What the World Was Watching: WrestleMania XV

Boyz 2 Men sing “America the Beautiful” to kick off the show.  They receive a Cena-like mixed reaction.

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

Read more…

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – March 15, 1999

A video package recaps the tensions building between the Rock and Paul Wight, whose nickname has been changed to “The Big Show” instead of the “The Big Nasty.”  We are also reminded that the Undertaker is going after Vince McMahon.

Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from San Jose, California.

WWF Champion The Rock opens the show and he tells Steve Austin that he will prove his status as “The Great One” at WrestleMania.  He demands that Vince McMahon come out and prove to him that the Big Show is not working with Austin.  McMahon complies and says that “Dwayne” needs a reality check for being ungrateful for all that McMahon has given him.  He says that three generations of his family have looked after the Rock’s ancestors and that Paul Wight is not as quick to understand the existing agreement.  Wight comes out and demands to know what McMahon is talking about, threatening he and the Rock.  McMahon does not kindly to that, leading Wight to manhandle him into a corner to get his point across.  McMahon collects himself and books the Rock and Wight to team up to face Mankind and Steve Austin, thereby making this a preview of WrestleMania.  The Rock and Wight shake hands to end the segment at McMahon’s behest.

Read more…

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.

Read more…

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – March 1, 1999

A video package recaps the Undertaker’s recent threats against Vince McMahon, culminating in the Undertaker burning a teddy bear at the end of last week’s RAW.

Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from Cleveland, Ohio.

The Corporation comes out and Vince McMahon discusses how the audience does not understand his capacity to love.  He fires Kane for losing the inferno match to the Undertaker last week and has orderlies come down to send Kane to the insane asylum.  However, Chyna comes to Kane’s aid and they fight them off.  Chyna tells McMahon that she can control Kane and asks for Kane to be booked against Steve Austin, with Kane’s job on the line.  McMahon counters by also putting Chyna’s job on the line.  Mankind then joins the festivities and volunteers to referee the Steve Austin-Kane match to prove himself worthy of refereeing the title match at WrestleMania XV.  McMahon agrees on the condition that Mankind is able to defeat the Undertaker on tonight’s show (this is later clarified in the broadcast to mean that McMahon will consider Mankind for the role at WrestleMania based on how the match goes).  The Undertaker’s voice then comes on via the loudspeakers and he says that he has already told McMahon what he is going to take from him.

Read more…

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

A video package recaps the Rock winning the WWF title in a ladder match against Mankind on last week’s show.

Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are taped from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Vince McMahon comes out to hype tonight’s Inferno Match between the Undertaker and Kane.  He welcomes Paul Wight to the ring, who is booked to be the guest referee at WrestleMania.  Cole is trying to get Wight over as “The Big Nasty,” so I guess it is good that “The Big Show” name was chosen instead.  WWF Champion The Rock also comes out, quickly getting into a verbal confrontation with Wight, telling him to “Know his role.”  McMahon’s efforts at playing peacemaker get nowhere until Mankind marches onto the stage and volunteers to referee the WrestleMania main event, as well as referee a Rock-Wight encounter tonight.  Wight then proceeds to challenge the Rock to a match, which the Rock gladly accepts and he says he will put the WWF title on the line too.

Read more…

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – February 15, 1999

A series of narrated photographs recaps last night’s St. Valentine’s Day Massacre pay-per-view.

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

Commissioner Shawn Michaels comes out and welcomes out the participants in the WrestleMania main event:  WWF Champion Mankind and Steve Austin.  Before anything can be said between them, Vince McMahon interrupts, wearing a neck brace and selling his beating from Austin the previous night.  McMahon claims to be a broken man and that he wants a fresh start with Austin on the condition that Austin apologizes.  Austin does apologize, but only for beating McMahon more than he intended.  McMahon tells Michaels that people deserve a WWF title rematch between Mankind and the Rock because their match last night ended in a draw so he needs to do his job and book it for tonight.  Mankind says he needs a week to recover, bringing out the Rock, who continues to goad Michaels into booking a title match for this evening.  Mankind decides to take on the Rock after all and to make sure that there is a winner Michaels announces that tonight’s title match will be a ladder match.  After that, McMahon welcomes out Paul Wight, who he says will be the special guest referee of the title match at WrestleMania.  Austin simply flips him off from the ring to end the segment.

Read more…

ECW on Sci-Fi #6 07/18/2006

Saturday Night’s Main Event gets recapped. Sadly it’s one of the ones from 2006.

Big Show and Great Khali teamed up to beat up The Undertaker so Undi’s making an appearance tonight against Show. Well the show’s only an hour-long so if he does that promo about leaving him in the desert the match will only twenty seconds.

