What the World Was Watching: WrestleMania XV

Boyz 2 Men sing “America the Beautiful” to kick off the show.  They receive a Cena-like mixed reaction.

Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – March 8, 1999

A video package chronicles Steve Austin attacking the Rock on Sunday Night Heat and Paul Wight not trying to save the Rock from the assault.

Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are calling the action and they are live from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – March 1, 1999

A video package recaps the Undertaker’s recent threats against Vince McMahon, culminating in the Undertaker burning a teddy bear at the end of last week’s RAW.

Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from Cleveland, Ohio.

The Corporation comes out and Vince McMahon discusses how the audience does not understand his capacity to love.  He fires Kane for losing the inferno match to the Undertaker last week and has orderlies come down to send Kane to the insane asylum.  However, Chyna comes to Kane’s aid and they fight them off.  Chyna tells McMahon that she can control Kane and asks for Kane to be booked against Steve Austin, with Kane’s job on the line.  McMahon counters by also putting Chyna’s job on the line.  Mankind then joins the festivities and volunteers to referee the Steve Austin-Kane match to prove himself worthy of refereeing the title match at WrestleMania XV.  McMahon agrees on the condition that Mankind is able to defeat the Undertaker on tonight’s show (this is later clarified in the broadcast to mean that McMahon will consider Mankind for the role at WrestleMania based on how the match goes).  The Undertaker’s voice then comes on via the loudspeakers and he says that he has already told McMahon what he is going to take from him.

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What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – February 22, 1999

A video package recaps the Rock winning the WWF title in a ladder match against Mankind on last week’s show.

Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are taped from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Vince McMahon comes out to hype tonight’s Inferno Match between the Undertaker and Kane.  He welcomes Paul Wight to the ring, who is booked to be the guest referee at WrestleMania.  Cole is trying to get Wight over as “The Big Nasty,” so I guess it is good that “The Big Show” name was chosen instead.  WWF Champion The Rock also comes out, quickly getting into a verbal confrontation with Wight, telling him to “Know his role.”  McMahon’s efforts at playing peacemaker get nowhere until Mankind marches onto the stage and volunteers to referee the WrestleMania main event, as well as referee a Rock-Wight encounter tonight.  Wight then proceeds to challenge the Rock to a match, which the Rock gladly accepts and he says he will put the WWF title on the line too.

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What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – February 15, 1999

A series of narrated photographs recaps last night’s St. Valentine’s Day Massacre pay-per-view.

Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Birmingham, Alabama.

Commissioner Shawn Michaels comes out and welcomes out the participants in the WrestleMania main event:  WWF Champion Mankind and Steve Austin.  Before anything can be said between them, Vince McMahon interrupts, wearing a neck brace and selling his beating from Austin the previous night.  McMahon claims to be a broken man and that he wants a fresh start with Austin on the condition that Austin apologizes.  Austin does apologize, but only for beating McMahon more than he intended.  McMahon tells Michaels that people deserve a WWF title rematch between Mankind and the Rock because their match last night ended in a draw so he needs to do his job and book it for tonight.  Mankind says he needs a week to recover, bringing out the Rock, who continues to goad Michaels into booking a title match for this evening.  Mankind decides to take on the Rock after all and to make sure that there is a winner Michaels announces that tonight’s title match will be a ladder match.  After that, McMahon welcomes out Paul Wight, who he says will be the special guest referee of the title match at WrestleMania.  Austin simply flips him off from the ring to end the segment.

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What the World Was Watching: St. Valentine’s Day Massacre: In Your House

So after being away for several months due to some work obligations, “What the World Was Watching” returns by picking up where we left off in 1999.  The Steve Austin-Vince McMahon rivalry is continuing and they are set to do battle in a steel cage match where if Austin loses then he surrenders his WrestleMania title shot.  The Undertaker is busy with his Ministry of Darkness nonsense and Mankind is keeping the Rock busy before WrestleMania.

Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from Memphis, Tennessee.

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What the World Was Watching: Saturday Night Raw – February 13, 1999

Even though it is the height of the Attitude Era, RAW was still being pre-empted by the Westminster Dog Show.  As a result, this is Saturday Night Raw. At least it is in Skydome and that is always a cool visual.

A video package recaps the Austin-McMahon feud from the Royal Rumble up to last week’s show.

Michael Cole and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are taped from Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  This is the “go home” show for St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

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What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – February 1, 1999

Footage of Mankind defeating the Rock for the WWF title during Halftime Heat is shown.  There was a spoiler for that match since this show was taped nearly a week before that match aired.

Shane McMahon tells the Corporation that Vince McMahon is on a separate assignment in Texas, so he lets them know that he is in charge.  Test, Ken Shamrock, and the Big Bossman have no idea where Kane is.

Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are taped from Tucson, Arizona.

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What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – January 25, 1999

Pictures and audio excerpts recap last night’s Royal Rumble match.

Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are in the booth from Phoenix, Arizona.

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What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – January 18, 1999

-Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are taped from Beaumont, Texas.  This is the go home show for the Royal Rumble.

Cole is in the ring to interview Steve Austin, but Austin just turns it into a single man segment as he rips the microphone out of Cole’s hands.  This is just a generic “build promo” for the Rumble, with Austin recapping a month’s worth of storylines about how he will be the first entrant, Vince McMahon will be the second entrant, and that all twenty-nine men will want to throw him out so that they can receive $100,000 from Vince.

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What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – January 11, 1999

It has been a long time since the World Was Watching appeared here on the Blog.  That was partly due to some career moves on my part and just a general lack of time.  That is solved for the time being, though, so we will head back into 1999.  The last recap ended – somewhat fittingly – with Mankind’s upset title victory over the Rock.  The Road Dogg also defended his Hardcore title against Al Snow out in the snow on the last show and the tasteless Terri Runnels pregnancy angle began with D-Lo Brown.  Needless to say, 1999 will be a combination of some memorable moments and some really wacky Russo booking.

Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Houston, Texas.

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What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – January 4, 1999

I had a small scare
last week as I could not find my 1999 RAW DVD set to recap these shows.  I eventually found it, so we trudge forth
into another year of WWF action.  One
could argue that 1999 was a turning point in the Monday Night Wars as the WWF
expanded its lead over WCW, although there were several times when WCW may have
been able to capitalize on the WWF pushing some midcard talents up the card to
regain the lead.  This is also the height
of Vince Russo’s power within the company as he will be booking RAWs until
October.
­Michael Cole and Jerry “the King” Lawler are
doing commentary and they are taped from Worchester, Massachusetts.

A video package recaps
Shawn Michaels getting fired on last week’s show and giving Sweet Chin Music to
Vince McMahon.  Kevin Kelly narrates a
small tribute to his career, which Vince hilariously interrupts by shouting “Get
that sentimental crap off the screen!” 
The Corporation walks out with him and Vince promises that Michaels will
not be attending the show since he is not brave.  As Vince talks, Brisco sneakily attaches a Brisco
Brothers Body Shop sign to Kane’s back without him knowing, which is a great
touch.  The Titantron
shows that Michaels has showed up backstage and quickly comes onto the stage
with D-Generation X.  Michael Cole
screams about whether this means DX and Shawn Michaels are back together, a
question that should obviously answer itself. 
We get some corporate speak as Michaels says that he has an ironclad
contract as commissioner so Vince cannot fire him.  After replaying the Royal Rumble drawing that
Vince and Shane McMahon held several weeks ago where Vince received #30 after
wishing he was #2, Michaels gives Vince his wish.  I have to give them credit for justifying
this with Michaels saying that when Vince entered the Rumble he became a
wrestler and under Michaels power. 
Michaels also promises to give Vince a surprise before tonight’s show is
over and that it will drive him “Stone Cold crazy.”
Opening Non-Title
Contest:  Steve Blackman pins Ken
Shamrock (Champion) after Billy Gunn gives Shamrock a Fameasser at 3:25:
The former mixed martial arts allies collide here and Dan
Severn walks out a minute into the bout still sporting a neck brace.  After a few brief minutes of action, Shamrock
nails Severn when Severn gets on the apron and Billy Gunn uses that opportunity
to interfere and cost Shamrock the match. 
How Severn fits into all of this, since he is feuding with Owen Hart, is
not explained.  Rating:  *
The Rock and Vince
McMahon are on the cover of Southwest Spirit magazine!
The camera catches
Ken Shamrock and Billy Gunn brawling backstage before WWF officials separate
them.
Mankind comes out
and says that he wants a WWF title shot against the Rock at the Royal Rumble
since he beat him at Rock Bottom.  He
calls out Vince, who walks out and runs down how Mankind doing things to
appease the people is pathetic.  Vince
says that Mankind does not deserve to be the number one contender because he
has not paid his dues and that he will probably never wrestle for the title
again.  Instead, Vince books a match
between Mankind and Triple H, with the winner getting to enter the Royal
Rumble.  A guest referee will officiate
the match and that referee will be Shane McMahon.  Austin-McMahon gets a lot of attention from
1998-1999, but the Vince-Mankind interactions were a close rival to that feud
in terms of compelling and entertaining television.
Chyna and her friend
Sammi are shown talking backstage.
Mark Henry beats
Goldust via disqualification after Goldust hits Shattered Dreams at 3:40:
Henry really needs a new ring attire as he is still
sporting his Nation of Domination-style gear. 
Cole makes sure that we know all about Henry’s “tree trunk size legs.”  Word is that such a moniker was quite an
honor before Big Show showed up the following month with his “frying pan size
hands.”  Henry has Goldust beat until
Chyna and Sammi appear on the ramp and this distractions causes Henry to fall
prey to Shattered Dreams.  I never got
the logic of the Shattered Dreams move. 
Why use something like that in clear view of the referee when you know
it will get you disqualified?  Rating: 
¾*
After the match,
Chyna and Sammi come to the ring, with Chyna confessing to Henry that he is too
much man for her, and that she and Sammi want to take a load off of his
mind.  Henry faints at this offer.
Congratulations to
Jesse Ventura, who was inaugurated as Minnesota’s governor earlier in the
day.  You see, all of this was due to the
WWF giving him an opportunity years ago! 
What is interesting is that Arnold Schwarzenegger was at the inauguration
and would become California’s governor four years later.
Dennis Knight is
shown chained in a cellar at an undisclosed location.
Test and The
Godfather (w/the Hos) wrestle to a double disqualification at 1:59:
This is before Test got the theme that repeated his name
over and over again so he has this weird country-style tune that is not fitting for a former Metallica bodyguard. 
The Godfather does not offer Test the hos, so you know that he means
business.  Cole also lets us know that
Test has “amazing athletic ability” for – get this – stepping over the top
rope!  Test and the Godfather brawl on
the floor as the referee loses control of the match and Val Venis runs down to
fight with Test before WWF officials break them up.  If you recall, Test and Venis have a
lingering issue from the last show where Test cost Venis his Hardcore title
shot.
Shawn Michaels is
shown having a fun conversation with DX backstage.  Cole is still shocked that they are back
together!
Royal Rumble
Qualifying Match with Shane McMahon as the Special Guest Referee:  Triple H (w/Chyna) defeats Mankind with a
sunset flip at 2:55:
This is a pretty mediocre match, but there’s a reason behind
all of it.  Mankind dominates much of the
action until Triple H hits a sunset flip from the apron and Shane McMahon,
after kicking Mankind’s hands away from the ropes, registers a quick three
count.  Triple H gets on the mic to tell
Mankind that he does not regret winning in such a fashion as it gets him closer
to the WWF title, but he also wishes him a “Happy New Year!” by Pedigreeing
Shane.  Mankind proceeds to put Shane in
a submission hold and threatens to break his shoulder unless Vince gives
him a title shot later in the evening. 
Vince agrees to that and also agrees to make it no disqualification
under duress.  This was such a great
piece of storytelling as the McMahons master plan backfired and babyface
elements that shared a common hatred of the McMahons worked together to make
that happen.
After the segment,
WWF Champion The Rock angrily walks out and complains to Vince about being
booked to defend the title.
D-Lo Brown
wrestles Edge to a no contest at 4:30:
This match does not have a story, but it serves as a
small trial run for two guys that the company had high hopes for at the
time.  Only one of them eventually made
it to main event status, but that is the way things go sometimes.  D-Lo hits a nice Sky High when Edge dives off
the top rope, but PMS walks out to take all of the attention away from that.  Terri
Runnels, who is showing her “pregnancy,” distracts D-Lo and when D-Lo goes
after her, Terri falls off the steps. 
This is the infamous “miscarriage angle” that Jim Cornette still gets
hot about in shoot interviews and with good reason as this served little purpose and probably bothered some viewers who may have gone through
such an awful experience in their lives. 
And of course, the whole thing also ruined this match.  Rating:  *½
Shane McMahon,
Gerald Brisco, Pat Patterson, and Kane walk out, with Kane still sporting the
sign on his back from earlier in the show. 
I love how Kane is such an outcast that not a single person backstage
bothered to tell him about it for the last ninety minutes.  Shane gets on the mic and books an impromptu
handicap match that pits the stooges against Kane since they were “remotely
responsible” for Mankind’s attack him a few weeks ago.  Patterson hilariously offers Kane a
cigarette, which is rebuffed, and the stooges eat some chokeslams.  Kane also teases chokeslamming Shane, but is
convinced not to do so under threat of going back to the insane asylum.
Dennis Knight begs
for help as the Acolytes tell him that “It’s time.”  I would be begging for mercy if someone tried
to get me to watch that pay-per-view again too!
Hardcore
Championship Match:  The Road Dogg
(Champion) beats Al Snow (w/Head) 8:35 with a piledriver on some wooden crates:
Snow has still not gotten over his bloodbath at the hands
of the Brood, sporting his blood drenched shirt from several weeks ago.  Snow kills himself to get over here, going
through a table on a moonsault off the ringside barrier and taking chairshots
and cookie sheet shots to the head. 
Speaking of cookie sheets, Road Dogg adds a small touch by unbending a
cookie sheet after he smacks Snow with it, which in wrestling terms makes his
blows pack more power or something like that. 
What the match is notable for is that spills out of the arena
where a snow shower is taking place. 
Referee Jack Doan cannot even maintain his footing as he keeps sliding
on black ice.  Road Dogg ends the match
with a piledriver, continuing his run of entertaining title defenses.  Rating:  ***
The Acolytes toss
Dennis Knight into a smoky room where screams can be heard and close the door
behind him
.
Shawn Michaels
leaves the arena to get the “Stone Cold surprise” and wishes DX well.  After Michaels leaves, Triple H suggests to
the camera that things may not turn out well and sure enough, Michaels cannot
get into his car because he has the wrong key. 
He is locked out of the arena and a voice calls his name as we head to
commercial.  When we return, he is a
bloody mess on the hood of his car and is attended to by medical personnel
A
replay shows that the Corporation was responsible for the assault.
No
Disqualification Match for the WWF Championship Match:  Mankind (w/D-Generation X) pins The Rock
(Champion w/The Corporation) to win the title after Steve Austin hits the Rock
with a chair at 8:48:
The Rock is recovering from his gyno surgery, so he is
wrestling his track outfit here.  An
entertaining sequence takes place when the Rock rips off Cole’s headset to give
some comments and then Mankind beats up the Rock, takes the headset, and
announces to the world that he has “testicular fortitude” in a really corny
way.  They make full use of the no
disqualification stipulation, with the Rock putting Mankind through the
announce table with a Rock Bottom and punishing him with the stairs and ring
bell.  Lawler makes sure to take a dig at
WCW too by saying that this “is not a title match that begins two minutes
before the show ends.”  Despite being no
disqualification, the Rock feels that he has to hide hitting Mankind with the
title and the same is true for the return of Steve Austin to arguably the
loudest pop in the history of the company – interference that gives Mankind an
improbabe WWF championship run.  It
never gets old seeing Austin return here as people jump up and down in the
front row and lose their mind at the title change.  Another great part of the end sequence is Billy
Gunn moving at 100 miles per hour to knock Shamrock for a loop after Shamrock
blasts Mankind with a chair.  The match was
not good, but the heat for the closing sequence was incredible.  Rating:  **¼
The Final Report:  This is a notable show in the company’s
history because WCW famously had Tony Schiavone spoil Mankind’s victory
by saying that “Cactus Jack” would be winning the title and sarcastically
saying “that’ll put butts in the seats!” 
The spoiler did not cause RAW to lose the ratings battle that night, but
it is a myth that viewers immediately turned off Nitro when they heard
Schiavone’s words and flocked over to RAW. 
Still, that idea has acquired its own place in WWF lore like the DX “tank”
turning the Monday Night Wars around. 
The title change and the build up to it is what makes this RAW fun and
it overshadows the offensive stuff such as the Terri miscarriage angle and the
other silly booking related to Mark Henry and Sammi.  Unfortunately, not all shows would be able to
make up for Russo’s weird ideas in 1999, but at least this one hit a
home run to start the year.
Monday Night War Rating:  5.7 (vs. 5.0 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation: 
Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – December 28, 1998

