What the World Was Watching: No Way Out of Texas – In Your House

by Logan Scisco

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

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

by Logan Scisco

D-Generation X
gives a special report, with WWF Champion Shawn Michaels and Triple H breaking
down what language they will use on different parts of the show.  Michaels parodies President Clinton by saying
that he was “up all night” with his intern.
Jim Ross, Kevin
Kelly, and Michael Cole are doing commentary and they are live from
Indianapolis, Indiana
.

D-Generation X
comes out, with Shawn Michaels and Triple H dressed like Uncle Sam.  Red, white, and blue balloons fall from the
rafters and DX is holding signs calling for a match between Steve Austin and
Mike Tyson.  They lead the crowd in a
“let them fight” chant before Austin comes out. 
Austin says he didn’t win the Royal Rumble to fight Tyson, he won it to
fight Michaels for the title.  Michaels
does not respond on the mic, which is unusual, and Austin carefully walks out
of the ring and flips Chyna off.  You
could cut the tension between Austin and Michaels with a knife in this segment
and that’s the sign of a great build.  1 for 1
Call 815-734-1161
to get your RAW is War varsity jacket for $199.99 (plus $21 shipping &
handling).  Now I remember why I never
got one of those…
Opening “King of
Hardcore” Contest:  Cactus Jack and
Chainsaw Charlie wrestle to a no contest at 8:16 shown:
Before the match, a clip of Jim Ross talking to Mick
Foley and Terry Funk is shown and Foley says that he wants to fight Funk
tonight to establish a legacy for himself. 
Funk says the winner of this match will be “king of hardcore.”  In Foley’s first book he discussed how he
pitched the idea to Vince McMahon about a death match series between he and
Funk that would culminate at WrestleMania, but it was not picked up.  You could argue that this is the first
“hardcore” match of the Attitude Era, as both men bring weapons to the ring in
dumpsters and take turns bashing each other with them.  This is a spectacle for its time with the
audience, who has not been desensitized to this degree of violence, so it gets
a good reaction.  Charlie takes a nasty
looking piledriver when Cactus has a trash can over his head and when both men
brawl near the entrance, Cactus backdrops Charlie into a nearby dumpster and
proceeds to climb up on the Titantron and delivers a flying elbow drop into the
dumpster.  The New Age Outlaws then run
out of the back, tie the lid of the dumpster shut, and then push it off the
entrance, which draws an 8.0 on the Jim Ross outrage meter.  A good brawl under the time constraints, with
an insane finish that took the Cactus Jack/Chainsaw Charlie-New Age Outlaws
feud to another level.  Rating: 
**½ (2 for 2)
WWF officials and
wrestlers proceed to pour out of the back to help Foley and Funk and Sunny
proceeds to curse the Outlaws.  Ross then
goes into his “how do you learn to take a fall from that?” shtick.  Vince McMahon confronts the Outlaws by the
entrance and they try to argue that they just got caught up in the moment.  The Outlaws end up in a brawl with some of
the WWF superstars, like Flash Funk and the Headbangers.  An ambulance eventually comes to get Foley
and Funk.
The Outlaws are
interrogated by Jim Ross over their actions and they are confronted by
D-Generation X, who tells them that what they did was good for ratings and that
they need to man up.
Kane giving Vader
a Tombstone is the Playstation Slam of the Week
.
Jerry Lawler comes
out to do commentary with Ross for the second hour.
European
Championship Match:  Owen Hart (Champion)
beats “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn (w/The Road Dogg) by disqualification when the Road
Dogg interferes at 5:28:
Owen fires away on both of the Outlaws, taking vengeance
for what happened to Foley and Funk earlier. 
This is a typical television match, with both men running through their
usual offense and Gunn controlling most of the match as a heel.  You would think that Gunn would find a way to
make his heel offense flow more smoothly, but that’s not the case here.  Gunn does a sunset flip, but Owen rolls
through it and applies a Sharpshooter, which triggers the interference and
disqualification.  Rating:  ** (3 for 3)
After the match,
D-Generation X wanders out and they overwhelm Owen.  Triple H gives Owen a DDT on the stage and
then try to get the Outlaws to toss Owen off the stage.  However, WWF officials intervene before that
can occur.  DX tells the Outlaws that
they need to keep their edge and do whatever it takes to get over.
Ross and Lawler
talk more about the New Age Outlaws actions on tonight’s show.  Michael Cole calls in from the hospital and
says that doctors are working on Mick Foley and Terry Funk.
“Marvelous” Marc
Mero (w/Sable) beats Mosh (w/Thrasher) with a schoolboy at 2:27:
Before wrestling, Mero makes a scantily clad Sable wear
his robe, disrobe him, and then he banishes her to the back when someone
delivers chocolates to her.  To replace
Sable, Mero calls out Marilyn, which is Goldust dressed as Marilyn Manson.  Goldust keeps interfering so Mero can
maintain the advantage and when the Headbangers finally figure out how to
counter him, Mero gives Mosh a low blow and rolls him up for the win.  This match just existed to keep Mero’s issue
with Sable going and put Goldust into it. 
3 for 4
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to find out what WWF superstar was rushed from the Indianapolis
airport to a local hospital!
-Barry Windham
tells Bradshaw that he is the reason the New Blackjacks failed and that if
Bradshaw can find a tag team partner then he can see him in the ring.
A vignette shows
Tiger Ali Singh saying that his goal is to be the best fighter in the
world.  It shows him as a rich playboy.  If Singh was as good as he says he is he
would have been on the active roster by now.
Chainz (w/The
Disciples of Apocalypse, Ken Shamrock & Ahmed Johnson) beats Faarooq (w/The
Nation of Domination) by count out at 3:35:
This is this week’s showcase of the men involved in the
“war of attrition” tag team match at No Way Out.  Speaking of which, the announcers have not
been clear about what that actually means. 
It only takes seventeen seconds for Ross to remind us that Faarooq was
an All-American at Florida State. 
Michael Cole calls in during the match and says that Terry Funk has
regained consciousness at the hospital, but Mick Foley has not.  Ugly brawl, which ends when Faarooq and Kama
suffer a miscommunication and the ensuing argument causes Faarooq to get counted
out.  After the match, Faarooq orders the
rest of the Nation behind him on the entrance and they give the Nation salute
to their opponents.  Surprising to see the
faces go up 2-0 on the Nation in these matches thus far.  Rating:  ½* (3 for 5)
Kurrgan using the
Paralyzer on jobber Michael Modest on Shotgun Saturday Night is the Western
Union Rewind segment.
Bradshaw & Flash
Funk defeat Jeff Jarrett & Barry Windham (w/Jim Cornette & The Rock N’
Roll Express) when Bradshaw pins Jarrett with a lariat at 3:59 shown:
Bradshaw has a mystery partner for this match so that he
can get into the ring with Windham, which turns out to be Funk.  The heels utilize a smart strategy, as the
Express give Funk a double hot shot on the guardrail and take him out of the
match.  Bradshaw manages to fight his own
battle effectively, though, and stuns Jarrett with a lariat to win.  After the match, the NWA beats Bradshaw down
to get some of their “heat” back.  They
are really trying with this feud, but Bradshaw-Windham just isn’t the kind of
battle that is going to set the world on fire. 
Rating:  *½ (3 for 6)
Ross and Lawler
recap the dumpster attack that took place in the first hour.  Michael Cole calls in again to say that all
hell has broken loose at the hospital and police have been called in.  There can be too much of a good angle and
this is entering parody territory.
Ross and Lawler
hype the WrestleMania press conference, which will be carried by ESPN News,
CNNSI (remember that failed channel?), and TSN.
Wink Collins
announces that WrestleMania XIV tickets sold out in ninety seconds and in case
you are wondering why this is happening, Kane comes out.  However, before he can do any damage to poor
Wink, Vader comes out and tells Kane that he cannot wait to face him at No Way
Out.  Vader blasts a fire extinguisher in
Kane’s face and Kane is forced to flee. 
So the Big Red Machine has to flee because of a fire extinguisher?  3 for
7
“Stone Cold”
Steve Austin beats The Road Dogg (w/Billy Gunn) by disqualification when Billy
Gunn interferes in 26 seconds:
This match barely gets started, as Austin tears apart the
Road Dogg and gives Gunn a Stone Cold Stunner when he interferes.  D-Generation X rushes out and a five-on-one
beatdown leads to Austin being tied in the ropes and Shawn Michaels taunts him
with the WWF title and says that is the closest he is going to get to it.  Foley, bandaged up, and Funk, who is in a hospital gown,
rush out to make the save and DX and the Outlaws flee.  I was with this entire segment until Foley
and Funk ran out because that just defies all logic.  3 for 8
The Final Report Card:  At the time, the dumpster incident was pretty
crazy, but the WWF had no idea what to do with it for the rest of the
show.  That segment would have been much
better as a main event and then played into the next week because the idea that
Mick Foley and Terry Funk are on the brink of death, yet show up to rescue
Steve Austin in the main event segment is ridiculous.  Vince Russo must have been pulling ideas from
the Bible and the rise of Lazarus for this week’s show.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.5 (vs. 4.9 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

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

by Logan Scisco


A still image of
Bobo Brazil, who recently passed away, is shown.
Michael Cole
narrates a video package that recaps Mike Tyson’s altercation with Steve Austin
on last week’s show.  Cole says that
Tyson does not want to be a guest referee at WrestleMania XIV and wants to face
Austin instead.  Shawn Michaels also
promises to give his view on the Austin-Tyson interaction tonight.
Jim Ross, Cole,
and Kevin Kelly are in the booth and they are in Davis, California
.