Read more…

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – January 18, 1999

-Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are taped from Beaumont, Texas.  This is the go home show for the Royal Rumble.

Cole is in the ring to interview Steve Austin, but Austin just turns it into a single man segment as he rips the microphone out of Cole’s hands.  This is just a generic “build promo” for the Rumble, with Austin recapping a month’s worth of storylines about how he will be the first entrant, Vince McMahon will be the second entrant, and that all twenty-nine men will want to throw him out so that they can receive $100,000 from Vince.

Read more…

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.

Read more…

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 Reading: WWF Magazine – August 2000

by Logan Scisco

The past two weeks we have spent time looking at
alternatives to WWF Magazine.  We return to WWF Magazine this week, looking at the August 2000 issue.  On the cover is someone who Triple H says is
a very unlikely candidate for the Hall of Fame:

Those who followed the product during the Attitude Era
remember that the WWF gradually tried to make Chyna sexier for viewers.  She started as a serious bodyguard in a role
unlike that of any other woman who came before her (or even since), but then
started wearing makeup and by 2000 the WWF was presenting her as more of a
physically gifted, attractive “diva.”
It should also be noted that our managing editor of the
magazine is no longer Kevin Kelly. 
Instead it is a woman named Laura Bryson.  By this point the magazine was a shell of its
former self, at least in my eyes, and the pay-per-view recaps will show that.
In the Letters to the Editor, Dan Hayes writes an angry
letter saying that Lita is not a potential legend since she is just attached to
Essa Rios and is not pursuing a singles title. 
Of course, that would change down the road and by the time this magazine
was on newsstands, Lita had ditched Rios and joined the Hardy Boyz.  A few fans write in how they are fans of
Jacqueline and how awesome she is.  And
Rich Coleman writes an angry letter saying that the WWF is in danger of
“turning soft” because babyfaces like Kane just walk off instead of fight.  It is probably a safe bet that Rich is no
longer a fan of the product today.
This month’s “Tales From the Turnbuckle” breaks down the
three greatest SummerSlam matches of all-time.
If you cannot see the list the selections are:  (1) Undertaker-Mankind from SummerSlam 1996,
(2) Test-Shane McMahon from SummerSlam 1999, and (3) Big Boss Man-Koko B. Ware
from SummerSlam 1988.  Yes, no Ultimate
Warrior-Rick Rude and no Bret Hart-Mr. Perfect. 
The company’s unwillingness to reference wrestlers who were still in WCW
killed this list since that meant no Bret, no Hulk Hogan, no Randy Savage, and
no Scott Hall.  Evidently, Big
Bossman-Koko was a historic bout because “the contrasting styles of these two
Superstars set the tone for many of the great SummerSlam matches that would
follow.”  So next time you enjoy your
favorite SummerSlam match, give proper credit to the Bossman and Koko.  Oh, and Frankie too!
Then we get an illustration of the haircuts available in
the WWF Barber Shop:
And this month’s magazine is pitching your ability to get
some WWF cards that are twenty-two carat gold. 
Enjoy seeing Billy Gunn in all his glory, trying to avoid submitting to
the Rock in a headlock!  Each card will
cost you $9.95 (plus 95 cents of shipping and handling).
The “Rookies and Legends” column is still going strong,
profiling Bull Buchanan.
Buchanan was initially brought in as a member of the
Truth Commission in 1997 before returning a few years later as a partner of the
Big Bossman.  He would then be part of
the Right to Censor and had a brief partnership with John Cena before eventually
departing the company.  The only
highlight of his run was jobbing to Crash Holly in an upset at the 2000 King of
the Ring.  He was also briefly a tag team
champion with the “Goodfather,” but tag team title runs become a blur for me
after 1999.
We are then treated to a list of five things we will
never find for auction from “SteviE-bay” (in reference to Stevie Richards):
By this point, the magazine had a “Face2Face” feature
that fills the part of the magazine formerly occupied by Vic Venom’s “The Bite”
in the mid-1990s.  It is a debate column
where Aaron Williams and Laura take opposite stands on an issue.  The issue this month is Vince McMahon.
Aaron rips McMahon for cheating and becoming an “impotent
person.”  The comment about Vince having
an Ivy League education is something that I do not think is actually true, as
Linda earned her degree from East Carolina University and Vince was around her
at the time.  Laura defends Vince as “in
tune to the reality of the world we live in,” something that could not be said
of the booking of the company now.  She
also refers to Vince as an American hero, thereby explaining Stephanie’s 9/11
reference on Smackdown! in 2001.
