What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – September 5, 1998

by Logan Scisco

Since USA Network
was broadcasting the U.S. Open in primetime, Monday Night Raw got bounced out
of its usual slot for the next two weeks. 
USA compensated by giving RAW two late Saturday night slots that ran
from 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. EST, so our next two shows will be those
broadcasts.  Ross and Lawler make sure to
issue sarcastic statements about the “riveting” tennis action that is currently
keeping the WWF off of Monday nights throughout the show.
Some narrated
pictures of last night’s SummerSlam main event are shown.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are taped from New Haven,
Connecticut.

Vince McMahon
walks out and announces at the next pay-per-view, Breakdown, that his plan to take
the WWF title off of Steve Austin will be realized.  He says the Undertaker is a damned fool for
refusing his brother’s help at SummerSlam and makes fun of Steve Austin’s
appearance on Regis and Kathy Lee. 
McMahon calls the Undertaker and Kane two “putrid pussies” and that
leads the Undertaker and Kane to storm the ring, so McMahon has to flee through
the crowd.  The best part of this
segment?  No entrance music for the
Undertaker and Kane before they run out. 
However, it was a rather dull promo from someone of McMahon’s
caliber.  0 for 1
Opening
Contest:  Ken Shamrock & Steve
Blackman fight The Disciples of Apocalypse (w/Paul Ellering) to a no contest
when the Undertaker & Kane interfere at 1:28:
Evidently, Shamrock and Blackman have made up after last
week’s altercation.  The DOA are really
stale at the moment and desperately need some more direction aside from “we
have Paul Ellering as a manager and hate the LOD.”  This match never gets going as Kane and the
Undertaker come out and destroy Blackman’s knee.
Val Venis is shown
having relations with a young woman in a bathroom stall.
Ross and Lawler
recount the beating Mankind received during and after his tag team title match
against the New Age Outlaws at SummerSlam. 
Ross says that Mankind has not been seen since.
Val Venis
wrestles Vader to a no contest at 3:32:
During the match, Dustin Runnels carries a sign through
the crowd urging people to repent.  Vader
dominates Venis with power moves, but the match is interrupted by Bradshaw, who
has a dispute with Vader stemming from an attempted tag team partnership on
Shotgun Saturday Night.  This match, like
our opening bout, is interrupted by the Undertaker and Kane and they proceed to
destroy Venis and Vader.  You would think
Vader would have enough sense at this point to avoid the Undertaker and
Kane.  Rating:  ½* (0 for 2)
Michael Cole
interviews the Rock and Mark Henry, who are facing the New Age Outlaws for the
WWF tag team titles.  The Rock promises
to lay the smackdown on both of the Outlaws.
Cole interviews
WWF Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws, who push Cole aside and cut a
ranting promo.  They let Billy Gunn
handle most of the promo work here and that’s just not a good idea.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  The Rock & Mark
Henry defeat The New Age Outlaws (Champions) via disqualification when Chyna
interferes at 7:01:
Conventional TV tag here, with the Road Dogg being placed
in peril, but avoiding a Henry splash to give the hot tag to Billy Gunn.  When all hell breaks loose, Chyna runs in and
tackles Henry to get revenge for last week and that brings this contest to an
end.  Rating:  **¼ (1 for 3)
Tiger Ali Singh
and Baby come out.  Babu is eating
sardines, which Singh says he has been doing for four days.  Babu picks a woman out of the crowd, who is
not wearing a bra, and she gets $600 for French kissing Babu for five
seconds.  After the woman finishes her
task, the Undertaker and Kane interrupt and chokeslam Singh and Babu.  Is Singh ever going to get in the ring?  1 for
4
Southern Justice
beat The Headbangers when Dennis Knight pins Mosh after the Problem Solver
(a.k.a. The Slop Drop) at 4:42:
The WWF is trying really hard to make the fans forget
that Southern Justice used to be the Godwinns, but it just isn’t working.  This is the Headbangers first RAW match in
quite a while.  The Headbangers don’t get
in much aside from some token offense, as Southern Justice beats them down and
then uses a distraction finish to pick up the win.  These two teams just do not gel at all.  Rating:  ½* (1 for 5)
The Undertaker and
Kane arrive outside of Mr. McMahon’s door and cannot get in.  Kane takes a sledgehammer to the door and
breaks it down, but McMahon is not there.
European
Championship Match:  X-Pac defeats D-Lo
Brown (Champion) via disqualification when Jeff Jarrett interferes at 3:15:
Lawler is pretty funny on commentary talking about how
D-Lo’s chest protector constricts his movements and how he has to overcome a
great deal in the ring by using it.  This
match has an accelerated pace, which usually foreshadows interference, and sure
enough, Jeff Jarrett does a run-in before X-Pac can get a three-count after an
X-Factor.  How many interference finishes
can we have tonight?  Rating: 
* (1 for 6)
After the bell,
Jarrett and X-Pac brawl through the crowd and the Undertaker and Kane hit the
ring to go after D-Lo.  The Rock runs to
the ring to defend his friend and hilariously tells off the Undertaker and
Kane, but ends up getting beaten down. 
D-Lo doesn’t stick around and runs away.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your Steve Austin Bad to the Bone t-shirt for $25 (plus $6 shipping
& handling)!
Edge slamming
Sable on top of Marc Mero to end the mixed tag team match at SummerSlam is the
JVC Kaboom! of the Week.
Edge defeats
“Marvelous” Marc Mero (w/Jacqueline) via disqualification when Gangrel
interferes at 1:38:
Some idiot fan thinks they are at an ECW show and tries
to give Edge their chair as he heads to the ring.  We can ANOTHER screwy finish as Gangrel
attacks Edge after he planchas onto Mero on the floor.  Both men brawl in the ring as Kane and the
Undertaker attack Mero by the entrance.
The first part of
Jim Ross’s interview with Al Snow is shown. 
It recaps his rise in ECW and Snow says that the voices that he hears
are like the voice of God that he has opened his mind to hear.  The reasoning given for Snow talking to Head
is that bad gimmicks drove him insane. 
Good interview in flushing out Snow’s character and his
motivations.  2 for 7
Kane and the
Undertaker are shown walking around backstage and in a nice piece of
logical storytelling, it is deserted since no one else wants to become a victim.
The Insane Clown
Posse comes out with the Oddities and perform the Oddities theme music.  Hawk, who is supposed to be with Animal and
Droz, comes out and in a drugged up state dances with them in his LOD 2000
helmet.  I feel bad for laughing at this,
but can’t help it.
The Oddities
(w/The Insane Clown Posse & Luna Vachon) beat LOD 2000 & Darren Drozdov
when Giant Silva pins Hawk after a powerbomb at 1:33:
When Violent J won’t dance with Hawk, he attacks him
before joining his partners on the apron. 
Hawk tags himself in, but he is in no shape to compete and gets pinned
after all hell breaks loose.  The match
was not very good, but this continued the troubled Hawk storyline.
The Undertaker and
Kane beat up a kid who is working on production in the locker room.
Too Much defeat
Miguel Perez & Jesus when Scott Taylor pins Miguel after Brian Christopher
hits Miguel with a Tennessee Jam at 5:07
Los Boricuas is still a thing at this point?  If you weren’t watching Shotgun Saturday
Night, these guys were as good as gone from the company.  Ross is so bored by this show he starts
ranting about misinformation about wrestling on the Internet.  If anyone had a reason to care about these
teams, this match would come off better. 
Rating:  *¾ (3 for 8)
Get a big poster
of Triple H when you buy Stridex pads!
“Double J” Jeff
Jarrett beats Scorpio via disqualification when X-Pac interferes at 4:55:
Jarrett debuts his new ring look here, no longer wearing
the long pants and top that he was synonymous with.  That new look is all he has, though, as I am
just not feeling this feud he has going with X-Pac.  Scorpio makes this interesting with some
rollups, but he misses a moonsault.  When
Jarrett goes to finish, X-Pac runs in and we get yet another disqualification
finish for a match tonight.  They
couldn’t even give Jarrett a victory to bolster his new character?  Rating:  *½ (3 for 9)
After the bell,
Kane and the Undertaker hit the ring and destroy Scorpio with a spike
Tombstone.  McMahon watches the display
with joy by the entrance, but runs when the Undertaker and Kane see him.
The Final Report Card:  Was this Shotgun Saturday Night or Monday
Night Raw?  I don’t mind that they
decided to showcase some different talents on this show, which was not going to
draw a great rating anyway, but did we have to get so many no contests and
interference finishes?  The Undertaker
and Kane destroying everything in their path made sense, but really ruined the
show by the second hour because you thought they would be coming out and
interfering in every match.  If anyone
EVER tries to tell you that Steve Austin was not important in 1998 WWF, just
let them watch this show.  It’s Exhibit A
for why he made the company so awesome during this time.  Without question, this is the worst RAW of
the year up to this point.

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – August 24, 1998

by Logan Scisco
The Undertaker and
Kane are shown walking out of a backstage locker room and down a dark hallway.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania.  We are six days from
SummerSlam.  The Hell in a Cell is
hanging above the ring.