Opening
Contest:  Ken Shamrock (w/Ahmed Johnson
& The Disciples of Apocalypse) beats Mark Henry (w/The Nation of
Domination) by disqualification when the Nation interferes at 3:18:
This is a preview for the “war of attrition” ten man tag
team match that will happen at No Way Out. 
Henry runs through a series of power moves, but Shamrock uses his UFC
leg strikes to destabilize Henry and gets a huge pop for delivering a
belly-to-belly suplex.  That brings in
the Nation and the predictable ten man brawl and Shamrock’s team stands tall
after that.  Good opener that got the
crowd into the show.  Rating: 
** (1 for 1)
A VERY long video
package recaps the Undertaker-Kane feud. 
After that finishes, exclusive video footage shows WWF officials
breaking open the casket at the Royal Rumble, but the Undertaker is gone.
Shawn Michaels
imitating the Undertaker last week is the Western Union Rewind segment
.
Barry Windham,
without the Blackjack mustache, says that he got tired of the cartoonish nature
of the WWF and he wants to get back to real wrestling as part of the NWA.  Jeff Jarrett gloats about being a champion
and a well versed wrestler.
Jeff Jarrett
& Barry Windham (w/Jim Cornette & The Rock N’ Roll Express) defeat The
Legion of Doom when Windham pins Animal after hitting him with Cornette’s
tennis racket at 5:01:
Not that the NWA faction had much of a chance at
succeeding, but since the Legion of Doom had a history with the NWA the WWF
should have turned them heel and made them part of it.  It would have worked better than the Rock N’
Roll Express and would have freshened up the Legion of Doom’s act better than
the “LOD 2000” gimmick.  Jarrett and
Windham work really well as a team and since they control nearly all of the
offense this match comes off quite well. 
The finish is sloppy, though and ruins the match, as Windham hits Animal
with Cornette’s tennis racket and Animal appears to kick out at two, but the
bell rings and gives the NWA a win.  I
assume that the Legion of Doom did not want to job here and this mess was meant
to somehow protect them.  Rating: 
*¾ (1 for 2)
Shawn Michaels
appearance on Pictionary is shown.
The announcers
recap the Tyson-Austin altercation last week.
D-Generation X
talk to the announce team from the locker room. 
European Champion Triple H promises to beat Owen Hart tonight because he
is more of a man than he is.  WWF
Champion Shawn Michaels says that he has been carrying the WWF on his shoulders
and he thinks that he might just give up his WrestleMania title match so that
Steve Austin and Mike Tyson can fight one-on-one.  Triple H asks him to reconsider and Michaels
says that he can probably do something and as he rants his jacket falls off to
expose a referee shirt.  He says he’d
love to be the guest referee for an Austin-Tyson match.  DX was trying to be too cute for their own
good here and you just wanted them to get to the point.  1 for
3
Cactus Jack
suplexing Chainsaw Charlie through a pair of chairs at the Royal Rumble is the
Footaction Slam of the Week.
The announce team
hypes the house show circuit
.
Vader wrestles
The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust (w/Luna Vachon) to a no contest at 2:57:
Goldust and Luna dress up like Vader for this match.  Cole hypes Vader as “the Kodiak Bear of the
WWF,” but what happened to the Mastodon nickname?  Did the WWF lose a lawsuit over that
too?  Vader is still too much for Goldust
to handle, but this match is nowhere near the quality of their Rumble
encounter.  Vader powerbombs Goldust and
hits a Vader Bomb, but the lights go out and Kane walks out.  Vader proceeds to give him a reverse
Tombstone, but Goldust distracts Vader after that and Kane sits up and gives
Vader a Tombstone.  This is the first
step in setting up a match between the two at No Way Out.  The Goldust-Vader match wasn’t much, but the
brief Kane-Vader interaction was fun.  2 for 4
Mick Foley and
Terry Funk are shown chatting in the ring before the show.  They make fun of and compliment their
Chainsaw Charlie and Cactus Jack gimmicks
.
We enter hour two,
so its Jerry Lawler’s time to do commentary with Ross.
Non-Title
Match:  The New Age Outlaws (WWF Tag Team
Champions) defeat Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie by disqualification at
5:04:
For this match, the New Age Outlaws are wearing baseball
catchers gear and it works to their advantage, as Cactus Jack’s low blow has no
effect on the Road Dogg since he is wearing a cup.  When these two teams are brawling, this is an
entertaining match, but when they start reverting to the conventional tag team
formula it leaves a lot to be desired. 
As all hell breaks loose, Charlie starts throwing chairs into the ring,
but he doesn’t get disqualified, but that happens when Cactus hits Road Dogg
with a chair and then uses it to launch an aerial attack on Billy Gunn.  A few fun spots in this, but it was mayhem
without cohesion.  Rating:  *½ (2 for 5)
After the match,
Cactus Jack puts the referee in a Mandible Claw and Road Dogg is covered with
chairs and Charlie gives him a moonsault.
A video package
hypes Light Heavyweight Champion Taka Michinoku.
The Honky Tonk Man
comes out to do guest ring announcing duties
.
Number One
Contenders Match for the Light Heavyweight Title:  El Pantera beats “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher
with a cradle at 4:25:
Someone must have realized that no one was doing anything
with the light heavyweight division so they needed to start doing some matches
on Raw.  The winner of this faces Taka
Michinoku at No Way Out.  Pantera hits an
awesome suicide dive through the corner turnbuckles, but Christopher responds
with a sunset flip powerbomb from the apron to the arena floor.  There’s lots of piped in crowd noise for
this, though.  Christopher still wants to
stall too much, but its not excessive due to the short time allotted for the
match.  Christopher’s Tennessee Jam
attempt misses and Pantera takes advantage to win the bout.  Rating:  ** (3 for 6)
After the match,
Lawler goes into the ring to shake Pantera’s hand, but cheap shots him.  As if we haven’t had enough of the
Lawler-light heavyweight division angle already.
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to hear what is going on in the WWF locker room!
Cactus Jack and
Chainsaw Charlie are giving an interview with the announcers backstage, but
D-Generation X distracts them and the New Age Outlaws launch a sneak
attack.  The Outlaws and DX pound away
until WWF officials intervene.
The Headbangers
beat The Quebecers when Mosh pins Jacques with a sunset flip at 3:07:
The Quebecers get the jobber entrance and we get a rushed
match, with the hot tag coming about ninety seconds in.  The Quebecers seem to come out on top after
that, but Thrasher trips Pierre on the top rope and Mosh surprises Jacques with
a sunset flip to win the match.  This
result isn’t good for the Quebecers future in the division, but they take out
their frustration after the match with their fun Boston Crab/flying leg drop
maneuver on Mosh.  Rating:  * (3 for 7)
Owen Hart defeats
“Hunterdust” (w/”Chyna”) via submission with a Sharpshooter at 5:06 shown:
The anticipated match between Owen Hart and Triple H has
been building for a month, since Helmsley cost Owen the WWF title after In
Your House:  D-Generation X.  However, instead of Triple H coming out for
the match, Goldust comes out dressed as Triple H (with big prosthetic nose
included) and Luna Vachon dressed as Chyna. 
The first half of the match is a snoozer, as Goldust methodically pounds
away, but when we return from commercial break Owen cruises to a victory as if
he’s in a squash match.  Goldust is
nothing more than a jobber at this stage of his career.  Rating:  ¾* (3 for 8)
After the match,
D-Generation X appears on the Titantron and laughs about fooling Owen.  Commissioner Sergeant Slaughter comes out and
says that since Triple H was contractually obligated to defend the title, Owen
is the new European champion in lieu of beating Triple H’s replacement.  As a result of this decision, Triple H must
face Owen at a later date if he wants to get his European title back.
The announcers
talk about the Tyson-Austin encounter. 
This is the third time we have talked about it tonight.
Don King says that
Mike Tyson wants Steve Austin, but the Nevada State Commission will not let
Tyson fight.  He says that he and Vince
McMahon will have to find a way to bring both men together at WrestleMania
without violating Nevada’s rules.
Steve Austin comes
out and says that Mike Tyson will soon learn not to mess with him.  He pledges to fight Tyson anywhere, anytime
and asks him to show up at No Way Out.  A
generic promo for Austin, but it served the purpose of continuing the intrigue
about fighting Tyson.  (4 for 9)
The Final Report Card:  A very lackluster edition of Monday Night
Raw, which usually happens when the event is taped.  The entire show revolved around Austin-Tyson, which had no real chance of happening anyway because of the
Nevada State Athletic Commission.  Giving
Owen Hart the European title via Goldust was also lame, but Triple H had not defended
the title in more than a month and was still on the shelf so something had to
be done.  Just a very uneventful and
passable show.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.5 (vs. 4.7 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

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

-Before I get into
this week’s review, I wanted to know if any readers had feedback on the WWE
2k14 game.  I bought WWE 13 and was
irritated by the one count glitch.  Worth
a buy this year or not?  I just don’t
want to get burned again.
A still image of
Juanita McMahon, who recently passed away, is shown.
Michael Cole
narrates a video package about Kane’s turn on his brother at last night’s Royal
Rumble pay-per-view.
Jim Ross, Michael
Cole, and Kevin Kelly are in the booth and they are live from Fresno,
California
.

Paul Bearer comes
out to the Undertaker’s old theme music and gloats about setting the Undertaker
up at the Royal Rumble.  He goes through
a lengthy narration about last night’s events until the Undertaker’s current
theme music hits and druids roll out a casket. 
Instead of the Undertaker, Kane pops out of the casket and that ends the
segment.  This started with lots of crowd
heat, but Bearer’s recap of last night went on way too long and killed the
segment.  0 for 1
Ross interviews
D-Generation X and European Champion Triple H says that he proved last night
that Owen Hart can’t cut it in the WWF. 
WWF Champion Shawn Michaels promises that DX will find the Undertaker
and bring him back tonight.
Opening Six Man
Tag Team Contest:  Faarooq, Kama Mustafa
& D-Lo Brown wrestle The Disciples of Apocalypse to a double
disqualification at 4:40:
Surprisingly, this match features a lot of fast action
and the commentary team puts over D-Lo Brown’s potential throughout the
match.  When all hell breaks loose,
referee Earl Hebner can’t keep things under control and tosses the match out
for a lame ending.  After the bell, Mark
Henry and the Rock run out to give the Nation five-on-three odds, but Ken
Shamrock and Ahmed Johnson run out to even the odds and they run the Nation
off.  Kevin Kelly says Ahmed has never
look better, but I would disagree. 
Ending aside, this was a good brawl and the crowd was hot for the
finish.  Rating:  ** (1 for 2)
Vince Russo, in
his Vic Venom days, hypes WWF and RAW Magazine. 
Call 8-15-734-1161 to get twelve issues of both for $29.97.  I had a WWF Magazine subscription at this
time and it was a pretty good read while Russo was at the helm.  When he left, it went way downhill.
“Marvelous” Marc
Mero (w/Sable) beats Tom Brandi with a TKO at 3:29:
As they come down to the ring, Mero puts Sable in a robe
that says “Property of Marc Mero” on the back of it.  During the first minute of the match, Sable
gets flowers from a secret admirer and Mero berates Sable over it.  This distractions help Brandi take the edge
over Mero and he scores several dramatic near-falls, but as Sable momentarily
distracts the referee, Mero hits a low blow and achieves another tainted win.  This match showed that Brandi could go, but
awful gimmicks ruined any chance he had to catch on in the company and he was
gone shortly after this feud.  Rating: 
**½ (2 of 3)
D-Generation X
cautiously approaches a hearse in the arena, but when they open the doors a
bunch of young women hop out and Chyna closes Michaels and Triple H in there
with them.  Why these women were in the
hearse to begin with is never explained.
The Sony
Playstation Slam of the Week is Vader’s Vader Bomb on Goldust at last night’s
Royal Rumble.
Mike Tyson’s limousine
is shown pulling into the arena.  Shane
McMahon, Tyson, and his entourage get out of the limos.
The Quebecers
defeat Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie by disqualification when Jack puts
the referee in the Mandible Claw at 3:03:
The Quebecers return to the company after a three year
absence.  They were a temporary
acquisition during the Monday Night Wars, as they wrestled in WCW prior to this
as the Amazing French Canadians. 
Unfortunately, the Quebecers are not wearing their awesome mountie-style
uniforms.  You would think that a former
three-time tag team championship team would get more billing upon their return,
but that’s not the case here.  This is a
wild brawl, which goes beyond the bell. 
If this is meant to set up a rematch for next week, then it accomplished
its purpose.  Rating:  ** (3 of 4)
D-Generation X
come across the mini wrestlers in their search for the Undertaker.  The minis speak Spanish, so they don’t
understand DX, but in a funny moment, Chyna lifts Max Mini up so Shawn Michaels
can interrogate him.  Is this whole thing
a parody of when they had Leslie Nielsen track down the Undertaker at
SummerSlam 1994?
Mike Tyson is
shown chatting with Vince McMahon and his cronies
.
NWA North
American Heavyweight Championship Match: 
Jeff Jarrett (Champion w/Jim Cornette & The Rock N’ Roll Express)
beats Bradshaw (w/Barry Windham) when Windham inadvertently lariats Bradshaw at
3:41:
There is something ironic about Cornette saying that
Jarrett will lead the NWA into the year 2000, since Jarrett was on top of WCW
in 2000 when it started to fall apart. 
Throughout the match, the Express help beat down Bradshaw when it
appears that he is getting an advantage in the match and Windham does not help.  Bradshaw appears to have
the title won after clearing the Express out of the ring and delivering a
powerbomb, but Windham seems to accidentally hit his partner with a lariat to
help Jarrett retain the title.  Another
short, yet solid match on tonight’s card. 
Rating:  ** (4 of 5)
After the match,
Bradshaw continues his fight with the NWA faction and Windham comes into the
ring when the NWA faction has the advantage. 
He then turns on Bradshaw by hitting him with another lariat and he is
the new member of the NWA faction.  If
you want living proof that the WWE will not give up on someone, just look at
Bradshaw.  The guy went through three
different gimmicks before they found something that caught on (the APA faction
with Faarooq).
­-The announce crew
hypes the house show circuit
.
Shawn Michaels
complains in the locker room that he cannot find the Undertaker, when suddenly
the lights go out.
Vince McMahon
narrates a quick video package to pay tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.
As we enter hour
two, Jerry “the King” Lawler joins Ross for commentary
.
The Undertaker’s
music hits and a figure that appears to be the Undertaker descends from the top
of the arena.  However, when the lights
hit, the D-Generation X music hits and Shawn Michaels strips off the Undertaker’s
ring gear.  Triple H and Chyna bring a
grill and cooking supplies to the ring and they proceed to mock the Undertaker
being burned alive last night.  Triple H
announces that he will grant a European title match to Owen Hart next week and
then hilariously rips Ric Flair by saying that Space Mountain is old, broken
down, and in need of repair.  Michaels
says that his next target is Steve Austin and delivers a nice opening salvo for
their feud by saying that he has won the titles that Austin has won in the
past, that he is on the top of the mountain, and that he does not lay down for
anyone.  This whole segment was great in
terms of transitioning DX away from the Undertaker and into other feuds.  It also put over the WWF title and
immediately put over Austin-Michaels as a must see event.
  5 of 6
Mike Tyson is
shown talking with the Legion of Doom and Sunny.
Owen Hart, Taka
Michinoku & The Headbangers defeat Los Boricuas when Owen makes Jesus
submit to the Sharpshooter at 2:59
This is a very random match, but it shows why tag team matches
can be ideal ways to fill two hours of television programming.  Honky Tonk Man is doing commentary for some
reason, but thankfully he’s not looking for a new project like he was last
year.  They should’ve given this more
time, but it was just a vehicle to put
over Owen for next week’s match with Triple H.
After the match,
Cole interviews Owen, who accepts Triple H’s offer of a European title match on
next week’s show.
Non-Title
Match:  The Rock (Intercontinental
Champion) pins Ahmed Johnson with the Rock Bottom at 2:43:
Speaking of random matches, it’s surprising that this
match is being held without any build since Ahmed is a former Intercontinental
champion and might be able to give a rub to the Rock.  Ahmed appears to have the match in hand after
he hits a spinebuster, but Mark Henry comes out and nails him with a chair to
help the Rock win the bout.  After the
match, Ken Shamrock hits the ring and runs off the heels.
Mike Tyson is
shown handling Cactus Jack’s barbed wire baseball bat in the locker room.
Highlights of last
night’s casket match between the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels constitute the
Western Union Rewind segment
.
Mike Tyson is
shown measuring Triple H and Chyna’s muscles.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  The New Age Outlaws
(Champions) defeat The Godwinns when Billy Gunn pins Phineas with a loaded pig
at 4:53:
This match is the Godwinns long awaited title match that
they earned for helping the Outlaws in their feud with the Legion of Doom.  The Outlaws wear overalls for the contest,
but the Godwinns don’ take kindly to that and rip them off of Billy Gunn.  Ross notes that it’s the first time we’ve
seen Gunn in tights, which reflects a nice attention to detail that is missing
from today’s product.  The Godwinns
completely dominate Gunn, but he uses a pig toy, loaded with a brick, to help
his team retain the titles.  These teams
just don’t have a lot of chemistry.  Rating: 
*¼ (5 of 7)
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to find out if it will be a “macho” week for the WWF!
Vince McMahon
comes out and says that he will soon make the biggest announcement in WWF
history.  McMahon welcomes Mike Tyson
out, who says that he loves Bruno Sammartino. 
McMahon announces that Tyson will be at WrestleMania, but before he can
finish his sentence, Steve Austin comes out. 
A sea of WWF officials immediately race out behind Austin and McMahon is
not happy about him ruining Tyson’s time. 
Austin says that he is sick of Tyson’s antics tonight, refuses to shake
Tyson’s hand, and says that he wants a piece of him in a WWF ring.  He then flips Tyson off, which leads to Tyson
pushing Austin and leading to both men being restrained.  During the melee, one of Tyson’s entourage
tries to go after Austin, but Austin intelligently takes him down and lays on
top of him to avoid having the entire angle and his image compromised.  As Austin is pulled out of the ring, McMahon
becomes irate and screams “You’ve ruined it!” at Austin and tries to physically
go after him as Austin is escorted to the locker room.  This is one of the greatest RAW segments of
all time and I marked out watching it just as much as I did when it originally
aired.  6 of 8
In the locker
room, Tyson and his entourage are shown arguing with McMahon, who tries to apologize
for Austin’s behavior as we go off the air.
The Final Report Card:  This was a memorable, historic, and fantastic
episode of RAW.  The D-Generation X and
Tyson-Austin segments carried it, but the in-ring action was also quite good for
most of the show.  I remember that
everyone at school was talking about Tyson and Austin the next day and it also
got the WWF significant mainstream attention from the sports media.  It was one of those angles that was perfectly
placed, timed, and executed and no one else on the roster could have made it
work except for Austin.  McMahon played a
great supporting role as well, especially his nonverbal mannerisms when all
hell broke loose in the ring.  This was
also the highest rated RAW of all-time to this point and was the first RAW to
break the 4.0 mark in the Nielsen ratings. 
Compared to the previous week, Tyson was worth about a 0.6 increase.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.0 (vs. 4.5 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

by Logan Scisco

D-Generation X
tells Owen Hart not to mess with their business and Triple H says that Shawn
Michaels will have a message about the Undertaker’s family later tonight.
Jim Ross, Michael
Cole, and Kevin Kelly are in the booth and they are broadcasting from Penn
State University.  This is the fifth
anniversary of RAW being on the USA Network.