It seems that every issue of WWF Magazine that I have reviewed so far, except for the June 1995
edition, had a piece about Chyna.  This
one is no different, as she gets attention in an article called “Power Behind
the Throne.”
I guess this is tied in with the “Chyna’s Secret” heading
on the magazine, but the story does not really talk about a secret.  It recaps her partnerships with D-Generation
X, Kane, and Eddie Guerrero.  Evidently
she also had an alliance with the Kat sometime in the Attitude Era, but I do
not recall that at all.  In light of
Triple H’s podcast, one thing stands out: 
“We [Triple H and Chyna] went our own ways, but that does not rule out
our paths crossing again.”  It definitely
seems like Triple H had put the kibosh on any plans to have their paths cross at
a future Hall of Fame ceremony.  Still,
though, why tell readers you are going to talk about “Chyna’s Secret” and then
just write an article that merely reiterates what we have heard about Chyna in
magazine pieces in the years up to this point: 
she has worked with lots of great superstars and knows their strengths
and weaknesses.
Remember the “Got Milk?” campaign?  Steve Austin is here to remind us!
A career retrospective piece is then provided for the
Undertaker
In recapping the Undertaker’s big foes, Jimmy Snuka is
even added to the list.  Poor Jimmy is
portrayed just like Kamala, the Giant Gonzalez, and Yokozuna:  he wanted to bury the Undertaker’s soul and
“erase his very being.”  And here I
thought that all Snuka wanted to do was win a WrestleMania match in Los
Angeles!  This is a pretty blah piece,
just telling educated fans everything they already know about the
Undertaker.  And this piece does not even
talk about the Undertaker’s new biker persona!
The late Crash Holly gets profiled in this issue as well,
as writer Mike Fazioli calls him “the king of Hardcore.”
Crash is best known for defending the Hardcore title on a
24/7 basis, which led to him being called the “Houdini of Hardcore.”  If you ever try to look at the history of
that title it will make your head hurt as the 24/7 rule led to about three to
four title changes on every house show. 
We are informed that Crash’s toughness comes from his cousin Hardcore
Holly, who used to beat him up when he would get angry.  After all, look what Bob did to Matt
Cappotelli on Tough Enough!
We then get our customary, somewhat uncomfortable profile
of Roots Genoa that we are bound to come across in a WWF Magazine of this time period
It highlights how Benoit has his sights set on becoming
WWF champion even though there are concerns by the WWF promotion and marketing
teams that he might do something big since he is not as charismatic as other
superstars.  The article even draws a parallel
about how competing in the WWF is more difficult than the past since Benoit
cannot be like a wrestler “in the old days who could coast defeating perennial
losers in easy televised matches” between big bouts.  Our big eerie line from this well-written
piece by Keith Elliot Greenberg:  “Most
likely, their [the WWF’s] efforts to convert him into a cut-out media darling
will be unsuccessful…”
We get a listing of the toughest ten superstars in the
WWF.  The list is purely kayfabed as
there is no mention of Steve Blackman on this list.
Kurt Angle is criminally underrated, but he is given his
ranking because he is not intimidating enough. 
Tazz has to be in the top three due to his gimmick.
This month’s interview piece is with Terri, who was going
by the nick name of “She-Devil” around this time.
She makes clear that she likes to be independent,
although it is okay for men to buy her things. 
She also says that she has no interest in pursuing a singles title and
that she considers Bubba Ray a “bully” for putting her through a table.  I am concerned that she says Jerry Lawler is
her “kind of guy,” though.  Dustin should
have submitted this as evidence in the divorce proceedings for custody!
And when I talked about the pay-per-view recaps getting
smaller and smaller, I meant it.  Look
what we have been reduced to in the 2000s:
How can you adequately recap a match in less than three
sentences?  This is really egregious for
the Iron Man Match between Triple H and the Rock, which gets less than a
paragraph.
Remember to drink your milk!
And we close the magazine with a Stevie Richards column
entitled “Gettin’ Heat.”
In this column, Richards traditionally made cracks at a
WWF superstar.  This month, though, he
attacks himself for stealing other wrestlers personas when he came into the
company.  He says that he wishes he
sought out Shawn Michaels for advice and he writes him a letter asking for
guidance.  I will bet that Michaels never
answered it.

Of all the magazines that have been covered by this
column this was the worst.  The only
redeeming column was Greenberg’s on Benoit with the rest constituting very
boring, dry reads.  The magazine lost a
lot of its creativity without Russo or Kelly at the helm.  Next week we will move forward two years and
recap the April 2002 issue of WWF
Magazine
, which features the New World Order on the cover. 

