What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – March 30, 1998

A video package
recaps the big events at last night’s WrestleMania pay-per-view.
Jim Ross and
Michael Cole are in the booth and they are live from Albany, New York.

Vince McMahon
walks out with the new version of the WWF title, which will replace the winged
eagle title that has been a staple of the company since 1988.  The crowd is so loud and rabid that McMahon
does not even know if his microphone is working.  Austin snatches the new title from McMahon
and McMahon goes back on what he said prior to WrestleMania and says he is
proud of Austin for winning the title. 
McMahon says that together they can make Austin the greatest WWF
champion of all-time.  Austin sees
through that scheme and takes offense when McMahon says he loves him.  After embarrassing McMahon, Austin reiterates
that he will continue to do things his way and McMahon tells him that he can
take the easy road and adapt or take the hard way and be forced to follow his
plan anyway.  Austin takes ten seconds to
think about it and then gives McMahon a Stone Cold Stunner.  Words cannot describe how awesome this
segment is.  McMahon played it like his
1990s announcing personality and Austin showed that way of doing business was
not going to be the way that the Attitude Era was going to proceed.  1 for
1
McMahon is shown
recovering in the locker room surrounded by his cronies
.
Opening
Contest:  The Legion of Doom (w/Sunny)
defeat Jose & Jesus when Hawk pins Jesus after a Doomsday Device in 34
seconds:
The only good thing about this repackaging is that it
gives Sunny something to do.  The Legion
of Doom roll through Jose and Jesus like the jobbers they are and after the
match Sunny says that they should be known as “LOD 2000” from now on.
Jim Ross says that
the WWF tag team titles are being held up due to the wrong dumpster being used
last night at WrestleMania and that the New Age Outlaws and Cactus Jack and
Chainsaw Charlie will meet in a steel cage match tonight.
Kevin Kelly says
that Vince McMahon has called the police and wants Steve Austin arrested.  After the commercial break, Kelly adds that
Austin says that Vince does not have the balls to arrest him.
Kurrgan (w/The
Jackyl) beats Chainz with the Paralyzer at 2:12:
Chainz never knocks Kurrgan off of his feet in this
squash, which continues Kurrgan’s reign of terror in the lower midcard.  After the match, Kurrgan keeps the Paralyzer
on and drags Chainz to the locker room.
Police officers
are shown arriving at the arena and greeted by Vince McMahon
.
Jeff Jarrett
(w/Tennessee Lee) defeats Aguila via submission to the figure-four leg lock at
2:36:
Jarrett continues to use the horse for his entrance,
which boggles my mind because I forgot that he even had such a ridiculous
entrance at this time.  The booking of
this match shows the problem of the light heavyweight division because Aguila
should be wrestling other light heavyweights, but there are not enough of them
in the company so they end up as cannon fodder for Jarrett and other midcarders.  Lee promises a big surprise on next week’s
show while doing commentary for this squash.
After the bell,
Steve Blackman runs out and floors Jarrett with a pump kick, but Jarrett
recovers and knocks him out of the ring when Blackman tries to go after
Lee.  This is a great crowd because they
give this developing feud a huge reaction
.
Police officers
are shown carrying Austin away in handcuffs. 
Austin tries to go after McMahon despite the handcuffs and Austin
promises that McMahon will pay.  Gerald
Brisco reassures McMahon that he made the right decision.
  After
the commercial break, McMahon walks out with Brisco and Commissioner Slaughter
and explains in a contrite voice that he felt Austin needed to cool off for
twenty-four hours based on his actions earlier tonight.
 2 for 2
Triple H and Chyna
inform us that the tonight the WWF as we know it will come to an X-rated end.
Ross interviews
Intercontinental Champion the Rock, who is backstage, and the Rock promises to
lay the smack down on Ken Shamrock.  The
Rock tells Faarooq that he opened his eyes to something new last night and
tells him that he is why he is still the champion and he guarantees that the
Nation will be stronger after tonight. 
Faarooq appears to be unconvinced
.
Jerry “the King”
Lawler comes out to do commentary for hour two
.
Ken Shamrock
& Steve Blackman beat The Rock & Faarooq (w/The Nation of Domination)
when Shamrock pins Faarooq after a belly-to-belly suplex at 4:22:
It takes Ross 1:25 to talk about Faarooq’s football
background, which might be a new record. 
The Rock’s heat is off the charts at the beginning of this match and it
only grows when he refuses to get into the ring to fight Shamrock.  This proceeds with Shamrock and Blackman
beating the tar out of Faarooq and the Rock walking out on Faarooq when Faarooq
tries to make the tag.  They work that
spot really well because the Rock at first holds his hand higher when Faarooq
crawls to their corner and then decides to blow him off for good.  Rating:  *½ (3 for 3)
After the match,
Faarooq calls the Rock back to the ring. 
The Rock returns and he and Faarooq brawl until the other members of the
Nation and WWF officials separate them. 
However, when the WWF officials leave and Faarooq calls the Rock back to
the ring, the other members of the Nation turn on Faarooq and the Rock
re-enters the ring to give Faarooq a Rock Bottom.  The Rock proclaims himself the new leader of
the Nation.
Kane giving Pete
Rose a Tombstone is the 10-321 Rewind segment.
European Champion
Triple H and Chyna come out and Triple H says that he was right about Mike
Tyson.  He accuses Shawn Michaels of
dropping the ball and says that he is taking over and tonight is the genesis of
D-Generation X.  Hmmm…so that’s where
Michael McGillicutty got that line. 
Triple H says that for allies to go to war he is looking at the Kliq and
Sean Waltman walks out.  Ross’s lack of
enthusiasm when Waltman comes out is pretty funny.  Waltman proceeds to cut a fun promo that runs
down Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff and says that Scott Hall and Kevin Nash would
be with him tonight if they were not being held hostage by WCW.  This segment nicely moved DX into Triple H’s
control and overcame the audience’s hesitation to embrace a Triple H-led DX.  4 for
4
Sable powerbombing
Luna Vachon last night at WrestleMania is the Bop It Slam of the Week.
The first Val
Venis vignette is aired where he previews his new film “Live Hard.”
-Before the match,
Luna Vachon comes out and demands a rematch with Sable.  After Sable agrees, she lays out what an Evening
Gown match is.  Mero does not want Sable
to accept the challenge, but Sable accepts anyway.  It’s a testament to Luna’s character that she
didn’t become a face in the lead up to that match because the crowd popped huge
at the suggestion that she wanted to strip Sable off her clothes.
“Marvelous” Marc
Mero (w/Sable) beat Taka Michinoku with a TKO at 1:36:

Throughout the match, Sable criticizes Mero’s heel tactics, but that
distracts the referee and helps Mero hit a low blow to win.  So, that whole light heavyweight
division?  Yeah, who cares about
that.  After the match, Sable tries to
tend to Michinoku and argues with Mero on her way to the backstage area.
After the match,
three Japanese men hit the ring and destroy Michinoku.
NWA Tag Team
Championship Match:  The New Midnight
Express (w/Cornette) defeat The Headbangers (Champions) to win the titles when
Bombastic Bomb pins Mosh after a Rocket Launcher at 4:00:
Before the match, Cornette brings out Dan Severn, who was
in the midst of a four year reign as the NWA World Heavyweight Champion and
should have been a bigger deal in the WWF. 
The hype of Severn takes precedence over calling this match, which is
standard fare.  After the bell, Severn
gets into the ring and suplexes the Headbangers around.  This was the ideal role for Severn to kick
ass and say very little, but that is not how he was treated during this
run.  Rating:  ** (4 for 4)
Steve Austin calls
into the show and promises to show Vince McMahon how pissed off he is on next
week’s RAW.
As the cage is
being set up for the main event, Kane and Paul Bearer walk out and Bearer
promises that the Undertaker-Kane feud is not over.  He says that he had a dream where the ring
was surrounded by fire and Kane stood tall. 
He challenges the Undertaker to enter his dream and face Kane in a match
where the loser will be set on fire. 
Very nice promo by Bearer to setup an Inferno match between Kane and the
Undertaker at Unforgiven and it was also a good use of time so that the cage
could be constructed for the main event. 5
for 5
Steel Cage Match
for the WWF Tag Team Championship:  The
New Age Outlaws beat Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie to win the titles when
the Road Dogg pins Cactus after a spike piledriver on a chair at 4:38:
Funk is shown with a nasty deep bruise suffered at last
night’s WrestleMania.  This match is
being contested under pinfall and submission rules, so escaping the cage gets
you nothing, and it assumes tornado tag rules as well.  The Outlaws tie Charlie to the cage by his
neck with handcuffs, which is rather ingenious, and Cactus fights the Outlaws
off for a while, but D-Generation X runs out and Sean Waltman, who is still
being referred to as “the Kid,” blasts Cactus in the head with a chair several
times as Chyna distracts the referee. 
This gives the Outlaws the break they need to win the titles for the
second time.  Rating:  ** (6 for 6)
After the bell,
D-Generation X destroys Cactus and ties Charlie tighter to the cage.  The Outlaws celebrate with Triple H and
Waltman and the DX theme plays in the background, seemingly confirming that the
Outlaws are the stable’s newest members.
The Final Report Card:  They really packed a lot into this RAW and it
followed a format that the company should look into today where the first hour
is packed with squash matches and a lead angle to keep people interested and
then having serious and more risky angles play out in the next hour.  More power is handed to the lead figures of
the Attitude Era from the New Generation as Triple H takes over D-Generation X
and the Rock takes over the Nation from Faarooq.  This show was very instrumental in setting
the tone for the rest of the year as well, with McMahon having Austin arrested
for the first time and DX being reformed with Triple H, the soon-to-be named
X-Pac, and the New Age Outlaws.  The show
also continued to tighten the gap with Nitro and showed that the company was
starting to benefit from an edgier product with Austin on top.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.8 (vs. 4.2 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – March 23, 1998

by Logan Scisco


Vince McMahon
saying that Steve Austin winning the WWF championship would be a corporate
nightmare on last week’s show is replayed. 
Austin will have a rebuttal tonight!
We are really due
for a new RAW opening because the original video has some guys like Sid
in it that are no longer part of the company. 
To compensate, the company is having to splice in lots of recent
footage.
Jim Ross and
Michael Cole are doing commentary and they are taped from Tucson, Arizona.  This is the go home show for WrestleMania
XIV.

