between the Rock and Paul Wight, whose nickname has been changed to “The Big Show” instead of the “The Big Nasty.” We are also reminded that the Undertaker is going after Vince McMahon.
–Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from San Jose, California.
–WWF Champion The Rock opens the show and he tells Steve Austin that he will prove his status as “The Great One” at WrestleMania. He demands that Vince McMahon come out and prove to him that the Big Show is not working with Austin. McMahon complies and says that “Dwayne” needs a reality check for being ungrateful for all that McMahon has given him. He says that three generations of his family have looked after the Rock’s ancestors and that Paul Wight is not as quick to understand the existing agreement. Wight comes out and demands to know what McMahon is talking about, threatening he and the Rock. McMahon does not kindly to that, leading Wight to manhandle him into a corner to get his point across. McMahon collects himself and books the Rock and Wight to team up to face Mankind and Steve Austin, thereby making this a preview of WrestleMania. The Rock and Wight shake hands to end the segment at McMahon’s behest.
–A construction crew shows up with some wooden planks before the commercial break. It is unclear why they are out there.
–We are shown our first vignette for Beaver Cleavage, with the camera just showing us a 1950s style home in black and white.
–The construction crew is still working in front of the main announce table. Jerry Lawler asks them what is going on and one of them says that they were just doing what they were told.
–Opening Intercontinental Championship Contest: The Road Dogg defeats Val Venis (Champion) with a DDT at 3:02:
This match stems from Sunday Night Heat where Venis pinned Road Dogg in a tag team match. The match tries to keep away from the hard cam as two guys in the front row simulate punching each other every time it is on them. This is a good back and forth match, with Road Dogg hitting a DDT out of nowhere to win the title. The crowd pops for the title change and Billy Gunn congratulates his tag team partner, but none of this makes much sense booking wise since Gunn was going after the belt and should probably be a little peeved his teammate won. Rating: **
–The Rock and Paul Wight argue over who is going to be more valuable to their team in a tag team match.
–The Road Dogg celebrates his title win with D-Generation X.
–Handicap Match: Shane McMahon (European Champion w/Vince McMahon) defeats The Legion of Stooge after hitting them both with the European title belt at 2:29:
Shane cuts a nice promo on X-Pac before the match where he says he is going to beat him “1-2-3 kid.” The Legion of Stooge (Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco) mimic the LOD’s mannerisms and come to the ring with their gear and music. Vince refers to them as “Hawk” and “Animal” on the broadcast team, so he must be using this to punish the LOD for their last run in the company. Shane’s punches are really weak, something he has never improved on, but he does hit a decent Bronco Buster. The referee has no problem with Shane hitting both stooges with the European title before counting the fall.
–As Vince and Shane walk to the back an image of their house is flashed upon the Titantron. The Undertaker says that he will be waiting when “she” comes home. The Ministry is shown invading the front lawn and looking through the windows as we go to commercial break. After the break, McMahon is on the phone with his security detail and is trying to figure out what they are doing and whether they see anyone on the front lawn.
–Steve Williams destroying Ed Ferrara and Tiger Ali Singh on Sunday Night Heat after they make fun of Jim Ross is the Crispy M&M Slam of the Week.
–Jim Ross and Steve Williams walk out and Ross uncovers the table that was built earlier in the show to reveal a new announce table that is christened “J.R. is RAW.” Ross asks Lawler whether he wants to come up and be part of the “A team” and proceeds to commentate on the live feed with Steve Williams serving as his bodyguard.
–The Public Enemy say that they will earn respect from the WWF in a pretaped promo.
–WWF Tag Team Championship Match: Jeff Jarrett & Owen Hart (w/Debra) defeat The Public Enemy when Owen pins Johnny Grunge after Jarrett hits Grunge with a guitar at 1:48:
I had forgotten that the Public Enemy even got a tag team title match during their brief run in the company. Lawler buries the Enemy on commentary, saying that they have wrestled for two other companies that were not very good and criticizing the fact that the Enemy got a tag team title match. The ending is bizarre, with the referee seeing Jarrett hit Johnny Grunge with a guitar and counting the fall anyway. Supposedly, this is part of an angle where the Enemy are hated by everyone in the company. Looks like a typical WCW humiliation to me.
–Vince and Shane McMahon are shown calling the local police department about the Ministry being at his home. He insists that it is not a publicity stunt.
–Mankind attempting to give Vince the Mandible Claw and getting beaten down by Paul Wight and Vince is the Coast Guard Rescue of the Week.