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

by Logan Scisco

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – November 30, 1998

by Logan Scisco

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

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

by Logan Scisco

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Survivor Series 1998

by Logan Scisco

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

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

by Logan Scisco

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

by Logan Scisco


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

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

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

by Logan Scisco

A video package
recaps the events from Breakdown to last week’s show concerning the WWF title
Jim
Ross tells us that Vince McMahon has invited Steve Austin to RAW.  What does it all mean?
-Vince McMahon is
shown driving a Corvette into the arena, flipping off a security attendant for
not leaving the garage door up.  The
stooges help him get into his wheelchair, although Commissioner Slaughter
nearly shuts the Corvette door on McMahon’s leg.
Ross and Jerry “The
King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from Uniondale, New York.  This is our go home show for Judgment Day.

Opening Contest
for the WWF Tag Team Championships:  The
New Age Outlaws (Champions) beats LOD 2000 (w/Hawk) by count out at 2:09:
After teasing a turn, Billy Gunn announces before the
match that he is down with D-Generation X. 
This is the new LOD 2000, as Animal and Darren Drozdov compose the team.  Hawk does commentary and lets us know that he
is the alternate on the team.  The match
only lasts for ninety seconds before the Disciples of Apocalypse and Paul
Ellering attack Hawk at ringside.  As the
Outlaws watch this take place, the Headbangers run in and blast the Road Dogg
with a boombox.
Ross announces
that since Triple H is on the shelf with a knee injury that tonight’s show will
feature an eight man tournament to crown a new Intercontinental champion.
Kane is shown
walking into the arena alone.
Intercontinental
Championship Tournament First Round:  Ken
Shamrock defeats Steve Blackman via submission to a kneebar at 2:28:
This is a small blowoff for an angle that began two
months ago where Shamrock and Blackman were uneasy allies.  Shamrock is in the process of slowly turning
heel, having been positioned as a rival of the Rock over the last month.  He targets Blackman’s injured knee throughout
this match and advances via submission, but the bigger news is that the Blue
Blazer comes into the ring after the bell and attacks both men.  When the Blazer runs off, Shamrock snaps and
puts Blackman in the ankle lock to continue his heelish behavior.
The Undertaker is
shown arriving to the arena.
A video package chronicles
Goldust’s career.  They make it seem as
if Goldust completely destroyed Razor Ramon at the 1996 Royal Rumble and “Rowdy”
Roddy Piper at WrestleMania XII because both men are in WCW.
Intercontinental
Championship Tournament First Round:  Val
Venis (w/Terri Runnels) pins “Marvelous” Marc Mero (w/Jacqueline) with a
fisherman’s suplex at 2:17:
Mero’s stock has fallen so far that the announcers do not
even bother to mention that he won the Intercontinental title in a tournament
two years ago.  Mero seems to have the
match in hand, but Runnels runs interference and Venis advances.  After the match, the future PMS gets it on at
ringside before WWF officials intervene.
Paul Bearer is
shown arriving to the arena carrying a briefcase.  McMahon interrogates the stooges about why
Bearer is there.  They do not have any
answers for him.
Michael Cole
interviews Sable and tells her that she gave a wonderful acting performance on
Pacific Blue.  He asks her if she is
going to depart for Hollywood and she says that she only wants to be the women’s
champion.  She sees Jacqueline backstage
and drags her out to the crowd and a catfight ensues.
Cole interviews
Mankind, who says that Ken Shamrock cannot hurt him by hitting him with a chair
because he cannot swing one hard enough. 
He pulls out Socko at the end of the interview and the crowd works up a
loud “Socko” chant.
Mark Henry recites
a poem that he wrote for Chyna, asking for her a chance.
Intercontinental
Championship Tournament First Round: 
Mankind beats Mark Henry via submission to the Mandible Claw at 3:18:
It takes only a few seconds for Chyna to wander out to
ringside and this match, like others in the tournament so far, is really
abbreviated.  Henry tries to go after the
leg, but Mankind hits the double arm DDT and Mr. Socko debuts as a variation of
the Mandible Claw to put Mankind into the semi-finals.  After the match, Chyna asks Henry why he has
sued her and Henry says it is out of his hands. 
Such drama!  Rating:  *½ (1 for 1)
Steve Austin shows
up to the arena in a cement truck.  After
the commercial break, McMahon is incensed at that news and the stooges vow to
check it out.
Intercontinental
Championship Tournament First Round: 
X-Pac defeats “Double J” Jeff Jarrett with a rollup at 3:08:
This one sided feud in the midcard continues as X-Pac and
Jarrett put together a quick and entertaining bout that sees Jarrett block the
Bronco Buster yet have his guitar interference backfire thanks to Al Snow, who