Opening Non-Title
Four Corner Contest:  The New Age Outlaws (WWF Tag Team Champions) defeat The Godwinns, The Headbangers, and
Sniper & Recon when Billy Gunn pins Phineas after hitting him with a
foreign object at 4:12:
The Outlaws wear Florida Gators shirts to get under the
crowd’s skin, since Florida defeated Penn State in the Citrus Bowl.  This is not under elimination rules, so the
first team that gets a fall wins.  In a
nice spot, all of the teams pound away on the Outlaws when they get into the
ring, so the tag team champions bail.  I
never understand why teams bother to tag out in these matches since tagging in
another team prohibits you from registering a pin or a submission to win.  The crowd really gets on the Outlaws case,
working up a large “We are Penn State!” chant and going wild for the attacks by
other teams on them.  The ending makes
zero sense as the other two teams see Gunn hit Phineas with a foreign object,
but sit on the apron and let the referee count the fall.  Finish aside, I’ll give this a point because
of the crowd.  Rating:  *¾ (1 for 1)
A video package
hypes the Legion of Doom, who will face the New Age Outlaws for the tag team
titles at the Royal Rumble.  The Legion
of Doom have not been on television since the Outlaws attacked them a month ago
and shaved Hawk’s mohawk and powerbombed Animal through a table.
Steve Austin shows
up to the arena in his pickup truck as the crowd goes crazy.
The Godwinns are
shown being tended to in the back by WWF officials because Austin attacked them
during the commercial break.
Cole interviews
Austin, who complains that he won the Royal Rumble last year “fair and square”
and didn’t get credit for it.  He has an
awesome line in this interview by saying that Vince McMahon might own the ring,
but if a wrestler dares get into it he is going to make sure they get tossed
out of it.  Austin takes a pen from Cole
and draws a target on his chest to let everyone in the locker room know how to
find him.  Great short interview. 
2
for 2
Austin hyping MTV
Celebrity Death Match on a house show is shown.
DX arrives at the
arena in their limo, but a WWF production truck is blocking the car entrance,
so they have to get out and walk around it.
Handicap
Match:  Kurrgan (w/The Jackyl) defeats
Lance Diamond & Joey Cicero at 2:26:
At this time, Diamond was a rising star in the ECWA and
was engaged in a lengthy feud with Cheetah Master.  He won the ECWA’s Super 8 Torurnament in 1998
as well.  Kurrgan has to defeat both men to
win this handicap match, which he accomplishes with ease.  Kurrgan finishes Diamond off with the
Paralyzer and pins Cicero after a suplex. 
After the match, Kurrgan tears apart a Penn State football helmet for
some cheap heat.  This was a good squash
and it effectively disguised Kurrgan’s weaknesses.  If this was the 1980s Kurrgan would have had
a token feud with Hulk Hogan.  The Jackyl’s
commentary also made it tolerable.  3 for 3
Backstage, Owen
Hart is shown attacking Triple H in DX’s limo, but Shawn Michaels and Chyna
jump in and the limo drives off.
Vader beats “Marvelous”
Marc Mero (w/Goldust) by disqualification at 3:10:
Before the match, Mero gets on the house mic to introduce
Sable, but the mic is not working and Mero doesn’t know it, so he talks in
silence until Sable’s music hits. 
However, instead of Sable coming out it is the Artist Formerly Known as
Goldust dressed like Sable.  Ross loses
his mind about all of this.  In the
middle of the match, Sable predictably comes out and kicks Goldust in the
thigh.  Mero gets her to leave, but this
lets Vader recover from a low blow. 
However, after he hits a Vader Bomb, Goldust hits him in the back of the
head with a coconut and that draws the disqualification.  There was not a lot of in-ring action in this
one, but the extracurriculars made it entertaining.  Rating:  *¾ (4 for 4)
The announcers
hype the house show circuit.
DX returns to the
arena in their limo, but where’s Owen?
Bam Bam Bigelow
pushing Lawrence Taylor at the 1995 Royal Rumble is the 1-800-COLLECT Slam of
the Week.
Vader is shown in
pain in his locker room, a victim of Steve Austin’s rampage
.
Ken Shamrock
& Mark Henry wrestle The Rock & D-Lo Brown (w/Kama Mustafa) to a no
contest at 3:08:
The storyline behind this is that Mark Henry suffered an
attack at the hands of the Nation of Domination on Shotgun Saturday Night two
weeks ago and Ken Shamrock made the save before too much damage could be
done.  Henry is wearing a “Rocky sucks”
t-shirt and the Rock pledges to rip it off of him before the end of the match.  Shamrock wrestles the entire match, which
gives away where this is going, and sure enough, one Shamrock puts the Rock in
an ankle lock, Henry turns on Shamrock and helps the Nation destroy him in the
middle of the ring.  The Rock plants
Shamrock with a Rock Bottom and Henry does the three count and then rips off
the “Rocky Sucks” t-shirt to reveal a Nation of Domination t-shirt.  Great pacing to this match while it lasted
and Henry’s beatdown on Shamrock looked devastating.  Rating:  ** (5 for 5)
Call 815-734-1161
to get all three “Faces of Foley” t-shirts for $49.99 (plus $9 shipping).  If you only want one of them they will cost
you $25 each (plus $8 shipping and handling)!
The announcers
recap Mark Henry’s heel turn.  Backstage,
the Nation of Domination is interviewed by Cole and the Rock tells Faarooq that
he recruited Henry for him and just wants him to be grateful.
Since we are in
hour two, Ross and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in charge of the announcing
duties.
DX comes out and
Triple H says that Owen Hart got dumped into a sewer and then makes lewd
comments toward sorority girls on Penn State’s campus.  Shawn Michaels warns Mike Tyson to stay out
of his business at the Royal Rumble. 
Before Michaels can talk about Kane, Owen appears on the Titantron with
his face scratched and bloody and he says that he is going to make DX’s life
hell.  Triple H dares Owen to come out
and Owen does, but WWF officials intercede before he can get to the ring.  This segment was going somewhere, but when
Owen got involved it fell apart.  That’s
not an indictment of him, but this would have been better served having
Michaels get to his bit about Kane.  5 for 6
Skull &
8-Ball beat The Rock N’ Roll Express (w/Jim Cornette) by disqualification at
2:30:
This is the next step in the NWA angle its sort of
surreal seeing Cornette working in tandem with the Rock N’ Roll Express.  The Express get the Rockers old theme music,
which does not fit at all.  The crowd
doesn’t care because this is the Northeast, so it comes off like the Smokey
Mountain tag team title match that was held at the 1993 Survivor Series.  Skull & 8-Ball use their power to
dominate the action and Cornette tries to run in and nail 8-Ball with his
tennis racket, but gets caught by the referee and that produces a
disqualification.  Cornette eats a right
hand for Skull, but the Express do a small beatdown on the members of the
Disciples of Apocalypse before Chainz makes the save. This was largely
forgettable.  5 for 7
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to hear about the rumors that Hulk Hogan will be in the Royal
Rumble.  I never recall hearing this
rumor around this time.
Cactus Jack is
shown walking around the grounds of Beaver Stadium and he recaps his death
match battles with Terry Funk in Japan. 
He says that Funk’s idea to call himself Chainsaw Charlie might be
silly, but it was his choice to take on that gimmick and they just want to
brutalize the New Age Outlaws.
Mankind wrestles
The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust (w/Luna Vachon) to a no contest at 25
seconds:
For this match, Goldust comes out to Dude Love’s music
and is dressed like Dude Love.  Mankind
quickly puts Goldust in the Mandible Claw, but Steve Austin runs out and gives
both men Stunners before giving a “hell yeah” into Jim Ross’s microphone.
Vince McMahon
appears on the Titantron and is booed. 
McMahon says that Mike Tyson has been invited to the Royal Rumble and
will be on Raw next week where he anticipates a special announcement will be
made.
Sunny comes out in
cheerleader garb to do guest ring announcer duties.
Savio Vega &
Jesus beat Taka Michinoku & Scott Taylor when Jesus pins Taylor after a
reverse superplex at 4:36:
Lawler makes an awkward quip about how he is not afraid to
admit that he likes younger women except when he has to drop them off at
school.  Ross is not sure how to play
that so he just goes along with calling the match.  After watching a good chunk of Michinoku’s
matches from this period, I have to come to the conclusion that he has one of
the best bumps off of a powerbomb that I have ever seen.  The light heavyweights go to the air one too
many times near the end of this encounter, as Savio catches Michinoku’s
moonsault attempt on the floor and slams him and Taylor gets crotched and
finished with a reverse superplex.  That
ending sequence was awesome and this is why tag team wrestling can easily fill
TV time.  Rating:  **½ (6 for 8)
We get another
flashback to Bam Bam Bigelow pushed Lawrence Taylor at the 1995 Royal Rumble.
The Twix Rewind
segment is Shawn Michaels winning the 1995 Royal Rumble.
DX comes back out
to be interviewed by Cole.  Michaels
introduces Kane as the next member of DX, but the Undertaker comes out instead
and tells Michaels to leave his family out of their feud.  This is the segment where the Undertaker
chokes Michaels out of nowhere, which is a clip Botchamania uses a lot.  The Undertaker then goes to chokeslam Chyna,
but before he can do that all members of DX beat him down.  The light go out and Kane’s music hits and
the crowd goes crazy as Kane gets in the ring and makes the save.  After the Undertaker recovers, Kane and the
Undertaker exchange their unique “one knee, hand to the air” salute.  Have I mentioned that the booking of this
whole Kane-Undertaker issue is awesome? 
7 for 9
Call
1-900-RUMBLE-98 to register yourself in the Steve Austin pickup truck
contest!  It’ll cost you $1.99 or you can
send a postcard to Devon, Pennsylvania.
The drawing for
the Royal Rumble is next, but since there is very little time left it is
doubtful whether any drawing will take place. 
Chaos unfolds when Ken Shamrock comes in and attacks Mark Henry and
Goldust and Vader start going at it.  The
Honky Tonk Man comes out, signaling that he will be in the Royal Rumble match.  Steve Austin’s music hits and everyone wants
a piece of him, but Austin comes out from the crowd and gives Phineas Godwinn a
Stone Cold Stunner and then tries to leave. 
As most of the superstars brawl in the ring, the Rock, Savio Vega, and
D-Lo Brown attack him to play us out. 
Not really a great take home segment, but it was important to show
Austin with some vulnerability heading into the pay-per-view. 
7
for 10
The Final Report Card:  Since we are in the Russo era, we are not
going to get long main event matches, but entertaining segments and wild
behavior makes up for that.  Goldust’s
antics continue to get wilder and the Rock is really coming into his own on the
microphone and in the ring.  The winner
of the Royal Rumble is pretty clear since they really have not given any other
participant much billing, but the casket match for the WWF title has some
intriguing scenarios now that Kane’s loyalties appear to be with his brother
against D-Generation X.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.4 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

by Logan Scisco

We kick off our
next round of reviews by covering the 1998 season of Monday Night Raw.  1998 is when the WWF finally turned the
Monday Night Wars in its favor and began the process of grinding WCW to dust
(assisted by poor WCW booking patterns and the AOL-Time Warner merger).  The year saw the creation of new stars, the
continuation of a more mature product, and Steve Austin solidify himself as one
of the greatest WWF stars of all-time. 
I’ve also decided
to modify my rating style for this set of reviews.  I don’t like doing star ratings for TV events
because of the length of the matches, so when I review the pay-per-views I’ll
revert to the star rating, but for the TV shows I’m going to do an average
point system.  If a match or lengthy interview
segment is worthwhile, it will receive a point. 
Otherwise, it won’t.  I hope that
this can better clarify the good and bad elements of a show.  If everyone hates it I can revert to stars, but
that’s my logic.
The show begins
with Steve Austin in the parking lot talking about how everyone in the locker
room wants to get him and he sent them a “3:16” message on their pagers.  He encourages the audience to watch tonight’s
show where he will strike first at everyone that is out to get him.