Kevin Kelly
interviews Steve Austin, who says that Vince McMahon cannot mold or break
him.  He says that he respects Shawn
Michaels as a wrestler, but he will go through McMahon and all of his cronies
to get Michaels in the ring and win the WWF title.  Austin says he has lots of “Steveweisers” on
hand and will drink them when D-Generation X and Mike Tyson show up later
tonight.  Commissioner Slaughter comes
out and tells Austin that he will wrestle the Rock tonight on McMahon’s orders.  Despite Austin saying that he will comply,
Slaughter threatens him with making his WrestleMania match against Michaels
non-title and that sends Austin into a rage and he gives Slaughter a Stone Cold
Stunner.  The approaching angle really
makes Slaughter’s role irrelevant, so this is about all he is good for at this
point.  1 for 1
Opening
Contest:  Cactus Jack & Chainsaw
Charlie beat The Quebecers by disqualification when the New Age Outlaws
interfere at 3:50:
Ross spends much of this match hyping the New Age Outlaw
title defense at WrestleMania against Cactus and Chainsaw and explaining the
rules of their scheduled dumpster match. 
During the match, the New Age Outlaws come out in black coat and tie,
set up tables by the entrance, and have dates with Cactus and Chainsaw blow up
dolls.  Very passable match here, as the
Outlaws antics near the entrance receive the most attention and everyone put in
the minimal amount of effort prior to the disqualification.  After the bell, the Outlaws blast Cactus with
a champagne bucket, break their table across Chainsaw’s head, and give Cactus a
spike piledriver on a chair.  Rating: 
¾* (1 for 2)
Shawn Michaels
giving Steve Austin Sweet Chin Music two weeks ago on RAW is the Bop It Slam of
the Week.  It sort of defeats the purpose
of the Slam of the Week if it is something that happened two weeks ago, no?
Jeff Jarrett
(w/Tennessee Lee) beats Steve Blackman when he falls on top of Blackman during
a superplex attempt and Lee holds Blackman’s foot down at 2:24:
Jarrett busts out the electric horse entrance for the
second straight week.  Blackman is a
solid hand, but there is nothing that helps him stand out on this roster and
he’s very bland.  Jarrett cheats to hand
Blackman his first loss and when another referee comes down to correct the
injustice, Jarrett intelligently knocks him out with a right hand.  This match is actually leading somewhere and
starts a two month feud between these two. 
This new gimmick is definitely putting Jarrett on the road to the main
event!
D-Generation X and
Mike Tyson are shown arriving at the arena in a white limousine.
Kane’s rampage on
last week’s show and his confrontation with the Undertaker is replayed.
The Undertaker
cuts a promo by his parents gravesite. 
He asks his parents to forgive him for fighting Kane and he is ready to
burn in hell if he does not defeat Kane. 
Weird promo to see the Undertaker cut, since its more sentimental than
what we usually see.  That said, it did
not add anything new to the feud.  1 for 3
Paul Bearer and
Kane come out and Bearer makes fun of the Undertaker promo we just saw.  Bearer says that Kane has equal powers to the
Undertaker and to prove it, Kane ignites some of the lights in the arena, fries
some of the announcer electronic equipment, and blasts out one of the
spotlights.  Bearer gives Kane free reign
for his last trick and he decides to set a member of the camera crew on
fire.  Pretty hokey segment that turned
into “Kane’s magical illusion show.” 
Cole’s awful explanation of the segment where he keeps telling us that
Kane set a man on fire over and over again also doesn’t help.  1 for
4
The New Midnight
Express (w/Jim Cornette) wrestle The Disciples of Apocalypse  to a double disqualification at 3:33:
It takes less than a minute for the Headbangers to come
down to the ring for a closer look at the Express and the Rock N’ Roll Express
come out as well.  Soon it becomes a
parade of teams that will be in the WrestleMania tag team battle royal, as
Savio Vega and Miguel Perez, Jesus and Jose, the Quebecers, and the Truth
Commission come out.  With all of those
teams around ringside it doesn’t take long for them to start fighting and have
that fight spill into the ring, thereby rendering this match meaningless.  This is only notable because Los Boricuas
EXPLODES as Perez and Jesus fight.  The
crowd works up an “LOD” chant and Ross says that is not going to happen because
they have broken up for good…or have they?  
Not a very good debut for the Express, but that was not really the goal
of this.  Rating:  ½* (1 for 5)
Jerry Lawler joins
the commentary team for the second hour. 
I can’t wait until we get Ross and Lawler on a permanent basis.
D-Generation X and
Mike Tyson come out.  Triple H gloats
about winning the European title from Owen on last week’s show and he says that
even though Chyna will be handcuffed at ringside that won’t change the outcome
of their match.  There is a really slutty
older woman near the front row that is a big DX fan and Shawn Michaels makes
fun of her.  Michaels compares the
Austin-McMahon fight to a catfight and says he does not care about what McMahon
thinks of him.  Michaels says if Austin
wants to win the WWF title he has to go through the greatest champion in history
and he also has to deal with Tyson, who says he will knock Austin out if he
messes with him.  Michaels says that
after WrestleMania D-Generation X will rule forever….forever….Solid promo, but
it repeated all of the same talking points we’ve heard for weeks.  1 for
6
Gennifer Flowers
urges viewers to come out of the closet and announce that they are WWF fans.
The announcers
discuss the wicked chair shot Ken Shamrock took at the hands of the Rock last
week.  Ross says that at WrestleMania if
the Rock is disqualified he will lose the Intercontinental title.
Faarooq beats
Chainz by disqualification when the Rock interferes at 3:36:
Faarooq chooses to fight his own battle without the
Nation’s help and he does not have much to worry about as Chainz gets the
jobber entrance.  The Rock decides to
wander out despite Faarooq’s instructions with a chair and he gets more heat
than anyone on the show, as fans pelt him with garbage as he comes down the
ramp.  Faarooq has the match in hand
after a spinebuster, but the Rock runs into the ring with a chair to hit
Chainz.  Faarooq tells him not to do so
and prepares for a Dominator, but the Rock knocks him out with the chair,
seemingly aiming for Chainz and misses. 
Was he really aiming for Faarooq, though?  Both of these guys tried, but the Rock had
five times more heat than both of them combined and Faarooq loved the chinlocks
in this match.  Rating:  ¾* (1 for 7)
A video package
recaps the Bradshaw-Barry Windham feud.
Bradshaw beats
Barry Windham (w/Jim Cornette) with a school boy at 3:05:
The Rock N’ Roll Express occupy seats near the front row
for this match, which is puzzling because they are talent so they should just
be able to walk out and watch the match by the entrance at the very least.  In the old days this would be perfect midcard
fodder for WrestleMania, but the feud has largely been ignored for the last few
weeks and they must have felt the need to just blow it off here.  Windham actually takes off his entrance gear
for this one, so you know it’s important. 
The Express threaten to come over the guardrail after Cornette and that
distracts Windham, enabling Bradshaw to win in the weakest way possible.  After the match, the New Midnight Express run
down and help Windham do a small beatdown on Bradshaw before the Rock N’ Roll
Express make the save.  I would have given this a
point, but the ending was terrible.  Rating: 
*½ (1 for 8)
Muhammad Ali’s
guest referee performance at WrestleMania I is the M&M WrestleMania
Millennium Moment.
D-Generation X and
Mike Tyson are shown conversing and having fun in the locker room.  The announcers hype DX’s public workout in
Times Square on Thursday.
Sable is awarded a
plaque for making the January 1997 edition of RAW magazine the highest selling
ever.  Sunny is supposed to get one as
well, but is “under the weather,” and the crowd boos that out of the building,
which makes me wonder who the more popular “diva” at this time was among the
fan base.  It’s like the Shawn
Michaels-Bret Hart feud among fans, in that you favored one over the other.  I came down on the side of Bret and
Sunny.  Marc Mero says he is going to let
Sable have her moment and leaves, but that lets Luna Vachon run down and nail
Sable with her plaque and rip her dress. 
This segment was notable at the time because it exposed Vince Russo and
“Vic Venom” as the same person.  Venom
was a smarkish writer that wrote columns for WWF and RAW Magazine and had a
short-lived newsletter along the lines of the Wrestling Observer.  Russo was the WWF Magazine editor at the
time and while people have problems with elements of his booking, his editing
made WWF Magazine a great read in the mid-1990s.  In fact, Russo wrote a column in WWF magazine
after this where he blasted fans for fooling them with the Venom character,
which I swear was what informed the “It was me all along!” part of the Higher
Power angle of 1999.  2 for 9
Non-Title
Match:  Steve Austin beat The Rock
(Intercontinental Champion w/The Nation of Domination) with the Stone Cold
Stunner at 8:25 shown:
Somewhat interesting that the main event of WrestleMania
XV is the last RAW match before WrestleMania XIV.  Austin shows that the little things can work
a crowd as he flips the Rock off when granting a clean break in the
corner.  This is a surprisingly bland and
barely average match, with lots of stalling and deliberate strikes.  Austin actually rolls out of the way of the
People’s Elbow, something that rarely happened,
and launches a comeback to finish off the Rock. 
Since this still got a good crowd reaction I will give this a point, but
it is probably the worst Austin-Rock match that I remember seeing.  Rating:  ** (3 for 10)
After the match,
D-Generation X comes out and Michaels tells Austin that he will beat him at
WrestleMania.  Michaels feigns coming
into the ring to confront Austin, but Triple H convinces Michaels not to do it
as we go off the air.
The Final Report Card:  On my scale, this is one of the worst RAW
episodes in a while.  It is not that the
angles are not hot, but most of them have run out of steam without having a
match take place, so this show was everyone treading water before WrestleMania.  The only one where that does not apply, the
Bradshaw-Windham angle, had an awful finish on this show too, but that is what
I have come to expect from the NWA angle.
Here is our finalized WrestleMania XIV card:
*WWF Championship Match:  Shawn Michaels (Champion) vs. Steve Austin
with Mike Tyson as guest enforcer
*Intercontinental Championship Match:  The Rock (Champion) vs. Ken Shamrock and if
the Rock is disqualified he loses the title
*WWF Tag Team Championship Dumpster
Match:  The New Age Outlaws (Champions)
vs. Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie
*European Championship Match:  Triple H (Champion) vs. Owen Hart with Chyna
handcuffed at ringside
*Mixed Tag Team Match:  Marc Mero & Sable vs. The Artist Formerly
Known as Goldust & Luna Vachon
*WWF Light Heavyweight Championship
Match:  Taka Michinoku (Champion) vs. Aguila
*15 Team Tag Team Battle Royal
Monday Night War Rating:  3.6 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

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

Jim Ross and
Michael Cole are in the booth and they are taped from Phoenix, Arizona.  This is a special Tuesday St. Patrick’s
edition of Raw because Raw was pre-empted by USA Network’s Moby Dick.  Today, RAW would get cute with this being St.
Patrick’s Day, but this is the Attitude Era so we do not have leprechauns or
green set themes for this show.

Kevin Kelly
interviews Ken Shamrock and his introduction of Shamrock tries to channel
Howard Finkel and fails miserably.  Kelly
asks Shamrock if he can control his temper at WrestleMania and Shamrock says
that the Rock has to worry the most about him losing his temper.  Intercontinental Champion the Rock and the
Nation of Domination walk out and the Rock busts out the first “Know your role
and shut your mouth.”  The Rock says that
if Shamrock can last two minutes with any member of the Nation that he will
defend his title against Shamrock and drafts a reluctant D-Lo Brown to do his
bidding.  Shamrock’s mic work here was
better than normal and the Rock continues to bring the usual
entertainment.  1 for 1
Opening Two
Minute Challenge:  Ken Shamrock beats
D-Lo Brown by disqualification when the Rock interferes at 1:48:
D-Lo attacks Shamrock from behind to kick off this
challenge and the crowd busies itself with a “Rocky sucks” chant.  D-Lo gets through the first minute without
difficulty, but Shamrock turns the tide and puts him in the ankle lock.  Before D-Lo can submit with twelve seconds
left in the challenge, the Rock nails Shamrock with a chair and then gives him
another sick shot to the head.  As WWF
officials tend to a knocked out Shamrock, Faarooq argues with the Rock about
his actions and the Rock jaws with fans on the way back to the locker
room.  THIS is how to build heel heat.
Kelly says that
Shamrock has suffered a concussion and other elements of his medical condition
are uncertain.  Shamrock is shown not
wanting to go to the hospital and woozy.
Sable comes out
and challenges Luna Vachon to a match tonight.
The Phoenix Sun
gorilla rappels from the rafters, trampolines into the ring, and jumps around
before taking up a position at the broadcast booth.
Jeff Jarrett
(w/Tennessee Lee) defeats Tom Brandi via submission to the figure-four leglock
at 1:48:
Jarrett makes his entrance on a horse in electric
lights.  Jarrett’s rebooted push
continues here against the hapless Brandi whose fifteen minutes of fame with
Marc Mero and Sable are long game.  At
least Jarrett does some setup for the figure-four this week.
Kelly tells us
that Shamrock is being sent to the hospital, but the Rock interrupts his report
and says that he is now worried about who he is going to face at WrestleMania
since Shamrock won’t be able to make it.
Lawrence Taylor’s
victory over Bam Bam Bigelow at WrestleMania XI is the M&M WrestleMania
Millennium Moment.
A video package
hypes the Shawn Michaels-Steve Austin WrestleMania main event by providing
comprehensive retrospectives on Shawn Michaels career.  The good thing about this video package is
that it puts over the importance of the main event and the WWF title and puts a
focus on the future and not on the past, which is a problem with the product
today.
Handicap
Match:  The Headbangers (NWA Tag Team
Champions) beat The Rock N’ Roll Express & Jim Cornette when Mosh pins
Ricky Morton with the Stage Dive at 2:06:
This grew out of a Superstars match where Cornette pinned
Mosh after the Headbangers beat the Rock N’ Roll Express in a title defense
after the usual NWA shenanigans.  The
Headbangers hit the Stage Dive out of nowhere to win this without Cornette ever
being part of the match.  However, when
the Headbangers try to beat up Cornette, the repackaged Bart Gunn and Bob Holly
come out and attack them.  Cornette
announces them as the New Midnight Express and they are now named “Bombastic”
Bob and “Bodacious” Bart.  Cornette has
the New Express beat up the Rock N’ Roll Express because the Rock N’ Roll
Express has done a poor job protecting him. 
Since the New Midnight Express did not have the old Midnight Express’s
awesome theme music this was a failure out of the gate much like the rest of
the NWA angle.  (2 for 3)
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to hear what the plan is for D-Generation X to eliminate Steve
Austin before WrestleMania!
Gennifer Flowers
says that Shawn Michaels could be her “boy toy” anytime, that Steve Austin
would not be “stone cold” with her, and that she could make the Undertaker rise
from the dead.  So that’s who we can
blame for American badass Undertaker…
The Phoenix Sun
gorilla keeps jumping around in the ring and unveils a “Gorilla 3:16”
t-shirt.  Kane and Paul Bearer take
exception to that as the lights go out and Kane lays the Gorilla to waste.  HUGE heel heat for that.  3 for
4
Jerry Lawler comes
out to do commentary for hour two
.
Footage is shown
of European Champion Owen Hart breaking his ankle against Barry Windham on last
week’s show.  He comes out to do
commentary for the next match.  They
clearly edit out a part where Ross tells the fans to quit reaching over the
guardrail and messing with the commentators.
Chainsaw Charlie
beats Billy Gunn (w/The Road Dogg) by disqualification at 2:23:
This was setup from last week’s show where Gunn nailed
Charlie in the back with a chair.  Ross
tells the fans that the tag team championship match at WrestleMania will be a
dumpster match.  The Road Dogg proceeds
to commentate the match on the house mic and when things get sour for Billy
after he refuses to pin Charlie after two piledrivers, the Road Dogg runs in
and creates the disqualification.  After
the bell, Charlie fights off the heels, gives Gunn a DDT on a tag team title
belt, and Cactus Jack comes out to help Charlie tie up Road Dogg by the feet
and lift him several feet in the air. 
Nice segment that allows the faces to get revenge for the attack the Outlaws launched against
Cactus and Charlie on last week’s show.  (4 for 5)
Steve Austin’s
bullying of Vince McMahon on last week’s show is the Bop It Slam of the Week.
Luna Vachon tells
the announcers from the backstage area that she accepts Sable’s challenge, but
it will be at a time that she decides
.
Vince McMahon
walks out to a chorus of boos and is interviewed by Kevin Kelly.  McMahon considers Austin’s conduct on last
week’s show unprofessional, but considers it somewhat justified by Mike Tyson
joining D-Generation X.  McMahon gets
tired of Kelly going back to last week’s footage and says he did not hit Steve
Austin last week because he wanted to save the WrestleMania main event since he
would have broken Austin’s jaw.  When
asked if he wants to see Austin win the WWF title at WrestleMania, McMahon says
that if Austin would be willing to be molded into the WWF’s corporate image
that would be okay for the company, but if he won the title in present form it
would be a public relations disaster. 
McMahon says that Austin and WWF fans cannot handle his answer, but when
Kelly presses him for an answer, McMahon relents and says his answer is not
only a “no,” but a “hell no.”  McMahon
hits another segment out of the park here as McMahon gradually morphed into the
Mr. McMahon character over the course of the interview and let his disdain of
Austin be publicly aired.  5 for 6
Ross says that
Lucky Luke and Prince have been chosen to rap Mike Tyson to the ring at
WrestleMania.  Owen makes me laugh by
saying that he hates rap.  A Tyson video
package is aired
.
Steve Austin gets
a career retrospective video package to hype his participation in the
WrestleMania main event.  It talks about
his WCW firing and Ringmaster gimmick.
Triple H walks out
and questions Owen’s manhood.  He
challenges Owen to a European title match tonight and when Owen refuses, Triple
H tosses water in his face and pushes him down. 
This leads to a brawl that leads to…
European
Championship Match:  Triple H (w/Chyna)
beats Owen Hart (Champion) by referee stoppage at 45 seconds to win the title:
Owen pounds on Triple H on the floor and tosses him into
the ring, but Triple H distracts the referee, thereby allowing Chyna to smash a
baseball bat into Owen’s injured ankle and roll him into the ring.  Triple H puts Owen in an ankle lock and the
referee stops the match to give Triple H his then-record setting second
European title reign.  You really want to
root for Owen in this feud, but it is becoming increasingly impossible when
he’s made to look like a fool each week. 
You would almost think that is the point of all this…
Confrontation:  Sable (w/Marc Mero) and Luna Vachon
(w/Goldust):
Both women come out to confront the other and brawl, but
WWF officials will not allow it to take place and the fans are not very
happy.  Mero and Goldust assist by
holding their valets back, leading the crowd to work up a “Let them go!”
chant.  Sable eventually gets free of
Mero and chokes Luna and rips her clothes as the crowd explodes.  At the end of the segment, Sable appears to
have suffered a knee injury.  The booking
team went way overboard on the injury angles this week.
The lights go out
and Kane returns and in a really awesome heel move Mero flees the ring to “get
help,” thereby leaving Sable alone.  Sable
begs for her life when the lights go out again and the Undertaker shows up on
top of the Titantron and tells Kane that he felt his wrath at the Royal Rumble
and now it is time for him to feel his. 
The Undertaker uses his powers to set a casket that has Kane in effigy
alight as we go off the air.  Everything
from the Sable-Luna brawl through this shows in about five minutes why the
Attitude Era was an awesome time to be a fan. 
6 for 7
The Final Report Card:  Since the WWF was not facing competition from
WCW with this show they decided to use it to hype the WrestleMania main event
with two long video packages for Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin, which was a
good move.  The show also played up the
“WWF corporate executives do not want Austin to be the WWF champion” and it was
the first time that Vince McMahon portrayed a heel character on WWF television
(although USWA fans saw an early version of the character in 1993).  Good effort this week in exposing the product
to new fans and any WCW fans that were starved for wrestling action on a
Tuesday night.
Monday Night War Rating:  N/A

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – March 9, 1998

by Logan Scisco

-A video package recaps
Mike Tyson joining D-Generation X and the Undertaker’s return on last week’s
show
.
Jim Ross, Michael
Cole, and Kevin Kelly are doing commentary for the first hour and they are
taped from Wheeling, West Virginia.