A video package
recaps last week’s show where Shane McMahon assumed temporary control and was summarily
destroyed by Mankind.  Kane also went “corporate”
for the first time in his career by attacking D-Generation X to end the show.
Michael Cole and
Jerry “The King” Lawler are tonight’s commentary team and they are live from
Albany, New York.  Cole is still calling
the show “the best action adventure series on television.”

Vince McMahon
tells Shane McMahon that everyone that attacked him last week will pay.  He pledges to humiliate and fire Commissioner
Shawn Michaels when he shows up at the arena. 
The Corporation then invades the arena’s boiler room en masse looking
for Mankind.  Mankind eventually launches
a sneak attack, but cannot fight off a boatload of guys on his own.  Vince tells Mankind that he will get a
Hardcore title shot later in the evening as a belated Christmas gift, although
this will require some rebooking because Hardcore Champion The Road Dogg is
booked to face Val Venis in the opener. 
The booking is doing a good job making Kane a sympathetic figure as the
stooges keep yelling at him.
Opening Contest
for the Hardcore Championship:  The Road
Dogg (Champion) and Val Venis wrestle to a no contest at 1:50:
Based on the previous segment, it is no surprise that the
Corporation walks out to ringside less than two minutes into this bout.  Test attacks Venis as referee Earl Hebner
calls for the bell, not quite understanding the rules of a Hardcore title bout,
and D-Generation X comes out to protect Road Dogg.
Vince McMahon
informs the Road Dogg that he will defend his title against Mankind and says
that Commissioner Shawn Michaels will be fired for not helping Shane last
week.  This is a nice crazy Vince promo
as he goes nuts about his desire to fire Michaels, which he says he would love
to do to every member of the audience
.
Al Snow is still
freaking out over last week’s bloodbath at the hands of the Brood, but it is
unclear whether he received another bloodbath or has not changed out of the
clothes he had on last week.
Vince talks with
Kane as the stooges make fun of Kane behind his back.  Vince assigns Kane the task of going after an
unspecified member of D-Generation X.
Edge beats Al
Snow (w/Head) via disqualification when Snow hits Edge with Head at 2:49:
Edge uses his original entrance theme and does not have
the Brood here, which does not fit within existing storylines, especially if
Snow is angry over last week’s bloodbath. 
The Head is different for this bout as it is shaved and also has blood
on it.  Snow squashes Edge here, hitting
him with a million headbutts and destroying him with Head until the Brood and
JOB Squad run out.  For all intents and
purposes, Edge should be carted out of here on a stretcher, but he merely walks
out as if nothing happened and smiles at the JOB Squad.  For his part, Snow escapes through the
audience for some reason.
Sable warms up
backstage for her Women’s title defense tonight
.
Sable winning the
Women’s title from Jacqueline at Survivor Series is the Glover Slam of the Week
.
Dennis Knight,
formerly of Southern Justice, is shown talking with X-Pac backstage
.
The next match is
supposed to be Sable defending the WWF Women’s title.  Before it gets started, the yet-to-be-named
Tori gets into the ring and presents Sable with a white rose before being
carted off by security.  Sable is booked
to face Spider Lady, who attacks her from behind and whips her with a
belt.  The Oddities, who now have George “the
Animal” Steele with them, rush the ring and Spider Lady unmasks to reveal Luna
Vachon.  What you thought the Fabulous
Moolah was trying to “shoot” her way to another title?  Luna screams that it is her time and she
needs to get more respect, while Cole is just outraged that Luna would do such
a thing to a loving, compassionate creature like Sable.  When we return from the commercial break, the
Oddities tend to Sable’s injuries backstage
.
European
Championship Match:  X-Pac (Champion) wrestles
The Big Bossman to a double disqualification at 5:13:
The previous night on Sunday Night Heat, Kane defeated
X-Pac in a non-title match and this match is the continuation of his punishment
for doing the Bronco Buster to Shane McMahon on last week’s show.  X-Pac is really over here, especially when he
makes his comeback, and Test tries to run interference, but in a nice piece of
continuity Val Venis makes the save.  We
are still without a clean finish tonight, but the crowd still loved this.  Rating:  *¾
We get our first
training vignette for Vince in the Royal Rumble.  These were some of the funniest vignettes of
the Attitude Era as Shane functioned as a merciless trainer and Vince
complained the whole way about doing sit ups with weights and drinking egg
yokes.  Vince’s cries of “I HATE AUSTIN!”
were also great as he got into his workouts.
Goldust &
Steve Blackman defeats “Double J” Jeff Jarrett & Owen Hart (w/Debra) when
Blackman schoolboys Owen at 3:17:
The announcers will just not let the “Shawn Michaels is
going to be fired!” story go, talking about it on an average of once per
minute.  The WWF is no longer using Debra’s
full name, just calling her “Debra” because the WWE has never cared for its
female stars to have first and last names. 
This may also be due to the fact that Debra divorced Steve McMichael in
October and the WWF finally got with the times. 
Owen locks Blackman in the Sharpshooter when Dan Severn randomly walks
out in a neck brace and confronts him. 
After about forty seconds of that, Blackman and Goldust win via the WWF trademarked
distraction rollup.  What is funny is
that after the match, Severn just calmly walks up the ramp with the heels no more
than ten yards behind him.  Way to sell
that angle!  Rating:  *
Triple H and Chyna
are really focused as they make their way to the Gorilla position
.
The Acolytes beat
up Dennis Knight in the parking lot, toss him into the trunk of their car, and
drive away
.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  Triple H (w/The New
Age Outlaws & Chyna) beats Ken Shamrock (Champion w/Test & The Big
Bossman) by disqualification when Shamrock refuses to release the anklelock at 6:26:
Instead of booking Billy Gunn to face Shamrock, they
really should have slotted Triple H into that position since you already had
the built-in story of how Triple H never lost the Intercontinental title and
was trying to get back what was rightfully his. 
This match is noticeable for me because Triple H pulls out the old N64
move of blasting Test with a baseball slide when Test gets too close to the
apron.  The company is really hurting
Shamrock’s finish as all the top stars keep getting to the ropes to escape it,
but his decision not to break the hold here fits within the existing
story.  A good match, although Triple H
could have sold the knee better during the closing sequence.  Rating:  **½
After the bell,
the Corporation and D-Generation X brawl, with the Corporation winning after
Kane reluctantly gets into the ring.
Billy Gunn
temporarily winning the Intercontinental title from Ken Shamrock is the
10-10-220 Rewind segment
.
Kevin Kelly
interviews Gunn, but before Gunn can say much of note, Shamrock crashes the
segment.  None of this goes anywhere.
Mark Henry and
D-Lo Brown walk out and Henry apologizes to Chyna for fooling around with PMS
last week.  PMS come out, with Henry hilariously
hiding behind D-Lo, who calls PMS “ring rats.” 
Chyna then makes an entrance and sticks up for Henry, telling PMS to “stay
away from her man.”  Jacqueline makes the
mistake of not heeding Chyna’s advice and gets shoved to the canvas as Henry
jumps for joy.  This was great too because
Terri immediately fled from Chyna, possibly remembering getting choked out and
being flung around like a ragdoll in the winter of 1997.  If you follow all of the shows through 1998,
this segment works really well.  I marked
out for it.
The Corporation
has another meeting backstage and when we get back they are going through the
locker room looking for someone.
We get a video package
that recaps 1998.  The problem with the
video is that they do not put things in chronological order so we just bounce
around to different segments and matches.
The Corporation attacks
the Godfather backstage, who was booked to face Billy Gunn in the next match.
Kane (w/Shane
McMahon, Pat Patterson & Gerald Brisco) defeats Billy Gunn by disqualification
when X-Pac interferes at 3:54:
With the Godfather on the shelf, Kane is inserted into
his place by Shane McMahon.  Ken Shamrock
attacks Gunn from behind minutes into the match and applies the ankle
lock.  Kane chokeslams Billy and appears
headed for a win, but the stooges have him repeat the chokeslam two more
times.  Before Kane can hit the move a
third time, D-Generation X runs in to make the save.  Rating:  *
WWF Champion The
Rock walks out to do guest commentary for the main event
.
Commissioner Shawn
Michaels is shown arriving to the arena, which is humorous because the show is
nearly over.
Hardcore
Championship Match:  The Road Dogg
(Champion) pins Mankind after the Rock this Mankind with a Rock Bottom at 9:08
shown:
The match starts during the commercial break so we join
it in progress.  The Rock’s commentary
brings this match up a notch as he puts himself over, but also puts over the
talent of both competitors.  There are
weapons used here, but at least they are used creatively with Mankind leg
dropping a chair onto Road Dogg’s face and Road Dogg using the chair for a side
Russian leg sweep.  One spot that makes
no sense here is that Road Dogg breaks up a pin by getting his feet on the
ropes as you would figure rope breaks should not apply in a match where the
rules are suspended.  Mankind appears headed
for a win after he elbow drops the Road Dogg through a table in the crowd, but
the Rock leaves the booth and interferes to put the Road Dogg over.  Fans are so crazy over the Rock that four or
five security guards have to push back the sea of humanity that surrounds the
bout to get the Rock back to the locker room. 
The Road Dogg was arguably the best Hardcore champion in WWF history,
putting on lots of entertaining title defenses before the garbage came to
overwhelm the actual wrestling.  In a
nice touch, Road Dogg sees the way that he won the match and hates the fact
that he needed interference to retain the title.  Rating:  ***¼
Vince McMahon
comes to the ring and calls out Shawn Michaels. 
Vince recounts how he was the reason for Michaels success and shows
footage from March where Michaels said that he did not need Vince as much as
Vince needed him.  Vince then proceeds to
fire Michaels and parts by saying that he does not laying down for anyone.  This, predictably, ends with Michaels
delivering Sweet Chin Music and simulating a lewd act on Vince before the
Corporation runs out.
The Final Report Card:  Quite the entertaining RAW to close out 1998.  The main event was one of the better hardcore
matches in the company’s history and the closing segment and the Chyna-Mark
Henry-PMS segment stole the show.  It is
a testament to how good the roster was built during this time that Steve Austin’s
absence is hardly missed.  However, if you
look at the ratings, WCW has been gradually narrowing the Monday Night War gap
with RAW since Austin disappeared after Rock Bottom.
With the 1998 RAW reviews in the books,
where would the Blog like to head next? 
Should we go into 1999 with RAW or should we go back to look at 1993-1995,
Superstars from 1994-1997, Prime Time Wrestling from 1991-1992, the Action Zone
from 1994-1995, Shotgun Saturday Night from 1997-1998, Sunday Night Heat of
1998, or recap the old Coliseum Video “Best of” videos of the 1980s?  Whichever option gets the most support is
where I will head for next week and as always, thanks for reading and
interacting with these reviews.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.9 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