Jim Ross, Michael
Cole, and Kevin Kelly are in the booth and they are live from New Haven,
Connecticut
.
Opening
Contest:  Ken Shamrock beats Faarooq
(w/Kama Mustafa & D-Lo Brown) via submission to the ankle lock at 5:02
shown:
This match has some back story because Faarooq injured
Shamrock in the first round of the Intercontinental title tournament back in
September.  The Rock also volunteered
Faarooq to take on Shamrock in his contest on last week’s show.  During the match, Ross keeps hyping Shamrock
as a future WWF champion.  Faarooq works
the ribs and the Rock comes down to ringside shortly before the commercial
break.  The Rock tries to direct
interference whereby Kama will hold a chair in the corner so that Shamrock can
be whipped into it, but heel miscommunication results and Shamrock wins to go
three-for-three against the Nation. 
Shamrock had some good selling in this match, but the match never worked
up a consistent pace.  0 of 1
After the match,
Faarooq argues with Kama on the floor as the Rock and Shamrock stare each other
down in the ring.  Before they can do
anything, though, Steve Austin runs out and gives each of them a Stone Cold
Stunner before exiting through the crowd.
Jim Cornette comes
out with Howard Brody and Dennis Coralluzzo of the National Wrestling Alliance
(NWA).  Cornette announces that both men
will award the NWA North American championship to the winner of our next match.
NWA North
American Championship Match:  Jeff
Jarrett defeats Barry Windham to win the title at 3:34:
The North American championship was a real NWA title and
it was the second most prominent title in the promotion.  Reckless Youth (remember him?) was the
previous champion, but the NWA vacated the title in December 1997 for use in
this angle.  Cornette educates the
audience about the NWA on commentary, but Cole has to ask him if it is a bogus
promotion to show off his stupidity.  Windham
uses his size and power to dominate much of the match, but Jarrett puts his
foot on the bottom rope to avoid being pinned after a lariat.  After that, Coralluzzo distracts the referee
and as Windham prepares to give Jarrett a superplex, Cornette runs into the
ring and hits him in the back with his tennis racket.  Windham manages to complete the move, but is
knocked out and Jarrett pins him to win the title.  1 of 2
After the match,
Jarrett struts around with his new title, but Steve Austin runs out and gives
him a Stone Cold Stunner.
The announce team
proceeds to break down the house show circuit
.
Ken Shamrock tells
the announce team that he would love for the Royal Rumble to come down between
him and Austin.
Sunny comes out in
a schoolgirl outfit to do guest ring announcing duties for our next match
.
Skull &
8-Ball defeat Sniper & Recon (w/The Jackyl) when Skull pins Recon with a
DDT at 3:39:
If you were expecting a wrestling classic, you can forget
it here, but since the time on it is short it’s a tolerable matchup.  The Jackyl keeps laughing when Recon misses
big moves, justifying his behavior by saying that Recon is just trying to be a
star.  The Disciples of Apocalypse end
this out of nowhere after all hell breaks loose after the hot tag.  Speaking of nowhere, this feud is headed
there, but that’s because the booking team has no idea what they want to get
out of either team.  1 of 3
After the match,
Kurrgan comes out and a three-on-two beatdown commences, which allows Kurrgan
to show off his size and strength.
The Twix Rewind
segment is the Undertaker helping Kane clear the ring of the superstars that
tried to attack him on last week’s Raw.
D-Generation X
comes out.  Chyna is pushing Triple H in
a wheelchair because he has suffered a dislocated knee cap that might require
surgery.  Triple H brags about costing
Owen Hart the WWF title last week and he dares Owen to come out and face
him.  Owen appears on the Titantron and
lets Triple H know that when his right knee heals he is going to destroy his
left one.  Owen tries to sell the “blackheart”
element of his character, claiming that he has no conscience and feels no pain,
but the result is a corny promo that Triple H mocks before ending the segment.  1 of 4
The 1-800-COLLECT
Slam of the Week is Vader hitting a moonsault on a jobber on Shotgun Saturday
Night.
We get another
recap of Steve Austin’s rampage on tonight’s show.
Since we are in
hour two, Jim Ross and Jerry “the King” Lawler take over announcing duties.
Owen Hart beats
Savio Vega (w/Los Boricuas) with a rollup at 4:05:
Owen starts this like a Steve Austin match, aggressively
going after Savio and incorporating a Lou Thesz press in the early going.  It doesn’t take long for D-Generation X to
appear by the entrance and that gives Savio an opportunity to turn the
tide.  The Boricuas also assist Savio in maintaining
the advantage, but this leads to another referee coming out and ejecting them.  However, this doesn’t happen quickly enough
and Savio is able to get out of a Sharpshooter when Jose tries to get into the
ring.  Owen still wins with a rollup shortly
thereafter.  Lackluster matchup and Owen’s
in-ring style does not really fit this hard edged character that they want him
to play.  1 of 5  
After the match,
Owen tries to go after Triple H, but the Boricuas attack him and then bring him
to Triple H to slap around.  They make
sure to collect their payment before leaving.
Paul Bearer comes
out looking disheveled and he tells the Undertaker that he hopes he loses to
Shawn Michaels at the Royal Rumble.  The
storyline here is that Kane has left Bearer after last week’s events, so Bearer
is freaking out.  He begs Kane to come
home before leaving in despair.  Really
nice promo to continue the slow burn for this angle.  2 of 6
Backstage, Austin
is shown leaving a locker room and Mark Henry is shown in pain on the
floor.  So Austin has attacked another
victim.
A video package
recaps Marc Mero’s treatment of Sable and Tom Brandi’s intervention on her
behalf.
“Marvelous” Marc
Mero (w/Sable) beats Tom Brandi by disqualification when Steve Austin
interferes at 3:47:
Why is this match not happening at the Royal Rumble?  Seems like easy midcard fodder for that show
instead of throwing it on Raw.  The crowd
works up a loud “Sable” chant when Mero hides behind his valet when Brandi
charges after him at the beginning of the contest.  Mero gets knocked out of the ring and falls
on top of Sable, but when Brandi goes to help her he gets a double axe
handle.  Mero hits a TKO, but when he
goes for another Steve Austin runs in and gives Mero a Stunner.  The crowd comes unglued for that and that was
because of Mero’s display of carelessness for Sable that occurred throughout
the match.  3 of 7
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to find out what old NWA stars Jim Cornette is recruiting and
hear who is attending the WWF’s training camp!
We get ANOTHER
recap of Steve Austin’s rampage.  Do we
need to hit back to this every time come back from commercial?
Flash Funk
defeats The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust (w/Luna Vachon) by
disqualification when Luna interferes at 2:32:
Goldust comes out in blackface and an afro, showcasing a
70s persona in his latest display of weirdness. 
I’m surprised that the WWF signed off on this in 1998, but you can bet
that they would never do it today after going public.  Flash nearly wins after a spinning heel kick,
but Luna pushes him off the top rope when he tries to the Tumbleweed in plain
view of the referee and costs her man the match.  The short length of the contest prevented
some of Goldust’s traditional stalling and that helped it significantly.  4 of 8
After the bell,
Goldust hits the Curtain Call but Vader runs out and Goldust flees.
A video package
hypes Steve Blackman.
Call
1-900-RUMBLE-98 to register yourself in the Steve Austin pickup truck
contest!  It’ll cost you $1.99 or you can
send a postcard to Devon, Pennsylvania.
Last week’s reveal
of Chainsaw Charlie is shown.
The Headbangers
appearance on Regis and Kathie Lee is shown. 
These guys got sent out on a lot of the WWF’s public relations work at
this time despite doing squat in the ring.
Non-Title
Match:  The New Age Outlaws (WWF Tag Team
Champions) beat The Headbangers when Billy Gunn pins Mosh after a face
miscommunication at 4:58:
This match proceeds nicely, with both teams exchanging
double team maneuvers.  The Godwinns
appear by the entrance, apparently scouting the Outlaws for a tag team title
shot that they are owed.  Thrasher and
the Road Dogg give each other simultaneous low blows when they dropkick each
other at the same time.  This cues the
hot tag and all hell breaking loose, but the Headbangers blow a Stage Dive
attempt when Thrasher jumps too early for the flying leg drop and Gunn rolls up
Mosh for a clean win.  This had a creative
finish that solidified the credibility of the Outlaws.  The loss cements the Headbangers status as
one of the lower ranked teams in the division. 
5 of 9
-After the match,
Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie run out and the Outlaws walk back to the
locker room.
Don King hypes
WrestleMania XIV, but says that his contract negotiation with Vince McMahon to
make Mike Tyson a part of it has not been finished.  It’s close, though!
Footage of the
Hell in a Cell match between Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker is shown in
order to hype the Shawn Michaels-Undertaker title match at the Royal Rumble
.
WWF Champion Shawn
Michaels comes out and says that he will show the Undertaker is a loser at the
Royal Rumble.  He calls out the
Undertaker and druids wheel out a casket. 
The casket is covered in graffiti like last week and Michaels calls for
Triple H and Chyna to get out of it.  No
response happens so Michaels continues his juvenile antics.  Triple H and Chyna then come out on the ramp
and warn Michaels that they are not in it and before Michaels can put two and
two together, the Undertaker bursts out of the casket and pulls Michaels inside
as we go off the air.  AWESOME closing
segment, even if it was predictable.  6 of 10
The Final Report Card:  The first show of 1998 started pretty rough,
but the second hour was full of fun segments and matches so that barely saves
the show with a 6/10 rating.  Austin’s victory
at the Rumble was very obvious, but at least the WWF booked it in an
entertaining way that placed him on the perfect trajectory to challenge for the
title at WrestleMania.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.3 (vs. 4.3 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – December 29, 1997