The Undertaker and
Kane walk to the ring together, with the crowd showering the pair with loud
boos.  Vince McMahon arrives after their
entrance and gloats about being right all along.  McMahon tells the Undertaker that with Kane
at his side he will be the next WWF champion, but reminds the Undertaker that
he will need him in the future.  McMahon
demands an answer by the end of the night from the Undertaker about whether he
is considered a friend or a foe.  Paul
Bearer waddles down to the ring and pleads with Kane to turn on the
Undertaker.  The Undertaker responds by
beating down Bearer as Kane stands idly by. 
Mankind runs out and offers himself as a sacrifice and the Undertaker
and Kane beat him down, finishing him off with a spike Tombstone.  Steve Austin walks out to a monstrous
ovation, but is stopped from coming to the ring by a wall of fire.  Austin recognizes that he does not have a
good chance to beat Kane and the Undertaker together, but vows to take someone
out tonight to prevent them both from making it to SummerSlam.  This was one of the better opening segments
of the year as it vindicated McMahon’s theory, put over Kane and the Undertaker
as a destructive force, and set up Austin’s urgency to alter the odds in his
favor before SummerSlam.  1 for 1
Get a big poster
of Triple H when you buy Stridex pads!
Mankind is shown
being put into an ambulance backstage. 
He is clutching his neck from the results of the spike Tombstone he
experienced in the opening segment.
-Opening
Contest:  Ken Shamrock beats Dan Severn
via disqualification when Owen Hart interferes at 2:51:
This is billed as “Shamrock-Severn III,” with the first
two taking place in the UFC.  The fact
that the WWF is giving away this bout on free TV is an indication of how they
no longer see much money potential in a match between these two.  Severn dominates Shamrock until Owen Hart
does a run-in and places Shamrock in a dragon sleeper.  Steve Blackman eventually makes the save, but
when he tries to restrain Shamrock, he eats a belly-to-belly suplex.  Blackman quickly recovers and gives Shamrock
a taste of his own medicine, though, and gets one of the bigger pops of his
career.  Severn’s style just does not fit
in a WWF ring and his Irish whips are some of the weakest I have ever seen.
Medical personnel
are shown knocked out backstage and Mankind is shown wheeling a stretcher
toward the ring.  I think Russo got this
idea from Silence of the Lambs
After the break, Mankind hilariously surfs the stretcher down the ramp
and tosses a bag of thumbtacks into the ring. 
Mankind vows to get revenge on Kane tonight, as Vince McMahon has booked
them to face off in the Hell in a Cell. 
He vows to go the top of the Cell and toss Kane through it or off of
it.  He also promises to make Kane the
world’s largest pin cushion.  2 for 2
Highlights of the
Undertaker-Mankind Hell in a Cell match at the King of the Ring are shown.
Kurrgan (w/Sable)
beats “Marvelous” Marc Mero via disqualification when Mero uses a low blow at
1:44:
Mero has been leaking heat since Over the Edge and this
quasi-feud with the Oddities is not doing anything for him.  Kurrgan’s attire is more befitting a role in Pirates of the Caribbean than a
wrestling match.  As Kurrgan beats up
Mero in the ring, Jacqueline comes out from the crowd and assaults Sable.  The referee catches Mero cheating and after
the bell, Mero and Jacqueline escape through the crowd.  Okay, Mero has a big midcard match at
SummerSlam and they still couldn’t give him a token win here?!?
X-Pac guides the
camera crew to the locker room, where he urinates in Jeff Jarrett’s boots.
The New Age
Outlaws defeat Southern Justice when The Road Dogg pins Dennis Knight after a
Billy Gunn piledriver at 3:15:
Before the match, an inebriated Hawk joins the commentary
team.  Shortly after the bell rings, Jeff
Jarrett comes down, rips off Hawk’s headset, and rants about X-Pac’s
prank.  The actions with Hawk and Jarrett
prevent a lot of focus going to the match, which is just an abbreviated tag
team encounter.  After the bell, Jarrett
and Southern Justice shave the head of a camera man that did not follow
Jarrett’s instructions to film him from the waist up since he did not have his
wrestling boots on.  Rating:  ½* (2 for 3)
Hell in a Cell
Match:  Kane (w/The Undertaker) defeats
Mankind via disqualification when Steve Austin interferes at 7:30:
In another twist on the “tag team partners that hate each
other” Russo staple, we have tag team champions fighting in the Cell.  Referees prevent Mankind from climbing to the
top of the Cell, so he takes them out, but then he can’t toss a chair to the
top of the structure.  After that,
Mankind tries to climb again, but the Undertaker pulls him off during his climb
and Mankind goes through the Spanish announce table.  When the bout finally gets in the ring,
Mankind rallies to make a fight of this, but Kane cannot be stopped and gives
his partner a Tombstone on a chair before Steve Austin comes from underneath
the ring and annihilates him with a chair. 
I know that I have said this before, but it is unreal how many sick
bumps Mankind took in the summer of 1998. 
This was a great brawl, even though elements of it came off like a
parody of the King of the Ring match.  Rating: 
***¼ (3 for 4)
After the bell,
the Undertaker tries to get in the Cell to help his brother, but when he climbs
to the top of the Cell and tries to break in, Vince McMahon raises the Cell to
“protect his investment” for SummerSlam. 
The crowd loves all of this, just as they did for Bray Wyatt-Daniel
Bryan earlier this year.
Following the
commercial break, the Undertaker accuses Steve Austin of being a coward.  As the Undertaker speaks, Kane is shown
bleeding through his mask.  The
Undertaker promises to extract revenge on Austin before the end of the show.
Chyna comes out to
confront the Rock and the Rock arrives with the Nation in tow.  The Rock shows Chyna on the Titantron that
D-Generation X has been barricaded in their locker room and proceeds to gloat
about how he is going to beat Triple H at SummerSlam.  The Rock accuses Chyna of having the hots for
him and says she “needs to get some.” 
When Chyna tries to attack him, the Nation restrains her on her knees
and the Rock teases forcibly kissing her before refusing.  He tells Mark Henry to do the deed, but
before Henry can make that happen, Shawn Michaels makes a surprise run in and
smashes Henry with a chair.  This was a
well arranged, albeit uncomfortable segment and it is highly doubtful you will
see something like this on TV again. 
That said, it really made you really hate the Rock and the surprise run
in was icing on the cake.  4 for 5
Shawn Michaels
stays to do guest commentary for the rest of the show.
Val Venis
wrestles Taka Michinoku (w/Yamaguchi-San & Mrs. Yamaguchi-San) to a no
contest when Triple H runs in at 1:01:
This match is designed for Venis to get some of his heat
back from losing to Michinoku in last week’s gauntlet match.  Both men wrestle at about 100 mph and Venis quickly
hits the Money Shot, but an angry Triple H beats both men with a chair.  Triple H vows to make the Rock “his bitch” at
SummerSlam.  The crowd pops big for that.
The complete
“Highway to Hell” music video hyping Steve Austin-The Undertaker at SummerSlam
is shown.
X-Pac beats
Gangrel via disqualification when Jeff Jarrett interferes at 1:34:
This is a good match while it lasts, with Gangrel using
some quick power moves to counter X-Pac’s aerial offense.  X-Pac hits the Bronco Buster in the corner,
but Jarrett runs in and smashes X-Pac over the head with a guitar.
After the match,
Edge runs in and attacks Gangrel to set up a small feud between both men.
The Undertaker is
shown wheeling a casket to the ring.
Bart Gunn’s
knockouts are the Stridex Triple Action segment.
Brawl for All
Championship:  Bart Gunn defeats Bradshaw
via knockout at 41 seconds of the first round:
Bradshaw hasn’t been much of a puncher all tournament and
it finally catches up to him here, as Bart keeps him at a sufficient distance
to prevent a takedown and then catches him with a right hook for the win.  I scream rigged for this bout because on the
first knockdown, Gunn clearly whiffed. 
Shawn Michaels says Bart is going to use this $75,000 victory to reach
new heights in the company, but sadly that was not to be.  5 for
6
Michael Cole
interviews Vince McMahon, who says that he will get his answer from the
Undertaker by the end of the show tonight. 
He threatens to throw Cole around like the rest of the locker room
unless he quickly gets out of his office.
Druids wheel a
casket to ringside and the Undertaker proceeds to walk out and cut a generic
promo about wanting to take the WWF title at SummerSlam.  He calls out Steve Austin, but Vince McMahon
comes out instead and demands an answer to his question.  The Undertaker smiles, so McMahon extends a
hand in friendship, but just ends up getting chokeslammed.  After that, Austin comes out of the casket
and gets ready to throw down with the Undertaker, but the casket opens a second
time to reveal Kane, who attacks Austin from behind.  Austin eventually gets out of the situation
and backs away with a chair.  As Austin
backs up toward the entrance, a line of fire, symbolizing the Highway to Hell, is
created in a great visual to end the show. 
6 for 7
The Final Report Card:  This is one of the better “go home” RAWs that
the WWF has put together in quite a while. 
The intrigue surrounding the main event is at an all-time high and the
Rock-Triple H ladder match has a ton of heat on it as a result of this
show.  Regardless of what the rating
said, this was one of the most entertaining episodes of RAW for 1998.
This is our announced SummerSlam card:
*WWF Championship Match:  Steve Austin (Champion) vs. The Undertaker
*Ladder Match for the Intercontinental
Championship:  The Rock (Champion) vs.
Triple H
*Lion’s Den Match:  Ken Shamrock vs. Owen Hart
*Mixed Tag Team Match:  Sable & Mystery Partner vs. Marc Mero
& Jacqueline
*Hair vs. Hair Match:  X-Pac vs. Jeff Jarrett
Monday Night War Rating:  4.7 (vs. 5.2 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – August 17, 1998

by Logan Scisco

Steve Austin unsuccessful in getting into Vince McMahon’s office in the locker
room area.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are taped from Des Moines,
Iowa.

A hearse backs up
into the arena to the “Highway to Hell” song, but Steve Austin comes out the
driver’s side door, pulls out a casket, and then opens the casket to grab a
beer.  Austin walks to the ring and calls
Vince McMahon out.  After some delay,
McMahon arrives with his stooges.  Austin
pledges to beat the Undertaker in the ring tonight and stuff him in the hearse
he brought to the arena.  He warns
McMahon to get out of his way because otherwise, he is going to end up in the
hearse himself.  A simple segment that
gave some motivation for Austin’s actions later in the show.  1 for
1
Get a big poster
of Triple H when you buy Stridex pads!
Opening Triple
Threat Contest:  Dan Severn defeats Ken
Shamrock and Owen Hart when he makes Shamrock submit to a dragon sleeper at 4:43:
This was the first time that Shamrock and Severn opposed
each other in a WWF ring, but they do not mix it up, as Severn just watches
Shamrock fight Owen during the match. 
After three and a half minutes, Severn finally gets involved by breaking
up a Shamrock pin attempt and then putting him in a dragon sleeper to break up
the ankle lock.  It’s about time someone
used that strategy in a triple threat match. 
Rating:  **½ (2 for 2)
After
the bell, Severn refuses to release the hold until Steve Blackman comes out and
Severn proceeds to put Blackman in a dragon sleeper.  As Severn leaves the ring, he gives Owen a
high five, thereby turning heel.  When
Shamrock comes to, he gets in Commissioner Slaughter’s face about what just
took place.
Brawl for All Semi-Finals:  Bart Gunn defeats The Godfather (w/Hos) via
knockout at 20 seconds of the third round:
“Bill Clinton” calls into the show and makes some Monica
Lewinsky jokes.  The Godfather refuses to
let Bart Gunn choose the ho option since Bart attacked him on last week’s
show.  The Godfather lands a few hard
jabs, but Bart lands some hard shots at the end of the second round and
proceeds to knock him out with a right hand in the third.  Bart gloats to Ross about his victory after
the bout.  3 for 3
Ken Shamrock and
Steve Blackman are shown tossing things around the locker room as they search
for Owen Hart and Dan Severn.
Michael Cole says
that Owen Hart’s special trainer for the Lion’s Den match at SummerSlam will be
Dan Severn.
Gangrel beats
“Too Sexy” Brian Christopher (w/Scott Taylor) with an Implant DDT at 1:03:
This was Gangrel’s RAW debut.  It’s a shame that the character never went
anywhere because it had one of the best entrances in wrestling history.  Edge takes an interest in Gangrel’s entrance,
raising his sunglasses to get a better view from the crowd.  Gangrel makes short work of Christopher in
what is a somewhat sloppy squash.
Ken Shamrock tells
Cole that he is going to break every bone in Owen Hart’s body at
SummerSlam.  Cole runs away as Shamrock
and Steve Blackman continue to break things. 
Blackman breaks things in the most unemotional way possible, which
cracks me up.
D-Generation X and
the Nation of Domination, who are scheduled to face off in a street fight later
tonight, are shown brawling backstage as WWF officials desperately try to break
things up.
The Disciples of
Apocalypse (w/Paul Ellering) beat Scorpio & Faarooq when Skull pins Scorpio
with a small package after an illegal switch at 4:31:
“President Clinton” calls back in and gloats about the
state of the economy.  Scorpio and
Faarooq were undefeated up to this point, but the greatness that is DOA must be
continued at all costs and they lose here. 
In fairness, the loss happens in cheap fashion, as the DX-Nation brawl descends
on the ringside area and distracts the referee, who misses Scorpio pinning
8-Ball after a 450.  Scorpio made this
match better than one might expect, but the wrong team went over.  Rating:  **¼ (3 for 4)
Call 815-734-1161
to get your Steve Austin Bad to the Bone t-shirt for $25 (plus $6 shipping
& handling)!
Street
Fight:  The Nation of Domination wrestle
D-Generation X to a no contest at 6:24:
For this match, the combatants are allowed to bring
whatever weapons they like to the ring, but no one is ingenious enough to
bring the kitchen sink.  This is actually
four-on-three, since the Godfather getting knocked out earlier in the show
precluded him from participating. 
There’s tons of head trauma in this from the weapons shots, and it is
somewhat unsettling to hear Jim Ross casually remark on the possibility of
concussions.  Near the end of the bout,
Jeff Jarrett and Southern Justice attack X-Pac and Jarrett cuts off some of
X-Pac’s hair.  Jarrett and Southern
Justice allow the Nation to isolate Triple H, who beat him down with a ladder,
thereby planting the seeds for the type of match that will take place between
the Rock and Triple H at SummerSlam.  In
a puzzling development, the Nation choose to just walk out after this beatdown
instead of pinning Triple H, so that gives us a no contest.  Then again, the carnage lets us know who the
real winners were.  This was a fun brawl
that advanced two storylines for SummerSlam 
Rating:  *** (4 for 5)
Tiger Ali Singh
gives $500 to a fan for licking between his servant Babu’s toes.  You see, Babu has been working out all day
and is nasty.  The less said about this
segment the better.  4 for 6
Sable interfering
in the Luna Vachon-Jacqueline match on last week’s show is the Stridex Triple
Action segment.
Arm Wrestling
Match:  Sable beats Jacqueline by
disqualification:
This stemmed from a challenge that Jacqueline issued on
Sunday Night Heat.  There are few gimmick
matches in wrestling that I hate more than arm wrestling contests.  This is no exception as Jacqueline pulls her
hand away when Sable is going to win and turns the table over on her.  Jacqueline then breaks the bikini contest
trophy over Sable’s back before the Oddities make the save.  So, we’ve had disqualifications in a bikini
contest AND an arm wrestling match between these two!  4 for
7
Cole interviews
Val Venis, who is facing Kaientai in a gauntlet match tonight.  Venis says he is conditioned to “run all
night long.”
Darren Drozdov
shows us his tattoos on the latest installment of “Droz’s World.”  I’m not sure what the purpose of these
segments happens to be since they aren’t giving Droz a sustained push at the
moment.
Brawl for All
Semi-Finals:  Bradshaw defeats Darren
Drozdov via decision:
Droz’s “tale of the tape” emphasizes his ability to puke
on command.  I wonder if that would be
against the rules of the Brawl for All. 
This is a good slugfest and Bradshaw blocks several of Droz’s takedown
attempts.  Bradshaw lands more punches
and advances to the finals next week against Bart Gunn.  5 for
8
The announcers
tell us that Al Snow is back in the WWF. 
No reason is given as to why that King of the Ring stipulation was not
upheld, but there you have it.  Al Snow
talks with Head at a bar and mocks how he is returning to the WWF to be part of
the “JOB Squad.”
Dustin Runnels
reminds us that our bodies are a temple.
Sable comes out
and demands Jacqueline to come out and fight. 
Jacqueline and Marc Mero appear on the Titantron and Jacqueline responds
by challenging Sable to a mixed tag match at SummerSlam.  Before Sable can issue a response, the
Oddities burst into Mero and Jacqueline’s locker room and attack them.  Won’t heels ever learn that allowing your
opponent to choose a mystery partner never turns out well?
Cole reminds us of
Steve Austin’s promise earlier in the show.
Gauntlet
Match:  Kaientai (w/Yamaguchi-San) beats
Val Venis when Taka Michinoku pins Venis after a Michinoku Driver at 7:55:
Order of
Elimination:  Venis pins Men’s Teioh with
a fisherman’s suplex at 1:12; Venis pins Funaki with a powerslam at 1:26; Venis
pins Dick Togo with the Money Shot at 4:20
The stipulation for this match is that if Venis wins that
he gets five minutes with Yamaguchi-San. 
“President Clinton” calls in for the last time to make more jokes about
Ms. Lewinsky.  This has some good work
rate, especially the Togo and Michinoku portions, but the crowd does not care
because they have been conditioned to see Kaientai as a joke.  Venis runs through three of Kaintenai’s
members, but Michinoku beats him clean.  Rating: 
*** (6 for 9)
-After the bout,
Kaientai pound away on Venis and then Mrs. Yamaguchi-San comes out to slap
him.  However, Venis grabs a squirt gun
shaped like a penis and squirts it all over his adversaries, causing them to flee.  I could have done without all of that.
The Undertaker and
Steve Austin come out for their confrontation, but when the Undertaker throws
his hair back we find out that it is actually Kane.  Kane and Austin brawl back to the hearse,
where Austin tosses Kane into the back. 
However, when Austin goes to drive away, he cannot get in and the
Undertaker is shown in the driver’s seat. 
The Undertaker drives away as “Highway to Hell” is played over the
loudspeakers.  This was a great ending
for the show and I always mark out a little when I see that the Undertaker is
in the front seat.  7 for 10
The Final Report Card:  The rating of the show seemed to be hurt by
the lack of Austin segments, but I was okay with not having the main event
angle dominate the show.  We have had our
fair share of the Undertaker, Kane, Mankind, and Austin in recent months so it
was good to get a break from all of it. 
Despite the rating, this show had two good
Brawl for All matches and gave the audience an entertaining street fight and
gauntlet match.  You cannot ask for much
more than that during this era.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.2 (vs. 4.9 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – August 10, 1998

by Logan Scisco

Mankind is shown
smashing up the boiler room underneath the arena and ranting about something.
A video package
recaps Mankind getting hit over the head with a chair by the Undertaker on last
week’s show and how the Undertaker, dressed as Kane, attacked Mankind on Sunday
Night Heat.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Omaha, Nebraska.

