Herb Abrams’ UWF Fury Hour #2

Herb Abrams’ UWF Fury Hour #2

Second furious episode, with squash matches galore and Col. DeBeers suffering the indignity of having a black man try to referee his match.

Rock Star Gary reflects on AWA SuperClash III

In the solemn words of Jim Morrison: “This is the end…my only friend…the end.”

With the national expansions of both the WWF and NWA, the territorial system, as we knew it, was breathing its last breath. Despite legends like Verne Gagne, the Von Erichs, Jerry “The King” Lawler, Mad Dog Vachon, Chris Adams, among others, the lingering territories during this era tried their best not only to survive but to succeed.

With the conglomeration of the AWA, WCWA, CWA, and POWW, this supercard marks the last stand by the territories in their effort to compete. How much success do they achieve? Let’s find out!

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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: WrestleMania XIV

Jim Ross and Jerry
“the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Boston, Massachusetts
.

Opening Fifteen
Team Battle Royal:  The Legion of Doom
(w/Sunny) win by eliminating The New Midnight Express at 8:19:
The WWF did not run tag team battle royals very often and
the last one prior to this that I recall was held in 1991 when the Nasty Boys
won and earned a title shot at WrestleMania VII.  This is the only tag team battle royal in
WrestleMania history and is the third battle royal to be contested at the event
and the first since WrestleMania IV.  The
rules for this type of battle royal is that when your partner is eliminated
then you have to exit the ring.  The
other teams in this include the Headbangers, Too Much, the Rock N’ Roll
Express, the New Midnight Express, Faarooq & Kama Mustafa, D-Lo Brown &
Mark Henry, the Disciples of Apocalypse, the Quebecers, the Godwinns, the Truth
Commission, Savio Vega & Miguel Perez, Jose & Jesus, Steve Blackman &
Flash Funk (??!?!), and Bradshaw & Chainz. 
There’s lots of interference in this battle royal, as Kurrgan eliminates
the Truth Commission and Barry Windham comes out and tosses Chainz.  The referees seemingly miss all of this.  The Legion of Doom are repackaged here with
Sunny, wearing futuristic skull helmets, and this match just serves to
reintroduce them and position them as top contenders in the tag division
again.  However, as the old saying goes
you can put lipstick on a pig and it is still a pig.  The Godwinns blast the Legion of Doom with
buckets because that feud lingers on despite the best wishes of the audience,
but it does no good as the LOD go over in their last WrestleMania appearance
and earn a tag team title shot at next month’s Unforgiven pay-per-view.  This would have been better with fewer teams
and it was just guys randomly trading punches. 
The crowd liked the LOD going over, though.  Rating:  *
Ross and Lawler
talk about the DX Public Workout, where Steve Austin ended up tied in the ropes
and Mike Tyson and Shawn Michaels kissed him on the forehead.  Other WrestleMania festivities are shown.
Light Heavyweight
Championship Match:  Taka Michinoku
(Champion) beats Aguila with a Michinoku Driver at 5:19:
 Aguila gets the jobber entrance, which is
unbecoming of WrestleMania, but he did not get a lot of television time prior
to this event.  Both men flip around a
lot, but there’s very little psychology to speak of and the Boston crowd does
not respond well to the match.  Of
course, they might respond better if the WWF gave them a reason to care about
this division.  After some really obvious
spot positioning and weak striking, Michinoku catches Aguila with a dropkick
when Aguila dives off the second rope and defends the title.  This was the swan song of the light
heavyweight division, as Michinoku would not defend the title at another
pay-per-view until October and Gillberg held the title by the end of the year.  Rating:  *½
Gennifer Flowers
interviews the Intercontinental Champion the Rock.  The Rock cuts a hilarious interview where he
demands to be called “the People’s Champion” and says he does not care about
the homeless as long as they stay off his property.  He makes some jokes about the judicial system
and interns “oral” role in his theoretical White House.
European
Championship Match:  Triple H (Champion
w/Chyna) pins Owen Hart with a Pedigree at 11:27:
Keep in mind that Owen is wrestling this match on an
injured ankle.  Triple H gets a live
musical entrance because the D-Generation X band is present this evening.  Chyna is also handcuffed to Commissioner
Slaughter during this match.  Now logic
would suggest that Owen gets his revenge here after being outwitted and duped
by Triple H at every turn during their three month feud.  However, that is not to be as Chyna drags
Slaughter to ringside to help Triple H puts his hand on the rope to break a
Sharpshooter and then tosses powder in Slaughter’s eyes, which enables her to
low blow Owen and help Triple H retain the title.  This built into a really solid match after a
slow and awkward start and this resulted in Owen permanently being relegated to
midcard status for the rest of his WWF run. 
After the match, Chyna tosses Slaughter into the crowd to continue
getting heat and put an end to the DX-Slaughter angle for good.  Rating:  ***¼
A video package recaps the Marc Mero &
Sable-Goldust & Luna Vachon feud
.
Mixed Tag Team
Match:  “Marvelous” Marc Mero & Sable
beat The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust & Luna Vachon when Sable pins
Luna after a TKO at 9:11:
This is the second mixed tag match in WrestleMania
history if you count men and women and not the Doink/Dink-Bam Bam Bigelow/Luna
match from WrestleMania X.  This is
Mero’s first and only WrestleMania match and he sheds the jealous heel persona
to be more of a traditional babyface in this bout.  The big question entering this match is
whether Sable could wrestle and she is very protected to make her look great.  When she tears into Luna the place explodes
and Luna does a good job bumping for her. 
It is puzzling booking to have Luna run away from Sable based on her run
with Bam Bam Bigelow in 1993-1994, but that is par for the course regarding
most WWF heels.  Sable even gets in a few
shots on Goldust and the crowd goes wild for a Sable powerbomb.  Mero acts like a small kid after the bell,
celebrating as if he got the winning pin. 
Well booked and entertaining bout that disguised Sable’s weaknesses and played
the crowd like a fiddle.  Who would have
imagined sixteen years ago that in 2014 Goldust would be a tag team champion,
Sable would be married to a former UFC champion, Mero would be preaching the
virtues of Christianity, and Luna would no longer be with us?  Rating:  ***
Tennessee Lee
introduces Gennifer Flowers, who is accompanied down the aisle by Jeff
Jarrett.  Flowers tells Jarrett that he’s
great and then does the guest ring announcing duties for the next match.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  The Rock (Champion
w/The Nation of Domination) beats Ken Shamrock by reverse decision at 4:48:
During this match, one smart fan holds up a “Rob Van Dam”
poster.  Since Commissioner Slaughter was
disabled by Chyna a few matches ago the Nation is allowed to congregate around
ringside for this one.  If the Rock gets
disqualified in this then he loses the title, but the announcers never bring
