Monday Night Raw – July 29, 2002

Monday Night Raw
Date: July 29, 2002
Location: Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, North Carolina
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

We’re officially in the HHH Era on Raw but unfortunately he doesn’t really have a lot to do yet. Last week HHH debuted on the show and turned heel by beating up Shawn Michaels, but there’s absolutely no way that’s going to lead to a match anytime soon of course. With about a month left before Summerslam, the card is in need of some matches in a hurry. Let’s get to it.

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Monday Night Raw – July 8, 2002

Monday Night Raw
Date: July 8, 2002
Location: First Union Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

Raw is actually picking up a bit at the moment as they’re making some efforts to push the younger talent. Brock Lesnar is moving up the card and it’s clear that Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit are becoming the top heels. Unfortunately that leaves the NWO, who are promising that HHH will be joining tonight. Let’s get to it.

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Monday Night Raw – June 24, 2002

Monday Night Raw
Date: June 24, 2002
Location: Gund Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

Thank goodness we’re past the miserable King of the Ring and that means it’s time to get read for Vengeance. Brock Lesnar is the new King and that means he’ll be challenging for the title at Summerslam, but that’s still a long way away. On top of that we’ve got the NWO running around doing…..something that isn’t entirely clear. Let’s get to it.

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Monday Night Raw – May 27, 2002

Monday Night Raw
Date: May 27, 2002
Location: Skyreach Centre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Attendance: 9,500
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

Things are getting a bit more interesting around here but there’s a lot of bad still going on as well. Possibly above all else though, it seems that people like Eddie Guerrero and Rob Van Dam are moving up towards the top of the card, which is the most important thing that could happen at the moment. Let’s get to it.

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Monday Night Raw – May 13, 2002

Monday Night Raw
Date: May 13, 2002
Location: Air Canada Center, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

Since when does a city get Wrestlemania in March and Raw in May? It’s the final Raw before Judgment Day and the big question is what can possibly happen to Hogan and Undertaker now? Last week was a total disaster and I can’t imagine things are going to get any better here. Let’s get to it.

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Monday Night Raw – May 6, 2002

Monday Night Raw
Date: May 6, 2002
Location: Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, Connecticut
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

Maybe a new month will help things out a little bit. I know I say this every week but it almost can’t get worse than last week with Undertaker very slowly beating Hulk Hogan down because Hogan can barely move at this point in his career. The pay per view really can’t get here soon enough as I can’t imagine they’ll keep the title on Hogan any longer. Let’s get to it.

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Monday Night Raw – April 29, 2002

Monday Night Raw
Date: April 29, 2002
Location: HSBC Arena, Buffalo, New York
Attendance: 8,500
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

The question at this point is how bad can things get. The wrestling has been horrible but the stories have been some of the worst of all time with uninspired main eventers who look like they’re about to collapse from old age. Maybe things can start to pick up soon because it can’t get much worse. Let’s get to it.

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Monday Night Raw – April 22, 2002

Monday Night Raw
Date: April 22, 2002
Location: Savvis Center, St. Louis, Missouri
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s the night after Backlash and due to reasons of pure nostalgia, Hulk Hogan is the Undisputed WWF World Champion. That means he’s gearing up for a title defense against Undertaker at the next pay per view, which leaves Steve Austin to feud with Ric Flair because Austin feuds with authority figures. Let’s get to it.

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Backlash 2002

Backlash 2002
Date: April 21, 2002
Location: Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri
Attendance: 12,489
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s the first pay per view after the Brand Split and it really is a tale of two shows at this point. Raw is absolutely horrendous at the moment with an unmotivated Undertaker vs. Steve Austin as the main feud (and the Raw main event here) for the next WWF World Title match. That would be your Smackdown main event here as HHH is defending against Hulk Hogan for reasons of pure nostalgia. Let’s get to it.

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Monday Night Raw – April 15, 2002

Monday Night Raw
Date: April 15, 2002
Location: Reed Arena, College Station, Texas
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s the final show before Backlash and the big Raw main event is the fresh matchup of Undertaker vs. Steve Austin for a title shot at the next pay per view. Raw has been dying in its first few shows and I don’t see that getting any better for a long time. They really need to figure out something with this Brand Split in a hurry because it’s getting bad quickly. Let’s get to it.

