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 22, 1999

Steve Austin arrives at the arena and comes across a driver of a Coor’s Light truck.  Product placement 101.

Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are calling the action and they are live from Albany, New York.  This is the last RAW we have to hear called by Cole for a while so I am happy about that.  This is the go home show for WrestleMania XV.

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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 – 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

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

Vince McMahon
tells the stooges that he is leaving to briefly train for the Royal Rumble (because
he supposedly could not do this earlier in the day) and he says he will come
back with a “Christmas bonus” for the Corporation.  He leaves Shane in charge of tonight’s show,
but reminds the stooges that he will hold them responsible for Shane’s
actions.  Once Vince drives off, Shane
races toward the arena because he has a lot of things to do.
Michael Cole and
Jerry “The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are taped from Spokane,
Washington. Cole welcomes us to the “greatest action adventure series on
television!” whatever that means.

The Corporation
walks out to a generic techno beat and some of the Corporation’s initial
Titantron video was later incorporated into the “Hollywood Rock” Titantron.  Before Shane McMahon can begin his monologue,
D-Generation X walks out and brings out Mankind who hilariously tries to look
cool by using DX’s gestures. 
Commissioner Shawn Michaels books Billy Gunn to face Ken Shamrock, Road
Dogg to face Big Bossman, and Triple H & X-Pac to face The Rock & Test
(who is referred to as the “corporate insurance policy”).  As revenge for Mankind beating up Vince last
week, Shane decides to face him in the ring over the objections of the stooges.  Mankind and DX laugh at Shane’s challenge and
Mankind does some awful crotch chops on his way to the back.
Cole hypes the
latest edition of People Magazine, which featured Steve Austin as a “breakout”
star of 1998.
D-Lo Brown talks
to Mark Henry and tries to convince him not to fool around with the ladies in the
locker room because they have a match to attend to
.
Opening
Contest:  Al Snow (w/Head) beats Gangrel
with the Snow Plow at 3:00:
Teddy Long is the referee but he does not turn this into
a tag match.  Snow and Gangrel go back
and forth in a match that does not really have much rhyme or reason to it.  Snow goes over clean by hitting a Snow Plow
out of nowhere.  After the match, the
Brood attacks Snow in the dark and gives him a bloodbath.  I cannot remember if this bloodbath stuff is
leading anywhere, but are we to assume that Gangrel cares more about pouring
blood on his opponents than winning?  Rating: 
We are shown
footage of Snow freaking out about the bloodbath during the commercial break
.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  Billy Gunn defeats
Ken Shamrock (Champion) by reversing a victory roll at 8:21:
Shamrock gets arguably the biggest heel heat in his
career as the Spokane crowd works up a loud “Shamrock sucks!” chant.  After the four minute mark, this really picks
up as Shamrock works the knee and Billy gets some well-timed hope spots to keep
the crowd engaged.  Billy appears to have
won the title as this was announced as a title match, but Commissioner Shawn
Michaels steps in to say that he never booked the match that way so Shamrock
keeps the title.  The WWF loved that
finish in December, having used a version of it at Rock Bottom.  After the match, Gunn moons Michaels, but
Shamrock takes him out.  Rating: 
***
Hawk costing Droz
a match against Al Snow on Sunday Night Heat is the Playstation Slam of the
Week
.
Hawk walks out
after having fallen off the Titantron the night after Survivor Series.  The WWF was so concerned about him that they
never bothered providing an update about his condition on subsequent RAWs.  Hawk says that Droz was his dope pusher and
enabler, doing so in an effort to take Hawk’s job.  Hawk pledges to get revenge when he heals up,
but Droz comes out and attacks him from behind.  Animal comes down and tosses Droz off of Hawk,
but the partners do not have a full reconciliation
.
Mark Henry says
that he is ready to have some fun with PMS and goes into their locker
room.  D-Lo Brown is beside himself at
his partner’s behavior
.
Footage of Steve
Austin giving Santa a Stone Cold Stunner last year is shown
.
Steve Blackman
defeats The Blue Blazer via disqualification when Owen Hart interferes at 2:22:
Before the bout, Owen Hart comes out and says that he has
proven that he is not the Blue Blazer and that part of the “Blue Blazer lives
inside each and every one of us.”  He
then says on commentary that he hopes the Blazer gets unmasked so that “he can
get to the bottom of this” and compares his plight to OJ Simpson and Bill
Clinton.  Blackman beats the Blazer up
like a jobber until Owen predictably runs in for a two-on-one beatdown before
Goldust intervenes.  He and Blackman
unmask the Blazer to reveal Jeff Jarrett. 
Jarrett tosses the Blazer cape back over his head as Owen shouts that he
does not know who the Blazer is.  For
comedy this is okay, but this angle is just doing nothing for everyone
involved.
PMS say that they
are going to take a shower as Henry watches
.
Hardcore
Championship Match:  The Road Dogg pins
The Big Bossman (Champion) when Mankind blasts the Bossman with a steel bar to
win the title at 6:55:
This is initially billed as non-title, but Road Dogg
goads the Bossman into putting the title on the line.  One could point to this match as when hardcore
matches jumped the shark as Road Dogg starts pulling out conveniently placed
cookie sheets and buckets from underneath the ring to attack the Bossman.  It is unfortunate that the Bossman is no
longer with us as his ring attire in 1998 foreshadowed the Shield so he would
fit right in.  Speaking of ring attire,
the Bossman goes to it to find objects to beat down Road Dogg such as a noose
(who knew wrestling could produce such vibrant social commentary?) and crack
cocaine (okay, it is just powder but it is funnier if you think it is crack
because why would police just carry random pouches of white powder?).  To send the silliness factor up a notch, the
finish comes when Mankind throws a net over the Bossman and blasts him with a
steel bar to give the Road Dogg the title. 
I hated this at first, but both guys stepped it up a notch when it went
into the crowd.  Rating:  **¼
PMS help Henry get
out of his clothes and put a collar on him. 
They then have him get on a massage table where they put a ball in his
mouth and put whipped cream on him.
A promo video sees
Jeff Jarrett rant about what pisses him off
.
The stooges try to
convince Shane McMahon not to square off with Mankind.
PMS now blindfold
Henry and strap him down to the table
.
Bob Holly &
Scorpio beat The Acolytes via disqualification at 3:20:
The Acolytes are still nothing more than Faarooq and
Bradshaw desperately trying to revive their careers.  The referee has no control of this as it is
just a wild brawl and somehow the Acolytes are the ones that get disqualified.  Rating:  DUD
Shane McMahon runs
toward the Gorilla position backstage as the stooges run after him and beg him
not to fight Mankind
.
Shane’s challenge
to Mankind is the Glover Rewind segment
.
Mankind beats
Shane McMahon (w/Pat Patterson & Gerald Brisco) via disqualification when
the Rock interferes at 3:04:
Shane comes out to the Brawl for All music which is a
nice touch.  The Corporation comes out
early into the match, but Shawn Michaels does not let them rush the ring when
Shane gets in trouble.  Mankind gives
Shane a chair, but no sells the chair shot he receives.  He then dispatches of the stooges with
ease.  Somehow all of this is legal and
the Rock eventually hits the ring to lay out Mankind when Shane becomes trapped
in the Mandible Claw.  As Mankind and the
Rock brawl at ringside, X-Pac does a Bronco Buster to Shane until the
Corporation rescues him.  Not much of a
match, but it was still entertaining.  Rating: 
*
Classie Freddie
Blassie plays the part of “vulgar Santa” in a WWF Attitude vignette
.
The stooges are
worried about how they are going to be punished by Vince when he comes back to
the arena.
D-Lo tries to get
Henry from PMS, but cannot get into their locker room and has to head the ring
alone.  Footage from the PMS locker room
shows PMS whipping Henry and there is a clamp on him as well.
The Headbangers
beat D-Lo Brown with a double flapjack at 2:42:
Lawler spends his time during this match providing
details on the other abuse PMS is putting Henry through in the locker room.  D-Lo puts up a good fight here, but cannot
beat the former tag team champions. 
Henry walks out after the finish looking the worse for wear and D-Lo
shows no sympathy.
Patterson tells
Brisco to keep his mouth shut as Vince arrives back at the arena.  Brisco does not follow instructions, makes
Vince angry, and then hilarious asks Patterson if he thinks they will still get
their Christmas bonus
.
Check out the
latest edition of Tattoo magazine that talks about the Undertaker!
Triple H &
X-Pac (w/D-Generation X) wrestle The Rock & Test (w/The Corporation) to a
no contest at 10:30:
Prior to the match, Shawn Michaels expels D-Generation X
from ringside, but Vince walks out and overrules him.  Test just does some basic offense here,
getting repetitive with delivering several knees in the corner, but does a good
job looking imposing and versatile.  When
it looks as if the Rock will finish off Triple H, the arena’s lights go out and
Kane walks out, but he chokeslams Triple H instead of going after his former
enemies.  He also takes out the rest of
D-Generation X, including Chyna as the show goes off the air.  So Kane was the “Christmas bonus.”  At least he did not come out as the “Christmas
Creature.”  It would have been nice to
get a clear finish after sitting through this, but it does keep everyone
reasonably protected so it served that purpose. 
Rating:  **
The Final Report:  After the Road Dogg-Bossman match, this show
lost a lot of direction.  We had the
ridiculous PMS-Mark Henry stuff crowding the show (and probably leaving some
parents horrified and deciding that their children would not be watching WWF
programming in the near future) and then a weird Kane turn at the end (which in
the long run would not last very long). 
Some of the impact of the end of the slow loses its luster since Kane
has been around forever; has turned 20,000 times or so; and the character has
lost all meaning.  The Corporation was
also becoming way too big for its own good at this point, starting to mirror
the NWO in late 1996 when everyone and their mother, father, aunt, uncle, and
cousin decided to join up.  If you watch
this show, follow the first half but then abandon it after the Hardcore title
switch.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.7 (vs. 4.0 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Neutral

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

Pictures and
commentary from last night’s Rock Bottom pay-per-view are aired.
Michael Cole and
Jerry “The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from Tacoma,
Washington
.

