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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

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

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

Show Rating: 
Thumbs Down

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

by Logan Scisco

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

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

by Logan Scisco

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

by Logan Scisco

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Survivor Series 1998

by Logan Scisco

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

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

by Logan Scisco

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

by Logan Scisco

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

What the World Was Watching: SummerSlam 1998

by Logan Scisco

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

Opening Contest
for the European Championship:  D-Lo
Brown (Champion) beats Val Venis via disqualification when Venis throws down the
referee at 15:26:
D-Lo was really having fun with the European champion
concept as he had himself billed from different parts of Europe.  For this bout, he is announced as being a
resident of Helsinki, Finland.  Edge is
shown watching the match in the crowd, which becomes important later in the
show.  This is a very well-paced,
back-and-forth match, and the crowd eventually comes around to appreciating it
at the ten-minute mark.  D-Lo blocks the
Money Shot with his knees and botches a powerbomb spot, which foreshadowed the
unfortunate botch the ended Darren Drozdov’s career.  Venis eventually takes off D-Lo’s chest
protector and puts it on, but the referee does not care for that and his
attempt to get Venis to take it off leads to the disqualification.  D-Lo carried a good chunk of this match and
the Madison Square Garden crowd was actually cheering for him by the end.  A few botches at the end and the finish bring
this down a notch, but kudos to the WWF for giving these two guys a lot of time
and exposure.  Rating:  ***½
After the bout, a
frustrated Venis gives the referee a Money Shot.
Michael Cole is
backstage with a hearse that Steve Austin destroyed on Sunday Night Heat.  Mankind rants about his “SummerSlam ride” not
being in good condition and how he will not be able to toss Kane in there
later.  He hopes to use a sledgehammer
against Kane later in the show.
The Insane Clown
Posse, one of the most controversial musical acts of the late 1990s, perform
the Oddities theme song.  The Oddities dance
around.  Only about 50% of the crowd –
and that is being generous – bother to wave their hands for the ICP.
Handicap
Match:  The Oddities (w/Luna Vachon)
defeat Kaientai (w/Yamaguchi-San) when Golga pins all the members of Kaientai
at 10:13:
So, we get this handicap tag match between the three
giants of the Oddities and the four men of Kaientai simply because the Insane
Clown Posse were booked for the show. 
Jim Ross makes us aware that he likes the ICP, which I find hard to
believe.  The match hides the
shortcomings of Kurrgan and Giant Silva by having them do a few token spots and
Kaientai works in some nice quadruple team maneuvers.  Still, this match was given way too much time
and the result did not matter in the end scheme of things as most of the
participants were gone from the company by the end of the year.  Rating:  ½*
Hair vs. Hair
Match:  X-Pac (w/Howard Finkel) pins
“Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Southern Justice) after hitting him with a guitar at
11:12:
On Sunday Night Heat, Jarrett and Southern Justice shaved
Howard Finkel’s head, so he accompanies X-Pac to the ring in a DX shirt.  Sadly, he is not very well coordinated when
doing the crotch chops with X-Pac.  The
announce team today would never let him live that down.  Based on the capabilities of both men, this
match is a disappointment and never seems to click.  There are lots of double knockout spots and
Jarrett pulls out a spot that I hate where he applies the figure-four without
working the legs at all.  Southern
Justice appear to miss their cue, requiring Jarrett to kick out of the X-Factor
and X-Pac proceeds to take a guitar from Dennis Knight and cracks it over
Jarrett’s head for the win.  After the
bout, all of the people who have had their hair cut by Jarrett over the last
few weeks hit the ring and cut his hair, thereby significantly transforming his
look for the first time in his WWF career. 
Rating:  **¼
Dok Hendrix
discusses the Lion’s Den structure.
Cole interviews
The Rock, who took out Triple H’s knee on Sunday Night Heat.  He cuts a generic promo and makes fun of
Triple H’s injured knee.
Edge & Sable beat
“Marvelous” Marc Mero & Jacqueline when Sable pins Mero after Edge slams
her into the cover position at 8:26:
Sable’s mystery partner for the match is revealed as
Edge, which sort of fits existing storylines since Edge attacked Mero a few
weeks prior on RAW.  It is also a nice
way to elevate a new star and is much better than putting someone like Kurrgan
into the match.  This is a glorified
squash as they book Sable as Superwoman and she manhandles her opponents.  That takes away from any real drama the match
might have.  Edge almost becomes an
afterthought until he works in a plancha spot late.  WrestleMania XIV this was not.  Rating:  **¼
Cole tells Mankind
that Kane is not going to be here to help him defend the tag team titles and
asks if he is going to forfeit.  Mankind
says he is going to get killed against the New Age Outlaws, but Vince McMahon
gives him a pep talk about how he belongs in Madison Square Garden.  McMahon says that if Mankind overcomes the
odds that he will get into the MSG Hall of Fame by next week.  Mankind says he needs a weapon and McMahon
hilariously grabs some random stuff and hands it to Mankind to use.  Now THIS is what a backstage segment is all
about.
A video package
hypes the Ken Shamrock-Owen Hart Lion’s Den match.
Lion’s Den
Match:  Ken Shamrock defeats Owen Hart
(w/Dan Severn) via submission to the anklelock at 9:16:
This was an ingenious idea because it added a unique