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Monday Night Raw – April 8, 2002

Monday Night Raw
Date: April 8, 2002
Location: America West Arena, Phoenix, Arizona
Attendance: 13,500
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

Hopefully things pick up a little bit after last week’s mess of a debut for the solo red show. Backlash is in thirteen days and it’s really not clear what we should be expecting from either brand, save for some of the top matches. Steve Austin is officially on Raw though and you know he’s going to do something big. Let’s get to it.

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Monday Night Raw – April 1, 2002

Monday Night Raw
Date: April 1, 2002
Location: Pepsi Arena, Albany, New York
Attendance: 9,000
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s time for the first show of a new generation as Ric Flair is officially in charge of Raw with a roster all its own. I’m really not sure what to expect here as almost all of the stories are restarting, save for Kane vs. the NWO for reasons that I don’t want to understand. Oh and Raven won the Hardcore Title to bring that “division” to Raw. Let’s get to it.

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

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are taped from Lowell,
Massachusetts, which is one of my favorite venues.  It’s sort of amazing how the WWF was able to
do a ton of pyro by the constricted entrance without engulfing the building.

Opening
Contest:  Edge beats “Double J” Jeff
Jarrett (w/Southern Justice) via disqualification when Jarrett hits Edge with a
guitar at 5:14:
It is funny to hear Lawler ask the same questions about Edge that people
asked about the Shield:  Where do they hang
out before shows?  Why do they feel the
need to enter through the crowd and not the traditional way?  Jarrett debuts the Stroke here, but it is
only used as a transitional move.  Edge
busts out an impressive spot where he hits two consecutive suplexes and
transitions a third into a facebuster. 
This is a decent, competitive match with Jarrett giving Edge a few hope
spots before getting desperate and hitting the newcomer with a guitar.  Rating:  **¼ (1 for 1)
Bradshaw defeats
Darren Drozdov with the Flair pin at 4:01:
No one would call this a technical exhibition, but it is
a tolerable brawl that plays to the strengths of both men.  Bradshaw uses the old heel tactic of putting
his feet on the ropes to pin the rookie and then gives him a lariat to put the
finishing touch on this match.  The
crowd’s silence brought this down a notch, but both guys were trying.  Rating:  *¾ (2 for 2)
A video package
hypes the triple threat main event for Breakdown, where WWF Champion Steve
Austin will defend his title against the Undertaker and Kane.  The announcement for that match took place on
Sunday Night Heat.
“Marvelous” Marc
Mero (w/Jacqueline) pins Miguel Perez with the TKO at 3:38:
The anti-Sable element in the crowd tries to work up a
“Jackie” chant but that goes nowhere. 
You can tell that Perez (who has shaved his back) is motivated to make
this work, but Mero’s heel offense slows the pace down so much that it takes
something away from the match.  Mero hits
a TKO out of nowhere to win.  Rating: 
*½ (3 for 3)
Michael Cole
interviews The Oddities and Insane Clown Posse. 
The ICP cut pretty good promo against the DOA and dare I say, it is
better than at least half of the WWF roster at this point.
Cole interviews
DOA and Paul Ellering, who says that the DOA will drop the Oddities like the
DOW Jones Industrial Average.
DOA (w/Paul
Ellering) beats Golga & Kurrgan (w/Giant Silva, Luna Vachon & The
Insane Clown Posse) via disqualification when the Insane Clown Possee interfere
at 1:54:
Within the first minute of the match Golga hits the top
rope with so much force that it breaks. 
Everything goes downhill from there, which is probably why the ICP runs
in and gets beaten down by the DOA.  No
word on whether the outcome of this match was later annulled because of the
broken top rope.
The Undertaker and
Kane destroying the Rock on last week’s show is the Penzoil Rewind segment.
The Rock walks out