puts Head in Jarrett’s guitar case.  Rating: 
** (2 for 2)
Backstage, Steve
Austin dumps cement into McMahon’s Corvette as McMahon goes nuts in his suite.
Steve Austin comes
out to the ring and says he plans on making McMahon’s life a living hell.  He says that he looks forward to being the
guest referee at Judgment Day and promises to raise his own hand at the end of
the main event.  McMahon and a large,
masked security guard show up with a couple of K-9 units and he books Austin to
team with the Rock to face Kane and the Undertaker.  He warns Austin to watch his back tonight and
then hilariously rants about how his last two weeks have been hell.  The highlight is him talking about the enema
bag attack and screaming “YOU VIOLATED ME AUSTIN!”  He closes by saying that if Austin refuses to
play ball and crown a new WWF champion at Judgment Day that he will be fired.  This is also where McMahon debuts his “balls
the size of grapefruits” line.  3 for 3
Intercontinental
Championship Tournament Semi-Finals:  Ken
Shamrock beats Val Venis (w/Terri Runnels) via submission to the ankle lock at
4:35:
Shamrock attacks Venis from behind to continue his mean
streak and spends the match working the lower back.  Venis gets a token comeback, but Shamrock
takes out his ankle and it is academic from there.  This was just an extended squash for Shamrock
and I am fine with that because Venis is not on his level.  Rating:  *½ (2 for 3)
After the bout,
Goldust walks out to a loud reaction.  He
begins playing mind games with Venis, who is petrified, and he gives him the
yet to be named Shattered Dreams.
Vince McMahon and
the stooges assess the damages to his Corvette. 
In a great piece of humor, Gerald Brisco tells McMahon that he and the
other stooges can get shovels to dig out the car.  Mankind shows up and tries to fish out the
keys and McMahon’s briefcase, but just ends up irritating the boss.  3 for
4
The Rock starts
cutting a promo for the main event until he is interrupted by D-Lo Brown and
Mark Henry.  The Rock calls off the promo
to talk with them in private.
Intercontinental
Championship Tournament Semi-Finals: 
X-Pac pins Mankind with a schoolboy after Ken Shamrock interferes at
3:16:
Despite their different style these guys have really good
chemistry and you wish they were given more time for this match.  Mankind gives X-Pac a swinging neckbreaker on
the outside, which hurts X-Pac’s neck, and Ken Shamrock, who wanders out,
smashes a chair into Mankind’s knee. 
That distraction helps X-Pac win, but Shamrock then enters the ring and does
a beatdown as WWF officials intervene.  Rating: 
*½ (3 for 5)
Mankind wants to
get vengeance on Shamrock, but the stooges convince him to go backstage because
McMahon wants to see him.
Intercontinental
Championship Tournament Finals:  Ken
Shamrock beats X-Pac via submission to the ankle lock to win the title at 3:56:
Officials try to convince X-Pac to forfeit, but he
refuses to do so and we get the finals of the tournament after all.  Triple H does guest commentary and puts over
X-Pac’s fighting spirit.  X-Pac escapes
the ankle lock once by getting to the ropes, but Shamrock just drags him to the
middle of the ring and finishes him off to win his first title in the
company.  With more time, this could have
told a great story, but it was so abbreviated that it lacked a lasting
impact.  Rating:  *½ (3 for 6)
“Stone Cold”
Steve Austin & The Rock defeat Kane & The Undertaker by
disqualification when the Big Bossman interferes at 11:13:
Paul Bearer waddles out within the first minute of the
match, but it is uncertain about why he is there.  D-Lo Brown and Mark Henry wander out
eventually as well.  The Rock puts
together a great variation of the People’s Elbow where he sets it up and the
Undertaker tries to sit up before it is delivered, so the Rock just kicks him
back down and finishes the move.  The
crowd digs everything that the Rock and Austin put together in this match and
Kane weaves in enough high impact moves to sustain interest.  After the hot tag, Henry and D-Lo take out
the Rock and McMahon’s masked security guard interferes and blasts Austin with
a night stick.  The guard unmasks to
reveal the Big Bossman, which gets a small pop. 
Rating:  *** (4 for 7)
After the bell,
Kane and the Undertaker pound away on Austin and the Undertaker puts Austin in
the same leglock that he used on McMahon the previous week.
The Final Report Card:  As a tournament mark, I liked the concept of
the show, but the problem is that everything ended up too short because they
wanted to put on a big tag team match at the end.  Still, I like that they went with a
tournament instead of a battle royal.  Judgment
Day is being sold as a one match show, with everything revolving around what
Austin will do as a referee, and I cannot say that I am excited about
that.  Still, this show’s exciting main
event was enough to get a thumbs up from me.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.8 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up 

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

by Logan Scisco

A video package recaps Steve Austin crashing
Vince McMahon’s championship ceremony last week and Kane and the Undertaker’s
subsequent attack on McMahon.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are taped from East Lansing,
Michigan
.