Mayweather vs Chyna

I noticed the WWE trying to ride the coattails of the big fight tonight, had a special featuring Mayweather’s WM match with Big Show.
  The same Mayweather who has been arrested/cited multiple times for domestic abuse. Meanwhile they want nothing to do with Chyna.   Clearly Porn films are much more harmful to society than a female being battered by a professional boxer.   Stay Classy WWE – Be a Star!

​I'm gonna have to step up and defend WWE a bit here, I guess.
a)  There's way more issues with Chyna than just the porn films.  She's a repeated drug addict who has trashed the company in public interviews and embarrassed the wrestling business repeatedly.  Doing a "porn parody" where she takes part in a portrayal of Vince having sex with his own daughter isn't exactly a good way to make amends with the company.  
2) If you're going to criticize WWE for trying to cash in on the Mayweather fight, you should probably levy more of that criticism on the boxing world for allowing him to continue fighting in the first place.  WWE has the footage, they might as well try to recoup some money out of his Wrestlemania appearance.  
c)  The two things really have nothing to do with each other in the first place.  If they were featuring Mayweather while snubbing someone like Steve Austin for his domestic abuse issues, THEN you'd have a valid complaint.  ​

Chyna in the HOF and Big Show

Hey Scott,

Without saying it directly, it seemed like HHH was referring to Chyna being in Playboy and having a sex tape that is keeping her out of the Hall of Fame and presumably why she isn't invited to any reunion specials. Yet has anyone thought to remind HHH that Shawn was in Playgirl? Or that X-Pac was in the very same sextape as Chyna? Am I wrong, or is this just another case of HHH's pettiness? Or something more?

Also, we all talk about the frying pan hands of the Big Show, but nobody ever brings up his typewriter-like forehead. I think that was a trope that Tazz used on a few occasions. I guess you need to see it in person to really appreciate the size of Big Show's body parts. (I should know, I was at Unforgiven '06.)

Sorry to bring so many naked wrestlers to mind… at least I didn't bring up Hogan's sex tape.

​Is there a hidden camera in this e-mail?  
Also, I'm pretty sure Chyna's rampant drug problems and public meltdowns have as much to do with her exile as her sex tape.  Probably moreso.  ​

What the World Was Reading: WWF Magazine – August 2000

by Logan Scisco

The past two weeks we have spent time looking at
alternatives to WWF Magazine.  We return to WWF Magazine this week, looking at the August 2000 issue.  On the cover is someone who Triple H says is
a very unlikely candidate for the Hall of Fame:

Those who followed the product during the Attitude Era
remember that the WWF gradually tried to make Chyna sexier for viewers.  She started as a serious bodyguard in a role
unlike that of any other woman who came before her (or even since), but then
started wearing makeup and by 2000 the WWF was presenting her as more of a
physically gifted, attractive “diva.”
It should also be noted that our managing editor of the
magazine is no longer Kevin Kelly. 
Instead it is a woman named Laura Bryson.  By this point the magazine was a shell of its
former self, at least in my eyes, and the pay-per-view recaps will show that.
In the Letters to the Editor, Dan Hayes writes an angry
letter saying that Lita is not a potential legend since she is just attached to
Essa Rios and is not pursuing a singles title. 
Of course, that would change down the road and by the time this magazine
was on newsstands, Lita had ditched Rios and joined the Hardy Boyz.  A few fans write in how they are fans of
Jacqueline and how awesome she is.  And
Rich Coleman writes an angry letter saying that the WWF is in danger of
“turning soft” because babyfaces like Kane just walk off instead of fight.  It is probably a safe bet that Rich is no
longer a fan of the product today.
This month’s “Tales From the Turnbuckle” breaks down the
three greatest SummerSlam matches of all-time.
If you cannot see the list the selections are:  (1) Undertaker-Mankind from SummerSlam 1996,
(2) Test-Shane McMahon from SummerSlam 1999, and (3) Big Boss Man-Koko B. Ware
from SummerSlam 1988.  Yes, no Ultimate
Warrior-Rick Rude and no Bret Hart-Mr. Perfect. 
The company’s unwillingness to reference wrestlers who were still in WCW
killed this list since that meant no Bret, no Hulk Hogan, no Randy Savage, and
no Scott Hall.  Evidently, Big
Bossman-Koko was a historic bout because “the contrasting styles of these two
Superstars set the tone for many of the great SummerSlam matches that would
follow.”  So next time you enjoy your
favorite SummerSlam match, give proper credit to the Bossman and Koko.  Oh, and Frankie too!
Then we get an illustration of the haircuts available in
the WWF Barber Shop:
And this month’s magazine is pitching your ability to get
some WWF cards that are twenty-two carat gold. 
Enjoy seeing Billy Gunn in all his glory, trying to avoid submitting to
the Rock in a headlock!  Each card will
cost you $9.95 (plus 95 cents of shipping and handling).
The “Rookies and Legends” column is still going strong,
profiling Bull Buchanan.
Buchanan was initially brought in as a member of the
Truth Commission in 1997 before returning a few years later as a partner of the
Big Bossman.  He would then be part of
the Right to Censor and had a brief partnership with John Cena before eventually
departing the company.  The only
highlight of his run was jobbing to Crash Holly in an upset at the 2000 King of
the Ring.  He was also briefly a tag team
champion with the “Goodfather,” but tag team title runs become a blur for me
after 1999.
We are then treated to a list of five things we will
never find for auction from “SteviE-bay” (in reference to Stevie Richards):
By this point, the magazine had a “Face2Face” feature
that fills the part of the magazine formerly occupied by Vic Venom’s “The Bite”
in the mid-1990s.  It is a debate column
where Aaron Williams and Laura take opposite stands on an issue.  The issue this month is Vince McMahon.
Aaron rips McMahon for cheating and becoming an “impotent
person.”  The comment about Vince having
an Ivy League education is something that I do not think is actually true, as
Linda earned her degree from East Carolina University and Vince was around her
at the time.  Laura defends Vince as “in
tune to the reality of the world we live in,” something that could not be said
of the booking of the company now.  She
also refers to Vince as an American hero, thereby explaining Stephanie’s 9/11
reference on Smackdown! in 2001.
It seems that every issue of WWF Magazine that I have reviewed so far, except for the June 1995
edition, had a piece about Chyna.  This
one is no different, as she gets attention in an article called “Power Behind
the Throne.”
I guess this is tied in with the “Chyna’s Secret” heading
on the magazine, but the story does not really talk about a secret.  It recaps her partnerships with D-Generation
X, Kane, and Eddie Guerrero.  Evidently
she also had an alliance with the Kat sometime in the Attitude Era, but I do
not recall that at all.  In light of
Triple H’s podcast, one thing stands out: 
“We [Triple H and Chyna] went our own ways, but that does not rule out
our paths crossing again.”  It definitely
seems like Triple H had put the kibosh on any plans to have their paths cross at
a future Hall of Fame ceremony.  Still,
though, why tell readers you are going to talk about “Chyna’s Secret” and then
just write an article that merely reiterates what we have heard about Chyna in
magazine pieces in the years up to this point: 
she has worked with lots of great superstars and knows their strengths
and weaknesses.
Remember the “Got Milk?” campaign?  Steve Austin is here to remind us!
A career retrospective piece is then provided for the
Undertaker
In recapping the Undertaker’s big foes, Jimmy Snuka is
even added to the list.  Poor Jimmy is
portrayed just like Kamala, the Giant Gonzalez, and Yokozuna:  he wanted to bury the Undertaker’s soul and
“erase his very being.”  And here I
thought that all Snuka wanted to do was win a WrestleMania match in Los
Angeles!  This is a pretty blah piece,
just telling educated fans everything they already know about the
Undertaker.  And this piece does not even
talk about the Undertaker’s new biker persona!
The late Crash Holly gets profiled in this issue as well,
as writer Mike Fazioli calls him “the king of Hardcore.”
Crash is best known for defending the Hardcore title on a
24/7 basis, which led to him being called the “Houdini of Hardcore.”  If you ever try to look at the history of
that title it will make your head hurt as the 24/7 rule led to about three to
four title changes on every house show. 
We are informed that Crash’s toughness comes from his cousin Hardcore
Holly, who used to beat him up when he would get angry.  After all, look what Bob did to Matt
Cappotelli on Tough Enough!
We then get our customary, somewhat uncomfortable profile
of Roots Genoa that we are bound to come across in a WWF Magazine of this time period
It highlights how Benoit has his sights set on becoming
WWF champion even though there are concerns by the WWF promotion and marketing
teams that he might do something big since he is not as charismatic as other
superstars.  The article even draws a parallel
about how competing in the WWF is more difficult than the past since Benoit
cannot be like a wrestler “in the old days who could coast defeating perennial
losers in easy televised matches” between big bouts.  Our big eerie line from this well-written
piece by Keith Elliot Greenberg:  “Most
likely, their [the WWF’s] efforts to convert him into a cut-out media darling
will be unsuccessful…”
We get a listing of the toughest ten superstars in the
WWF.  The list is purely kayfabed as
there is no mention of Steve Blackman on this list.
Kurt Angle is criminally underrated, but he is given his
ranking because he is not intimidating enough. 
Tazz has to be in the top three due to his gimmick.
This month’s interview piece is with Terri, who was going
by the nick name of “She-Devil” around this time.
She makes clear that she likes to be independent,
although it is okay for men to buy her things. 
She also says that she has no interest in pursuing a singles title and
that she considers Bubba Ray a “bully” for putting her through a table.  I am concerned that she says Jerry Lawler is
her “kind of guy,” though.  Dustin should
have submitted this as evidence in the divorce proceedings for custody!
And when I talked about the pay-per-view recaps getting
smaller and smaller, I meant it.  Look
what we have been reduced to in the 2000s:
How can you adequately recap a match in less than three
sentences?  This is really egregious for
the Iron Man Match between Triple H and the Rock, which gets less than a
paragraph.
Remember to drink your milk!
And we close the magazine with a Stevie Richards column
entitled “Gettin’ Heat.”
In this column, Richards traditionally made cracks at a
WWF superstar.  This month, though, he
attacks himself for stealing other wrestlers personas when he came into the
company.  He says that he wishes he
sought out Shawn Michaels for advice and he writes him a letter asking for
guidance.  I will bet that Michaels never
answered it.