–Shane offers to call the Mean Street Posse to deal with the Ministry after the police will not do anything for him. The phone rings and Shane gives it to Vince, saying it is the Undertaker. Vince hangs up and says that the Undertaker told him “It’s nearly ten o’clock. Do you know where your family is?” This upsets Vince greatly. After the commercial break, Vince huddles the Corporation around him for a strategy session regarding the next match.
–Mankind tells Mr. Socko that he is going to give him a bath in Paul Wight’s saliva.
–Hard Times Steel Cage Match: The Big Bossman wrestles Mideon to a no contest at 2:00:
One could argue that the reason the Ministry is attacking Vince’s home is because he did not book a well-defined card for tonight. If all of them had required bouts like Mideon then he could have kept them in the arena. Less than two minutes in, the entire Corporation (minus the Rock) comes out and beats up Mideon. Vince threatens to have Mideon destroyed if the Undertaker does not leave his home, but the Undertaker comes back on the Titantron and says to go ahead and beat Mideon up as it will not affect his plans.
–A video shows Sable giving Jerry Lawler a tour of the Playboy Mansion. Hugh Hefner makes an appearance to talk about his magic wishing well. Lawler is eventually tossed out of the Mansion for trying to swim with some of the models.
–Lawler welcomes out WWF Women’s Champion Sable, who says that people need to pay to see her in compromising positions again. Tori interrupts and says in a very dull, monotone voice that people can see her for free and she refuses to stay in Sable’s shadow. She challenges Sable to a match at WrestleMania, which Sable accepts. Tori takes her dress off before leaving.
–A police officer shows up at the McMahon residence and investigates, finding nothing.
–A vignette hypes the Mean Street Posse.
–Hardcore Championship Match: “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn beats Hardcore Holly (Champion) with a Fameasser on a chair at 6:57:
Cole and Ross spend this match sniping at each other and trying to come up with different adjectives to call the action. Billy gorilla presses Holly out of the ring and onto part of Ross’s announce table, which appears to be a botch because Holly nearly clipped the table instead of going through it, and that knocks the table out of commission. Also, this incapacitates Holly and Billy goes on to win Hardcore title to completely invert the New Age Outlaws title paths for good (and for no good reason). Weird booking aside this was a fun brawl and the commentary was entertaining. Rating: ***
–Vince tells the police on the phone that they need to check his house again. The Undertaker gives a voiceover that says that they are hiding where the police cannot find them and that he may “torture her” when he gets home or may be the father figure she has never had. The Undertaker’s symbol is shown burning on his front lawn.
–Cole tells us that Chyna has a partially burned retina in her right eye due to taking a fireball from Kane last week. He also tells us that Triple H-Kane has been booked for WrestleMania.
–Triple H comes out and challenges Kane. Kane answers and both men brawl around the ring. Vince runs out and tells Kane that he needs his help. However, Kane unmasks to reveal the Undertaker and the lights suddenly go out. When they return, the Undertaker is gone and McMahon is standing in the ring, with an Undertaker voiceover telling McMahon that he can be anywhere. After the commercial break, he rebuffs Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco’s argument that everything will be alright.
–“Stone Cold” Steve Austin & Mankind wrestle The Rock & Paul Wight to a no contest at 11:44:
This is one of those RAW tag matches where one partner – in this case Mankind – decides to attack the heels by himself before his partner comes out. This is also Wight’s first match on RAW. The announce team completely forgets that Austin and Mankind were once tag team champions, although I guess that depends on how you count Dude Love into the whole “Three Faces of Foley” equation. The segments of this match with the Rock are good, but Wight’s offense is not strong enough here to sustain some of the momentum when the heels are in control. A wild four way brawl ends the match as we get a “Sorry fans, but we’re out of time!” WCW-style finish, and Cole brings up how Wight’s brawl with Mankind prevented him from protecting the Rock against Austin, who puts the Rock through a table as the show ends. Rating: ***¼
The Final Report: I was really surprised that the heels were not put over in the main event, especially considering the fact that the Rock has yet to really “one up” Steve Austin in their feud thus far. Another booking issue is the fact that the New Age Outlaws are now wearing the wrong singles belts that they have been chasing for the better part of three months, but that is just a classic Russo swerve that only made sense to him. Nevertheless, there was some good action on this show, especially the last two matches, and they advanced the McMahon-Ministry angle, although I continue to be amazed at how stupid it is in retrospect (even more so if you remember the blowoff).
Monday Night Raw Rating: 5.8 (vs. 4.3 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation: Thumbs Up