that up and it never factors into the match. 
Shamrock takes another sick shot with a chair in this match, causing me
to question his sanity, but he shakes it off and snaps.  The Rock submits to the ankle lock, but Shamrock
beats up the entire Nation and reapplies the ankle lock.  Faarooq runs out, but he decides not to help
the Rock, thereby continuing that issue. 
WWF officials run out to stop Shamrock, but that just leads to many of
them getting belly-to-belly suplexed. 
All of this causes the initial decision to be reversed and as the Rock
is carried out on a stretcher he hoists up the Intercontinental title in
victory.  After hearing of the decision,
Shamrock tosses the Rock off the stretcher and tosses him through the
D-Generation X band’s equipment.  This
was just a standard RAW match and the Dusty finishes in this feud hurt
Shamrock’s heat because he never managed to win the title from the Rock.  Rating:  **
Jim Ross tells the
television audience that this has become the highest grossing event in the
history of Boston, resulting in over $1,000,000 in ticket revenue.
Dumpster Match
for the WWF Tag Team Championship: 
Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie beat The New Age Outlaws to win the
titles at 10:02:
This is the first time I recall hearing the crowd echo
the Road Dogg’s introduction for the Outlaws. 
Terry Funk does not bother to wear the typical Chainsaw Charlie attire
for this one.  The crowd is pretty
subdued until Cactus pulls out a ladder and works up an “ECW” chant.  Gunn and Cactus take a crazy bump off the
ladder into the dumpster and Funk takes a crazy bump from a spike powerbomb off
the apron into the dumpster, but that does not end things as the battle goes
backstage.  Cactus lays out both of the
Outlaws on a forklift and Funk takes control of it and forces the Outlaws into
a backstage dumpster to seemingly win the titles.  However, they did not use the official
dumpster at ringside, so that might become a point of contention from the
Outlaws by the next RAW.  Fun brawl,
although the finish defied logic with the Outlaws just laying on the forklift
and somehow being forced off of there by Funk’s driving.  Rating:  **½
A video package
hypes the Undertaker-Kane match.
Pete Rose comes
out and turns heel by running down the Boston Red Sox, which may go over the
head of later viewers since the Red Sox have won three World Series since this
event.  Rose is supposed to do guest ring
announcing duties, but Kane Tombstone’s Rose to a huge reaction thereby starting
a running WrestleMania gag.  Rose does a
stretcher job and acts like he’s dead. 
Now THIS is what a celebrity appearance is all about.
The Undertaker
defeats Kane (w/Paul Bearer) with three Tombstones at 16:58:
 So after SIX
months of build we finally get this match between Kane and the only force in
the WWF that can stop him:  his brother
the Undertaker.  The Undertaker gets an
awesome entrance with druids holding lighted torches along the aisle.  I know at the time of this match that some of
my friends were looking forward to this match more than the Shawn
Michaels-Steve Austin main event.  This
is nowhere near a great technical encounter, but it is definitely a spectacle
because of how well Kane has been built since his debut and the Undertaker’s zombie
reputation.  Kane dominates most of the
match, with a really long chinlock spot in the middle, but the Undertaker kicks
out of a Tombstone and rallies as Bearer damns him at ringside.  However, it takes three Tombstones for the
Undertaker to put Kane down for good.  I
remember this match being much better than this, so it has not aged well, a
fact not helped by these two fighting many more times after this.  Still, it had some nice storytelling with the
Undertaker having to use everything in his arsenal to put Kane down for a three
count and that is enough for me to give it another ½*.  Rating:  *½
After the match,
Bearer throws a chair into the ring and stomps on a fatigued Undertaker.  The Undertaker recovers to deck Bearer, but
Kane smashes him with the chair and Tombstones him on it to show that this feud
will continue.  The Undertaker sits up,
though, as Kane and Bearer go to the backstage area.
A sad black and
white commercial that shows Gorilla Monsoon, Classie Freddie Blassie, and
Killer Kowalski, all of whom have died by now, hypes the Attitude Era.
A video package
hypes the Shawn Michaels-Steve Austin main event.
WWF Championship
Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve Austin defeats
“The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels (Champion w/D-Generation X) with a Stone
Cold Stunner to win the title at 20:01:
Mike Tyson is greeted to a chorus of boos when he comes
out to be the guest enforcer and he jaws with Austin after Austin makes his
entrance.  As the readers of this review
are aware, Michaels back was really messed up for this match and he had not
wrestled since defending the title against the Undertaker at the Royal
Rumble.  This would be his last match
until SummerSlam 2002.  Triple H attacks
Austin in the early going, so he and Chyna end up getting tossed from ringside.  If you read Michaels face during this match
you can tell that he is in a lot of pain, but that does not stop him from
incorporating his usual offensive arsenal like the flying forearm, kip up, and flying
elbow or being tossed with reckless abandon over the top rope.  Attitude Era brawling by the DX band and by
the timekeeper’s table also helps mask some of Michaels limitations.  Michaels opts to spend the match working the
leg and Tyson turns a blind eye to his cheating, like holding the ropes during
a figure-four spot.  The referee is
bumped out of a sleeper spot, but when Austin catches Michaels with a Stunner
after he blocks Sweet Chin Music, Tyson slides into the ring and counts the
fall.  I wish we could have seen a
healthy Michaels against Austin because that would have garnered a higher
rating, but kudos to Michaels for fighting through his injury and doing the
job.  Rating:  ***½ 
After the match,
Austin tosses Tyson an Austin 3:16 shirt and Tyson displays it for the
audience.  Michaels gets up and
interrogates Tyson about this shift of loyalties and that leads to Tyson
knocking him out to pay off the angle. 
Tyson then drapes Austin’s shirt over Michaels before walking to the
backstage area with the new champion.
The Final Report Card:  This was a very good WrestleMania.  The two worst matches were at the top of the
card and things picked up after that point. 
The show had a lot of “WrestleMania moments” and more than most
WrestleManias:  Austin winning the title,
Sable getting in the ring and TKOing Luna, Pete Rose getting Tombstoned by
Kane, and the Undertaker using three Tombstones to beat Kane.  The WWF’s intelligent booking also paid off
with this show since the midcard matches generated more crowd reaction and,
unlike WCW, they put the title cleanly on the guy that the fans wanted.  It also generated the highest WrestleMania
buyrate since WrestleMania VIII in 1992 and reversed a five year decline in
WrestleMania buyrates for the company.  I
like to see the Michaels-Austin match as the passing of the torch from the New
Generation to the Attitude Era and it is arguably one of the most important
matches in the history of the company, on the level of Iron Sheik-Hulk Hogan in
1985.
Attendance: 
19,028
Buyrate: 
2.3 (+1.6 from previous year)

