What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – June 1, 1998

by Logan Scisco


Vince McMahon
narrates a video package where he hilariously says that last night’s WWF title
match was fair, that Dude Love lost because of his own incompetent, and Austin
will go down as one of the most “cold hearted” WWF superstars of all-time after
last night.  Imagine Vince’s crazy
Survivor Series lead-in packages and that’s what this was all about
.
Jim Ross and
Michael Cole are in the booth and they are live from Chicago, Illinois.

Mick Foley, still
displaying parts of the Dude Love persona, kicks off the broadcast sitting in a
chair in the middle of the ring and admits that Steve Austin kicked his ass
last night at Over the Edge.  He calls
out Vince McMahon and apologies to him for letting him down, but hopes he can
still be the number one contender after the great match he had last night.  McMahon demands that Foley get on his knees if
he wants to apologize, but Foley refuses and admits that hitting McMahon with a
chair last night felt good.  McMahon
dares Foley hit him with a chair again, but makes clear that doing so will risk
his financial future.  After Foley backs
down, McMahon announces that Foley’s services are no longer required because
where Steve Austin makes him money, Foley just makes him sick.  The Dude Love theme plays and McMahon dances around
Foley.  Segments like this are why the Mr.
McMahon persona has a claim as the greatest heel of all time and this exposes
the Big Show-Authority debacle earlier in the year as awful.  1 for
1
LOD 2000, Darren
Drozdov, and Sunny are shown waiting backstage for the Disciples of Apocalypse
because they are having a Chicago street fight against them tonight.
Opening Chicago
Street Fight:  LOD 2000 & Darren
Drozdov (w/Sunny) battle The Disciples of Apocalypse to a no contest at 4:04:
This entire match unfolds by the arena entrance and its
lots of mindless garbage brawling.  It
devolves into a war of attrition as the LOD and Skull and 8-Ball take each
other out, leaving Chainz and Droz brawling alone.  Their brawl causes them to collide with the
Undertaker, who is entering the arena, and he lays them both out.  Well, that was a big waste of time.  Rating:  ¼* (1 for 2)
The Undertaker is
shown interrogating people in the backstage area about Vince McMahon’s
whereabouts.
Val Venis pins
Papi Chulo with the Money Shot at 3:36:
Papi Chulo is Aguila without the mask since the light
heavyweight division doesn’t matter anymore. 
Chulo gets in a few token moves, but this is a squash to continue
building up Venis.  This did a better job
showcasing Venis’s skills than his debut against 2 Cold Scorpio.  2 for 3
Call 815-734-1161
to get your “Don’t Trust Anybody” Steve Austin t-shirt for $25 (plus $6
shipping & handling)!
The Undertaker is
in the ring after the commercial break cuts arguably his best promo about how
Vince McMahon took advantage of his loyalty to the company and made him squash
giants to protect himself and his handpicked champions.  He claims that McMahon does not want him
representing the company and demands a WWF title shot.  McMahon comes out, riles the Undertaker up,
and books him tonight in a number one contender’s match against Kane.
The Undertaker’s
chokeslam of Pat Patterson through an announce table at Over the Edge is the
JVC Kaboom! of the Week.  Patterson
deserved some type of financial bonus for taking that bump because he
completely laid out for it.
The announce crew
recaps what happened in the Sable-Marc Mero match last night at Over the Edge.
King of the Ring
Qualifying Match:  “Marvelous” Marc Mero (w/Jacqueline)
beats “The Lethal Weapon” Steve Blackman with the Wild Thing at 2:55:
This is our first qualifying match for the 1998 King of
the Ring Tournament and this year’s tournament, like previous years, will see
the semi-finals showcased on pay-per-view. 
Since that’s the case, I’m not sure why they continue to call these
qualifying matches as opposed to first round matches.  Anyway, before the match, Mero introduces
Jacqueline, known to USWA fans as Miss Texas, as his new valet.  Jacqueline distracts the referee to help Mero
hit his usual low blow, but Mero finishes Blackman with the Wild Thing instead
of the TKO.  In a funny spot, Cole yells “TKO!”
after Mero hits a Samoan Drop before the Wild Thing and Ross has to correct
him.  Cole also can’t remember whether it
has been years or months since the Wild Thing was last used by Mero.  Is this match a sign of a new push for Mero?  Time will tell as Mero now moves on to face
either Jeff Jarrett or Faarooq in the first round.
Steve Austin’s
appearance of Madcow’s radio show is shown.
Edge’s new
vignette announces that he is both light and dark, nothing and everything, as
well as everywhere and invisibile.
Jerry “the King”
Lawler joins Ross for hour two.
Six-Man
Elimination Match:  The Rock, Owen Hart
& D-Lo Brown beats Triple H & The New Age Outlaws when Owen Hart
becomes the sole survivor after Ken Shamrock interferes at 7:28 shown:
Previous
Eliminations:  Billy Gunn pins D-Lo Brown
with a piledriver at 1:29; The Rock pins The Road Dogg with a Rock Bottom at
2:25; Owen Hart pins Billy Gunn with a spinning heel kick at 3:47; Triple H
pins the Rock with a Pedigree at 6:56
Commissioner Slaughter does his overdone shtick of
sending Chyna, X-Pac, Kama Mustafa, and Mark Henry to the locker room before
this match.  Chyna is allowed to come