match to card and allowed the WWF to sell more tickets to the show in the MSG
theater.  Imagine a wrestling match in a
UFC-type structure and that is what this match is like.  It features some nice spots, such as Shamrock
using the angled walls of the structure to rebound off of and then using them
to escape a Sharpshooter and a dragon sleeper. 
Since Owen never tries that, it fits well within the story they are
trying to tell of this being Shamrock’s environment.  Dan Severn angrily walks out when Owen is
placed in the anklelock, thereby ending that relationship.  A great action packed match that lived up to
the hype.  It also holds up really well
today and is one of Owen’s better matches. 
Seriously, if you haven’t seen this, check it out.  Rating:  ****
Cole interviews
WWF Champion Steve Austin, who says he will use any means necessary to walk out
of Madison Square Garden as the champion.
No Holds Barred,
Falls Count Anywhere Match for the WWF Tag Team Championship:  The New Age Outlaws defeat Kane & Mankind
(Champions) when The Outlaws pin Mankind with a spike piledriver on a tag team
title belt at 5:18:
Poor Mankind is left to defend the titles on his own
after he is the odd man out of the Undertaker-Kane alliance.  The Outlaws bring a large dumpster filled
with weapons to the ring and Mankind suffers a nasty two-on-one onslaught.  Jim Ross must have watched too much
SummerSlam 1991 before this one, as he criticizes the referee for not making
the Outlaws tag in and out.  Mankind
survives an Outlaws side suplex-neckbreaker combination and a spike powerbomb
through chairs, but a spike piledriver gives the Outlaws the tag team titles
for the second time.  Typical RAW match,
but it served its purpose of getting the titles back on the Outlaws and making
Mankind look resilient.  Rating: 
**
After the match,
the Outlaws toss Mankind in the dumpster and after closing it, Kane emerges out
of the dumpster and smashes Mankind in the face with a sledgehammer.  The Outlaws wisely flee to the locker room.  Jim Ross’s outrage meter reaches 0.8 for
this.
A video package
hypes the Rock-Triple H ladder match for the Intercontinental title.
Connecticut Yankee
comes out to give Triple H some live entrance music.
Ladder Match for
the Intercontinental Championship: 
Triple H (w/Chyna) beats The Rock (Champion w/Mark Henry) to win the
title at 26:14:
This was the first ladder match that the WWF had featured
on television since SummerSlam 1995.  I
miss the old visual for ladder matches with the champion surrendering the title
to the referee and then having it slowly raised above the ring.  The small aisle of the MSG venue gives us a
great visual early in the match of the Rock beating Triple H down and having
the fans on top of him shouting that he sucks. 
The story of the match is the Rock working on Triple H’s injured knee to
prevent him from climbing the ladder and Triple H evening some of the odds by
busting the Rock open with a baseball slide into the ladder.  The Rock also manages a split reaction,
working a 50/50 “Let’s go Rocky!  Rocky
sucks!” chant.  One thing to really
criticize this match for are the slow climb spots.  They work for Triple H, since he has one leg,
but the Rock doing them after pulverizing Triple H’s knee for five minutes is
ridiculous.  Whatever your thoughts are
about Triple H, you have to admire him taking some the brunt of the sick bumps
in this match.  This brutal war comes to
an end when Triple H hits a Pedigree, but gets powder tossed in his eyes by
Mark Henry.  That produces a double climb
of the ladder with Chyna coming in and giving the Rock a low blow so Triple H
can win to a HUGE pop.  This match ended
the first phase of the Triple H-Rock feud, as well as the Rock’s nine month
reign as Intercontinental champion, but unfortunately for Triple H he lost some
of the momentum gained from this match when a knee injury put him on the
shelf.  The Rock now moves out of the
Intercontinental title level and into contention for the WWF title, with this
match showing he had the skills needed to make that jump.  Rating:  ****½
WWF Championship
Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (Champion)
pins The Undertaker after a Stone Cold Stunner
Austin suffers a concussion about two minutes into the
bout when his head collides with the Undertaker and that just ruins the match’s
flow.  McMahon had to freaking out
backstage because when that collision took place Austin went down in a heap and
appeared to be knocked out.  Kane does
walk out around the seven minute mark, but the Undertaker waves him off,
thereby squandering his primary advantage. 
I understand the idea of the Undertaker wanting to win on his own, but
does that not negate the story on the previous RAW of Kane and the Undertaker
being an unstoppable combination?  The
highlight of the contest is the Undertaker giving Austin a guillotine leg drop
on the Spanish announce table (I can’t say through because the table doesn’t
break).  Austin rallies from that to win
after giving the Undertaker a low blow during his ropewalk spot, but after all
the buildup, this match was a disappointment to say the least.  And again, we get a slow Earl Hebner three
count for no reason at all, since he wasn’t bumped.  Some people give this match over ***, but I
just don’t get that rating in light of its disjointed nature and botches.  Rating:  **¼
After the match,
the Undertaker takes the WWF title from Hebner and, after a tense few moments,
hands it to Austin.  Kane walks out to
stare down Austin with his brother in the aisle as the show goes off the air.
The Final Report Card:  Disappointing main event aside, this was a
fantastic SummerSlam.  The ladder match
is the highlight of the show, but the Lion’s Den match is deserving of credit
as well. I always wonder how good Austin-Undertaker could have been if not for
the concussion Austin suffered minutes into the match.  If the WWE wants to remember how to
adequately build to a big show, they should rewatch what they did for this
pay-per-view, which attracted the highest buyrate for a SummerSlam since 1992.
Attendance: 
21,588
Buyrate: 
1.48 (+0.68 from previous year)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – July 27, 1998