by Logan Scisco

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

Owen Hart’s sneak
attack on Triple H on last week’s show is the 1-800-COLLECT Rewind segment.
Opening Long
Island Street Fight:  The Disciples of
Apocalypse beat Savio Vega, Miguel Perez & Jesus (w/Jose) when Chainz pins
Jose after heel miscommunication at 3:17:
I wish that this feud would just end.  It has no direction and no one cares about
the Boricuas.  Ross subtly buries Crush
by saying that after his altercation with Kane he did not want to be in the WWF
anymore.  The match gets off to a hot
shot, with chairs being used, but it quickly cools into a battle royal-type
brawl.  Jose isn’t supposed to be in the
match, but gets involved anyway and in a piece of WCWesque booking, Chainz pins
him when Savio accidentally blasts him with a spin kick.  Rating:  *
The WWF has shown
these ads for a couple of weeks, but I want to say that their “Attitude Era”
ads where the Undertaker, Steve Austin, the Rock, Ken Shamrock, etc. listed
their accomplishments and injuries and put down anyone who criticizes wrestling
for being fake are well done.
European Champion
Triple H and Chyna are in the ring after the commercial break and Triple H is
on crutches and in a knee brace, which he says is because he dislocated his
knee cap last night, and he says he won’t be able to defend his title against Owen Hart
tonight.  Triple H says that Shawn
Michaels isn’t here because he has a 102 degree fever and the lights go out and
a casket is wheeled to the ring by druids, but Michaels pops out of the casket,
which has DX graffiti.  Kelly is
outraged, saying Michaels “desecrated the spirit of the casket.”  What? 
DX puts over Chyna’s breasts for a few minutes and Michaels pledges that
1998 will be the year of DX. 
Commissioner Slaughter comes out and says that Triple H is medically
unfit to compete, so he books Michaels in a WWF title match against Owen.
Ken Shamrock
defeats Kama Mustafa (w/Faarooq & D-Lo Brown) via submission to the
anklelock at 3:36:
The storyline for Shamrock heading into the Royal Rumble
is that he’s going to slowly go through the Nation in preparation for facing
the Rock for the Intercontinental title.  Kama gets in a few token moves and Shamrock
exchanges strikes with him before taking him down and making him tap.  Rating:  *
After the match, the
Rock comes out and says that fans have asked him his opinion on the elderly and
Social Security, but he doesn’t care as long as makes money.  That’s a funny gimmick as last week we said
fans asked his opinion on world peace. 
The Rock calls off the Nation from beating up Shamrock and says next
week Shamrock will face Faarooq.  Faarooq
isn’t happy about that.  The Rock is
carrying the feud on the mic and doing a fantastic job.  The Rock-Shamrock feud as a whole is very
underrated and a largely forgotten part of 1998, but the Rock’s work in that
feud is what set him on the path to main event status.
The announce team
hypes the house show circuit.  Why can’t
WWE bother to do this today?
Dok Hendrix hypes
the next Madison Square Garden show.  The
matches that are in this show were chronicled in last week’s review
.
Vince McMahon is
shown sitting in an empty arena before tonight’s show and thanks the fans for
watching and he promises that 1998 will be the most action packed and enjoyable
year in WWF history.  Can’t say he was
wrong about that.  I sort of miss these
fan appreciation segments with Vince because he comes off very sincere, but in
the back of his mind he had to know things would have to get better in 1998
because he and Linda lost $5 million or so of their own money on the company in
1997 and couldn’t give Christmas bonuses, which they felt ashamed of, according
to a Kevin Kelly shoot interview.
Jerry “the King”
Lawler & “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher beats Taka Michinoku & George
“the Animal” Steele by disqualification when Steele uses a foreign object at
2:39:
Before the match, Lawler says that Brian Christopher is
Jim Ross’s son, which is so ridiculous I’m surprised Ross didn’t corpse on live
television.  Steele was Michinoku’s
mystery partner for this match and since they are in a mainstay WWF territory,
he gets a bigger pop than Steve Austin when he comes out and eats a few
turnbuckles.  This is a fun match, as
Lawler and Steele both use foreign objects and Lawler teases doing a moonsault,
which if he did it might have made this a **** match.  Unfortunately, there isn’t much action because
Steele gets tired of seeing Lawler do his phantom foreign object trick and gets
caught using a real one.
In the second
hour, Ross and Lawler take over commentary duties
.
Cactus Jack beats
“The Road Dogg” Jesse James (w/Billy Gunn) by disqualification when Gunn
interferes at 2:10:
The Outlaws go for the cheap heat by wearing New York
Rangers jerseys.  Before the match, Dude
Love morphs into Mankind on the Titantron, who really should be in the hospital
after getting locked in a freezer last week. 
Mankind morphs into Cactus Jack and that’s who is coming for the Outlaws
in this match with a barbed wire baseball bat as the crowd goes wild and chants
“ECW.”  Cactus takes a nasty chair shot
from James, but quickly rallies to hit a double-arm DDT, prompting the
interference.  Lawler is apoplectic about
that because all of the weapons used didn’t bring about a disqualification,
which is a justified view.
After the match,
Cactus fights the Outlaws by the entrance and out of a crate, which has been
sitting there all night, comes Chainsaw Charlie, which was so stupid it
cannot be put into words.  If Terry Funk
popped out of the box or, as Lawler mentioned, Leatherface, this would’ve been
much better.  The smart fans in the
audience quickly realize it’s Funk and start chanting “Terry.” As it is,
Charlie runs off the Outlaws with his crazy chainsaw antics.
Call
1-900-RUMBLE-98 to register yourself in the Steve Austin pickup truck
contest!  It’ll cost you $1.99 or you can
send a postcard to Devon, Pennsylvania.
Kelly interviews
Sable, who will be in the next RAW magazine and she says she wants to give fans
a preview of what’s in the magazine, but before she can unveil a swimsuit, Marc
Mero comes out and sets up a chair saying that he wants to see the show.  When Kelly tells Mero to calm down, Mero
calls him a third string announcer and gives him a low blow.  Tom Brandi runs out when Mero berates Sable,
but eats a TKO on the chair.  Mero then
chokes Brandi with parts of Sable’s RAW magazine.  It’s unfortunate that Mero’s ring work was
awful at this point because he was tearing it up with this character and it was
the most entertaining he had been in years.
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to hear about the British Bulldog’s future, or lack thereof.
The Headbangers,
the Disciples of Apocalypse, Flash Funk, and Scott Taylor come to the ring and
call out Kane to get revenge.  However,
shortly after Kane comes down, the Undertaker makes an appearance and helps
Kane clear the ring.  The Undertaker then
leaves, which causes him to be booed, but it’s an excellent piece of
storytelling.
Hendrix hypes the
Madison Square Garden show again
.
Cole interviews
WWF Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws, who say that they aren’t concerned
about facing the Legion of Doom at the Royal Rumble because Chainsaw Charlie is
trying to kill them.  The interview ends
with Charlie cutting through a locker room door and the Outlaws flee.
Jim Cornette
comments on the state of wrestling in 1997 and says it is awful, indicting all
of the major companies, including the WWF. 
He doesn’t care for DX, Sable, and the New World Order.  He complains about a lack of wrestling,
living in Connecticut, and the Internet. 
Cornette says he might bring some tradition back to the WWF, thereby
laying the groundwork for bringing in his NWA faction.  A good rant, but Cornette’s view of
traditional wrestling wasn’t going to fly in 1998.
Steve Austin
giving a Stone Cold Stunner to Santa Claus is the Sony Playstation Slam of the
Week.
Sunny comes down
with her photo spread in RAW magazine and gives it to a young fan.  I’m sure his mother really loved that.
Ross announces
that the WWF has begun negotiations with Mike Tyson to participate at
WrestleMania XIV.  The crowd boos that
and Lawler mentions how Vince McMahon talking to Mike Tyson
threatens global security.
A video package
chronicles Owen Hart’s return to the WWF.
WWF Championship
Match:  Owen Hart beats “The Heartbreak
Kid” Shawn Michaels (Champion w/Chyna) by disqualification when Triple H breaks
a crutch over Owen’s head at 7:47 shown:
Interestingly, Earl Hebner is the referee for this match
and Michaels humorously mocks a fan telling Owen to look behind him to avoid a
flying axe handle.  Owen dominates the
early going until Chyna trips him.  Owen
sells a sleeper spot really well, panicking when it gets put on and trying to
punch his way towards the ropes.  Owen
runs through his usual spots for near-falls and the crowd becomes unglued when
he catches Shawn with an enziguri and applies the Sharpshooter.  However, Triple H, who came down to the
ringside a few minutes into the match interferes and Michaels keeps the title.  Looking back, Owen should’ve gotten the title
here for two weeks and then dropped it back to Michaels before the Royal
Rumble.  It would’ve given them two weeks
to hype a rematch and would have allowed them to give Owen a trial run as
champion.  The crowds were really into
his “lone Hart” act upon his return, but when he was shuffled back down to the
midcard that aura disappeared.  Rating: 
***¾
After the match,
Triple H whacks Owen with his other crutch, thereby transitioning his match
with Michaels into a feud between them.
The Final Report Card:  This was a fantastic episode of RAW.  It would’ve been better for Shawn
Michaels-Owen Hart to headline a pay-per-view, but for political reasons this
was the best that we were going to get.  The
crowd was hot for everything on this show and the show also set up a lot of
great storylines for 1998.  Austin is
heading into the Royal Rumble as a wrecking machine, D-Generation X is angering
everyone in the company and stirring the pot, the Undertaker continues to
refuse to face Kane, who in turn is destroying the roster, Cactus Jack is
waging war against the New Age Outlaws, and the Rock is slowly becoming one of
the most entertaining heels in the company. 
Coupled with the talents of Owen Hart, Taka Michinoku, Terry Funk, Ken
Shamrock and others it is not surprising that the company soon overtook WCW,
whose main event scene was growing stagnant. 
This show also gave lots of hope to loyal WWF fans because the 3.6
rating was the highest ever for a RAW episode that went head-to-head with Nitro
up to this point and it was a significant improvement over the 2.1 rating that
the company drew for the first RAW of 1997.
With 1997 now out of the way, what would you
like to see reviewed next on the blog? 
Other writers seem to have WCW covered, but I have a large collection of
old footage that I taped, so I have 1993-1999 RAW’s, old Saturday Night’s Main
Events, the old Coliseum Video “Best Of’s”, Action Zone seasons, 1991-1992 Prime Time Wrestling, Superstars
1994-1997, 1995-1997 USWA, and 1997-1998 Shotgun Saturday Night.  Just post below and
whatever seems to get the most votes we will move forward with.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.6 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – December 15, 1997

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross, Michael
Cole, and Kevin Kelly are in the booth and they are in Durham, New Hampshire.
Cole interviews
the Undertaker and announces that he will face Shawn Michaels in a casket match
at the Royal Rumble for the WWF title. 
The Undertaker cuts a good promo and acknowledges that the only casket
match he lost took ten men to beat him and D-Generation X doesn’t have ten
people in it and Michaels doesn’t have ten friends to help him.  Kane and Paul Bearer come out and Bearer
rehashes “the Undertaker is a murderer” bit. 
Kane hits the Undertaker and when he tries to do it a second time, the
Undertaker blocks it, but then leaves instead of retaliating.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your copy of WWF the Music: 
Volume 2.  It will cost you $20
for CD and $15 for the tape (plus $4 shipping & handling)!
Brian Christopher
and Jerry Lawler’s attack on Taka Michinoku on last week’s RAW is the
1-800-COLLECT Rewind segment.

Opening Non-Title
Contest:  Taka Michinoku (Light
Heavyweight Champion) beats Jerry “the King” Lawler by disqualification when
Brian Christopher interferes at 5:42:
Ross hypes the UFC: 
Ultimate Japan card during this match, which is a big styles clash since
Lawler can’t work at Michinoku’s speed. 
Still, Lawler gives it a good effort by throwing a few dropkicks in the
early going, but the allure of the Memphis stall is too much to resist and the
match slows considerably in the middle. 
Lawler hits the piledriver, but opts to go for a fist drop off the
second rope and eats a Michinoku Driver (!) before Christopher runs in for the
predictable disqualification.  Rating: 
After the match,
Michinoku gets the better of Christopher and heel miscommunication allows
Michinoku to get away unscathed.  The
crowd wasn’t into any of this.
Call
1-900-747-4WWF to find out how D-Generation X almost started a riot over the
weekend!
The Legion of Doom
tell the announce team that their match with DX isn’t going to be pretty
tonight.
The Nation of
Domination comes out and the Rock toots his own horn at the expense of Faarooq,
who wants to say a few words.  The Rock
demands that Austin come out and he does, but Austin doesn’t have the
Intercontinental belt.  He says he’ll
show the Rock later on what happened to his championship belt.  The Rock gives him an hour to return him his
property or face some justice at the hands of the Nation.
Dude Love beats
“The Road Dogg” Jesse James (w/Billy Gunn) with Sweet Shin Music at 4:36:
This continues the building feud between Love and the tag
team champions.  Gunn does the
introduction mic work and is nowhere near James’ level.  Ross tells Gunn that he and James should call
themselves “The New Age Outlaws” and Gunn says that’s a great idea, so now the
tag team champions will actually have a team name.  In the middle of the match, Love undergoes a
small transformation into his other personas, as he puts James in the Mandible
Claw, rips some of his hair out, and screams “Bang, Bang!”  Love captures another win, but takes a double
suplex by the entrance after the match and the Outlaws whip a referee into Love
to send him flying off the entrance platform. 
That bump had to hurt because Love barely grazed the table set up to
cushion his fall on the way down.  Rating: 
Mark Henry
defeats The Brooklyn Brawler via submission to a bearhug at 2:03:
This was Henry’s return to action after suffering an
ankle injury that put him on the shelf at the end of 1996.  He looks as generic as you can be, with a
black shirt and black ring trunks.  Ross
informs us during this squash that Steve Austin has left the arena with a WWF
camera crew.
A video package
highlights the growing tension between Shawn Michaels and Owen Hart.
For the second
hour Ross and Jim Cornette are in the booth.
Vince McMahon
warns Owen Hart that he is endangering the safety of ringside fans by attacking
Shawn Michaels through the crowd. 
McMahon orders Owen to appear in the ring since he is still under
contract and Owen comes out of the crowd to a nice reaction.  Owen curses McMahon and tells him that no one
is going to run him out of the WWF. 
McMahon implies that Owen only cares about winning the WWF title, but
Owen just calls it a “piece of leather with tin on it” and swears that he will
make Michaels life a living hell. 
McMahon has police come to the ring and tells Owen that he will come
through the entrance like every other WWF superstar next week and the police
escort Owen out through the crowd.  One
of the top segments of Owen’s career, but like a lot of things in the Attitude
Era, this didn’t really lead to anything significant.  It’s also somewhat eerie to watch in
retrospect.
Call
1-900-RUMBLE-98 to register yourself in the Steve Austin pickup truck
contest!  It’ll cost you $1.99 or you can
send a postcard to Devon, Pennsylvania.
Footage of Sable
revealing herself last week is shown.
Tom Brandi beats
The Sultan (w/The Iron Sheik) with a school boy after heel miscommunication at
3:46:
Brandi is the old Salvatore Sincere, who is trying to
turn a new leaf as a face, but didn’t really catch on.  Brandi’s failure to make it in the WWF
surprised me because he seemed to have the type of look that the WWF
preferred.  Brandi takes a big beating in
this match, but takes advantage of a miscue by the Sultan and chalks up the
upset.  Rating:  *¾
After the match,
Marc Mero runs in and pounds Brandi down.
Since an hour has
elapsed, the Nation of Domination comes back out as a video package recaps how
the Rock became the new Intercontinental champion on last week’s show.  The Rock says that he and the Nation are
coming for the title belt, but Steve Austin appears on the Titantron and this
is the famous segment where he tosses the Intercontinental title belt off a
bridge.
Vince McMahon
announces the beginning of the Attitude Era and that the audience is tired of
having its intelligence insulted and the simplistic “good guys versus bad
guys.”  He does tell parents that they
should use discretion if they let their kids watch the Warzone.
Steve Blackman
beats Jose with a German suplex at 1:38:
This is Blackman’s first RAW singles match and there’s a
small back story to this since the Boricuas interrupted a Blackman promo after
Survivor Series.  Blackman decimates Jose
with martial arts moves and finishes him off in relatively short order.
WWF and European
Champion Shawn Michaels says he isn’t worried about Owen Hart and after a rock,
paper, and scissors game they come to the conclusion that Triple H will take
care of Owen.  They also warn the Legion
of Doom that they are ready for them.
The Undertaker
Tombstoning the Sultan on Shotgun Saturday Night is the Lazer Tag Slam of the
Week.
The Legion of
Doom beat “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels & Triple H (w/Chyna) by
disqualification when Chyna interferes at 7:40 shown:
Standard tag team main event here as the LOD a bevy of
clotheslines and Michaels and Triple H cheat to turn the tide.  During the hot tag segment, the New Age
Outlaws run down to the ring and smother Hawk with ether, which allows DX to
pulverize Animal after Chyna gets into the ring and gives him a low blow.  Rating:  **
After the bell,
the Outlaws shave Hawk’s head and with DX’s help they powerbomb Animal from the
apron through the announce table.  This
only gets a .4 on the Ross outrage meter, though.
The Final Report Card:  A much better episode of RAW this week with
the destruction of the Legion of Doom, the Austin bridge segment, and Owen’s
interaction with Vince headlining the show. 
In a weird way, Austin’s popularity is putting Shawn Michaels title
reign in the same category as Bret Hart’s in 1995 whereby the main focus is on
his storylines and the WWF title is fading into the background.  Still, D-Generation X is doing a great job
making fans hate them and wanting someone to put them in their place.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.7 (vs. 4.1 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: In Your House – D-Generation X

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross and Jerry
“the King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from Springfield,
Massachusetts
.