Of all the magazines that have been covered by this
column this was the worst.  The only
redeeming column was Greenberg’s on Benoit with the rest constituting very
boring, dry reads.  The magazine lost a
lot of its creativity without Russo or Kelly at the helm.  Next week we will move forward two years and
recap the April 2002 issue of WWF
Magazine
, which features the New World Order on the cover. 

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – December 7, 1998

by Logan Scisco

A video package
recaps Steve Austin and Kane beating up Paul Bearer on last week’s show.  We are also reminded of the Big Bossman
beating Mankind for the Hardcore title.
Michael Cole and
Jerry “The King” Lawler are doing commentary for tonight’s go home show for
Rock Bottom:  In Your House.  Jim Ross was on a hiatus for this show
because his mother had passed away.  In
his first sentence, Cole lets us know that RAW is the “most controversial
sports entertainment television show.” 
It is easy to be a leader when you are in a category of one.  This show was taped in New Haven,
Connecticut.

Triple H, X-Pac,
and Chyna walk out and Triple H calls out the New Age Outlaws, who have been
flirting with the Corporation.  The
Outlaws walk out in suits and the Road Dogg announces them as the Corporate
Outlaws.  Commissioner Shawn Michaels
comes out at the behest of the Outlaws and he and Triple H shoot at each other,
with Triple H saying that he carried Michaels around when he no longer should
have been wearing the WWF title. 
Michaels books Triple H and X-Pac to face the Big Bossman and Ken
Shamrock in a “anything goes match” later in the evening, saying that if the
Outlaws get involved then “so be it.”  At
the end of the segment, the McMahons shake the Outlaws hands near the
entrance.  All the inside references here
might have been fun in 1998, but it does not translate well to today.  Also, the segment lacked a lot of intensity
from all sides.  0 for 1
Backstage, Triple
H tells Chyna to watch he and X-Pac’s back in their tag match tonight.
Opening
Contest:  D-Lo Brown (w/Mark Henry) pins
“Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra McMichael) with a cradle at 4:17:
This is a rematch from Sunday Night Heat, where D-Lo
Brown clocked Jarrett with his own guitar. 
Jarrett is booked to face Goldust at Rock Bottom in a striptease
match.  D-Lo dominates much of the match,
nearly killing Jarrett with the running powerbomb.  Again, why did no one in the locker room
force D-Lo to quit using that move?  Of course,
we cannot have a RAW match these days without a distraction and Goldust walks out
in a raincoat.  He flashes Debra, leading
to D-Lo cradling Jarrett and winning. 
These two guys were just going through the motions until Goldust walked
out.  Rating:  *½ (0 for 2)
Steve Austin tells
Tony Garea that he is angry over what has been going on lately in the WWF.
Call 814-734-1161
to get your WWF cologne for men for $19.99 (plus $4 shipping &
handling)!  Adam and George sell it in a
mock NWO ad.
Clips of Vince
McMahon’s talk at Oxford University is shown. 
Evidently it was a give-and-take talk with students, so I can only
imagine the type of questions that he fielded.
The Headbangers
defeat Gangrel & Edge via disqualification when Luna Vachon interferes at
2:06:
It is just weird to see several matches of this Edge and
Gangrel team when you are so used to seeing Edge and Christian together.  After each team exchanges cool double team
moves, Luna runs out and attacks the Headbangers.  She is followed by Tiger Ali Singh and Babu
for some reason and the Oddities then run out and destroy the Headbangers.  Uh, okay. 
It also does not make a lot of sense for the Oddities to still use the
ICP theme music when they were turned on by that same group.  The match was less than three minutes, so it
gets no rating.
Mankind says that
he will not leave Steve Austin’s side for their scheduled tag team match
against the Rock and Mankind
Paul Bearer
getting stuffed into a sewer on last week’s show is the Glover Rewind segment.
Vince McMahon gets
in Paul Bearer’s face backstage and demands to know if the Undertaker will work
with the Rock tonight.  Bearer says
McMahon has nothing to worry about.
Goldust beats
Owen Hart with a schoolboy at 4:17:
Owen unretired the previous night on Sunday Night Heat in
order to face Steve Blackman at Rock Bottom. 
At least Owen’s retirement lasted longer than John Cena’s firing and the
Authority’s banishment.  Unfortunately,
it did not last long enough for his sake. 
We get a decent back-and-forth bout until Debra does her own version of
the raincoat trick, which distracts Owen more than Goldust and produces the
finish.  Just television filler here and
the finish was completely predictable.  Rating: 
*½ (0 for 3)
Footage of WWF
superstars talking to British fans before the Capital Carnage event is
shown.  Some British fans give their take
on WWF action, but unfortunately we do not get any gems like SummerSlam 1992.
Before the next
match, the Godfather and Val Venis come out with the hos.  The Godfather says he is going to give one of
the fans two hos tonight and picks out a fat guy named Bob from the audience.  I guess this was the WWF’s 1998 version of
Make a Wish?  0 for 4
The Acolytes
(w/Jackyl) wrestle Supply & Demand to a double disqualification in 57
seconds:
This is Bradshaw gimmick change number four, but this one
finally got him over with the audience. 
Amazing what you can do if you take two hard-hitting guys, team them up,
and give them some momentum.  Both teams
brawl inside and outside the ring, not paying any heed to the referee’s
directions and get disqualified.  If this
builds to a future match, this was perfectly acceptable booking.
Steve Austin
hitting the Undertaker with a shovel is the JVC Kaboom! of the Week.
Austin walks out
and says that the Undertaker will receive no mercy at Rock Bottom.  The Undertaker gives a voiceover in response,
as his symbol – not to be confused with a cross so as not to draw unnecessary
heat from Christian groups – is hoisted up in the air.  The Undertaker promises to sacrifice Austin
and his symbol goes up in flames.  The Austin
promo was solid here, but the Undertaker’s Ministry garbage is already old at
this point.  I think I just have
Austin-Undertaker fatigue.  0 for 5
Mankind is shown
talking to himself, upset that Austin does not consider him a friend, as he
exits the boiler room of the arena.
Steve Blackman
defeats Tiger Ali Singh (w/Babu) with a pump kick at 2:13:
As I keep getting exposed to bad Tiger Ali Singh matches,
it goes to show how the hype for this guy was completely unwarranted in the
fall of 1997.  In fact, the hype for
Singh and Taka Michinoku appeared unwarranted by this point since Michinoku was
DOA after losing the Light Heavyweight title. 
At least they put Blackman over clean as a sheet here.
After the match,
the Blue Blazer comes to attack Blackman, but trips running down the ramp.  Blackman attacks him, but Owen Hart appears
and slams Blackman on the ramp.  You see,
they are not the same person!
Mankind looks for
Steve Austin backstage, with a garbage bag over his shoulder.  He finally finds Austin’s locker room.
Get the new
edition of Rolling Stone.  Steve Austin
is profiled in it!
Mark Henry
(w/D-Lo Brown) beats Darren Drozdov (w/Animal) with a splash at 3:27:
We are just getting vague updates about Hawk’s condition
after falling off the Titantron a few weeks ago, so someone must have come to
their senses and realized that that segment was in poor taste.  Henry is a bumping machine in this match,
taking a nasty spill to the floor and flipping himself into the steps.  Chyna walks out and instead of decking Henry,
she decks Droz, thereby helping Henry pick up the win.  Very rough bout, but that is more on Droz
than Henry.  Rating:  ½* (0 for 6)
A camera catches
the New Age Outlaws talking strategy with Shawn Michaels, the Big Bossman, and
Ken Shamrock.
No Holds
Barred:  Triple H & X-Pac (w/Chyna)
defeat The Big Bossman & Ken Shamrock 8:18
This is Triple H’s first in-ring appearance on RAW after
he returned from injury on last week’s show. 
The Big Bossman starts the match by wanting to use his night stick and
then tosses it aside like a moron to wrestle a regular bout.  There is a funny moment early in the match
when X-Pac asks the audience if they want him to tag Triple H, which gets a
tepid response.  In another fun spot, the
steps fall on the Big Bossman after his attempt to ram them into X-Pac fails.  According to the statistics we received at
TLC two months ago, that should have killed him.  One thing that irks me about matches like
this is that they should function as tornado tags since the rules are suspended
(see LOD-Nasty Boys at SummerSlam 1991 for this same criticism).  Eventually, the New Age Outlaws walk out, but
when Billy Gunn gets the opportunity to deck Triple H with a chair he nails
Shamrock instead.  SWERVE!  Somehow this leads to a disqualification, or
something like that, in a NO HOLDS BARRED match.  Rating:  *½ (0 for 7)
Mankind exits
Steve Austin’s locker room.
D-Generation X
celebrates their swerve in the locker room.
Steve Austin
arrives in his locker room and finds a trash bag with a beer in it.
Steve Austin
& Mankind beat The Rock & The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) by
disqualification when the Big Bossman and Ken Shamrock interfere at 8:18:
Mankind must have stiffed Earl Hebner on some shirt sales
because he starts the match before Austin even comes to the ring.  The excitement is too much for Michael Cole,
who has lost his voice by this point in the show.  This bout is a vintage Attitude Era brawl,
with four-way action starting the match and everyone getting in their big spots
before the inevitable run-in by the Corporation.  Rating:  ** (1 for 8)
After the bell,
the Bossman handcuffs Mankind to the top rope while the Undertaker blasts
Austin with the timekeeper’s bell and a chair. 
The Undertaker carries Austin up the ramp and the druids tie Austin to
the Undertaker’s symbol, raising it as the show goes off the air.  And where is Kane?  Somehow all this ridiculousness means that
Austin is in trouble at Rock Bottom because the Undertaker has taken his “mind,
body, and soul.”  People say the 1994
Rumble stuff is bad, but this is much, much worse.  I was laughing at my television due to how
stupid this was.  1 for 9
The Final Report Card:  Survivor Series was a great show from a
storytelling perspective, but the company is in a dead period before the
eventual Rock-Austin showdown at WrestleMania. 
The lack of a strong build for Rock-Mankind, which is relying heavily
upon what happened at Survivor Series and not much else, and fatigue with the
Austin-Undertaker feud means that something in the midcard needs to stand out,
but nothing is since it is so weak.  Think
about it:  Owen Hart is basically a
comedy act with this Blue Blazer story, the LOD 2000 storyline has fizzled
after Hawk fell off the Titantron, the Godfather is wandering around with Val
Venis as a quasi-tag team, and the Brood are just randomly inserted into
matches with very little direction.  As
things stand, Mark Henry is arguably the MVP of midcard storylines because at
least his issue with Chyna is interesting. 
Another criticism of this show is that the company could have gotten a
few more weeks of mileage out of the Outlaws feigning that they had gone
corporate.  They burned through that
storyline too quickly.  Just skip this
show if they ever upload 1998 RAWs to the Network and get to Rock Bottom.  You will not miss anything.
Monday Night War Rating:  5.15 (vs. 4.2 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