by Logan Scisco
Michael Cole
narrates a video package that recaps last night’s Fully Loaded pay-per-view.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Anaheim, California.  One of the best signs, in a sea of them, is
one that reads “Bret Hart = Work” near the front row.

The Undertaker
comes out with both WWF Tag Team title belts. 
He makes clear that he and Steve Austin might be champions, but they are
not partners until Austin comes out and apologizes to him.  Vince McMahon walks out instead, with stooges
in tow, and says that the Undertaker has not convinced him that he is not
working with Kane.  In a nice piece of
logic, McMahon points out that the Undertaker had to use three Tombstones to
beat Kane at WrestleMania, so beating him with one at Fully Loaded is
suspicious.  McMahon demands an apology
from the Undertaker for attacking him last week and books a tag team title
match between the Undertaker and Austin and the New Age Outlaws.  Austin then walks out, causing McMahon and
company to flee, and says that while he will help the Undertaker defend their
tag team titles, he will not apologize to him. 
He gives the Undertaker the bird before leaving.  1 for
1
Get your free
Triple H poster by buying a box of Stridex medicated pads!
Opening Non-Title
Contest:  Vader beats D-Lo Brown
(European Champion) by count out at 4:18:
D-Lo is refusing to defend his European title for the
second consecutive night, which Ross explains is due to his representatives
thinking it would not be prudent to defend the title against Vader.  D-Lo slams Vader twice, but that just
rejuvenates Vader.  Vader rips off D-Lo’s
chest protector and splashes him on the floor, securing a count out win.  This is Vader’s first win on RAW in a while
and since he went over via count out, why did they not just make this for the
title?  Rating:  ** (2 for 2)
A video package
shows us “Droz’s World.”  He shows off
his exotic pets.
Brawl for All
Quarter-Finals:  Bart Gunn defeats Steve
Williams by KO at 2:51 of the third round:
As most of the readers of this article will recall, this
is the Brawl for All match that ruined the entire purpose of the
competition.  The WWF thought Williams
could easily run through the competition without rigging it, but Gunn had other
plans here as he uses his reach advantage to keep Williams at bay.  You can sense Ross getting nervous on
commentary as his enthusiasm for Gunn’s performance wanes by the end of the
second round.  Trailing by ten points
entering the third, Gunn manages a takedown, causing Williams to tear his
hamstring, and after an exchange of punches, Gunn lands the first knockout of
the Brawl for All competition to score the big upset.  Ross never forgave Gunn for knocking his guy
out of the competition.  3 for 3
Owen Hart comes to
the ring and gloats about beating Ken Shamrock in the Hart Dungeon last
night.  He issues an open challenge to
the locker room and Jason Sensation, dressed as Owen, walks out to a pretty big
pop.  Sensation leads a “nugget” chant
and when Owen goes after him, Dan Severn walks out and intercedes.  This is taken as evidence of Severn accepting
Owen’s challenge.
Open Challenge
Match:  Owen Hart beats Dan Severn by
disqualification when Ken Shamrock interferes at 49 seconds:
This match barely gets started as Owen and Severn share
offense until Shamrock runs in and places Owen in a Dragon sleeper.  Severn gets Shamrock off of Owen by placing
Shamrock in a Dragon sleeper and Steve Blackman has to walk out to break that
up with some WWF officials.
Sunday Night Heat
is coming to USA Network this Sunday!
Michael Cole gets
pushed into the RAW is War backstage interview set when he tries to ask
Shamrock some questions about what just happened.
The Disciples of
Apocalypse (w/Paul Ellering) wrestle Faarooq & Scorpio to a no-contest at
3:23:
Bradshaw is on commentary, still ranting about Terry Funk
not telling him that he was going to leave the company before last night’s
Fully Loaded pay-per-view.  At least
Bradshaw’s commentary is more tolerable than what we have to endure every
Monday night these days.  This is Faarooq
and Scorpio’s debut as a team on RAW, as they had been teaming and winning
matches on Shotgun Saturday Night in the weeks leading up to this.  Conventional wisdom would hold that this
match would be important in the tag rankings as both teams won last night at
Fully Loaded, but instead it is used as a vehicle to make us care about
Bradshaw as he attacks both teams and creates chaos until WWF officials
intervene.  Rating:  *¼ (3 for 4)
Intercontinental
Champion The Rock tells the announce team that he is going to make Triple H and
X-Pac famous when they square off with him in a triple threat match tonight.
Chyna’s
interference in the two-out-of-three falls match between the Rock and Triple H
last night at Fully Loaded is the Stridex Triple Action segment
.
Triple Threat
Match for the Intercontinental Championship: 
Triple H (w/Chyna) & X-Pac beat The Rock by count out at 6:54:
Was the Rock drunk when he signed the contract for this
match?  Predictably, DX works together in