D-Generation X
comes out dressed as the Corporation as Cole is so nice to tell us that all of
this is supposed to be funny over and over again.  Jason Sensation also makes a return as
Commissioner Shawn Michaels.  Aside from
Sensation, the only entertaining part of this segment is X-Pac’s imitation of
Shamrock where he screams about how he is in the zone and how its “five knuckle
shuffle time!”  After this long segment
comes to a close, Shawn Michaels, the Big Bossman, Ken Shamrock, and the Rock
walk out.  Michaels books a rematch of
last night’s tag team title match between the New Age Outlaws and Shamrock and
the Bossman.  Michaels takes a dig at
Triple H as being a “midcarder for life,” but Triple H goads the Rock into
putting the WWF title on the line in the main event.
Vince McMahon
gives a pep talk to the Corporation in the locker room
, ending it with a promise to go after Kane
since Kane is deemed as one of the primary reasons Steve Austin qualified for
the Royal Rumble at Rock Bottom.
Opening
Contest:  Supply & Demand (w/The Hos)
defeat Edge & Christian (w/Gangrel) when Val Venis pins Christian with a
fisherman’s suplex at 2:34:
The Godfather was beginning to get the “Pimpin’ ain’t
easy” line over at this point, adding to the number of catchphrases by the
company’s stars.  The Brood is so weird
that the Godfather does not bother to give them any hos.  Edge and Christian make one of their first
appearances as a tag team as the company was realizing that they could put on
better matches than Edge and Gangrel.  Or
maybe the company realized that if you are going to bill Edge and Christian as
brothers that it was nonsensical to not have them for a tag team.  This is just a quick TV bout, typical of the
era, with the ending being messy as Venis enters the ring too late after a
blind tag and Edge does not even bother trying to break up the final pin.   With the Brood’s gimmick you would think
Russo would find more for these guys to do, but they keep losing to other
midcard acts week after week.
After the match,
Gangrel says that there is going to be a bloodbath the next time that the Brood
appears.
Kevin Kelly
interviews Steve Blackman who says he will unmask the Blue Blazer tonight.  For a guy who is a legitimate bad ass like
Blackman, it is a shame that he cannot cut a convincing promo.
Goldust beats The
Blue Blazer via disqualification when Jeff Jarrett interferes at 2:10:
This is a revenge match from the previous evening as the
Blue Blazer kept Debra McMichael from finishing her striptease at Rock
Bottom.  As several have commented in my
reviews it is tough to watch this Blue Blazer angle when you know how it is
going to end in six months.  This match
hardly gets going before Jeff Jarrett interferes to break up Shattered Dreams.  Steve Blackman lives up to his promise to
also do a run-in and he does unmask the Blazer as Owen.  Why not do the unmasking on
pay-per-view?  In a humorous bit, Jarrett
tosses a black cloth over Owen’s head as if he is too ugly to be seen after the
unmasking.
Mark Henry gets
ready for a match backstage
.
The New Age
Outlaws and the Big Bossman and Ken Shamrock are prevented from having a
confrontation backstage by WWF officials
.
Mark Henry &
D-Lo Brown (w/PMS) beats Scorpio & Bob Holly (w/Al Snow, Duane Gill &
The Blue Meanie) when Henry pins Holly after a powerslam at 3:00:
This might be the RAW debut of the “Sexual Chocolate”
theme song, although it is not a great tag team entrance theme since it does
not work for D-Lo.  Before the match,
Henry talks about his date with Chyna and how it got intimate, with D-Lo giving
fantastic facial expressions throughout. 
The Chyna angle is where Henry started to show the personality that made
him an effective superstar as he participated in some ridiculous segments that
were meant to discourage him and get him to quit.  The whole point of this match is to keep
building D-Lo and Henry, as well as PMS, and the JOB Squad are manhandled and
outwitted.  Rating:  *
Mankind’s attack
on the Rock before the Rock Bottom pay-per-view is the Acclaim Sports Slam of
the Week
.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  Ken Shamrock &
The Big Bossman (w/Shawn Michaels) defeat The New Age Outlaws (Champions) when
Shamrock makes Billy Gunn submit to the ankle lock to win the titles at 6:45:
One fan has a big “Clinton 3:16” sign near the front of
the ring that cracks me up since that is not something that you would expect to
see at a wrestling show.  Unlike last
night’s pay-per-view, the challengers focus on a body part, targeting Billy
Gunn’s left knee after Shamrock smashes a chair into it.  The Road Dogg also gets a chair to the back
and a Bossman slam, which leads to a second hot tag to Gunn, which is a bad
idea since he is fighting on one leg. 
Still, it takes a Michaels night stick shot to the back of the head to
put the Outlaws down for the count.  So
why could we not have just done this finish last night?  Rating:  **
Vince and Shane
McMahon walk out to conduct the drawing of Steve Austin’s number for the Royal
Rumble.  Vince says that he will get
revenge against Kane and Mankind tonight and he books them to face each other
in a no holds barred match.  In the
subsequent drawing, Austin is awarded #1, but you see, the drawing is rigged as
it appears that all of the numbers in the tumbler are #1.  To make Austin’s job of winning the Rumble
even more difficult, Vince also promises to give the superstar that tosses
Austin over the top rope $100,000 (which will be taken from one of Shane’s
trust funds).  As a final announcement,
Vince says that another participant in the Rumble match, someone who is the
only person that “could save Ted Turner’s WCW,” will be him.  Shane proceeds to draw a number out of the
tumbler for Vince and he gets #30. 
Christening his new theme song, Vince says there is “no chance in hell”
that Austin will win the Rumble.  Mankind
then appears on the Titantron from the boiler room and challenges Vince to a
match instead of facing Kane, but Vince does not accept.
Get your Jesse
“the Body” Ventura videotape!  You know,
the guy that the WWF tried to purge from its history until he won the Minnesota
gubernatorial election!
Debra McMichael’s
striptease at Rock Bottom is the Glover Rewind segment.
Vince huddles with
stooges about what to do with Mankind until deciding that he is better off
coming up with his own solution for the problem.  Gerald Brisco is still offering to get him
coffee
.
Guitar on a Pole
Match:  “Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra
McMichael) pins Steve Blackman after Owen Hart hits Blackman with a guitar at
3:33:
Russo’s pole fetish finally finds its way to television
here.  It would have made more sense to
book this as Jarrett-Goldust since Goldust is the one that got blasted with a
guitar last night at Rock Bottom.  Debra
starts stripping to distract Blackman and allow Jarrett to get the guitar, but
then we also get a ref bump after Blackman avoids getting hit with it.  Then, Owen Hart runs in with a guitar and
hits Blackman to give his partner in crime a victory.  This match was like a sick preview of what
Russo would do to WCW a couple of years later. 
Rating:  *
Tiger Ali Singh
calls the stooges into his locker room where “Bloodbath” has been written on
the wall.  He said that he does not want
to compete tonight under these conditions.
Vince tells Shane
that he is going to face Mankind tonight, but he will do it his way.
The next match is
booked as Gangrel-Tiger Ali Singh, but it never gets started as Tiger tries to
flee but the Broods prevents him from doing so, beat him down, and pour blood
on him.  You have to use your imagination
for all of this, though, because it takes place in the darkness of the Brood’s
entrance.
No Holds Barred
Match:  Mankind and Kane wrestle to a
no-contest at 4:28:
In this match, Lawler claims that the steps weigh 150
pounds, but last year’s TLCS pay-per-view told me they were over 500
pounds.  Poor Art Donovan would be so
confused.  This match is more about
angles as Mankind and Kane brawl for a few minutes before Vince comes out and
asks Mankind to come into the parking lot to face him in a street fight.  Then, while we are away at a commercial
break, Ken Shamrock and the Big Bossman beatdown Kane so that orderlies can
take him to a mental institution. 
Meanwhile, Mankind destroys Vince in the parking lot before the Rock
shows up and Rock Bottoms Mankind on the hood of a car.  Rating:  *
WWF Championship
Match:  The Rock (Champion w/Shawn
Michaels) defeats Triple H (w/Chyna) when Test interferes at 10:49:
Seeing the Rock and Michaels by each other just makes you
wish that they would have had a match at some point.  This match shows how wild crowds used to be
as people mob Triple H during his entrance when he gets close to the guardrail
and some fans even try to prevent the Rock from attacking Triple H near the
ringside barrier on the floor.  The Rock
is bit too liberal with the chinlocks in this one, but one could say the same
for Triple H’s knee attacks in this era. 
In true WWE style, they kick out of each other’s big moves, but when the
referee is distracted Test makes his in-ring debut by nailing Triple H with a pumphandle
slam and helping the Rock retain.  Rating: 
***
The Final Report:  Despite the absence of Steve Austin this show
effectively framed some of the big angles heading into the Royal Rumble
pay-per-view.  The matches were really abbreviated,
something that could be expected of WWF television at the time, but the main
event was solid since the Rock and Triple H usually had fantastic
chemistry.  On the basis of the main
event and the entertaining McMahon segments, this show garners a thumbs up.
Monday Night War Rating:  5.2 (vs. 4.2 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Rock Bottom – In Your House

So after a three
months absence, I have returned so that the Blog can finish up looking back at
1998 when the World Wrestling Federation finally turned the tide against World
Championship Wrestling.  When we left off,
the Rock was tearing it up as the newly crowned corporate heel champion, but he
has Mankind in hot pursuit of the title that he thought was in the bag at
Survivor Series.  Steve Austin was still
feuding with the Undertaker, something that segments of the audience are
growing tired of, and the New Age Outlaws teased joining the Corporation before
realigning with D-Generation X.  The
Corporation still has Commissioner Shawn Michaels in their pocket, though.  And Debra McMichael, newly arrived from WCW,
has reunited with Jeff Jarrett, ignoring the fact that he called her a “dumb
blonde” when he returned to the company in 1997
.

WWF Champion The
Rock shows up at Planet Hollywood in Vancouver, British Columbia.  He promises that future pay-per-views will be
named after him and tells us to enjoy the action.  The Rock getting a pay-per-view named after
him fit nicely into existing storylines as it constituted a reward for going
heel.
Michael Cole and
Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Vancouver,
British Columbia, Canada.  Ross is absent
due to his mother’s recent passing.  The
opening is where Cole says that there is two tons of dirt near the grave and
the tombstone weighs “in excess of three thousand pounds,” thereby serving as
great fodder for recappers of the future.
D-Lo Brown &
Mark Henry (w/PMS) defeat Supply & Demand (w/The Hos) when Henry pins Venis
after a splash at 5:58:
The WWF should have done more with the Supply &
Demand tag team of Val Venis and the Godfather since the tag division was
relatively weak at this point in the company’s history (and would remain so
until the summer of 1999).  The “Pretty
Mean Sisters” faction of Terri Runnels and Jacqueline align themselves with
D-Lo and Henry at this show, although the reasons for it are not
explained.  D-Lo draws a lot of heat,
with the crowd showering him with “D-Lo sucks!” chants on several occasions.  The hos and PMS get into a predictable confrontation
on the floor, creating a distraction that allows Jacqueline to pull Venis’s
tights down and produce the finish.  This
was standard RAW fare that was made better by the hot crowd.  Rating:  **¼
Footage of Mankind
attacking the Rock earlier in the day when he was being interviewed by Michael
Cole in a skybox.  The Rock’s ribs are
allegedly hurt, but he is willing to fight against doctor’s orders so that he
can keep the title.
The Headbangers
beat Kurrgan & Golga (w/Giant Silva & Luna Vachon) when Mosh pins Golga
after the Stage Dive at 6:52:
Cole tells us that the Headbangers “defrocked” Luna by
cutting her hair on a recent episode of RAW, which is not the appropriate use
of that word.  That does not keep him
from continuing to use it, though.  These
two teams had been feuding on RAW, with the Headbangers turning on the Oddities
and then getting the Insane Clown Posse to defect to their side.  The Oddities were seemingly okay with this
defection, though, because they are still using the ICP’s engineered theme music.  If this was booked as a three minute match it
would be acceptable, but it just keeps dragging as the Headbangers can only do
so much with their opponents.  The ending
is botched, with Golga taking forever to run the ropes and ending up too far
away to take the Stage Dive.  Rating: 
¾*
Vince McMahon,
Shane McMahon, and the stooges huddle to discuss how they help the Rock defend
the title tonight.  Patterson suggests
getting hockey equipment and ambushing Mankind. 
Brisco just offers to get Mr. McMahon some coffee, a humorous connection
back to a few months ago when the stooges abandoned McMahon and left him at the
mercy of Steve Austin.
Steve Blackman beats
Owen Hart via count out at 10:28:
The crowd inverts the face-heel dynamic since Owen is a
beloved Canadian.  Cole tells us that
Owen has “perfected” the Sharpshooter, which makes sense when you compare his
Sharpshooter with the Rock’s version.  I
await him telling us that Owen was the “architect” of the Hart family.  This is a bit of a weird bout as both men
trade offense throughout without really building to the proper transitions and
then Owen gets sent chest-first into an exposed turnbuckle and barely sells it.  Blackman gets booed out of the building after
locking Owen into the Sharpshooter, but he gets out and then heads to the
locker room to lose.  Talk about a finish
wiping out ten minutes of hard work.  Rating: 
**½
Vince McMahon
wanders around backstage looking for Mankind. 
He finds the boiler room, which has a “Mankind’s office” sign on the
door that McMahon rips off in disgust. 
He tentatively walks in to negotiate with the Rock’s opponent for the
evening.
The Brood beats
the J.O.B. Squad (w/Head) when Christian pins Scorpio after the Impaler at 9:08:
The Brood gimmick was ahead of its time.  It was seeking to capitalize on the “goth”
look that was all the rage in the late 1990s among jaded youth, but it would
have had more popularity with the Twilight
craze that swept the nation a decade later. 
As another aside, how many stables in wrestling history have had the
hired help go on to have better careers than the leader?  Snow might be over, but the crowd is not
buying into this J.O.B. Squad concept, sitting on their hands for much of this
despite all six guys doing their best to get a reaction.  Cole and Lawler are also disinterested,
debating the merits of Paul McCartney music and Cole insisting that he listens
to “the new stuff.”  After what feels
like an eternity we get to the ending sequence, which has a few cool spots such
as Edge launching off of Gangrel to plancha Al Snow and Bob Holly, but a spot
fest a good match does not make.  Rating: 
**
Mankind and
McMahon continue to negotiate backstage, although we cannot hear what they are
saying.
Striptease
Match:  Goldust beats “Double J” Jeff
Jarrett (w/Debra McMichael) via reverse decision at 8:03:
So the stipulations of this non-PG match are that if
Goldust wins then Debra must strip, but if Jarrett wins Goldust has to
strip.  Knowing Vince, I am surprised
they did not do a swerve, have Goldust lose clean, and then strip to tick of
GLAAD.  The stipulation helps give a dull
match some heat and after Goldust hits Shattered Dreams, Debra smashes Goldust
with a guitar behind the referee’s back. 
Somehow the broken bits of guitar in the ring do not bother the referee
as Jarrett hits the Stroke to seemingly win. 
However, Commissioner Shawn Michaels comes out and reverses the
decision.  Debra strips out of her
business suit, but before she can go further the Blue Blazer interrupts.  What, you really did not think they were
going to go through with this stipulation? 
Rating:  ½*
McMahon leaves the
boiler room and seems to be in a good mood
.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  The New Age Outlaws
(Champions) defeat The Big Bossman & Ken Shamrock (w/Shawn Michaels) when
Billy Gunn pins Ken Shamrock with an inside cradle at 17:06:
The Bossman-Shamrock tag team is often overlooked when
people think of the Attitude Era, but I thought it had some appeal since both guys’
styles complemented each other well.  If
Ross was on commentary he would say that the heat sequence was “deliberate” as Shamrock
and Bossman grind the match to a snail’s pace so they can beat on the Road
Dogg.  In Cole’s third embarrassing error
of the night he refers to the Bossman’s night stick as “a baton.”  Based on how the Outlaws feud with the
Corporation was going it seemed like a given that they would lose the tag team
titles here, thereby giving them a program for the early winter of 1999.  However, although Michaels trips Gunn when he
tries to suplex Shamrock back into the ring, Gunn reverses the cover and the
Outlaws retain.  What really hurt this
match was that during the heat sequence Shamrock and the Bossman never seemed
to have a coherent strategy to work on a body part and they never went for a
cover.  Why would you do that when
wrestling the tag team champions?  Rating: 
A video package recaps
the ongoing Rock-Mankind feud
.
McMahon tells
Shane and the Rock that the contract for the title match will be altered in the
ring and that Mankind just wants witnesses.
After entrances
for the next match, Vince McMahon steps in the ring and makes fun of a hole in
Mankind’s tights.  Mankind says he will
cross out the contract clause that says he gets the title if the Rock cannot
wrestle, but only if McMahon admits that he never heard Mankind submit at the
Survivor Series and do so on his knees. 
McMahon refuses to do so, saying that the Rock heard him submit at
Survivor Series and that was good enough for him, so we end up having our
scheduled title match after all…
WWF Championship
Match:  Mankind beats The Rock (Champion
w/Vince & Shane McMahon) with the Mandible Claw at 13:34:
Mankind’s theme has some awful techno beat as he heads to
the ring.  There was something about
techno beats that the WWF music team could not get away from during this period
as they also tried to do it with parts of the Rock’s theme and had to abandon
that when it also sounded horrid.  They
try to rip off Over the Edge with Vince telling the referee to disqualify Mankind
“for any legitimate reason” after he beats the Rock to a pulp on the arena
floor.  The Rock is also good for comedy
here, taking a headset and cutting a promo on Mankind as he smashes his face
into the commentary table, but then keep it on as Mankind makes a
comeback.  Vince tries to get the referee
to disqualify Mankind after a low blow, but in a shrewd move that Bret Hart
should have done in Montreal, Mankind decks takes out the referee and the
timekeeper.  All of this leads to a new
referee coming in, which makes little sense because the first referee would
have disqualified Mankind at this point for piledriving him, and that produces
some hot near-falls with each man’s signature moves.  A Mandible Claw seems to give Mankind the
title, but McMahon announces after the match that since the Rock never
submitted he cannot lose the championship. 
Did the WWF give a one night contract to Dusty Rhodes with these
finishes?  Fun match once the overbooking
began, but it was not on the same level as their Survivor Series bout.  Rating:  **¾
After the bout,
Mankind puts both McMahons in the Mandible Claw and beats on the stooges, but
eventually Ken Shamrock and the Big Bossman run in to beat him down.
A video package recaps
the Steve Austin-Undertaker feud
.
Buried Alive
Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve Austin defeats
The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) at 21:31:
Austin has to win this match to get a slot in the Royal
Rumble per the orders of Vince McMahon. 
That is a classic example of the booking getting too cute because it
basically constituted a spoiler since there was no way Austin was not going to
be in the Rumble match.  In a Buried
Alive match I always wonder why the wrestlers never stay near the grave.  Why go back to the ring, which has more give
to it than concrete and why not use all the shovels and such around the grave
to wear out your opponent?  Wrestling
logic I suppose.  As Austin has noted in
recent years, the stipulation ruined this bout as he and the Undertaker could
only build drama near the grave and it made the match too much of a choking and
punching encounter.  Cole gaffe #4 rears
its ugly head as he refers to “the Royal Rumble tournament” that is on the line
between these two.  And for those
wondering why I am being hard on Cole, I have to think of something to keep me
preoccupied with this match which just meanders all around the arena without
any rhyme or reason to it.  Eventually, Austin
hits a Stunner to send the Undertaker into the grave and walks off.  This allows the Undertaker to get out, but an
explosion out of the grave sends out Kane, who Tombstones the Undertaker back
into the grave and Austin brings out a backhoe. 
However, to really top off this awful match, the backhoe takes forever to
dump dirt on the Undertaker and then takes too long to rake the dirt in.  Austin soon tires of shoveling dirt and drinks
beer, finally being declared the winner. 
Rating:  DUD
The Final Report:  1998 featured several fun WWF pay-per-views,
but this show was not one of them.  As
has been the case for much of the year, the top of the card has to excel to
cover for a deficient midcard and that did not happen here.  If anything, the show had lots of oddly
booked finishes with Mankind going over the Rock but not winning the title, the
Outlaws retaining when it may have made more sense to give the titles over to
the Corporation, and Owen Hart losing in a puzzling count out after a
competitive match.  The Debra stripping
nonsense, Kane popping out of a grave like Michael Myers, and the overbooking
of the title match was Russo in overdrive. 
Yet there were already some danger signs with Russo in the sense that
some of his material was recycling old concepts, such as going back to the Over
the Edge well in the Rock-Mankind match. 
Avoid this show on the Network because the memorable moments of December
1998 happened on RAW.
Attendance: 
20,042
Buyrate: 
0.78 (+0.34 over previous year)