Opening Light
Heavyweight Championship Tournament Finals Contest:  Taka Michinoku beats “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher
with a Michinoku Driver to win the title at 12:03:
The predictable light heavyweight tournament finals ends
here and I think they would have been better served using a round robin format
to crown the champion than this.  They
use a refreshing formula at the beginning of the match whereby Christopher
tosses Michinoku around for a couple of minutes before Michinoku rallies, which
gets the crowd into the match. 
Christopher takes a nasty dive into the guardrail and cuts his lip
open.  The match has an irregular flow
because Christopher still wants to work a slow, Memphis style and Michinoku
prefers to work faster sequences and transitions between moves.  Christopher completely kills the crowd by
toying with Michinoku seven minutes in and this ends with the usual “you miss
your finisher and I hit mine” sequence that the WWF is known for.  After the match, WWF officials present Taka
with the title, but I couldn’t help but think at the time “what next?”  The division didn’t have anyone to elevate as
a credible challenger for Michinoku’s belt and as a result, the division was
dead on arrival.  Rating:  **½
Kevin Kelly and
the Jackal hype the Superstar line.
Jose, Miguel
Perez & Jesus defeat The Disciples of Apocalypse when Jose pins Chainz
after Perez hits Chainz with a somersault leg drop at 7:46:
The Boricuas do a horrid rap on the way to the ring that
makes R-Truth’s old gig completely comprehensible.  You can give them credit for trying, but 1998
Konnan this was not.  Since Crush is
gone, DOA is down to only three members so we get a six man tag.  The match has nothing but lots of kicking and
punching and the only highlight is that Perez feigns a knee injury off of a
flying axe handle and runs in behind the referee’s back and alters the finish
after Chainz hits a Death Valley driver. 
Rating:  ¼*
Butterbean tells
Dok Hendrix that he’s ready to take care of Marc Mero tonight.
A video package
recaps the Marc Mero-Butterbean feud.
Michael Cole
interviews Sable, who he says was at Butterbean’s undercard fight the night
before and held up his title belt.  Sable
says that she’s in Marc Mero’s corner tonight and Mero interrupts the
interview, telling her she doesn’t have permission to talk, and he pledges to
knock out Butterbean
.
Toughman
Contest:  Butterbean beats Marc Mero
(w/Sable) by disqualification when Mero uses a low blow and hits Butterbean
with a stool in the fourth round:
The match is scheduled for four, two minute rounds.  For those unfamiliar with Butterbean, he was
a Toughman Contest superstar that eventually became a professional boxer and
won the IBA Super Heavyweight title in April 1997, which he never lost.  The fans quickly turn on this, for obvious
reasons.  They might get into it if it
was a legit fight, but the biggest mark can tell there’s something amiss when
Mero throws out a high knee in the second round and starts choking Butterbean
behind the referee’s back with the tape that holds the ropes together.  They also didn’t bother to have any judges so
that’s another clue the fix is in.  They
book this to make Mero more of a jerk, but the whole exercise made Butterbean
look weak with his obviously pulled punches. 
That said, I would rather have seen Mero fight Butterbean at
WrestleMania XV than Bart Gunn since Mero was a Golden Gloves champion and
would have had a fighting chance.
Kevin Kelly is in
the WWF America Online center with Dude Love. 
I can’t help but have the old AOL dial tone go through my head right now.
The Artist
Formerly Known as Goldust comes out with Luna Vachon, with her leading him on a
leash.  He’s sporting a pink attire, pink
hair, and white face paint.  He reads Dr.
Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham until Luna pushes him down and drags him
away.  Really, really weird.
Cole interviews
the Legion of Doom and Hawk says that Road Dogg Jesse James and Bad Ass Billy
Gunn remind him of boogers in his nose. 
Was there a contest for oddest promo segment tonight?
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  “The Road Dogg”
Jesse James & “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn (Champions) defeat The Legion of Doom by
disqualification when Hawk blasts James and Gunn with a bucket at 10:35:
James and Gunn take stalling to a whole new level, as
they restart their ring entrance several times since the LOD won’t cede a clear
line of access into the ring.  The LOD
dominate until Gunn blasts Hawk with a cooler, which Lawler then completely
writes off by reminding the fans that it is just made out of styrofoam.  Neither team does anything to make this
interesting until the LOD prepare to give James a Doomsday Device, but Henry
Godwinn breaks it up by hitting Animal with a bucket.  That bucket eventually finds its way into
Hawk’s hands and like an idiot he hits the champions and nearly decks the referee
and gets his team disqualified.  So, what
is it going to take to end this awful LOD-Godwinns feud?  The tag division is really running on fumes
at this point and the LOD are clearly past their expiration date. Rating: 
DUD
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.
A video package
hypes the boot camp match between Sergeant Slaughter and Triple H
.
Cole interviews
Triple H and Chyna and Triple H is carrying a special “survival kit” for
tonight’s boot camp match that has a comb, depends, and some other geriatric
equipment.
Jim Cornette
interviews Sergeant Slaughter, who promises to beat Triple H up in the next
match.
Boot Camp
Match:  Triple H (w/Chyna) beats Sergeant
Slaughter with a Pedigree on a chair at 17:40:
This is actually Triple H’s first pay-per-view match in
the United States since becoming a member of D-Generation X.  Slaughter comes out to the Patriot’s theme
music, which is the theme later given to Kurt Angle.  A smart fan in the audience holds up a sign
that makes it onto camera in the early going that asks a great question:  “Who booked this?”  Slaughter is too old to give this a good
effort, as he is gingerly bumping around ringside and the crowd is dead
silent.  The bump of the match goes to
the guest timekeeper, who Helmsley takes out to get access to the ring
bell.  Even that generates very little
reaction.  By the way, Slaughter takes
off his belt to choke Helmsley early in the match, but that causes him to keep
pulling up his pants throughout this encounter. 
The only person getting anything resembling a reaction is Chyna, who
breaks up Slaughter’s Cobra Clutch and knocks out the referee.  Slaughter immobilizes her with powder to the
eyes and re-applies the Cobra Clutch, but Chyna breaks that up with a low blow,
and that leads to the end.  This was
meant to help get Triple H over, but that’s tough to do when no one cares about
the major storyline of Helmsley insulting Slaughter’s family.  I can’t believe someone thought it was a good
idea to give this eighteen minutes.  Rating: 
½*
Cole interviews
Jeff Jarrett, who says that he is ready for his return to the ring.
Jeff Jarrett
defeats The Undertaker by disqualification when Kane interferes and chokeslams
Jarrett at 6:53:
So this is the culmination of the “I’m not getting any
respect around here” storyline that Jarrett has been harping for weeks.  His entrance music is horrid, with some
generic music dubbed over by Jarrett talking about how great he is.  Definitely not one of Jim Johnston’s finer
works.  The Undertaker squashes Jarrett
for five minutes until Kane shows up and confronts his brother.  Kane strikes the Undertaker, but the
Undertaker refuses to retaliate and Kane leaves.  Jarrett tries to put the Undertaker in the
figure-four, but the Undertaker chokeslams him to get some of his heat
back.  As you can imagine, this did
nothing for Jarrett and he went back to his country music gimmick within the next
few months.  He didn’t really get a
reaction until Debra, who if you recall he blasted as a “dumb blonde” in his return promo, was brought into the company as his valet.  Rating:  ¼*
Cole interviews
Mark Henry, who is sitting with Milton Bradley executives.  Henry says he should return very soon to
in-ring competition and he wants Steve Austin to win the next match.
A video package
recaps the Steve Austin-Rock feud
.
Hendrix interviews
the Rock and the Nation of Domination. 
The only notable thing is that this is the first time that I remember
the Rock using the “People’s Eyebrow” in a promo.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve
Austin (Champion) beats The Rock (w/The Nation of Domination) with a Stone Cold
Stunner at 5:30:
After being in a coma for more than an hour, the crowd
wakes up for this one by showering the Rock with “Rocky sucks” chants and going
nuts for Austin.  This is the memorable
contest where Austin shows up in his Austin 3:16 pickup truck and proceeds to
beat up the entire Nation of Domination with it.  The crowd eats all of that up and thinks it’s
the greatest thing they’ve ever seen. 
You can tell that Austin is still working cautiously because of the neck
injury, though.  This is the match where
Austin started to show more of a brawling style and it is also the debut of the
Rock taking off his elbow pad for the People’s Elbow (which is not yet
named).  Austin accidentally gives the
referee a Stone Cold Stunner, but he isn’t disqualified and a second referee
counts the fall when the Rock takes a Stunner shortly thereafter.  A quick, entertaining match that provided a
small taste of things to come between these two.  Austin also has his Intercontinental title
belt back, but he’s well above the title at this point.  Rating:  **½
Kelly and the
Jackal hype the Superstar line some more.
A video package
hypes the Shawn Michaels-Ken Shamrock WWF title match.
Cornette
interviews Ken Shamrock, who says that he has a lot of experience in
pay-per-view fights and says Michaels will be squealing like a baby.
WWF Champion Shawn
Michaels cuts a generic promo on Shamrock. 
You can tell Michaels hard lifestyle is really starting to catch up with
him because he looks awful, much like he did in mid-1995.
WWF Championship
Match:  Ken Shamrock defeats “The
Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels (Champion w/D-Generation X) by disqualification
when DX interferes at 18:28:
This is Shamrock’s only main event title match during his
WWF tenure, which is somewhat surprising based on where his 1998 push seemed to
be taking him.  Despite being pushed hard
the last two months, with unofficial tap out wins over Bret Hart and Michaels,
Shamrock just doesn’t seem credible in this spot because of how he had been
booked up to that point.  I mean,
wrestling the British Bulldog, weaker parts of the Nation of Domination, beating
a depushed Vader, and making Billy Gunn tap out are hardly the accomplishments
of a top talent.  Michaels wrestles a
very toned down style in this match and it just doesn’t work against Shamrock,
who doesn’t have the moveset to keep the fans interested if Michaels stays
grounded.  DX’s interference doesn’t even
illicit much outrage, unless Chyna is the one doing the damage.  Shamrock counters Sweet Chin Music with a
belly-to-belly, but when he applies the ankle lock DX runs in and Michaels keeps
the title.  I hate disqualification finishes
in main event championship matches, especially because this didn’t lead to
Shamrock getting another title shot. 
Michaels also seemed to be going through the motions for whatever
reason.  Rating:  **½
After the match,
Michaels poses on the ring apron as DX beats on Shamrock, but he’s knocked off
and through a table by Owen Hart in street clothes and Owen pounds away until
DX gets near him and he flees through the crowd.  Unfortunately, this didn’t lead to anything
since Michaels and Austin did not want to work with Owen for separate, and
arguably justified, reasons.
The Final Report Card:  Owen’s return was a nice way to end the
pay-per-view, but this entire show was dull. 
All night long you sit through matches and you figure that Shawn
Michaels will put on a great performance in the main event and save the show,
but he comes out and gives a poor effort along with most of the roster.  Austin’s match with the Rock was the
highlight, but it was way too short and at the time I worried about Austin’s health
and if he’d ever be able to have 15-20 minute matches again and if not, how the
WWF was going to book around that.  This
show received the lowest buyrate of the year, which isn’t shocking since
Michaels-Shamrock seemed more of a RAW main event and the roster was really
weak at this time.  Yes, the future star
power was there, but it would take a few more months to take the New Age
Outlaws, Mick Foley, the Rock, Triple H, and others to a higher plane.
Attendance: 
6,538
Buyrate: 
0.44

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

What the World Was Watching: Survivor Series 1997

by Logan Scisco
Jim Ross &
Jerry “the King” Lawler are doing commentary tonight and they are live from
Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  This is the
first exclusive pay-per-view pairing of Ross and Lawler, as Vince McMahon has
given up regular commentary duties.