the early going, but then turn on each other when it is time to finish the Rock
off.  That brings back fond memories of
playing those elimination four-ways on the N64. 
One thing is clear from this match: 
Rock vs. X-Pac > Triple H vs. The Rock.  After Triple H and X-Pac get angry and start
fighting each other, the Rock slithers out of the ring and takes a count out, which
is a finish that I’ve never seen again in a triple threat match.  Normally, that would be an awful finish, but
it makes perfect sense here with the way the match unfolded.  I wish they had run this match last night at
Fully Loaded and given it twenty minutes instead of giving us the overbooked
two-out-of-three falls match.  Rating: 
***¼ (4 for 5)
Cole interviews
the New Age Outlaws, who pledge to regain their title tonight.
Brakus beats
Jesus with a spinebuster in 50 seconds:
To give a nice time stamp on this show, Ross and Lawler
talk about Ryan Leaf’s big contract with the San Diego Chargers.  This is Brakus’s wrestling debut and he does
a few token power moves before winning. 
This never led to anything.  I mean,
seriously, who thought a German wrestler wearing CHAINMAIL to the ring would
get over in the Attitude Era?
Val Venis is shown
sharing the shower with Yamaguchi-San’s wife.
Val Venis pins
“Too Sexy” Brian Christopher (w/Scott Taylor) with a fisherman’s suplex at
2:10:
Before the match, Kaientai appears near the entrance,
with Yamaguchi-San carrying a sword and Men’s Teioh carrying a few pieces of
salami.  Venis counters Too Much’s
attempts to fight the match two-on-one and quickly finishes Christopher
off.  When Too Much tries to attack Venis
after the match, Taka Michinoku comes down and makes the save.
After the bell,
Kaientai challenges Venis and Michinoku to a match next week and Yamaguchi-San
vows to “choppy choppy” Val’s “pee pee” before taking his sword and chopping up
some salami.  Now we  know why Japanese promotions aren’t big Russo
fans…
Cole interviews
LOD 2000, who are facing the Godfather & Mark Henry tonight.  Animal is excited for the match, but Hawk
looks out of it.
The Godfather
& Mark Henry (w/Hos) beat LOD 2000 when the Godfather pins Animal with a
Death Valley Driver at 3:49:
This was where the Godfather added hos to his
gimmick.  During their entrance, Hawk is
stumbling around, is not wearing his spikes, and trips over the middle rope
when getting into the ring.  Hawk fails
to tag in throughout the match and then falls off the top rope when the LOD try
their Doomsday Device.  I was never a fan
of this angle, as it was quite tasteless, but the Godfather and Henry are a
good tag team combination.  Animal kept
this thing together as a one man wrecking crew too.  Rating:  ** (5 for 6)
Lawler is in the
ring to present the trophy to the winner of last night’s bikini contest.  Lawler informs the crowd that Sable did not
win because Vince McMahon did not consider her attire a bikini.  Mero does his usual overly excited dance when
Jacqueline is announced as the winner. 
Sable questions McMahon’s manhood for not telling her that she was
disqualified, which brings him out.  As
McMahon runs down Sable, someone from the crowd hits Vince with a cup, leading
him to chastise the audience.  McMahon
reminds Sable that she is easily replaced and when he turns to leave, Sable
gives him the bird and strips to reveal a new bikini.  I just never cared for Sable or this entire
“feud” with McMahon.  It’s like they
wanted to make Sable the female Austin, but she did not have the mic skills to
carry that out.  5 for 7
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve
Austin & The Undertaker (Champions) defeated The New Age Outlaws when
Austin pinned the Road Dogg after a Stone Cold Stunner at 8:09:
It is so refreshing for Ross to tell me that RAW won’t
have any commercials for the main event, since nowadays we get one or two
commercials that interrupt nearly every match on the show.  After the opening bell, some idiot fan throws
a beach ball into the ring, which Austin boots into the upper deck.  I’m glad WWF fans never resorted to WCW
craziness of littering the ring with trash on a regular basis.  Austin does a funny pose down with Billy Gunn
where he flexes and then flips him the bird. 
The Outlaws try to wear down the Undertaker’s leg, but Austin cleans
house after the hot tag and wins the match on his own.  A fun TV main event that made the Outlaws
appear capable, albeit overmatched.  Rating: 
*** (6 for 8)
After the match,
Austin gets a beer from ringside to drink and tosses one to the
Undertaker.  The Undertaker decides to
drink it, but Kane and Mankind attack Austin near ringside as we end the show.
The Final Report Card:  The Austin-Undertaker pairing continues to do
the slow burn toward SummerSlam and the attack at the end of the show sets the
stage for a Fully Loaded rematch down the road. 
The good continues to outweigh the bad on RAW, topped by Bart Gunn’s
stunning victory in the Brawl for All.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.9 (vs. 4.7 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up 