Opening Contest
for the European Championship:  D-Lo
Brown (w/Mark Henry) beats X-Pac (Champion w/Chyna) with a Lo Down to win the
title at 5:18:
D-Lo earned this title shot by winning the six man, four
corner elimination match on last week’s show. 
A minute into the match, Chyna is served another legal summons and Henry
laughs at her.  This match has a unique
formula, as D-Lo dominates in the early going and X-Pac stages his comeback,
not getting a shine at the beginning. 
D-Lo fakes a knee injury and that enables Henry to catch X-Pac’s pescado
attempt, ram him into the post, and roll him into the ring where D-Lo captures
the European title for the second time.  Rating: 
** (1 for 1)
Vince McMahon is
shown yelling at a nurse at an undisclosed medical facility.
The Oddities are
shown playing touch football with the Insane Clown Posse for some reason.
Please buy Stridex
and get these Triple H posters!  They
have been shilling this since June.
In the new feud no
one cares about, the Headbangers call out the Insane Clown Posse and beat them
down with a chair until the Oddities literally walk out to make the save.  1 for
2
Footage of Steve
Austin cutting off Vince McMahon’s satellite feed on Sunday Night Heat is shown.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your Steve Austin 3:16 baseball jersey for $39 (plus $9 shipping &
handling)!
Ross and Lawler
fill time talking about the outcome of the Breakdown main event and the events
that took place between the main players on last week’s show
.
McMahon grows
irate at the medical facility when Mankind barges in.  He does not care for the balloons or candy that
Mankind brings him or Yurple the Clown. 
The segment is notable because Mankind debuts Mr. Socko here.  McMahon’s disgusted “Mr. Socko” at the end
still cracks me up.
  2 for
3
Check out Pacific
Blue this week as Sable goes to a female prison facility!
Sable comes out to
do commentary for the next match and Tori, her yet to be named obsessed fan, stands
behind her in the crowd.
“Marvelous” Marc
Mero (w/Jacqueline) beats Vader with Marvelocity at 4:12:
Sable lets us know that she wants the women’s title
because she now wants to be a serious wrestler “in this business!”  This is a match that I would have enjoyed in
1996, 1998 not so much.  Vader dominates
the action, but Jacqueline tries to interfere and that distraction leads to a
low blow and a Mero win.  Rating: 
¾* (2 for 4)
Jacqueline calls
out Sable after the match and cheap shots her after Mero causes a
distraction.  Jacqueline cuts a chunk out
of Sable’s hair and carries it off like a trophy.
Steven Regal, a “Real
Man’s Man” is shown making orange juice with his bare hands.
Owen Hart is
scheduled to face Edge, but he walks out in street clothes and apologizes for
hurting Dan Severn last week.  Fighting
off tears, he leaves, so Edge wins by forfeit.
Steve Austin’s
Zamboni attack last week is the 10-0-321 Rewind segment
.
Michael Cole catches
up with Owen Hart who is leaving the arena. 
Owen says “It’s over” and keeps walking. 
I wish it had been.
Ken Shamrock
beats Kane with a super powerslam off the top rope at 7:10:
Shamrock starts with some smart offense by targeting Kane’s
leg, but his hurricanrana is countered into a powerbomb and Kane slows this
down to a crawl.  The Undertaker comes
out for no reason and his interference causes Kane to get crotched when trying
a flying clothesline and Shamrock scores the win.  These two had very little chemistry.  Rating:  ½* (2 for 5)
Val Venis and
Terri Runnels are shown having fun backstage
.
Val Venis
(w/Terri Runnels) defeats Gangrel (w/Christian) by count out at 2:38:
Ross is all over the place calling this match, confusing
Gangrel and Edge and calling Christian “Christopher.”  Two minutes in, Edge confronts Christian at
ringside, but Gangrel attacks him from behind and gives him a DDT.  Gangrel and Christian do a beatdown, but that
causes Gangrel to get counted out.
Venis and Terri
celebrate in the ring when Goldust’s old usher from 1995 shows up and gives
Venis a gold envelope.  Venis is shocked
at the contents and Goldust invites him to his premiere next week on RAW.
Steve Austin
interrogating Shane McMahon on Heat and then having a staredown with the Rock
is shown.
McMahon demands a
new nurse and a painkiller.
Al Snow (w/Head)
beats “Double J” Jeff Jarrett by disqualification when Commissioner Slaughter
interferes at 4:15:
Jarrett appears to be the latest hired gun of
Commissioner Slaughter to go after Snow. 
They put together a decent match, but Slaughter shakes the ropes when
Snow goes to the top rope and the referee calls for the bell.  How can Slaughter not overrule that as
commissioner?  Rating:  *½ (2 for 6)
The Road Dogg
(w/X-Pac) defeats Mark Henry (w/D-Lo Brown) after X-Pac gives Henry an X-Factor
at 3:36:
The Road Dogg takes a 
swipe at Billy Gunn by bringing out a blow up doll dressed as him.   Lawler reveals that Henry is suing Chyna for
sexual harassment, which is why she has been receiving legal summons.  Chyna makes a predictable appearance late in
the match and that distraction allows X-Pac to get revenge for earlier in the
evening.  Rating:  * (2 for 7)
We get yet another
recap of last week’s events
.
Steve Austin,
dressed as a nurse, attacks McMahon at the medical facility.  He beats on his leg, hits him over the head
with a bedpan, shocks him with a defibrillator, and then shoves an enema up his
rectum as the camera fades to black. 
McMahon’s screaming and facial expressions made this segment.  3 for
8
The Undertaker
pins the Rock after a Tombstone on a chair at 13:10:
The Rock hopes that D-Lo Brown and Mark Henry can watch
his back for this match, but they are too intimidated by Kane, who walks out a
few minutes into the bout, and head to the locker room.  The Rock probably gets head with Kevin Dunn
by not doing the People’s Elbow facing the hard camera and Earl Hebner gets
bumped in the corner moments later.  Kane
blasts the Undertaker with a chair, but Hebner isn’t there to count the fall
and the Undertaker does the zombie situp and wins.  This had some slow parts in the beginning,
but it got hot at the end.  Rating: 
**½ (4 for 9)
The Final Report Card:  This was one of those RAW’s that felt like it
took four hours to sit through.  The McMahon
hospital segments were the highlight of the show and the main event was one of
the better Rock-Undertaker matches on record. 
Still, a thumbs down effort this week because it was such a chore to get
to the good stuff.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.55 (vs. 4.5 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – September 28, 1998