Show Rating: 
Thumbs Down

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 Watching: Monday Night Raw – November 30, 1998

by Logan Scisco

A video package
recaps how the Undertaker tried to embalm Steve Austin alive on last week’s
show.  The Undertaker and Paul Bearer are
shown talking backstage moments before the show went on the air.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Baltimore, Maryland.

Steve Austin is
shown arriving at the arena with a shovel. 
The Headbangers and the Insane Clown Posse are already in the ring, so
Austin proceeds to give all of them – save Shaggy 2 Dope – a Stunner.  Getting on the mic, Austin promises to use
his shovel against the Undertaker.  A
throwaway segment and I am never a fan of one guy taking out tag teams.  0 for
1
Mark Henry is
shown getting ready for his date with Chyna. 
D-Lo Brown tries to make sure he looks good.
Ross hypes Austin
and the Undertaker being on TV Guide.  He
reminds viewers that if they cannot find them they will have to settle for the
“retired” Hulk Hogan or the “Austin wannabe” Goldberg.  Austin is still looking for Vince in the
back.  He runs into Stephanie McMahon,
who is not identified as such, and she says she has not seen Vince around.
Opening Non-Title
Contest:  The New Age Outlaws (WWF Tag
Team Champions) defeat Gangrel & Edge (w/Christian) by disqualification
when Christian hits Billy Gunn with a tag team title belt at 2:56:
The previous night on Sunday Night Heat, the Corporation
was attempting to recruit the Outlaws and they appear on the ramp to watch the
match.  Typical 1998 accelerated tag team
match here, although a young Edge shows off by doing a super hurricanrana on
the Road Dogg and taking a powerbomb off the second rope from Billy Gunn.  After Christian runs interference to prevent
a Gunn piledriver, the Big Bossman and Ken Sharmock run in and beatdown the
Brood.  So are the Brood faces or heels
at this point?  I am so confused with
their booking.
Steve Austin
continues to search for the Undertaker backstage, checking out several
freezers.  Predictably, he walks into one
to investigate, but gets locked in by the Undertaker and Paul Bearer.
Steve Austin
giving Stunners to the Headbangers and Violent J earlier in the show is the
Glover Rewind segment.
Mark Henry is
nervously excited for his date and he asks D-Lo to accompany him to give him
confidence.  D-Lo reluctantly agrees to
go.
The Undertaker
comes out and calls out Kane because we definitely need to see more of
that.  They briefly battle over whether
someone will be eternally damned before the Undertaker gives Kane a Tombstone.  Paul Bearer brings some orderlies from a
mental institution to the ring, but Kane beats up a couple of them before
walking through the crowd.  Sadly, this
ridiculous angle would continue.  0 for 2
D-Lo complains
that he is not dressed right for Mark Henry’s date, but Henry has a jacket for
him and a pair of sunglasses.  However,
he hands him a chauffeur hat next, meaning that D-Lo needs to drive Henry’s
limo.  That was a good comic twist on
that sketch.  After the commercial break,
Chyna is not happy to see Henry at the hotel and she refuses to accept the
flowers Henry offers her.  She is puzzled
that D-Lo is the chauffer, which is pretty funny.
X-Pac comes out
and calls out Shawn Michaels, angry about Michaels costing him his match
against the Rock last week.  Michaels
threatens to “send him back to that money pit in Atlanta,” but refuses to fight
him because he is not an active wrestler. 
He books X-Pac to face Ken Shamrock, with the European title being on
the line.  He exits to D-Generation X’s
music because “he was DX before DX was cool.” 
At least this was short, but they did not give X-Pac a lot of mic time
here.  0 for 3
Mark Henry and
Chyna arrive at their date location, where Chyna pulls out the price tag for
Henry’s flowers (they are $1.99).
A camera shot of
the freezer shows that Austin has escaped.
On the date, Mark
Henry botches the pronunciation of Perrier water.
Goldust defeats
“Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra McMichael) via disqualification when Owen Hart
interferes at 3:26:
This bout is a rematch from three weeks ago where Jarrett
blasted Goldust with a guitar and the two had a locker room fight.  Owen Hart is on guest commentary for the
match and he tries hard to keep a straight face when talking about the
Henry-Chyna date with Lawler.  By itself,
this match has very little heat.  Goldust
dominates, with Jarrett only avoiding defeat when Debra puts his foot on the
rope after a Curtain Call.  Debra gets in
the way of Shattered Dreams and her distraction leads to Owen attacking Goldust
from behind.  This show is falling into a
really bad habit over the last few episodes of having no clean finishes.  Rating:  *¼ (0 for 4)
After the bell,
the Blue Blazer appears to help attack Goldust, but suddenly the Blazer turns
on Owen.  The Blazer unmasks to reveal
Steve Blackman to arguably the biggest pop Blackman has received up to this
point in his career.
A split screen
shows Austin looking for the Undertaker backstage, while Paul Bearer and the
orderlies look for Kane.
Al Snow nailing
Ken Shamrock in the head with Head on last week’s show is the Medievil Slam of
the Week.
Hardcore
Championship Ladder Match:  The Big
Bossman defeats Mankind (Champion) to win the title at 6:11:
This is the first ladder match to be held on RAW.  Shawn Michaels does commentary and scores
some of Mankind’s moves since he says Mankind is going to try to outdo him in
the match type that made him famous.  If
you hate the slow climb, you will not like this one as Mankind does it within
the first several minutes where it makes no sense to do it.  When Mankind appears set to win, the Rock
interferes and the Bossman wins.  Of all
the WWF ladder matches up to this point, this was clearly the worst.  Everything was rushed and there was not a lot
of wrestling between the climb spots.  Rating: 
* (0 for 5)
The Undertaker and
Paul Bearer think they have found Kane. 
After the break, the Undertaker and Kane fight in a dark room in the
arena.  The Undertaker comes out on top
and tells Bearer to get the orderlies as he tries to put Kane in a body
bag.  However, Austin comes out of the
darkness and breaks his shovel over the Undertaker’s head.  You can see where this is going…
Non-Title
Match:  Duane Gill (Light Heavyweight
Champion w/The Pasadena Chargers) pins “Marvelous” Marc Mero after the Blue
Meanie tosses Mero off the top rope at 2:08:
Before the match, Mero says that if he cannot beat Gill
that he will never appear again.  The
youth football team that Gill coaches comes to the ring, since he is wrestling
in his hometown.  As expected, Mero
manhandles Gill, but the Blue Meanie interferes and Gill wins.  This was Mero’s last in-ring appearance on
WWF television.
Bearer directs the
orderlies to get Kane.
Mark Henry reads
Chyna a poem and she proceeds to guzzle down lots of alcohol.  He says that they need to go dancing after
having dinner.
European
Championship Match:  Ken Shamrock (Intercontinental
Champion) defeats X-Pac (Champion) via disqualification when Triple H
interferes at 4:47:
This is our first good bout of the evening, well that is
until interference runs its course again. 
X-Pac hits the X-Factor, but Shawn Michaels distracts the referee and
the Big Bossman clocks X-Pac.  However,
when Shamrock applies the ankle lock, Triple H runs in, which gets a pretty
sizable pop.  This warrants a point for
Triple H alone as I am a mark for surprise returns.  Rating:  ** (1 for 6)
The orderlies
place the filled body bag on a stretcher and strap it in.
Mark Henry dances
because, well of course, but Chyna does not want to dance.  Henry leaves for the restroom, leaving an
opportunity for some guys to hit on Chyna. 
She does not take kindly to that, leading to her clocking one of them
and Henry beats up another.  This was
fun, especially when Henry threw a guy across the bar.
Val Venis (w/The
Godfather & Hos) beats Tiger Ali Singh (w/Babu) via disqualification when
Terri Runnels interferes at 2:58
This feud between Tiger Ali Singh and the Godfather is
just going nowhere and doing very little for either guy.  That still beats today’s product where guys
wrestle each other with little backstory, but some Attitude Era feuds never
seemed to click and this is one of them. 
The hos neutralize Babu, while PMS comes out and interferes in the bout.  What a mess this was, and this was our fourth
disqualification finish of the evening. 
We are also six-for-six when it comes to run-in finishes.
After the bout,
the Acolytes, who recently debuted elsewhere on WWF programming, destroy Tiger
Ali Singh and Babu.  Why have these guys
beat up Singh and Babu and not a face team, though?  The Jackyl was the initial manager of the
Acolytes as well, but that did not last long.
The ambulance that
is supposed to take Kane to the mental facility departs, but Steve Austin and
Kane are shown watching footage of the whole thing in the back.  One guess who was in the body bag and is
headed for the mental health facility.
Shane McMahon
comes out to say that Sable is about to learn a lesson in humility.  She comes out and models WWF Attitude
cologne, which costs $19.99 (plus $4 shipping & handling).  Shane asks to smell it and tries to do so all
over Sable, but she squirts it in his face. 
You see, it is all funny!  1 for 7
Non-Title
Match:  The Rock (WWF Champion) defeats
Al Snow (w/Head) with the Rock Bottom at 4:57:
The Rock is back to using some kind of weird theme
music.  It is slightly better than the
disco theme they tried to give him a month earlier, but the beat for this theme
is one of those generic numbers you would get on the No Mercy video game.  It just does not add to the atmosphere or fit
the Rock at all.  Compared to other RAW
main events of this period, this has only a fraction of the expected crowd
reaction, an indication that tonight’s show has not delivered.  The Rock hilariously delivers the Corporate
Elbow to Head after a ref bump, which wakes up the crowd, and then beats Snow
clean.  Snow does get a visual pin on the
Rock by hitting him with Head in between all of that.  Rating:
 *½ (1 for 8)
After the match,
the Rock, Ken Shamrock, and the Big Bossman beatdown Al Snow and Mankind.  The JOB Squad finally makes a save.
Paul Bearer runs
into Austin backstage when he tries to unlock the freezer Austin was placed in
earlier.  The freezer opens to reveal
Kane and they haul Bearer out to the ring. 
Austin prevents Kane from immediately beating up Bearer or getting a gas
can.  Instead, he opts to cut Bearer’s
shirt and tie with a pair of scissors and teases stabbing him.  Austin aborts that idea too and they take him
outside and open a manhole cover.  They
shove Bearer down into the sewer head-first to close the show.  How is that punishment worse than killing
someone?  1 for 9
The Final Report Card:  Most of these shows have been good for the
last few months, but this show is beginning to illustrate how Russo is getting
a little too much creative control for his own good.  Every match, save for the WWF title match at
the end, had a run-in finish and the majority had disqualification finishes.  I do not mind DQ endings, but if you use them
too much throughout the show it really burns out the crowd and gets
irritating.  Some of these other angles
are also getting really ridiculous. 
Austin throwing a guy down a sewer? 
The hos gawking over Babu? 
Medical orderlies going after Kane? 
Things are really going off the rail.
Monday Night War Rating:  5.0 (vs. 4.2 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

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

by Logan Scisco

A video package
recaps all the major happenings on last week’s show:  Steve Austin and the Rock fighting for the
WWF title and Ken Shamrock joining the Corporation.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are taped from Columbus,
Ohio.  Ross lets us know that Austin suffered
a blackout in San Jose, California at a WWF event.