back down to the ring after Triple H is left against Owen and the Rock, which
makes no sense, and she distracts Owen to facilitate the Rock’s
elimination.  However, we don’t get
another chapter of Triple H-Owen as Ken Shamrock attacks Owen for a big pop.  Yet another example of how feuds carefully
overlapped during the Attitude Era and made weekly television exciting.  I am a mark for elimination matches, but the
eliminations in this happened too quickly for TV time constraints.  The crowd was buzzing for the whole match,
though.  Rating:  **½ (3 for 4)
After the bell,
the Nation of Domination attacks Shamrock and Dan Severn makes the save.  Shamrock and Severn have a brief staredown,
which excites the Chicago crowd, but they do not physically engage.  After Severn leaves, Triple H attacks
Shamrock when it is announced that Owen won by disqualification and WWF officials
have to separate them.
Vince McMahon is
shown shaking hands with Kane in the locker room as Paul Bearer looks on
approvingly.
Tennessee Lee
introduces his newest tag team, Southern Justice, who are the Godwinns in
suits.  Their purpose is to serve as Jeff
Jarrett’s backup.
King of the Ring
Qualifying Match:  “Double J” Jeff
Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee & Southern Justice) beats Faarooq after hitting
Faarooq with a belt buckle at 3:21:
The Chicago crowd works up a mocking “We want Flair!”
chant at Jarrett early in this bout. 
Once Southern Justice were welcomed out this match ceased to have much
suspense.  As I said in the Over the Edge
review, Faarooq has very little identity as a face, even more so now that his
feud with the Nation has died off, so Jarrett going over in this bad match is
the right call here.  Rating: 
* (3 for 5)
A video package
hypes the charity work of the McMahon family. 
This would have made a great campaign commercial for Linda’s Senate
campaign.
WWF Light
Heavyweight Championship Match:  Taka
Michinoku (w/Bradshaw) defeats Funaki (w/Kaientai) with the Michinoku Driver at
3:11:
I bet Dick Togo was angry that he did not get a title
shot after taking Michinoku to the limit on last week’s show.  Al Snow makes an appearance at ringside,
dressed in stereotypical Japanese clothing and posing as a ringside photographer,
but he is soon evicted.  A fun, fast
paced match between these two that is a breath of fresh air after the last
bout.  It’s just a shame that Michinoku
didn’t get to wrestle the members of Kaientai in longer singles matches on RAW.  Rating:  **¼ (4 for 6)
Paul Bearer tells
Jim Ross from the backstage area that his son is bound to be WWF champion and
he can defeat the Undertaker on tonight’s show
.
Al Snow yells at
the Head in the parking lot for causing them to get evicted from the show.
Vince McMahon
comes by to do commentary duties with Ross and Lawler for the rest of the show.
King of the Ring
Qualifying Match:  Mark Henry pins Terry
Funk with a splash at 4:54:
Despite being in the company since 1996, Henry only has a
handful of RAW in-ring appearances to his credit because of injuries.  Funk does a fantastic job walking him through
his match, which features Funk using everything he knows, from chairs to an
Asai moonsault to take the bigger Henry down and failing in the end due to age
and Henry’s brute strength.  I probably
overrated this, but I enjoyed the story it told, which was better than any
other match that has been on the show tonight. 
Rating:  *** (5 for 7)
WWF Champion Steve
Austin comes out to do commentary for the next match with Ross, Lawler, and
McMahon.
#1 Contender’s
Match for the WWF Championship:  Kane
(w/Paul Bearer) defeats The Undertaker with a Tombstone after Mankind
interferes at 6:27:
In terms of wins and losses, it is really unfair to make
the Undertaker beat Kane for a third time to get a title show since he beat him
at WrestleMania and in an Inferno Match at Unforgiven.  It’s sort of like how it is tough for a
sports team to beat another team three times in the course of a season.  It’s funny to hear McMahon question whether
the Undertaker is too old in this match and he and Austin have some
entertaining banter on commentary, although it comes close to overwhelming the
match.  Forced to work at a faster pace
for television, this is the best encounter between these two so far and Kane
gets the title shot at the King of the Ring thanks to Mick Foley’s
interference.  Rating:  **½ (6 for 8)
After the match,
Kane looks over Austin at the announce table and Austin takes exception to that
and the crowd wants a brawl.  However,
Kane just motions that the title will soon be around his waist and his pyro
goes off as he walks to the back.  The
Undertaker revives and fights with Mankind and that convinces Vince McMahon to
tell Ross that he might just rehire Foley since he is showing him some guts.
The Final Report Card:  This was
Chicago, so a hot crowd could be expected, but the crowd heat for the entire
show was off the charts and the WWE would kill for a crowd like this
today.  It’s a testament to how well the entire card has been built from the recently debuted Val Venis all
the way to Austin.  Vince McMahon’s awesome character also carried the first hour of the show and properly advanced the major angles.  The ending was not as
hot as previous RAWs and they would have been better served just having the
Undertaker and Mankind brawl to the back than staging an average brawl around
the ring as the show played out, but that’s a minor complaint.  EASY thumbs up this week.