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – July 13, 1998

by Logan Scisco

A video package
recaps the Undertaker becoming the number one contender to the WWF championship
on last week’s show.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“the King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from East Rutherford,
New Jersey.

Shawn Michaels
comes out, making his first WWF appearance since WrestleMania XIV.  Michaels sits down to do commentary for the
show and tells Ross that he is not sure when he will return to the ring.
Opening
Contest:  The Undertaker pins Vader with
a Tombstone at 4:35:
Looking back, I wish Vader had entered the Brawl for
All.  It was already littered with lower
midcard talent and guys looking to reboot their careers or get them going, so
it would have been well suited for 1998 Vader. 
After the entrances, Kane, Mankind, and Paul Bearer come out, but they
let the match proceed as scheduled.  As
another “what if,” imagine what a stable of Vader, Kane, and Mankind would have
been like in 1998.  Vader gives this the
old college try, but the Undertaker unceremoniously finishes him with Tombstone
and Earl Hebner does his slow three count to add insult to injury.  Really Earl? 
Rating:  ** (1 for 1)
After the match,
Mankind prepares to hit the Undertaker with a chair, but Kane takes it from
Mankind and then whacks Vader with it. 
Does this mean Kane and the Undertaker are in cahoots?
-Brawl for All
First Round:  Bart Gunn beats Bob Holly
via decision
This match constituted the breakup of the New Midnight
Express as Ross tells us that Jim Cornette resigned as their manager as a
result of them deciding to face each other. 
That, for all intents and purposes, ends the last vestiges of the NWA
angle for good.  This is the first Brawl
for All to feature a regular WWF referee as Danny Hodge is no longer doing the
honors.  Bart just dominates Holly in
this bout and easily makes it to the next round.  There was nothing about this that made it
exciting, so it does not get a point from me. 
After the match, Bob gives Bart a cheap shot and there is a small fight
between the two before WWF officials break it up.  1 for
2
The D-Generation X
skit mocking the Nation of Domination on last week’s show is recapped.
Jason Sensation
joins the broadcast team and he imitates other WWF superstars at Lawler’s
urging.  When he imitates Bret Hart,
Michaels asks whether that is a midcarder (a shot at Bret’s status in the WCW
upper midcard at the time because – say it with me – WCW).  Ross interviews the Nation, who are
backstage, and they are not happy with last week’s skit.  The Godfather debuts his “pimpin’ ain’t easy”
line during this segment.  Owen gets mad
at Sensation continuing to imitate him at Lawler’s urging and runs out and
attacks him before DX intervenes.
Triple H &
X-Pac (w/Chyna) defeat The Rock & Owen Hart when X-Pac pins The Rock after
an X-Factor at 6:28:
Shawn Michaels starts talking about the Kliq on
commentary and is actually censored for doing so.  The match does not follow the normal tag
formula, as X-Pac gets in peril, absorbs a People’s Elbow and other Nation
offense, and then surprises the Rock out of nowhere with the X-Factor to
win.  The expected solid match between
these guys and they could have done much more if given another five minutes.  Rating:  **¾ (2 for 3)
Sable comes out to
do commentary for the next match.  Sable
promises that her bikini at Fully Loaded will make her bikini at the 1997
Slammy Awards look like an evening gown.
Steve Blackman
beats “Marvelous” Marc Mero (w/Jacqueline) with a pump kick at 2:14:
This is a rematch from the Brawl for All, but it is
overwhelmed by Sable and Jacqueline fighting near the announce table and
Michaels and Lawler fawning over Sable. 
Mero appears to have the match won with a low blow, but when Jacqueline
tries to do something off the top rope to Blackman, Sable stops her and
Blackman suddenly recovers and wins. 
Mero was never able to reinvent himself after the Sable feud, which was
quite sad considering his in-ring and mic talents.  The feud also made it impossible to go back
to WCW as Johnny B. Badd because he would have been showered with “Sable”
chants.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  Kane & Mankind
(w/Paul Bearer) defeat The New Age Outlaws (Champions w/Chyna) when Kane pins
The Road Dogg with a Tombstone to win the titles at 5:34:
Before the bell, the Undertaker comes out to watch this
match.  Of all the teams left in the tag
division, Kane and Mankind are the only credible challengers for the
titles.  Think about it:  LOD 2000 is irrelevant, the DOA are being
somewhat repackaged with Ellering but that isn’t enough, the New Midnight
Express broke up, and 2 Cold Scorpio and Terry Funk are enhancement
talent.  After all hell breaks loose in
the ring, all hell breaks loose outside it as the Nation and the remaining
members of DX brawl and in the chaos, D-Lo Brown interferes with a Lo Down on
the Road Dogg and the Outlaws seven month reign as tag team champions is
over.  Theoretically, this makes the
Fully Loaded main event tag match for the WWF tag team titles.  Rating:  ** (3 for 4)
Call 815-734-1161
to get your Steve Austin 3:16 baseball jersey $39.99 (plus $9 shipping &
handling)!  This was a great piece of