Opening
Contest:  Ken Shamrock & Steve
Blackman beat Faaarooq & The Rock (w/The Nation of Domination) by
disqualification when the Nation interferes at 4:40
This is the outgrowth of Shamrock rescuing Blackman from
a beatdown at the hands of the Nation on last week’s show.  Commissioner Slaughter must not attend taped
shows because he doesn’t bother trying to come out and eject the Nation from
ringside during this match.  The
commentary team points out that many people in this match have their best days ahead
of them, but miss Blackman.  Shamrock
dominates the Rock when he gets the hot tag and the Nation interferes when all
hell breaks loose.  After the bell, Mark Henry
destroys Blackman on the outside, but the Rock wants the Nation to go away so
he can beat on Shamrock.  When the Nation
leaves, Shamrock beats up the Rock and puts him in the ankle lock while Faarooq
is just like “I told you so” by the entrance. 
Rating:  ** (1 for 1)
Triple H and Chyna
come out and Triple H says that Shawn Michaels is not at the show tonight.  He recaps Steve Austin getting laid out with
Sweet Chin Music on last week’s show and Michaels appears on the Titantron from
a restaurant to gloat about Tyson joining D-Generation X.  He says that Austin has not shown him
anything new.  Michaels cut a good promo,
but the Triple H promo work was boring. 
However, since Michaels promo was the focal point of the segment, I’ll
give this a point.  (2 for 2)
European
Championship Match:  Barry Windham (w/Jim
Cornette) beats Owen Hart (Champion) by count out at 5:14:
Triple H and Chyna eject Kelly from the commentary booth
so they can watch this match.  Although
Windham moves slowly in this match it is a pretty good title defense for Owen
that combines several near-falls and equal offense between both men.  Cornette distracts Owen to break up a
Sharpshooter and they brawl near the commentary table, which sees Chyna low
blow Owen and cause him to get counted out. 
Triple H laughs on commentary, which only reinforces how viewers at home
want to see Owen get revenge at WrestleMania. 
That has to happen, right?  Rating: 
** (3 for 3)
After the match,
Bradshaw runs out and gives Windham a big boot, thereby forcing him to flee.
Sable and Marc
Mero talk to the referee of Mero’s match with Goldust tonight where Luna Vachon
and Sable will be handcuffed at ringside
.
Jerry Lawler
interviews Kane and Paul Bearer in the locker room.  Seeing Lawler scared of Kane is pretty funny.  Bearer gloats about Kane blasting Vader with
a wrench at No Way Out, but boxes in the locker room open and close by
themselves so Bearer runs away.  This
adds to some weird technical glitches that are happening with cameras on this
show, so is the Undertaker nearby?
Aguila (w/Taka
Michinoku) defeats “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher (w/Jerry Lawler) by
disqualification when Lawler interferes at 4:55:
Evidently Aguila is suffering from the flu for this
match.  About ninety seconds into the
match the lights begin to flicker and thunder in heard in the arena, but things
return to normal shortly thereafter. 
This is a de facto number one contender’s match for the light
heavyweight title, since it is still uncertain who Michinoku’s challenger will
be at WrestleMania.  Lots of good moves
in this match, with Aguila using an Asai moonsault and a top rope arm drag and
Christopher using a sunset flip powerbomb to the arena floor.  Lawler takes out Michinoku on the outside,
but gets caught tripping Aguila when he goes to the top rope and that produces
the finish.  If they had announced this
as a number one contender’s match this would have had higher stakes, but as it
stood this was just a botch free light heavyweight match that was a change of
pace in the ring.  Rating:  **¼ (4 for 4)
Andre the Giant
tossing Bret Hart out to win the WrestleMania II battle royal is the
WrestleMania Millennium Moment.  Jim Ross
botches recapping it after the segment by saying that it had the “Refrigerator”
Bill Fralic
.
Steve Austin is
shown arriving to the arena and immediately walks out.  He says he is tired of hearing Mike Tyson
billed as the baddest man on the planet because it is an insult to him.  He steals Howard Finkel’s ringside seat and
decides to sit in the ring before Vince McMahon comes out and sets things
right.  Instead of Vince, Gerald Brisco
and Jack Lanza walk out and tell Austin to come with them, but Austin
refuses.  Commissioner Slaughter
considers the parade of cronies, but Austin calls him a jackass and says that
he won’t do anything to him because he’s headlining WrestleMania.  McMahon is shown backstage and Brisco is
trying to convince him to go out, but McMahon refuses as we go to commercial.
We return from
commercial and Pat Patterson comes out with some security officials to remove
Austin from the ring.  One of them is
over 50 years old, which leads to Austin calling him “pops” and blowing him
off.  The security guys do not want to
remove Austin, so they leave and Patterson has to retreat.  Finally, Vince comes out with Brisco, Dave
Hebner, and Slaughter and McMahon says that calling Tyson the baddest man on
the planet is a figure of speech.  Austin
says that might be so and gives him the middle finger, saying that is also a
figure of speech.  Austin dares McMahon
to give him his best shot after McMahon will not say that he wants to see
Austin win the WWF title.  He rips
McMahon’s suit jacket and McMahon leaves the ring and says that Austin will
pay.  Austin says he wants to kick Triple
H’s ass tonight.  Awesome segment that
really made clear that Austin-McMahon was the next big feud and even though
Austin bullied McMahon here, no one had much sympathy for McMahon because of
Montreal and the fact that he’s a millionaire. 
I’ll give this double points because it took up two segments.  6 for
6
Lawler joins the
commentary for the second hour.
Cactus Jack &
Chainsaw Charlie beat The Quebecers
Ross announces that because of Austin’s strike that the
NWA tag team title match between the Headbangers and the Rock N’ Roll Express
will not be held tonight.  Cactus and
Chainsaw are heading to WrestleMania to face the New Age Outlaws for the tag
team titles, so this match serves to put them over and give them some
momentum.  The match has some highlights,
with Charlie missing a moonsault and Pierre giving Cactus a hurricanrana off
the top rope, but Pierre blind charge creates the finish.  I was expecting more of a squash, but this
ended up as a competitive and enjoyable television bout.  Rating:  ** ¼ (7 for 7)
After the match,
the Road Dogg comes out with his arm in a sling and he dares Cactus to fight
him.  When Cactus follows, Billy Gunn
smashes Chainsaw in the back with a chair.
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to hear a Mike Tyson story and find out what Jim Cornette is
doing in the ring!
The Undertaker’s
return on last week’s RAW is the 10-321 Slam of the Week.  Remember that 10-321 stuff?  It was a running gag in that there was a new
number for it every week.
Kane and Paul
Bearer come out and Bearer says that the Undertaker made a mistake
returning.  The Undertaker’s music tolls
and the lights go out and suddenly the Undertaker appears in the ring.  When the lights come back on, the Undertaker
disappears.  The crowd doesn’t care for
that, but this was a shrewd way to play up the Undertaker’s “powers” and keep
him physically away from Kane before WrestleMania.  8 for
8
Valets Handcuffed
at Ringside:  “Marvelous” Marc Mero
(w/Sable) beats The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust (w/Luna Vachon) by
disqualification at 5:00:
This stipulation is something out of Memphis and as Luna
licks her handcuff chain Ross’s reaction about his mother fainting back home is
priceless.  Goldust beats down Mero and
then uses his “free time” to make a move on the handcuffed Sable at ringside.  The ref gets bumped about three minutes in,
which does not allow him to count the fall from the Curtain Call and Goldust
then leg drops him so he can get the handcuff keys and release Luna.  Luna smears makeup all over Sable’s
face.  Mero’s “what happened?” after he
sees what happened is great.  The match
result is never announced, but I assume it is a disqualification.  The match was not much, but the angle
development and storytelling were excellent. 
Rating:  * (9 for 9)
Goldust and Luna
Vachon cut a promo in the backstage area and Goldust says that he is tired of
holding Luna back.  They issue a mixed
tag team match challenge to Marc Mero and Sable for WrestleMania.
A video package
provides Mike Tyson’s history in the WWF thus far.
A taped interview
with Ross and Tyson is shown.  Tyson says
he did not care to get disrespected by Steve Austin the night after the Royal
Rumble and Tyson says that he doesn’t care about being fair as the enforcer at
WrestleMania.  A rather dry interview as
Tyson was one of those guys who made more convincing arguments in the ring than
he did on the mic.  9 for 10
Triple H
(w/Chyna) and Savio Vega (w/Los Boricuas) wrestle to a no contest at 33
seconds:
Lawler tries to give this main event some backstory by
saying that D-Generation X did not pay its debts to Los Boricuas, but no one
cares about the Boricuas.  This is all
about Austin running out anyway and despite a sea of WWF officials and the
Boricuas around the ring Austin makes an appearance thirty seconds in and gives
a wave of Stone Cold Stunners to Gerald Brisco, a referee, and Savio.  However, Shawn Michaels appears and blasts an
unsuspecting Austin with Sweet Chin Music and Lawler has a great turn on Edmund
Burke’s quotation of “Evil will always triumph because good is always stupid.”  Michaels prepares to smash Austin in the head
with a steel chair, but the show ends before that can be played.  (10 for
11)
The Final Report Card:  Fantastic episode of Raw that combined some
solid television matches with excellent angle development and storylines.  WrestleMania will now have a mixed tag team
match between Marc Mero and Sable and Goldust and Luna Vachon and this show
made fans want to cheer for Steve Austin and Owen Hart in their separate
battles against D-Generation X.  The show
also began to align Vince McMahon with the heel side of the roster by having
him give signals that he did not want Austin to become the next WWF
champion.  However, look at how that idea
was played in this feud versus the Authority vs. Daniel Bryan feud of this year.  McMahon’s objection to Austin was that he was
anti-establishment and not family friendly, whereas Bryan’s feud devolved into
him not being good for business or on the same level as other competitors.  The next RAW was a Tuesday event, held on March
17th, because, get this, USA Network had to show a television
adaptation of Moby Dick!
So our updated WrestleMania card is as
follows:
*WWF Championship Match:  Shawn Michaels (Champion) vs. Steve Austin
with Mike Tyson as enforcer
*Intercontinental Championship Match:  The Rock (Champion) vs. Ken Shamrock
*WWF Tag Team Championship Match:  The New Age Outlaws (Champions) vs. Cactus
Jack & Chainsaw Charlie
*European Championship Match:  Owen Hart (Champion) vs. Triple H
*(Tentative) Mixed Tag Team Match:  Marc Mero & Sable vs. The Artist Formerly
Known as Goldust & Luna Vachon
*Tag Team Battle Royal
Monday Night War Rating:  3.6 (vs. 4.9 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up (Way Up)

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – March 2, 1998

by Logan Scisco

A video package
recaps the confrontation between Steve Austin and Mike Tyson on January 19th.
Jim Ross, Michael
Cole, and Kevin Kelly are doing commentary for the first hour and they are live
from Cleveland, Ohio
.