Mankind walks out
and demands to hear the truth from Vince McMahon, who has always leveled with
him.  McMahon tentatively comes into the
ring and cuts a Gilded Age promo about how he loathes people who need his help.  McMahon tells Mankind that Kane and the
Undertaker are working together and do not care about him, which brings out
Kane and Paul Bearer.  Bearer accuses McMahon
of trying to poison his son’s mind, to which McMahon suddenly freaks out and
accuses the Undertaker of being underneath Kane’s mask.  McMahon goes to rip Kane’s mask off, but the
lights suddenly go out.  When they come
back on the Undertaker has McMahon by the throat, but Mankind sacrifices
himself for McMahon and Bearer also gets decked.  Today’s creative team needs to watch the way
that this story was developed because it had lots of interesting twists and
turns.  1 for 1
The Undertaker is
shown walking into Kane’s dressing room backstage.
Luna Vachon (w/Sable
& The Oddities) beats Jacqueline (w/Marc Mero) with a splash off the top
rope at 2:25:
Sable continues her on-screen connection to the Oddities
by introducing Luna for this match.  As
expected, Sable interferes by tripping Jacqueline when she climbs to the top
rope and that allows Luna to win.  After
the match, Sable gives Luna the bikini contest trophy that Jacqueline and Mero
have carried around the ring.  Ross puts
over how Sable is making the Oddities feel good about themselves.  What segment of the fan base were the
Oddities supposed to appeal to?
Michael Cole tells
us that Steve Austin is not happy because he has to worry about what the
Undertaker is doing and he isn’t happy about having to defend the tag team
titles in a four corners match tonight.
We get the first
showing of the Highway to Hell music video for SummerSlam.  I still get excited seeing this video sixteen
years later.
Brawl for All
Quarter-Finals:  Darren Drozdov beats
Savio Vega via decision:
Although Droz and Hawk fought to a draw in the first
round, Droz advanced because Hawk was in no condition for a rematch.  Droz takes down Savio a few times and nearly
knocks Savio out at the end of the third round. 
He advances to the semi-finals in a dull contest.  1 for
2
Triple H and Chyna
are shown arriving at the arena, but X-Pac isn’t with them.  Is D-Generation X falling apart?
Call 815-734-1161
to get your Steve Austin Bad to the Bone t-shirt for $25 (plus $6 shipping
& handling)!
Cole interviews
Chyna, who tells him to suck it and pushes him into a car.  That sounds a little more dirty than I meant
it.
Ross and Lawler
discuss how Jeff Jarrett and Southern Justice beat up Tennessee Lee on Sunday
Night Heat, thereby ending Lee’s brief WWF stint.
LOD 2000 are
scheduled to face Southern Justice, but Hawk’s substance abuse problems rear
their ugly head again as Hawk is startled by the fireworks during the LOD’s
entrance and falls off the ramp.  WWF
officials refuse to let Hawk compete, so Southern Justice beat up Animal before
Droz makes the save.  However, Jeff
Jarrett hits the ring, blasts Droz with a guitar, and shaves part of his head.  At least this is giving Jarrett an edge to
his character.  2 for 3
X-Pac is shown
arriving at the arena alone.
Get a big poster
of Triple H when you buy Stridex pads!
The members of
D-Generation X come out to the ring individually.  X-Pac cuts off Triple H’s opening promo by
saying that he’s tired of him “and his bitch.” 
DX members take turns calling each other jack offs and realize that they
have things in common.  Chyna interrupts
them trying to moon the crowd, which they call “the DX split,” before doing it
herself.  You see, we’ve all been fooled
by DX wanting to split up!  Triple H
tries to get another female fan to take her top off, but she refuses.  2 for
4
Cole interviews
Steve Austin in the locker room, but ends getting tossed into the shower.  Be a star, Steve!
Bart Gunn comes by
the announce table and tells Ross that he is tired of getting disrespected for
beating Steve Williams in the Brawl for All.
Our next match is
supposed to be The Godfather-Vader, but Vader chooses to take the Godfather’s
hos rather than fight.  After leaving the
ring, Vader tells Bart Gunn that he had better knock the Godfather out next
week, to which Gunn knocks Vader out with a left hand and attacks the
Godfather.  So whenever Vader “wins” he
really loses!  2 for 5
Val Venis and John
Wayne Bobbitt are shown arriving to the arena in a limo.
Dustin Runnels
tells us that the next segment contains explicit content.  He urges viewers to watch quality, wholesome
programming instead, such as a special about reptiles on the Discovery
Channel.  For those not familiar with
this era, Runnels character was a jab at evangelical Christian forces that were
criticizing the content of WWF programming during this period.
Val Venis is
wheeled to the ring by John Wayne Bobbitt and Mrs. Yamaguchi-San.  For those unfamiliar with 1990s popular
culture, Bobbitt became famous for his wife severing his penis while he slept
in 1993.  Lawler interviews Venis, who
has an ice bag on his groin, and Venis says he is now half the man he used to
be.  However, he’s just fooling us as he
rips off his clothes to reveal his ring attire. 
He says the cold cutting board he was on, some timely “shrinkage,” and
Bobbitt turning off the light as Yamaguchi-San came down with his sword helped
him avoid problems.  Amazing how all of
those things came together at once!  Sort
of like Washington fleeing Brooklyn Heights with the Continental Army during
the American Revolution!  Lawler makes
some puns about the situation and Venis ends the segment by kicking Mrs.
Yamaguchi-San to the curb because she brought him too much trouble.  Venis tosses her a double AA battery as she
leaves.  This was ridiculous on so many
levels.  2 for 6
Edge is shown
hanging out in the crowd.
Brawl for All
Quarter-Finals:  Bradshaw beats
“Marvelous” Marc Mero via decision:
In another case of a loser advancing, Mero made it into
the quarter-finals after Steve Blackman suffered a knee injury.  Mero is able to land a few good punches, but
he is still vulnerable to takedowns, which is how Bradshaw keeps the bout
even.  Bradshaw is clearly gassed by the
third round, but Mero cannot land a knockout. 
Another round is used as a tiebreaker when everything ends up tied after
regulation and for all intents and purposes, there should have been a fifth
round because the fourth followed the same pattern of Mero landing more punches
and Bradshaw landing a takedown.  But you
know, TV time constraints and all.  In
retrospect, the WWF should have banned takedowns from this competition because
guys going for takedowns all ruined a lot of bouts.  2 for
7
The Undertaker
tells Cole that he will do his explaining in the ring tonight.
The Undertaker’s
beatdown of Mankind on Sunday Night Heat is the Stridex Triple Action segment.
Four Corners
Match for the WWF Tag Team Championship: 
Kane & Mankind beat Steve Austin & The Undertaker (Champions),
The New Age Outlaws, and The Rock & D-Lo Brown to win the titles when Kane
pins the Undertaker with a chokeslam at 14:29:
Ross and Lawler make clear that partners cannot pin each
other, which is how the Outlaws defended the titles in a multi-team match a few
months prior to this.  This is the
so-called “Outlaws rule.”  Owen Hart is
supposed to be the Rock’s partner, but Ken Shamrock knocks him out of the match
with an ankle lock before the opening bell, so D-Lo Brown takes Owen’s
place.  In a funny bit, Mankind does not
want to stand next to Kane in his team’s corner, so he chooses to stand near
the Rock when he tags out o D-Lo.  The Rock
doesn’t take kindly to this and demands Mankind go back to his proper place.  It’s really amazing how organic the “Rocky
sucks” chants are too, as the crowd just starts chanting it at random intervals
of the match, even when the Rock isn’t in the ring.  Kane solemnly stands in the corner when all
hell breaks loose, where Mankind tags him, and Kane proceeds to give the
Undertaker one chokeslam to regain the titles for his team.  After the bell, the Undertaker rises to his
feet, not selling the damage Kane just inflicted upon him, and he stares at
Austin as we go off the air.  This had
some good storytelling and action, although things really slowed to a crawl
near the end.  Rating:  ***¼ (3 for 8)
Tune in next week
to see Ken Shamrock, Owen Hart, and Dan Severn collide in a triple threat
match!
The Final Report Card:  This RAW was Vince Russo’s dream scenario
when there are very few matches and segments constitute the entire show.  I have nothing against using lots of angles
to advance storylines, but this show took it too far.  This show ended RAWs four week winning
streak, which should have been evidence for Russo’s future employers that his
view of wrestling was not always a ratings winner.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.5 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – August 3, 1998

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are taped from San Diego,
California
.