Monday Night War Rating:  4.4 (vs. 3.7 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

by Logan Scisco

This was a
Saturday edition of RAW because RAW was pre-empted by the Westminster Dog Show.
Jim Ross, Kevin
Kelly, and Michael Cole are doing commentary and they are taped in Dallas,
Texas.  This show is where the WWF
scratch logo made its debut.

Opening
Contest:  The Quebecers beat The Legion
of Doom by count out at 6:13:
About four minutes into this slow match, the New Age
Outlaws come out with a dumpster, attack Hawk, and slam him into it.  This creates a handicap match and when Animal
spots what has happened to Hawk, he runs off the New Age Outlaws with a chair,
but this causes the Legion of Doom to get counted out and lose the match.  Unimpressive contest that was dying before
the Outlaws came out.  Do we really need
another Legion of Doom-Outlaws feud?  Rating: 
* (0 for 1)
Ross says that
D-Generation X is threatening a lawsuit toward Steve Austin because of what he
did to Chyna at No Way Out.  The ground
for the lawsuit is emotional distress.  A
video package is aired to hype Chyna.  DX
will give more details about the lawsuit on Monday.
Ken Shamrock
defeats Sniper (w/Recon) via submission to the ankle lock at 5:15:
The Jackyl is on commentary and Sniper controls much of
the match since he and Recon make this a two-on-one contest behind the
referee’s back.  However, Shamrock makes
the comeback out of nowhere and secures the victory.  A tolerable match, but it is surprising that
they let Sniper get in so much offense here, as this should have been an easy
squash for Shamrock.  Rating: 
*½ (1 for 2)
After the match,
Shamrock gives Recon a belly-to-belly suplex and the Jackyl berates Sniper for
his loss.  The Jackyl slaps Sniper and
Sniper walks out when the Jackyl turns his back to him in the ring.
Call 1-900-737-4WWF
to hear more about D-Generation X’s lawsuit, the WWF injury report, and what
celebrities will be at WrestleMania!
Recon tells the
announcers that there is no communication breakdown in the Truth Commission,
but Sniper says that is incorrect and they need to go it alone as a team.  He throws a chair into a locker to make his
point
.
Jerry Lawler
interviews Marc Mero and Sable, with Sable refusing to wear her Marvelous Marc
Mero jacket.  Mero says he’s tired of
being the “Bad man,” which is an inside joke at his Johnny B. Badd persona, and
he blames Sable for trying to become the star of their partnership.  Mero says that Sable can’t win wrestling
matches and that he fell down when Sable pushed him at No Way Out because he
tripped.  A man brings Sable flowers and
Mero demands to know who her secret admirer is, but she just walks off.  A good segment due to Mero’s good promo work (2 for 3)
Jim Cornette
complains that the fans are booing the great wrestling of the National
Wrestling Alliance and he says that the NWA will show people what they are
supposed to like.  He hypes the Rock N’
Roll Express defending the NWA World Tag Team titles against the Headbangers,
which will be officiated by Tommy Young. 
Cornette warns Vince McMahon that the NWA is going to take over, which
made the NWA angle seem like a poor man’s version of the NWO.  There really aren’t bad Cornette promos at
this time, though.  (3 for 4)
NWA World Tag
Team Championship Match:  The Rock N’
Roll Express (Champions w/Jim Cornette) beat The Headbangers by
disqualification at 4:03:
I had forgotten that Tommy Young came in as the NWA’s
special referee during this angle.  It is
also humorous that the WWF decided to give the Rock N’ Roll Express the Rockers
old theme music and not create another theme for them.  This does not say much for the NWA World Tag
Team titles when the Headbangers are getting a shot, since they are on the
bottom of the WWF pecking order.  The Express
really do not have the chops to produce great matches at this point and the
Headbangers appear to have the titles won after they hit Ricky Morton with a
Stage Dive.  However, Mosh throws Robert
Gibson over the top rope that gets the Express a cheap win.  Awful match, but the finish was a nice way to
get cheap heat with the WWF audience. 
Unfortunately, people need to care about the NWA to make that
happen.  Rating:  ½* (3 for 5)
We enter hour two,
so Lawler takes over commentary duties for Kelly and Cole
.
Andre the Giant
choking Bob Uecker at WrestleMania IV is the M&M WrestleMania Millennium
Moment.
Ross interviews
Steve Austin, who says that he gave Chyna a Stone Cold Stunner because she
messed with him.  He says he wants Shawn
Michaels at his best for WrestleMania because he wants to kick his ass.  He warns Mike Tyson to keep out of his
business at WrestleMania or his gold tooth will find its way into a necklace,
bracelet, or ring that he will proudly wear. 
Good promo to keep the WrestleMania build going (4 for 6)
-European
Championship Match:  Owen Hart (Champion)
beats Jeff Jarrett (NWA North American Champion w/Jim Cornette) by
disqualification when Cornette interferes at 5:28:
These two have a lingering issue from the Royal Rumble,
where Jarrett randomly attacked Owen for no reason, but the commentators do not
discuss that.  This is the technically
proficient match that you would expect and they give Owen the disqualification
victory when Cornette runs in to break up the Sharpshooter.  In a wink at older fans, Owen puts Cornette,
his old manager, in the Sharpshooter and forces Jarrett and Cornette to
flee.  Rating:  ** (5 for 7)
Pantera delivering
a Tope Con Hilo to Taka Michinoku at No Way Out is the Playstation Slam of the
Week.
A video package
discusses how Dok Hendrix used to be Michael P.S. Hayes and chronicles parts of
his career.  Hendrix is the guest ring
announcer for the next match and he comes out to “Badstreet USA.”  This is where making up names for talent is
idiotic, since they recognize that he’s Michael Hayes, but still refer to him
as Dok Hendrix.  Before Hendrix can
announce the next match, the lights go out and Kane comes out.  Hendrix tries to fight him off with his boot,
but Kane no sells it and is destroyed. 
Nice way to get some easy heat on Kane. 
(6 for 8)
Sunny comes out to
do guest ring announcing duties for the next match.
Taka Michinoku
& Aguila beat Pirata Morgan & “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher when
Michinoku pins Morgan after a Michinoku Driver at 5:37:
In a very non-PC way, Christopher tells the audience that
“he went out and got himself a Mexican.” 
Morgan looks like the lost tag team partner of Jean Pierre-LaFitte, eye
patch included.  This is an entertaining
spotfest, with Michinoku doing a good job getting flung around like a rag doll
by Christopher.  Michinoku is really the
John Cena of the light heavyweight division because he takes a ton of
punishment here, yet magically recovers to hit Morgan with a Michinoku Driver
and help his team win.  That aside, this
is the best match of the night so far.  Rating: 
**¾ (7 for 9)
The Nation of Domination comes out and the
Rock has a gifts to present to the Nation to show critics that the Nation is
not divided.  Kama, D-Lo, and Mark Henry
receive gold Rolexes, but Faarooq receives a big framed picture of the
Rock.  As you can imagine, Faarooq is not
happy about that.  Great angle that kept
building momentum for the Rock’s cocky personality.  (8 for
10)
Steve Blackman
pins Faarooq (w/The Nation of Domination) with a schoolboy at 1:32:
Ross makes sure to get in his football mention before the
bell even rings, establishing a new record. 
The Rock does not pay attention to the match and concentrates his
attention on admiring his portrait and showing it to the crowd.  Faarooq takes it from him after hitting
Blackman with a Dominator and wants to use it as a weapon, but the Rock
snatches it away and that distraction helps Blackman continue his undefeated
streak.  After the match, Faarooq
destroys the Rock’s portrait.
Michael Cole is
outside the Nation of Domination’s locker room where arguing is heard.  D-Lo Brown says that everything is okay and
they are just packing up to leave.
Cactus Jack &
Chainsaw Charlie defeat The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust & “Marvelous”
Marc Mero (w/Luna Vachon) when Charlie pins Goldust after Cactus nails Goldust
with a chair at 4:17:
Goldust is just wearing his standard ring attire for this
match, but Lawler informs us that Goldust will show the world “The American
Dream” on Monday.  Sable does not
accompany Mero to the ring, which draws some easy heat from the crowd.  Three minutes in, Sable makes her predictable
appearance, carrying the flowers she received earlier, and Luna destroys the
flowers when Sable argues with Mero.  The
ensuing melee between the valets distracts the referee and enables Cactus to
blast Goldust with a chair to give his team the win.  Match was overwhelmed by the angle and too
rushed to really mean anything.  I’ll
still give it a point for angle development, though.  Rating:  * (9 for 11)
After the match,
Sable and Luna get into a brawl before WWF officials and Mero separate them.
Tune in on Monday
to see what new celebrity will be added to WrestleMania XIV!  Also, the New Age Outlaws will face the
Legion of Doom for the tag team titles!
The Final Report Card:  It would be easy to write this off as a
filler show since it was a taped Saturday RAW, but this show was very
entertaining.  The promo work was simple,
but maintained the major angles and Monday’s show has a build with Mike Tyson
scheduled for an appearance, a reveal about WrestleMania XIV, and Goldust
promising to mock his dad.  The WWF made
a good first step here on the road to WrestleMania.