What the World Was Reading: WWF Magazine – December 1999

by Logan Scisco

Since this week’s magazine selection is from December
1999 it would be remiss for the staff of WWF
Magazine
to ignore Christmas.  Sure enough,
we get a holiday-type cover featuring the self-proclaimed, undisputed champion
of Christmas Mick Foley:

 And Mick has kept the Christmas gig going, doing promo
spots with his daughter Noelle last month on WWE television.  He was a better salesman than anyone else the
WWE could have trotted out there, although I continue to insist that if they
want the Network subscriptions to rise that they need to call Don West.
The 1999 Christmas season featured one WWF product I just
had to have:  WrestleMania 2000 for the
Nintendo 64.  I was really excited for
the WWF to go to THQ since the company did great work on the WCW games.  It was one of my favorite games to play,
especially because it was the first to feature a create-a-wrestler mode.  I remember taking Brian Christopher through
the career mode (and why I made that selection I have no idea).  Unfortunately, I lent it to a friend in
middle school and they never returned it.
Since Vince Russo went off to World Championship
Wrestling, the magazine was handed over to Kevin Kelly.  As a result, he answers the letters to the
editor.  Since we are not in 1995 land,
there are no funny illustrations or awful lists provided by fans.  Many of the letters tie back to the October
1999 issue of the magazine we reviewed two weeks ago.  A fan named Thomas Brennan blasts the fan who
questioned Prince Albert’s education credentials, while Miguel Balseca
completely buys into Vince McMahon’s vision of the product by calling Christian
a member of the “sports-entertainment world.” 
A fan called “TakersLady,” using Web TV (remember that product?) frets
that the Undertaker is facing a career-ending injury, which Kelly denies.  The Undertaker did have a bad groin injury in
late 1999, but it was not career-ending. 
Still, it is interesting that people were talking about the Undertaker’s
health FIFTEEN years ago!  They actually
let a fan write in how the newly-debuted Dudley Boys dominated the ECW tag team
ranks, and of course, since we are in 1999 it would be remiss without a fan –
in this case one named Justin Struthers – talking about Debra and her “puppies.”  He begs that she needs to “let them run free.”
Speaking of Jarrett, he was also on his way to WCW.  Before he got there, though, his last gimmick
was beating up female wrestlers and celebrities and putting them in the
figure-four. 
 All of this culminated in Jarrett eventually dropping the
Intercontinental title to Chyna.  The
quick piece says that female superstars aligning against Jarrett is a “new version
of women’s liberation with a distinctly hardcore edge.”  It warns that Jarrett will soon face the
wrath of all of these women, but I guess that is why he fled down South.
And when I talked about how we did not have any more
lists, I was wrong.  This week we have a
top five for ways that “Sexual Chocolate” Mark Henry can curb his
appetite.  I did find number one
humorous.
 Our “Rookies to Legends” this week misses the mark once
again as it covers Miss Kitty, the last wife that Jerry Lawler had:
 In storyline terms, Miss Kitty debuted courtesy of Jeff
Jarrett, who made her a personal assistant to Debra.  She soon made Debra’s life difficult and
started to drive her and Jarrett apart. 
The piece tries to say that Kitty has bigger ambitions and if that
included exposing herself on WWF pay-per-view then it was correct.  However, the soon-to-be-named Kat never made
a lasting contribution to the WWF that could be considered “legendary.”
This month’s guest writer of “the Bite” is Howard Finkel,
who in late 1999 was rocking a bitter announcer gimmick where he made a habit
of chewing out Tony Chimmel and Lillian Garcia.
 The piece starts with the Fink asking some rhetorical
questions such as “Why have I been around so long?  Why am I still here?”  You know, the same questions that Vince
McMahon has probably been asking himself when it comes to Finkel for
years.  He complains about not being used
more, while saying that he has high hopes for Chris Jericho, which is why he is
sporting a Jericho-style wig in the piece.
WWF Magazine
REALLY liked Chyna in 1999, as evidenced by its next feature piece on how she
has been a big factor in the WWF. 
Remember that she and Triple H were subject of another piece two months
prior to this.
The article describes that Chyna’s success is due to a
difficult childhood, which shaped her into becoming a great athlete and
student.  After all, she does have a
double major in Spanish and Literature from the University of Tampa.  Her fluency in Spanish is why the company used
her in some skits with Los Boricuas in 1997 and 1998.  The classic understatement in the article is
that despite being “quintessential professionals…there have been rumors that
[her partnership with Triple H] is nearing an end.”  Sadly, it hypes her career as only getting
better, saying that she is “a history maker, a trendsetter, a one of a kind,”
but 1999 would be the peak of Chyna’s career. 
After having a feud with Chris Jericho over the Intercontinental title
she was slowly scaled away from the main title picture and by 2001 she was
wrestling women, which was a step down for her.
In a curious ad, you can get some of the first WWF DVDs, “Hell
Yeah:  Stone Cold’s Saga Continues” or
WrestleMania XV.  The price for each is $24.95,
but that is sort of laughable considering that WrestleMania XV gives you ninety
minutes of more content, as well as voiceovers of the big matches.
 A piece titled “At the Crossroads” breaks down what is in
the future for X-Pac, who was in the midst of a heel turn against his tag team
partner Kane.  As such, the article
emphasizes that X-Pac wants to be his own man and fight his own battles,
belying a Napoleon-like complex X-Pac has carried because of his size relative
to other WWF superstars.  That is one of
the good uses of the magazine, as it gave you some additional logic behind
angles and face/heel turns, even if some of them ended up being ridiculous.
 We also hear that X-Pac was the first person to “guide
Kane to his own heart and give him the courage to realize his human potential.”  So next time anyone wants to criticize Kane
as a corporate stooge you can blame X-Pac. 
Instead of X-Pac eventually turning on Kane, I would have enjoyed seeing
Kane in a DX green outfit like the picture shows below because that would have
been really different and cool, at least for one show:
 Next, Bill Banks talks about the newly-debuted Chris Jericho’s
desire to go after Steve Austin.
 Banks takes some shots at WCW, saying that Austin and Jericho
were denied similar opportunities to shine down South and that this slight made
both men more aggressive in their pursuit for glory and titles.  It even bashes Austin’s initial “Ringmaster”
gimmick from when he debuted in 1996. 
Really, this piece is well-written and does a nice job hyping a
potential Austin-Jericho showdown.  It
treats both men as athletes and wrestling as an actual sport, something the
company would be better off doing today. 
Unfortunately, a showdown between the two would have to wait until late
2000 because Jericho was quickly diverted into the Intercontinental title
picture while Austin went out with an injury.
And since this is the December issue, the WWF makes sure
we know what hot items you can buy for the holiday season.  Ho ho ho indeed!
 Most of the big items are for Steve Austin and the Rock
as you can see here
Then we get our more “crude” items of the Attitude Era on
another page.  Who really wants that Road
Dogg stuffed animal?  If you do, it will
cost you $20.  And that Debra poster will
cost you another $10.  I wonder if some
kid bought the “Show Me Your Puppies!” t-shirt (for $25) and was told to take
it off by school administrators. 
Seriously, $25 for that shirt?
 And you can also get yourself some WWF cologne for
$14.99.  I do not think this item was
selling well as it is the only one in the catalog that is marked down from its
initial sale price (which was $19.99 a unit). 
I still remember Bobby Heenan cracking jokes about WCW cologne on Nitro.  The WWF Attitude bag is cool, but I know very
little about the WWF fielding a racing team in 1999.  Evidently, if you want the racing jacket
pictured here you will be out $44.
An oddly titled article called “The Devil’s Bathtub” is
up next, which provides a comparison between Michael Hayes and Paul Bearer.
 You see, both men used to be best friends on the Gulf of
Mexico and broke into the business as volunteers.  Both men had been abandoned by their
managerial charges by late 1999, so the magazine teases at a possible alliance.  The magazine was also trying to recognize
more wrestling history by this point as it brings up Hayes’s run with the
Freebirds.  Unfortunately, it does not
tell us who Bearer and Hayes might want to bring into their stable if they
unified forces.  It does let us know that
the Fabulous Freebirds and the Undertaker “were supreme entertainers,” though.
I had forgotten about this product, which I never
actually saw anywhere.  I never had any
friends who bought it, so did anyone on the Blog every play around with this
toy?
Magazine writer Laura (no last name given) provides her “Attitude
Award” for 1999 and selects Kane and Stephanie McMahon!  If you are not a fan of Stephanie, you really
will not like this piece as Laura notes that “Since her debut in the ring,
Stephanie McMahon’s presence has been compelling” and that she cares little for
money and more about her ideals than money. 
Kane wins because he stood up for his friend X-Pac and overcame Vince McMahon
and Chyna tormenting him throughout the year. 
So basically, the “Attitude Award” is who faced lots of adversity and
overcame the odds.  Today, John Cena
would win that award every year!
Kevin Kelly then says that he was amazed that 1999
featured great in-ring performances by Vince and Shane McMahon.  Yeah, those criticisms of 1999 revolving
around the McMahons too much appear very
warranted now.  Best part is, it would
get worse for WrestleMania 2000 when there would be a McMahon in every corner!  So Kelly gives his “Attitude Award” to both
of the male McMahons.
And when it comes to Bill Banks he selects Jeff Jarrett,
which is pretty humorous considering Jarrett’s departure from the company.  Banks claims Jarrett has gone a long way
since his country music gimmick, but his selection seems to be based more on
personal factors as Jarrett dealt with the loss of Owen Hart and helped his
wife fight her battle against breast cancer.
We get the results from the Unforgiven pay-per-view,
featuring the infamous “Kennel from Hell” match.
That is probably one of those cases where the awful recap of the matches was
okay.  One of the pictures from the
Six-Pack Challenge match is probably sitting about Triple H’s office in Titan
Towers:
The “Private Eye” segment provides some pictures of the
MTV Video Music Awards.  So much for
kayfabe in this one:
“The Informer” tells us that D-Lo Brown and Mark Henry
started having problems when Henry had his wallet fall into the lap of D-Lo’s fiancé
on a flight back from England.  D-Lo
thought Henry was making moves on his woman and his fiancée thought the same,
thereby triggering a long series of tensions between the two.  We are told the Steve Austin-Undertaker
rivalry went onto the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) circuit as they each
had their own Funny Cars, with the Undertaker’s car winning.  And evidently, Al Snow is very upset about
the jokes Mankind made about him in Have
a Nice Day
!
This issue had tons
of advertisements in it, much more than previous issues.  I am not sure if that was because there were
not as many columns to write or if that is something that I might see more of
in the 2000 magazines.  However, it did
get a little tiring flipping through four or five ads before the next story.  Maybe with Russo gone that is a good thing
for the magazine, as this one had less ridiculousness in the stories, which
offered a more serious portrayal of the superstars and various angles.