The Nation of
Domination comes out for the opening segment, as the Rock and Owen Hart are
facing Steve Austin and the Undertaker for the tag team titles later
tonight.  The Rock urges Austin and the
Undertaker to come out and immediately defend the titles, but Commissioner
Slaughter walks out instead.  The Rock
gives him a smackdown on the mic and Austin and the Undertaker arrive.  Austin slides into the ring to fight the Rock
and Owen, but the Undertaker gets distracted by Kane near the entrance and does
not help his partner.  Mankind and the
Undertaker end up brawling near the entrance as Austin takes a beating before
recovering and forcing the Rock and Owen to flee.  1 for
1
Opening
Contest:  Golga (w/The Oddities &
Sable) beats “Marvelous” Marc Mero (w/Jacqueline) with a seated senton splash
at 3:11:
Mero and Jacqueline are sporting the trophy that
Jacqueline earned for winning the Fully Loaded bikini contest.  Sable unveils a “surprise” by accompanying
Golga to the ring.  Kurrgan and Giant
Silva walk out in tuxedos and Kurrgan sings the Miss America song before Luna
Vachon walks out.  This was the Oddities
face turn and the Jackyl, who had been managing them, is nowhere to be
found.  This follows the usual big
man-small man formula and when Jacqueline tries to interfere, Luna attacks
her.  Silva chokeslams Mero behind the
referee’s back and that sets up Golga’s win. 
This is prime for a Wrestlecrap induction.  Rating:  * (1 for 2)
Brawl for All
Quarter-Final Match:  The Godfather
defeats Scorpio via decision:
Now, readers of this column might say “Wait Logan, I
thought Dan Severn already beat the Godfather?” and if you asked that question
you would be right.  However, Severn
withdrew from the tournament because he said he had nothing to prove, so the
Godfather was put back in.  I hate that
and would have preferred Scorpio to be given a bye to the semi-finals.  Scorpio rejects the Godfather’s overture to
take the hos, which was a bad idea in retrospect because he cannot overcome the
Godfather’s size advantage and loses.  Disappointing
contest, as I expected Scorpio to try to use takedowns to win the bout.  1 for
3
Michael Cole
interviews the New Age Outlaws, who say that they are not intimidated by Kane
& Mankind, who they will face tonight.
Kane &
Mankind (w/Paul Bearer) beat The New Age Outlaws when Kane pins The Road Dogg
with a Tombstone at 5:19:
In a smart move, the Outlaws pull Mankind out of the ring
and beat him down while Kane is doing his routine of making fire come out of
the ring posts.  However,
Kane is the real strength of the team and the Outlaws cannot find a way to deal
with him.  When the Road
Dogg ends up alone with Kane, we get the predictable result of him eating a
Tombstone.  You will notice that in these
big Outlaws matches the Road Dogg always ends up eating the
pin.  This had its moments, but was
rushed and messy, especially near the end. 
Rating:  *½ (1 for 4)
Ross and Lawler
recap Hawk’s poor condition on last week’s show.  Hawk apologizes for his behavior last week
and asks for forgiveness.
Jeff Jarrett and
Tennessee Lee say that Jarrett is going to scare Hawk straight “Jeff Jarrett
style,” whatever that means.
Hawk pins “Double
J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee) with a neckbreaker at 2:31:
Hawk is not under the influence this week, so he is able
to perform his usual trademark moves and no sells.  Jarrett is recently having trouble with
Tennessee Lee, who keeps botching interference, and after Lee fails to get his
belt off in time for Jarrett to use it, Hawk catches the country music star off
guard to pick up a win.  After the bout,
Southern Justice attack the LOD because, you know, Godwinns-LOD set the world
on fire in 1997.
Vince McMahon
walks to the ring with his stooges.  He
predicts a tag team title change tonight and continues to advance his theory
that the Undertaker and Kane are working together.  He asks the Undertaker to come out and
explain himself based on last week’s show, where Kane attacked Austin as the
Undertaker looked on in the ring.  Austin
crashes the party before the Undertaker can say a word and says he only wants
to beat the Undertaker at SummerSlam.  As
Austin leaves, the Undertaker tells him that McMahon wants them to fight among
themselves and offers to give Austin one of the tag team title belts.  Austin accepts and the Undertaker makes it
clear that he is going to be watching Austin’s back to keep him safe for
SummerSlam.  This was a nice way to pay
off the Undertaker walking around with both tag team titles since Fully
Loaded.  2 for 5
The Rock tells the
commentary team that he could care less about Austin and the Undertaker’s
issues.
Highlights from
the Intercontinental title triple threat match on last week’s RAW constitute
the Stridex Triple Action segment.
#1 Contender’s
Match for the Intercontinental Championship: 
Triple H (w/Chyna) beats X-Pac with a Pedigree at 5:04:
Triple H is on Pacific Blue this week!  This is our usual solid Kliq matchup, with
Triple H targeting X-Pac’s neck in the early going and X-Pac making a rally at
the end.  Chyna, who should be impartial
in the match, trips X-Pac before he can do a Bronco Buster and that results in
Triple H taking advantage of the situation and getting an Intercontinental
title shot against the Rock at SummerSlam. 
After the match, X-Pac argues with Triple H, who feigns ignorance about
Chyna’s interference.  Rating: 
**¼ (3 for 6)
Val Venis &
Taka Michinoku wrestle Dick Togo & Funaki (w/Yamaguchi-San, Men’s Teoh
& Yamaguchi-San’s Wife) to a no-contest at 1:43:
Ross gives me a good laugh by saying that San Diego is
“Ryan Leaf country.”  I bet you cannot
find a single person in San Diego today that would refer to Leaf in such
glowing terms.  I like how we still do
not have a name for Yamagachi-San’s wife despite her being on television for
nearly a month at this point.  When Venis
goes to tag in Michinoku after absorbing some of Kaientai’s early offense,
Michinoku dropkicks him in the face, thereby turning heel.  You see, Mrs. Yamaguchi-San is Michinoku’s
sister.  Kaientai beat Venis up and carry
him backstage, where no one seems to care that he might get his private region
severed.
European
Championship Match:  D-Lo Brown (w/Mark
Henry) beats Dan Severn (w/Steve Blackman) via disqualification when Ken
Shamrock interferes at 2:34:
This match was booked after D-Lo antagonized Severn and
got him to interfere in a match against Ken Shamrock on Sunday Night Heat.  The same situation takes place here, as
Severn has Brown on the ropes before Shamrock comes down the ring and takes out
Mark Henry and Brown in view of the referee. 
Severn is not happy about this development to say the least.
D-Lo celebrates
his victory, but Edge comes out of nowhere and attacks him by the entrance
before walking away.  When D-Lo comes to,
he has no idea what happened.
Kaientai is shown
beating down Venis some more backstage. 
It’s funny to hear Ross try to verbally reprimand them like a
parent:  “Don’t do that!  Stop that!”
Tiger Ali Singh,
who has not been seen on WWF television since 1997, when he was referred to as
a can’t miss prospect, comes out.  This
time, he is sporting a mixture of an anti-American and million dollar man
gimmick where he pays audience members to do degrading things.  He has his servant Babu select an obese
American woman from the crowd and pays her $500 for each piece of clothing she
takes off.  The facial expressions of
some people in the audience to this is priceless.  The woman goes to take off her bra, but Singh
changes the rules and pays her to put clothes back on.  Singh was pretty entertaining in this
segment.  Unfortunately for him, his ring
work was awful.  4 for 7
Backstage,
Yamaguchi-San has the camera crew leave Kaientai’s locker room, where they are
carrying Val Venis to a cutting board.
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to get your Steve Austin 3:16 baseball jersey $39.99 (plus $9 shipping &
handling)!
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve
Austin & The Undertaker (Champions) defeat The Rock & Owen Hart when
The Undertaker pins Owen Hart with a Tombstone at 11:12:
Austin is a one man heat machine as the crowd eats up
everything he does or has done to him. 
Owen and the Rock keep cheating as much as they can to maintain the
advantage, but eventually Austin fights out of a Sharpshooter and a Rock Bottom
to get the Undertaker into the match, where the fate of the heels is eventually
sealed.  It’s hard to tell how much
genuine heat this had based on it being a taped show, but you could tell by the
crowd’s physical reactions that they really got into his match.  The beginning stages with the Undertaker were
slow, but Austin really took things up a notch when he got in the ring and in
peril.  Rating:  *** (5 for 8)
After the bell,
Mankind hits the ring and puts the Undertaker in a Mandible Claw.  As Austin is still fighting the Rock near the
announce table, Kane steps into the ring and smashes Mankind with a chair,
although he may have been aiming for the Undertaker.  The Undertaker takes the chair, but instead
of hitting Kane, he hits Mankind again. 
The New Age Outlaws hit the ring to go after Kane and the Undertaker,
but Austin comes back to aid his partner.
WWF officials are
shown breaking down the door to Kaientai’s dressing room and find Val Venis
held up with his tights down. 
Yamaguchi-San has a sword held up high and he comes down with it, but the lights in the room go dark and that ends the show.
The Final Report Card:  If you watch this RAW, go ahead and skip
ahead to the McMahon-Austin-Undertaker segment because the first half of this
show was awful.  After McMahon’s segment,
the show righted itself and we got a fun main event to close.  The “choppy choppy” angle is silly, but it is
one of those over the top angles that you can sit back and get a good laugh out
of sixteen years later.  I wouldn’t
recommend showing it to a new fan, but sometimes you have to take the good with
the bad when looking back at one of the high points of WWF history.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.9 (vs. 4.2 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – July 27, 1998

by Logan Scisco
Michael Cole
narrates a video package that recaps last night’s Fully Loaded pay-per-view.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Anaheim, California.  One of the best signs, in a sea of them, is
one that reads “Bret Hart = Work” near the front row.

The Undertaker
comes out with both WWF Tag Team title belts. 
He makes clear that he and Steve Austin might be champions, but they are
not partners until Austin comes out and apologizes to him.  Vince McMahon walks out instead, with stooges
in tow, and says that the Undertaker has not convinced him that he is not
working with Kane.  In a nice piece of
logic, McMahon points out that the Undertaker had to use three Tombstones to
beat Kane at WrestleMania, so beating him with one at Fully Loaded is
suspicious.  McMahon demands an apology
from the Undertaker for attacking him last week and books a tag team title
match between the Undertaker and Austin and the New Age Outlaws.  Austin then walks out, causing McMahon and
company to flee, and says that while he will help the Undertaker defend their
tag team titles, he will not apologize to him. 
He gives the Undertaker the bird before leaving.  1 for
1
Get your free
Triple H poster by buying a box of Stridex medicated pads!
Opening Non-Title
Contest:  Vader beats D-Lo Brown
(European Champion) by count out at 4:18:
D-Lo is refusing to defend his European title for the
second consecutive night, which Ross explains is due to his representatives
thinking it would not be prudent to defend the title against Vader.  D-Lo slams Vader twice, but that just
rejuvenates Vader.  Vader rips off D-Lo’s
chest protector and splashes him on the floor, securing a count out win.  This is Vader’s first win on RAW in a while
and since he went over via count out, why did they not just make this for the
title?  Rating:  ** (2 for 2)
A video package
shows us “Droz’s World.”  He shows off
his exotic pets.
Brawl for All
Quarter-Finals:  Bart Gunn defeats Steve
Williams by KO at 2:51 of the third round:
As most of the readers of this article will recall, this
is the Brawl for All match that ruined the entire purpose of the
competition.  The WWF thought Williams
could easily run through the competition without rigging it, but Gunn had other
plans here as he uses his reach advantage to keep Williams at bay.  You can sense Ross getting nervous on
commentary as his enthusiasm for Gunn’s performance wanes by the end of the
second round.  Trailing by ten points
entering the third, Gunn manages a takedown, causing Williams to tear his
hamstring, and after an exchange of punches, Gunn lands the first knockout of
the Brawl for All competition to score the big upset.  Ross never forgave Gunn for knocking his guy
out of the competition.  3 for 3
Owen Hart comes to
the ring and gloats about beating Ken Shamrock in the Hart Dungeon last
night.  He issues an open challenge to
the locker room and Jason Sensation, dressed as Owen, walks out to a pretty big
pop.  Sensation leads a “nugget” chant
and when Owen goes after him, Dan Severn walks out and intercedes.  This is taken as evidence of Severn accepting
Owen’s challenge.
Open Challenge
Match:  Owen Hart beats Dan Severn by
disqualification when Ken Shamrock interferes at 49 seconds:
This match barely gets started as Owen and Severn share
offense until Shamrock runs in and places Owen in a Dragon sleeper.  Severn gets Shamrock off of Owen by placing
Shamrock in a Dragon sleeper and Steve Blackman has to walk out to break that
up with some WWF officials.
Sunday Night Heat
is coming to USA Network this Sunday!
Michael Cole gets
pushed into the RAW is War backstage interview set when he tries to ask
Shamrock some questions about what just happened.
The Disciples of
Apocalypse (w/Paul Ellering) wrestle Faarooq & Scorpio to a no-contest at
3:23:
Bradshaw is on commentary, still ranting about Terry Funk
not telling him that he was going to leave the company before last night’s
Fully Loaded pay-per-view.  At least
Bradshaw’s commentary is more tolerable than what we have to endure every
Monday night these days.  This is Faarooq
and Scorpio’s debut as a team on RAW, as they had been teaming and winning
matches on Shotgun Saturday Night in the weeks leading up to this.  Conventional wisdom would hold that this
match would be important in the tag rankings as both teams won last night at
Fully Loaded, but instead it is used as a vehicle to make us care about
Bradshaw as he attacks both teams and creates chaos until WWF officials
intervene.  Rating:  *¼ (3 for 4)
Intercontinental
Champion The Rock tells the announce team that he is going to make Triple H and
X-Pac famous when they square off with him in a triple threat match tonight.
Chyna’s
interference in the two-out-of-three falls match between the Rock and Triple H
last night at Fully Loaded is the Stridex Triple Action segment
.
Triple Threat
Match for the Intercontinental Championship: 
Triple H (w/Chyna) & X-Pac beat The Rock by count out at 6:54:
Was the Rock drunk when he signed the contract for this
match?  Predictably, DX works together in
the early going, but then turn on each other when it is time to finish the Rock
off.  That brings back fond memories of
playing those elimination four-ways on the N64. 
One thing is clear from this match: 
Rock vs. X-Pac > Triple H vs. The Rock.  After Triple H and X-Pac get angry and start
fighting each other, the Rock slithers out of the ring and takes a count out, which
is a finish that I’ve never seen again in a triple threat match.  Normally, that would be an awful finish, but
it makes perfect sense here with the way the match unfolded.  I wish they had run this match last night at
Fully Loaded and given it twenty minutes instead of giving us the overbooked
two-out-of-three falls match.  Rating: 
***¼ (4 for 5)
Cole interviews
the New Age Outlaws, who pledge to regain their title tonight.
Brakus beats
Jesus with a spinebuster in 50 seconds:
To give a nice time stamp on this show, Ross and Lawler
talk about Ryan Leaf’s big contract with the San Diego Chargers.  This is Brakus’s wrestling debut and he does
a few token power moves before winning. 
This never led to anything.  I mean,
seriously, who thought a German wrestler wearing CHAINMAIL to the ring would
get over in the Attitude Era?
Val Venis is shown
sharing the shower with Yamaguchi-San’s wife.
Val Venis pins
“Too Sexy” Brian Christopher (w/Scott Taylor) with a fisherman’s suplex at
2:10:
Before the match, Kaientai appears near the entrance,
with Yamaguchi-San carrying a sword and Men’s Teioh carrying a few pieces of
salami.  Venis counters Too Much’s
attempts to fight the match two-on-one and quickly finishes Christopher
off.  When Too Much tries to attack Venis
after the match, Taka Michinoku comes down and makes the save.
After the bell,
Kaientai challenges Venis and Michinoku to a match next week and Yamaguchi-San
vows to “choppy choppy” Val’s “pee pee” before taking his sword and chopping up
some salami.  Now we  know why Japanese promotions aren’t big Russo
fans…
Cole interviews
LOD 2000, who are facing the Godfather & Mark Henry tonight.  Animal is excited for the match, but Hawk
looks out of it.
The Godfather
& Mark Henry (w/Hos) beat LOD 2000 when the Godfather pins Animal with a
Death Valley Driver at 3:49:
This was where the Godfather added hos to his
gimmick.  During their entrance, Hawk is
stumbling around, is not wearing his spikes, and trips over the middle rope
when getting into the ring.  Hawk fails
to tag in throughout the match and then falls off the top rope when the LOD try
their Doomsday Device.  I was never a fan
of this angle, as it was quite tasteless, but the Godfather and Henry are a
good tag team combination.  Animal kept
this thing together as a one man wrecking crew too.  Rating:  ** (5 for 6)
Lawler is in the
ring to present the trophy to the winner of last night’s bikini contest.  Lawler informs the crowd that Sable did not
win because Vince McMahon did not consider her attire a bikini.  Mero does his usual overly excited dance when
Jacqueline is announced as the winner. 
Sable questions McMahon’s manhood for not telling her that she was
disqualified, which brings him out.  As
McMahon runs down Sable, someone from the crowd hits Vince with a cup, leading
him to chastise the audience.  McMahon
reminds Sable that she is easily replaced and when he turns to leave, Sable
gives him the bird and strips to reveal a new bikini.  I just never cared for Sable or this entire
“feud” with McMahon.  It’s like they
wanted to make Sable the female Austin, but she did not have the mic skills to
carry that out.  5 for 7
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve
Austin & The Undertaker (Champions) defeated The New Age Outlaws when
Austin pinned the Road Dogg after a Stone Cold Stunner at 8:09:
It is so refreshing for Ross to tell me that RAW won’t
have any commercials for the main event, since nowadays we get one or two
commercials that interrupt nearly every match on the show.  After the opening bell, some idiot fan throws
a beach ball into the ring, which Austin boots into the upper deck.  I’m glad WWF fans never resorted to WCW
craziness of littering the ring with trash on a regular basis.  Austin does a funny pose down with Billy Gunn
where he flexes and then flips him the bird. 
The Outlaws try to wear down the Undertaker’s leg, but Austin cleans
house after the hot tag and wins the match on his own.  A fun TV main event that made the Outlaws
appear capable, albeit overmatched.  Rating: 
*** (6 for 8)
After the match,
Austin gets a beer from ringside to drink and tosses one to the
Undertaker.  The Undertaker decides to
drink it, but Kane and Mankind attack Austin near ringside as we end the show.
The Final Report Card:  The Austin-Undertaker pairing continues to do
the slow burn toward SummerSlam and the attack at the end of the show sets the
stage for a Fully Loaded rematch down the road. 
The good continues to outweigh the bad on RAW, topped by Bart Gunn’s
stunning victory in the Brawl for All.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.9 (vs. 4.7 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up 

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – July 20, 1998

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are taped from Binghampton, New
York.  This is our go home show for Fully
Loaded.