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: 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: Monday Night Raw – December 1, 1997

by Logan Scisco

Footage of the
Legion of Doom losing that tag team titles on last week’s show to Jesse James
and Billy Gunn is shown.  How will the
LOD react to this defeat?
Jim Ross and Jim
Cornette are doing commentary and they are in Norfolk, Virginia.
WWF Tag Team
Champions Jesse James & Billy Gunn come out and James tells us that the
Legion of Doom are not in the building. 
Gunn says that they are going to wrestle the Headbangers in a non-title
match tonight, but before they can finish their comments the Legion of Doom
charge into the ring in street clothes and no face paint and run off the
champions.

Flash Funk using
the Tumbleweed to beat Taka Michinoku on Shotgun Saturday Night is the Lazer
Tag Slam of the Week.
Sunny comes out to
be the guest ring announcer for the next match
.
Opening Light
Heavyweight Championship Tournament Semi-Final Contest:  Taka Michinoku beats Aguila with the
Michinoku Driver at 4:19:
This match mixes in a little bit of mat wrestling with
the high spots.  Aguila nearly advances
after wrapping up Michinoku in a La Magistral cradle after Michinoku misses a
moonsault, but Michinoku rallies from that point and wins.  Can Michinoku win with anything other than a
Michinoku Driver?  Rating:  **
Jerry Lawler
interviews Goldust and Luna Vachon.  Luna
does the talking, as Goldust crawls around in dominatrix gear and is attached
on a chain.  Luna announces that Goldust
should be known as “The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust” and warns Vader that
pain is coming.  She and Goldust make out
on the canvas to end a very creepy segment.
In a semi-match of
the Karate Fighters Holiday Tournament, Jerry Lawler defeats Tito Santana,
dressed in his El Matador gear.  Lawler
will face Sunny in the finals.
Four Corner
Elimination Match:  D-Lo Brown (w/The
Nation of Domination) wrestles Miguel Perez (w/Los Boricuas), Chainz
(w/The Disciples of Apocalypse) & Recon (w/The Truth Commission) to a no contest
at 3:45:
Other Eliminations:  Chainz pins Recon after a Death Valley driver
at 2:05; Miguel pins D-Lo after blocking a monkey flip at 3:13
As I pointed out in last week’s review, Crush is no
longer in the company, so he won’t be with the Disciples of Apocalypse
anymore.  This is clearly a bit of Vince
Russo booking since he is putting the spotlight on some of the younger stars of
some of these groups like Recon and D-Lo. 
Of course, with all of the different factions at ringside it is only a
matter of time before everyone starts fighting each other and that’s exactly
what happens when the match gets down to Chainz and Perez.  So much for this match amounting to anything
for anybody.  Rating:  ½*
D-Generation X
comes out and WWF & European Champion Shawn Michaels is in a wheelchair.  They run down Jim Neidhart some more and
Triple H tells Sergeant Slaughter that he’s going to put him away for good at
In Your House.  Michaels says that he is
in a wheelchair because Chyna has been putting him through some intensive leg
exercises so that he can increase his pain tolerance and be prepared to face
Ken Shamrock at In Your House.  Michaels
tells Triple H to test his pain tolerance and in a slightly funny bit, Michaels
boot twists a full 360 degrees and he feigns that he is in pain.
Call
1-900-747-4WWF to find out which WWF superstar has threatened to quit the
company!
Footage of the
Montreal screwjob is shown to fans who didn’t buy the pay-per-view
.
A video package
breaks down the Steve Austin-Rock feud over the Intercontinental title
.
In the second
hour, Jerry Lawler replaces Jim Cornette on commentary
.
The Rock (w/The
Nation of Domination) beats Vader via count out at 5:07:
In funny fan moment, a nerdy white kid is shown giving
the Nation salute as the Rock makes his entrance.  At the beginning of the match, Steve Austin
drives into the arena in his Austin 3:16 truck and decides to watch the match
from the hood with some beers.  As with
most of these segments, it’s tough to focus on the match since the camera keeps
panning back to Austin, but what we do see is pretty good.  Goldust comes out and beats on Vader behind
the referee’s back and that incenses Vader, who chases after him and loses the
match.  Rating:  **
A Ken Shamrock
video package is shown
.
Our next booked
match is the second light heavyweight championship tournament semi-final
between Scott Taylor and Brian Christopher, but after Taylor’s entrance Kane
comes out and decimates him.  Paul Bearer
repeats the fact that Kane will keep destroying people until the Undertaker
agrees to fight him.  Since Taylor is in
condition to compete, Christopher advances to the finals of the
tournament.  Surprise!
Jeff Jarrett comes
out and refuses to fight Ahmed Johnson tonight because Ahmed is not on his
level.  Commissioner Slaughter comes out
and books Jarrett to face the Undertaker at In Your House.  Jarrett isn’t too happy about that.
A video package
hypes the Sergeant Slaughter-Triple H match at In Your House.
Non-Title
Match:  “The Road Dogg” Jesse James &
“Bad Ass” Billy Gunn (WWF Tag Team Champions) beat The Headbangers by
disqualification when the Legion of Doom interfere at 2:45:
Just an abbreviated tag tea match here and when the
Headbangers begin the hot tag comeback, the LOD make their predictable run-in and
cost them the match.  James and Gunn run
to the locker room and peel out of the arena in a car, while the Headbangers
and LOD argue in the ring.
A video package
recaps D-Generation X’s beat down on Jim Neidhart last week.
Jim Cornette
interviews Marc Mero and Sable and Cornette tells Mero that “people” are saying
that Sable is the true star of their team. 
Mero tells Sable that she is nothing without him and he does an exhibition by punching hand mitts that have Butterbean’s face in them.  One of them flies off during the exhibition,
so Mero gets mad at Sable, says she abandoned him during his knee injury, and
she’s worthless.  Best segment of the
show and it really made you want Butterbean to beat Mero within an inch of his
life at In Your House.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your commemorative box set of all of the WrestleMania’s on VHS.  It’ll cost you $79.99 (plus $11 shipping
& handling).  That’s not a bad deal.
The Montreal
Screwjob is shown again and Lawler insists that Bret Hart submitted and the
referee made a legitimate judgment call in ending the match.  This makes the implicit argument that Bret is
a sore loser.
Triple H
(w/D-Generation X) pins Jim “the Anvil” Neidhart after hitting him in the back
with a steel chair at 2:31:
Ross keeps referring to Neidhart as “the Rhino” during
the match because evidently Neidhart’s nickname in the locker room is “the
White Rhino.”  Neidhart dominates
Helmsley throughout the match with power moves, but Shawn Michaels distracts
him on the apron and Helmsley uses a chair that Chyna tosses to him to win the
match. 
After the match,
Neidhart gets Pedigreed on a chair and Michaels spray paints “WCW” on his
back.  They handcuff him to the top rope
and Sergeant Slaughter and Ken Shamrock run out and as Neidhart
holds Chyna back, Shamrock puts Michaels in the ankle lock and Slaughter puts
Triple H in the Cobra Clutch as we go off the air.  A nice closing segment that finally gave DX
some comeuppance for their actions during the last month and redeems at least
some of the show.
The Final Report Card:  I wouldn’t say that this was a great “go
home” show, since Shamrock didn’t get any comments heading into his first (and
only) main event WWF title match and I don’t think adding Undertaker-Jeff
Jarrett is going to increase the buys of the pay-per-view.  Still, despite some of the bad segments, like
the Four Corner Match, there were some pretty good segments like the Mero-Sable
interaction, Rock-Vader, and Taka-Aguila to at least balance it out.  What is surprising is that this show scored a
3.0 rating despite running a Triple H-Neidhart main event, which shows how
invested fans were becoming in the WWF product.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.0 (vs. 3.8 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