merchandise, but that price is outrageous.
Triple H yells at
Vince McMahon over the lack of control referees have in recent matches.  Having the Outlaws add to the complaints is
pretty funny considering how much cheating they engaged in to keep the titles
during their reign.
Kaientai
(w/Yamiguchi-San) beats Taka Michinoku & Too Much when Dick Togo pins Scott
Taylor after a Senton Bomb at 3:38:
Evidently, the Michinoku-Too Much pairing was forced by
the office in storyline terms as opposed to a genuine alliance.  Unsurprisingly, tempers flare between Scott
Taylor and Michinoku and Michinoku dropkicks Taylor into the hands of Kaientai,
who finishes him off.  After the bout,
Christopher beats up Michinoku and Val Venis comes out and reveals that he has
been having an affair with Yamiguchi-San’s wife.  The match was good, but I am not giving this
a point because the idea that Taka would ever agree to pair with Too Much under
any circumstances is ridiculous.  Rating: 
**¼ (3 for 5)
The Undertaker
chokeslamming The Godfather, D-Lo Brown, and Terry Funk on last week’s Raw is
the Skittles Slam of the Week.
Vince McMahon
comes out and talks with the Undertaker. 
McMahon commends the Undertaker on his deception last week, but raises
the question of whether the Undertaker is getting help from Kane.  The Undertaker refuses to answer McMahon’s
question and Steve Austin comes out. 
Austin asks the Undertaker whether he will have his back at Fully Loaded
and the Undertaker remains non-committal. 
That brings out D-Generation X and Triple H demands the Outlaws get an
immediate rematch against Kane and Mankind with three referees: a  regular official in the ring and the
Undertaker and Austin on the outside of the ring.  This will reveal whether the Undertaker and
Kane are working together.  Triple
H:  COO before we even knew it!  4 for
6
Brawl for All
First Round:  Dan Severn beats The
Godfather via decision:
As someone who did not see a lot of UFC growing up, I was
really excited to see what Severn could do in this format.  Severn is not used to releasing a takedown
after performing one, which the rules require, so the referee has to constantly
yell for him to break.  Severn also keeps
going for submissions, which are not allowed. 
The crowd is not happy about the lack of punches thrown and Severn
advances due to his takedown skills in a very boring bout.  After this, Severn would withdraw from the
Brawl for All because he did not care for the format and this bout shows
why.  We have had six Brawl for All
matches and all of them have gone to a decision, which is not very
exciting.  4 for 7
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match with The Undertaker and Steve Austin as Special
Enforcers:  Kane & Mankind (Champions
w/Paul Bearer) wrestle The New Age Outlaws to a no-contest at 8:09:
I am not often a fan of having the same match happen
again on the same show, but this was a very creative way to book around that
problem.  The main referee gets bumped
when Billy Gunn inserts himself into the match without a tag, but when Austin
tries to count the Road Dogg’s small package on Kane, the Undertaker pulls him
out of the ring.  The Undertaker tries to
count a pin when Kane chokeslams Road Dogg and Austin interrupts that.  The Undertaker and Austin then get into
separate fights with Mankind and Kane, respectively, and the Nation of
Domination hits the ring to brawl with the Outlaws, which brings out
D-Generation X.  Austin and the
Undertaker delivering Stunners and chokeslams plays us out and no one ends up
winning the match.  I’ll give this one a
point for the crazy post-match brawl.  Rating: 
** (5 for 8)
The Final Report Card:  This show gave us more storyline development
for the Undertaker-Kane relationship and whether they were in cahoots with each
other, although that issue is becoming very, very complicated.  Why would Kane want the Undertaker to face
Austin for the WWF title instead of himself? 
If he did decide to work with his brother, was it his idea?  When was such an agreement made?  Why would Kane or the Undertaker not tell
McMahon about it, since McMahon also wants to get the title off of Austin?  Does McMahon know and is he just playing dumb
to lure in Austin?  All this aside, this
RAW had a really hot first hour and then the second hour was death.  If not for the post-match brawl at the end,
this RAW would have ended up in neutral territory.  A slight thumbs up for this episode, which
saw RAW regain its Nielsen ratings lead only a week after WCW showed its big
Goldberg-Hogan match.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.7 (vs. 4.5 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – June 8, 1998

by Logan Scisco


A small video
package is shown for the Junkyard Dog, who passed away in an automobile
accident.
Jim Ross and
Michael Cole are in the booth and they are taped from Rockford, Illinois
.
Vince McMahon, Pat
Patterson, and Gerald Brisco come out in black tie attire since McMahon is
being recognized for charity work tonight. 
McMahon argues that we only know the “public” Vince, but tonight he will
be named “Humanitarian of the Year.”  He
adds that Steve Austin will be joining them for the presentation.  This was a subtle promo by McMahon and full
of exaggeration.  1 for 1