Vince McMahon
comes out and says that tonight is a night for respect for one’s fellow man and
retribution for those who do not. 
McMahon provides evidence from the events of recent weeks to support his
argument that the Undertaker is working with Kane and then invites the
Undertaker out.  McMahon, who has great
on screen chemistry with the Undertaker, points out that if the Undertaker
wants to be the WWF champion he has to start showing respect to the right
people and he will not tolerate being disrespected anymore.  When questioned again about working with
Kane, the Undertaker refuses to answer, so McMahon books him to face Kane and
Mankind in a handicap match.  However,
McMahon makes the fatal error of telling the Undertaker to go to hell and ends
up getting chokeslammed.  Gerald Brisco
and Commissioner Slaughter also eat chokeslams when they run to McMahon’s
aid.  I love how McMahon continually
tries to act tough around the Undertaker only to end up paying for it.  1 for
1
Opening Contest
for the European Championship:  D-Lo
Brown (w/The Rock) defeats Triple H (Champion w/Chyna) after the Rock gives
Triple H a Rock Bottom to win the title at 6:02:
Aside from the handicap main event, the other attractions
are Triple H and the Rock defending their titles against a member from the
Nation and D-Generation X, respectively. 
Both men are scheduled to face each other in a title-for-title
two-out-of-three falls match at Fully Loaded, so the outcome of these matches
could change these plans.  D-Lo was a
curious choice for this match since Owen was arguably the second-best singles
star in the Nation.  Then again, Owen has
continually failed to beat Triple H, so D-Lo was as good an option as any of
the remaining Nation members.  The Rock
interferes in this bout after Chyna and Mark Henry get into a confrontation on
the arena floor and that enables D-Lo to win his first WWF gold in a major
upset.  This means that the Rock-Triple H
match at Fully Loaded will no longer be title-for-title.  Rating:  ** (2 for 2)
The Nation
celebrates D-Lo’s title victory in the locker room.
Triple H tells Jim
Ross that the Rock is not leaving the arena with the Intercontinental title.
Brawl for All
First Round:  Steve Williams beats Pierre
by TKO at 2:56 of the third round:
This was Steve Williams WWF debut.  The Brawl for All concept was meant to put
him over as a big star and eventually feud with Steve Austin.  Of course, if that was the point of the
tournament, then why make it a shoot, but that requires too much logic for the
WWF sometimes.  During Williams entrance,
Barry Switzer puts him over for being a tough guy while playing football for
the University of Oklahoma.  Pierre is at
a severe disadvantage because he only has vision in one eye, but hey, it’s not
like the Brawl for All is regulated by your local athletic commission.  Williams completely dominates Pierre, who is completely
out of his element here, and we get our first non-decision result of the Brawl
for All.  3 for 3
Val Venis’s
revelation that he is having an affair with Yamaguchi-San’s wife on last week’s
show is played.
Yamaguchi-San,
wearing his tie around his head, yells at his wife for disgracing him on last
week’s show.  He makes her hold the ropes
open so that Kaientai and he can step into the ring and then orders her to
crawl beneath his legs where he can hit her with a paddle.  However, before Yamaguchi-San can proceed
with the punishment, Val Venis makes the save, and carries Yamaguchi-San’s wife
to the dressing room.  Yamaguchi-San
going over the top is what made this segment worthwhile.  4 for
4
The Undertaker
chokeslamming Vince McMahon earlier in the show is the Skittles Slam of the
Week.
We are supposed to
get an Animal-Skull match in our next segment, but it never happens as Hawk no shows
during Animal’s entrance and the DOA give Animal a beatdown.  Hawk makes the save before the DOA run over
one of Animal’s legs with one of their Titan bikes, but he is also attacked and
overwhelmed.
Steve Blackman
(w/Ken Shamrock & Dan Severn) pins Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee
& Southern Justice) after a pump kick at 2:11:
Somehow the Jarrett-Blackman rivalry is still ongoing and
based on the piped in boos, no one cares. 
Blackman brings Shamrock and Severn with him to even the odds around
ringside and speaking of which, it makes little sense for Southern Justice to
be with Jarrett at infrequent periods. 
Blackman beats Jarrett clean and in short order here, which is a very
puzzling result.  Jarrett is in desperate
need of an overhaul because he is getting nowhere with his 1993-1996
gimmick.  After the bell, Owen Hart
attacks Shamrock from behind on the floor and Severn does not seem to care.
The Undertaker is
shown leaving the arena.  Michael Cole
confirms this after the commercial break and Cole says that the Undertaker said
that he will see everyone Sunday at Fully Loaded.
Jim Ross interviews
WWF Champion Steve Austin, who says he is concerned about whether he is walking
into a trap at Fully Loaded.  Vince
McMahon interrupts the promo after taking exception to Austin saying that
McMahon deserves to be screwed over and rebooks the main event to Austin facing
Kane and Mankind in a handicap match. 
Austin refuses to wrestle and threatens to walk out like the Undertaker,
but McMahon announces that if that happens he will strip Austin of the WWF
title and give it to the Undertaker. 
Austin says fine, but vows to beat up McMahon in the locker room when he
gets the opportunity.  This was a good
twist of the main event to continue feeding the Kane-Undertaker cahoots
storyline.  5 for 5
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to get your Steve Austin 3:16 baseball jersey $39.99 (plus $9 shipping &
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Jason Sensation’s
skills and beating at the hands of Owen Hart on last week’s show is recapped.
Owen Hart beats
Faarooq via submission to the Sharpshooter at 5:35:
I am surprised that Faarooq did not enter the Brawl for
All, since he was also stuck in the purgatory of the midcard after leaving the
Nation of Domination.  During the bout,
Owen gets on the house mic and tells the crowd that he is not a nugget.  This match is fine, although I am not sure
why Faarooq is still doing his “I am going to keep jumping on your back until
you knee me in the groin” spot as a face. 
Faarooq submits clean to the Sharpshooter despite being a foot away from
the ropes, which illustrates how far he has fallen over the last year as a
character.  After the bell, Ken Shamrock
runs out, but Owen escapes through the crowd. 
Rating:  ** (6 for 6)
Mankind predicts a
very peaceful evening for Steve Austin in tonight’s handicap match.
Marc Mero and
Jacqueline come out and Jacqueline insults Sable some more.  Sable comes out in a sun dress and Jacqueline
soon strips it off.  Sable doesn’t mind
and tosses Jacqueline out of the ring by her hair.  Kevin Dunn’s camera crew follows Sable up the
ramp and misses Edge doing a hit and run on Mero in the ring.  It would have been better to combine this
segment with the Sable-Jacqueline interaction on last week’s broadcast.  6 for
7
Shawn Michaels
comes out to do commentary for the rest of the show.
The announcers
recap the 8-Ball-Scorpio Brawl for All match, which Scorpio won.
The Rock tells the
announcers from the backstage area that he will beat X-Pac and enter Fully
Loaded as the Intercontinental champion.
X-Pac pinning the
Rock after an X-Factor is the JVC Kaboom! of the Week.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  The Rock (Champion) defeats
X-Pac (w/Chyna) via disqualification when Triple H interferes at 9:46:
X-Pac pinned the Rock in a tag team match on last week’s
show, so that is used as evidence for why X-Pac is a threat to leave the
building with the Intercontinental title. 
D-Lo Brown winning the European title also provided the possibility that
X-Pac might win this match.  The Rock
dominates nearly the entire match and kicks out of an X-Factor and getting hit
with the Intercontinental title by Chyna. 
The referee gets bumped on a Rock clothesline, and Triple H tries to
help X-Pac win the title by cutting off D-Lo Brown’s interference attempt and
Pedigreeing the Rock, but another official stops the pinfall and that helps the
Rock retain.  I really hate the “second
referee corrects the first on things he did not see” finish.  After the match, Triple H gets a female fan
in the audience to take her top off. 
Antics like that are why I was barred from going to WWF house shows in
the Attitude Era.  Thanks Triple H!  Rating:  **½ (7 for 8)
Handicap
Match:  Kane & Mankind (w/Paul
Bearer) beat “Stone Cold” Steve Austin via disqualification when the Undertaker
interferes at 4:51:
This is one of those famed Attitude Era brawls where
Austin hits everything that moves.  The
Undertaker walks out three minutes in with a chair and sets up in Austin’s
corner.  As Austin prepares to give Kane
a Stunner, the Undertaker tries to hit someone, it is not clear who, with a
chair and ends up blasting Kane.  That
seemingly produces a DQ win for the tag team champions, but who really cares,
as Austin lays out Mankind and the Undertaker with the chair and walks away
with his hands raised.  The continuous
action throughout this match made it seem like more than a throwaway TV main
event.  Rating:  **½ (8 for 9)
The Final Report Card:  The ending to the main event gives us a small
taste of the Fully Loaded main event and maintains the mystery behind the
Highway to Hell storyline.  For a taped
RAW, this provided a lot of excitement with the X-Pac-Rock fight, the main
brawl, and some entertaining mic work by the main players.  Steve Williams also had a dominant appearance
in the Brawl for All and if you were not sure how things played out in future
weeks, you would assume he was the man to beat.
So our announced card for Fully Loaded is
the following:
WWF Tag Team Championship Match:  Kane & Mankind (Champions) vs. Steve
Austin & The Undertaker
Two-out-of-Three Falls Match for the Intercontinental
Championship:  The Rock (Champion) vs.
Triple H
Hart Family Dungeon Match with Dan Severn as
Special Referee:  Ken Shamrock vs. Owen
Hart
Bikini Contest:  Sable vs. Jacqueline
Monday Night War Rating:  5.0 (vs. 4.7 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – July 13, 1998

by Logan Scisco

A video package
recaps the Undertaker becoming the number one contender to the WWF championship
on last week’s show.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“the King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from East Rutherford,
New Jersey.

