What the World Was Watching: Monday Night RAW – January 9, 1995

Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels are doing commentary and they are live from Houston, Texas.  This is the second anniversary episode of Monday Night Raw.

William Shatner, who is here to hype his new show TekWar, says that he is not scared of appearing on Jerry Lawler’s King’s Court segment and that if Lawler messes with him “he will be out of here at warp speed.”  He even admits that he is simply here to do the hard sell for his show and is not going to wrestle.

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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.