and reiterates how he is still the People’s Champion despite losing to Triple H
at SummerSlam.  He promises to get
revenge on Kane for chokeslamming him on last week’s show.  By calling out a main eventer, the Rock
symbolized that he was rising up the card here. 
4 for 4
The Lion’s Den
match from SummerSlam is shown in its entirety.
Southern Justice
defeats Too Much when Mark Canterbury pins Scott Taylor after the Problem
Solver at 4:06:
Southern Justice are getting a small push to appear as a
threat to the New Age Outlaws, who are really devoid of significant challengers
in the tag team division.  Too Much are
positioned as the faces in this bout, which makes no sense at all, but Southern
Justice can’t really play that role either. 
Southern Justice wins this abbreviated match to keep on rolling
along.  Rating:  * (4 for 5)
Vader pins Dustin
Runnels after a Vader Bomb at 3:25:
They might as well bill this match as “two WCW guys who
are struggling to establish their position in the Attitude Era.”  During the match, Val Venis mocks Runnels
Christian advocacy by parading around with a sign that reads “I Have
Come.”  Runnels starts praying when he
sees Venis’s sign and Vader takes advantage to win his first RAW match via
pinfall in what seems like forever.  Rating: 
½* (4 for 6)
A video package
highlights Sable’s in-ring performances.
Al Snow comes out
of the crowd and says that he will not leave the ring until he sees a WWF
official.  Commissioner Slaughter, Pat
Patterson, and Gerald Brisco come out and order Snow to leave the ring.  Since they do not book Snow in a match, Snow
gives Patterson a low blow with Head and flees through the crowd.  This was wasn’t very good until Patterson got
hit below the belt.  4 for 7
Call 815-734-1161
to get your “Down Where?  Down Here!” DX
shirt for $25 (plus $6 shipping & handling)!  I’m sure that lots of kids were forced to
take that shirt off when they came to school wearing it.
Cole interviews
the Headbangers, who are confused about why they are wrestling on RAW since
they rarely appear.  They make some
nonsensical comments about their opponents before heading to the ring.
D-Lo Brown &
Mark Henry beat The Headbangers via disqualification when Chyna interferes at
5:23:
I was always a fan of the D-Lo Brown & Mark Henry tag
team and wish they had been given a run with the tag team titles around this
time.  This is your
paint by the numbers tag match that ends when Chyna runs in and tackles Henry
for the second consecutive week.  WWF
officials get decked by Chyna and D-Generation X has to run in to restrain
her.  Rating:  *¾ (4 for 8)
Get a big poster
of Triple H when you buy Stridex pads!
D-Generation X
(w/Chyna) defeat Kaientai (w/Yamaguchi-San) when X-Pac pins Taka Michinoku with
an assisted X-Factor at 4:33:
These two teams have contrasting gimmicks:  one side tells you to suck it and the other
side wants to chop it off.  This is a fun
squash, with Kaientai mounting very little offense (and what they do get comes
at the expense of the Road Dogg – surprise, surprise), but I do not like how
Michinoku, who is the light heavyweight champion, ate the pin.  Then again, since when does that title mean
anything?  After the bout, Chyna nails
Yamaguchi-San with a forearm.  Rating: 
*½ (5 for 9)
After the bell, DX
gets a female fan to moon the audience.
The Final Report Card:  Well, this RAW was better than last week’s in
terms of in-ring action and I was entertained enough to give it a thumbs up.  If you want to see your usual main event
players, though, then this will not be your kind of show.  Next week’s RAW will be back in its regularly
scheduled time slot, so we are thankfully done with these “Shotgun RAW”
shows.  Who knows, we might even get an
appearance from Steve Austin!

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – 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 – 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 – December 9, 1996

by Logan Scisco

-A video package recaps the
Undertaker-Mankind feud.
-Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and
Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are wrapping up the taping in
New Haven, Connecticut.