Shawn Michaels
comes out, making his first WWF appearance since WrestleMania XIV.  Michaels sits down to do commentary for the
show and tells Ross that he is not sure when he will return to the ring.
Opening
Contest:  The Undertaker pins Vader with
a Tombstone at 4:35:
Looking back, I wish Vader had entered the Brawl for
All.  It was already littered with lower
midcard talent and guys looking to reboot their careers or get them going, so
it would have been well suited for 1998 Vader. 
After the entrances, Kane, Mankind, and Paul Bearer come out, but they
let the match proceed as scheduled.  As
another “what if,” imagine what a stable of Vader, Kane, and Mankind would have
been like in 1998.  Vader gives this the
old college try, but the Undertaker unceremoniously finishes him with Tombstone
and Earl Hebner does his slow three count to add insult to injury.  Really Earl? 
Rating:  ** (1 for 1)
After the match,
Mankind prepares to hit the Undertaker with a chair, but Kane takes it from
Mankind and then whacks Vader with it. 
Does this mean Kane and the Undertaker are in cahoots?
-Brawl for All
First Round:  Bart Gunn beats Bob Holly
via decision
This match constituted the breakup of the New Midnight
Express as Ross tells us that Jim Cornette resigned as their manager as a
result of them deciding to face each other. 
That, for all intents and purposes, ends the last vestiges of the NWA
angle for good.  This is the first Brawl
for All to feature a regular WWF referee as Danny Hodge is no longer doing the
honors.  Bart just dominates Holly in
this bout and easily makes it to the next round.  There was nothing about this that made it
exciting, so it does not get a point from me. 
After the match, Bob gives Bart a cheap shot and there is a small fight
between the two before WWF officials break it up.  1 for
2
The D-Generation X
skit mocking the Nation of Domination on last week’s show is recapped.
Jason Sensation
joins the broadcast team and he imitates other WWF superstars at Lawler’s
urging.  When he imitates Bret Hart,
Michaels asks whether that is a midcarder (a shot at Bret’s status in the WCW
upper midcard at the time because – say it with me – WCW).  Ross interviews the Nation, who are
backstage, and they are not happy with last week’s skit.  The Godfather debuts his “pimpin’ ain’t easy”
line during this segment.  Owen gets mad
at Sensation continuing to imitate him at Lawler’s urging and runs out and
attacks him before DX intervenes.
Triple H &
X-Pac (w/Chyna) defeat The Rock & Owen Hart when X-Pac pins The Rock after
an X-Factor at 6:28:
Shawn Michaels starts talking about the Kliq on
commentary and is actually censored for doing so.  The match does not follow the normal tag
formula, as X-Pac gets in peril, absorbs a People’s Elbow and other Nation
offense, and then surprises the Rock out of nowhere with the X-Factor to
win.  The expected solid match between
these guys and they could have done much more if given another five minutes.  Rating:  **¾ (2 for 3)
Sable comes out to
do commentary for the next match.  Sable
promises that her bikini at Fully Loaded will make her bikini at the 1997
Slammy Awards look like an evening gown.
Steve Blackman
beats “Marvelous” Marc Mero (w/Jacqueline) with a pump kick at 2:14:
This is a rematch from the Brawl for All, but it is
overwhelmed by Sable and Jacqueline fighting near the announce table and
Michaels and Lawler fawning over Sable. 
Mero appears to have the match won with a low blow, but when Jacqueline
tries to do something off the top rope to Blackman, Sable stops her and
Blackman suddenly recovers and wins. 
Mero was never able to reinvent himself after the Sable feud, which was
quite sad considering his in-ring and mic talents.  The feud also made it impossible to go back
to WCW as Johnny B. Badd because he would have been showered with “Sable”
chants.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  Kane & Mankind
(w/Paul Bearer) defeat The New Age Outlaws (Champions w/Chyna) when Kane pins
The Road Dogg with a Tombstone to win the titles at 5:34:
Before the bell, the Undertaker comes out to watch this
match.  Of all the teams left in the tag
division, Kane and Mankind are the only credible challengers for the
titles.  Think about it:  LOD 2000 is irrelevant, the DOA are being
somewhat repackaged with Ellering but that isn’t enough, the New Midnight
Express broke up, and 2 Cold Scorpio and Terry Funk are enhancement
talent.  After all hell breaks loose in
the ring, all hell breaks loose outside it as the Nation and the remaining
members of DX brawl and in the chaos, D-Lo Brown interferes with a Lo Down on
the Road Dogg and the Outlaws seven month reign as tag team champions is
over.  Theoretically, this makes the
Fully Loaded main event tag match for the WWF tag team titles.  Rating:  ** (3 for 4)
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Triple H yells at
Vince McMahon over the lack of control referees have in recent matches.  Having the Outlaws add to the complaints is
pretty funny considering how much cheating they engaged in to keep the titles
during their reign.
Kaientai
(w/Yamiguchi-San) beats Taka Michinoku & Too Much when Dick Togo pins Scott
Taylor after a Senton Bomb at 3:38:
Evidently, the Michinoku-Too Much pairing was forced by
the office in storyline terms as opposed to a genuine alliance.  Unsurprisingly, tempers flare between Scott
Taylor and Michinoku and Michinoku dropkicks Taylor into the hands of Kaientai,
who finishes him off.  After the bout,
Christopher beats up Michinoku and Val Venis comes out and reveals that he has
been having an affair with Yamiguchi-San’s wife.  The match was good, but I am not giving this
a point because the idea that Taka would ever agree to pair with Too Much under
any circumstances is ridiculous.  Rating: 
**¼ (3 for 5)
The Undertaker
chokeslamming The Godfather, D-Lo Brown, and Terry Funk on last week’s Raw is
the Skittles Slam of the Week.
Vince McMahon
comes out and talks with the Undertaker. 
McMahon commends the Undertaker on his deception last week, but raises
the question of whether the Undertaker is getting help from Kane.  The Undertaker refuses to answer McMahon’s
question and Steve Austin comes out. 
Austin asks the Undertaker whether he will have his back at Fully Loaded
and the Undertaker remains non-committal. 
That brings out D-Generation X and Triple H demands the Outlaws get an
immediate rematch against Kane and Mankind with three referees: a  regular official in the ring and the
Undertaker and Austin on the outside of the ring.  This will reveal whether the Undertaker and
Kane are working together.  Triple
H:  COO before we even knew it!  4 for
6
Brawl for All
First Round:  Dan Severn beats The
Godfather via decision:
As someone who did not see a lot of UFC growing up, I was
really excited to see what Severn could do in this format.  Severn is not used to releasing a takedown
after performing one, which the rules require, so the referee has to constantly
yell for him to break.  Severn also keeps
going for submissions, which are not allowed. 
The crowd is not happy about the lack of punches thrown and Severn
advances due to his takedown skills in a very boring bout.  After this, Severn would withdraw from the
Brawl for All because he did not care for the format and this bout shows
why.  We have had six Brawl for All
matches and all of them have gone to a decision, which is not very
exciting.  4 for 7
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match with The Undertaker and Steve Austin as Special
Enforcers:  Kane & Mankind (Champions
w/Paul Bearer) wrestle The New Age Outlaws to a no-contest at 8:09:
I am not often a fan of having the same match happen
again on the same show, but this was a very creative way to book around that
problem.  The main referee gets bumped
when Billy Gunn inserts himself into the match without a tag, but when Austin
tries to count the Road Dogg’s small package on Kane, the Undertaker pulls him
out of the ring.  The Undertaker tries to
count a pin when Kane chokeslams Road Dogg and Austin interrupts that.  The Undertaker and Austin then get into
separate fights with Mankind and Kane, respectively, and the Nation of
Domination hits the ring to brawl with the Outlaws, which brings out
D-Generation X.  Austin and the
Undertaker delivering Stunners and chokeslams plays us out and no one ends up
winning the match.  I’ll give this one a
point for the crazy post-match brawl.  Rating: 
** (5 for 8)
The Final Report Card:  This show gave us more storyline development
for the Undertaker-Kane relationship and whether they were in cahoots with each
other, although that issue is becoming very, very complicated.  Why would Kane want the Undertaker to face
Austin for the WWF title instead of himself? 
If he did decide to work with his brother, was it his idea?  When was such an agreement made?  Why would Kane or the Undertaker not tell
McMahon about it, since McMahon also wants to get the title off of Austin?  Does McMahon know and is he just playing dumb
to lure in Austin?  All this aside, this
RAW had a really hot first hour and then the second hour was death.  If not for the post-match brawl at the end,
this RAW would have ended up in neutral territory.  A slight thumbs up for this episode, which
saw RAW regain its Nielsen ratings lead only a week after WCW showed its big
Goldberg-Hogan match.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.7 (vs. 4.5 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – July 6, 1998

by Logan Scisco

Highlights of Steve Austin regaining the WWF
championship from Kane on last week’s Raw are shown.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“the King” Lawler are our commentators tonight and they are taped from State
College, Pennsylvania.

The Undertaker
comes out, with more pyro blasts that usual, and demands a title shot from
Steve Austin.  Michael Cole goes looking
for Austin backstage, but Austin just blows him off and walks out to the ring.  Vince McMahon angrily interrupts the
conversation and chides the Undertaker for claiming that he is the number one
contender and Austin for thinking he defends the title on his schedule.  McMahon says that Austin and the Undertaker
can be in the ring together at Fully Loaded, the next pay-per-view, but they
will not be facing each other in a singles match.  Instead, they will face Kane and Mankind in a
tag match.  McMahon also promises to name
the number one contender for the WWF title tonight.  A great, logical segment to open tonight’s
show.  As an added bonus, McMahon
“salutes” Austin at the end of the segment, which devolves into him flipping
off the WWF champion.  1 for 1
Opening Brawl for
All First Round Contest:  Savio Vega
beats Brakus via decision:
Brakus was a German wrestler that was supposed to come to
the WWF the previous year.  He even got a
series of vignettes to hype his arrival in 1997.  However, he was so green that he was sent to
ECW and USWA after wrestling on a few house shows and dark matches in late
1996.  Aside from a match on Shotgun
Saturday Night and appearances on a few European shows, this was Brakus’s big
moment in the WWF and he does not acquit himself well as Savio staggers him
with some hard shots throughout the bout. 
In a later shoot interview, Savio claimed that Brakus thought the Brawl
for All was a worked tournament instead of a shoot, which helped him win this
bout.  2 for 2
Ken Shamrock defeats
“Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee) via disqualification when King Mabel
interferes at 4:22:
This is a special challenge match as Jarrett wants
revenge for losing to Shamrock in the King of the Ring semi-finals.  This is basically a repeat of that King of
the Ring match, including many of the same spots, but this time there is a run-in
by King Mabel, who comes out of the crowd and lays out Shamrock.  You see, Shamrock beat two King of the Rings
last week, but he did not beat the great King Mabel!  Rating:  ** (3 for 3)
Michael Cole
interviews Shamrock after the commercial break and Shamrock challenges Mabel to
a match later on in the show.
Vader wrestles
Bradshaw to a no-contest after Kane and Mankind interfere at 2:05:
In this face-versus-face encounter both men are in
desperate need of some direction as Bradshaw has been spending 1998 feuding
with the NWA and Kaientai and Vader has been losing to new attractions like the
Rock and Kane.  After some stiff shots
back and forth, Kane and Mankind crash the match.  So basically, Vader and Bradshaw still do not
have any momentum!
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The Disciples of
Apocalypse (w/Paul Ellering) beat The Headbangers when 8-Ball pins Mosh after a
side suplex-neckbreaker combination at 3:41:
The Headbangers pour hot candle wax on their arms on
their way to the ring, which I do not remember being a big cultural thing in
1998, but I was not part of that crowd so who knows.  Ellering is being hyped as a stock market
wizard and he says that he came back to the WWF to write the final chapter of
the Legion of Doom.  I think the New Age
Outlaws beat Ellering to that task.  In
other news, Mabel has accepted Shamrock’s challenge for later tonight!  In terms of the match, the DOA wrestle with a
little more energy than usual, but the match is nothing to write home about.  Rating:  *½ (3 for 4)
Steve Austin
giving Stone Cold Stunners to Kane and the Undertaker at the close of last
week’s show is the Skittles Slam of the Week.
D-Lo Brown (w/The
Godfather) beats Terry Funk with the Lo Down at 3:46:
This is Brown’s first match back from his “pectoral
injury” and he is using his chest protector. 
Funk pulls out another crazy Asai moonsault, which I really wish he
would not do since it causes his knee to slam into the guardrail.  Funk appears to have the match in hand, but
the Godfather nails Funk in the back of the head with a gold chain and D-Lo
picks up the first of a series of victories that will put him on the map as a
singles star in the company.  It’s sad to
see Funk reduced to the level of enhancement talent, but to his credit he has
really made D-Lo Brown and Mark Henry look good over the last month.  A true professional.  Rating:  **¼ (4 for 5)
After the match,
the Undertaker comes to the ring and chokeslams D-Lo Brown and the
Godfather.  Terry Funk thinks the
Undertaker has come to save him, but the Undertaker chokeslams him as
well.  Ross’s calls during this segment
are great as he screams “Who’s your daddy?!?!?” as D-Lo gets chokeslamed and
screams “WHY!?!  WHY?!” when he attacks
Funk.
Vince McMahon walks
out to announce the number one contender to the WWF title.  Mankind, Kane, and the Undertaker are called
to the ring.  McMahon lauds Mankind’s
sacrifice at Hell in a Cell, calls Kane stupid for giving Steve Austin a title
shot last week, and hilariously changes his tone of voice when he gets to the
Undertaker and calls him an “evil, diabolical excuse for a human being” for
setting his brother on fire in an Inferno match and nearly killing
Mankind.  McMahon refuses to name a
number one contender himself and says that a triple threat match will determine
the issue later tonight.  5 for 6
Brawl for All
First Round:  Hawk and Darren Drozdov
fight to a draw:
The crowd is a more receptive to this week’s Brawl for
All bouts than last week.  The bout starts
okay, but both men are gassed by the third round and things end as more of a
whimper than bang.  The contest ends as a
draw and since we have no bracket established for this tournament, we have no
idea what that means for future rounds. 
And seriously, why would you establish a tournament like this and not
have a tiebreaker established?  5 for 7
Marc Mero and
Jacqueline come out and Jacqueline implies that Mero lost the Brawl for All
last week because she took all the energy out of him since it was their two
month anniversary before the bout. 
Jacqueline runs down Sable’s inability to meet Mero’s needs and
unsurprisingly, this brings Sable out. 
Sable implies that Mero needs Viagra and she and Jacqueline debate over
who is more of a woman.  Jacqueline
challenges Sable to a bikini contest at Fully Loaded and Sable accepts.  Color me silly, but I found the exchange of
insults here hilarious, probably because Mero’s facial expressions during the
exchange were great.  6 for 8
The Undertaker
chokeslamming Mankind through the Hell in a Cell is the JVC Kaboom! of the
Week.
Val Venis defeats
Dustin Runnels via disqualification when Kaientai interfere at 2:35:
Runnels and Venis go back and forth in this lower midcard
match until Kainetai run in to get revenge on Venis for Venis dancing in front
of Yamiguchi-San’s wife on last week’s show. 
However, Yamiguchi-San’s wife is not happy at the beating or her husband
mocking Venis’s dance in the ring.
D-Generation X
comes out dressed as the Nation in one of the more famous skits of the
era.  There is no way this segment would
fly today as X-Pac is in blackface as “Mizark Henry” and the Road Dogg and
Billy Gunn have bad spray tans for their impressions of the Godfather and D-Lo
Brown.  Road Dogg steals the segment by
repeating Triple H’s (playing “The Crock”) lines and climbing the ropes at
random intervals to do D-Lo’s head bob.  Jason
Sensation is playing Owen Hart and sounds exactly like him.  The forced laughter from Lawler nearly ruins
the segment, though.  7 for 9
Ken Shamrock
defeats King Mabel via submission to the ankle lock at 2:09:
Mabel finds his old king tights for this match, which is
his first televised match in the company in more than two years.  Shamrock’s path through older kings continues
with this match as he weathers Mabel’s power offense, counters a second rope
dive, and forces him to submit to the ankle lock.  After the bell, Shamrock refuses to release
the hold.  The old existing king left in
the WWF is Steve Austin, which would have set up an interesting WWF title
match, but that never happened.
Vince McMahon
walks out to do commentary duties for the triple threat main event and Steve
Austin comes out to join him.
Triple Threat
Match to Determine the Number One Contender to the WWF Championship:  The Undertaker defeats Kane & Mankind by pinning
Mankind after a chair shot at 1:58:
The Undertaker does not arrive when his entrance music
plays, so McMahon has Tony Chimmel announce that the Undertaker is
“chickenshit” and books a no holds barred, falls count anywhere match between
Kane and Mankind instead.  Mankind
refuses to fight his friend, but Kane takes a chair and gives Mankind a sick
shot against the steps to win the bout. 
However, when the regular lights come on, Kane unmasks to reveal the
Undertaker and Steve Austin looks on in disbelief as we are played out.
Tune in next week
to see the New Age Outlaws defend the tag team titles against Kane &
Mankind!
The Final Report Card:  The closing segment to this show was great
and as someone commented in the King of the Ring review, the double long
sleeved Kane outfit fit this angle well due to the fact that it covered the
Undertaker’s tattoos.  It furthers the
Kane-Undertaker-Austin triangle because one is left wondering how the
Undertaker got Kane’s ring attire and how he was able to replace him in the bout.  This was a great RAW, but it lost in the
ratings because WCW panicked and ran Bill Goldberg’s victory over Hulk Hogan in
the Georgia Dome against it.  Still, that
would end up being a pyrrhic victory for WCW and it did not derail the WWF in
the long-term.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.0 (vs. 4.8 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – June 29, 1998

by Logan Scisco


Pictures of last
night’s Steve Austin-Kane WWF title match are shown and narrated by Jim Ross
and Jerry “the King” Lawler.
Ross and Lawler
are in the booth and they are live from Cleveland, Ohio.  I am glad that we now have Ross and Lawler
full-time instead of just having them fill the second hour.