Opening
Contest:  “The Road Dogg” Jesse James,
“Bad Ass” Billy Gunn & The Godwinns defeat The Headbangers & The New
Blackjacks when James and Gunn are the survivors after Gunn pins Thrasher with
a flying leg drop at 15:25:
Other Eliminations:  Bradshaw pins Henry Godwinn with a cradle out
of an abdominal stretch at 3:51; Phineas Godwinn pins Barry Windham with a
lariat at 5:11; Gunn pins Mosh after countering a bulldog with an inverted slam
at 8:40; Thrasher pins Phineas with a Mosh Pit at 12:37; James pins Bradshaw
with a schoolboy at 13:44
This is the entire tag team division, Legion of Doom
excluded, as we approach the end of 1997 and when you look around it’s not that
surprising that the WWF was willing to give James and Gunn a run with the titles.  James and Gunn are actually the most over
team in the match, with Gunn booed heavily when he steps into the ring and
enduring some chants questioning his sexual preferences.  Gunn just rolls with it and gives the crowd a
one finger salute, only riling them up more. 
As it is, this match is just a vehicle to continue James & Gunn’s
rise through the tag division and give them a justification for facing the
Legion of Doom for the tag team titles later in the month.  The crowd isn’t into most of the guys in this
thing so it dies a slow and painful death and on a couple of eliminations it’s
not clear whether wrestlers are pinned or not. 
It reminds me of the accelerated Survivor Series tag match on the Free
for All the previous year.  Gunn
completely whiffs on his finishing move, which just makes it all worse.  Last year’s tag team opener with Furnas &
LaFon this wasn’t.  Rating:  DUD
Kevin Kelly and
Sunny tempt us to call the Superstar Line to find hear from the night’s winners
and losers.  I have a feeling that when
the real controversy broke out later in the evening that people were
flooding in calls, but they got little for their money.
The Truth
Commission beats The Disciples of Apocalypse when The Interrogator is the sole
survivor after pinning Crush with a sidewalk slam at 9:58:
Other Eliminations:  The Interrogator pins Chainz after a sidewalk
slam at 1:18; Skull pins the Jackal with a spinning sidewalk slam at 2:50;
Skull pins Recon after a lariat at 5:20; Sniper pins Skull with a bulldog at
6:29; The Interrogator pins 8-Ball with a sidewalk slam at 8:50; Crush pins
Sniper with a powerslam at 9:47
The good thing about the Survivor Series in this format
is that it allows you blow off factional feuds like this fairly easily.  The Truth Commission head into this at a
disadvantage because the Jackal has to wrestle to make this a true four-on-four
encounter and predictably, he’s the first man on his team to be
eliminated.  However, he just goes and
does commentary for the rest of the match, which has no heat.  On the bright side, if you love sidewalk
slams this is your match.  Before there
was the Great Khali you had the Interrogator, who was repackaged three
different times and failed to get over in any of those incarnations so
eventually the WWF let him go.  However,
this was at the time where they really wanted to make him the star of the
group, so regardless of the fact that the DOA were still cheered by parts of
the fan base, they are jobbed out again. 
By the way, this was Crush’s last WWF pay-per-view appearance before
jumping to WCW, thereby finishing up his run of futility with the company.  The reason this isn’t a DUD is that it kept a
pretty good pace.  Rating:  *
Fans share their
thoughts on who they think will win tonight’s championship match between Bret
Hart and Shawn Michaels.
Kelly hypes
America Online’s chat about the show. 
Steve Austin is participating in the chat and says that he is going
forward after his neck injury
.
Team USA (Vader,
Goldust, Marc Mero, and Steve Blackman) give a promo.  Blackman doesn’t relay much intensity, but
promo work was never his strong point.
Team Canada (The
British Bulldog, Jim Neidhart, Doug Furnas & Philip LaFon) sees Furnas
renounce his American citizenship.
Team Canada (The
British Bulldog, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, Doug Furnas & Philip LaFon)
beats Team USA (Vader, Goldust, Marc Mero & Steve Blackman w/Sable) when
the Bulldog is the sole survivor after pinning Vader after hitting him with the
ring bell at 17:46:
Other Eliminations:  Blackman gets counted out at 5:44; Vader pins
Neidhart after a splash at 7:31; Vader pins LaFon after a splash off the second
rope at 9:07; Furnas pins Mero with a rollup and holding the tights at 11:57;
Goldust gets counted out at 16:58; Vader pins Furnas after a Vader Bomb at
17:34
This is the blowoff for the 1997 feud between Canada and
the United States and it ends with more of a whimper than a bang.  The Patriot suffered a debilitating bicep
injury before the show, so he was penciled out and Blackman was put into the
match.  This is an odd match on paper
because Furnas and LaFon just returned and only one of the wrestlers on Team
Canada was actually born there, a fact that Ross brings up on commentary.  Team USA are the heels, but it’s nothing like
the dynamic that was present at Canadian Stampede four months prior.  The Bulldog does get a massive pop for
vertically suplexing Vader, though. 
Blackman is presented as the new “supreme fighting machine” (my words,
not the WWF’s) and his karate-style is put over strong and the heels have to
gang up to eliminate him.  Goldust is
brooding over family issues and has a broken hand so he refuses to tag in and
Vader tires of that and tosses him into the ring.  Goldust just decides to walk out after that,
which sets up a new feud with Vader and basically costs Team USA the
match.  The match had some fun moments, like
a great power match between Furnas and Vader, but when the Goldust-Vader issue
took over it limped over the finish line. 
Rating:  ***
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Ross and Lawler
talk to Jacquelin Cook, who won the Survivor Series Super Supper Sweepstakes so
she and ten friends can have dinner with a WWF superstar.  Luckily, she picks Steve Austin and not Bret
Hart for her dinner guest.
A long video
package hypes Kane-Mankind.
Mankind says that
the next match won’t be a wrestling match because it is going to be him against
a brick wall.
Kane (w/Paul
Bearer) beats Mankind with a Tombstone at 9:29:
I’m surprised that they didn’t put this match after the
first two in order to break up the string of Survivor Series matches.  Like Sin Cara and Glacier, Kane had special
lighting for his early matches, but it makes some spots on the arena floor hard
to see.  This is Kane’s first televised
singles match and Mankind takes his usual sick bumps to get him over.  Heading in, everyone knew who the winner of
this match would be, but Mankind gives this a good effort and produces a pretty
good David-Goliath struggle.  Rating: 
**½
Michael Cole
interviews Commissioner Slaughter and Vince McMahon.  Slaughter says security has been stepped up
in the backstage area and McMahon says that Bret-Michaels will hopefully happen
tonight, since it has been cancelled several times before.  Cole asks him who is going to win, as a wink
at the smart fans, to which McMahon replies “I don’t know” which leaves you
with the impression that something is wrong. 
It just feels eerie.
Dok Hendrix
interviews Ken Shamrock, Ahmed Johnson & The Legion of Doom.
Ken Shamrock,
Ahmed Johnson & The Legion of Doom defeat The Nation of Domination when
Shamrock is the sole survivor after making Rocky Maivia submit to the ankle
lock at 20:37:
Other Eliminations:  Rocky Maivia pins Hawk with a Rock Bottom at
2:15; Johnson eliminates Faarooq with a Pearl River Plunge at 4:39; Maivia pins
Johnson when Faarooq trips Johnson and holds his leg down at 6:18; Animal pins
Kama Mustafa with a schoolboy at 10:53; Animal gets counted out at 15:00; Shamrock
forces D-Lo Brown to submit to the ankle lock at 17:12
This Ahmed-Nation issue is a little out of hand, since
this feud has been going on since the summer of 1996.  I mean we have headed into Tito Santana-Rick
Martel territory here.  Ahmed gets a measure
of revenge on Faarooq by eliminating him, but Faarooq returns the favor and
they brawl to the locker room because the feud must continue!  After those sequences, the crowd completely
dies as Animal takes the offensive.  The
only thing that wakes them up from time to time is to taunt Maivia.  As the crowd works up a “Rocky’s gay” chant,
I have to wonder what future generations will think of these fans since it is
no longer acceptable to chant those things and how editing that stuff out will
butcher future releases of this show. 
Jesse James and Billy Gunn come out and get Animal eliminated, but don’t
fear because that allows Shamrock to mount the comeback and by proxy, build up
a feud with Maivia that will carry into 1998. 
This thing had a hot start, but completely died around the eight minute
mark.  Shamrock-Maivia brought it back at
the end, but it took forever to get there. 
Rating:  *½
Cole interviews
some fans about who is going to win the WWF championship match later tonight.
A video package hypes
Steve Austin-Owen Hart
.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve
Austin beats Owen Hart (Champion w/Team Canada) with a Stone Cold Stunner to
win the title at 4:01:
This is a weird dynamic for Austin’s return, since he’s
in hostile territory but he manages a mixed reaction to show how over he
is.  Jim Neidhart tries to attack Austin
before the bell, but eats a Stunner and that allows Owen to get the advantage.  Sensing trouble, Owen tries to get counted
out and when that doesn’t work he chokes Austin with a microphone cord and
tells the referee “disqualify me” and when the referee tells him no and to
break it, Owen says “NEVER!”  Shortly
after that, Austin gets Owen in the ring and then hits the Stunner and wins the
title.  Really awkward match to watch,
but Austin came back too quickly and was very fragile.  Also, if someone broke my neck in the ring I
wouldn’t want to be out there with them very long either.  Watching this at the time, though, I had a
lot of reservations about Austin’s future in-ring career.  Thankfully, those reservations proved to be
unfounded, at least in the short term.  Rating: 
A video package
hypes Bret Hart-Shawn Michaels
.
WWF Championship
Match:  “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn
Michaels (European Champion) beats Bret “the Hitman” Hart (Champion) when Bret
submits to the Sharpshooter to win the title at 11:00:
Well, this is the infamous “Montreal Screwjob” whereby
Bret refused to lose to Michaels in Montreal and instead of running with the
agreed upon finish, which was a double disqualification, Vince McMahon had
referee Earl Hebner ring the bell when Michaels had Bret in the Sharpshooter to
cause a title change.  While this match
is tough to watch as a Bret fan, I do believe that McMahon and crew were justified
in what they did because it made no sense to have Bret forfeit the belt and
head to WCW as an undefeated champion. 
They couldn’t have run Michaels-Bret on RAW and had a title switch
there, which would have cheated the paying pay-per-view customers, so that was
off the table.  You can sense the
frustration that the WWF booking staff felt if you watch Jim Cornette’s 1997
Timeline shoot interview, as he says it was chaos trying to come up with a
reasonable finish for the match.  In the
end, all parties are to blame for what unfolded, some more than others.  Watching this match fifteen years later, with
the entrances showing both guys coming to the ring from their locker rooms, it
feels a lot like a funeral to the “Bret Hart” era that has existed in the company
since he won the WWF title in 1992.  This
match is probably the most controversial and arguably most significant match in
wrestling history, as it generated some of the momentum that led to the WWF
overtaking WCW, helped cement Vince McMahon’s status as a heel, and it still
generates a great deal of debate today.  There
is some nice continuity in the sense that five years ago when these two faced off
at the Survivor Series they both had singles titles, with Bret as the WWF
champion and Michaels as the Intercontinental champion.  As a match, it is actually a good prelude to
the Austin era since they brawl into the crowd and up the aisle before the
official bell.  The pacing is a little
slower than usual and there is only one near-fall, which might be owed to Bret
being paranoid about a fast count finish. 
It’s a little weird to rate this match, since the screwjob ended it
abruptly and before it was supposed to, but I guess you have to work with what
you have.  Rating:  ***
The Final Report Card:  The only real appeal of this show is the
screwjob, but if you hope to see any extracurriculars after the bell rings then
you aren’t going to get them on the Coliseum Video release, as the show ended
very quickly after the bell and missed Bret Hart destroying equipment and
everything else.  This is a show that you
can easily bypass as it has little redeeming value outside of the legacy of the
main event.  In fact, I would say it’s
the worst Survivor Series up to this point.
Attendance: 
20,593
Buyrate: 
0.89

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – October 27, 1997

by Logan Scisco

Vince McMahon and
Jim Ross are in the booth and they are taped from Tulsa, Oklahoma
.
McMahon interviews
the Nation of Domination and apologizes for the racist slogans posted in their
locker room last week.  That’s not good enough
for Faarooq, who says that it does not make up for 400 years of racism in the
United States.  Rocky Maivia takes the
mic as McMahon is ushered out of the ring and warns the Hart Foundation that
they have created a race war with the Nation and Faarooq challenges them to a
match next week.  The Hart Foundation
comes out and Bret accepts the challenge, says there is no racial prejudice in
Canada, and tells Faarooq that D-Generation X is to blame for their problems.  DX comes on the Titantron and makes some Ku
Klux Klan references and says that they heard the Harts use the “n-word” and
that leads to the Nation beating down the Harts on the ramp.  Bret seems to have suffered an ankle injury
in the melee, which bodes poorly for his title defense against Ken Shamrock
tonight.
A clip of Bret
Hart on Mad TV is shown.