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 – 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: No Way Out of Texas – In Your House

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross and Jerry
“the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Houston, Texas.  Ross and Lawler speculate on who the eighth
man will be on the heel team, since WWF Champion Shawn Michaels is injured and
is not competing.  Ross says that the
main event tag is going to be no holds barred. 
Why didn’t they just clarify that stipulation on the previous RAW?

Opening
Contest:  The Headbangers defeat
“Marvelous” Marc Mero & The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust (w/Sable &
Luna Vachon) when Thrasher pins Mero with small package at 13:54:
Before the match, Mero banishes Sable to the locker room
because the crowd is cheering for her and because she and Luna cannot get
along.  Goldust is still rocking the Marilyndust
outfit.  Mero has nuclear heat at the
beginning of this, but has trouble sustaining it after the first few minutes of
the match.  Thrasher blades after getting
dropped on the steps by Goldust, but it is an unnecessary spot considering the
stakes of the match.  Goldust and Mero
kill the crowd with their offense and the heat segment on Thrasher lasts for an
eternity.  After Luna interferes to break
up the Stage Dive and Mero hits Mosh with a TKO, Sable walks out and Mero and
Goldust have to keep their respective valets from fighting each other.  This distraction enables Thrasher to switch
places with Mosh and that helps the Headbangers secure their first pay-per-view
victory since September.  Fun finish, but
it took a long, long time to get there.  Rating: 
*
After the match,
WWF officials run into the ring to keep Sable and Luna from fighting and
Goldust has to carry Luna to the locker room. 
Mero proceeds to yell at Sable and Sable yells back at him, before
pushing him to the canvas and getting a loud pop.
Kevin Kelly and
the Jackyl urge us to call the WWF Superstar Line at 1-900-737-4WWF.  The Jackyl predicts that the mystery man for
the heel team will have a big impact.
Michael Cole
interviews European Champion Owen Hart, who has gone back to a clean shaven
look.  Owen says he doesn’t care who the
mystery man is for D-Generation X and the New Age Outlaws because his big
target is Triple H.
Sunny comes out to
do guest ring announcing duties for our next match
.
Light Heavyweight
Champion Match:  Taka Michinoku
(Champion) defeats El Pantera with the Michinoku Driver at 10:10:

This was the first WWF light heavyweight championship match to take place on
pay-per-view if you exclude the December In Your House.  Sunny gives Michinoku a kiss before the match
and Lawler gets angry about that.  Brian
Christopher wanders out before the match starts to do commentary because we
seemingly can’t have a light heavyweight match without him involved in some
way.  Pantera does an insane flying
hurricanrana where he jumps onto Taka’s back while Taka in on the apron and
sends him to the floor and follows that up minutes later with a somersault
plancha splash.  Pantera concentrates his
offense on the back and he nearly wins the title when Michinoku is too injured
to hit the Michinoku Driver.  However,
Michinoku kicks out and rallies to retain the title.  A good match that deserved a better crowd
reaction.  Rating:  ***¼
After the match,
Christopher wants to go after Michinoku, but Lawler tries to hold him
back.  Michinoku decides not to wait for
a decision and dives onto both men on the floor.  He then escapes through the crowd when they
rush the ring to go after him.
Kelly is with
Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie at the America Online center.  Cactus says that he and Charlie have devised
some creative ways to destroy the New Age Outlaws.  Charlie says that he has great partners and
promises that the Outlaws are not going to be laughing at the end of tonight’s
match
.
The Godwinns beat
The Quebecers when Phineas pins Pierre after Henry clothesline Pierre from the
apron at 11:14:
The Quebecers debut a generic rock theme here and it does
not fit their characters at all.  I mean
really, if you are going to bring in the Quebecers, why not outfit them with
their old uniforms and pull out their old entrance music?  Both of these teams are heels and are in need
of some momentum in the tag team division, so this was an important
contest.  However, since both teams are
heels the crowd stays quiet and you know you are in trouble in one of these
matches if Jacques is the man in peril.  The
Quebecers bust out the Quebecer Crash for old time’s sake, but Henry breaks up
the fall.  The Godwinns secure a victory
here and lay out the Quebecers with slop buckets after the bell, which was another
signal that the Quebecers were only on a short stint in the company.  The Godwinns are beyond stale by this point
as well, since they have been around for nearly two years.  Awful contest, but I would have been
surprised if it wasn’t.  Rating: 
½*
Dok Hendrix asks
the WWF Tag Team Champions the New Age Outlaws who the mystery man is on their
team, but the Road Dogg says that they do not know.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your “Stone Cold” Steve Austin 100% whoop ass t-shirt, which comes in
its own silver can of whoop ass.  It will
cost you $30 (plus $6 shipping and handling). 
Such a corny gimmick to get people to buy a shirt, but I know lots of
people did.
Jim Ross
interviews NWA North American Champion Jeff Jarrett and Jim Cornette, who are in
the backstage area.  Cornette says
Jarrett can beat Bradshaw by himself and Jarrett says that he has perfected the
figure-four, unlike other wrestlers that have used it before.
NWA North
American Championship Match:  Bradshaw
beats Jeff Jarrett (Champion w/Jim Cornette) by disqualification when Jarrett
is caught using Cornette’s tennis racket at 8:59:
The referee forces Windham and the Rock N’ Roll Express
to leave ringside because they do not have managerial licenses and Stan
Hans..er, Bradshaw helps force the NWA faction to the locker room.  This was the first time that an NWA
championship was defended on a WWF pay-per-view.  In light of how Jarrett is the top guy in the
NWA faction, shouldn’t this match have been Bradshaw against Barry Windham and
save the Jarrett match for a later date? 
Despite the fact that Bradshaw’s knee was damaged two weeks ago on RAW,
it takes five minutes for Jarrett to focus on it.  When he does, Bradshaw forgets about selling
it near the finish.  Average contest in
series of them tonight.  Rating: 
**
After the bell, he
fights off the NWA faction with the tennis racket, but when he tries to give
Cornette a lariat the NWA pounces him until the Legion of Doom make the save.
Michael Cole
interviews Triple H & Chyna and asks who the mystery man is going to
be.  Chyna looks extra manly
tonight.  Triple H says that everyone
wants to be part of DX, but no one can match Shawn Michaels so tonight will be
a handicap match as he and the Outlaws will face Austin, Owen, Cactus, and Chainsaw.  Cole says WWF officials may appoint a
partner, but Triple H says he doesn’t care.
Jim Ross lets us
know that if you send your cable bill to the WWF for buying the pay-per-view
you can get a voucher to purchase WWF the Music:  Volume 2 for $5.  Why doesn’t the WWF do promotions like this
anymore?
Hendrix interviews
the Nation of Domination and when he says he is going to get the leader’s
comments, the Rock takes over the mic before Faarooq wrestles it away from him.  It’s really hard to pay attention to anything
Faarooq says because the Rock does lots of funny poses, eye rolls, and other
nonverbals.
“War of
Attrition” Match:  Ken Shamrock, Ahmed