Vince and Shane
McMahon and the stooges come out.  Vince
says he had nothing to do with the Undertaker’s attack on Austin at the end of
last week’s show.  He says he is naming a
new WWF commissioner in order to please the fans and that this new commissioner
will not answer to him unless it deals with Austin.  Vince then goes into 1996 mode in welcoming
out Shawn Michaels as the new commissioner, which gets a mixed reaction.  Michaels proceeds to book a WWF title match
between the Rock and X-Pac, which shocks Vince, and Michaels gives the
D-Generation X crotch chop on his way out. 
Having Michaels back adds some extra energy to the show, so this was a
good booking decision.  1 for 1
Kevin Kelly
interviews the Insane Clown Posse and the Oddities.  The ICP is facing the Headbangers tonight,
but the ICP says that they are not ready to wrestle, so Kurrgan and Golga need
to take their place.  Kurrgan and Golga
accept.
The Headbangers
defeat Kurrgan & Golga (w/Luna Vachon, Giant Silva & The Insane Clown
Posse) when Mosh pins Golga with a schoolboy at 1:30:
The Headbangers really need to do something different now
in light of their heel turn.  They are
sporting the same look and doing the same act. 
Golga has also started doing this weird move where he pulls his shirt up
before doing a corner splash, which somehow makes the move more dangerous.  You do not have to be a genius to see a heel
turn coming from the ICP here – for the second time in a month – as Violent J
gets knocked off the apron by Golga, which leads to the finish.  After the match, they beat down the Oddities
and cut Luna’s hair.
A video package chronicles
Kane’s recent path of destruction, highlighting how he tried to set the Brood
on fire several weeks ago.
Steve Blackman
beats The Blue Blazer with a pump kick at 2:57:
The Blazer gets a pop coming out, although the volume of
the commentary makes it tough to decipher if it is genuine or piped in.  It is clear early in the match that the
Blazer is not Owen Hart because he does not hit the right octave on Owen’s “woo!”  He also botches the enziguri.  Blackman wins a messy bout, but when he goes
to unmask the Blazer he gets attacked by Owen Hart.  So who is the Blazer?!?!
Footage is shown
of Austin blacking out at a house show in San Jose, which Ross says was a
byproduct of getting hit in the head with a shovel by the Undertaker on last
week’s show.
Shawn Michaels and
Vince McMahon are shown exchanging words backstage.
Gangrel &
Edge (w/Christian) beat Mark Henry & D-Lo Brown when Gangrel pins Henry
after a schoolboy at 7:08:
Low midcard act or not, the Brood still had arguably the
best entrance in the company at the time. 
Gangrel and Edge showcase some nice double team moves, including a
double DDT off the second rope, but their timing needs work.  Ross makes sure we know that Henry is a “400
pounder who can dunk a basketball.”  D-Lo
nearly botches his running powerbomb on Edge, another warning sign that he
needed to eliminate that move from his arsenal. 
Everyone tries really hard in this match to get over, incorporating some
fun moves, but Gangrel’s sloppy ring work is exposed relative to the other
three guys.  This match gives us our
second distraction finish of the night, as Chyna comes out and distracts Henry.  Rating:  **½ (2 for 2)
After the match,
Chyna says she will go on a date with Henry and Henry falls to the canvas in
joy.  He gives D-Lo a hug and in a nice
touch, D-Lo screams because of his “chest injury.”
Steve Austin tells
doctors at the medical facility that he is tired of being there, but they tell
him he has a severe concussion and needs to take a few weeks off.  He is given a sedative and is told he can
leave the facility in the morning.
The Undertaker
nailing Austin with a shovel, with added sound effect, is the JVC Kaboom! of
the Week.
Shawn Michaels is
shown talking with D-Generation X, carrying on like old times.
Goldust wrestles “Marvelous”
Marc Mero to a no-contest at 3:57:
Mero no longer has Jacqueline by his side because he
fired her on Sunday Night Heat after she accidentally cost him a match against
the Big Bossman.  These two cannot seem
to have a match without women involved as Terri Runnels struts out to the ring
in a skimpy outfit followed by Jacqueline. 
Goldust sets Mero up for Shattered Dreams, but gets low blowed by
Jacqueline and Terri comes in and finishes the move on Mero.  This is the beginning of Terri and Jacqueline’s
PMS faction, which gave us Meat.  Sad to
see two guys of Goldust and Mero’s caliber wasted like this.  Rating:  ** (2 for 3)
Steve Austin signs
an autograph for one of the medical attendants and tells Ross that the
Undertaker has hell to pay and is not going to make it to the Buried Alive
match at Rock Bottom.
The end to the WWF
title match on last week’s RAW is the Glover Rewind segment.
Triple Threat
Match for the Hardcore Championship: 
Mankind (Champion) beats Ken Shamrock & The Big Bossman when Mankind
pins Shamrock after Al Snow clocks Shamrock with Head at 8:26:
This match came from last week’s show when the Bossman
and Shamrock prevented Mankind from getting to Vince McMahon in the main event.  This is one of those “conspiracy”-style
matches where it is a de facto handicap match designed to take Mankind’s
Hardcore title.  Things look bleak for
Mankind before the JOB Squad comes to his aid and help him pull out the win.  These Hardcore matches were more fun than
later incarnations because it was before the genre became really cartoonish
with weapons.  Rating:  *** (3 for 4)
After the match,
Mankind tries to go after Vince McMahon on the ramp, but gets attacked by
Shamrock and the Bossman.
Footage shows a
hearse outside of Austin’s medical facility. 
The Undertaker and Paul Bearer then smother Austin with chloroform.  The Undertaker tells Austin that he is about
to go on his last ride.  After the
commercial break, the Undertaker and Bearer put Austin in the hearse and speed
away.  How they got his body through
security I have no idea.
WWF Light Heavyweight
Championship Match:  Dwayne Gill pins
Christian (Champion w/Edge & Gangrel) to win the title after Scorpio hits
Christian when a slingshot splash at 2:26:
The light heavyweight title has not been defended on RAW
in ages.  Christian manhandles Gill, but
makes the cardinal sin of continuing to pick his shoulders up off the mat, which
he ends up regretting later when the JOB Squad intervenes.  If the light heavyweight title had any
credibility it was gone after this match. 
As a side note, Gill would remain champion until briefly returning to
the company to job it to the debuting Essa Rios in February 2000.  That match was where Lita immediately drew
all the attention away from Rios by giving Gill a moonsault after the bell.
Michael Cole
interviews Gill, who enjoys a piped in crowd pop as he says that this victory
is one of the greatest moments of his life.
The hearse stops
in a deserted field where an empty grave is located.  Paul Bearer commands the Undertaker to dig
the grave deeper.  Steve Austin stirs
back to life to try attacking Bearer, but the Undertaker puts him in a
chokehold and they reapply the chloroform. 
The Undertaker decides that burying Austin alive is too good for him, so
he decides to embalm him instead.
The next match is
scheduled to be the Godfather-Tiger Ali Singh, who used to have a feud going
that has been forgotten about.  Before
the bell, Stephen Regal urges Singh not to take the deal with the hos and they
double team the Godfather before Val Venis makes the save.  This gives us the origin of the “Supply &
Demand” tag team.  Oh, and Venis also
gets the hos because he evened the odds. 
For some reason I think that would still not muster John Cena to make a
save on a show today.
Shawn Michaels is
shown arguing with the Corporation yet again. 
After the commercial break, he also talks with Earl Hebner, probably in
a nod to Montreal.
Non-Title
Match:  Scorpio & Bob Holly (w/Al
Snow & Dwayne Gill) beat The New Age Outlaws (WWF Tag Team Champions) when
Scorpio pins Billy Gunn after Mankind clocks Gunn with a leaf blower at 5:23:
The crowd has a lot of energy for this match, working up
an “O-H-I-O” chant and reminding the fans at home that “Michigan sucks.”  A camera edit gets rid of a botch, but aside
from that this match is pretty good.  We
get yet another run-in finish, though, as Mankind interferes as payback for the
JOB Squad helping him out earlier and gives them a win over the tag team
champions.  Crowd was not happy with the
finish.  So, does this mean that the JOB
Squad “are in contention” for a title shot now? 
Rating: ** (4 for 5)
After the bell,
Ken Shamrock and the Big Bossman hit the ring to beat up Mankind and the
Outlaws beat up the rest of the JOB Squad. 
The stooges then try to recruit the Outlaws into the Corporation after
the match, talking to them as they head to the back.
The hearse pulls
up to a funeral home.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your D-Generation X football jersey for $39.99 (plus $9 shipping and
handling)!
The Undertaker puts
Steve Austin on an embalming table. 
After commercial, the Undertaker tells Austin that he is going to
experience the worst pain of his life. 
The Undertaker chants a lot of stuff in tongues, but when he goes to
stab Austin, Kane breaks in and makes the save. 
Bearer tries to finish the job, but Austin blocks him and crawls
away.  This was interesting and kept
viewers following the show, but how did Kane find out Austin was abducted?  That is a plot hole I cannot overlook.  4 for
6
WWF Championship
Match:  The Rock (Champion) defeats X-Pac
with the Corporate Elbow at 8:32:
Shawn Michaels gets rid of the seconds for both men,
making this a one-on-one encounter.  On
paper, one would think this was a great chance to keep building X-Pac as a
talent worthy of the upper midcard and put over the Rock as a heel, but they
have to rush lots of this because of time. 
It really picks up during the last three minutes, with some near-falls
that the crowd completely buys into. 
Ross’s commentary helps with that. 
But what would tonight be without one last twist, especially with Russo
booking, so Michaels takes a chair from the Rock and blasts X-Pac, thereby
putting the Rock over.  Rating: 
**½ (5 for 7)
After the match,
Michaels celebrates with the Corporation as the New Age Outlaws brawl with The
Big Bossman and Ken Shamrock.
The Final Report Card:  I could have done without many of the distraction
and run-in finishes on this show, but at the very least they advanced some new
stables and angles.  We can debate whether
those new stables and angles were any good, but they did give the show some
positive momentum.  Some criticized the
HBK turn at the time, saying that they burned through it way too fast, but just
going with the flow of the storylines, I do not mind.  I guess I am just a fan of the crash TV model
in some respects, but I can see where some people would hate this show if they
never cared for the Austin-Undertaker feud, hated the HBK heel turn, and/or
hated PMS and the JOB Squad.  I really
miss the crowd dynamics of some of these shows as well, as the WWF staged
several of them in college towns and RAW came off as a party and celebration
more than a wrestling show.  We do not
get that anymore outside of NXT (and little wonder that people actually like it).
Monday Night War Rating:  4.9 (vs. 4.5 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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: Survivor Series 1998

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from St. Louis,
Missouri.  As a side note, this is the
first Survivor Series pay-per-view not to feature an elimination match of any kind.
Vince McMahon is
at ringside with the WWF title and does introductions for the first match.