D-Generation X
comes out and Triple H says that the road to WrestleMania has begun.  He says Owen Hart is wearing his European
title and that he is going to end his reign at WrestleMania.  WWF Champion Shawn Michaels says that DX is
going to make Mike Tyson an offer he cannot refuse.  Michaels offers some generic comments about
his WrestleMania bout with Steve Austin, which brings Austin out.  However, before Austin can say anything, the
lights go out and Kane walks out as DX flees. 
Paul Bearer tells Austin that Kane will prevent him from going to
WrestleMania.  They go to the locker
room, so Austin goes to the announce table, pushes Cole out of his seat, and
cuts a promo saying that he is ready to face Kane and Tyson tonight and he will
beat Kane with the lights on or off. 
Decent opening segment to get things rolling (1 for 1)
Mike Tyson, Shane
McMahon, and his entourage are shown entering the arena.
-The Outlaws come
to the ring in neck braces and there is a dumpster close to the ring.  The Outlaws show footage from their camera
from last week’s attack by Chainsaw Charlie and Cactus Jack, argue that Charlie
and Cactus will be charged with first degree murder, and that they cannot
defend the titles due to their medical condition.  Commissioner Slaughter gets on the Titantron
and says that the Outlaws will wrestle this evening and will defend the tag
team championships.
Opening Contest
for the WWF Tag Team Championship:  The
Disciples of Apocalypse beat The New Age Outlaws (Champions) by count out at
1:24:
This is a quick match that resembles a street fight as
Billy Gunn blasts 8-Ball with one of the tag team title belts and then Skull is
whipped into the nearby dumpster.  As the
Outlaws approach the dumpster, Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie jump out and
the Outlaws flee into the crowd.  Coupled
with the Outlaws interview segment before the match this was entertaining.  (2 for
2)
A video package chronicles
the tensions between Marc Mero, Sable, Goldust, and Luna Vachon.
Salt-N-Pepa’s
performance at WrestleMania XI is our weekly WrestleMania Millennium Moment
.
“Marvelous” Marc
Mero (w/Sable) beats Tom Brandi with a TKO at 2:41:
Brandi has become an afterthought as the Mero-Sable
program has transitioned to Goldust and Luna Vachon and he gets the jobber
entrance for this match.  Sable is sent
to the back before the match, since Mero think she is getting too big of a
crowd reaction.  A minute into the match
Luna Vachon walks out and trips Brandi when he runs the ropes and that sets up
a low blow and TKO from Mero.
After the match,
Luna gets into the ring to celebrate with Mero and kisses him.  Mero does not care for that and Goldust hits
the ring and ambushes Mero.  A beatdown
results until Sable runs in and makes the save. 
Mero berates Sable for helping him and Sable pushes him to the canvas
and Mero flees.  I don’t really care for Mero
running away from Sable, since that makes very little sense from a practical
point-of-view, but the crowd loved seeing Sable beat up Luna.
European
Championship Match:  Mark Henry beats
Owen Hart (Champion) by disqualification when Chyna interferes at 5:40:
Before the bout, Commissioner Slaughter bars other
members of the Nation of Domination from standing around ringside.  During the first minute of the match Chyna
walks out and that helps Henry obtain control of the match.  It takes three times for Owen to lock in the
Sharpshooter, but Chyna distracts him and forces him to release it.  Chyna pushes Owen off the top rope and into a
Henry bearhug, but before Owen’s hand will drop for the third time and give
Henry the title, she gets in the ring and gives him a low blow.  A fun big man-little man match that combined
some nice psychology and did a nice job furthering the storyline of DX wanting
to weaken Owen before WrestleMania.  This
was probably Henry’s best match in the WWF up to this point.  Rating:  **½ (3 for 3)
Vince McMahon is
shown talking to Mike Tyson backstage.
Taka Michinoku
& The Headbangers defeat Barry Windham & The Rock N’ Roll Express (w/Jim
Cornette) when Thrasher pins Robert Gibson after hitting him with Cornette’s
tennis racket at 1:46:
Windham must not care anymore because he has not bothered
to remove his entrance gear while wrestling in his last several matches.  This match barely gets going before all hell
breaks loose and the WWF TV crew misses the finish.  As the Headbangers celebrate, Cornette
challenges them to defend their NWA tag team titles against the Rock N’ Roll
Express next week.
As we enter hour
two, Lawler joins Ross for commentary
.
Vince McMahon
comes out to a chorus of boos, which he considers surprising, and introduces
Mike Tyson.  D-Generation X walks out
amid a sea of WWF officials and McMahon is not happy, fearing that this is
going to be Austin-Tyson II.  Shawn
Michaels tells Tyson that DX is not out to disrespect him and he calls him out.  Tyson says he is ready to go and McMahon is
seemingly resigned to having it happen, so everyone clears the ring.  This immediately gets the fans attention and
they do a staredown, but Michaels rips off Tyson’s WWF Attitude shirt to reveal
a DX shirt underneath.  It’s funny to see
Tyson as excited as an eight year old doing the DX crotch chops.  McMahon is not happy with this storyline
development since it means that Tyson is not going to be an impartial enforcer
at WrestleMania.  (4 for 4)
After the
commercial break, DX and Tyson’s crew are shown celebrating in the locker room
.
Steve Blackman
beats Kama Mustafa by disqualification when the Nation of Domination interferes
at 3:02:
Like Mark Henry’s match, Commissioner Slaughter bars the
Nation of Domination from ringside.  This
is Blackman’s third match against a Nation of Domination member in as many
weeks.  Blackman and Kama go back and
forth for a few minutes until Blackman catches Kama with a pump kick and ties
him up in an armbar submission, which leads to a Nation run in and beatdown
before Ken Shamrock makes the save. 
Throwaway bout that probably sets up a tag team match of some sort next
week.  Rating:  *½ (4 for 5)
Tennessee Lee,
Robert Fuller’s WWF gimmick which is just putting lipstick on a pig of his
Colonel Robert Parker WCW gimmick, makes his debut and introduces the repackaged
Jeff Jarrett, who has moved away from the NWA faction and reverted to his old
1993-1995 gimmick.  You know, the one
that he denounced as comic and ridiculous when he returned to the company a few
months ago.  Jarrett says that the NWA
could not handle him and Lee is the world’s greatest promoter so that is why he
has joined him.
Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee
Lee) beats Flash Funk via submission to the figure-four leg lock at 3:32:
As Jarrett is repackaged, Funk is heading that way as
well as he is growing his hair out and ditching the hat and other elements of
his entrance attire.  Funk seems to have
the match in hand, but Lee crotches him on the top rope when he goes for the
Funky Flash Splash and Jarrett applies the figure-four leg lock for the
submission.  I hate when wrestlers have a
submission hold and have not worked over the body part during the match.  Rating:  *¾ (4 for 6)
Gennifer Flowers
is introduced as a celebrity for WrestleMania XIV.  For those who are no attune to 1990s
politics, Flowers allegedly had a decade-long relationship with President Bill
Clinton when he was governor of Arkansas.
Cole interviews
D-Generation X and Mike Tyson in the locker room and DX says that Tyson has
joined because they are the hottest act going.
A video package
recaps the breakup of the Legion of Doom and their history in the WWF.
Steve Austin comes
out to wrestle Kane, but is attacked by D-Generation X and knocked out by Shawn
Michaels with Sweet Chin Music.
After the
commercial break, Paul Bearer and Kane are still in the ring and Bearer sends
Kane to get the timekeeper.  On his way
there Kane beats up a fan in an Austin 3:16 shirt and the timekeeper is forced
to ring the bell ten times in memory of the Undertaker.  After the timekeeper rings the bell, Kane
destroys him with a chokeslam and Tombstone. 
Bearer says that Kane has one Tombstone left and Lawler humorously
points to Ross at the announce table. 
Suddenly the Undertaker’s music hits and the lights go off and after the
bells toll ten times, in a nice piece of continuity, lightning hits a casket by
the entrance and the Undertaker emerges. 
The Undertaker goes into a Shakespearean soliloquy where he says he told
his parents in the other world that he would have to face Kane.  Kane makes fire appear near the entrance, but
the Undertaker walks through the flames and tells Kane that no one will be
there to save him at WrestleMania.  The
Undertaker’s promo started to become a parody with all of the discussion of
darkness and hell, but it closed well and the lead up to the Undertaker’s
return was well done.  (5 for 7)
The Final Report Card:  A very important show in the WrestleMania
build as Tyson seemingly aligns with D-Generation X, which stacks the deck
against Steve Austin in the WWF title match, and the Undertaker returns to make
a WrestleMania bout against Kane official. 
There were probably some fans that were angry about the bait and switch
pulled with the Austin-Kane main event, but there was no way that match was
taking place considering how protected both men were at this point.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.8 (vs. 4.8 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – February 23, 1998

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross, Kevin
Kelly, and Michael Cole are in the booth and they are live from Waco, Texas.

Opening Contest
for the WWF Tag Team Championship:  The
New Age Outlaws (Champions) beat The Legion of Doom when The Road Dogg pins
Animal after Billy Gunn blasts Animal with a tag team title belt at 4:57:
By this time the Road Dogg had polished the Outlaws
introduction into what most fans remember. 
Quick match, with the LOD hitting the Road Dogg with the Doomsday
Device, but the referee works to get Hawk out of the ring and the Outlaws use
underhanded tactics to win.  After the
match, the Legion of Doom argue with each other and start brawling, which is an
interesting visual.  WWF officials run
out to split it up.  Unfortunately, this
didn’t lead to a feud that might be interesting and instead segwayed into the
LOD 2000 repackaging, which, as you can guess, led into a new feud with the
Outlaws!  Rating:  *¾ (1 for 1)
Non-Title
Match:  Ken Shamrock defeats Jeff Jarrett
(NWA North American Champion w/Jim Cornette) via submission to the ankle lock
at 5:43:
Due to beating the Rock in the War of Attrition match at
No Way Out of Texas, Shamrock gets an Intercontinental title match at
WrestleMania XIV.  The crowd loves seeing
Shamrock destroy Jarrett in the early going and Shamrock kicks out when
Cornette trips him when he suplexes Jarrett in the ring and tries to hold down
his leg on the cover.  This is a very
proficient match between two guys that can go, with several false finishes
mixed in, and the referee gets inadvertently bumped, but Cornette accidentally
blasts Jarrett with his tennis racket and that leads to the finish.  Rating:  **½ (2 for 2)
After the match,
Cole interviews Jarrett, who says that it might be time for he and Cornette to
go their separate ways
.
Shawn Michaels
entrance at WrestleMania XII is the WrestleMania Millennium Moment
.
Jerry Lawler
interviews Animal in the locker room and Animal screams a lot before Hawk runs
in and they fight some more as Bradshaw and a few jobbers work to separate
them.
The Truth
Commission & Kurrgan (w/The Jackyl) beat The Disciples of Apocalypse when
Kurrgan pins 8-Ball with the Paralyzer at 3:56:

Since Kurrgan has ditched his Truth Commission ring gear, he is not considered
part of the Truth Commission anymore, which is just Sniper and Recon.  The Jackyl doesn’t do commentary for this
match as he has done for most Truth Commission matches to this point.  During the match, Ross announces that there
will be a fifteen team battle royal at WrestleMania.  This follows a predictable, yet smart,
booking pattern whereby DOA tries to keep Kurrgan from entering the ring.  Skull and 8-Ball slam Kurrgan to a huge
reaction, but 8-Ball is left alone with Kurrgan and that has a predictable
result.  Better than I expected it to
be.  Rating:  *½ (3 for 3)
After the match,
the Jackyl yells at Sniper for not tagging in and slaps him, but when Sniper
goes after the Jackyl, Kurrgan puts him in a Paralyzer and drags him to the
locker room
.
D-Generation X is
in Shawn Michaels home in Texas and cuts a promo.  Triple H says that WrestleMania will be
X-rated and that the next four weeks will set the Nielsen ratings on fire.  Good promo (4 for 4)
Sunny comes out to
do guest ring announcing duties and asks the crowd if things are really bigger
in Texas
.
Taka Michinoku wrestles
Barry Windham (w/Jim Cornette & The Rock N’ Roll Express) to a no contest
at 2:34:
This is quite a David vs. Goliath battle, as Windham can
throw Michinoku around with ease.  The
match is happening because Taka could not read his contract.  Michinoku surprises Windham with a few
moonsaults and Windham doesn’t bother to take off his ring gear for the match.  Windham hits his trademark suplex and lariat,
but the lights go off and Kane walks out. 
Michinoku ends up the target as the NWA flee.  Paul Bearer calls out Steve Austin and
challenges him to a match next week on RAW.
We head into hour
two so Lawler takes over the commentating duties for Cole and Kelly.
Cole interviews
the New Age Outlaws as they leave the arena and they take credit for splitting
the Legion of Doom up.  In a small piece
of foreshadowing, the Road Dogg is wearing a D-Generation X t-shirt.  Cole gets tired of the Outlaws antics, but
after the Outlaws get into their car it is attacked by Chainsaw Charlie and
Cactus Jack.  The Outlaws manage to speed
away.  Hard to really see everything
going on with the darkness outside and I just can’t stand Cole (4 for 5)
Goldust gives a
funny Dusty Rhodes impression and talks about his career over a video
package.  Best line:  “I beat Ric Flair 25,000 times in a row!  I had a legendary feud, but Terry Funk always
whooped my ass so I don’t want to talk about that right now!”
Bradshaw pins The
Artist Formerly Known as Goldust with the lariat at 3:35:
Tonight, Goldust is dressed like his father Dusty Rhodes
circa 1990 and comes out to the “American Dream” theme song, which is a top
five theme song in my books.  A small
comedy match here, as Goldust tries to mock Dusty’s moves and injures
himself.  He also gets on the mic and
talks like Dusty and yells at the crowd. 
Bradshaw squashes Goldust and blocks a bionic elbow attempt with a
lariat to win.  Match was not much, but
Goldust’s comedy made it worth watching. 
Rating:  ½* (5
for 6)
Cole interviews
Goldust, who says that nothing compares to Goldust.
Kelly tries to
interview Hawk, who exits the arena without face paint and refuses to talk.
Non-Title
Match:  Steve Blackman pins The Rock
(Intercontinental Champion w/The Nation of Domination) after hitting him with
nunchucks at 4:14:
In a nice touch, the Rock hangs back during the Nation of
Domination’s entrance so that he can get more attention than the other members
of the group.  Faarooq gets on the apron
after the Rock hits Blackman with a powerslam and that nearly costs the Rock
the match when Blackman whips the Rock into Faarooq and schoolboys him for
two.  The situation happens again when
Faarooq hops on the apron, but D-Lo tosses Blackman’s nunchucks to Blackman
instead of the Rock, which costs the Rock the match.  Pure angle development and Blackman’s win
meant nothing in the long run.  Rating: 
¼* (5 for 7)
After the match,
D-Lo tells the Rock that Faarooq told him to toss the nunchucks to Blackman and
Faarooq does not care that the Rock knows.
Call 1-900-737-4WWF
to hear about WrestleMania, Shawn Michaels, and a national television deal for
the WWF!
Kelly interviews
Luna Vachon, who says she is waiting for Sable and cannot wait to rearrange her
face.
NWA Tag Team
Championship Match:  The Headbangers beat
The Rock N’ Roll Express (Champions w/Jim Cornette) when Thrasher pins Ricky
Morton with a shoulder block at 4:22
Before the match, Commissioner Slaughter comes out with
referee Earl Hebner and replaces Tommy Young at the referee.  Cornette gives a great rant about this with
the commentary team.  Ross does his best
to argue that this match matters because the Headbangers loved the Rock N’ Roll
Express as kids, so that is why they want to beat them for the NWA tag team
titles.  The Express fail to get anything
to go their way in the match and since Hebner is refereeing he does not
disqualify the Headbangers when Robert Gibson is tossed over the top rope.  Cornette smashes Thrasher in the back with
his tennis racket, but Thrasher falls on top of Morton and scores the pin and
Cornette throws a tantrum.  Poor contest
as these teams just do not have chemistry. 
Rating:  ½* (5 for 8)
Pete Rose is
announced as a guest celebrity at WrestleMania.
A video package
hypes Steve Austin’s road to WrestleMania.
European
Championship Match:  Owen Hart (Champion)
beats “Marvelous” Marc Mero by disqualification at 4:12:
During his entrance, Mero sends Sable to the locker room.  Owen is set to defend the European title
against Triple H at WrestleMania, so he is no longer a part of the main event
picture and won’t be for the remainder of his career.  Less than a minute into the match she
returns, but Mero kicks out of Owen’s schoolboy to keep the match going.  Mero gets frustrated with the referee as he
pounds away in the corner and pushes him down, which draws the disqualification.  What is weird is that they don’t have Mero
hit the TKO and getting a phantom pin before the referee called for the
bell.  Rating:  *½ (5 for 9)
After the bell,
Luna Vachon runs out and Goldust and WWF officials try to hold her away from
Sable.  When Sable sees Luna she tries to
engage her as well.  Goldust eventually
restrains Sable, but Mero takes exception to that and starts pounding away on
him.  Lot of heat for this as we continue
moving toward a mixed tag match at WrestleMania.
Tune in next week
to see D-Generation X, Mike Tyson, and Kane’s challenge of Steve Austin!
The Final Report Card:  The first hour was really good, but the
second hour lagged.  It was quite
surprising not to see Steve Austin and the show really missed his
appearance.  It might be surprising to
those who never watched the product at the time that the Sable-Luna angle got
airtime at the end of the show, but it is really the second hottest act that
the WWF has going on aside from Austin. 
Solid effort this week to build us to WrestleMania XIV.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.2 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – February 21, 1998

by Logan Scisco

This was a
Saturday edition of RAW because RAW was pre-empted by the Westminster Dog Show.
Jim Ross, Kevin
Kelly, and Michael Cole are doing commentary and they are taped in Dallas,
Texas.  This show is where the WWF
scratch logo made its debut.