-Opening Non-Title Contest:  Sid (WWF Champion) defeats Hunter
Hearst-Helmsley (Intercontinental Champion) via count out at 2:56:
These
champion vs. champion matches were always interesting and they did a nice job
establishing an internal pecking order in the promotion.  That said, I don’t agree with the booking
here as Helmsley gets beaten from pillar to post, is powerbombed, and crawls to
the locker room to fight another day.  It
makes Sid look strong, but does little for the Intercontinental title or those fighting for it.  Helmsley continues a RAW jobbing streak,
since Marc Mero has pinned him in several tag contests and he was destroyed
against one of the more popular stars on the roster in this bout.
-Footage of Mankind and the
Undertaker’s boiler room brawl at SummerSlam is shown.
-Goldust (w/Marlena) defeats Bart
Gunn with a chop block at 6:01 shown:
Bart
was getting a small singles push during this period, as he came close to
beating Hunter Hearst Helmsley for the Intercontinental title on WWF Superstars
prior to this show (see my comment about Helmsley above).  This is a paint by numbers television match,
with Goldust seizing the initial advantage and Bart making a comeback after the
break.  Bart hits his finisher, which was
a bulldog at this point, but Goldust kicks out of it and finishes shortly
thereafter to keep himself in the middle of the midcard.  The finish is really strange, but I like
random finishers every once and a while because they condition crowds to react
to the little stuff.  After the bout,
Billy comes out and runs down Bart on the house mic until Bart comes to his
senses and runs him off, thereby continuing that feud.  Rating:  *½
-Highlights of the Undertaker’s
match with Mankind at In Your House: 
Buried Alive are shown.
-Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw and Zebekiah say that “The Real Double J” Jesse James is making a mistake by
agreeing to face them in a handicap match tonight.
-In the Karate Fighters Holiday
Tournament get a quick video package recaps the action.  Yes, back in 1996 a KARATE FIGHTERS
TOURNAMENT got a video package.
-Handicap
Match:  “The Real Double J” Jesse James defeats Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw & Zebekiah after pinning Bradshaw after a heel miscommunication spot at
5:50:
This
is the blowoff to the short feud on TV between these two.  The heels use their numbers to gradually wear
James down and cheat, but when Zebekiah tries to hit James
with his branding iron, in plain view of the referee, James moves and Bradshaw
takes the blow to create the finish. 
After the match, Bradshaw attacks Zebekiah, gives him a lariat, and
brands him to send him back to the USWA, where he would be the last Unified
champion of the promotion before it shut its doors in 1997.  The crowd was not into this contest at all.  After this bout, Bradshaw would be taken off
of TV for a while and repackaged as part of the New Blackjacks with Barry
Windham, who was ditching his Stalker gimmick. 
Rating:  *½
Ross interviews Bret “the Hitman” Hart about
his title match with Sid this Sunday at In Your House.  Bret says things are getting crazy in the WWF
and that he wants the WWF title
-Flash Funk’s Tumbleweed
variation on the Goon on last week’s Raw is the Acclaim Slam of the Week.
-The ending of the
Mankind-Undertaker match at SummerSlam is shown.
-No Holds Barred Match:  The Undertaker pins Mankind (w/Paul Bearer)
with a Tombstone at 9:47 shown:
After
these two have fought in boiler rooms and buried alive matches on pay-per-view,
the WWF decided to throw a bone to the fans and let them see these two fight it
out for free.  There is some nice
continuity in the match as the Undertaker anticipates Mankind’s Pearl Harbor
job when he gets into the ring and seizes the offensive.  However, this is a shorter version of their
Survivor Series bout and honestly, I’m starting to tire of this feud.  Mankind is not looking nearly as strong as he
did three months ago, as the Undertaker has dismantled him on three consecutive
occasions at this point (Buried Alive, Survivor Series, and here).  Foley really wouldn’t find a new direction
for the character until the summer of 1997 when he turned face and feuded with
Hunter Hearst Helmsley.  After the
finish, the Executioner attacks the Undertaker and applies the Asian spike in an attempt to make us buy the In Your House pay-per-view
to see the Armageddon Match between them. 
I feel bad for any fan that did that. 
Rating:  **
Tune in next week
to see the Smoking Gunns explode!
The
Final Report Card:  The
Undertaker-Mankind match probably brought in more viewers than last week’s
show, but it wasn’t a pay-per-view caliber match and came off as underwhelming
for such an intense feud.  It also didn’t
help that the Undertaker beat Mankind clean at the Survivor Series, so he’d
already gotten revenge in storyline terms. 
I still can’t believe that they jobbed Helmsley so quickly to Sid.  I understand making Sid look strong heading
into the In Your House pay-per-view, but they didn’t need to make Helmsley look
like such a paper champion either.
Monday
Night War Rating:  N/A (vs. 3.3 for
Nitro)
Show
Evaluation:  Neutral