What the World Was Watching: Friday Night’s Main Event – August 29, 1997

by Logan Scisco


Jim Ross and Jim
Cornette are in the booth for tonight’s show. 
Location of the taping is not given.
Ross interviews
Shawn Michaels, who brings out the dented chair he hit the Undertaker with
eleven days ago on RAW.  He says that the
WWF pushed him into a corner so he had to respond with radical methods and he
will not lay down and die for the Undertaker at Ground Zero.  He then claims that if the Undertaker does
knock him down at Ground Zero that he will take down everyone with him in a
blaze of glory.  After the crowd gets on
him about his sexuality, Michaels threatens to go into the crowd and do some
vile things to people’s girlfriends and mothers.  This was a solid promo that hyped the Ground
Zero match and explained Michaels recent motivations.

Opening Contest
for the WWF Championship:  Vader (w/Paul
Bearer) defeats Bret “the Hitman” Hart (Champion) by disqualification when the
Hart Foundation interferes at 3:58 shown:
This match was setup by the last RAW episode, where Vader
refused to give a Vader Bomb to the Patriot. 
Vader is in face territory here, but he still has Paul Bearer in his
corner.  Bret promises to kick Vader’s ass
before the match and that’s something you don’t want to say to Vader, as he bowls
over Bret to a huge pop.  Vader runs
through his power offense, with Bret kicking out of a splash at two, and Bret
brings a chair into the ring, which Vader gets a hold of.  However, before he can inflict damage, the
Hart Foundation runs in and draws a disqualification for the champion.  Rating:  **¼
After the bell,
the Hart Foundation beats down Vader and Bret applies a ring post figure-four
until the Patriot comes out and breaks it up
.
The Patriot tells
Ross that he helped Vader to get back at Bret and he promises to win the WWF
title at Ground Zero
.
Sunny comes out to
do some guest commentary and she says that she does not care for Brian
Pillman’s antics on RAW.  The announcers
recap Pillman’s allegation that Dakota is his love child.
Goldust
(w/Marlena) pins Salvatore Sincere after a Curtain Call at 3:20:
Since Goldust needs an opponent to build some momentum
for Ground Zero, the WWF decided to take Sincere out of mothballs.  Ross and Cornette talk about how Sincere
needs a manager, completely glossing over when Sincere was briefly managed by
Cornette in late 1996.  A complete squash
here, albeit a good one because of the energy Sincere brought to it.
After the match,
Pillman calls out Goldust from the crowd. 
Pillman brings up the love child angle and Goldust goes after him.
Steve Austin’s
interview with Jim Ross, which aired on RAW, is replayed.
Dude Love beats
Rockabilly with a double arm DDT at 4:12:
Without the Honky Tonk Man around, this Rockabilly
gimmick serves no function anymore. 
Rockabilly musters a decent amount of offense, but most of it consists
of chokes and the contest ends up as a kick-punch affair.  Love pulls out “Sweet Shin Music” where he
mocks Shawn Michaels stomping of the mat and kicks his opponent in the shin to
set up the double arm DDT.  I’m surprised
Michaels agreed to that in hindsight, but from what I remember he was a
supporter of Foley.  Rating:  ½*
After the match,
Love tells Ross that he trusts Steve Austin will be ready for their tag team
title defense at Ground Zero.  Love
dances with some groupies on the way to the locker room
.
Sunny goes into
the locker room to interview Bret Hart, but Bret kicks her out because she is
an American.  Owen tells her to tell
Sergeant Slaughter to give him another crack at Steve Austin
.
Ross interviews
the Undertaker, who says that he has not faced Shawn Michaels in ten years
because he wanted someone to stick around and tell the story of the
Undertaker.  He promises to destroy
Hunter Hearst Helmsley next week and that he signed Shawn Michaels death
warrant with the blood from his forehead from last week’s RAW.
Sable models the
Austin 3:16 t-shirt, which you can buy for $20 (plus shipping & handling)
by calling 815-734-1161
.
Non-Title
Match:  Hawk (w/Animal) defeats The
British Bulldog (European Champion w/Owen Hart) by disqualification when Owen
Hart interferes at 4:56 shown:
It takes no time for Ross to warn the crowd that this
match is not going to be pretty. 
However, the match establishes a good pace and both men’s partners
interject themselves into the contest before the Godwinns wander out.  Hawk busts out a nice looking powerbomb, but
before he can finish the Bulldog with a flying clothesline, Owen nails him with
the European title in plain view of the referee and that gets the Bulldog
disqualified.  I was expecting a train
wreck, but this one defied my expectations. 
Rating:  **
Sunny interviews
Los Boricuas, who say that they returned the Disciples of Apocalypse
motorcycles because Sergeant Slaughter got mad at them.  Seriously, that’s the reason.  Savio Vega claims that he will win the Triple
Threat at Ground Zero and yells a lot in Spanish.  The Boricuas sexually harass Sunny before we
go back to the ring.
Crush &
Chainz defeat Faarooq & Rocky Maivia by disqualification when Los Boricuas
attack Crush at 4:14:
You can tell that Crush really doesn’t care anymore, as
his selling in this mach is awful.  This
rushes through the usual tag team formula until Los Boricuas come out when all
hell breaks loose.  Crush gets attacked,
which sparks a gang war between all of the factions and some WWF officials get
abused in the scuffle until Sergeant Slaughter comes out and restores
order.  Rating:  *½
Light Heavyweight
Exhibition:  Taka Michinoku beats Jerry
Lynn at 5:31:
It is so weird seeing Lynn clean shaven.  He literally looked ten to fifteen years
older than this when he had his big break in ECW two years later.  Lynn showcases what he can do with a
somersault plancha and a nice headscissors and Michinoku responds in kind with a
super hurricanrana and springboard plancha. 
Michinoku misses a moonsault, where he gets awesome hang time, and Lynn
hits a sit out powerbomb, but that only gets two and Michinoku outmaneuvers
Lynn and hits his Michinoku Driver for the win in a very enjoyable match.  Was no one in the locker room watching this
match?  I would have immediately drawn up
a contract, put it in Lynn’s face, and signed him immediately.  Who needs Brian Christopher as the heel of
the division when you have this guy?  Rating: 
***¼
Sunny interviews
the Truth Commission and the Commandant gets mad that his men are concerned
with addressing Sunny with their eyes. 
This is the first time the Truth Commission have been seen in a while.
Sniper &
Recon (w/The Commandant & The Interrogator) defeat The Headbangers when
Recon pins Mosh with a roll up at 4:08 shown:
It does not take long for Sniper and Recon to put
Thrasher in peril and he remains in that position for much of the match as the
announcers try to sell the Headbangers as wrestling fans who love to watch old
footage.  When all hell breaks loose, the
Headbangers go for their powerbomb-flying leg drop combination, but the
Interrogator pushes Thrasher off the top rope and when Mosh yells at him he
costs his team the match.  The full
version of this may have cracked **, but it missed a lot with the commercial
break.  The WWF really has no idea what they want out of the Headbangers as they
give them title shots one week and job them to new talent the next.  Rating:  *½
A music video
package that recaps tonight’s show plays us out
.
The Final Report Card:  This match followed the Saturday Night Main
Event formula by placing the big match at the beginning of the show and
filtering out from there.  There is another
Friday Night’s Main Event next week, which will feature the Undertaker against
Hunter Hearst Helmsley and the Patriot against Owen Hart.  Overall, this show was fine.  The Lynn-Michinoku match was a treat and
aside from Rockabilly-Dude Love everything else was serviceable.
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – July 14, 1997