Opening
Contest:  The Quebecers beat The Legion
of Doom by count out at 6:13:
About four minutes into this slow match, the New Age
Outlaws come out with a dumpster, attack Hawk, and slam him into it.  This creates a handicap match and when Animal
spots what has happened to Hawk, he runs off the New Age Outlaws with a chair,
but this causes the Legion of Doom to get counted out and lose the match.  Unimpressive contest that was dying before
the Outlaws came out.  Do we really need
another Legion of Doom-Outlaws feud?  Rating: 
* (0 for 1)
Ross says that
D-Generation X is threatening a lawsuit toward Steve Austin because of what he
did to Chyna at No Way Out.  The ground
for the lawsuit is emotional distress.  A
video package is aired to hype Chyna.  DX
will give more details about the lawsuit on Monday.
Ken Shamrock
defeats Sniper (w/Recon) via submission to the ankle lock at 5:15:
The Jackyl is on commentary and Sniper controls much of
the match since he and Recon make this a two-on-one contest behind the
referee’s back.  However, Shamrock makes
the comeback out of nowhere and secures the victory.  A tolerable match, but it is surprising that
they let Sniper get in so much offense here, as this should have been an easy
squash for Shamrock.  Rating: 
*½ (1 for 2)
After the match,
Shamrock gives Recon a belly-to-belly suplex and the Jackyl berates Sniper for
his loss.  The Jackyl slaps Sniper and
Sniper walks out when the Jackyl turns his back to him in the ring.
Call 1-900-737-4WWF
to hear more about D-Generation X’s lawsuit, the WWF injury report, and what
celebrities will be at WrestleMania!
Recon tells the
announcers that there is no communication breakdown in the Truth Commission,
but Sniper says that is incorrect and they need to go it alone as a team.  He throws a chair into a locker to make his
point
.
Jerry Lawler
interviews Marc Mero and Sable, with Sable refusing to wear her Marvelous Marc
Mero jacket.  Mero says he’s tired of
being the “Bad man,” which is an inside joke at his Johnny B. Badd persona, and
he blames Sable for trying to become the star of their partnership.  Mero says that Sable can’t win wrestling
matches and that he fell down when Sable pushed him at No Way Out because he
tripped.  A man brings Sable flowers and
Mero demands to know who her secret admirer is, but she just walks off.  A good segment due to Mero’s good promo work (2 for 3)
Jim Cornette
complains that the fans are booing the great wrestling of the National
Wrestling Alliance and he says that the NWA will show people what they are
supposed to like.  He hypes the Rock N’
Roll Express defending the NWA World Tag Team titles against the Headbangers,
which will be officiated by Tommy Young. 
Cornette warns Vince McMahon that the NWA is going to take over, which
made the NWA angle seem like a poor man’s version of the NWO.  There really aren’t bad Cornette promos at
this time, though.  (3 for 4)
NWA World Tag
Team Championship Match:  The Rock N’
Roll Express (Champions w/Jim Cornette) beat The Headbangers by
disqualification at 4:03:
I had forgotten that Tommy Young came in as the NWA’s
special referee during this angle.  It is
also humorous that the WWF decided to give the Rock N’ Roll Express the Rockers
old theme music and not create another theme for them.  This does not say much for the NWA World Tag
Team titles when the Headbangers are getting a shot, since they are on the
bottom of the WWF pecking order.  The Express
really do not have the chops to produce great matches at this point and the
Headbangers appear to have the titles won after they hit Ricky Morton with a
Stage Dive.  However, Mosh throws Robert
Gibson over the top rope that gets the Express a cheap win.  Awful match, but the finish was a nice way to
get cheap heat with the WWF audience. 
Unfortunately, people need to care about the NWA to make that
happen.  Rating:  ½* (3 for 5)
We enter hour two,
so Lawler takes over commentary duties for Kelly and Cole
.
Andre the Giant
choking Bob Uecker at WrestleMania IV is the M&M WrestleMania Millennium
Moment.
Ross interviews
Steve Austin, who says that he gave Chyna a Stone Cold Stunner because she
messed with him.  He says he wants Shawn
Michaels at his best for WrestleMania because he wants to kick his ass.  He warns Mike Tyson to keep out of his
business at WrestleMania or his gold tooth will find its way into a necklace,
bracelet, or ring that he will proudly wear. 
Good promo to keep the WrestleMania build going (4 for 6)
-European
Championship Match:  Owen Hart (Champion)
beats Jeff Jarrett (NWA North American Champion w/Jim Cornette) by
disqualification when Cornette interferes at 5:28:
These two have a lingering issue from the Royal Rumble,
where Jarrett randomly attacked Owen for no reason, but the commentators do not
discuss that.  This is the technically
proficient match that you would expect and they give Owen the disqualification
victory when Cornette runs in to break up the Sharpshooter.  In a wink at older fans, Owen puts Cornette,
his old manager, in the Sharpshooter and forces Jarrett and Cornette to
flee.  Rating:  ** (5 for 7)
Pantera delivering
a Tope Con Hilo to Taka Michinoku at No Way Out is the Playstation Slam of the
Week.
A video package
discusses how Dok Hendrix used to be Michael P.S. Hayes and chronicles parts of
his career.  Hendrix is the guest ring
announcer for the next match and he comes out to “Badstreet USA.”  This is where making up names for talent is
idiotic, since they recognize that he’s Michael Hayes, but still refer to him
as Dok Hendrix.  Before Hendrix can
announce the next match, the lights go out and Kane comes out.  Hendrix tries to fight him off with his boot,
but Kane no sells it and is destroyed. 
Nice way to get some easy heat on Kane. 
(6 for 8)
Sunny comes out to
do guest ring announcing duties for the next match.
Taka Michinoku
& Aguila beat Pirata Morgan & “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher when
Michinoku pins Morgan after a Michinoku Driver at 5:37:
In a very non-PC way, Christopher tells the audience that
“he went out and got himself a Mexican.” 
Morgan looks like the lost tag team partner of Jean Pierre-LaFitte, eye
patch included.  This is an entertaining
spotfest, with Michinoku doing a good job getting flung around like a rag doll
by Christopher.  Michinoku is really the
John Cena of the light heavyweight division because he takes a ton of
punishment here, yet magically recovers to hit Morgan with a Michinoku Driver
and help his team win.  That aside, this
is the best match of the night so far.  Rating: 
**¾ (7 for 9)
The Nation of Domination comes out and the
Rock has a gifts to present to the Nation to show critics that the Nation is
not divided.  Kama, D-Lo, and Mark Henry
receive gold Rolexes, but Faarooq receives a big framed picture of the
Rock.  As you can imagine, Faarooq is not
happy about that.  Great angle that kept
building momentum for the Rock’s cocky personality.  (8 for
10)
Steve Blackman
pins Faarooq (w/The Nation of Domination) with a schoolboy at 1:32:
Ross makes sure to get in his football mention before the
bell even rings, establishing a new record. 
The Rock does not pay attention to the match and concentrates his
attention on admiring his portrait and showing it to the crowd.  Faarooq takes it from him after hitting
Blackman with a Dominator and wants to use it as a weapon, but the Rock
snatches it away and that distraction helps Blackman continue his undefeated
streak.  After the match, Faarooq
destroys the Rock’s portrait.
Michael Cole is
outside the Nation of Domination’s locker room where arguing is heard.  D-Lo Brown says that everything is okay and
they are just packing up to leave.
Cactus Jack &
Chainsaw Charlie defeat The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust & “Marvelous”
Marc Mero (w/Luna Vachon) when Charlie pins Goldust after Cactus nails Goldust
with a chair at 4:17:
Goldust is just wearing his standard ring attire for this
match, but Lawler informs us that Goldust will show the world “The American
Dream” on Monday.  Sable does not
accompany Mero to the ring, which draws some easy heat from the crowd.  Three minutes in, Sable makes her predictable
appearance, carrying the flowers she received earlier, and Luna destroys the
flowers when Sable argues with Mero.  The
ensuing melee between the valets distracts the referee and enables Cactus to
blast Goldust with a chair to give his team the win.  Match was overwhelmed by the angle and too
rushed to really mean anything.  I’ll
still give it a point for angle development, though.  Rating:  * (9 for 11)
After the match,
Sable and Luna get into a brawl before WWF officials and Mero separate them.
Tune in on Monday
to see what new celebrity will be added to WrestleMania XIV!  Also, the New Age Outlaws will face the
Legion of Doom for the tag team titles!
The Final Report Card:  It would be easy to write this off as a
filler show since it was a taped Saturday RAW, but this show was very
entertaining.  The promo work was simple,
but maintained the major angles and Monday’s show has a build with Mike Tyson
scheduled for an appearance, a reveal about WrestleMania XIV, and Goldust
promising to mock his dad.  The WWF made
a good first step here on the road to WrestleMania.

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – February 9, 1998

by Logan Scisco

The presidential
sex scandal parodies continue, as Sunny is dressed like Marilyn Monroe and
sings “Happy Birthday” to Classie Freddie Blassie.  It was Blassie’s eightieth birthday.
The D-Generation X
beatdown of Steve Austin on last week’s show is recapped in a video package.
Jim Ross, Kevin
Kelly, and Michael Cole are in the booth and they are taped from Evansville,
Indiana.  I will be really happy when we
get rid of this three man commentary team in hour one.  Listening to it is like Ross fighting a
verbal handicap match.

Steve Austin comes
out with a white bag and calls out WWF Champion Shawn Michaels, but D-Generation
X appears on the Titantron.  Michaels
says he calls the shot in the WWF and Austin will face him on his schedule.  Michaels says that Austin needs to give him a
reason to come to the ring and Austin says he should because he has the WWF
title.  Michaels blows that off, but
realizes that a toy belt is in his bag and becomes irate.  Austin says that he will be easy to find if
Michaels wants his belt back.  Sometimes
the simple stuff is all you need to do to in order to tell a great story and
that’s all this did.  1 for 1
Call 815-734-1161
to get your RAW is War varsity jacket for $199.99 (plus $21 shipping & handling)!  I really want to know how many people bought this thing at that price.
Sunny comes out to
do guest ring announcing duties for our next match
.
Opening
Contest:  Jeff Jarrett & Barry
Windham (w/The Rock N’ Roll Express & Jim Cornette) beat The Legion of Doom
by disqualification when Bradshaw interferes at 4:59:
The announcers barely talk about the Legion of Doom
losing to the NWA faction two weeks ago and Cole tries to sell this match as
some kind of new attraction.  Of course,
Jarrett and Windham lost on last week’s show to Bradshaw and Flash Funk, so
they don’t seem in line for a push.  The
LOD’s storyline continues to be “are these guys too old?”  When all hell breaks loose, Hawk ends up on
the arena floor and the NWA faction works over his knee before tossing him back
into the ring.  Jarrett proceeds to apply
a figure-four, but Hawk is not going to submit to break character so Bradshaw
does the predictable run-in and although he never touches anyone in the NWA
faction that costs the LOD the match by disqualification.  That makes no sense to Sunny, who seems confused
announcing the result.  With the piped in
crowd noise, you would think this was the main event of WrestleMania.  Rating:  *½ (1 for 2)
D-Generation X is
shown talking about a plan to get the WWF title back from Steve Austin
.
Henry Godwinn
(w/Phineas Godwinn) pins Pierre (w/Jacques) when Phineas hits Pierre with a
slop bucket at 4:24:
The Quebecers and Godwinns began a small feud on the most
recent edition of Shotgun Saturday Night and are booked to face each other at
No Way Out, so this offers a preview of what is come.  Of course, why these teams are booked against each other makes little sense, since both are heels and are not over.  Pierre nearly kills himself with a plancha
and he hits a flying leg drop, which Kelly says he stole from Brian
Christopher.  To be fair, Pierre was
technically a pirate in 1995, so that’s not a stretch.  This match is decent for a big man match, but
the finish is silly as Jacques trips Henry and Henry conveniently puts his head
through the ropes to get hit by a slop bucket. 
Phineas then hits Pierre with his bucket after Jacques distracts the referee
by running from Phineas.  Got that?  Rating: 
*¾ (1 for 3)
Chyna walks in on
the Los Boricuas poker game and speaks to them in Spanish about helping out
with Steve Austin.  Lost in this
translation is how to cheat the paying customer and replace Savio Vega with
Shawn Michaels in the eight man tag match main event at No Way Out.
Shawn Michaels
yelling at Steve Austin last week is the Western Union Rewind segment
.
“Too Sexy” Brian
Christopher & El Pantera beat Taka Michinoku & Aguila when Pantera pins
Michinoku after a flying headbutt at 5:28 shown:
Now, you might remember that Pantera beat Christopher two
weeks ago and Lawler slapped him, so it would make little sense for them to be
partners.  However, on a recent episode
of Shotgun Saturday Night, Pantera turned against Michinoku since they are
facing each other for the light heavyweight title at No Way Out, so they are
teaming up now.  You can tell that all of
this is booked on the fly because Pantera debuted two weeks ago, so they should
have just made him a heel and avoided these problems.  This has a fast start, but Christopher makes
sure he slows that to a crawl when he gets involved.  This has a good finish, as Christopher’s
attempt to hit Michinoku with a foreign object fails, but Pantera puts it in
his mask, makes a blind tag, and headbutts Michinoku to capture the victory and
set himself up as a threat for No Way Out. 
This had its moments if you exclude Christopher’s involvement.  Rating:  **¼ (2 for 4)
Kane and Paul
Bearer come out and Bearer complains about Vader using a fire extinguisher on
Kane last week.  Bearer gives Kane a
Vader clock and Kane uses his magical powers to set it on fire.  Bearer promises that the Undertaker will not
be at No Way Out because the Undertaker is gone.  If the clock fire had been more impressive
I’d give this a point, but it was pretty weak sauce.  2 for
5
The Rock hitting
the Rock Bottom on Tom Brandi on Shotgun Saturday Night is the Footaction Slam
of the Week
.
Jerry Lawler joins
Jim Ross in the booth as we enter hour two
.
The Rock &
Faarooq (w/The Nation of Domination) beat Ken Shamrock & Chainz (w/The
Disciples of Apocalypse & Ahmed Johnson) when Faarooq pins Shamrock after
the Rock hits Shamrock with a chair at 4:21:
This is our last exhibition bout before the “war of
attrition” ten man tag match at No Way Out. 
Before the match, the Rock makes clear that he is in favor of cloning as
long as it is done very, very selectively and that means no one in Evansville
should be cloned.  In fact, the Rock says
only he should be cloned because he’s the “best damn Intercontinental champion
there ever was.”  They should have just
booked the Rock against the Honky Tonk Man to settle that question once and for
all.  Chainz finds himself in peril and
when Shamrock gets the tag he cleans house and puts Faarooq in the ankle
lock.  However, the referee is busy
sorting out a fight between the factions at ringside and the Rock gets a chair
and delivers a sick shot to help his team win. 
After the match, Shamrock snaps and suplexes the referee and Chainz and
his team has to restrain him.  Rating: 
** (3 for 6)
Footage from the
WrestleMania XIV press conference is shown. 
Vince McMahon announces that the main event is Shawn Michaels defending
the WWF title against Steve Austin and Mike Tyson will serve as the enforcer of
the match.  Tyson puts over Bruno
Sammartino and how much he loved him as a kid. 
Shawn Michaels chews out a reporter who puts down wrestling and Austin
and Michaels have a confrontation and Tyson has to get between them.  This looked like a fun press conference
.
Los Boricuas and
Chyna are shown looking for Steve Austin in the locker room.  Chyna finds a jobber in a towel and tosses
him into a locker.
Steve Blackman
defeats Recon (w/Sniper) via submission to an armbar at 4:33:
This is when they gave Blackman glowing sticks and had
him put on a martial arts display before each match.  Amazing how that didn’t catch on.  Seconds into the match, the Jackyl’s music
hits and he descends from the rafters on a platform and cuts a promo refuting
the idea that he is a sociopath.  The
promo makes it impossible to pay attention to the match, which is a shame
because it is pretty decent.  Jackyl is
upset that Recon loses and slaps him. 
Recon is upset, but the Jackyl turns his back and Recon backs off.  I won’t rate the match, but the Jackyl’s
promo was not very entertaining and neither were the post-match antics.  3 for
7
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to hear what former NWA champion is having negotiations with Jim
Cornette about coming into the WWF!
The New Age Outlaws
come out in University of Kentucky t-shirts and discuss how they are getting
chills near the entrance because of last week’s dumpster incident.  Billy Gunn wants to recreate it so they pull
out a dumpster and the Road Dogg narrates last week’s events.  They push the dumpster off the entrance and
Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie blow up dolls are inside.  Billy does CPR to the Cactus one and they
promise to hurt Cactus and Chainsaw at No Way Out.  This segment effectively put over the Outlaws
as cocky, arrogant heels that you wanted to see destroyed by Cactus and
Chainsaw.  4 for 8
Los Boricuas and
Chyna continue to look for Steve Austin in the back, but after Los Boricuas go
through some double doors, Austin chains them shut.
Thrasher (w/Mosh)
pins The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust (w/Marc Mero, Sable & Luna
Vachon) with a schoolboy at 4:28:
Goldust has become partial to the Marilyn Manson persona,
as he is doing it again for this show. 
This is another preview of a pay-per-view tag team match since the
Headbangers will face Goldust and Marc Mero at No Way Out.  When the crowd starts chanting loudly for
Sable, Mero, Luna, and Goldust order her to the locker room.  This match drags on until Sable comes back
out and gets into a shouting match with Luna. 
When Goldust tries to confront Sable she slaps him and Thrasher takes
advantage to win.  After the match, Mero
has to restrain Luna before she can mix it up with Sable.  The match was not very good, but the angle
behind it had some good heat.  Rating: 
*¼ (5 for 9)
D-Generation X
comes out and Shawn Michaels demands Steve Austin return what belongs to
him.  Austin comes out with the title
belt, but DX flees and the New Age Outlaws wander out.  Chyna grabs the belt from the canvas as
Austin faces four-on-one odds, but Chainsaw Charlie cuts through the canvas and
he and Cactus Jack come from under the ring. 
Owen Hart joins in as well and DX and the New Age Outlaws flee.  Nice closing segment that wetted the
audience’s appetite for the pay-per-view main event.  6 for
10
The Final Report Card:  A decent “go home” show for No Way Out and I
am surprised that the eight man tag team match did not get more build in the
weeks leading up to the show.  Tonight
was really the first sustained hype of the main event.  Regardless, the last segment did what it was
supposed to do and the Austin-Michaels storyline for the evening was well
executed.  The Sable-Mero storyline is
arguably the second best one that the company is doing right now and its
beginning to segway nicely into a mixed tag match for WrestleMania.  The next RAW was held on a Saturday, February
21st, so we will recap No Way Out of Texas and go to that episode.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.2 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – February 2, 1998