WWF Championship
Tournament First Round:  Mankind beats
Duane Gill with a double arm DDT in 30 seconds:
Mankind was booked to face a mystery opponent here, who
some thought could be Randy Savage or Shawn Michaels.  Instead, it is just lowly jobber Duane Gill,
who Mankind – wearing a tuxedo – dispatches. 
At least Gill, the “man, the myth, and the legend,” gets a specialized
introduction, saying he had one loss in his prior WWF tenure and then jumped to
WCW.  Ross cracks me up by saying that
Gill “has spent more time on the canvas than Rembrandt.”  Gill also freaks out when pyro goes off around
him, which is a nice touch.  Crowd hated
this mystery opponent, but it fits the storyline.
Footage of
Jacqueline attacking Sable on Sunday Night Heat is shown.  Kevin Kelly interviews Sable, who says she is
pissed off and more determined than ever to become WWF Women’s champion.
WWF Championship
Tournament First Round:  Al Snow (w/Head)
defeats “Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra McMichael) when he nails Jarrett with Head
at 3:31:
The small feud between these two has been built as Head
vs. Jarrett’s guitar and we get a small showdown between the two with Head
coming out on top.  Nothing more than a
rushed match to squeeze everything in on tonight’s card.  Rating:  *¾
WWF Championship
Tournament First Round:  “Stone Cold”
Steve Austin beats The Big Bossman via disqualification when the Bossman hits
Austin with his night stick at 3:17:
This is actually Bossman’s first match since he debuted
more than a month ago in the company as Vince McMahon’s bodyguard.  The match is a battle of wills between Austin’s
trademark offense and the Bossman’s rest holds. 
The Bossman blasts Austin with the night stick outside of the ring,
thereby blowing Tony Schiavone’s theory of how you cannot get disqualified out
there.  The Bossman completes a
thorough beating of Austin with the night stick before heading to the locker
room.  These tournament matches have been
pretty bad so far.  Rating:  ¼*
Michael Cole
interviews Vince McMahon, who is not concerned about Austin winning.  He reminds the audience that the night is
still young.
WWF Championship
Tournament First Round:  X-Pac wrestles
Stephen Regal to a double count out at 8:09:
X-Pac has flawlessly recovered from getting a fireball to
the eyes on RAW.  Clearly, a Z-Pak did the trick!  WWF tournaments usually have a draw of some sort – the 1990 Intercontinental title tournament featured two of them – and it is fitting that one of them takes place in a Regal bout.  Both
men initially fight to a double count out before McMahon orders a five minute
overtime period, but that does not happen as X-Pac seemingly has a serious
injury so Austin gets a bye to the semi-finals. 
That was all sorts of confusing.  This
was Regal’s only WWF pay-per-view appearance under this gimmick, as he would
head to rehab in early 1999 and be released. 
Rating:  **¼
WWF Championship
Tournament First Round:  Ken Shamrock
beats Goldust via submission to the ankle lock at 5:55:
Ross calls Shamrock’s Intercontinental title run dominant, but it is hard to see that when he has lost the majority of his bouts
since becoming champion.  The crowd is
clearly becoming restless by all these matches that have featured tons of
restholds thus far.  Shamrock came into
this as the clear favorite and he does prevail in a RAW-type match after the
referee blocks Shattered Dreams.  We even
get Lucha Shamrock as he pulls out a flying hurricanrana off the
second rope.  Rating:  **
Cole tells us that
Steve Austin is refusing medical attention. 
He says he knows Austin will keep competing!
The next
tournament bout is scheduled to be the Rock against Triple H, who has not been
seen since September.  Well, Triple H is
not here as he is still nursing a knee injury. 
Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco do make a funny walk out to the
D-Generation X theme music and do the crotch chops.  Ross takes another jab at Patterson’s sexual orientation
by saying that he is “still circulating Uranus.”  They announce that the Rock has a new
opponent:  The Big Bossman.  This leads to…
WWF Championship
Tournament First Round:  The Rock pins
The Big Bossman with a small package in four seconds:
The description of the match above says it all.  The Rock navigates himself into the
quarter-finals.  Initially, this came off
as stupid, but it made more sense by the end of the show.
Ross and Lawler
discuss the bracket, but Lawler still cannot figure it out.
WWF Championship
Tournament Quarter-Finals:  The
Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) defeats Kane with a Tombstone at 7:16:
This is the sixth time that the Undertaker and Kane are
squaring off in some capacity on pay-per-view in 1998 and if you do not think
that is enough, well they had a lot more bouts in subsequent years!  The Undertaker wears Kane down with some dull
offense and a Paul Bearer distraction cuts off a Kane comeback, enabling the
Dead Man to advance to the semi-finals.  Just awful.  Rating: 
½*
WWF Championship
Tournament Quarter-Finals:  Mankind beats
Al Snow (w/Head) with the Mandible Claw at 3:57:
Seeing Snow this deep in the tournament is just
weird.  However, we had to have this
match in the quarter-finals because Socko has been missing and is around Head.  McMahon and the stooges joke during the match
that they stole Socko from Mankind and put it there.  Mankind eventually finds Socko and in a part
of the match that is humorous and sad, he beats up the Head.  Seriously, he puts it in a headlock and just pounds away on it.  Another quick tournament match, nothing more
or less.  Rating:  **
WWF Championship
Tournament Quarter-Finals:  The Rock pins
Ken Shamrock after hitting him with the Big Bossman’s night stick at 8:22:
There is some nice symmetry with this match as Shamrock
forced the Rock to tap out at last year’s Survivor Series in Montreal.  This is also the final major battle between
the two, at least on pay-per-view, as they have squared off at four of the five
big pay-per-views of 1998:  the Royal Rumble,
WrestleMania, King of the Ring, and here. 
Shamrock got the King of the Ring nod, but now is just the Rock’s
time.  Shamrock’s look of despair when
the Rock reaches the ropes to break the ankle lock is a nice touch,
communicating that he has given the Rock his best shot and cannot finish
him.  This is the match of the night thus
far and it ends when the Bossman’s night stick toss to Shamrock is intercepted.  Rating:  ***
Cole interviews
Paul Bearer, who promises that the Undertaker will win the WWF title.
WWF Women’s
Championship Match:  Sable beats
Jacqueline (Champion w/Marc Mero) with a Sablebomb to win the title at 3:15:
Jacqueline won the title two months prior to this, but had
never defended it because these two women were the only two competitors in the
division.  They continue booking Sable as
the female version of Hulk Hogan, as she hits Jacqueline with a TKO less than a
minute in and then low blows Mero and powerbombs him on the floor.  Jacqueline never really lands any offense of
significance as Sable wins the title, but now she needs a new rival, so who
will that be?  Rating:  *½
WWF Championship
Tournament Semi-Finals:  Mankind pins “Stone
Cold” Steve Austin after Gerald Brisco hits Austin with a chair at 10:27:
So this semi-final gives us McMahon’s choice versus his
biggest foe and he makes sure to come down to ringside to see it.  These two put on a sloppy brawl for much of
the match, likely due to the tournament conditions, but things pick up when a
chair is introduced into the match for spots. 
Somehow doing a Stone Cold Stunner on a chair hurts your opponent more
than you, though.  The conspiracy really
unfolds after the stooges pull the referee out of the ring and McMahon rises
out of his wheelchair perfectly fine and decks him.  Shane McMahon then runs in and does his
famous two count turned into flipping Austin off and Brisco gives Austin a weak
chair shot to send Mankind into the finals. 
Evidently, the Big Bossman was supposed to do that, but pulled a Papa
Shango.  The crowd is just SHOCKED at the
finish.  In kayfabe terms, this was
probably Mankind’s biggest win since defeating the Undertaker at the 1996 King
of the Ring.  Rating:  **½
After the match,
McMahon and the stooges run to a waiting limo and it speeds away before Austin
can catch up to them.  Austin carjacks a
poor soul to pursue them, though.
WWF Championship
Tournament Semi-Finals:  The Rock defeats
The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) via disqualification when Kane interferes at
8:24:
With Austin out, the Rock now becomes the crowd favorite to
go all the way.  You can tell, though,
that a sizable number of fans are incredibly disappointed that Austin is
out.  These two do not have good
chemistry and the Rock plays the Randy Savage role here.  By the way, why is “playing Ricky Morton” a thing and not “playing Randy Savage”?  The Big Bossman comes out for
another Rock match, but proves ineffective. 
The bigger interference is run by Kane, who storms in and chokeslams the
Rock, thereby sending the Rock to the finals via disqualification.  The Undertaker and Kane brawl into the crowd
after the match because this feud MUST go on! 
Rating:  DUD
Cole interviews
Mankind, who is clearly exhausted.  He
says he only has one more hill to climb to be the WWF champion.
Triple Threat
Match for the WWF Tag Team Championship: 
The New Age Outlaws (Champions) defeat The Headbangers & D-Lo Brown
& Mark Henry when Billy Gunn pins Mosh at 10:10:
To the WWF’s credit, they did a lot of work the last two
months to give the Headbangers a push, but they just never caught on as
evidenced by the fact that they have no heat in this match.  The rules for this bout allow for three men
to be in the ring at one time, an innovation that I prefer over a standard
triangle match where only two teams have men in the ring and a third team is
completely left out.  Of course, what is
good in theory does not always work in practice as this match devolves into a
big mess of miscommunication spots and Tim White mistakes.  You can tell on Billy Gunn’s face that he was
not happy with the quality of this match. 
Rating:  *½
Before the title
match, the McMahons wish the Bossman a goodnight and say that they will take
care of the finals personally.  This
means that the limo that sped away just had the stooges and was meant as a
distraction to get Austin out of the building. 
That is a pretty brilliant piece of writing.
WWF Championship
Tournament Finals:  The Rock defeats
Mankind via submission to the Sharpshooter to win the title at 17:18:
If you had told someone at the beginning of 1998 that
Survivor Series would be headlined by Mankind and the Rock they probably would
have laughed at you.  Maybe not on the Rock,
but definitely on Mankind, who was in between three gimmicks and wrestling with
Chainsaw Charlie.  The crowd really does
not know what to make of these guys in the finals, both of whom are noticeably
exhausted, and they only come alive when the McMahons walk out.  It takes a while for this to get going, but
Mankind sacrifices his body to finally draw the crowd in, diving through the
Spanish announce table and taking some vicious chair shots.  I remember many months prior to this that “The
Informer” section of WWF Magazine predicted another Survivor Series screwjob and guess what?  That is exactly what we get as the Rock
cannot finish Mankind off, so he locks in a Sharpshooter and Vince gets the
bell to ring, making the Rock the new champion. 
I probably overrated this a bit, but Jim Ross did a great job keeping
you engaged in the match.  Without him,
this thing is probably less than two stars. 
Rating:  ***¼
Initially, the
crowd pops for the Rock’s win, but as they realize he is the true “chosen one”
by the McMahons, their positive reactions fizzle.  Vince gets on the mic and gloats about
screwing Austin and the fans, who were as gullible as Mankind.  Poor Mankind does not quite understand what
is happening and Ross does a great job getting him some sympathy.  The Rock runs down the fans and then smashes
Mankind in the back of the head with the title belt, thereby solidifying the
double turn.  At the end of the show,
Steve Austin walks out and runs to the ring, brawling with the new champion as
the McMahons flee.  Austin gives the Rock
a Stunner and tosses him out of the ring, something that I think was best saved
for when the show went off the air.  He
also gives Mankind a Stunner for good measure.
The Final Report Card:  This has been deemed as Vince Russo’s best
work, but honestly, this show has not aged well at all.  If you lived through 1998, you can still feel
some excitement from this show because you remember all of the storylines that
led up to it.  However, if you are a relatively
new fan and just randomly plug this show in, you miss a great deal of the
context.  It is like if you missed all of
the episodes of a certain television series but then watched the series
finale.  The bright spot of this show is
obviously the Rock’s first WWF title win, making him the first wrestler of
African American descent to win the championship (and yes, I know he is really half black), but even
that is not enough for me to give this show a thumbs up.
Attendance: 
21,779
Buyrate: 
1.3 (+0.41 from previous year)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

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

by Logan Scisco


-Not sure if there are any Fantasy Golf players on the Blog, but if you are, feel free to join my Head-to-Head League entering its eighth year.  It is located on Yahoo Fantasy Golf.  Group ID#806, Password:  shark.  Now, on with the review…


Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are taped from Dallas, Texas.  This is the go home show for the Survivor
Series.

Opening Non-Title
Contest:  The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer)
wrestles X-Pac (European Champion) to a no contest at 25 seconds:
This match was setup by an angle on Sunday Night Heat,
where the Undertaker attacked X-Pac. 
This was also a dream match from the New Generation era as neither guy
had faced each other up to this point. 
Of course, I got excited about this and Kane intervenes less than thirty
seconds in.  Kane shoots a fireball at
the Undertaker, but it accidentally hits X-Pac. 
It should be noted that this is X-Pac’s second eye injury in less than
three months.
Vince McMahon and
the stooges, who have seemingly forgiven him for the Big Bossman’s beating on
last week’s show (Commissioner Slaughter is rocking a sling), find Mankind
backstage.  McMahon books Mankind to
defend his Hardcore title against Ken Shamrock. 
He promises that more titles are coming for him and Mankind follows him
to get a makeover.
Val Venis defeats
Steve Blackman via disqualification when Terri Runnels gives Venis a low blow
at 3:22:
Terri Runnels follows Venis to the ring and is summarily
dismissed.  Venis told Kevin Kelly on
Sunday Night Heat that he could not be the father of her child because he had a
vasectomy.  This is just an average bout,
which ends when Terri runs back out and gives Venis a low blow when he does his
hip swivel over a fallen Blackman.  Rating: 
*½ (0 for 1)
After the bell,
the Blue Blazer and Owen Hart run into the ring and attack Blackman.
A hairdresser
backstage works on Mankind’s hair. 
Mankind tells her that he hopes Vince can give him some new teeth.  When she inquires where some of his previous
ones went, he tells her that Steve Austin tossed them into the crowd.  I like little pieces of continuity like that.
Triple Threat
Match:  Mosh (w/Thrasher) defeats The
Road Dogg (w/Billy Gunn) and D-Lo Brown (w/Mark Henry) when he pins D-Lo
following a Stage Dive at 5:40:
Shane McMahon is a referee for this point, having been
demoted to that job on the previous show. 
All three of these teams are facing off in the Survivor Series in a
triple threat tag team match, so this is a small preview of that.  The good thing about this match is that the
action is non-stop, but the problem is that the offense utilized is more of the
battle royal variety, lots of kicks, punches, and minor moves.  Mosh scores a surprising win, thereby continuing
to build some momentum behind the Headbangers. 
Everyone tried here and this match was better than I thought it would
be.  Rating:  **½ (1 for 2)
Michael Cole
interviews JeffJarrett and Debra McMichael. 
Jarrett says he will counter Head at the Survivor Series.  Debra says she will prove that Goldust is
really all man.
As he receives a
pedicure, Mankind talks more about the loss of Socko last week.  He says his new family of McMahon and the
stooges makes up for it, though.
Goldust defeats
“Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra McMichael) via disqualification when Jarrett
nails him with a guitar at 3:32:
Terri Runnels comes out in Marlena attire, with no bra on
mind you, but Goldust tells her to get out of his life.  True to her word, Debra charms and distracts
Goldust several times throughout the bout. 
When Goldust prepares Jarrett for Shattered Dreams, Debra gets in the
way, receiving a big kiss in return.  Of
course, he pays for that with a guitar shot, but most fans out there might
consider that a decent trade off.  Match
was all angle and little action.  Rating: 
* (1 for 3)
The Rock shows up
at the arena, possibly for the last time, as he has to pin or submit Mark Henry
to keep his job tonight.
A video package
recaps the career of Jesse Ventura, who recently won the Minnesota
gubernatorial election in arguably one of the greatest upsets in American
political history.  It was funny how the
WWF quickly attached itself to Ventura’s victory after treating him as a persona
non grata after his lawsuit against them in 1995.
Ken Shamrock’s
chair shot to the Rock on last week’s show is the JVC Kaboom! of the Week.
Cole interviews
the Rock, who gives some generic comments about facing Mark Henry later.  Goldust attacks Jeff Jarrett in the same
vicinity, but before he can deliver a modified version of Shattered Dreams the
Blue Blazer makes the save.
Hardcore
Championship Match:  Mankind (Champion)
pins Ken Shamrock (Intercontinental Champion) when the Big Bossman nails
Shamrock with his night stick at 8:17:
Mankind comes out for the bout wearing a tuxedo and Vince
McMahon comes out to watch the match. 
This is the first Hardcore title match in company history.  These two do their usual “beat the hell out
of each other” match, with Shamrock giving Mankind a belly-to-belly suplex into
the steps and Mankind DDT’ing Shamrock on a chair.  Both men fight near McMahon and the stooges
on the ramp, where the Big Bossman interferes when the referee is not looking
and helps Mankind successfully defend his title.  A fun brawl, but Shamrock has been eating
quite a few losses since he won the Intercontinental title.  No wonder he lost steam around this time
period.  Rating:  ***¼ (2 for 4)
After the match,
the stooges and McMahon celebrate with Mankind, although McMahon is disgusted
by Mankind’s hug and does not like that his hair has been messed up.
Cole screams at us
that the Rock has been attacked in his locker room.
Watch the Home
Shopping Network after Survivor Series to buy some new merchandise!
EMT’s are shown working
on the Rock in his locker room. 
Evidently he suffered a blow to the back of the head from his assailant.
Steve Austin comes
out and says that if Vince Mahon has a plan for him at the Survivor Series that
they will backfire.  The Big Bossman
comes out and pledges to put Austin through hard time this Sunday, prompting
Austin to invite him to the ring to brawl. 
Bossman refuses.  Bossman just did
not have the mic skills to go toe-to-toe with Austin here, creating an awkward
segment.  2 for 5
Cole tells us that
the Rock will be going to a nearby medical facility.  After the commercial break, he interviews
Vince McMahon and the stooges near an ambulance.  McMahon says that he does not care if the
Rock cannot compete tonight because if he cannot that means that his services
will no longer be required.
Tiger Ali Singh
(w/Babu) beats Al Snow (w/Head) with a bulldog at 2:23:
Mr. Socko is wrapped around Head, so that solves some of
the mystery of where it is.  Snow and
Singh faced each other more than a year prior to this at the One Night Only
pay-per-view in Great Britain, where Singh defeated Snow, then packaged as Leif
Cassidy, in an awful match.  This is a
match that makes little sense, as Singh refuses to wrestle, so Snow beats up
Babu for a while until Debra McMichael wanders out and distracts Snow by
shoving Head in her bosom.  That enables
Singh to re-enter the match and win.  The
less said about all of this going forward the better.
A Sable workout
video is shown.
McMahon tells the
Rock in the Rock’s dressing room that he is headed to the unemployment line.
Kane defeats Edge
(w/Gangrel & Christian) via disqualification when the Brood interferes at
4:27:
There is some backstory to this match as Edge turned
against Kane when he seemingly ran in to make the save after Kane annihilated
Gangrel and Christian two weeks ago on RAW. 
Kane brings a can of gasoline and a blowtorch to the ring with him,
thereby continuing to build the “Kane is unstable and cannot tell right from
wrong” storyline that only got more ridiculous from this point forward.  Finding a team was the best thing to happen
to Edge at this stage of his career as he was languishing as a singles.  Kane takes out the entire Brood by himself
and sells very little of Edge’s offense. 
The referee eventually tires of Brood interference and calls for the
bell, after which Kane takes them all out AGAIN with chokeslams and teases
barbecuing them in the center of the ring along with the referee.  If one did not have the benefit of hindsight
you would think that this was a way to write out the Brood and release
them.  WWF officials prevent a homicide
on national television, which the crowd boos. 
The 1990s ladies and gentleman!  Rating: 
* (2 for 6)
After having his
fire plans disrupted, Kane chokeslams a fan from the crowd, who is digging the
idea of Kane as an unstoppable monster.
Vince McMahon
comes out, inviting the Rock to appear. 
He takes a dig at the Dallas Cowboys, who he says half of which are
convicted felons.  Shane McMahon walks to
the ring and begs his father to stop taking out of his frustrations on the rest
of the roster.  Vince just dismisses him,
but Shane refuses, so Vince sends the Bossman after him.  However, before the Bossman can conduct a
beating, Steve Austin runs in and makes the save.  The most entertaining segment of tonight’s
show, once again due to McMahon’s facial expressions and power trip-like
behavior.  3 for 7
The Rock beats
Mark Henry (w/D-Lo Brown) with a People’s Elbow at 7:24:
Vince McMahon is at ringside with this bout.  If the Rock wins via pinfall or submission,
he is back in the Deadly Game Tournament, but if he loses he is out of a
job.  The Rock wrestles in his track suit
gear, angering McMahon by showing up despite the beating he received earlier in
the show.  It would have been nice to
build this match with some kind of segment in the show since these two did have
a backstory, with Henry upsetting the Rock at Judgment Day.  The Rock and Henry put together a pretty fun
match before the overbooking kicks in where the Rock handcuffs the Big Bossman
to the corner, the referee gets pulled out of the ring by the stooges, and
Shane McMahon runs in to count the fall. 
Rating:  **¾ (4 for 8)
After the match,
the Rock pulls Vince out of his wheelchair and tosses him into the ring.  The Rock takes out the stooges line of
defense and after Vince slaps him he eats a Rock Bottom and People’s Elbow.
The Final Report Card:  This show was really hit and miss.  Some things, such as the Debra interactions
with Goldust and Al Snow and Kane’s attempt to set the Brood on fire were
ridiculous, while others such as the main event and the Hardcore title match
were quite entertaining.  As the go home
show for a tournament, I had hoped for a little more build of the Deadly Game
concept, but the WWF really did leave you with the feeling that the Undertaker,
Kane, Steve Austin, the Rock, and Mankind were all viable tournament
winners.  I will default to a neutral
rating for this one, as the good and bad cancel each other out.
Monday Night War Rating:  5.0 (vs. 4.1 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Neutral 