by Logan Scisco

A video package replays
the lead-in video for last night’s Breakdown pay-per-view.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Detroit, Michigan.

Steve Austin’s
music hits, but Vince McMahon, the stooges, and police officers walk out.  McMahon has the WWF title (the smoking skull
edition) over his shoulder.  McMahon
makes clear that Austin will not get a rematch for the championship like last
time, but he decrees the evening “Stone Cold Steve Austin Night” and jokes how
police are throughout the facility to make him feel welcome.  McMahon announces that a new WWF champion
will be crowned tonight, although he makes clear that the champion will get the
non-smoking skull title because that belt is going above his fireplace.  The stooges put the smoking skull belt around
McMahon’s waist and McMahon is showered with boos as he mocks Austin by scaling
the corner turnbuckles.  This was pretty
hilarious.  1 for 1
Opening Contest
for the WWF Tag Team Championship:  Southern
Justice (w/Jeff Jarrett) beat The New Age Outlaws (Champions) via
disqualification when the Road Dogg blasts Dennis Knight with Jarrett’s guitar
at 3:00:
Ross spends this match putting over Billy Gunn and how he
is shouldering the workload for D-Generation X in light of injuries to Triple H
and X-Pac.  Gunn literally does the hot
tag sequence by himself, but when he prepares to give Knight a piledriver, Road
Dogg hits Knight with a guitar for no reason and gets the team
disqualified.  After the match, Gunn and
his partner argue and Gunn proceeds to blow off the entire DX crew when they
try to place peacemaker.  All hail Gunn’s
upcoming singles push!  Rating: 
* (1 for 2)
Michael Cole
reports that there is lots of arguing in the DX locker room.
Submission
Match:  Owen Hart defeats Dan Severn by
referee stoppage at 2:16:
Severn has not appeared on television since SummerSlam
and is supposedly a face now as he shakes hands with members of the Detroit Red
Wings at ringside.  Booking this for RAW
is strange because after SummerSlam, where Severn walked out on Owen, you would
think they could have run a small feud that culminated at either Breakdown or
Judgment Day.  Owen escapes a dragon
sleeper and delivers an inverted piledriver, the same move that broke Steve
Austin’s neck at SummerSlam 1997, and that ends the match.  Severn then does a stretcher job.  On one hand, I can understand the logic of keeping
Severn strong if you are going to have him lose, but this was incredibly
tasteless.
Please buy Stridex
so they can get rid of all these Triple H posters!
Al Snow (w/Head) beats
Vader (w/Commissioner Slaughter) after hitting him with Head at 2:36:
Commissioner Slaughter accompanies Vader to the ring
since he hates Al Snow.  Seeing Vader as
a jobber for hire in a match like this is sad. 
Vader actually dominates the match, but Slaughter accidentally distracts
the official too long and Snow hits Vader with Head to win.  Vader actually kicks out at two, but a three
count was registered anyway.  On the
bright side, Snow is really over with the Head gimmick.
Billy Gunn has
left the building!
The 10-10-321
Rewind Segment is Gangrel telling Edge on Sunday Night Heat that “he will come
home.”
Six Man, Four
Corner Elimination Match for a European Title Shot:  D-Lo Brown 
beats “Double J” Jeff Jarrett, Edge, “Double J” Jeff Jarrett, Gangrel, “Marvelous”
Marc Mero, and Darren Drozdov at 5:10:
Order of
Elimination:  Edge pins Gangrel with a La