Johnson & The Disciples of Apocalypse defeat The Nation of Domination when
Shamrock forces The Rock to submit to the ankle lock at 13:46:
A group of fans make it a point to wave a large
Confederate flag when the Nation of Domination make their entrance.  After all of the hype for this “war of
attrition” match, whose language would suggest this is an elimination match, it
turns out that it is just a one fall, ten man tag.  I think that was a last minute booking
change.  This was Ahmed Johnson’s last
WWF pay-per-view appearance, ending a tumultuous two and a half year stint in
the company.  He does go out in a blaze
of glory by having a fun encounter with Mark Henry and slamming him minutes
into the match.  D-Lo Brown cements
himself as the #3 member of the Nation during this match, as he gets to
showcase the Lo Down and other elements of his mobile offense.  The crowd loses its mind when all hell breaks
loose and left alone, the Rock is no match for Shamrock.  Even though this was a vehicle to further the
Rock-Shamrock feud, I like to think of this as the blowoff to the “gang warz”
feud due to Ahmed’s departure and the Nation devolving into an internal
squabble between Faarooq and the Rock and then moving to feud with D-Generation
X shortly after this show.  Well booked
brawl that emphasized the important players and gave the crowd things to cheer
about.  Rating:  **½
After the match,
the Rock gets in Faarooq’s face and Faarooq ends up striking D-Lo Brown to
create problems.  The Rock teases
leaving, but Faarooq gets him to come back to the ring and the Nation gives a
unified salute before leaving.
Cole interviews
Steve Austin and Austin says he is excited to whoop some ass in Texas.
A video package
hypes the Vader-Kane match
.
Kane (w/Paul
Bearer) pins Vader with a Tombstone at 11:00:
This is a vehicle to continue Kane’s path of destruction
and it was only the second televised match for Kane in his WWF career.  The selling point of this encounter is that
with the Undertaker gone Vader is the only hope for the WWF locker room to stop
Kane.  For this match, unlike Survivor
Series 1996, they decide to keep the normal ring lights on instead of keeping
the arena illuminated in red.  Vader
“hits” the moonsault, but Kane sits up. 
Vader resorts to using a fire extinguisher like he did on RAW and hits a
powerbomb, but Kane sits up and a distraction from Bearer produces Vader’s
end.  An ugly brawl at the beginning, but
the last couple of minutes had a suspenseful exchange of moves.  Rating:  *¾
After the match,
Kane gets a wrench from a toolbox that Vader pulled from under the ring earlier
in the match and he smashes Vader in the face with it.  Bearer is able to calm Kane down and they
leave.  Medics come to attend to Vader,
who is unconscious in the ring.  He does
a stretcher job, which is the first in his career.
A video package
hypes the main event tag team match
.
Unsanctioned
Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Owen
Hart, Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie defeat Savio Vega, Triple H & The
New Age Outlaws (w/Chyna) when Austin pins The Road Dogg with a Stone Cold
Stunner at 17:41:
Yes, that’s right. 
The mystery partner to replace Shawn Michaels is Savio Vega, which
constitutes one of the most disappointing “reveals” of the Attitude Era.  It makes sense from a booking perspective
since Los Boricuas has been helping DX, but it’s still a sad replacement for the
WWF champion.  The Road Dogg comes out
wearing a “Tennessee Oilers” t-shirt, as the Oilers were moving from Houston at
this time, and Austin comes out to the loudest pop of the night, thereby
solidifying the fact that he was getting the belt at WrestleMania come hell or
high water.  Since this is unsanctioned,
everyone just pairs off and brawls with an assortment of weapons.  It is really hard to follow the action, but
after seven minutes everyone takes their places on the apron and this starts to
look like a regular tag match.  Charlie
and Cactus take turns being in peril and Cactus ends up wrapped in barbed
wire.  When Austin gets the tag he
destroys everything and wins the match for his team.  This was too disjointed for me to get into,
but it had its “OMG” moments.  Rating: 
**½
After the match,
Chyna confronts Austin and after she pushes and flips him off, Austin gives her
a Stunner, which makes the crowd lose its mind. 
This was the first time that a male wrestler directly retaliated against
Chyna since she joined the company in February 1997, so it was a big deal at
the time.
The Final Report Card:  This was a transitional pay-per-view as the
WWF was moving towards its second boom period. 
This was the Triple H’s first appearance in a pay-per-view main event
and guys from the “Dark Ages” period were being phased out like Ahmed Johnson
and Vader.   Although some of the wrestling on this show was
standard fare, the angles got lots of heat, as the Austin-Chyna, Mero-Sable,
and Shamrock-Rock segments illustrate. 
There is more good than bad here, so I’ll give this a slight thumbs
up.  It’s not a historic show, but it was
a quality three hours and the right people went over in the matches that
mattered.
Attendance: 
16,110
Buyrate: 
0.52 (+0.02 over previous year)