by Logan Scisco


McMahon discusses
the contrast between last week’s Raw in Canada and how tonight Raw is in San
Antonio, Texas, which is in Steve Austin’s native state.
McMahon and Jim
Ross are in the booth and they are broadcasting from San Antonio, Texas.
McMahon interviews
the Hart Foundation, who are booed out of the building.  Bret says he looks forward to facing the
Undertaker for the WWF title at SummerSlam. 
Owen says he doesn’t mind defending the Intercontinental title against
Steve Austin at SummerSlam, but is more focused on winning the tag team titles
with the British Bulldog tonight.  The
British Bulldog says that if he loses the European title to Ken Shamrock at
SummerSlam that he will eat a can of dog food after the match.  Brian Pillman says if he loses to Goldust
that he will wear a dress and wrestle him the next night on Raw.  Jim Neidhart then says if any of the Harts
lose at SummerSlam that he will shave off his trademark goatee on Raw.  Steve Austin appears on the entrance ramp and
as he stares at the Hart Foundation with an American flag waving on the
Titantron, Ken Shamrock walks out in matching black trunks, the Patriot walks
out to make his debut, Sid appears in street clothes, and Shawn Michaels walks
out.  Any of these men might be Austin’s
tag team partner tonight.

Opening
Contest:  Ivan & Scott Putski defeat
Jerry “the King” Lawler & “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher when Ivan pins
Lawler after a Polish Hammer at 4:55:
Ivan doesn’t look bad here, although he is much less
ripped than he was in his prime.  After
putting Scott in peril, it appears like the heels have it won after Lawler
delivers a piledriver, but Lawler agrees to let Christopher try a Tennessee
Jam, but that misses.  The old Ivan then
cleans house and wins the battle for his team. 
A serviceable tag match that gave the heels their comeuppance and the
crowd loved seeing Ivan tear into Lawler. 
Rating:  **
Footage of Mankind
coming to Steve Austin’s aid, but then getting hit with a Stone Cold Stunner
last week is shown.
Mankind is shown
backstage and he refuses to talk about what happened to him last week.
-Action between
Flash Funk and Owen Hart on Shotgun Saturday Night is our Stridex Triple
Action  segment.
Paul Bearer tells
the Undertaker that his brother has lived in a personal hell for many years and
that Kane eagerly waits to confront the Undertaker.  Bearer promises to give the Undertaker proof
that Kane is alive on next week’s show
.
A small video
showcases Michinoku’s performances against the Great Sasuke and McMahon doesn’t
bother noting that Michinoku lost those matches because he’s fired the Great
Sasuke.
Taka Michinoku
beats Tajiri Yoshihiro with a Michinoku Driver at 4:08:
Yes, this is Tajiri before he became a crazy man in ECW
and the effectiveness of that gimmick would eventually lead him back to the
company when ECW folded.  They do a great
double KO sequence where they both slap each other silly and Tajiri utilizes
the kicks that would later make him famous. 
Michinoku survives a dragon suplex and a dropkick to the back of the
head and the Michinoku Driver finishes Tajiri off.  An entertaining contest that should have
landed Tajiri a permanent spot on the light heavyweight roster and it is very
obvious from these light heavyweight exhibitions that the Asian light
heavyweights are much more entertaining than their American counterparts.  Rating:  ***
Ken Shamrock says
that he’s not Steve Austin’s tag team partner and was merely out there in order
to show him support against the Hart Foundation.  He says he’s ready to knuckle up against Jim
Neidhart later tonight.
Los Boricuas are
shown riding into the arena with a couple of women.
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The Headbangers
say that they are going to put Los Boricuas up in smoke tonight.
Miguel & Jose
(w/Los Boricuas) defeat The Headbangers when Miguel pins Thrasher with a rollup
at 4:25
The gang wars concept was somewhat pathbreaking in the
fact that I cannot remember a time when the WWF had four stables (The Nation of
Domination, DOA, Los Boricuas, and The Hart Foundation) under one roof.  I often wonder what younger fans that see old
footage think of the Headbangers, since that is a gimmick that you have to have
lived during the 1990s to understand. 
Mosh has a cool move of sending Jose into the turnbuckles with a
hurricanrana, but that’s really the high spot of the match as the Headbangers
lose a close contest when Miguel escapes a Thrasher powerbomb.  Rating:  **
After the match,
Los Boricuas gang up on the Headbangers, but DOA show up and begin to brawl
with Los Boricuas, which changes the numbers equation.
The Patriot says
that he’d be honored to be by Steve Austin tonight, but he’s simply in the WWF
to defend the honor of America.
Steve Austin
encourages us to buy Cause Stone Cold Said So.  Call 815-734-1161 to buy your copy for $19.99
(plus $6 shipping & handling)!
Footage of Shawn
Michaels winning the WWF title at the Royal Rumble earlier in the year is shown
.
McMahon interviews
Shawn Michaels, who says that he will be Steve Austin’s tag team partner if
Austin wants him to be.  Michaels says
that he’s not currently scheduled to be at SummerSlam so he appeals to McMahon
to allow him to be a part of the show and that request is honored
.
Savio Vega grabs a
camera man and tells him to come and see something getting destroyed
backstage.  When the camera man gets
there, one member of Los Boricuas is destroying one of the DOA’s motorcycles
and that triggers a brawl between the two groups.
-Jerry Lawler comes