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

by Logan Scisco

A video package
recaps Shane McMahon ranting at his father on last week’s show.  Will Vince hand over the company to his son
tonight?
Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from Houston, Texas
.

Shane McMahon
walks out and says that as acting chairman of the WWF, due to his father’s
absence, Steve Austin will get a WWF title shot the night after Survivor
Series.  Austin then comes to the ring as
a limo pulls in backstage, carrying Vince McMahon.  McMahon is quickly wheeled out and chastises the
crowd for thinking he was stepping down, as that will only happens when he dies.  Shoot comments…  He gives an entertaining rant on how he does
not want the crowd to attend his funeral and how he wants to go to
hell when he dies.  He proceeds to relieve Shane of
his corporate responsibilities and reassigns him as a referee.  As far as Austin is concerned, his title shot
is switched to the Survivor Series as he is entered into the WWF title
tournament.  His opponent in the opening
round?  The Big Bossman.  McMahon is simply perfect at trolling the
crowd, which made this opening segment great. 
1 for 1
Footage is shown
of Vince McMahon chewing out the announce crew during the commercial
break.  McMahon guarantees that someone
will be paying “hard time” in the steel cage hanging above the ring later
tonight.
Opening Contest:  X-Pac & The New Age Outlaws wrestle The Brood
to a no contest at 3:37:
X-Pac is announced as being part of the Deadly Game
tournament, so the number of known entrants keeps growing.  Edge and Christian showcase some nice double
team maneuvers before the lights go out and Kane arrives to a huge pop.  You know, they need to go back to this type
of character for Kane where he does not wrestle much but just comes and out and
destroys things.  Kane destroys Edge,
X-Pac, and Christian, and Billy Gunn as Road Dogg and Gangrel brawl in the
crowd.  I will give this a point more for
the clever booking than in-ring action.  Rating: 
* (2 for 2)
McMahon interrogates
Michael Cole backstage about Cole’s questioning of him last week.  The Big Bossman chokes Cole as McMahon asks
him how he feels.
The next match is
supposed to be Droz against Hawk, but Hawk shows up in no condition to
compete.  Ross says that Hawk is “pulling
a Kerry Collins.”  It should be noted
that the Hardy Boys beat LOD 2000 on Sunday Night Heat due to an argument
between both men.  That was the first step in the WWF’s rebuilding of the Hardy’s into something more than enhancement talent.  Droz beats up Hawk as
Animal comes to the ring and does nothing to help his old partner.  He eventually gets into the ring and yells at
Hawk for flushing the team’s history down the toilet.  This storyline is growing on me.  3 for 3
McMahon runs into
Jim Cornette backstage and tells him to stop wearing ridiculous clothes, change
his announcing, and stop “the 1980s wrestling crap.”  Talk about life imitating art.
Cole interviews
Mankind and Al Snow.  Mankind jokes about
the NBC special on revealing wrestling’s greatest secrets and he and Snow
continues arguing over whether Socko or Head is better.
Golga &
Kurrgan (w/The Giant Silva & Luna Vachon) beat Mankind & Al Snow
(w/Head) when Golga pins Snow after a running seated senton at 4:36:
ZZ Top is shown in the crowd before the match.  This is probably the best Oddities tag match
prior to this point, as the action moves quickly.  Well, that is until Mankind cannot find Socko
and leaves Snow to fend for himself.  The
referee loses all control as Snow tries to fight off both men before succumbing.  Rating:  ** (4 for 4)
McMahon finds
Shaquille O’Neal backstage and interrogates about him about whether he has a
backstage pass.  He tells him to get
lost, but Shaq just sits back down as McMahon drives off.
Mankind still
cannot find Socko, so he tries to find McMahon, who he thinks can help him find
it.
Steven Regal wrestles
Goldust to a no contest at 4:50:
Despite the “Real Man’s Man” gimmick being pretty dumb,
the theme music for it was pretty enjoyable. 
Regal is also in the Deadly Game tournament.  In this contest, he issues an open challenge
for anyone willing to fight him like a man so we get a laugh as Goldust walks
out to answer it.  With regards to the
Goldust-Val Venis feud, Terri Runnels announced on the Heat prior to this that
she was pregnant withVenis’s child. 
Runnels comes out to the ring dressed in her Marlena garb in her attempt
to become a gold digger.  Get it?  Anyway, this match is a mess until Goldust
sets up Shattered Dreams and the lights go out and Kane wrecks both men.  When Marlena comes to Goldust’s aid he nearly
chokeslams her until WWF officials intervene. 
Tony Garea takes the bump for her. 
Keep jobbing Tony!  Rating: 
½* (4 for 5)
The Deadly Game
Tournament bracket is revealed.  Instead
of it being a sixteen man tournament, the field is reduced to fourteen
men.  Kane and the Undertaker get a bye
to face each other in the quarter-finals. 
Other matchups include The Rock-Triple H, Goldust-Ken Shamrock,
Mankind-Mystery Opponent, Al Snow-Jeff Jarrett, X-Pac-Steven Regal, and Steve
Austin-Big Bossman.
McMahon gets
Mankind to promise not to interfere in the upcoming Ken Shamrock-Rock match in
return for a present.  Mankind is excited
so he promises to live up to that and receives the Hardcore title in
return.  McMahon tells him that he thinks
he has gained a son and as he wheels himself away Mankind hilariously screams “Thanks,
dad!”  causing McMahon to stop and give a
look of disgust.
The Rock giving
Darren Drozdov a Rock Bottom and People’s Elbow on last week’s RAW is the 989
Studios Slam of the Week.
McMahon is shown
conferencing with Ken Shamrock backstage, but tells the camera crew to get lost.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  The Rock beats Ken
Shamrock (Champion) by disqualification when Shamrock hits him with a chair at
7:57:
Before the match, McMahon comes out and says he has a
problem with him because he’s the “People’s Champion” and he hates the
people.  He says that if the Rock does
not win the Intercontinental title in this match he loses his place in the
Deadly Game Tournament.  This is the
abbreviated version of their previous encounters, just with the heel/face roles
reversed, and the crowd pops like the Rock won the WWF title when he makes the
ropes to escape the ankle lock.  The
referee gets bumped on a Rock clothesline and when he comes to, he sees
Shamrock nail the Rock with a chair. 
That allows the Rock to win, but he does not win the belt and is thereby
eliminated from the Deadly Game Tournament. 
Fun match that the crowd made into a big deal.  Shamrock is eating lots of losses since
winning the Intercontinental title, though. 
Rating:  ***½ (5 for 6)
The Rock is shown
destroying his locker room backstage, irate that he has been removed from the
Deadly Game Tournament.
Val Venis beats Double
J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra McMichael) by disqualification when the Blue Blazer
interferes at 2:29:
The entire Runnels angle has been somewhat damaging for
Venis as he was never clearly made a heel or face and lost the big blowoff to
Goldust.  After a few minutes of
back-and-forth action, the Blue Blazer runs out and crotches Venis on the top
rope and Jarrett gives Venis the Stroke for good measure.  That sounds much more dirty than I meant it.
Police officers
are shown arriving at the arena.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your Rock “Layin’ the Smackdown” t-shirt for $25 (plus $6 shipping &
handling)!
Vince McMahon
tells police officers that the Rock is threatening his life, so he asks them to
arrest him.
#1 Contenders
Match for the WWF Tag Team Championship: 
The Headbangers wrestle D-Lo Brown & Mark Henry to a no contest at
6:00:
The Headbangers come to the ring dressed as the New Age
Outlaws and do a non-humorous mocking of their introduction.  Without their skirts, the Headbangers
actually look like generic jobbers. 
Since this is heel-heel, the crowd really does not know how to cheer
for, but fans in the front row are vocal D-Lo Brown supporters, with several
shouting “You go, dawg!”  When all hell
breaks loose the lights go off and Kane wrecks a match for the third time
tonight.  You know Russo, there can be
too much of a good thing.  And where is
McMahon while all this is going on?  I would like to think this was a subtle reminder that the show gets out of control when
McMahon becomes obsessed with personal grudges backstage.  Rating:  ** (6 for 7)
Police are shown
handcuffing the Rock in his locker room and as he is taken away he lets them
know that he has donuts for all of them. 
As he is put into the police cruiser, McMahon taunts him by saying that
he is now the “People’s Chump.”
Owen Hart comes to
the ring to meet with Dan Severn and reminds us that he is retired.  Severn walks out and says he is not seeking
an apology.  Instead, he wonders why Owen
is running around like the Blue Blazer. 
When he says that he thinks Owen is scum, Owen clotheslines him and
Steve Blackman makes the save before more damage is done.  After the commercial break, medics race
Severn to an ambulance backstage.  When
Owen comes near the ambulance, Blackman gives him a pump kick but then Blackman
is attacked by the Blue Blazer.  7 for 8
The steel cage
above the ring – a hybrid of the blue bar cage and the modern steel top – is
lowered with some musical accompaniment, which reminds me of the old NWA War
Games brawls.  After the break, McMahon
and the stooges come out and establish themselves by the announcers.  McMahon sends the Bossman into the cage with
the stooges – Pat Patterson, Gerald Brisco, and Commissioner Slaughter – to inspect
it and then has the Bossman turn on them for failing to come back from getting
a cup of coffee two weeks ago.  That was
when Austin abducted him.  After McMahon
orders the Bossman to strip the stooges, Austin runs out, comes into the cage
and attacks the Bossman.  Patterson gets
the night stick, but chooses to hit Austin in the knee and that allows the
Bossman to give him a beating.  Shane
McMahon runs in, but Vince calls the Bossman off, which is a nice piece of
storytelling, but Shane does not appreciate it and flips him off.  After all of that, the Undertaker walks to
the ring and into the cage and he and Austin brawl, with the Undertaker
eventually gaining the upperhand. 
However, that’s not all as the lights go out and Kane makes his way into
the cage, parts of which he sets on fire, and he, the Undertaker, and Austin
brawl in a really awesome visual as the show ends.  8 for
9
The Final Report Card:  The wild ending of this RAW was vintage
Russo, but if you watch these RAWs in sequence it is still entertaining
today.  Having Kane interfere in so many matches
did get a little repetitive, but at least it had a payoff at the end of the
show.  The show also continued our
gradual build to Survivor Series and the multiple storylines intersecting with
each other (Vince-Shane, Vince-Austin, Vince-Mankind, Vince-Rock, and
Kane-Undertaker) are helping to keep the show fresh and exciting.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.8 (vs. 4.1 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

by Logan Scisco

A video package recaps
Steve Austin taking Vince McMahon hostage on last week’s show.  What was in the letter that Austin gave to
McMahon at the end of last week’s show?
Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are taped from Madison, Wisconsin.