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 – December 29, 1997

by Logan Scisco

Footage of the
angle surrounding last week’s show concerning the European title is shown
.
Jim Ross, Michael
Cole, and Kevin Kelly are in the booth and they are live from the Nassau
Coliseum in New York for the last RAW of 1997.
Goldust comes out
dressed as a New Year’s baby and declares that he will enter the Royal
Rumble.  I should note that Cole is
establishing a bad operating procedure of constantly talking over a wrestler’s
promo, afraid of having any silence on the air. 
Goldust is supposed to wrestle Steve Austin, who comes out and has a
Porta John lowered, which he has to tug into the ring from the top of the
arena.  The Porta John, which Cole
initially calls an “outhouse” has “Crapper 3:16” written on the outside of it.  Goldust tries to sneak up on Austin behind
it, but Austin slams the door in his face, tosses him inside, and when
Goldust comes out he eats a Stone Cold Stunner. 
Austin then tosses Goldust back in and turns it over, before ending his
promo on top it.  A wild, creative, and
very entertaining segment and Austin had the crowd eating out his hand the
entire time.

Owen Hart’s sneak
attack on Triple H on last week’s show is the 1-800-COLLECT Rewind segment.
Opening Long
Island Street Fight:  The Disciples of
Apocalypse beat Savio Vega, Miguel Perez & Jesus (w/Jose) when Chainz pins
Jose after heel miscommunication at 3:17:
I wish that this feud would just end.  It has no direction and no one cares about
the Boricuas.  Ross subtly buries Crush
by saying that after his altercation with Kane he did not want to be in the WWF
anymore.  The match gets off to a hot
shot, with chairs being used, but it quickly cools into a battle royal-type
brawl.  Jose isn’t supposed to be in the
match, but gets involved anyway and in a piece of WCWesque booking, Chainz pins
him when Savio accidentally blasts him with a spin kick.  Rating:  *
The WWF has shown
these ads for a couple of weeks, but I want to say that their “Attitude Era”
ads where the Undertaker, Steve Austin, the Rock, Ken Shamrock, etc. listed
their accomplishments and injuries and put down anyone who criticizes wrestling
for being fake are well done.
European Champion
Triple H and Chyna are in the ring after the commercial break and Triple H is
on crutches and in a knee brace, which he says is because he dislocated his
knee cap last night, and he says he won’t be able to defend his title against Owen Hart
tonight.  Triple H says that Shawn
Michaels isn’t here because he has a 102 degree fever and the lights go out and
a casket is wheeled to the ring by druids, but Michaels pops out of the casket,
which has DX graffiti.  Kelly is
outraged, saying Michaels “desecrated the spirit of the casket.”  What? 
DX puts over Chyna’s breasts for a few minutes and Michaels pledges that
1998 will be the year of DX. 
Commissioner Slaughter comes out and says that Triple H is medically
unfit to compete, so he books Michaels in a WWF title match against Owen.
Ken Shamrock
defeats Kama Mustafa (w/Faarooq & D-Lo Brown) via submission to the
anklelock at 3:36:
The storyline for Shamrock heading into the Royal Rumble
is that he’s going to slowly go through the Nation in preparation for facing
the Rock for the Intercontinental title.  Kama gets in a few token moves and Shamrock
exchanges strikes with him before taking him down and making him tap.  Rating:  *
After the match, the
Rock comes out and says that fans have asked him his opinion on the elderly and
Social Security, but he doesn’t care as long as makes money.  That’s a funny gimmick as last week we said
fans asked his opinion on world peace. 
The Rock calls off the Nation from beating up Shamrock and says next
week Shamrock will face Faarooq.  Faarooq
isn’t happy about that.  The Rock is
carrying the feud on the mic and doing a fantastic job.  The Rock-Shamrock feud as a whole is very
underrated and a largely forgotten part of 1998, but the Rock’s work in that
feud is what set him on the path to main event status.
The announce team
hypes the house show circuit.  Why can’t
WWE bother to do this today?
Dok Hendrix hypes
the next Madison Square Garden show.  The
matches that are in this show were chronicled in last week’s review
.
Vince McMahon is
shown sitting in an empty arena before tonight’s show and thanks the fans for
watching and he promises that 1998 will be the most action packed and enjoyable
year in WWF history.  Can’t say he was
wrong about that.  I sort of miss these
fan appreciation segments with Vince because he comes off very sincere, but in
the back of his mind he had to know things would have to get better in 1998
because he and Linda lost $5 million or so of their own money on the company in
1997 and couldn’t give Christmas bonuses, which they felt ashamed of, according
to a Kevin Kelly shoot interview.
Jerry “the King”
Lawler & “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher beats Taka Michinoku & George
“the Animal” Steele by disqualification when Steele uses a foreign object at
2:39:
Before the match, Lawler says that Brian Christopher is
Jim Ross’s son, which is so ridiculous I’m surprised Ross didn’t corpse on live
television.  Steele was Michinoku’s
mystery partner for this match and since they are in a mainstay WWF territory,
he gets a bigger pop than Steve Austin when he comes out and eats a few
turnbuckles.  This is a fun match, as
Lawler and Steele both use foreign objects and Lawler teases doing a moonsault,
which if he did it might have made this a **** match.  Unfortunately, there isn’t much action because
Steele gets tired of seeing Lawler do his phantom foreign object trick and gets
caught using a real one.
In the second
hour, Ross and Lawler take over commentary duties
.
Cactus Jack beats
“The Road Dogg” Jesse James (w/Billy Gunn) by disqualification when Gunn
interferes at 2:10:
The Outlaws go for the cheap heat by wearing New York
Rangers jerseys.  Before the match, Dude
Love morphs into Mankind on the Titantron, who really should be in the hospital
after getting locked in a freezer last week. 
Mankind morphs into Cactus Jack and that’s who is coming for the Outlaws
in this match with a barbed wire baseball bat as the crowd goes wild and chants