Opening
Contest:  Triple H (w/D-Generation X)
beats Goldust (w/Marlena) with the Pedigree at 5:36:
Rude does Helmsley’s announcing duties and lets us know
that Helmsley is the “future of the World Wrestling Federation.”  Helmsley’s theme music is in need of an
overhaul since he’s still using Ode to Joy, which does not fit the group.  Michaels does commentary, but says little of
note.  Chyna works in her usual
interference by slamming Goldust on the entrance ramp when he ends up outside
of the ring and Marlena gets in some interference by slapping Helmsley later in
the match.  However, when Marlena is
working in these blows, Chyna gets into the ring and clocks Goldust with
Marlena’s purse and the rest is academic. 
This is probably the best Goldust-Helmsley match since they had to work
a faster pace under the TV time constraints. 
After the match, Michaels tells McMahon and Ross to “suck it” and
McMahon is not happy about that.  Rating: 
**
Jim Cornette rants
against the cage match WCW put on at Halloween Havoc between Hulk Hogan and
Roddy Piper.  There’s no real point in
this and it’s the weakest of Cornette’s rants so far.
A small video
package shows highlights of a presentation of Oklahoma wrestling legends like
Jim Ross, Bill Watts, Jack and Gerald Brisco, and Danny Hodge that happened in
the show.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  Ahmed Johnson
defeats Owen Hart (Champion) by disqualification when Steve Austin interferes
at 6:19 shown:
Ahmed was in a gray area at this stage of his WWF career
because he could not be legitimately reduced to jobber status, but he was
nowhere near the heights he achieved in 1996. 
Ahmed proceeds to dominate Owen in this plodding match, which the Nation
of Domination comes out to watch, and you can tell that he is making an effort
to work a less stiff style.  Ahmed hits a
spinebuster, but Steve Austin runs in through the crowd and gives him a Stone
Cold Stunner and Owen retains the title heading into Survivor Series.  Rating:  ½*
Call 1-900-7374WWF
to find out who the three superstars were that did not make it to the WWF’s
recent European tour!
Ross interviews
Mankind, who says Dude Love just wanted to have fun and he thought he had a
truce with Paul Bearer for both of them to leave each other alone.  He says he will retaliate by making Paul
Bearer’s life a living hell and will complicate Kane’s path towards the
Undertaker.  Commissioner Slaughter comes
out and says that he will not sanction Mankind’s match with Kane at Survivor
Series, so Mankind puts Slaughter in the Mandible Claw.  Mankind had absolutely no chance of beating
Kane at Survivor Series, but this was a good promo that made you want to see
the match.  It’s also been a bad couple
of months on the job for Slaughter thus far.
A video package
hypes the Bret Hart-Ken Shamrock WWF title match on tonight’s show
.
WWF Championship
Match:  Bret “the Hitman” Hart (Champion)
wrestles Ken Shamrock to a no contest at 10:31 shown:
Again, Montreal did not have to happen as they could have
done a title switch here if they wanted to get the belt off of Bret.  I like to think of this as a continuation of
the issue between these two from WrestleMania XIII, but the announcers don’t
reference that.  Bret works the leg for a
long time and Shamrock does a good job selling the damage.  Shamrock has an excellent ankle lock counter
to the Sharpshooter, but Earl Hebner gets bumped during that and is not there
to register Bret tapping out.  Bret
proceeds to nail Shamrock with a chair and apply the Sharpshooter, but Shawn
Michaels runs in and blasts Bret with Sweet Chin Music.  Shamrock doesn’t appreciate this and snaps on
Michaels and WWF officials run into the ring to put an end to this.  That just leads to Bret attacking Michaels,
as another referee tends to Hebner who is still down from a slight nudge during
that Sharpshooter counter.  Shamrock
still lacked a strong character at this time and if this match happened a
couple of years later it would have been much better.  Rating:  **½
WWF Champion Bret
Hart tells the announcers that after the Survivor Series he isn’t going to have
to worry about Shawn Michaels anymore. 
That’s true in more ways than one.
-“The Road Dogg”
Jesse James & “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn beat The New Blackjacks when James pins
Bradshaw after Gunn hits Bradshaw with a chair at 2:14:
McMahon reminds viewers during this match that they can
watch Hulk Hogan fight the Undertaker on the Survivor Series flashback special
tomorrow night, which he promises is not “another bad Hulk Hogan movie.”  It’s also fitting that the WWF picked a
Survivor Series match that Hogan lost. 
McMahon also tells viewers that Gorilla Monsoon is very sick and in the
hospital, which was when Monsoon was diagnosed with cancer.  This is an abbreviated match where James and
Gunn steal another win and continue to move up the tag team ranks.
After the match, a
brawl breaks out between James, Gunn, and the Blackjacks and James and Gunn
tear about the Blackjacks cowboy hats after the Godwinns and Headbangers
interject themselves.  This is to hype a
Survivor Series match between these teams at the pay-per-view
.
Kane and Paul
Bearer come out and Bearer rants some more against the Undertaker.  They also accept Mankind’s challenge for the
Survivor Series
.
D-Generation X
cuts a promo where Shawn Michaels moons Bret Hart.  Again, McMahon expresses his disgust.
Marc Mero
(w/Sable) beats Flash Funk with the TKO at 3:48:
Mero’s comeback continues in this match, but Funk gives him
all that he can handle.  Mero brings back
the Merosault, but it just does not fit well the rest of his offense.  Funk hits a moonsault for two, but Mero hits
a low blow behind the referee’s back like his match last week against Brian
Christopher and then finishes Funk off. 
The only thing that the crowd cared about was Sable.  Rating:  *¾
Ross interviews
Jeff Jarrett, who says that he left the WWF in 1995 because Vince McMahon put
limitations on him.  He says he had no
chance of advancement in WCW because he was not one of Eric Bischoff’s
boys.  He points out that the WWF shows
have great action from beginning to end, but WCW does not have that.  Jarrett might have wanted to look at this
video before he decided to ditch the WWF and head to WCW’s sinking ship in
1999.
The Road Dogg and
Billy Gunn come down to ringside, playing with the pieces of the New Blackjacks
cowboys hats that they destroyed earlier in the show.  They refuse to tell Ross why they have an
interest in the next contest.
Non-Title
Match:  The Legion of Doom (WWF Tag Team
Champions) beat Savio Vega & Miguel Perez (w/Los Boricuas) when Hawk pinned
Perez after the Road Dogg tripped him at 2:49:
It doesn’t take long for the Road Dogg and Gunn to steal
the LOD’s shoulder pads and they put them on and do a pose down.  What’s puzzling is that all of this happens
and Animal just sits on the apron and does nothing.  The match slowly unfolds until the Road Dogg
tries to trip Hawk, but accidentally trips Perez, and Dogg and Gunn run away
with the LOD’s shoulder pads.  I’m
surprised that the company never really got behind Savio and Perez as a tag
team threat because both were quite proficient in the ring.  They were just tossed into a terrible stable.
Ahmed Johnson
tells Steve Austin has entered his zone and it is his time to score on Austin
in his zone and get him.
Tune in next week
to see the beginning of the light heavyweight championship tournament and hear
more comments from Jeff Jarrett!  Also,
Steve Austin will be here!
The Final Report Card:  The entire month has been filled with
anti-WCW attacks, but it’s not showing any significant gains in the ratings of
the company or filling the bottom line. 
As was the case with most of the taped RAWs, this one lacked the
atmosphere of the live episodes and the show really died after
Bret-Shamrock.  Still, the first hour was
strong enough to warrant a neutral rating and by the same token, at least the
booking staff is giving most people in the company something to do.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.3 (vs. 4.3 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Neutral

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – October 20, 1997

by Logan Scisco
Vince McMahon, Jim
Ross, and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
.

Opening
Contest:  Rocky Maivia & Kama Mustafa
(w/Faarooq & D-Lo Brown) defeat Ahmed Johnson & Ken Shamrock (w/The
Legion of Doom) when Maivia pins Shamrock after Faarooq hits Shamrock with Rick
Rude’s briefcase at 6:44:
As the match gets underway, D-Generation X comes out to
sit by the entrance and they showcase signs that read “Spank Me Vince,” “Who
Booked this Crap?,” and “I’d Rather be in Chyna.”  One of them is the non-politically correct
“Uncle Tom 3:16”, which I’m surprised they didn’t catch a great deal of heat
for.  The crowd is hot for this and
Maivia and Shamrock have a good exchange in a small preview of what is to come
in their 1998 feud.  Faarooq spends much
of the match talking with Rick Rude and Kama forgets to nail Shamrock when he
runs the ropes to trigger the initial finishing sequence and all of this
results in a small upset for the Nation. 
Rating:  *¾
After the match, Ahmed goes after the Nation
and gets beaten down and the Legion of Doom just casually walk to aid him
before they are intercepted by WWF officials. Then out of nowhere the Godwinns
jump onto the entrance ramp and attack the LOD with garbage cans.
McMahon says that
tonight a former WCW champion will be with us tonight
.
Michael Cole is in
the locker room and shows us the Nation of Domination’s locker room, which has
been painted with anti-black graffiti.  A
Canadian flag is left behind, along with a “Canada rules,” which is meant to
implicate the Hart Foundation.  THIS did
get the company in hot water with civil rights groups if I remember correctly.
The Nation come
out and get in McMahon’s face about the graffiti in their locker room and
allege that he is a racist and is running a racist company.  Faarooq gives his pro-black message and
demands that WWF Champion Bret Hart come and face him immediately, despite
their match being booked for later in the evening.
Non-Title Match:  Bret “the Hitman” Hart (WWF Champion w/The
Hart Foundation) pins Faarooq (w/The Nation of Domination) after Steve Austin
gives Faarooq a Stone Cold Stunner at 5:12 shown:
D-Generation X quickly makes their presence felt and
Shawn Michaels accuses him of being a racist on commentary.  Bret goes after Michaels, but he is
restrained by the Nation and that leads to a brawl between the Nation and the
Hart Foundation at ringside.  Bret works
the leg, but when he goes for the ring post figure-four the Nation attacks
him.  In the midst of the chaos, Steve
Austin comes into the ring and attacks Faarooq to a nuclear crowd reaction and
that enables Bret to pick up a cheap win. 
The match was butchered by the commercial and extra curriculars and
Austin’s interference adds an extra ½ to it. 
Rating:  *½
The 1997 edition
of the Milton Bradley Karate Fighters Holiday Tournament is previewed by Kevin
Kelly and Grandmaster Robbie.  Next week
will be the first match of the tournament between Jerry Lawler and Brian Christopher.
Jeff Jarrett comes
out, thereby making his return to the company, and says that since we refused
to resign with WCW, Eric Bischoff tried to bury him.  He says that WCW put a lid on his potential
and he criticizes being placed with “an ex-football player’s ex-wife that
defines dumb blonde.”  He runs down his
old WWF country music gimmick and McMahon’s handling of his career.  He then runs down Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels,
and Steve Austin.  This “shoot” promo
might mean more if Jarrett was as valuable to the wrestling business as he
thinks he is.  None of this would amount
to much since Jarrett would soon go back to his old country music gimmick and
would be partnered with Debra when she came to the WWF.  In fact, it actually hurt Jarrett in 1999 since
Austin refused to work a main event program with him because Jarrett called the
3:16 part of Austin’s gimmick “blasphemous.” 
Austin rightly worried that Jarrett’s comments could have led to a
Christian boycott of the WWF and derailed his push.
Marc Mero
(w/Sable) defeats “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher with a TKO at 4:11:
This match begins the “Mero is jealous of Sable”
storyline, as Lawler puts a Steve Austin hat on Sable during the match and when
Mero sees it he takes it off of her face and throws it into the crowd.  Aside from that, this match is okay but no
one cares about it.  Mero uses a low blow
to set up the TKO, thereby showing that he is moving away from his babyface
roots.  Rating:  *½
The announcers
hype the house show circuit
.
A video package
hypes the title for title match between Shawn Michaels and Owen Hart.  It recounts the enziguri incident with Shawn
Michaels and the SummerSlam piledriver on Steve Austin.
Title for
Title:  “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn
Michaels (European Champion) wrestles Owen Hart (Intercontinental Champion) to
a disqualification at 6:20 shown:
Owen challenges Michaels to leave his crew backstage and
Michaels agrees.  Michaels gives Owen a
piledriver on the arena floor, which would have meant Owen’s career was over in
Memphis, but he rallies with his belly-to-belly suplex.  I hate when big moves like that are done on
the arena floor since by wrestling standards moves on the arena floor are ten
times as devastating as those done in the ring. 
This is an interesting match from a crowd reaction perspective because
they don’t necessarily care for Michaels, but they don’t like Owen either.  Owen counters Sweet Chin Music with the
enziguri, but Steve Austin comes out from the crowd.  The referee makes the mistake of getting in
his way and eats a Stunner and Michaels KO’s Owen with the Sweet Chin Music,
which leads to Bret running out to tear apart Michaels and this is thrown
out.  Owen-Michaels is always a great
match, but they just didn’t have the time to take this to another level.  Rating:  **½
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to hear another one of Jim Cornette’s rants!
The Undertaker in
a pre-taped segment says that he has carried the grief of his family for a long
time and argues that Paul Bearer has poisoned Kane’s mind.  He promises to never fight Kane.
The next match is
scheduled to be the British Bulldog against Dude Love, but Kane interrupts
after Love’s entrance.  Love clotheslines
Kane over the top rope and hits him with a chair, but Kane barely sells it and
chokeslams Love twice on the entrance ramp. 
This lays the foundation for a Kane-Foley match at Survivor Series.
“The Road Dogg”
Jesse James & “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn defeat The Headbangers when James pins
Thrasher after Gunn hits Thrasher with a boom box at 4:05:
Road Dogg cuts a promo to introduce himself and “Bad Ass”
Billy Gunn.  Gunn’s attire is something
like Taka Michinoku would wear, but it at least gets him away from the cowboy
gimmick he has been sporting in some fashion since 1993.  If you are looking for some trademark New Age
Outlaws spots you aren’t going to get them in this match since this is one of
the formative outings of the team and they are still working out the
gimmick.  The Headbangers look to have
the match in hand, but Gunn smashes Thrasher over the head with a boom box that
explodes on impact, thereby putting some of those Paul E. Dangerously cell
phone shots to shame, and the soon to be named Outlaws pick up a win over
former tag team champions.  A really
boring match until the finish and you would think from the ring work that the
Outlaws weren’t going anywhere, but James’ mic work put the team on the
map.  Rating:  *
Marc Mero giving
the TKO to a jobber on Shotgun Saturday Night is the Lazer Tag Slam of the
Week.
Bret Hart’s
appearance on Mad TV is shown
.
Sunny comes out to
be the guest ring announcer for the next match
.
Footage of Taka
Michinoku signing a long-term contract with the WWF is shown.  Could they do anything more to telegraph the
fact that this guy was going to be the light heavyweight champion?
Light Heavyweight
Exhibition:  Taka Michinoku beats Tajiri
with a Michinoku Driver at 2:52:
Tajiri gets the jobber entrance.  Ross finally gives us a date for the
beginning of the light heavyweight championship tournament, which will kick off
on the November 3rd edition of Monday Night Raw.  Tajiri folds Michinoku up like an accordion
on a sit out powerbomb and the two proceed to put most of the light heavyweight
matches done so far to shame.  They work
a fast match, which has the predictable finish, but the WWF just didn’t know
what they had with Tajiri at this stage of his career.
Jim Cornette reads
some fan comments about his rant against Phil Mushnick last week.  He urges fans to make their voice heard and
McMahon tells fans to write to TV Guide and voice their displeasure with Phil
Mushnick
.
Footage of the
Godwinns losing the tag team championships to the Legion of Doom last week is
shown, along with their beating of Uncle Cletus.
The Godwinns are
scheduled to face the Disciples of Apocalypse, but the DOA do a four-on-two
attack on the Godwinns before the Truth Commission comes to the Godwinns aid to
continue their feud.
Mankind cuts a
promo from the arena boiler room, where he says that he is the master of mayhem
and if the Undertaker will not fight against his own brother then he will.
Tune in next week
to see Bret Hart defend the WWF title against Ken Shamrock!  See, they didn’t have to do Montreal unless
they really wanted to.
The Final Report Card:  This episode was a version of crash TV as
tons of different angles fly at the audience from all kinds of different
directions, but it made for a quick and enjoyable show.  The matches were brief and not very exciting
outside of the light heavyweight exhibition and Shawn-Owen, but everyone has
something to do and that keeps you invested in the non-main event matches.
Monday Night Raw Rating:  2.9 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up