Opening King of
the Ring Qualifying Match:  Ken Shamrock
defeats “The Godfather” Kama Mustafa via submission to the ankle lock at 2:42:
The WWF was really starting to emphasize Kama’s “Godfather”
nickname at this point, but he has not started his pimp gimmick yet.  The Nation is not allowed to accompany Kama
to ringside.  This is Shamrock’s first
match back from the beatdown Owen Hart and the Nation gave him after
Unforgiven.  Kama works Shamrock’s leg,
but gets too cocky and caught in the ankle lock and Shamrock advances to face
Mark Henry in the first round.  After the
bout, D-Lo Brown tries to attack Shamrock, but Dan Severn makes the save.  Severn and Shamrock eye each other to keep
building the possibility that they may meet in the King of the Ring finals.
Footage from the
recent Madison Square Garden show is played. 
Ross announces that MSG will play host to SummerSlam.
D-Generation X is
shown walking through New York City and talking to people about SummerSlam.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your “Don’t Trust Anybody” Steve Austin t-shirt for $25 (plus $6
shipping & handling)!
Faarooq &
Steve Blackman defeat “Marvelous” Marc Mero & “Double J” Jeff Jarrett
(w/Jacqueline & Tennessee Lee) when Blackman pins Jarrett with a schoolboy
at 3:26:
Jarrett and Mero are an odd pairing since they are
scheduled to face each other in a King of the Ring first round match in a
couple of weeks.  Sure enough, Mero
starts posing in front of Jacqueline on the apron and ignores the match, which
allows Faarooq to push Jarrett into his partner and help Blackman secure a
victory for his team.  Rushed match, but
it at least does something to make people care about the Mero-Jarrett
tournament match.  Rating:  *¾  (1 for 2)
DX keeps roaming
around New York City.  They get two
consecutive segments for this.
King of the Ring
Qualifying Match:  Owen Hart beats 2 Cold
Scorpio via submission to the Sharpshooter at 5:16:
The Nation is barred from Owen’s match like they were the
Kama’s earlier.  Based on the booking of
both guys, this should be a squash, but this is an Owen Hart match, so we’re
going to get some solid workrate. 
Scorpio misses a dive off the top rope, injuring his knee, and Owen locks
in on the injured body part to secure a clean win.  This is the third and final time that Owen
qualified for the King of the Ring (1994, 1996, and 1998).  Owen will face the winner of tonight’s Dan
Severn-D-Lo Brown match.  Rating: 
**¾ (2 for 3)
The Undertaker
shows up at the arena and is searching for Vince McMahon
.
We get video
footage of Darren Drozdov playing for Denver Broncos and throwing up on a
football.  The NFL on NBC announcers made
a big deal out of his tattoos at the time, but now it is common for athletes to
have them.
Chainz beats Darren
Drozdov with a Death Valley Driver at 2:55
This is Droz’s singles debut on RAW and this match is an
extension of the awful LOD 2000-Disciples of Apocalypse feud that we have been
treated to for the last month.  A decent
brawl, but Chainz wins in a puzzling development since he was ice cold in terms
of momentum.  This was a signal that Droz
wasn’t getting a strong push out of the gate, but if the booking didn’t do him
in then his attire, which looked grungy and unconvincing, would have done that
anyway.
Right after the
bell, the Undertaker shows his disapproval with the LOD 2000-DOA program by
chokeslamming Chainz and Droz and tossing them out of the ring.  Or maybe the Undertaker is taking revenge on
Brian Lee for allegedly stealing his wife and/or stealing his gimmick in
1994.  The Undertaker says that he wants
McMahon, but McMahon is busy backstage talking with his charity folks so the
Undertaker heads back to the locker room.
DX comes out and
does their usual spiel, but before Triple H can rip the Nation, LOD 2000 walks
out.  Animal demands a title shot due to
their win at Over the Edge and Triple H agrees to give it to them.  This brings the DOA out and they say they are
still owed a title shot based on beating the New Age Outlaws on RAW several
weeks ago.  Triple H tells both teams to
suck it and cancels the match, but Commissioner Slaughter comes out and books a
triple threat match between all three teams for the WWF tag team titles.  This entire segment was a big mess as Triple
H’s sophomore humor fell flat, Animal spewed nonsense, and one of the Harris
brothers literally screeched while giving his promo.  2 for
4
The Undertaker is
shown destroying things backstage.
Edge’s new
vignette says that people are lost and scared.
Jerry “the King”
Lawler joins Ross for commentary for the second hour
.
Mark Henry and
Vader wrestle to a no contest after the Undertaker interferes at 2:45:
Well, Vader’s pledge to go away for a while and find
himself didn’t last very long.  Henry and
Vader engage a fun brawl until the Undertaker walks out and chokeslams both of