“ECW.”  Cactus takes a nasty chair shot
from James, but quickly rallies to hit a double-arm DDT, prompting the
interference.  Lawler is apoplectic about
that because all of the weapons used didn’t bring about a disqualification,
which is a justified view.
After the match,
Cactus fights the Outlaws by the entrance and out of a crate, which has been
sitting there all night, comes Chainsaw Charlie, which was so stupid it
cannot be put into words.  If Terry Funk
popped out of the box or, as Lawler mentioned, Leatherface, this would’ve been
much better.  The smart fans in the
audience quickly realize it’s Funk and start chanting “Terry.” As it is,
Charlie runs off the Outlaws with his crazy chainsaw antics.
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.
Kelly interviews
Sable, who will be in the next RAW magazine and she says she wants to give fans
a preview of what’s in the magazine, but before she can unveil a swimsuit, Marc
Mero comes out and sets up a chair saying that he wants to see the show.  When Kelly tells Mero to calm down, Mero
calls him a third string announcer and gives him a low blow.  Tom Brandi runs out when Mero berates Sable,
but eats a TKO on the chair.  Mero then
chokes Brandi with parts of Sable’s RAW magazine.  It’s unfortunate that Mero’s ring work was
awful at this point because he was tearing it up with this character and it was
the most entertaining he had been in years.
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to hear about the British Bulldog’s future, or lack thereof.
The Headbangers,
the Disciples of Apocalypse, Flash Funk, and Scott Taylor come to the ring and
call out Kane to get revenge.  However,
shortly after Kane comes down, the Undertaker makes an appearance and helps
Kane clear the ring.  The Undertaker then
leaves, which causes him to be booed, but it’s an excellent piece of
storytelling.
Hendrix hypes the
Madison Square Garden show again
.
Cole interviews
WWF Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws, who say that they aren’t concerned
about facing the Legion of Doom at the Royal Rumble because Chainsaw Charlie is
trying to kill them.  The interview ends
with Charlie cutting through a locker room door and the Outlaws flee.
Jim Cornette
comments on the state of wrestling in 1997 and says it is awful, indicting all
of the major companies, including the WWF. 
He doesn’t care for DX, Sable, and the New World Order.  He complains about a lack of wrestling,
living in Connecticut, and the Internet. 
Cornette says he might bring some tradition back to the WWF, thereby
laying the groundwork for bringing in his NWA faction.  A good rant, but Cornette’s view of
traditional wrestling wasn’t going to fly in 1998.
Steve Austin
giving a Stone Cold Stunner to Santa Claus is the Sony Playstation Slam of the
Week.
Sunny comes down
with her photo spread in RAW magazine and gives it to a young fan.  I’m sure his mother really loved that.
Ross announces
that the WWF has begun negotiations with Mike Tyson to participate at
WrestleMania XIV.  The crowd boos that
and Lawler mentions how Vince McMahon talking to Mike Tyson
threatens global security.
A video package
chronicles Owen Hart’s return to the WWF.
WWF Championship
Match:  Owen Hart beats “The Heartbreak
Kid” Shawn Michaels (Champion w/Chyna) by disqualification when Triple H breaks
a crutch over Owen’s head at 7:47 shown:
Interestingly, Earl Hebner is the referee for this match
and Michaels humorously mocks a fan telling Owen to look behind him to avoid a
flying axe handle.  Owen dominates the
early going until Chyna trips him.  Owen
sells a sleeper spot really well, panicking when it gets put on and trying to
punch his way towards the ropes.  Owen
runs through his usual spots for near-falls and the crowd becomes unglued when
he catches Shawn with an enziguri and applies the Sharpshooter.  However, Triple H, who came down to the
ringside a few minutes into the match interferes and Michaels keeps the title.  Looking back, Owen should’ve gotten the title
here for two weeks and then dropped it back to Michaels before the Royal
Rumble.  It would’ve given them two weeks
to hype a rematch and would have allowed them to give Owen a trial run as
champion.  The crowds were really into
his “lone Hart” act upon his return, but when he was shuffled back down to the
midcard that aura disappeared.  Rating: 
***¾
After the match,
Triple H whacks Owen with his other crutch, thereby transitioning his match
with Michaels into a feud between them.
The Final Report Card:  This was a fantastic episode of RAW.  It would’ve been better for Shawn
Michaels-Owen Hart to headline a pay-per-view, but for political reasons this
was the best that we were going to get.  The
crowd was hot for everything on this show and the show also set up a lot of
great storylines for 1998.  Austin is
heading into the Royal Rumble as a wrecking machine, D-Generation X is angering
everyone in the company and stirring the pot, the Undertaker continues to
refuse to face Kane, who in turn is destroying the roster, Cactus Jack is
waging war against the New Age Outlaws, and the Rock is slowly becoming one of
the most entertaining heels in the company. 
Coupled with the talents of Owen Hart, Taka Michinoku, Terry Funk, Ken
Shamrock and others it is not surprising that the company soon overtook WCW,
whose main event scene was growing stagnant. 
This show also gave lots of hope to loyal WWF fans because the 3.6
rating was the highest ever for a RAW episode that went head-to-head with Nitro
up to this point and it was a significant improvement over the 2.1 rating that
the company drew for the first RAW of 1997.
With 1997 now out of the way, what would you
like to see reviewed next on the blog? 
Other writers seem to have WCW covered, but I have a large collection of
old footage that I taped, so I have 1993-1999 RAW’s, old Saturday Night’s Main
Events, the old Coliseum Video “Best Of’s”, Action Zone seasons, 1991-1992 Prime Time Wrestling, Superstars
1994-1997, 1995-1997 USWA, and 1997-1998 Shotgun Saturday Night.  Just post below and
whatever seems to get the most votes we will move forward with.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.6 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – September 22, 1997