out to do commentary.
Ken Shamrock
beats Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart via submission to a rear naked choke at 4:40:
Neidhart continues to play his role as the whipping boy
of the Hart Foundation, as Shamrock forces him to submit to a standing rear
naked choke after four minutes of boring action where Neidhart uses a great
deal of chinlocks and right hands.  Rating: 
½*
-After the match,
the British Bulldog runs in and he and Neidhart briefly double team Shamrock
until the Patriot runs in and makes the save.
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1-900-747-4WWF to hear about Shawn Michaels future in the WWF and what some WWF
alumni feel about tonight’s SummerSlam Flashback show!
Mankind is still
sitting backstage and refuses to talk about what he might do later tonight
after he got rejected by Steve Austin last week.  The commentators then speculate about who
Austin might choose for his tag team partner tonight against Owen Hart and the
British Bulldog.
The Headbangers
are shown playing golf and they reveal the third clue for the SummerSlam One
Million Dollar Challenge and that is life.
-The next match is
scheduled to be The Legion of Doom against The New Blackjacks, but the Godwinns
attack the Legion of Doom on their way to the ring and Slop Drop Hawk on the
ramp, which busts the back of his head open. 
Hawk no sells it because he’s Hawk.
Shawn Michaels
begging Vince McMahon earlier in the show for a spot in SummerSlam is the
Discovery Zone Rewind segment.
Vader (w/Paul Bearer)
pins Flash Funk after a powerbomb at 4:10:
Funk was settling into a role of making other guys look
good and he’s at the top of the list of guys in the company that need a gimmick
change.  Would it really have hurt them
to make him 2 Cold Scorpio at this time and put him in the light heavyweight
division?  Funk gets in far more offense
than I anticipated by hitting a plancha and tossing Vader into the ring steps.  Funk even hits his moonsault, but he can’t
keep running into Vader, which is like running into a brick wall, and Vader
goes back to his WCW roots to finish him off. 
After the match, Vader hits a Vader Bomb to make a point to
someone.  A really fun abbreviated match.  Rating:  ***
McMahon asks Steve
Austin if he’s concerned about Mankind being in the arena, but Austin says he
doesn’t care at all.
-Get your copy of Cause
Stone Cold Said So
!
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve
Austin & His Mystery Partner defeat Owen Hart & The British Bulldog to
win the titles when His Mystery Partner pins Bulldog after Austin gives the
Bulldog a Stone Cold Stunner at 7:36 shown:
As you have read in the last several reviews, Owen and
the Bulldog earned this match for the vacant tag team titles by winning an
eight team tournament.  Austin charges
the ring and opts to fight the match alone, although his partner’s feet are
shown moving through the locker room backstage before the commercial
break.  Austin takes a beating, but
manages to toss Bulldog and Owen out of the ring and that is when Mick Foley
comes on the screen and says Austin may not want to team with Mankind, but he
said nothing about Dude Love and he comes out to one of the most catchy themes
in wrestling to be Austin’s partner. 
Austin’s facial expressions during this are awesome, as he doesn’t quite
know what to make of his new partner. 
Shortly after Dude’s arrival, Austin spots an opportunity when the
referee is preoccupied with Owen Hart and he manages to become a multi-time tag
team champion with a new partner.  The
match wasn’t much, but it was entertaining from a booking perspective.  Rating:  **¼
After the match,
Dude gives Austin a tag team belt and some groupies come into the ring to
celebrate with Dude and Austin decides to give him a tag team belt and shakes
his hand before leaving.  Dude dances
with the groupies as the show goes off the air.
The Final Report Card:  The debut of Dude Love is one of the biggest
“mark out” moments that I had as a fan growing up, so this show gets an easy
thumbs up from me.  Austin’s injury at
SummerSlam made his pairing with Foley short-lived, but it could have provided
some entertaining material as Austin slowly moved up the ladder to win the WWF
title at WrestleMania XIV.  The only
thing terrible about the show was Shamrock-Neidhart, but that was to be
expected.  I don’t think a singles match
Neidhart has been in since he returned has topped * yet.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.6 (vs. 3.5 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – July 7, 1997

by Logan Scisco

Vince McMahon
discusses the events at last night’s Canadian Stampede pay-per-view.
McMahon and Jim
Ross are in the booth and they are live from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
McMahon interviews
Bret Hart, who will face the Undertaker at SummerSlam for the WWF title.  Bret says that he’s not anti-American, but
he’s pro-Canadian.  Bret promises his
Canadian fans that he will beat the Undertaker for the WWF title at SummerSlam
and if he loses he says that he will never wrestle again on American soil.  Bret brings Owen out, who will defend his
Intercontinental title against Steve Austin at SummerSlam, as well as the
British Bulldog, who will defend his European title against Ken Shamrock at
SummerSlam.  Bret has the Canadian
national anthem played on the Titantron to commemorate the fact that Raw is
finally in Canada, but as the anthem ends, Steve Austin attacks Bret, Owen, and
the Bulldog with a chair and flees.  Talk
about an easy way to draw a large amount of heel heat.