Vince McMahon
comes out with the stooges and the Big Bossman. 
He lets the audience know that they are all responsible for what
happened to him last week since there was no good Samaritan in his time of
need.  McMahon says Austin gave him a
legal document last week and he pledges to fight him with his crack legal team,
who is with him on the ramp.  Of course,
the WWF’s legal team could not even keep the company’s name, so that’s not a
good thing.  Another funny promo from
McMahon that got the crowd worked up to start the show.  1 for
1
Opening Contest
for the European Championship:  X-Pac
(Champion) beats Steve Blackman by disqualification at 2:49:
Chyna is not with X-Pac because she was arrested last
week for failing to appear for a court date due to Mark Henry’s sexual harassment
lawsuit.  She has reportedly taken a
leave of absence until that issue gets resolved.  By this time the European title had become
the WWF’s version of the WCW Television title, which was fine because it gave
guys in the midcard something to do. 
Blackman dominates much of the bout and when he knocks X-Pac out of the
ring, Steven Regal, repacked as “A Real Man’s Man,” attacks X-Pac until the New
Age Outlaws and WWF officials separate them. 
I still have no idea what they were thinking when they saddled Regal
with that gimmick.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your Rock “Layin’ the Smackdown” t-shirt for $25 (plus $6 shipping &
handling)!
Michael Cole is
outside of Steve Austin’s locker room and he makes a big deal about Austin being
in the building.
The Rock pins Darren
Drozdov (w/LOD 2000) after the People’s Elbow at 4:40:
Thankfully, the Rock has gotten his good entrance music
back and not the awful disco theme he was using last week.  This is a good example of how you can keep a
product fresh by mixing upper midcard and lower midcard talents into
matches.  It gives the upper midcard
wrestler a win, while giving the lower midcard wrestler something of a rub by allowing
them to showcase some of their skills against a more established talent.  You may expect this to be a squash based on
where both men are on the card, but Droz manages a good deal of offense before
he misses a flying shoulderblock off the second rope and succumbs to the People’s
Elbow.  Rating:  ** (2 for 2)
After the match,
Droz pushes Hawk away when Hawk tries to console him after the loss.  Droz convinces Animal that they should head
to the locker room and they leave Hawk behind in the ring.
Cole tries to get
into Steve Austin’s locker room, but Austin says that he and someone else will
make a big announcement later tonight.
McMahon finishes a
conference with his attorneys, with a few leaving the room complaining that he “doesn’t
get it.”  I figure creative meetings
today work the same way.
The New Age
Outlaws and X-Pac come out and introduce Motley Crue, who play some tunes.  This was time to flip over to Nitro for me.  The college kids in the crowd loved it,
though.
Check out MTV
Celebrity Deathmatch this week, where Steve Austin faces Vince McMahon!
McMahon continues
to yell at a few attorneys about why they cannot void the legal document Austin
has.  He does give us a clue that it is a
contractual matter.
Kane defeats
Gangrel (w/Christian) after a chokeslam at 3:01:
Ross informs us that Kane has been placed into the
Survivor Series WWF title tournament.  A
bracket has not been released for said tournament, though.  This is an interesting matchup that could
have been a small feud if creative thought Gangrel was more than a lower
midcard talent.  Kane squashes Gangrel
here, easily rebuffing Christian’s interference along the way.
After the match,
Gangrel and Christian beat on Kane.  Edge
runs in, but instead of making the save, he joins in the beating and all three
men leave together.
Cole says he just
spoke to Shane McMcMahon and he says that after the commercial break the
McMahon family will have something to say about Steve Austin’s situation.
Austin walks out
to the ring and says that he has a new contract with the WWF that guarantees
him at least one title shot, which is all that he needs to reclaim the title.  Vince is wheeled out by the stooges and the
Big Bossman and he books Austin in an “I Quit” match against Intercontinental
Champion Ken Shamrock.  Shane McMahon
comes to the ring against the wishes of his father and says that he hired
Austin back.  He goes off about being ignored
by his father and his father’s ego is too large, while Vince cries on the
ramp.  This was a really nice segment,
but the bad thing is that it foreshadowed the use of other McMahons in an
on-screen capacity as prominent figures of the show.  3 for
3
Shane leaves the
arena, but not before Austin tosses him a cold beer (calling him “kid”).  What was that?  The WWF’s version of the famous Mean Joe
Green commercial?
The Godfather wrestles
Tiger Ali Singh (w/Babu) to a no contest at 4:26:
The Godfather brings no hos tonight because he is not
offering Singh that kind of deal.  This
is Singh’s RAW debut after months of in-ring segments.  The match never establishes much of a rhythm
and just falls apart by the end, where the Godfather and Singh keep brawling,
ignoring the referee’s instructions, and are eventually separated by WWF
officials.  Rating:  ¼* (3 for 4)
Cole asks Vince
McMahon how he feels, but McMahon refuses to say anything as he leaves the
arena.
Kaientai
(w/Yamaguchi-San) beats Kurrgan, Golga & The Insane Clown Posse (w/Luna
Vachon & Giant Silva) by disqualification when Violent J tosses the referee
to the ground at 3:44:
Kaientai get the jobber entrance, but they have a new
look in that they are no longer wearing street clothes.  If you saw the SummerSlam 1998 match between
these two squads this is basically the same match, just shorter and the ICP
getting a shine at Kaientai’s expense. 
The match is only notable because the ICP turn heel by breaking the
rules and they blowoff the Oddities, who complain about losing the match.  Rating:  ** (4 for 5)
A sad Vince gets
into his limo and leaves as the stooges assure him that they will take care of
business.
Cole interviews
Intercontinental Champion Ken Shamrock, who says he is ready to “knuckle up”
with Austin.
“Marvelous” Marc
Mero (w/Jacqueline) defeats Goldust via disqualification when Goldust hits
Shattered Dreams at 2:55:
Both of these guys have fallen down the card since they
had a series of matches in 1996. 
Jacqueline tries to prevent Shattered Dreams, but Goldust just kisses
her to a big pop.  He then unloads
Shattered Dreams, which costs him the match, but the crowd was thoroughly
entertained by this match.
After the match,
Sable walks out and issues the most awkward challenge in company history.  It is like she read it off of cue cards with
no emotion.
Jeff Jarrett
hitting Al Snow with a guitar is the JVC Kaboom! of the Week.
Cole interviews
Mankind and Al Snow, who are facing the New Age Outlaws tonight.  Mankind and Snow argue over whether Socko or
Head is better.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  The New Age Outlaws
(Champions) beat Al Snow & Mankind when the Road Dogg pins Snow with a
schoolboy at 5:28:
Ross announces that Mankind and Al Snow will be in the
Deadly Game tournament.  After some fun
brawling, Snow plants Road Dogg with a Snow Plow, but Snow and Mankind cannot
agree about whether to use Head or Socko to finish the match and that helps the
Outlaws retain.  This would be a nice
pay-per-view encounter and could have been really good if given more time.  Rating:  **¼ (5 for 6)
After the bell,
D-Lo Brown and Mark Henry run in and beatdown the Outlaws, laying the
foundation for a title shot at the Survivor Series.
Non-Title “I Quit”
Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve Austin defeats
Ken Shamrock (Intercontinental Champion) at 6:16:
We are informed that Shamrock will be in the Deadly Game
tournament as well, thereby bringing our total number of official entrants up
to five (The Rock, Shamrock, Kane, Al Snow, and Mankind).  I am still puzzled why the company never felt
the need to run a Austin-Shamrock pay-per-view main event.  A match of this type would have been great,
especially with McMahon trying to stack the deck against Austin.  The stooges come to ringside to watch the
match, which has lots of crowd heat, but they do not play to the stipulation
very much.  The stooges randomly knock
out the referee, causing Austin to beat them down, and more hell breaks loose
as Mankind runs in and applies the Mandible Claw to Shamrock.  Austin then clocks Shamrock with a chair and
they steal the Dungeon Match finish from Fully Loaded, whereby Austin taps
Shamrock’s hand on the canvas and that ends everything.  That does not really fit the exact
stipulation of an “I Quit” match since Shamrock never verbally surrendered, but
whatever.  Rating:  **½ (6 for 7)
The Final Report Card:  This show did a lot to continue the slow
build to Survivor Series.  We learned of
some of the entrants in the tournament, all of whom were protected in their
matches, and we have some build for a Sable-Jacqueline rematch, as well as a
possible Outlaws title defense against Mark Henry and D-Lo Brown.  The McMahon segments were also well done,
thereby logically constructing a story for Austin to come back after being
fired.  Also, this RAW is somewhat
significant because it was the last time that RAW lost in the ratings to
WCW.  That show was headlined by Diamond
Dallas Page trying to win the U.S. title from Bret Hart and the full replay of
Page’s match against Goldberg from Halloween Havoc, which thousands of people
were not able to see because WCW could not time their pay-per-view correctly.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.5 (vs. 5.1 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

by Logan Scisco


A video package
recaps Vince McMahon firing Steve Austin last night at Judgment Day.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

All of the WWF
superstars head to the ring for an announcement from Vince McMahon.  McMahon comes out and announces that a one
night, sixteen man tournament will take place at the Survivor Series to
crown a new WWF champion.  McMahon closes
by saying that he hopes all of the superstars in the ring learned not to cross
him last night and that a new saying will be sweeping the country that says “McMahon
3:16:  I have the brass to fire your ass.”  What makes this segment funny is Mankind
eating everything up in the ring as he continues to try to suck up to McMahon.  Before McMahon leaves, though, Austin is
shown with a rifle on the Titantron.  We
go to break after that.  1 for 1
The stooges and
the Big Bossman accompany McMahon to his locker room.  He sends the Bossman to get his family
and get out of town.  Austin is shown in
his truck polishing a rifle.  This has a plot
hole in the sense that McMahon could just call the cops and have Austin removed
for constituting a threat.
Footage of
D-Generation X visiting Motley Crew’s tour bus is shown.
Opening Non-Title
Contest:  X-Pac (European Champion w/Chyna)
pins Ken Shamrock (Intercontinental Champion) after the X-Factor after Mankind
interferes at 4:15:
This is obviously a rematch from last week’s
Intercontinental title tournament final. 
You know that plot hole I talked about above?  Well, they go backstage and close it by
saying that police officers have been called to the arena.  Speaking of police, officers come to
ringside, handcuff Chyna, and take her backstage.  All of that is probably due to Mark Henry’s
sexual harassment lawsuit.  Watching
these 1998 X-Pac matches, he missed the Bronco Buster in nearly each big
match.  Mankind wanders out to ringside and despite putting Shamrock in
the Mandible Claw, the referee does not call for a disqualification and X-Pac
capitalizes to win.  Rating:  ** (1 for 1)
Police put Chyna
in a cruiser and send her away.  Officers
then approach Austin in his truck, but seem more interested in getting his
autograph than investigating him.  One of
the officers kids is named Bret.  Not
sure if that is an intentional reference or not.  McMahon has a meltdown backstage that the
officers did not do anything.  After the
commercial break, McMahon demands that an officer go after Austin, but the
officer refuses to “put their life in danger” and leaves.
The Headbangers
defeat LOD 2000 (w/Hawk) when Thrasher pins Droz with a schoolboy at 1:54:
The Headbangers make fun of the New Age Outlaws
introduction and wear toy tag team title belts. 
You see, they think they are the rightful tag team champions after
beating the Outlaws by disqualification last night at Judgment Day.  This Headbangers push is so random since they
meant very little throughout 1998 up to this point, but the tag division is
pretty light on heel teams.  Somehow,
Droz does not break his neck before the awful D-Lo incident in this match when
the Headbangers drop him right on his head when trying a double inverted
suplex.  This abbreviated match ends when
Droz gets distracted by Hawk and rolled up. 
Did Hawk do it on purpose?
The stooges leave
McMahon alone to get coffee, hilariously falling over themselves with excuses
to leave.  Mankind visits McMahon after
the break and brings him some candy.  For
once, McMahon is happy to see Mankind since he has no protection from Austin.
The Undertaker and
Paul Bearer, newly reunited at Judgment Day, come to the ring.  The Undertaker announces that Bearer will
help him lead his Ministry of Darkness.  Evidently
Bearer has helped refocus the Undertaker on what is important and the
Undertaker promises to unleash a plague on the rest of the WWF.  Bearer proclaims that he has used Kane his
entire life because he is weak and stupid and that the last straw of their
relationship was when Kane refused his help last night.  In response to that, Ross says that Bearer is
a “rotund demon.”  This segment is
important for the Kane-Undertaker storyline because the Undertaker takes
responsibility for setting the fire that killed their parents.  The Undertaker admits to committing homicide
on national television because he wanted to kill his weak brother.  I am glad that all the cops in the arena
tonight have more important things to do! 
Kane walks out and challenges his brother to a casket match tonight.  At least when we got repetitive matches in
the past they put a stipulation on it.  3 for 3
Mankind and
McMahon have a bonding experience, with Mankind saying that McMahon should hire
Austin back so they can form a clique of them, Austin, and Mr. Socko.  Mankind tries to get McMahon to play Twister
and McMahon goes on a tirade and kicks him out. 
Ah, back when the WWF could do good humor.  4 for
4
Steve Blackman
beats “Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra McMichael) via disqualification when the
Blue Blazer interferes at 2:27:
Jarrett promised a surprise for this show and that was welcoming back the “dumb blonde” he ranted about being paired
with in WCW when he came back to the company in the fall of 1997.  This is a complete sellout of Jarrett’s
entire justification for coming back to the company as he criticized the
country music gimmick too, yet reverted to that by the spring.  Criticisms aside, this marked a transition of
the Jarrett character from the Southern Justice era to a more serious commodity.  The crowd works up its crude chant for Debra
to show her assets, which makes me wonder if that is why the WWF created the “puppies”
chant as a tamer version.  Blackman nails
Jarrett with his pump kick, but the Blue Blazer runs in and gives Blackman a
belly-to-belly suplex, thereby causing a disqualification.
After the bell,
Jarrett prepares to hit Blackman with his guitar, but Al Snow steps into the
ring.  However, Debra distracts Snow and
he ends up eating the guitar shot instead.
A phone rings in
McMahon’s locker room and like a horror film he agonizes over whether he should
answer it.  Austin is on the other end
and tells McMahon that his time is up and he is coming to get him.  The stooges are taking a really long coffee
break.  After the commercial break,
McMahon is on the phone with his limo driver and tries to arrange an
escape.  He carefully drives his
wheelchair to the parking lot, but when he gets to his limo Austin is inside
and takes control of McMahon’s wheelchair, directing him back into the arena
with his compound bow in tow.  As Austin
harasses McMahon, intentionally driving him into door and walls, none of the
other WWF employees seem to care and many of them take pictures of the event.  As McMahon screams about his ankle, Austin tells
him he used to work in the hospital and can fix it, but that just makes McMahon
panic more.  Austin directs McMahon back
to his locker room and slams the door in the cameraman’s face.  5 for
5
X-Pac’s X-Factor
to D-Lo Brown at Judgment Day is the WWF Warzone Slam of the Week.
Austin asks
McMahon if he has ever been hunting and McMahon says yes, but he never killed
anything.  McMahon admits that it was
just a safari and he just took pictures. 
In response, Austin pulls out a knife and asks whether he thinks it
would be enough to kill an elephant. 
These segments are awesome.
The Rock beats
D-Lo Brown (w/Mark Henry) with a Rock Bottom at 3:43:
The Rock has some AWFUL theme music here that has a disco
spin on the narrative part of his theme. 
It is one of the worst themes I have ever heard and thank god they
changed it because you just cannot imagine the Rock as a main eventer with it.  D-Lo tries to rally after getting hit with a
People’s Elbow, but jumps into a Rock Bottom for the finish.  D-Lo needs to quit doing that.  Rating:  ** (6 for 6)
After the match,
D-Lo and Henry beat on the Rock and Henry gives him a splash as WWF officials
intervene.
Austin continues
to threaten McMahon with his knife, even motioning to stab him.  Austin tells McMahon not to worry because
when he finishes him off tonight he will go quickly.  Austin then moves to explaining what damage a
compound hunting bow can do.
Tiger Ali Singh is
back after a prolonged absence.  Babu
acts as if he is cooking on a grill and Ali offers $500 to a person to swallow
the cassava he has prepared.  A sketchy
older woman is drawn from the crowd and does it.  The Godfather comes in at the end and says
that the woman who swallowed the cassava used to be one of his hos and as a
result he is entitled to some of her income. 
Tiger Ali Singh takes exception to that, but the guy cannot even brawl
properly.  Effective use of the Godfather
that saved this embarrassing segment.  7 for 7
Austin forces
McMahon to squeal like a pig under threat of getting shot with a bow.  He moves to re-enact the scene from Misery
where Kathy Bates breaks James Caan’s legs. 
Austin places a piece of lumber between McMahon’s legs and goes to find
a sledgehammer.  Chances are he will not
be able to find one because Triple H has the only one in his possession.
Ross and Lawler
recap the Goldust-Val Venis match from Judgment Day.
Val Venis
(w/Terri Runnels) pins Mankind after Ken Shamrock interferes at 3:33:
Venis is still selling the effects of Goldust’s low blow
from the previous evening.  Lawler spends
part of the match wondering if Venis and the Godfather ho in the Tiger Ali
segment have ever gotten together. 
Mankind applies the Mandible Claw, but Ken Shamrock wanders out and
smashes Mankind in the knee with a chair, causing him to lose this boring
match.  Rating:  * (7 for 8)
After the match,
Mankind and Shamrock brawl into the crowd. 
Goldust comes on the Titantron after that and tells Venis that he is
going to keep shattering his dreams.  The
best part of this promo is that Goldust goes back to quoting movie lines, which
was his specialty in 1995 and 1996. 
After the promo, Terri tells Venis something that he is disgusted with
and walks off.  It does not take a genius
to figure out what that was to the astute viewer.
Austin promises
McMahon that he is going to carry out his plans for him tonight and that
McMahon will not feel anything.  They bet
on who will win the casket match and McMahon reluctantly picks Kane.  Austin says if Kane wins they will do things
the easy way, but any other outcome will mean the hard way.
Casket
Match:  Kane wrestles The Undertaker
(w/Paul Bearer) to a no contest at 4:48:
This is the first WWF casket match to ever air on free
television.  The match features a weird
spot where the Undertaker closes the casket on both men and they proceed to
rumble around in there and destroy it. 
After laying Kane out with a chair, the Undertaker and Bearer leave and
that’s that.  Wow, what a complete waste
of time.  Can they not give Kane ONE win
over the Undertaker in a singles match of some sort?  Rating:  DUD (7 for 9)
Austin wheels
McMahon out to the ring and in a tribute to the Running Man, they rehash
McMahon’s bold words from earlier in the evening.  He gives McMahon a letter, which he says
McMahon will not like, and has McMahon face the Titantron.  Austin puts a gun to McMahon’s head and pulls
the trigger, but it’s a toy that says “Bang 3:16.”  Austin calls attention to the fact that
McMahon has wet himself and gives him a Stone Cold Stunner.  One of the better endings in RAW history.   8 for 10
The Final Report Card:  This was not a wrestling-driven RAW, but that
is okay because the segments with McMahon, Mankind, and Austin were
entertaining.  It is sad how much of a
drop off in entertainment value a lot of segments have today because these
showed that if you take two characters that play well off of each other that
you can create compelling television. 
Daniel Bryan got over in part because of his segments with Kane, so the
company can still do this if they want to, but we just do not get enough of
it.  A very fun RAW that is worth checking
out whenever the WWF gets around to putting it up on the Network.
Monday Night War Rating:  5.0 (vs. 4.4 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Judgment Day – In Your House