Vince McMahon,
Commissioner Slaughter, and Gerald Brisco come out and the WWF title is encased
in a glass box in the ring.  The crowd
loudly questions Vince’s sexuality as he gloats about Steve Austin losing the
title at the King of the Ring.  Kane and
Paul Bearer come out and Bearer puts over how he and his son’s dreams have come
true.  McMahon goes to put the WWF title
around Kane’s waist when Austin crashes the party and says Kane never made him
bleed at the King of the Ring.  As a
result, Austin demands a rematch and goads Kane into giving him one by saying
that if he doesn’t he will never be as good as his brother.  Austin’s intensity carried this segment,
which was much better than the generic “authority figure sets up a title match”
angle.  1 for 1
Opening
Contest:  Steven Regal beats Darren
Drozdov via submission to the Regal Stretch at 4:41:
This Regal’s WWF debut and he is introduced by
Sable.  He is sporting his traditional
attire and not the ridiculous “Real Man’s Man” gimmick that he would receive at
the end of the year.  His theme music is
a generic rock n’ roll beat, which is quite a shock after seeing Regal wrestle
under the Blue Blood theme in WCW.  Ross
does his best to put over Regal, but the crowd does not take kindly to his
mat-based style and Lawler is more interested in talking to Sable on
commentary.  A pretty boring squash, and
this is a good example of why airing vignettes before someone debuts is a good
idea.  Rating:  * (1 for 2)
Michael Cole
interviews Ken Shamrock, who cuts a very bland promo about how he respects the
Rock and how it feels good to be the King of the Ring.  Owen Hart interrupts and says that he is a
better King of the Ring than Shamrock can hope to be.  Owen challenges Shamrock to a fight tonight
and Shamrock accepts.  Triple H and Chyna
come out and Triple H argues that if there is going to be a “king of kings”
match then he has to be in it.  He
challenges them to a triple threat match, which is accepted.  What was funny about this segment was that
Shamrock still wanted to use the old names for wrestlers like Rocky Maivia
instead of “The Rock” and Hunter Hearst-Helmsley instead of “Triple H.”  1 for
3
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Brawl for All
First Round:  Steve Blackman beats
“Marvelous” Marc Mero via decision:
Ah yes, the Brawl for All, a competition that led to a bunch of injuries and was originally booked as a shoot, has begun.  The rules for the Brawl for All:  three one-minute rounds and a points system
is used to render a decision if a knockout is not achieved (five points for
most punches, five points for a takedown, and ten points for knockdowns).  The crowd loudly boos since in their mind
they paid to watch wrestling (they work up a loud “we want wrestling” chant)
and not a toughman competition. 
Marketing probably plays a role as well, since the WWF did not hype the
competition in the weeks leading up to it. 
Although Mero has the advantage in punching skills, Blackman just keeps
taking him down for easy points throughout the bout and wins.  1 for
4
Kevin Kelly says
that he will find out why Kane decided to accept Steve Austin’s challenge
tonight
.
Chyna’s DDT on
Owen Hart last night at the King of the Ring is the Skittles Slam of the Week.
Kane tells Kelly
that he took Austin’s challenge because he knows he can beat him and that he is
a better champion than his brother ever was.
The Undertaker is
shown arriving at the arena, which is always an angle I laugh at.  At what other workplace is it acceptable to
show up halfway through your shift?
Val Venis pins
Togo (w/Yamiguchi-San) with the Money Shot at 3:02:
Venis leers at Yamiguchi-San’s wife, who is sitting in
the front row, and this is the first step in one of the most ridiculous, yet memorable,
feuds of 1998.  During the match, Dustin
Runnels joins Ross and Lawler on commentary and encourages them to spread the
word of God.  Extended squash for Venis,
who remains undefeated in the World Wrestling Federation.  After the bout, Yamiguchi-San hits Venis
after Venis does his dance in front of his wife and Venis lays him out and the
rest of Kaientai with a chair.  Somehow
Venis is the face here.  Rating:  *½ (2 for 5)
Cole interviews
Austin, who says he is very confident that he is going to regain the WWF title
tonight.
“King of Kings”
Triple Threat Match:  Ken Shamrock
defeats Owen Hart & Triple H (w/Chyna) by pinning Triple H after the Rock
blasts Triple H with the Intercontinental title at 9:35 shown:
This is the perfect concept for a TV main event, but it
is trumped tonight by the Kane-Austin title match.  This has the usual triple threat formula
where two guys wrestle and another guy ends up on the floor, but at least the
action is continuous.  Chyna interferes
against Owen yet again, by pulling down the top rope during the bout, but it
does not work out well for Triple H as the Rock uses the distraction to
interfere.  So basically, Shamrock is the
true “king of kings” and Triple H has been infringing on his rightful gimmick
for the last sixteen years.  Wrestling
enthusiasts take note.  Rating: 
***¼ (3 for 6)
After the bout,
D-Generation X brawls to the locker room with the Nation and Owen puts Shamrock
in a ring post figure-four before WWF officials intervene.
The Undertaker
comes out to give a “confession” to Cole. 
The Undertaker says he interfered in last night’s WWF title match
because he did not want to see his brother set himself on fire.  Vince McMahon comes out and insists that the
Undertaker only helped his brother because he thinks he can beat Kane for the
title and not Austin.  McMahon warns the
Undertaker against interfering in tonight’s WWF title match.  McMahon’s role in this segment was random and
his adoption of the Undertaker’s language about hell and suffering was odd.  3 for
7
The Undertaker
tossing Mankind off the top of the Hell in a Cell is the JVC Kaboom! of the
Week.
Brawl for All
First Round:  Bradshaw beats Mark
Canterbury via decision:
Canterbury is of course everyone’s favorite Arkansas hog
farmer Henry Godwinn.  They have not
released a bracket for this tournament, so who knows who is really facing
who.  Bradshaw refuses to sit on his
stool during the rest periods and Canterbury only tries to do takedowns in the
third and final round, which is too little, too late.  At least this fight featured some punching
sequences.  4 for 8
We get our first
graphic highlighting the “Highway to Hell” and SummerSlam in nine weeks.
LOD 2000 welcome
back Paul Ellering as their manager now that Sunny is out of the company.  However, the Disciples of Apocalypse come out
and Ellering IN A SWERVE announces that he is really with the DOA.  The DOA do a beatdown, with Ellering using
pages of newspaper as a weapon. 
What.  The. Hell.  4 for
9
The Undertaker
tells Kevin Kelly that no one tells him what to do, which means that he will
not heed Vince McMahon’s warning not to get involved in the main event.
WWF Championship
Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve Austin pins
Kane (Champion w/Paul Bearer) after a Stone Cold Stunner to win the title at
8:27:
Austin carries a lot of the offensive load of the match,
which really puts a damper on Kane’s “superhuman” ability to crush his
opponents.  Near the end of the bout, the
Undertaker walks out, but does not interfere, and Austin goes under a Kane big
boot and delivers a Stunner to win his second WWF title.  No ref bumps or shenanigans in this one,
which is pretty refreshing.  One could
point to this match as the beginning of sudden world title changes in the
company, as the WWF title switched hands more frequently than it had in the
past due to the Monday Night Wars.  Rating: 
** (5 for 10)
After the bout, Austin gives the Undertaker
a Stone Cold Stunner and the Undertaker and Kane sit up at the same time and
stare at Austin as he walks to the locker room.
The Final Report Card:  Aside from popping a rating (which this show
did), it made little sense to give Kane a one day reign as champion.  The short reign, as well as the way his match
with Austin played out on this show, dented some of his credibility as an
unstoppable monster (as long as he was not fighting his brother, but that sort
of cancelled out because they both possessed “supernatural” powers).  Kane went on to have a memorable career after
this, but I never viewed him the same way again after this title loss.  This show gets a neutral rating because while
there are some highlights like the Triple Threat and the Austin segments, there
is a lot of random stuff that is not as good like the out of the blue Regal
debut, the beginning of the Brawl for All (which was not adequately promoted),
and the random Ellering turn (which is right out of the Vince Russo playbook).
Monday Night War Rating:  5.4 (vs. 4.1 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Neutral

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – June 22, 1998

by Logan Scisco

A video package
highlights the confrontation between Steve Austin & the Undertaker and Kane
& Mankind on last week’s show.
Jim Ross and Michael Cole are doing
commentary and they are taped from Austin, Texas.  Tonight is the go home show for the King of
the Ring.