Next time, we will move away from WWF Magazine and over to an early 1999 edition of WOW Magazine, put together by Bill Apter
as a “smart fan” alternative to other kayfabe wrestling publications.  It will cover the results of Backlash 1999, chronicle
the independent circuit, and provide some great photographs of wrestlers and
valets during the period.

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – November 16, 1998

by Logan Scisco

A video package
recaps Shane McMahon screwing Steve Austin over in the WWF title tournament
semi-finals last night at the Survivor Series.
We get a new RAW
intro where it was always hard to know the exact lyrics, so I always make up my
own, even if they did not make any sense. 
So my life in the box and soy la vie!!!

Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Lexington,
Kentucky.  I remember really wanting to
go to this show, but my dad refused to get tickets for it since he hated
wrestling.  He would finally cave and get
tickets for Thunder the next year.  At
least that show would feature Hulk Hogan, but it is still a downer to know that
I missed a post-pay-per-view RAW.
Vince McMahon,
Shane McMahon, the Big Bossman, and the stooges come out to massive boos and
Vince rips the crowd for being hypocrites because they kiss up to their bosses on
a regular basis and should do it more. 
He introduces the new WWF champion, the Rock, who gets a ton of heel
heat and the crowd chants “Rocky sucks” to his theme
music.  The Rock justifies his heel turn
by saying that he did what he had to do to get ahead, unlike the trash in the
crowd that get by on minimum wage.  He
also brings up the “Die Rocky die” and “Rocky sucks” chants from his initial
face run, saying he never forgot that and he rechristens the People’s Elbow as
the Corporate Elbow.  Vince goes to
explain the conspiracy and he informs Steve Austin when he walks out that under his new contract he cannot touch Vince
unless provoked.  Austin shows footage of
how Shane promised him a post-Survivor Series title shot two weeks ago on RAW. Vince says that that shot was changed to Survivor
Series, but Austin counters with legalize, saying that he has a contract
promising him a title match tonight and Judge Mills Lane confirms it.  The crowd loses its mind over this news and
McMahon is incensed.  They covered a lot
of bases here, but kept things moving in such a way as to keep you interested
throughout this lengthy segment.  1 for 1
Opening
Contest:  The New Age Outlaws & X-Pac
defeat The Oddities (w/Luna Vachon & The Insane Clown Posse) when Billy
Gunn pins Kurrgan at 2:52:
Remember the Insane Clown Posse’s heel turn on the
Oddities a few weeks ago?  Well, things
appear to be patched up before the match, but tensions continue as Shaggy 2
Dope accidentally delivers a flying elbow smash to Kurrgan instead of Billy
Gunn to cost the Oddities the match.
After the match,
the Headbangers do a hit and run attack on the Road Dogg.
An angry Mankind
arrives at the arena, screaming that he is coming home.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your DX football jersey for $39.99 (plus $9 shipping &
handling).  The sports jersey items were
some of the best the WWF was selling during this period.
Vince directs the
Big Bossman to stay close to him and asks the stooges to go take care of
Mankind.  None of them want to do it, so
Vince assigns Pat Patterson the job since he knows Mankind the best.  He reminds him that Mankind is gullible.
Intercontinental
Champion Ken Shamrock walks out and says that he was screwed at Survivor Series.  He issues a challenge to the Bossman and says
he will put his Intercontinental title on the line.  These shorter promos that cut straight the
point were the way to go with Shamrock.
Val Venis beats
Mark Henry (w/D-Lo Brown) with a schoolboy at 2:37:
Ross and Lawler use this match to take jabs at Paula
Jones and her nose job.  Chyna makes her
return on the ramp after some back and forth action, distracting Henry, who
loses in the WWF trademarked distraction rollup finish that had not yet become
a running joke at this point.
After the match,
Henry says he just wants to have a nice dinner with Chyna “with no sex
involved.”  He reads a poem to her, but
Chyna just walks to the back.
Steve Austin gets
some coffee, with a Pepsi cup placed as a convenient product placement.  Does this mean CM Punk will even the odds
tonight?  TUNE INTO….you get the idea (©
Scott Keith 1998.  All rights reserved.).
Patterson tells
Vince that he could not find Mankind in the arena and Vince hilariously
responds “you could not find your ass.” 
Gerald Brisco volunteers to find Mankind.
Steve Blackman
& Goldust defeat “Double J” Jeff Jarrett & The Blue Blazer (w/Debra
McMichael) when Blackman pins the Blazer after a pump kick at 2:09:
This match is the result of an angle on last week’s show
where both men were attacked by the Blue Blazer.  Ross calls the Blazer outfit something out of
“1960s lucha libre.”  This is an
accelerated tag match, where the Blazer jobs in short order to a pump kick, but
you see, it is not Owen Hart under the mask, as Owen runs in for a beatdown on
Blackman after the bout.
Brisco says there
are some weird noises in the boiler room and he was too scared to go in.  Commissioner Slaughter calls him a wuss and
Vince freaks.  Slaughter is sent after
Mankind.  After the break, Slaughter
comes back and says that Patterson and Brisco are needed to reason with
him.  Vince recommends getting some riot
gear to take care of the Mankind problem and that he expects the problem to be
solved in short order.  Now THIS is good
comedy.
The Godfather
(w/Hos) beats Stephen Regal via forfeit when Regal takes the hos:
Is the Godfather worthy of the Hall of Fame?  I have to think so as he
successfully pulled off two popular gimmicks with Papa Shango and being a
pimp.  Regal’s facial expressions as the
hos flaunt their stuff are great.  He
eventually settles for the hos and the Godfather wins via forfeit.  However, as Regal is leaving, the Godfather
lets him know that “England is just for the fags,” (chalk that up to something
that will be censored on the WWE Network) which leads to a pull apart brawl
between the two.
Backstage, Kane
destroys parts of the production crew. 
Unfortunately, Kevin Dunn is not among the casualties.
Steve Austin being
screwed by Shane McMahon in his match against Mankind at Survivor Series is the
Glover Rewind segment.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  Ken Shamrock
(Champion) wrestles The Big Bossman to a double disqualification at 3:55
Average brawl between these two, which culminates in the
referee getting decked by both of them. 
Eventually WWF officials intervene to stop the fight, but the pull apart
brawl does not come across as well.  Rating: 
*½ (1 for 2)
After officials
separate Shamrock and the Bossman, Vince and Shane McMahon walk out.  Vince tells Shamrock that he can use a man
with his set of skills and that they are a lot alike because they came from
broken homes.  He promises Shamrock a
family if he aligns with him and Shamrock shakes Vince, Shane, and the Bossman’s
hands.  Vince’s manipulation of the roster continues.
Some fans seek
Kane’s autograph outside of the arena and he chokes one of them against the
wall.  A police siren can be heard in the
distance.  He walks off into the mean
streets of Lexington.
Edge &
Gangrel (w/Christian) defeat LOD 2000 via count out at 2:12:
This is the Droz and Animal combination of LOD 2000.  Hawk walks out less than two minutes into the
match and begins walking up the Titantron. 
Droz and Animal go to investigate and get counted out.
After the
commercial break, Animal tries to talk Hawk, who is threatening to go out in a
blaze of glory, off the Titantron.  Paul
Ellering says he cares about Hawk’s life and Droz climbs the Titantron.  He seems to shove Hawk off and we go to
commercial.  I get what they were going
for here, but this was really tasteless and segments like this are a turn off
to viewers who may have struggled with suicide. 
1 for 3
And the fans
quickly forget about that awful segment because Sable, the new WWF Women’s
champion is here for an interview with Michael Cole!  Shane McMahon quickly interrupts her
interview to say that she is a creation of his father, which Sable refutes.  Shane says that real women like Sable work real
hard for their place, but Sable says that she is not for sale.  Like other Sable segments, this has a
punchline and not much else.  1 for 4
The Rock’s attack
on Mankind at the end of Survivor Series is the MediEvil Slam of the Week.
The stooges, wearing
UK Football helmets and pads head into the boiler room of Rupp Arena for
Mankind.  Patterson screams “Mankind we
love you,” which cracks me up. 
Unsurprisingly, Mankind attacks them, much of which we cannot see
because it is so dark.  2 for 5
Before the main
event, Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, the Big Bossman, and Ken Shamrock walk
out.  Vince says he is not happy about
the upcoming WWF title match and ridicules the Southern hospitality he is
receiving due to the “asshole” chants. 
He says that this is Austin’s last title shot.
WWF Championship
Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve Austin defeats
The Rock (Champion w/Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, The Big Bossman & Ken
Shamrock) by disqualification when the Undertaker interferes at 7:59:
This was a great piece of booking because Austin regained
the WWF title after he lost it to Kane at the King of the Ring, so it was not
beyond the realm of possibility that he would regain the title immediately from
the Rock.  Despite not getting much
action throughout the show, the crowd is engaged in this match from bell to
bell, as both men fight into the crowd and all around ringside.  The match is a really abbreviated version of
what Austin and the Rock will do later and is used more as a vehicle to advance
other feuds as Mankind runs out six minutes in to try to get at Vince, but ends
up brawling with the Bossman instead, and the Undertaker does a run-in after
Austin hits a Stunner to cost him the title. 
This bout is a prime example of how a crowd can take an average match
and make it seem like something special. 
Rating:  **½ (3 for 6)
The Final Report Card:  I could have done without the Hawk nonsense,
but this show was really all about the Austin-Rock title match and it was a
ratings coup in that regard, drawing the second-highest rating in the U.S. for
a RAW up to this point and pulling in a big rating on TSN in Canada.  You could hear some of the moans in the crowd
at the prospect of more Undertaker-Austin, but at least we have a pissed off
Mankind to rally behind for a few months before WrestleMania.
Monday Night War Rating:  5.5 (vs. 4.3 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – September 14, 1998

Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from San Jose, California.  We are finally back on Monday nights, so this
should be a better show.