them.  The logic of this is probably to
keep Henry strong and not damage Vader’s credibility, since he will face the
Rock in a King of the Ring qualifying match next week.
Steve Austin’s
chairshot to Dude Love at Over the Edge is the JVC Kaboom! of the Week.
A video package
recaps Sable’s loss to Marc Mero at Over the Edge.
King of the Ring
Qualifying Match:  Dan Severn defeats
D-Lo Brown with a modified bow and arrow submission at 3:10:
The WWE bookers didn’t think through a lot of the
tournament brackets since they had lots of potential Nation matchups
(Kama-Henry or Owen-D-Lo in the first round) and, since the odds of those
matchups were low, that made the qualifying round too predictable.  D-Lo gets dominated by Severn here and the
finish is notable because it was said that D-Lo suffered an injury to his
pectoral as a result of the bow and arrow, thereby necessitating his use of a
chest protector in future matches.  Since
that gimmick gave D-Lo personality, you could argue that he got more out of
this loss than Severn did a win.  After
the match, Owen attacks Severn, but Ken Shamrock runs in to make the save.  Rating:  *½ (2 for 5)
A video tribute to
Sable is aired.
Steve Austin is
shown shaking the hands of Chicago football players before today’s show
.
Val Venis
wrestles Dustin Runnels to a no-contest when the Undertaker interferes at 5:29:
Remember that Runnels is wrestling without pay due to his
defeat at the hands of Dude Love a few weeks ago.  The match has an interesting story as Venis
showcases a lot of the sexual antics that Runnels used under the Goldust
gimmick and now he’s outraged by Venis’s behavior.  Runnels pushes Venis to the limit, but the
Undertaker interferes and ruins what was Venis’s best match to date.  The chemistry that these two displayed here
may have convinced the WWF brass to create a long-term program between these
two.  Rating:  **½ (3 for 6)
The Undertaker
attacks Commission Slaughter in the locker room when he cannot tell him where
McMahon is.
Triple Threat
Match for the WWF Tag Team Championships: 
The New Age Outlaws (Champions w/Chyna) defeat LOD 2000 (w/Sunny) &
The Disciples of Apocalypse when Billy Gunn pins the Road Dogg at 7:37:
This match requires two men to be in the ring at one
time, so it does not utilize the triple threat variation where a member of each
team is engaged in the ring at all times. 
Under these rules, I’ve never understood why a team voluntarily tags
itself out, since they might not get another opportunity to re-enter the
bout.  The Outlaws get tagged into the
match by the LOD and DOA, but they intelligently take advantage of the situation
to retain the titles.  Each team rotated
enough to keep this interesting and the finish was well crafted.  Rating:  **¼ (4 for 7)
An army of police
officers are shown assembling in the backstage area.
Al Snow shows up
in ridiculous coat and tie attire and interrogates Lawler, but security escorts
him away.
Vince McMahon
comes out for his “Humanitarian of the Year” ceremony to the music that was
used for celebrities at WrestleMania X. 
As McMahon enters the ring, police officers corner the Undertaker
backstage.  Steve Austin comes out
wearing a black tie with the rest of his ring attire, which irritates
McMahon.  As McMahon receives his awards,
he is told that his contributions were not what he promised and that it took several
times for his checks to clear.  As
McMahon gives his acceptance speech, promising to take his awards and place
them in a future Hall of Fame, Austin picks his pocket and gives the $1,200 in
it to the foundations present.  Austin
proclaims McMahon the “Jackass of the Year” and druids carry a casket to the
ring as the lights go out and the Undertaker’s music plays.  However, Kane pops out of the casket and
Mankind joins in.  They toss Austin in
the casket and Kane stands over it and signals for his pyro as the show plays
out.  A pretty tame segment compared to
the great work that Austin and McMahon have done up to this point, but the heel
beatdown and closing shot were great.  5 for 8
The Final Report Card:  I didn’t care for the Undertaker’s rampage
during the show, since it ruined Venis-Runnels and defied logic (why could the
Undertaker not find McMahon in the backstage area during the ENTIRE
show?).  In contrast, the show had enough
entertaining segments like the tag team triple threat, the closing segment
where Austin one-upped McMahon and then McMahon got immediate retribution, and
Owen-Scorpio.  I’ll give this week’s
effort a neutral score because although Austin-McMahon was fun, their segments
on this show were arguably the weakest between them since their feud began
after WrestleMania, and this show seemed to lack the energy of previous
broadcasts.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.3 (vs. 4.0 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:   Neutral