Vince McMahon
comes out and invites Kane to the ring. 
Paul Bearer is sitting at home, recovering from the Undertaker’s attack
on last week’s show.  McMahon tells Kane
that it is his destiny to be WWF champion and that a victory over Steve Austin
at the King of the Ring will erase his awful childhood.  McMahon announces that Kane is challenging
Austin to a first blood match at the King of the Ring, and Kane speaks for the
first time and proclaims that if he does not win the WWF title, he will set
himself on fire.  The only question that
remains is whether Austin will accept the challenge.  Kane’s announcement was so outrageous and out
of left field that I have to give this a point. 
1 for 1
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Opening King of
the Ring First Round Contest:  Ken
Shamrock defeats Mark Henry with a belly-to-belly suplex at 4:35:
The Nation continues to try to accompany their members to
the ring, but they are dispatched to the locker room yet again by WWF
officials.  Henry concentrates his attack
on Shamrock’s back, but Shamrock rallies and when Henry is knocked to the
floor, Vader attacks him to get revenge for last week, and Shamrock advances to
face the winner of the Marc Mero-Jeff Jarrett match in the semi-finals.  I’m impressed by Henry’s development to this
point.  He’s not participating in *****
matches and his skills are still limited, but he is showing better awareness of
how to work around his limitations.  Rating: 
**½ (2 for 2)
Shamrock tells
Kevin Kelly that he is going to climb the top of the mountain and win the King
of the Ring.
Edge is shown
sitting in the audience.  He makes his
debut tonight.
X-Pac (w/Chyna)
beats Dustin Runnels with a spinning heel kick at 5:31:
Runnels prays before the match, clueing us in on his new
Christian gimmick.  Runnels is the 1998
version of Tito Santana and is putting over all the talents that bookers have
longer term plans for.  He nearly
finishes X-Pac off, but when he goes for a bulldog, Chyna trips him and that
allows X-Pac to earn his first victory since returning to the company.  After the match, Runnels offers a handshake,
but X-Pac refuses the gesture.  Rating: 
**½ (3 for 3)
Ross interviews
Bearer from his home via satellite and Bearer promises to be at the King of the
Ring with his son.
Jerry “the King”
Lawler, who’s crown was taken by Snow last week, rants about Al Snow after the
commercial break and invites him into the ring. 
Snow comes to the ring through the crowd and is dressed like an old
woman.  Lawler says that if he gets his
crown back that he will give Snow an appointment with Vince McMahon.  After Lawler gets his crown back, Snow
receives a contract, not an appointment, that books him and Head in a tag match
against Too Much.  If Snow wins, he gets
an appointment with McMahon, but if he loses, he has to leave the company.  Snow says that McMahon just wants him to do
another job on pay-per-view and says they might as well do the match now.  Too Much rushes the ring, but Snow takes care
of them with Head and leaves.  This is a
good example of a storyline that went over the heads of most of the audience,
who were not of the smark persuasion.  3 for 4
King of the Ring
First Round Match:  “Double J” Jeff
Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee) pins “Marvelous” Marc Mero (w/Jacqueline) with a DDT
after Sable distracts Mero at 4:30:
This is the first heel-heel King of the Ring match in
history and Jarrett nearly causes Mero to tear his ACL by botching a powerbomb
near the ropes.  For all intents and
purposes, Mero should have gone over here, since he was still getting heat for
the Sable feud, but Vince Russo’s affinity for Jarrett wins out and he moves on
to face Shamrock at the King of the Ring. 
Rating:  *½ (3 for 5)
Jarrett tells
Kevin Kelly that he will become the King of the Ring this Sunday.
Steve Austin’s
fight with Kane on top of the Hell in a Cell on last week’s show is the
Cinnaburst Rewind segment.
Lawler joins Ross
to do commentary for the second hour.
Kane beats The
Road Dogg with a Tombstone at 4:04:
The good thing about tag teams is that you can sacrifice
one of their members in a singles match and they do not lose credibility.  This is a prolonged squash as the Road Dogg
just manages a few token blows.  Rating: 
½* (3 for 6)
Paul Bearer
reiterates his promise to be at the King of the Ring and the Undertaker
suddenly shows up and destroys him for the second week in a row.  The live feed to Bearer’s home goes out
before we can see the end of the beating. 
The Undertaker has a great line before commencing the beating:  “Do you think I’ve forgotten where you
live?!?!”
Edge defeats Jose
via count out at 1:08:
This is Edge’s debut and his entrance has an NWO-feel to
it where a red hue covers the screen. 
The debut go as planned, though, as Edge breaks Jose’s neck with a
somersault plancha and prematurely ends the match.  Edge would never do that move again as a
result of the incident.
Kane is shown trashing
his locker room after finding out that the Undertaker has attacked his
father.  Mankind tries to restrain him in
the back.
King of the Ring
First Round Match:  Dan Severn beats Owen
Hart via submission to a modified bow and arrow at 2:59:
This match has a nice exchange of maneuvers, but there is
no psychology behind them.  Owen’s
attempt to bring a chair into the ring distracts the referee and X-Pac gives
Owen a SICK chair shot to the back of the head that enables Severn to
advance.  Owen would requires staples to
close that gash.  Severn will face the winner
of the Rock-Triple H first round match at the King of the Ring.  The “dream final” of Ken Shamrock and Severn
also stays alive.
After the
commercial break, the Nation is in the ring and the Rock challenges
D-Generation X to a fight.  DX comes out
to engage them, but WWF officials prevent a fight from breaking out.
King of the Ring
First Round Match:  The Rock defeats
Triple H (w/Chyna) with a fisherman’s suplex at 8:08:
This match lacks the heat of their future encounters and
the Rock and Chyna are more over than Triple H is as well.  Chyna tries to interfere several times to
give Triple H the match, but the Rock keeps kicking out.  What I really like about this match is that
it doesn’t have to end in a finisher, as the Rock gives Triple H a low blow and
uses a move he’s never used before to win. 
Rating:  **½ (4 for 7)
After the match,
the Nation and DX brawl as WWF officials flood the ring to break things up.
Mankind is shown
trying to comfort Kane some more in the locker room.
After the
commercial break, Mankind is in the ring and the Hell in a Cell lowers as he
cuts a promo against the Undertaker for King of the Ring.  He recaps his feud with the Undertaker and
chastises the Undertaker for attacking Paul Bearer the last several weeks.  He claims that the Undertaker’s punishment
will be within the cell and not the bars of a prison.  A great promo by Foley that put some fire
into a match that was quickly becoming an afterthought on the card.  5 for
8
Mankind beats “Bad
Ass” Billy Gunn (w/Chyna) with the Mandible Claw at 5:38:
Chyna is forced to go back to the locker room after she
attacks Mankind on the floor, which somehow isn’t enough to draw a
disqualification.  This features your usual
Foley spots and is an exciting brawl, where tries to counter Foley’s use of
weapons and aggressive style.  However,
that isn’t enough as his piledriver is reversed into a slingshot into the post
and Mankind finishes him off.  Rating: 
*** (6 for 8)
Mankind goes back
to the locker room, but can’t find Kane.
Sable comes out
and welcomes out WWF Champion Steve Austin. 
Austin sends Sable to the locker room to give Vince McMahon the
bird.  Austin is wearing his cool
baseball jersey shirt and accepts the first blood stipulation at the King of
the Ring.  He promises to bring some
cookout food for when Kane sets himself on fire after failing to win his
title.  Kane walks out and signals for
“blood” to drop into the middle of the ring and drench Austin.  This leads to a crowd chant for Austin to
kick Kane’s ass and that plays us out.  7 for 9
The Final Report Card:  There were some twists and turns in this show
mixed with some above average ring work. 
We now have new odds stacked against Austin as it will be difficult for
him to make Kane bleed and retain his title and the Undertaker continues his
quest to destroy Paul Bearer.  We also
got more of a reason to care about the Hell in a Cell match between the
Undertaker and Mankind, something that the company has been pushing
aggressively the last two weeks since they likely realized that they needed a
greater hook for a show that only had five pre-announced matches.
So our King of the Ring card is as follows:
WWF Championship Match:  Steve Austin (Champion) vs. Kane
Hell in a Cell:  The Undertaker vs. Mankind
King of the Ring Finals:  TBA vs. TBA
King of the Ring Semi-Final #1:  Ken Shamrock vs. Jeff Jarrett
King of the Ring Semi-Final #2:  The Rock vs. Dan Severn
Al Snow & Head vs. Too Much
Monday Night War Rating:  4.3 (vs. 4.1 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – June 15, 1998

by Logan Scisco

Kane and Mankind’s
beatdown of Steve Austin at the end of last week’s show is replayed.
Jim Ross and Michael Cole are in the booth
and they are live from San Antonio, Texas. 
Hell in a Cell is hanging above the ring, but Ross does not know why.

Sable walks out
and introduces Vince McMahon, who brought her back to the WWF.  A wrestling company not sticking with a
retirement stipulation?  No!  McMahon has Sable read a prepared statement
that denies his use of charitable organizations to get back at Steve Austin and
promising to bring those who attacked Austin to justice.  McMahon kisses Sable on the cheek, but before
he can leave, Austin comes out with his sights set on beating up McMahon.  McMahon begs Austin to listen to reason and
says that the Undertaker arranged Austin’s beating on last week’s show.  See, the cops that were called on him just gave
the Undertaker an excuse not to back Austin up. 
The Undertaker proceeds to come out and calls McMahon a liar.  Before the Undertaker can beatdown McMahon,
though, the lights go out and Kane and Mankind show up with Paul Bearer in
tow.  Bearer piles onto the Undertaker
accusations by claiming that the Undertaker worked with him on last week’s plan.  Bearer then challenges Austin and the
Undertaker to a tag team match in the cell against Kane and Mankind and argues
that the entrance ramp that separates them is the “highway to hell.”  The Sable part of this segment was
nonsensical, but McMahon begging for his life and planting the seeds of an
Undertaker-led conspiracy was nice storytelling.  1 for
1
Opening King of
the Ring Qualifying Contest:  The Rock
beats Vader with a Rock Bottom at 4:40:
The rest of the Nation is barred from ringside for this
bout, just like last week’s show.  Cole is
still calling the Rock the “co-leader” of the Nation, which makes no sense now
that Faarooq is no longer in the group. 
Looking back at things now, I wish they had given Vader more time off
and then had him come back as part of Paul Bearer’s faction.  It would have gelled with Vader’s post-match
promo at Over the Edge about needing to re-evaluate his career.  They also could have booked Vader to go to
the semi-finals and face Ken Shamrock in a rematch of their Cold Day in Hell
encounter.  The Rock knocks Vader out of
the ring, where Mark Henry attacks him and gives him a splash, and that allows
the Rock to advance into the tournament and face Triple H or X-Pac in the first
round.  Rating:  ** (2 for 2)
The Road Dogg
gives a scouting report to Triple H and X-Pac on how they can beat each other.
Edge is coming!
Darren Drozdov
pins “Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee) after Marc Mero gives Jarrett a
low blow at 2:15:
During the bout, Mero and Jacqueline come out and Mero
rants about Sable’s return to the company. 
Jacqueline and Lee get into a confrontation on the floor, which
distracts Jarrett and results in Mero giving his future King of the Ring
opponent a low blow.  Droz takes advantage to notch his biggest win to date.
Billy Gunn tells
Triple H and X-Pac why they are going to stage the Match of the Year tonight.
Val Venis defeats
Chainz with the Money Shot at 4:37:
The Val Venis momentum tour continues as he dispatches
with the directionless Chainz.  They gave
this match too much time since the crowd could care less about Chainz and the
booking team wasn’t going to do anything with him after this match.  Rating:  *½ (2 for 3)
The Undertaker
tells Kevin Kelly that he can’t trust Steve Austin, but Austin can trust him
since his intentions of wanting a WWF title shot at clear.
Triple H tells
X-Pac that he can’t lay down for him since it’s the King of the Ring.  X-Pac says that he doesn’t need to take a
dive and wishes Triple H the best of luck.
Dustin Runnels
beats “Marvelous” Marc Mero (w/Jacqueline) with a bulldog at 4:08:
Returning the favor, Jeff Jarrett, Tennessee Lee, and
Southern Justice walk out during the match and Jarrett runs Mero down on
commentary.  After Mero hits a super
hurricanrana, Jarrett distracts the referee and Sable walks out to distract
Mero, enabling Runnels to score the upset. 
Classic Russo overbooking of that match, but I have to give them credit
for making the Mero-Jarrett first round match much more than TV filler.  This is Runnels first win since ditching the
Goldust gimmick.  Rating:  ** (3 for 4)
Chyna tells Triple
H and X-Pac that it’s time for their match
.
Kevin Kelly
interviews Dustin Runnels, who says he is happy with ending his losing streak
and that he needs to thank Jesus Christ for his victory.
Jerry “the King”
Lawler joins Ross to do commentary for the second hour of the show.
King of the Ring
Qualifying Match:  Triple H defeats X-Pac
by count out at 5:15:
This is X-Pac’s first match since his return to the
company following WrestleMania XIV. 
Triple H is also defending his King of the Ring title.  Chyna plays the role as a one woman
lumberjack, tossing both guys into the ring and keeping the action flowing.  The Rock distracts Triple H by cutting a
promo in the crowd and that allows Owen Hart to crotch X-Pac on the guardrail
and disable him.  Triple H checks on his
friend after the Rock’s promo and does not want to take a count out win, but
X-Pac tells him to get in the ring and take the victory.  Standard match, but it was well booked in
that it did not make X-Pac look weak on his return, advanced the DX-Nation
storyline, and pushed the King of the Ring as a big deal.  Triple H will now face the Rock in the first
round.  Rating:  ** (4 for 5)
The Undertaker’s
chokeslam spree on last week’s show is the JVC Kaboom! of the Week.
Al Snow walks out
with his old Avatar mask and Lawler confronts him in the ring.  Snow says that the Avatar gimmick was a dumb
idea cooked up by Vince McMahon (which it was) and he says that he is going to
make two citizens arrests: McMahon for attempted murder of his career and
Lawler for lewd conduct.  Lawler tries to
throw Head into the crowd, but that leads to Snow attacking him and giving a
referee in the ring a Snow Plow.  Snow
beats up a security guard and proceeds to flee into the crowd.  They are really turning their wheels with
Snow right now and they need to get to the point.  4 for
6
Steve Austin tells
Michael Cole that he can’t trust the Undertaker because the Undertaker wants
his WWF title.
Owen Hart &
Mark Henry beat Ken Shamrock & Dan Severn via disqualification when
D-Generation X interferes at 4:41:
Shamrock and Severn are reluctant partners in this match
and Shamrock doesn’t even acknowledge his partner’s presence after making his
entrance.  This is also a preview of the
King of the Ring first round, as Shamrock will face Henry and Severn will face
Owen in upcoming tournament matchups. 
Everyone looks good in this match, which features some fun technical
sequences between Owen and his face opponents, and Owen manages to put Shamrock
in the Sharpshooter, but DX interferes before Owen can get him to submit.  Rating:  **¼ (5 for 7)
After the bell,
the Nation runs out to fight DX and Vader runs out to assist DX and attack Mark
Henry.  WWF officials have to separate
everyone.
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Tag Team Royal
Rumble to Determine the #1 Contenders to the WWF Tag Team Championship:  Kane & Mankind (w/Paul Bearer) win after
eliminating Terry Funk & 2 Cold Scorpio at 8:30:
This is the first tag team Royal Rumble in WWF history
and thirty second entry times are used, so the action is fast and furious.  Just like the WrestleMania XIV battle royal,
when one member of a team is eliminated, their partner must also leave the
match.  Kane & Mankind are surprise
entrants and enter as the second team, facing LOD 2000, who draws number
one.  Other participating teams are the
New Midnight Express, the Headbangers, the Disciples of Apocalypse, Kurrgan
& Golga, Too Much (Brian Christopher & Scott Taylor), Faarooq &
Steve Blackman (who seemingly love to tag together despite not wrestling that many matches as a team), Taka Michinoku & Bradshaw, and Terry Funk & 2 Cold
Scorpio.  The eliminations come slowly
and then accelerate once all of the teams have entered the match.  Funk tries to use a chair to help his team
win a title shot, but that doesn’t account for Mankind, who uses the chair to
wear out Funk and eliminate him.  Putting
Kane & Mankind in the match acted as a spoiler, since no other team could
possibly beat them, but the closing sequence with Funk and Scorpio was fun
while it lasted.  6 for 8
After the
commercial break, Hell in a Cell lowers around Kane and Mankind in the ring for
the main event.  Of course, the WWF isn’t
giving away that tag match on free TV, so we get a wild brawl instead between
Austin and the heels after the Undertaker does not show up when announced.  As Austin fights his opponents on the ramp,
Paul Bearer locks himself in the cell, but the Undertaker climbs out from underneath
the ring and beats him to a bloody pulp. 
After Austin decimates Mankind, he climbs to the top of the cell to
fight with Kane and that plays us out. 
The crowd loved every moment of this. 
7 for 9
The Final Report Card:  This show really started to move us through
the “Highway to Hell” storyline with the Undertaker accused of plotting behind
Steve Austin’s back.  Since the
Undertaker had not been a heel since early 1992, the possibility that he might
turn was a big deal at the time.  The
midcard is also developing nicely, although the Al Snow storyline is beginning
to wear thin.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.3 (vs. 4.0 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up