As we come on the air,
WWF Champion Steve Austin walks to the ring. 
Vince McMahon, Kane, and the Undertaker are already in the ring.  McMahon gloats about how Kane or the
Undertaker will get the WWF title off of Austin’s waist and announces a new
stipulation to the Breakdown triple threat in that the Undertaker and Kane are
prohibited from pinning each other. 
Finally, McMahon pushes Austin too far on the mic and Austin decks
him.  However, the Undertaker and Kane lay
Austin out with a double chokeslam.  In a
hilarious bit, McMahon mimics Austin’s jaw jacking and rolls over in glee on
the canvas.  The Undertaker reminds
Austin that it’s nothing personal, it’s just business.  Before heading to the locker room, McMahon
books Austin to defend his title against Ken Shamrock in tonight’s main event.  This was a really good opening promo by
McMahon that established the logic behind the Breakdown main event.  1 for
1
Get your Triple H
Stridex poster!  This was a really long
promotion because they have been airing these commercials forever.
Opening
Contest:  “Double J” Jeff Jarrett
(w/Southern Justice) beats The Road Dogg (w/Billy Gunn & X-Pac) after
hitting him with a guitar at 3:08:
Here’s that Jarrett-Roadie blowoff we’ve wanted to see
since 1995!  The WWF actually remembers
that and show some old footage.  This is
a fast paced match that benefits from a hot crowd.  Somehow, Jarrett is not disqualified when
Southern Justice pull Road Dogg out of the ring and start beating him down.  When X-Pac and Gunn assist their comrade,
Jarrett hits his opponent with the neck of the guitar to win.  I think they had a malfunction with the guitar
since it was already broken when Jarrett went to use it.  Honestly, hitting people with guitars is one
of the best things Jarrett ever added to his gimmick.  Rating:  ** (2 for 2)
Footage of Ken
Shamrock challenging Steve Austin on Sunday Night Heat is shown.
The Road Dogg is
shown being helped into an ambulance backstage.
Michael Cole
interviews the Rock, who tells the Nation to stay backstage.  You see, the Nation is falling apart and the
Rock is gradually going his own way.  His
promo on the previous Saturday RAW constituted a de facto face turn.
The Rock pins
Kane (w/The Undertaker) after Mankind hits Kane with a sledgehammer at 6:10:
The atmosphere for this match is electric, with the crowd
going crazy for all of the Rock’s trademark spots.  The referee gets bumped at the five minute
mark and misses the People’s Elbow, allowing the Undertaker to interfere.  However, when the Undertaker is beating up
the Rock, Mankind makes a surprise return and clocks Kane with a sledgehammer
and that’s enough to put the Rock over. 
The crowd treated this outcome like a WrestleMania main event.  Rating:  *** (3 for 3)
After the match,
Kane can’t sit up on the canvas.  The
Undertaker challenges Mankind to a match later tonight.
Michael Cole
interviews Mankind, who accepts the Undertaker’s challenge for later
tonight.  He smashes one of the RAW is
War barrels with a sledgehammer
.
Dustin Runnels is
in the ring and welcomes the crowd to hell. 
Val Venis walks out and introduces the crowd to his new film “The
Preacher’s Wife,” which sees him in bed with Terri Runnels.  Runnels falls to his knees upon seeing the
footage and Venis tells him that trait must run in the family.
A vignette for
Steven Regal, a so-called “Real Man’s Man,” is shown.  He is chopping down a whole forest with an
axe.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  Triple H (Champion
w/Chyna & X-Pac) defeats Owen Hart (w/Mark Henry) with a Pedigree at 5:24:
After our usual exchange of moves between these two
shenanagins begin to happen as Mark Henry pulls Chyna off the ring apron and
X-Pac attacks him in response.  That distraction
allows Triple H to Pedigree a distracted Owen and beat him for what seems like
the hundredth time this year.  What?  You expected a different outcome?  Rating:  **½ (4 for 4)
After the match,
Mark Henry gets on the house mic and challenges X-Pac and Chyna to a handicap
match for later in the show.  He promises
to prevail just like he did this past Sunday!
Mankind is shown
tossing things into a dumpster backstage on his way to the ring.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your “Down Where?  Down Here!” DX
shirt for $25 (plus $6 shipping & handling)!  I’m sure that lots of kids were forced to
take that shirt off when they came to school wearing it.
The Undertaker (w/Kane)
wrestles Mankind to a no contest at 7:15:
Both men bring sledgehammers to the ring, but the referee
does not allow for their use so that comes to naught.  A wild brawl ensues with the use of the
objects in the dumpster that Mankind wheels to the ring and allowing Mankind to
do a few ghastly bumps.  The Undertaker
Tombstones Mankind on a chair, but wants to smash him with a sledgehammer
instead.  However, before the Undertaker
can deliver a death blow, the Rock pops out the dumpster, takes out the
Undertaker’s knee, and throws Mankind into the crowd to save him from a further
beating.  This was fun while it lasted
and it is awesome to see the first interactions between the Rock and
Mankind.  Rating:  ***  (5 for 5)
Edge wrestles
Gangrel to a double count out at 3:34:
I am really surprised that they did not save a match like
this for the pay-per-view.  Even though
they are not given a lot of time, both men pack a lot into this one and Edge
takes a nasty bump on the floor when Gangrel sidesteps a plancha.  Gangrel follows up with his Impaler DDT on
the floor and both men end up counted out. 
After the bell, Gangrel tells Edge that his blood flows through his
veins.  Yeah, this should’ve been on
pay-per-view and been given about ten minutes. 
Rating:  **½ (6 for 6)
Handicap
Match:  Mark Henry (w/D-Lo Brown) beats X-Pac
& Chyna (w/Triple H) when he pins Chyna after a powerslam at 3:54:
Triple H mocks Henry before the match by walking around
like a gorilla.  I wonder if they’ll be
editing out that footage on the Network. 
Come to think of it, maybe that’s what Xavier Woods stable is up to.  Henry beats the hell out of X-Pac and the
crowd becomes unglued when Chyna steps into the ring.  Seriously, she gets a Rock-type pop for
spearing Henry.  However, Henry plants
Chyna (seriously, he gets some great torque) with a powerslam when she dives
off the ropes and picks up the win.  The
road agent that booked this deserves a prize. 
Rating:  **¼ (7 for 7)
Highlights of the Howard Finkel-Harvey
Wippleman tuxedo match in 1995 are shown.
Evening Gown
Match:  Sable beats Jacqueline (w/Marc
Mero) at 1:44
The crowd is more into this “match” than any divas
contest you will see today.  The camera
has to pan wide as Jacqueline teeters on the verge of a wardrobe malfunction
every time Sable tosses her around.  This
is a complete squash, as Jacqueline does not get in a shred of offense.  The future Tori is shown sitting unimpressed
in the crowd after the match.  Sable
takes off her dress after the match just because.
Cole interviews
Ken Shamrock, who says that he is excited to finally get a crack at the WWF
championship.
WWF Championship
Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
(Champion) defeats Ken Shamrock 12:14
It seems to me that this match is leaving money on the
table, but when Austin was locked in a feud with the Undertaker and Kane and
when the Rock was in the process of moving up the card, Shamrock went on the
backburner.  Surprisingly, the announcers
do not mention that the backstory of these two dates all the way back to
WrestleMania XIII, but that is probably due to the Bret Hart factor.  Austin actually plays the heel role here,
utilizing a lot of restholds and directing the action.  He even resorts to a mule kick when Shamrock
begins rallying.  Before we can get a
definitive finish, the Undertaker and Kane hit the ring and we get a double
disqualification.  This match would have
come off better if the crowd was into Shamrock more.  Most of them were not sure what to think of
Austin by the end of it because of his heelish tactics.  Rating:  ***¼  (8
for 8)
After Austin and
Shamrock are dispatched by Kane and the Undertaker, Mankind and the Rock run
out and brawl with them.  Austin then
re-enters the ring with a chair and smashes his Breakdown opponents as McMahon
looks on with sadness by the entrance. 
Austin chases McMahon to the locker room as we play the show out.
The Final Report Card:  Whew, let me catch my breath.  The company must have been worried about not drawing
a rating after the last two RAWs were shown on Saturdays, so they loaded up
this card.  The San Jose crowd was
nuclear for the entire show and added something to each match.  This may not have developed a lot of angles,
but in terms of atmosphere and match quality up and down the card it is the
best RAW of the year up to this point.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.0 (vs. 4.5 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

by Logan Scisco

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

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

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

Chyna in the Hall?

Think we'll ever see Chyna in the HOF, or with HHH and Stephanie at the helm, is she as good as Macho'd?

HHH being in charge is the least of her worries.  When your post-WWE career is such an embarrassment that "inter gender pro wrestling champion" becomes the fondly remembered high point of your employment, you're probably not getting in.  

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – May 25, 1998

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross and Michael Cole are in the booth
and they are taped from Chattanooga, Tennessee. 
This is the go home show for Over the Edge.

Vince McMahon, Pat
Patterson, Gerald Brisco, and two police officers walk out and McMahon gloats
that he assaulted WWF Champion Steve Austin at the end of last week’s show and
got away with it.  Austin then walks out
and gets the police officers to arrest McMahon for assault.  When Patterson and Brisco get into
altercations with the officers when they handcuff McMahon, the police officers
arrest them for obstruction.  Austin then
dumps a beer on McMahon as the crowd goes wild. 
THIS is how you give a heel their comeuppance and it fits perfectly with
last week’s legal storyline.  The crowd
loved this segment and it is one of the better opening segments of RAW
ever.  1 for 1
Opening
Contest:  LOD 2000 & Darren Drozdov defeat
The Disciples of Apocalypse when Droz pins Chainz after a sitout powerbomb at 4:08
This is Drozdov’s debut and he was LOD 2000’s mystery
partner in this contest, something that the crowd finds rather
underwhelming.  After watching Beyond the Mat I cannot divorce
associating Droz with McMahon screaming “HE’S GONNA PUKE” over and over
again.  Droz works in some basic offense
that you would expect from a rookie and he gets the winning fall in a bad
match.  Rating:  ½* (1 for 2)
Call 815-734-1161
to get your Steve Austin “Hell Yeah” t-shirt for $25 (plus shipping &
handling charges)!
Austin helps
police put McMahon and the stooges into a squad car in the back.
Dan “The Beast”
Severn beats Owen Hart via disqualification when the Nation interferes at 3:14:
This is not a conventional WWF match as Owen and Severn
experiment with a quasi-shoot style that you would see in Pancrase.  As a result, the crowd really isn’t sure how
to react to it and Cole and Ross aren’t sure how to sell it either.  Owen eventually gets outmaneuvered by Severn
and placed in an armbar, but the Nation runs in to save Owen from a submission
loss.  Severn eats two splashes from Mark
Henry as a result.  I liked what they
were going for here, but they did not have enough time to develop it.  Rating:  *½ (1 for 3)
Steve Austin’s
appearance on MTV Celebrity Deathmatch is chronicled.
Vince McMahon and
the stooges are shown jawing with the officers and rocking the squad car
backstage.
Edge is coming!
Hank the Angry Drunken
Dwarf and Crackhead Bob, who have been guests on the Howard Stern Show, come
out with the Jackyl.  Hank curses a lot
about the Internet and Bob says some other nonsense.  The Jackyl introduces more Oddities, which include
“Princess” Luna (Vachon), Golga (John Tenta under a mask with knots on his
head)), and Giant Silva (billed at this time as “The Largest Man in the World”).  The oddities hug Jackyl and the Headbangers
make their entrance for the next match. 
This whole thing just screams awkward. 
1 for 4
Golga (w/The
Oddities) beats Thrasher (w/Mosh) with a powerslam at 2:55:
Crackhead Bob joins the commentary team with the Jackyl.  Golga works in the old Earthquake-style
powerslam to win as a wink to the fans as to his true identity and Giant Silva
destroys Mosh after the match, as well as the referee.  You can tell that Ross thinks this is
completely stupid by the tone of his voice, but Cole was eating it up (of
course).
Al Snow is shown
hanging out in the crowd.
Steve Austin is
shown conversing with the police officers by the police car McMahon and the stooges
are held in.
The interaction
between Kane and the Undertaker on last week’s show is the Super Soaker 1500
Rewind segment.
Vader defeats “Double
J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee) via disqualification when Kane interferes at
3:58:
Vader looks much better here than he did a few weeks ago
on RAW and he destroys Jarrett for three-quarters of the match.  Kane runs in before he can deliver a Vader
Bomb and destroys him before WWF officials intervene.  Rating:  * (1 for 5)
As a condition for
his and his stooges release, McMahon apologizes to Austin and then gives a
death glare to the camera to send us into hour two, where Jerry “the King”
Lawler replaces Cole.
McMahon comes out
with the stooges, seemingly chastened by his encounter with the law tonight,
and says there is not a single WWF superstar that can intimidate him at Over
the Edge and make him call the match fairly. 
McMahon books Austin to face the Undertaker in tonight’s main event and
appears proud of himself.  A second
entertaining promo by McMahon tonight.  2 for 6
D-Generation X is
shown at a local airfield and they make some jokes about flying a plane.
Al Snow comes out
of the crowd and gets in Lawler’s face and demands to meet with McMahon.  Lawler insists that Snow met McMahon last
week.
Non-Title
Match:  Taka Michinoku (WWF Light
Heavyweight Champion) beats Dick Togo (w/Yamaguchi-San) with a hurricanrana at
3:50:
I have no idea why they did not make this for the title
to at least let Michinoku chalk up a title defense on RAW.  This is a fun match as both men exchange fast
paced moves and Michinoku scrapes by Togo. 
See, if this was for the title they could have worked in a filler match
for Over the Edge and made Togo a contender. 
It would have also added some weight to the Taka-Kaientai feud.  After the bout, Michinoku tries to go after
Yamaguchi-San, but Kaientai demolish him before he can inflict damage.  Rating:  **½ (3 for 7)
Val Venis hitting
the Money Shot on 2 Cold Scorpio is the Gastrol GTX Slam of the Week.
DX is back at the
airfield joking around, but they have no idea where Triple H is.  Road Dogg does work in a funny “Rockabilly”
reference that Billy Gunn takes exception to.
Faarooq beats “Marvelous”
Marc Mero (w/Sable) with a clothesline at 2:28:
Sable aggressively disrobes Mero before the match, which
further underlies the tension between the two. 
The Ross football meter goes to 1:03 for this match and he makes sure to
include that Mero was a former Golden Gloves champion.  Sable distracts Mero and causes him to lose
another match.  This leads to Mero getting
on the mic after the match and arranging a match for Over the Edge between
himself and someone of Sable’s choosing. 
If Sable’s chosen superstar wins, she gets her freedom, but if Mero wins
Sable has to leave the WWF forever.
Call
1-900-747-4WWF to find out what the newest front office shakeups are in the
wrestling world!
A video package
hypes “WWF model citizen” Pat Patterson.
Triple H is shown “flying”
an aircraft and making sexual references. 
He paints some anti-WCW and anti-Nation slogans in the sky.  This whole thing was a waste.  3 for
8
Non-Title
Match:  The Rock (Intercontinental
Champion w/Mark Henry) wrestles Triple H (European Champion w/Chyna) to a
double count out at 7:58 shown:
The Rock gives the audience his opinion on the new drug,
Viagra, before the match.  This match is
more warmly received than it was a year prior, which shows how adding a few
pieces (e.g. Chyna) and flipping the alignments of the characters can overcome
some initial booking difficulties.  Chyna
and Mark Henry have their first big time confrontation in this match after both
of them interfere.  Both men show signs
that they are the next big things in the business as they work through a good
encounter, assisted by their seconds. 
This is a situation where a double count out finish was warranted to
deepen the DX-Nation feud.  Rating: 
*** (4 for 9)
After the match,
Faarooq comes out and gives the Rock a piledriver by the entrance.  Triple H laughs in the ring.
McMahon is
announced as the special guest referee for the Austin-Undertaker match, but the
match never takes place as the Undertaker, who has not been in a good mood
lately, takes exception to McMahon flexing his muscles during his
entrance.  The Undertaker stares down
McMahon and chokeslams him, but before he can give him a Tombstone, Kane runs
in and they brawl into the crowd.  As the
stooges held McMahon up in the ring, Austin’s music sounds and it’s Stunners
galore to send the crowd into a frenzy. 
Austin ties McMahon into the ropes and goes to hit him with a chair, but
Dude Love runs out and eats the chair shot instead and McMahon gets away.  I miss endings like this.  5 for
10
The Final Report Card:  This is the very definition of a WWF show in
1998:  a lackluster undercard sandwiched
between a red hot top angle.  The
McMahon-Austin segments steal the show and do a great job setting up Over the
Edge.  This show also gave a test run for
the Rock-Triple H feud that would dominate the summer of 1998, so it has that
going for it as well.  Our next review
will cover Over the Edge 1998 and then we will go into the June RAWs.
As an aside, would the readers prefer to
have my disguise the results rather than putting them before expressing my
thoughts on the match?  I can do
whatever, but I just assumed that most readers saw these shows in their youth
and remembered a good chunk of them. 
Just taking the temperature of the blog in that regard as I continue
fine tuning my recaps.
So, here is our Over the Edge card:
WWF Championship Match with Vince McMahon as
Guest Referee, Pat Patterson as Guest Ring Announcer, and Gerald Brisco as
Guest Timekeeper:  Steve Austin
(Champion) vs. Dude Love
Intercontinental Championship Match:  The Rock (Champion) vs. Faarooq
Mask vs. Mask Match:  Vader vs. Kane
Freedom vs. Career Match:  ?????? vs. Marc Mero
The New Age Outlaws & Triple H vs. Owen
Hart, Kama Mustafa & D-Lo Brown
Steve Blackman vs. Jeff Jarrett
LOD 2000 vs. The Disciples of Apocalypse
Monday Night War Rating:  4.2 (vs. 4.2 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