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross narrates
a video package that discusses the history of Madison Square Garden.  It even mentions the birth of
Hulkamania.  The subtle purpose of this
video package is to inform the audience that a big event is going to happen
tonight
.
Vince McMahon, Jim
Ross, and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from New
York City.

Opening
Intercontinental Championship Tournament First Round Contest:  Ahmed Johnson beats Rocky Maivia with the
Pearl River Plunge at 4:54:
Commissioner Sergeant Slaughter orders the Nation of
Domination away from ringside before the bout and Ross informs us that Ken
Shamrock will not be able to compete in the semi-finals, so Faarooq will
advance despite losing and will face the winner of this contest.  Ahmed gets a great pop from the crowd,
showing that he still had potential if he found a way to quit injuring his
opponents.  This is a fun match from a crowd
reaction perspective as they loudly boo Maivia every time he seizes the advantage.  Unfortunately, the match isn’t as fun to
observe, with Ahmed slashing his hand on a nail by the announce table after
being thrown over the top rope being the only notable moment.  Did this guy walk under ladders backstage or
something?  He’s always finding freak
ways to get hurt.  It’s amazing to look
back and imagine that Maivia, who did not look anywhere near Ahmed’s level in
this match, would be Intercontinental champion by January while Ahmed would be on
his way out of the company.  Rating: 
*
Steve Austin
appears in the crowd and says that someone is getting their ass whipped
tonight.  McMahon does not look happy
about that announcement.
Floyd Patterson,
Chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission, is shown in the crowd.
The announce team
recaps the European championship match at One Night Only
.
McMahon interviews
the Undertaker and mentions that the winner of the Hell in a Cell match at In
Your House:  Badd Blood will face the WWF
champion at Survivor Series.  The Undertaker
gives some generic comments about Shawn Michaels, which brings out the
Heartbreak Kid with his new European title and Michaels says that the WWF is
conspiring against him with all of these stipulations for Badd Blood.  Michaels repeats the fact that he doesn’t lay
down for anyone and that he will be one step ahead of everyone that wants to
bring him down.
Sunny comes out to
be the guest ring announcer for the next match
.
The Legion of
Doom defeats Faarooq & Kama Mustafa by disqualification when D-Lo Brown
interferes at 2:30:
The crowd is hot for the LOD’s entrance, but go mild for
everything else.  Less than two minutes
in all hell breaks loose and the LOD prepare to give Faarooq the Doomsday
Device, but D-Lo Brown interferes and all hell breaks loose.  After the bell, Rocky Maivia comes in and the
Nation do a four-on-two beatdown and Ahmed Johnson’s save attempt goes nowhere.  WWF officials eventually intervene to stop
the carnage.  All of this is building to
a six man tag at Badd Blood.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your VHS copy of One Night Only for $19.95 (plus $6 shipping and
handling)!  That shipping and handling
charge is pretty outrageous.
Jimmy Snuka’s dive
off of a cage against Don Muraco in October 1983 at Madison Square Garden is
shown
.
Intercontinental
Championship Tournament Semi-Final Match: 
Owen Hart (w/Police Crew) defeats “The Loose Cannon” Brian Pillman
(w/Marlena) by disqualification when Goldust interferes at 3:53 shown:
Pillman comes out with his left arm in a sling, which he
says he broke while having a good time with Marlena in the shower.  He says he is going to forfeit, but
Commissioner Slaughter comes out, demands medical evidence of Pillman’s injury,
and when he tosses a microphone at Pillman, Pillman catches it with his broken
arm.  Based on this evidence, Slaughter
orders that the match go on under threat of expulsion from the WWF.  Pillman and Owen proceed to move in slow
motion into basic wrestling moves until Owen gets hit by Marlena’s purse and
decides to wrestle the match normally. 
This does not last long, though, as Goldust charges the ring, makes sure
to deck Owen first, and then tries to go after Pillman, but WWF officials
restrain him so Pillman can get away with Marlena.  It would have been interesting to see if Owen
could have gotten a good match out of Pillman, but the booking of this match
did not allow that to happen.  This would
be Pillman’s last RAW match before he passed away.  Rating:  *
After the match,
Owen cuts a funny promo where he dedicates making the finals of the
Intercontinental championship tournament to Bret.  However, before he can finish, Steve Austin
attacks him from behind and teases attacking police officers.  McMahon runs into the ring and tries to talk
sense to Austin about his medical condition and Austin responds by giving
McMahon a Stone Cold Stunner before being taken to jail.  McMahon oversells the Stunner by convulsing
all over the canvas, but all silliness aside, this planted the seed for the
explosive Austin-McMahon feud of 1998
.
A video tribute is
given for Dick “the Bulldog” Browser
.
Jerry Lawler talks
with Rhonda Shear, host of USA Up All Night, who promotes her show.
Falls Count Anywhere Match: 
Cactus Jack beats Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) with a piledriver
through a table at 9:14 shown:                                                                                                             
This is booked as Dude Love-Helmsley, but this is the
famous segment where Dude Love and Mankind step aside so that Cactus Jack can
take their place.  The crowd really loves
that piece of booking and a loud “ECW” chant breaks out.  Chyna turns the tide for Helmsley, as per
usual, and they brawl to the back, which brings back images of WrestleMania
X.  Speaking of which, thank god they did
not use the stupid stipulations of that “falls count anywhere match” for this
one.  What’s funny about this match is
that you have some white collar professionals in suits sitting in the expensive
seats around ringside and they don’t really know what to make of the brutality
on display in this match.  Chyna and
Cactus have a fight over a chair and Helmsley nails Cactus in the back, which
sends Chyna into the steps and incapacitates her.  Helmsley secures some near-falls as they
battle up the ramp with a litany of foreign objects, but when Helmsley goes for
a Pedigree on a table he sets up near the entrance, Cactus responds with a low
blow and a beautiful piledriver through a table to secure the win, just before
Chyna can make the save.  A very creative
brawl that provided a fitting finish to the Foley-Helmsley 1997 feud and it was
also enhanced by having Jim Ross on commentary. 
I don’t know if Vince McMahon would have known how to call this
thing.  Rating:  ****
Call 1-900-737-4WWF to hear about everything
that happened in the United Kingdom with WWF superstars!
Footage of Andre
the Giant slamming Big John Studd at WrestleMania I is shown
.
Ross and Lawler
talk some more about the European championship match at One Night Only
.
European Champion
Shawn Michaels comes out with a chair, which he sets up in the ring, and calls
out the Undertaker so he slap him around “main event style.”  The Undertaker finally arrives and although
he fends off an attack by Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Michaels decks him with the
chair and D-Generation X work him over.
-WWF Champion Bret
Hart tells the fans that he does not care who wins the Hell in a Cell match
because he knows he can beat either of them at Survivor Series.  This promo shows that Bret really is the odd
man out as far as booking is concerned.
Non-Title
Match:  Bret “the Hitman” Hart (WWF
Champion) defeats Goldust via submission to the Sharpshooter at 9:40 shown:
I hope Bret wore a cup for this match considering
Goldust’s latest match against a member of the Hart clan.  Bret spends most of the match working the leg
and Lawler spends most of the match speculating on what’s happening to
Marlena.  I have no problem with Bret
working the leg, but when it happens for seven straight minutes without leading
to anything, the match gets boring really quickly.  Goldust “builds momentum” (in Ross’s words),
but pulling off a bulldog is ridiculous considering how much Bret has worked
the leg.  The finish is somewhat nice, as
Goldust lifts his leg to catch Bret’s aerial attack, but Bret realizes “why am
I jumping straight down on someone’s exposed boot?” and applies the Sharpshooter
for the victory.  Rating:  **
After the bell,
Shawn Michaels runs into the ring and attacks Bret and Hunter Hearst Helmsley
joins in the beatdown.  Owen Hart, The
British Bulldog, Rick Rude, The Undertaker, and Jim Neidhart get involved in the
brawl, which leads to the Undertaker chokeslamming Bret and Michaels to stand
tall at the end of the show.  This was
Neidhart’s return, but what makes it amusing is that he kept wanting to attack
Rude, but Rude had to try to tell him to leave him alone since Neidhart beating
on him would void his Lloyd’s of London insurance policy.
The Final Report Card:  The first hour was very pedestrian before the
McMahon-Austin segment, but after that the show got rolling.  Anytime you get a **** match on RAW it is worth
a thumbs up rating and Cactus-Helmsley is still fondly remembered today.  In light of what we know about concussions it
is a little hard to watch, but for pure entertainment value it is tough to top.  The show was also a small tryout for Jim
Ross, as he took over lead commentary duties when McMahon went out and he did a
great job, especially with the Cactus-Helmsley match.  A really good show in the second hour, but I
would expect no less from a show held in Madison Square Garden.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.4 (vs. 3.7 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up