by Logan Scisco

D-Generation X
gives a special report, with WWF Champion Shawn Michaels and Triple H breaking
down what language they will use on different parts of the show.  Michaels parodies President Clinton by saying
that he was “up all night” with his intern.
Jim Ross, Kevin
Kelly, and Michael Cole are doing commentary and they are live from
Indianapolis, Indiana
.

D-Generation X
comes out, with Shawn Michaels and Triple H dressed like Uncle Sam.  Red, white, and blue balloons fall from the
rafters and DX is holding signs calling for a match between Steve Austin and
Mike Tyson.  They lead the crowd in a
“let them fight” chant before Austin comes out. 
Austin says he didn’t win the Royal Rumble to fight Tyson, he won it to
fight Michaels for the title.  Michaels
does not respond on the mic, which is unusual, and Austin carefully walks out
of the ring and flips Chyna off.  You
could cut the tension between Austin and Michaels with a knife in this segment
and that’s the sign of a great build.  1 for 1
Call 815-734-1161
to get your RAW is War varsity jacket for $199.99 (plus $21 shipping &
handling).  Now I remember why I never
got one of those…
Opening “King of
Hardcore” Contest:  Cactus Jack and
Chainsaw Charlie wrestle to a no contest at 8:16 shown:
Before the match, a clip of Jim Ross talking to Mick
Foley and Terry Funk is shown and Foley says that he wants to fight Funk
tonight to establish a legacy for himself. 
Funk says the winner of this match will be “king of hardcore.”  In Foley’s first book he discussed how he
pitched the idea to Vince McMahon about a death match series between he and
Funk that would culminate at WrestleMania, but it was not picked up.  You could argue that this is the first
“hardcore” match of the Attitude Era, as both men bring weapons to the ring in
dumpsters and take turns bashing each other with them.  This is a spectacle for its time with the
audience, who has not been desensitized to this degree of violence, so it gets
a good reaction.  Charlie takes a nasty
looking piledriver when Cactus has a trash can over his head and when both men
brawl near the entrance, Cactus backdrops Charlie into a nearby dumpster and
proceeds to climb up on the Titantron and delivers a flying elbow drop into the
dumpster.  The New Age Outlaws then run
out of the back, tie the lid of the dumpster shut, and then push it off the
entrance, which draws an 8.0 on the Jim Ross outrage meter.  A good brawl under the time constraints, with
an insane finish that took the Cactus Jack/Chainsaw Charlie-New Age Outlaws
feud to another level.  Rating: 
**½ (2 for 2)
WWF officials and
wrestlers proceed to pour out of the back to help Foley and Funk and Sunny
proceeds to curse the Outlaws.  Ross then
goes into his “how do you learn to take a fall from that?” shtick.  Vince McMahon confronts the Outlaws by the
entrance and they try to argue that they just got caught up in the moment.  The Outlaws end up in a brawl with some of
the WWF superstars, like Flash Funk and the Headbangers.  An ambulance eventually comes to get Foley
and Funk.
The Outlaws are
interrogated by Jim Ross over their actions and they are confronted by
D-Generation X, who tells them that what they did was good for ratings and that
they need to man up.
Kane giving Vader
a Tombstone is the Playstation Slam of the Week
.
Jerry Lawler comes
out to do commentary with Ross for the second hour.
European
Championship Match:  Owen Hart (Champion)
beats “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn (w/The Road Dogg) by disqualification when the Road
Dogg interferes at 5:28:
Owen fires away on both of the Outlaws, taking vengeance
for what happened to Foley and Funk earlier. 
This is a typical television match, with both men running through their
usual offense and Gunn controlling most of the match as a heel.  You would think that Gunn would find a way to
make his heel offense flow more smoothly, but that’s not the case here.  Gunn does a sunset flip, but Owen rolls
through it and applies a Sharpshooter, which triggers the interference and
disqualification.  Rating:  ** (3 for 3)
After the match,
D-Generation X wanders out and they overwhelm Owen.  Triple H gives Owen a DDT on the stage and
then try to get the Outlaws to toss Owen off the stage.  However, WWF officials intervene before that
can occur.  DX tells the Outlaws that
they need to keep their edge and do whatever it takes to get over.
Ross and Lawler
talk more about the New Age Outlaws actions on tonight’s show.  Michael Cole calls in from the hospital and
says that doctors are working on Mick Foley and Terry Funk.
“Marvelous” Marc
Mero (w/Sable) beats Mosh (w/Thrasher) with a schoolboy at 2:27:
Before wrestling, Mero makes a scantily clad Sable wear
his robe, disrobe him, and then he banishes her to the back when someone
delivers chocolates to her.  To replace
Sable, Mero calls out Marilyn, which is Goldust dressed as Marilyn Manson.  Goldust keeps interfering so Mero can
maintain the advantage and when the Headbangers finally figure out how to
counter him, Mero gives Mosh a low blow and rolls him up for the win.  This match just existed to keep Mero’s issue
with Sable going and put Goldust into it. 
3 for 4
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to find out what WWF superstar was rushed from the Indianapolis
airport to a local hospital!
-Barry Windham
tells Bradshaw that he is the reason the New Blackjacks failed and that if
Bradshaw can find a tag team partner then he can see him in the ring.
A vignette shows
Tiger Ali Singh saying that his goal is to be the best fighter in the
world.  It shows him as a rich playboy.  If Singh was as good as he says he is he
would have been on the active roster by now.
Chainz (w/The
Disciples of Apocalypse, Ken Shamrock & Ahmed Johnson) beats Faarooq (w/The
Nation of Domination) by count out at 3:35:
This is this week’s showcase of the men involved in the
“war of attrition” tag team match at No Way Out.  Speaking of which, the announcers have not
been clear about what that actually means. 
It only takes seventeen seconds for Ross to remind us that Faarooq was
an All-American at Florida State. 
Michael Cole calls in during the match and says that Terry Funk has
regained consciousness at the hospital, but Mick Foley has not.  Ugly brawl, which ends when Faarooq and Kama
suffer a miscommunication and the ensuing argument causes Faarooq to get counted
out.  After the match, Faarooq orders the
rest of the Nation behind him on the entrance and they give the Nation salute
to their opponents.  Surprising to see the
faces go up 2-0 on the Nation in these matches thus far.  Rating:  ½* (3 for 5)
Kurrgan using the
Paralyzer on jobber Michael Modest on Shotgun Saturday Night is the Western
Union Rewind segment.
Bradshaw & Flash
Funk defeat Jeff Jarrett & Barry Windham (w/Jim Cornette & The Rock N’
Roll Express) when Bradshaw pins Jarrett with a lariat at 3:59 shown:
Bradshaw has a mystery partner for this match so that he
can get into the ring with Windham, which turns out to be Funk.  The heels utilize a smart strategy, as the
Express give Funk a double hot shot on the guardrail and take him out of the
match.  Bradshaw manages to fight his own
battle effectively, though, and stuns Jarrett with a lariat to win.  After the match, the NWA beats Bradshaw down
to get some of their “heat” back.  They
are really trying with this feud, but Bradshaw-Windham just isn’t the kind of
battle that is going to set the world on fire. 
Rating:  *½ (3 for 6)
Ross and Lawler
recap the dumpster attack that took place in the first hour.  Michael Cole calls in again to say that all
hell has broken loose at the hospital and police have been called in.  There can be too much of a good angle and
this is entering parody territory.
Ross and Lawler
hype the WrestleMania press conference, which will be carried by ESPN News,
CNNSI (remember that failed channel?), and TSN.
Wink Collins
announces that WrestleMania XIV tickets sold out in ninety seconds and in case
you are wondering why this is happening, Kane comes out.  However, before he can do any damage to poor
Wink, Vader comes out and tells Kane that he cannot wait to face him at No Way
Out.  Vader blasts a fire extinguisher in
Kane’s face and Kane is forced to flee. 
So the Big Red Machine has to flee because of a fire extinguisher?  3 for
7
“Stone Cold”
Steve Austin beats The Road Dogg (w/Billy Gunn) by disqualification when Billy
Gunn interferes in 26 seconds:
This match barely gets started, as Austin tears apart the
Road Dogg and gives Gunn a Stone Cold Stunner when he interferes.  D-Generation X rushes out and a five-on-one
beatdown leads to Austin being tied in the ropes and Shawn Michaels taunts him
with the WWF title and says that is the closest he is going to get to it.  Foley, bandaged up, and Funk, who is in a hospital gown,
rush out to make the save and DX and the Outlaws flee.  I was with this entire segment until Foley
and Funk ran out because that just defies all logic.  3 for 8
The Final Report Card:  At the time, the dumpster incident was pretty
crazy, but the WWF had no idea what to do with it for the rest of the
show.  That segment would have been much
better as a main event and then played into the next week because the idea that
Mick Foley and Terry Funk are on the brink of death, yet show up to rescue
Steve Austin in the main event segment is ridiculous.  Vince Russo must have been pulling ideas from
the Bible and the rise of Lazarus for this week’s show.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.5 (vs. 4.9 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – January 26, 1998

by Logan Scisco


A still image of
Bobo Brazil, who recently passed away, is shown.
Michael Cole
narrates a video package that recaps Mike Tyson’s altercation with Steve Austin
on last week’s show.  Cole says that
Tyson does not want to be a guest referee at WrestleMania XIV and wants to face
Austin instead.  Shawn Michaels also
promises to give his view on the Austin-Tyson interaction tonight.
Jim Ross, Cole,
and Kevin Kelly are in the booth and they are in Davis, California
.