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Chicago, Illinois
.

Opening
Contest:  Al Snow (w/Head) beats “Marvelous”
Marc Mero (w/Jacqueline) with the Snow Plow at 7:14:
This is a curious opener since Snow has a lingering feud
with Jeff Jarrett.  Jarrett does come out
to crickets and tries to convince Mero to let him wrestle Snow instead, but
Mero says refuses.  After all, he has a
job to do for the new hot act in the company. 
Mero puts on a good effort in his last pay-per-view match in the
company, but unless Sable is involved no one really cares about him
anymore.  Snow reverses the TKO into his
finisher and picks up the win.  Rating: 
**¾
LOD 2000 beat The
Disciples of Apocalypse & Paul Ellering when Droz pins Skull after a
Doomsday Device at 5:55:
The awful DOA-LOD feud reaches its climax here, at least on
pay-per-view.  Chainz and Sunny ended up
as casualties of this feud, never reaching the end of the story.  It’s so weird to see the Hawk and Animal with
their hair grown out.  Hawk is not doped
up on pain pills tonight and works with Animal to deliver the Doomsday Device,
but Droz steals the pin and Hawk is not happy. 
Boring bout, but at least they kept this short.  Rating:  ½*
Dok Hendrix talks
with Al Snow and Sable and hypes the Superstar Line.  Call 1-900-737-4WWF to hear from the winners
and losers!  Sable reminds us that “everyone
likes a little Head.”
Light Heavyweight
Championship Match:  Christian
(w/Gangrel) pins Taka Michinoku (Champion w/Yamaguchi-San) with an inside
cradle to win the title at 8:36:
The light heavyweight title is defended for the first
time in ages here and since they pulled it out of mothballs the outcome could
be predicted from a mile away.  This was
Christian’s in-ring WWF debut.  Michinoku
had no heat, but the crowd reacts to the high spots.  Ross makes a subtle dig at the booking by
saying that he wants to see more light heavyweight matches.  Spots happen, but they do not mesh together
and the match fails to tell an adequate story as a result.  Michinoku appears headed to win the match
with a Michinoku Driver, but Christian cradles out of it to win the meaningless
title.  Solid match, but the crowd was
not buying into it.  Rating:  **¾
Kevin Kelly and
Tom Pritchard interview Droz in the WWF.com backstage area.  Droz says he seized an opportunity and that
is why he is on the first string.  Droz
actually cuts a really good heel promo here.
A video package
recaps the Goldust-Val Venis feud.
Goldust pins Val
Venis (w/Terri Runnels) after a low blow at 12:09:
The crowd is happy to see the return of Goldust, but
unfortunately there are not that many mind games that find their way into this
contest.  Venis spends the bulk of the match
working the shoulder, but none of that factors into the closing stretches of
this match.  Venis nearly runs into Terri
on the apron and that allows Goldust to shatter Venis’s dreams and pick up a
win.  This was better than most expected,
but this storyline is still a little confusing as to who the face and heel
really are.  Goldust got a small push
from this win, while Venis was shifted back into the midcard.  Rating:  **½
Michael Cole tells
us that Triple H and Ken Shamrock got into an altercation backstage, where
Shamrock smashes a car door into Triple H’s knee.  X-Pac interrupts to say that he will deal
with Shamrock tomorrow night on RAW.  He
promises to regain the European title.
European
Championship Match:  X-Pac (w/Chyna) defeats
D-Lo Brown (Champion) with an X-Factor to win the title at 14:36:
Since he is the champion, D-Lo is back to selecting a
European hometown and in this match he is from Milan, Italy.  Ross announces that the Nation of Domination
has parted ways, which I always thought was a cop out.  A stable that lasted for nearly two years
deserved a better send off than dissolving off-air.  Looking back at the series of matches between
these two, one forgets how much X-Pac carried them as Brown’s offense aside
from a few signature spots was pretty deficient.  In this match X-Pac bumps all over the place
as his high flying offense fails him.  They
run a false finish off of a ref bump where D-Lo clocks X-Pac with the title and
D-Lo makes the same mistake of jumping into an X-Factor, which is what cost him
the title to X-Pac the first time, to lose. 
Did not care for the finish because Brown should have learned not to do
that again, but the crowd came unglued at the end.  Rating:  ***½
Call 815-734-1161
to purchase your Austin 3:16 baseball jersey for $39.99 (plus $9 shipping &
handling)!
Cole tells us that
Paul Bearer was allegedly seen going into the Undertaker’s locker room
earlier.  The Headbangers interrupt his
report and hurl some insults at the New Age Outlaws.  Mosh insinuates that the Outlaws are doing
each other and says that they will do the j-o-b on the p-p-v.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  The Headbangers beat
The New Age Outlaws (Champions) via disqualification when the Road Dogg blasts
Mosh with a boombox at 14:10:
The Headbangers earned this title shot by busting the
Road Dogg open on the previous RAW with a boombox.  It shows how little depth there is in the tag
division that they are even getting a title shot.  What is funny about the boombox spot from RAW
is that Ross keeps having to say that the boombox that broke over the Road Dogg’s
head is not a JVC boombox.  JVC was a
sponsor at the time so I suppose they got upset that fans might think their
product was cheap.  Both Outlaws end up
in peril in this match and the Headbangers do a good job cutting off comebacks.  In fact, the Headbangers do such a good job
with it that the Road Dogg breaks up the Stage Dive by hitting Mosh with a
boombox, thereby causing a disqualification. 
This was a great booking technique to give the Headbangers another title
match down the road and rebuilding them as threats.  Rating:  ***¼
Michael Cole says
he can confirm that Paul Bearer entered Kane’s locker room backstage.  Mankind comes by and via Socko he
communicates that he is fired up.  He
blasts Shamrock’s promo ability, saying it has to be the second leading cause
of teen suicide.  He then does a weird
routine where he interrogates Mr. Socko about what underwear he is wearing.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  Ken Shamrock
(Champion) defeats Mankind via submission when Mankind applies the Mandible
Claw to himself at 14:36:
The dueling stories of this match are whether Shamrock
can make Mankind submit and whether the Mandible Claw is enough to put Shamrock
down for the count.  Shamrock outmaneuvers
Mankind throughout the bout, but the Mandible Claw is put over as Mankind’s
equalizer.  Mankind takes one too many
risks on the floor near the end and Shamrock powerslams him into the
steps.  This leads to the ankle lock in
the center of the ring, but instead of submitting to the hold, Mankind chooses
to apply the Mandible Claw to himself. 
Nice finish to a true battle of wills. 
Rating:  ***
After the bout,
when Shamrock hears he won by Mandible Claw he beats on the unconscious Mankind
and gives the referee a belly-to-belly suplex. 
WWF officials rush out and Mankind recovers in time to apply the
Mandible Claw to Shamrock and walk out to a decent pop.
The Big Bossman
tells Cole that unauthorized camera crews are not allowed near Vince McMahon.
Mark Henry
(w/D-Lo Brown) pins The Rock after a splash at 5:04:
The Rock is the hottest act in the company at this time,
so you would figure he squashes Henry to move onto bigger and better things
right?  Wrong.  The Rock does dominate a lot of the action,
but in a piece of booking that made no sense at the time Henry gets the win
after D-Lo runs interference.  To the WWF’s
credit, this did factor into the storylines leading up to Survivor Series, but
it was probably the biggest pay-per-view upset of 1998.  Rating:  *
A vignette is
aired for Survivor Series with the Deadly Game song.
A video package
hypes the Undertaker-Kane main event.
WWF Championship
Match with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin as Special Guest Referee:  The Undertaker and Kane wrestle to a no
contest at 17:38:
The crowd is way more into Austin than they are either of
the guys wrestling for the title, so it creates a really strange dynamic.  Austin does not take his job seriously, as he
mixes ridiculously slow counts with ridiculously fast counts.  A funny spot takes place when Kane and the
Undertaker fight on the floor and Austin volunteers to give the Undertaker some
microphone chord to choke his brother.  I
wish I could report that this match broke the mold for the Undertaker-Kane
series, but that’s not the case here as the Undertaker works the leg for five
minutes and puts the crowd into a coma. 
Austin even looks bored doing his job. 
After fifteen minutes of dullness cue the overbooking as Kane chokeslams
Austin and Paul Bearer wanders out with a chair.  However, instead of hitting the Undertaker he
turns and hits Kane, which has zero impact. 
The Undertaker’s chair shot to Kane is another matter, but Austin
refuses to count the pinfall.  When the
Undertaker complains, Austin gives him a Stunner and tees off with a chair and
then counts both men out and declares himself the winner.  I bet Vince Russo was screaming to book this
as “Austin is refusing to follow the script!” until he was shot down by
McMahon, Cornette, and a few other members of the booking team.  Austin’s antics are the only reason
this avoids a DUD.  Rating:  ½*
Austin goes
backstage looking for McMahon but is unsuccessful so he goes back into the ring.  Austin gloats that McMahon will not fire him,
but McMahon has the Titantron raised and appears in a box behind it.  As the crowd pelts him with memorabilia and
garbage, McMahon tells Austin that he is fired. 
Austin closes the show by promising McMahon that he has not seen the
last of him.
The Final Report Card:  I remember not enjoying this show in 1998,
but looking back it had some pretty solid in-ring work.  There are a few clunkers, but outside of the
main event the other matches put the crowd in a good mood and displayed
perfectly acceptable wrestling.  While it
is annoying that we did not get a WWF champion after this show, the selling point
was more about whether Austin would do his job or not and if you thought Austin
was really going to crown a winner here you were a moron.  I will go with a thumbs up on this show, but
save yourself the trouble if you ever watch this thing on the Network and turn
it off after Shamrock-Mankind.
Attendance: 
18,153
Buyrate: 
0.89 (+0.29 from previous year)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up