-Brian Christopher
comes down to ringside to do guest commentary for the opening match
.
The Great Sasuke
provides some pre-recorded comments that are in Japanese.  The comments are not translated for the
audience, so I’m not sure what the point of that is.
Opening
Contest:  The Great Sasuke defeats Taka
Michinoku with a thunder firebomb at 5:47:
This is a rematch from last night’s entertaining contest
at Canadian Stampede and it takes less than a minute for Sasuke to go to the
air and deliver a somersault plancha onto Michinoku.  Christopher’s commentary distracts from part
of the match as he’s trying too hard to be funny and it’s not coming across
well to the television audience.  Taka
nearly kills himself by botching an Asai moonsault, but luckily for him, Sasuke
catches him as he falls to the arena floor. 
Sasuke goes over again to cement his status as the top light heavyweight
in the division heading into the yet to be started light heavyweight
tournament.  This had a few botches that
their match at Canadian Stampede did not have and I enjoy that match better,
but this was still a good effort that exposed both of them to American fans.  Rating:  ***
A video package
discusses the WWF gang wars.
Savio Vega (w/Los
Boricuas) defeats Crush (w/DOA) by disqualification when Chainz attacks Savio
at 2:19:
Los Boricuas shakes hands with the Spanish announce team
in a show of ethnic solidarity on their way to the ring and the DOA are really
over in Canada.  Considering how over the
DOA were in their early run, it seems like the WWF blew a major opportunity
with this group.  Since both men have
their respective groups, this is a de facto lumberjack match and that leads to
a quick disqualification before this really develops into anything.  After the match, both groups brawl with DOA
coming out on top.
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Paul Bearer says
that he’s not going to apologize for his remarks last week because he didn’t
kill anyone.  He insists that Kane told
him that the Undertaker burned down his parents funeral parlor.  He discusses how Kane is disfigured, which we
would learn is not true in 2002 when Kane lost his mask to Triple H.  Bearer says that Kane hates the Undertaker
and wants his revenge.
-McMahon asks Steve
Austin in the locker room who he might choose as a partner and Austin says he
doesn’t care who his partner is.  Austin
says Mankind is a freak and the WWF might as well choose his partner because
they screw him over all the time anyway and tells McMahon to shut up, which
causes McMahon to cut off the interview.
-Call 815-734-1161
to get your copy of Cause Stone Cold Said So for $19.99 (plus $6
shipping & handling)!
Tag Team
Tournament Finals:  Owen Hart & The
British Bulldog (w/Brian Pillman & Jim Neidhart) beats Faarooq & D-Lo
Brown (w/Kama Mustafa) by count out at 6:50:
This tag team tournament has been rather lackluster, with
the better teams being eliminated in the tournament’s early rounds.  Faarooq and D-Lo Brown are sort of the
anti-Cinderella story as they vanquished Vader and the Undertaker in round one
and the Legion of Doom in round two, but no one really wants to see them in
this spot.  The Nation puts the Bulldog
in peril with some boring offense and a brawl ensues between all of the participants
except Owen when Kama pulls down the top rope and Owen falls to the floor which
creates our finish.  That’s a fitting
ending to this lackluster tag team tournament. 
Rating:  *½
After the match,
Mankind comes down to the ring to tell the Hart Foundation that they are going
to get killed next week.
McMahon interviews
Austin in the locker room again about his match with Hunter Hearst Helmsley
tonight and Austin says that he isn’t above punching a woman’s lights out.  Talk about a shoot comment that wasn’t
intended to be that way.
“Stone Cold”
Steve Austin defeats Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) with a Stone Cold Stunner
at 6:13 shown:
A battle of the last two King of the Ring tournament
winners is what we get here.  You can
tell by the tone of McMahon’s voice on commentary that he doesn’t quite
understand Austin’s appeal to the audience. 
The crowd is equally divided here and despite being in Canada there are
some pro-Austin elements present.  After
both men go back and forth for five minutes, Chyna trips Austin when he runs
the ropes and leaves a chair for Helmsley, but Mankind takes the blow for
Austin and that leads to a Helmsley defeat. 
Standard television fare here.  Rating: 
**¼
After the match,
Austin tells Mankind to get into the ring and he says Mankind should shake his
hand and that will make them a tag team. 
Mankind wants a hug instead and Austin obliges, but then gives him a
Stone Cold Stunner and tells Mankind never to trust anyone and that he won’t
tag with him because he sucks.  Mankind
gets on the mic and tells Austin as he leaves that he wanted a friend so
drastic measures will be taken next week that will change the WWF forever.
-The next clue for
the SummerSlam One Million Dollar Challenge has Sable in a bubble bath and her in
room 2A.
Sunny comes out to
do guest ring announcing duties for our next match.
-Footage of Brian
Christopher beating Scott Putski on last week’s show is played and McMahon says
that Ivan and Scott Putski have issued a challenge to face Christopher and
Lawler on next week’s show and Lawler says that he accepts the challenge.
“Too Sexy” Brian
Christopher pins Eric Shelley with a Tennessee Jam at 3:51:
Shelley has the attire of an early ‘90s jobber, but he
gets a big pop because he’s announced from Canada.  Shelley tries one of the worst pescados I’ve
ever seen and he moves awkwardly in the ring, which probably explains why he
never got a spot on the main roster. 
Christopher steamrolls through another light heavyweight opponent here
to build momentum for him before the light heavyweight tournament.  Rating:  *
After the match,
Christopher and Lawler beat up Shelley to serve as an example to the Putskis.
Jim Ross says that
Shawn Michaels will be on next week’s Raw. 
Evidently he won’t be ready to compete in the ring because he would be
Steve Austin’s partner if that was the case.
Clips of Steve
Austin getting in the face of authority figures are shown to hype the Cause
Stone Cold Said So
VHS tape.
McMahon interviews
Steve Austin and Austin says that he will say what he wants when he wants to
and nobody is going to stop him.  Austin
says if he doesn’t pick a tag team partner WWF President Gorilla Monsoon will
pick one for him, but he says Monsoon can go ahead and pick someone.  Austin says if he loses to Owen Hart at
SummerSlam that he will kiss his ass. 
This was a great angry and intense promo by Austin.
Goldust says that
he will give Bret Hart his final curtain call tonight.
Bret “the Hitman”
Hart beats Goldust by reversing a sunset flip into a pinning combination at
7:25:
Bret wastes no time going after Goldust, who is
floundering without an angle right now, but DOA comes out for a closer
look.  This brings the Hart Foundation to
the ring before we go to a commercial break. 
A few fans in the front row are messing with the color palette of my TV
as well with some bright pink shirts to show their support for Bret.  The Legion of Doom and Ken Shamrock show up
on the ramp, followed by Steve Austin, thereby putting more emphasis on those
outside of the ring than those inside of the ring.  Nothing comes of this, though, so what was
the point of having them surround the ring in the first place?  Rating:  **
The Final Report Card:  Depending on what you enjoy watching
determines whether you like this show. 
The opening light heavyweight match is good, as can be expected, and
Austin-Helmsley and Bret-Goldust is perfectly acceptable wrestling.  There are some parts that are dry like the
tag team tournament final and the other light heavyweight match, but I think
the good elements overwhelm the bad and Austin’s behavior on the show puts it
in the thumbs up category.  However, I
think that they were at the point of nearly overexposing Austin a bit as he had
NINE segments on this two hour show.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.5 (vs. 3.4 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up