Opening
Contest:  Ken Shamrock (w/Ahmed Johnson
& The Disciples of Apocalypse) beats Mark Henry (w/The Nation of
Domination) by disqualification when the Nation interferes at 3:18:
This is a preview for the “war of attrition” ten man tag
team match that will happen at No Way Out. 
Henry runs through a series of power moves, but Shamrock uses his UFC
leg strikes to destabilize Henry and gets a huge pop for delivering a
belly-to-belly suplex.  That brings in
the Nation and the predictable ten man brawl and Shamrock’s team stands tall
after that.  Good opener that got the
crowd into the show.  Rating: 
** (1 for 1)
A VERY long video
package recaps the Undertaker-Kane feud. 
After that finishes, exclusive video footage shows WWF officials
breaking open the casket at the Royal Rumble, but the Undertaker is gone.
Shawn Michaels
imitating the Undertaker last week is the Western Union Rewind segment
.
Barry Windham,
without the Blackjack mustache, says that he got tired of the cartoonish nature
of the WWF and he wants to get back to real wrestling as part of the NWA.  Jeff Jarrett gloats about being a champion
and a well versed wrestler.
Jeff Jarrett
& Barry Windham (w/Jim Cornette & The Rock N’ Roll Express) defeat The
Legion of Doom when Windham pins Animal after hitting him with Cornette’s
tennis racket at 5:01:
Not that the NWA faction had much of a chance at
succeeding, but since the Legion of Doom had a history with the NWA the WWF
should have turned them heel and made them part of it.  It would have worked better than the Rock N’
Roll Express and would have freshened up the Legion of Doom’s act better than
the “LOD 2000” gimmick.  Jarrett and
Windham work really well as a team and since they control nearly all of the
offense this match comes off quite well. 
The finish is sloppy, though and ruins the match, as Windham hits Animal
with Cornette’s tennis racket and Animal appears to kick out at two, but the
bell rings and gives the NWA a win.  I
assume that the Legion of Doom did not want to job here and this mess was meant
to somehow protect them.  Rating: 
*¾ (1 for 2)
Shawn Michaels
appearance on Pictionary is shown.
The announcers
recap the Tyson-Austin altercation last week.
D-Generation X
talk to the announce team from the locker room. 
European Champion Triple H promises to beat Owen Hart tonight because he
is more of a man than he is.  WWF
Champion Shawn Michaels says that he has been carrying the WWF on his shoulders
and he thinks that he might just give up his WrestleMania title match so that
Steve Austin and Mike Tyson can fight one-on-one.  Triple H asks him to reconsider and Michaels
says that he can probably do something and as he rants his jacket falls off to
expose a referee shirt.  He says he’d
love to be the guest referee for an Austin-Tyson match.  DX was trying to be too cute for their own
good here and you just wanted them to get to the point.  1 for
3
Cactus Jack
suplexing Chainsaw Charlie through a pair of chairs at the Royal Rumble is the
Footaction Slam of the Week.
The announce team
hypes the house show circuit
.
Vader wrestles
The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust (w/Luna Vachon) to a no contest at 2:57:
Goldust and Luna dress up like Vader for this match.  Cole hypes Vader as “the Kodiak Bear of the
WWF,” but what happened to the Mastodon nickname?  Did the WWF lose a lawsuit over that
too?  Vader is still too much for Goldust
to handle, but this match is nowhere near the quality of their Rumble
encounter.  Vader powerbombs Goldust and
hits a Vader Bomb, but the lights go out and Kane walks out.  Vader proceeds to give him a reverse
Tombstone, but Goldust distracts Vader after that and Kane sits up and gives
Vader a Tombstone.  This is the first
step in setting up a match between the two at No Way Out.  The Goldust-Vader match wasn’t much, but the
brief Kane-Vader interaction was fun.  2 for 4
Mick Foley and
Terry Funk are shown chatting in the ring before the show.  They make fun of and compliment their
Chainsaw Charlie and Cactus Jack gimmicks
.
We enter hour two,
so its Jerry Lawler’s time to do commentary with Ross.
Non-Title
Match:  The New Age Outlaws (WWF Tag Team
Champions) defeat Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie by disqualification at
5:04:
For this match, the New Age Outlaws are wearing baseball
catchers gear and it works to their advantage, as Cactus Jack’s low blow has no
effect on the Road Dogg since he is wearing a cup.  When these two teams are brawling, this is an
entertaining match, but when they start reverting to the conventional tag team
formula it leaves a lot to be desired. 
As all hell breaks loose, Charlie starts throwing chairs into the ring,
but he doesn’t get disqualified, but that happens when Cactus hits Road Dogg
with a chair and then uses it to launch an aerial attack on Billy Gunn.  A few fun spots in this, but it was mayhem
without cohesion.  Rating:  *½ (2 for 5)
After the match,
Cactus Jack puts the referee in a Mandible Claw and Road Dogg is covered with
chairs and Charlie gives him a moonsault.
A video package
hypes Light Heavyweight Champion Taka Michinoku.
The Honky Tonk Man
comes out to do guest ring announcing duties
.
Number One
Contenders Match for the Light Heavyweight Title:  El Pantera beats “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher
with a cradle at 4:25:
Someone must have realized that no one was doing anything
with the light heavyweight division so they needed to start doing some matches
on Raw.  The winner of this faces Taka
Michinoku at No Way Out.  Pantera hits an
awesome suicide dive through the corner turnbuckles, but Christopher responds
with a sunset flip powerbomb from the apron to the arena floor.  There’s lots of piped in crowd noise for
this, though.  Christopher still wants to
stall too much, but its not excessive due to the short time allotted for the
match.  Christopher’s Tennessee Jam
attempt misses and Pantera takes advantage to win the bout.  Rating:  ** (3 for 6)
After the match,
Lawler goes into the ring to shake Pantera’s hand, but cheap shots him.  As if we haven’t had enough of the
Lawler-light heavyweight division angle already.
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to hear what is going on in the WWF locker room!
Cactus Jack and
Chainsaw Charlie are giving an interview with the announcers backstage, but
D-Generation X distracts them and the New Age Outlaws launch a sneak
attack.  The Outlaws and DX pound away
until WWF officials intervene.
The Headbangers
beat The Quebecers when Mosh pins Jacques with a sunset flip at 3:07:
The Quebecers get the jobber entrance and we get a rushed
match, with the hot tag coming about ninety seconds in.  The Quebecers seem to come out on top after
that, but Thrasher trips Pierre on the top rope and Mosh surprises Jacques with
a sunset flip to win the match.  This
result isn’t good for the Quebecers future in the division, but they take out
their frustration after the match with their fun Boston Crab/flying leg drop
maneuver on Mosh.  Rating:  * (3 for 7)
Owen Hart defeats
“Hunterdust” (w/”Chyna”) via submission with a Sharpshooter at 5:06 shown:
The anticipated match between Owen Hart and Triple H has
been building for a month, since Helmsley cost Owen the WWF title after In
Your House:  D-Generation X.  However, instead of Triple H coming out for
the match, Goldust comes out dressed as Triple H (with big prosthetic nose
included) and Luna Vachon dressed as Chyna. 
The first half of the match is a snoozer, as Goldust methodically pounds
away, but when we return from commercial break Owen cruises to a victory as if
he’s in a squash match.  Goldust is
nothing more than a jobber at this stage of his career.  Rating:  ¾* (3 for 8)
After the match,
D-Generation X appears on the Titantron and laughs about fooling Owen.  Commissioner Sergeant Slaughter comes out and
says that since Triple H was contractually obligated to defend the title, Owen
is the new European champion in lieu of beating Triple H’s replacement.  As a result of this decision, Triple H must
face Owen at a later date if he wants to get his European title back.
The announcers
talk about the Tyson-Austin encounter. 
This is the third time we have talked about it tonight.
Don King says that
Mike Tyson wants Steve Austin, but the Nevada State Commission will not let
Tyson fight.  He says that he and Vince
McMahon will have to find a way to bring both men together at WrestleMania
without violating Nevada’s rules.
Steve Austin comes
out and says that Mike Tyson will soon learn not to mess with him.  He pledges to fight Tyson anywhere, anytime
and asks him to show up at No Way Out.  A
generic promo for Austin, but it served the purpose of continuing the intrigue
about fighting Tyson.  (4 for 9)
The Final Report Card:  A very lackluster edition of Monday Night
Raw, which usually happens when the event is taped.  The entire show revolved around Austin-Tyson, which had no real chance of happening anyway because of the
Nevada State Athletic Commission.  Giving
Owen Hart the European title via Goldust was also lame, but Triple H had not defended
the title in more than a month and was still on the shelf so something had to
be done.  Just a very uneventful and
passable show.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.5 (vs. 4.7 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – January 19, 1998

-Before I get into
this week’s review, I wanted to know if any readers had feedback on the WWE
2k14 game.  I bought WWE 13 and was
irritated by the one count glitch.  Worth
a buy this year or not?  I just don’t
want to get burned again.
A still image of
Juanita McMahon, who recently passed away, is shown.
Michael Cole
narrates a video package about Kane’s turn on his brother at last night’s Royal
Rumble pay-per-view.
Jim Ross, Michael
Cole, and Kevin Kelly are in the booth and they are live from Fresno,
California
.

Paul Bearer comes
out to the Undertaker’s old theme music and gloats about setting the Undertaker
up at the Royal Rumble.  He goes through
a lengthy narration about last night’s events until the Undertaker’s current
theme music hits and druids roll out a casket. 
Instead of the Undertaker, Kane pops out of the casket and that ends the
segment.  This started with lots of crowd
heat, but Bearer’s recap of last night went on way too long and killed the
segment.  0 for 1
Ross interviews
D-Generation X and European Champion Triple H says that he proved last night
that Owen Hart can’t cut it in the WWF. 
WWF Champion Shawn Michaels promises that DX will find the Undertaker
and bring him back tonight.
Opening Six Man
Tag Team Contest:  Faarooq, Kama Mustafa
& D-Lo Brown wrestle The Disciples of Apocalypse to a double
disqualification at 4:40:
Surprisingly, this match features a lot of fast action
and the commentary team puts over D-Lo Brown’s potential throughout the
match.  When all hell breaks loose,
referee Earl Hebner can’t keep things under control and tosses the match out
for a lame ending.  After the bell, Mark
Henry and the Rock run out to give the Nation five-on-three odds, but Ken
Shamrock and Ahmed Johnson run out to even the odds and they run the Nation
off.  Kevin Kelly says Ahmed has never
look better, but I would disagree. 
Ending aside, this was a good brawl and the crowd was hot for the
finish.  Rating:  ** (1 for 2)
Vince Russo, in
his Vic Venom days, hypes WWF and RAW Magazine. 
Call 8-15-734-1161 to get twelve issues of both for $29.97.  I had a WWF Magazine subscription at this
time and it was a pretty good read while Russo was at the helm.  When he left, it went way downhill.
“Marvelous” Marc
Mero (w/Sable) beats Tom Brandi with a TKO at 3:29:
As they come down to the ring, Mero puts Sable in a robe
that says “Property of Marc Mero” on the back of it.  During the first minute of the match, Sable
gets flowers from a secret admirer and Mero berates Sable over it.  This distractions help Brandi take the edge
over Mero and he scores several dramatic near-falls, but as Sable momentarily
distracts the referee, Mero hits a low blow and achieves another tainted win.  This match showed that Brandi could go, but
awful gimmicks ruined any chance he had to catch on in the company and he was
gone shortly after this feud.  Rating: 
**½ (2 of 3)
D-Generation X
cautiously approaches a hearse in the arena, but when they open the doors a
bunch of young women hop out and Chyna closes Michaels and Triple H in there
with them.  Why these women were in the
hearse to begin with is never explained.
The Sony
Playstation Slam of the Week is Vader’s Vader Bomb on Goldust at last night’s
Royal Rumble.
Mike Tyson’s limousine
is shown pulling into the arena.  Shane
McMahon, Tyson, and his entourage get out of the limos.
The Quebecers
defeat Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie by disqualification when Jack puts
the referee in the Mandible Claw at 3:03:
The Quebecers return to the company after a three year
absence.  They were a temporary
acquisition during the Monday Night Wars, as they wrestled in WCW prior to this
as the Amazing French Canadians. 
Unfortunately, the Quebecers are not wearing their awesome mountie-style
uniforms.  You would think that a former
three-time tag team championship team would get more billing upon their return,
but that’s not the case here.  This is a
wild brawl, which goes beyond the bell. 
If this is meant to set up a rematch for next week, then it accomplished
its purpose.  Rating:  ** (3 of 4)
D-Generation X
come across the mini wrestlers in their search for the Undertaker.  The minis speak Spanish, so they don’t
understand DX, but in a funny moment, Chyna lifts Max Mini up so Shawn Michaels
can interrogate him.  Is this whole thing
a parody of when they had Leslie Nielsen track down the Undertaker at
SummerSlam 1994?
Mike Tyson is
shown chatting with Vince McMahon and his cronies
.
NWA North
American Heavyweight Championship Match: 
Jeff Jarrett (Champion w/Jim Cornette & The Rock N’ Roll Express)
beats Bradshaw (w/Barry Windham) when Windham inadvertently lariats Bradshaw at
3:41:
There is something ironic about Cornette saying that
Jarrett will lead the NWA into the year 2000, since Jarrett was on top of WCW
in 2000 when it started to fall apart. 
Throughout the match, the Express help beat down Bradshaw when it
appears that he is getting an advantage in the match and Windham does not help.  Bradshaw appears to have
the title won after clearing the Express out of the ring and delivering a
powerbomb, but Windham seems to accidentally hit his partner with a lariat to
help Jarrett retain the title.  Another
short, yet solid match on tonight’s card. 
Rating:  ** (4 of 5)
After the match,
Bradshaw continues his fight with the NWA faction and Windham comes into the
ring when the NWA faction has the advantage. 
He then turns on Bradshaw by hitting him with another lariat and he is
the new member of the NWA faction.  If
you want living proof that the WWE will not give up on someone, just look at
Bradshaw.  The guy went through three
different gimmicks before they found something that caught on (the APA faction
with Faarooq).
­-The announce crew
hypes the house show circuit
.
Shawn Michaels
complains in the locker room that he cannot find the Undertaker, when suddenly
the lights go out.
Vince McMahon
narrates a quick video package to pay tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.
As we enter hour
two, Jerry “the King” Lawler joins Ross for commentary
.
The Undertaker’s
music hits and a figure that appears to be the Undertaker descends from the top
of the arena.  However, when the lights
hit, the D-Generation X music hits and Shawn Michaels strips off the Undertaker’s
ring gear.  Triple H and Chyna bring a
grill and cooking supplies to the ring and they proceed to mock the Undertaker
being burned alive last night.  Triple H
announces that he will grant a European title match to Owen Hart next week and
then hilariously rips Ric Flair by saying that Space Mountain is old, broken
down, and in need of repair.  Michaels
says that his next target is Steve Austin and delivers a nice opening salvo for
their feud by saying that he has won the titles that Austin has won in the
past, that he is on the top of the mountain, and that he does not lay down for
anyone.  This whole segment was great in
terms of transitioning DX away from the Undertaker and into other feuds.  It also put over the WWF title and
immediately put over Austin-Michaels as a must see event.
  5 of 6
Mike Tyson is
shown talking with the Legion of Doom and Sunny.
Owen Hart, Taka
Michinoku & The Headbangers defeat Los Boricuas when Owen makes Jesus
submit to the Sharpshooter at 2:59
This is a very random match, but it shows why tag team matches
can be ideal ways to fill two hours of television programming.  Honky Tonk Man is doing commentary for some
reason, but thankfully he’s not looking for a new project like he was last
year.  They should’ve given this more
time, but it was just a vehicle to put
over Owen for next week’s match with Triple H.
After the match,
Cole interviews Owen, who accepts Triple H’s offer of a European title match on
next week’s show.
Non-Title
Match:  The Rock (Intercontinental
Champion) pins Ahmed Johnson with the Rock Bottom at 2:43:
Speaking of random matches, it’s surprising that this
match is being held without any build since Ahmed is a former Intercontinental
champion and might be able to give a rub to the Rock.  Ahmed appears to have the match in hand after
he hits a spinebuster, but Mark Henry comes out and nails him with a chair to
help the Rock win the bout.  After the
match, Ken Shamrock hits the ring and runs off the heels.
Mike Tyson is
shown handling Cactus Jack’s barbed wire baseball bat in the locker room.
Highlights of last
night’s casket match between the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels constitute the
Western Union Rewind segment
.
Mike Tyson is
shown measuring Triple H and Chyna’s muscles.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  The New Age Outlaws
(Champions) defeat The Godwinns when Billy Gunn pins Phineas with a loaded pig
at 4:53:
This match is the Godwinns long awaited title match that
they earned for helping the Outlaws in their feud with the Legion of Doom.  The Outlaws wear overalls for the contest,
but the Godwinns don’ take kindly to that and rip them off of Billy Gunn.  Ross notes that it’s the first time we’ve
seen Gunn in tights, which reflects a nice attention to detail that is missing
from today’s product.  The Godwinns
completely dominate Gunn, but he uses a pig toy, loaded with a brick, to help
his team retain the titles.  These teams
just don’t have a lot of chemistry.  Rating: 
*¼ (5 of 7)
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to find out if it will be a “macho” week for the WWF!
Vince McMahon
comes out and says that he will soon make the biggest announcement in WWF
history.  McMahon welcomes Mike Tyson
out, who says that he loves Bruno Sammartino. 
McMahon announces that Tyson will be at WrestleMania, but before he can
finish his sentence, Steve Austin comes out. 
A sea of WWF officials immediately race out behind Austin and McMahon is
not happy about him ruining Tyson’s time. 
Austin says that he is sick of Tyson’s antics tonight, refuses to shake
Tyson’s hand, and says that he wants a piece of him in a WWF ring.  He then flips Tyson off, which leads to Tyson
pushing Austin and leading to both men being restrained.  During the melee, one of Tyson’s entourage
tries to go after Austin, but Austin intelligently takes him down and lays on
top of him to avoid having the entire angle and his image compromised.  As Austin is pulled out of the ring, McMahon
becomes irate and screams “You’ve ruined it!” at Austin and tries to physically
go after him as Austin is escorted to the locker room.  This is one of the greatest RAW segments of
all time and I marked out watching it just as much as I did when it originally
aired.  6 of 8
In the locker
room, Tyson and his entourage are shown arguing with McMahon, who tries to apologize
for Austin’s behavior as we go off the air.
The Final Report Card:  This was a memorable, historic, and fantastic
episode of RAW.  The D-Generation X and
Tyson-Austin segments carried it, but the in-ring action was also quite good for
most of the show.  I remember that
everyone at school was talking about Tyson and Austin the next day and it also
got the WWF significant mainstream attention from the sports media.  It was one of those angles that was perfectly
placed, timed, and executed and no one else on the roster could have made it
work except for Austin.  McMahon played a
great supporting role as well, especially his nonverbal mannerisms when all
hell broke loose in the ring.  This was
also the highest rated RAW of all-time to this point and was the first RAW to
break the 4.0 mark in the Nielsen ratings. 
Compared to the previous week, Tyson was worth about a 0.6 increase.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.0 (vs. 4.5 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – January 12, 1998