by Logan Scisco

Michael Cole
narrates a video package recapping the events of last week’s show, where Steve
Austin escaped the show with the WWF championship.
Jim Ross and
Michael Cole are in the booth and they are taped from Richmond, Virginia.

Mick Foley walks
out to do the Love Shack, but is not wearing his Dude Love gear.  He complains about not getting an immediate
rematch with Steve Austin after Unforgiven and says Vince McMahon is trying to
get rid of him by booking him to face Terry Funk in a no holds barred match
tonight.  He says he won’t wrestle in the
Dude Love outfit anymore and he demands McMahon come out because “Cactus Jack”
wants answers.  McMahon comes out and
says that the match with Funk is a reward, not a punishment, because triumph
comes through adversity and that if Foley wins decisively he will become the
number one contender of the WWF title.  Steve
Austin then suddenly comes out and tears down the Love Shack.  McMahon came off as a master manipulator here
and his talk about triumph and sacrifice channeled the best evangelical
preachers in America.  1 for 1
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Opening
Contest:  The Rock & Owen Hart (w/The
Nation of Domination) beat Steve Blackman & Faarooq when Owen pins Blackman
with a spinning heel kick at 6:20:
Commissioner Slaughter tosses the Nation from ringside
before this bout and I find it humorous that Faarooq still doesn’t have a
unique entrance theme for his face character. 
Faarooq hits the Dominator just forty seconds into the match, which Cole
hilariously calls as “WOW!”, but Owen breaks the fall.  Blackman’s storyline arc is crazy at this
point, as he’s a proxy for Shamrock in his Nation feud and engaged in a lame
feud with Jeff Jarrett.  This match features
the first official call of the People’s Elbow, thereby giving the Rock’s whacky
elbow drop a name.  This match has really
good energy and Blackman’s multiple feuds intersect here (which is why that can
be a nice piece of booking) when Jarrett interferes and causes Blackman to be
pinned by Owen.  Rating:  **½ (2 for 2)
McMahon narrates a
video package hyping Gerald Brisco.  This
is pretty funny in light of Brisco being put in the Austin-McMahon feud and
Brisco makes clear that everything he has he owes to McMahon.  I love subtle stuff like this.
We get our first
Edge vignette, which sees him beating up a random man on the street and riding
a subway alone.
D-Generation X
cuts a generic promo and WWF Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws prepare to
defend the titles against the Disciples of Apocalyse, but LOD 2000 comes out
and challenges DX to an eight man tag pitting DOA and the LOD against Triple H,
the Outlaws, and X-Pac.  Hawk and DX go
back and forth in a comic exchange of questioning each other’s manhood which
shows that the parties involved don’t really like each other (which is why this
gets a point from me).  The DOA can’t be
happy that the LOD has hijacked their tag team title shot.  3 for
3
Dan Severn
defeats Savio Vega via submission to an armbar at 1:34:
Ross uses the match to hype UFC 17 and I’d love to see
Severn’s style critiqued by the WWE today, since it is definitely not “WWE
style.”  Severn hits some suplexes,
survives some Savio chops, and then puts Savio away with an armbar.
Jerry Lawler and
Paul Bearer are captured, supposedly off-camera, chatting in the locker room
and Bearer recaps how the Undertaker/Kane’s mother seduced him when he was
nineteen.  When we get back from
commercial, Lawler apologizes to viewers for having the conversation broadcast
over the air.  Lawler and Bearer were
great in this segment and the whole thing came off like a natural conversation
and not stiff like today’s segments.  It’s
amazing what you can do when you let people play to their natural
personalities.  By the way, this was
still during a “TV-PG” era!  4 for 4
A video shows
Sable training for her match, which the WWF is billing as a “public
confrontation”, with Marc Mero next week.
“Marvelous” Marc
Mero versus “Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee) does not occur:
Before this match starts, Steve Blackman runs out and
attacks Jarrett.  The beatdown is quite
weak, but it keeps advancing that feud while protecting Mero for his confrontation
with Sable next week.
The Disciples of
Apocalypse illegal switch against the New Age Outlaws on last week’s Raw is the
Playstation Slam of the Week.
Jerry Lawler joins
Ross for commentary as we enter hour two.
D-Generation X
wrestle LOD 2000 & The Disciples of Apocalypse to a no contest when the
LOD-DOA partnership disintegrates:
Sunny is tossed from ringside before the match,
continuing the ejection of seconds tonight, and X-Pac follows since Chyna is
wrestling with Triple H and the Outlaws thereby making this the first match she
is wrestling against other men in the company. 
The crowd loves Chyna and it’s pretty amazing in retrospect how over she
was.  With women’s equality becoming an en vogue topic these days, I’m surprised
the WWE hasn’t made another attempt to bring in Kharma or another sizable woman
again and run a similar angle.  The
storyline that the announcers keep selling is that the DOA aren’t happy with the
LOD taking their title shot away, but that has some logic gaps because why didn’t
the DOA just complain to Commissioner Slaughter and get their title shot
reinstated?  An argument over the hot tag
emerges in the face corner and that turns into a brawl to end this.  Decent little match, but the most interesting
parts were when DX was in control.  Rating: 
** (5 for 5)
Footage of the LOD
and DOA brawling backstage during the commercial break is shown
.
Kane (w/Paul
Bearer) wrestles The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust to a no contest at 1:52:
We were supposed to get heel-heel with Jarrett and Mero
earlier and now we get a pairing between these two, which is also unusual.  Luna has seemingly been divorced from Goldust
at this point, with the Evening Gown match blowing off their partnership.  Kane is wearing a bandage on his right hand
to sell his loss in the Inferno match at Unforgiven.  Kane manhandles Goldust, but the Undertaker
runs out and attacks Bearer over the comments Bearer made about his mother
earlier in the show.  Kane and the
Undertaker then engage in the THIRD pull apart brawl on the show tonight.  Doesn’t Russo know of any other finish?
Mick Foley’s promo
a month ago where he bid goodbye to the Cactus Jack character is the Cinnaburst
Rewind segment.
A video package
recaps the history between Mick Foley and Terry Funk.
Val Venis
introduces us to the set of his latest video “Val Venis:  Soldier of Love” and Jenna Jameson makes a
cameo.
No Holds Barred
Match with Pat Patterson as Guest Referee: 
Mick Foley defeats Terry Funk with a stump piledriver on a chair at 14:12:
Steve Austin comes out to do commentary for this match
and Pat Patterson is inserted at the last second as the guest referee.  Austin’s mic malfunctions, reminding long
time fans of Jim Ross’s mic problems at In Your House:  Buried Alive in 1996, and he gets pissed off
and decks Lawler.  Foley puts a new twist
on the concession stand brawl by taking out the vendor and giving him a
suplex.  The vendor and Foley also take a
moonsault from Funk.  However, Funk
argues that his neck is hurt and the match to stop, but Foley continues the
attack.  For all intents and purposes,
this was a squash for Foley and that fits the storyline to make him the number
one contender for Austin’s title.  Funk
took an insane beating in this match and it had some brutal spots, but the
squash aspect of it overwhelmed putting on a more competitive match.  I also found it difficult to relate to Funk
continually kicking out of some of Foley’s moves near the end, probably because
Funk had not been built into a big threat during his WWF run so you knew he was
going to lose anyway.  Rating: 
*** (6 for 6)
After the match,
Foley smashes Funk’s head repeatedly into a chair and Austin comes into the
ring and tosses a beer into Foley’s face, causing Foley to inadvertently put
Patterson in the Mandible Claw. 
Patterson then tries to hit Austin with a chair, but Austin counters it in
time with a kick and Stunner.  The Dude
Love music then comes on and McMahon comes out dancing with the Dudettes.  Foley re-embraces his older character and
McMahon dances like a fool to the music by the entrance.
The Final Report Card:  Even though this RAW fell too much in love with
crazy brawls, there were lots of fun moments that made the show engaging and
memorable.  Chyna’s participation in the
tag match, the vendor getting destroyed by Funk and Foley, the Bearer segment
with Lawler, and McMahon’s opening promo and crazy dancing at the end were the
highlights of the show.  This show also
had a great storyline arc of McMahon getting Foley back on his side and
convincing him to go back to a gimmick that he trashed earlier in the show.
Monday Night War Rating:  5.5 (vs. 3.5 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up