by Logan Scisco

D-Generation X
tells Owen Hart not to mess with their business and Triple H says that Shawn
Michaels will have a message about the Undertaker’s family later tonight.
Jim Ross, Michael
Cole, and Kevin Kelly are in the booth and they are broadcasting from Penn
State University.  This is the fifth
anniversary of RAW being on the USA Network.

Opening Non-Title
Four Corner Contest:  The New Age Outlaws (WWF Tag Team Champions) defeat The Godwinns, The Headbangers, and
Sniper & Recon when Billy Gunn pins Phineas after hitting him with a
foreign object at 4:12:
The Outlaws wear Florida Gators shirts to get under the
crowd’s skin, since Florida defeated Penn State in the Citrus Bowl.  This is not under elimination rules, so the
first team that gets a fall wins.  In a
nice spot, all of the teams pound away on the Outlaws when they get into the
ring, so the tag team champions bail.  I
never understand why teams bother to tag out in these matches since tagging in
another team prohibits you from registering a pin or a submission to win.  The crowd really gets on the Outlaws case,
working up a large “We are Penn State!” chant and going wild for the attacks by
other teams on them.  The ending makes
zero sense as the other two teams see Gunn hit Phineas with a foreign object,
but sit on the apron and let the referee count the fall.  Finish aside, I’ll give this a point because
of the crowd.  Rating:  *¾ (1 for 1)
A video package
hypes the Legion of Doom, who will face the New Age Outlaws for the tag team
titles at the Royal Rumble.  The Legion
of Doom have not been on television since the Outlaws attacked them a month ago
and shaved Hawk’s mohawk and powerbombed Animal through a table.
Steve Austin shows
up to the arena in his pickup truck as the crowd goes crazy.
The Godwinns are
shown being tended to in the back by WWF officials because Austin attacked them
during the commercial break.
Cole interviews
Austin, who complains that he won the Royal Rumble last year “fair and square”
and didn’t get credit for it.  He has an
awesome line in this interview by saying that Vince McMahon might own the ring,
but if a wrestler dares get into it he is going to make sure they get tossed
out of it.  Austin takes a pen from Cole
and draws a target on his chest to let everyone in the locker room know how to
find him.  Great short interview. 
2
for 2
Austin hyping MTV
Celebrity Death Match on a house show is shown.
DX arrives at the
arena in their limo, but a WWF production truck is blocking the car entrance,
so they have to get out and walk around it.
Handicap
Match:  Kurrgan (w/The Jackyl) defeats
Lance Diamond & Joey Cicero at 2:26:
At this time, Diamond was a rising star in the ECWA and
was engaged in a lengthy feud with Cheetah Master.  He won the ECWA’s Super 8 Torurnament in 1998
as well.  Kurrgan has to defeat both men to
win this handicap match, which he accomplishes with ease.  Kurrgan finishes Diamond off with the
Paralyzer and pins Cicero after a suplex. 
After the match, Kurrgan tears apart a Penn State football helmet for
some cheap heat.  This was a good squash
and it effectively disguised Kurrgan’s weaknesses.  If this was the 1980s Kurrgan would have had
a token feud with Hulk Hogan.  The Jackyl’s
commentary also made it tolerable.  3 for 3
Backstage, Owen
Hart is shown attacking Triple H in DX’s limo, but Shawn Michaels and Chyna
jump in and the limo drives off.
Vader beats “Marvelous”
Marc Mero (w/Goldust) by disqualification at 3:10:
Before the match, Mero gets on the house mic to introduce
Sable, but the mic is not working and Mero doesn’t know it, so he talks in
silence until Sable’s music hits. 
However, instead of Sable coming out it is the Artist Formerly Known as
Goldust dressed like Sable.  Ross loses
his mind about all of this.  In the
middle of the match, Sable predictably comes out and kicks Goldust in the
thigh.  Mero gets her to leave, but this
lets Vader recover from a low blow. 
However, after he hits a Vader Bomb, Goldust hits him in the back of the
head with a coconut and that draws the disqualification.  There was not a lot of in-ring action in this
one, but the extracurriculars made it entertaining.  Rating:  *¾ (4 for 4)
The announcers
hype the house show circuit.
DX returns to the
arena in their limo, but where’s Owen?
Bam Bam Bigelow
pushing Lawrence Taylor at the 1995 Royal Rumble is the 1-800-COLLECT Slam of
the Week.
Vader is shown in
pain in his locker room, a victim of Steve Austin’s rampage
.
Ken Shamrock
& Mark Henry wrestle The Rock & D-Lo Brown (w/Kama Mustafa) to a no
contest at 3:08:
The storyline behind this is that Mark Henry suffered an
attack at the hands of the Nation of Domination on Shotgun Saturday Night two
weeks ago and Ken Shamrock made the save before too much damage could be
done.  Henry is wearing a “Rocky sucks”
t-shirt and the Rock pledges to rip it off of him before the end of the match.  Shamrock wrestles the entire match, which
gives away where this is going, and sure enough, one Shamrock puts the Rock in
an ankle lock, Henry turns on Shamrock and helps the Nation destroy him in the
middle of the ring.  The Rock plants
Shamrock with a Rock Bottom and Henry does the three count and then rips off
the “Rocky Sucks” t-shirt to reveal a Nation of Domination t-shirt.  Great pacing to this match while it lasted
and Henry’s beatdown on Shamrock looked devastating.  Rating:  ** (5 for 5)
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The announcers
recap Mark Henry’s heel turn.  Backstage,
the Nation of Domination is interviewed by Cole and the Rock tells Faarooq that
he recruited Henry for him and just wants him to be grateful.
Since we are in
hour two, Ross and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in charge of the announcing
duties.
DX comes out and
Triple H says that Owen Hart got dumped into a sewer and then makes lewd
comments toward sorority girls on Penn State’s campus.  Shawn Michaels warns Mike Tyson to stay out
of his business at the Royal Rumble. 
Before Michaels can talk about Kane, Owen appears on the Titantron with
his face scratched and bloody and he says that he is going to make DX’s life
hell.  Triple H dares Owen to come out
and Owen does, but WWF officials intercede before he can get to the ring.  This segment was going somewhere, but when
Owen got involved it fell apart.  That’s
not an indictment of him, but this would have been better served having
Michaels get to his bit about Kane.  5 for 6
Skull &
8-Ball beat The Rock N’ Roll Express (w/Jim Cornette) by disqualification at
2:30:
This is the next step in the NWA angle its sort of
surreal seeing Cornette working in tandem with the Rock N’ Roll Express.  The Express get the Rockers old theme music,
which does not fit at all.  The crowd
doesn’t care because this is the Northeast, so it comes off like the Smokey
Mountain tag team title match that was held at the 1993 Survivor Series.  Skull & 8-Ball use their power to
dominate the action and Cornette tries to run in and nail 8-Ball with his
tennis racket, but gets caught by the referee and that produces a
disqualification.  Cornette eats a right
hand for Skull, but the Express do a small beatdown on the members of the
Disciples of Apocalypse before Chainz makes the save. This was largely
forgettable.  5 for 7
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to hear about the rumors that Hulk Hogan will be in the Royal
Rumble.  I never recall hearing this
rumor around this time.
Cactus Jack is
shown walking around the grounds of Beaver Stadium and he recaps his death
match battles with Terry Funk in Japan. 
He says that Funk’s idea to call himself Chainsaw Charlie might be
silly, but it was his choice to take on that gimmick and they just want to
brutalize the New Age Outlaws.
Mankind wrestles
The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust (w/Luna Vachon) to a no contest at 25
seconds:
For this match, Goldust comes out to Dude Love’s music
and is dressed like Dude Love.  Mankind
quickly puts Goldust in the Mandible Claw, but Steve Austin runs out and gives
both men Stunners before giving a “hell yeah” into Jim Ross’s microphone.
Vince McMahon
appears on the Titantron and is booed. 
McMahon says that Mike Tyson has been invited to the Royal Rumble and
will be on Raw next week where he anticipates a special announcement will be
made.
Sunny comes out in
cheerleader garb to do guest ring announcer duties.
Savio Vega &
Jesus beat Taka Michinoku & Scott Taylor when Jesus pins Taylor after a
reverse superplex at 4:36:
Lawler makes an awkward quip about how he is not afraid to
admit that he likes younger women except when he has to drop them off at
school.  Ross is not sure how to play
that so he just goes along with calling the match.  After watching a good chunk of Michinoku’s
matches from this period, I have to come to the conclusion that he has one of
the best bumps off of a powerbomb that I have ever seen.  The light heavyweights go to the air one too
many times near the end of this encounter, as Savio catches Michinoku’s
moonsault attempt on the floor and slams him and Taylor gets crotched and
finished with a reverse superplex.  That
ending sequence was awesome and this is why tag team wrestling can easily fill
TV time.  Rating:  **½ (6 for 8)
We get another
flashback to Bam Bam Bigelow pushed Lawrence Taylor at the 1995 Royal Rumble.
The Twix Rewind
segment is Shawn Michaels winning the 1995 Royal Rumble.
DX comes back out
to be interviewed by Cole.  Michaels
introduces Kane as the next member of DX, but the Undertaker comes out instead
and tells Michaels to leave his family out of their feud.  This is the segment where the Undertaker
chokes Michaels out of nowhere, which is a clip Botchamania uses a lot.  The Undertaker then goes to chokeslam Chyna,
but before he can do that all members of DX beat him down.  The light go out and Kane’s music hits and
the crowd goes crazy as Kane gets in the ring and makes the save.  After the Undertaker recovers, Kane and the
Undertaker exchange their unique “one knee, hand to the air” salute.  Have I mentioned that the booking of this
whole Kane-Undertaker issue is awesome? 
7 for 9
Call
1-900-RUMBLE-98 to register yourself in the Steve Austin pickup truck
contest!  It’ll cost you $1.99 or you can
send a postcard to Devon, Pennsylvania.
The drawing for
the Royal Rumble is next, but since there is very little time left it is
doubtful whether any drawing will take place. 
Chaos unfolds when Ken Shamrock comes in and attacks Mark Henry and
Goldust and Vader start going at it.  The
Honky Tonk Man comes out, signaling that he will be in the Royal Rumble match.  Steve Austin’s music hits and everyone wants
a piece of him, but Austin comes out from the crowd and gives Phineas Godwinn a
Stone Cold Stunner and then tries to leave. 
As most of the superstars brawl in the ring, the Rock, Savio Vega, and
D-Lo Brown attack him to play us out. 
Not really a great take home segment, but it was important to show
Austin with some vulnerability heading into the pay-per-view. 
7
for 10
The Final Report Card:  Since we are in the Russo era, we are not
going to get long main event matches, but entertaining segments and wild
behavior makes up for that.  Goldust’s
antics continue to get wilder and the Rock is really coming into his own on the
microphone and in the ring.  The winner
of the Royal Rumble is pretty clear since they really have not given any other
participant much billing, but the casket match for the WWF title has some
intriguing scenarios now that Kane’s loyalties appear to be with his brother
against D-Generation X.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.4 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up