Magistral cradle at 1:05; Jeff Jarrett and Droz are counted out at 3:26; Edge
pins Mero after D-Lo hits Mero with a Lo Down at 4:36; D-Lo pins Edge with a
Sky High at 5:10
Ah, the days when you did not have to beat the champion
on television to earn a title match. 
D-Lo is super over here.  The
match gets off to a ridiculous start when Edge pins Gangrel in just over a
minute, thereby making their feud a little more pointless and confusing.  Since this is 1998, the match goes by way too
quickly with people hitting their signature spots and being eliminated much too
soon.  Not as soon as that awful diva’s
Survivor Series-style match last year, but it’s way too quick for my
tastes.  Edge seems to have D-Lo on the ropes,
but Gangrel and Christian walk out, distract Edge, and help D-Lo get another
crack at the European championship.  Rating: 
*½ (1 for 3)
In one of the more
memorable segments in RAW history, McMahon comes back out to conduct a ceremony
for awarding the WWF title to Kane or the Undertaker.  Steve Austin rushes past security in a Zamboni
and makes a classic dive into the ring to attack McMahon.  Austin is eventually arrested by police and
McMahon is forced to temporarily cancel the ceremony.  This segment is still amazing sixteen years
later.  2 for 4
Call 815-734-1161
to get your “Down Where?  Down Here!” DX
shirt for $25 (plus $6 shipping & handling)!
The ceremony
resumes after the commercial break, but this time there are no police or
stooges, just McMahon, Kane, and the Undertaker.  McMahon is furious that Kane and the Undertaker
have allowed Austin to attack him for the third time in less than a week.  As a result, he books Kane and the Undertaker
to face each other at Judgment Day for the title with Austin as the guest
referee.  The look of “oh really?” that
the Undertaker gives McMahon in this segment is hilarious.  For tonight, McMahon books Kane and the
Undertaker to face Ken Shamrock, Mankind, and the Rock in a handicap
match.  The crowd pops big for the mere
mention of the Rock’s name.  McMahon goes
a step too far in saying that Kane and the Undertaker have physical and mental
handicaps and when he is caught flipping the bird to the Brothers of
Destruction they beat him down and break his ankle with the ring steps (Kane
lays out the stooges for fun).  This was
a great way to book McMahon’s commupance after he grew too drunk on his own
power and paid the price.  Sometimes when
you play with fire you end up getting burned. 
3 for 5
Singles Match with
Chyna as Special Guest Referee:  Faarooq
defeats Mark Henry after Chyna hits Henry with a low blow at 1:14:
Part of the reason this match exists is that Mark Henry
beat up Triple H on Sunday Night Heat and prevented a match between the
two.  That was not very smart of Henry
since he would have had a great chance of becoming Intercontinental
champion.  Chyna predictably costs Henry
the match, but she is served legal papers at the end of the match.  She does not appear happy, but we have no
idea why.
Cole interviews
Ken Shamrock, who turns heel by saying he hates Detroit.  He promises payback for his partners and
opponents in the main event.
A new vignette for
Steven Regal, a “real man’s man,” is shown operating industrial equipment.  Who really thought this gimmick belonged in
1998?
The Insane Clown
Posse, who hail from Detroit, do the Oddities theme music live.
Kurrgan &
Golga (w/Giant Silva, Luna Vachon & The Insane Clown Posse) beat The
Headbangers when Kurrgan pins Thrasher after a splash at 1:59:
On the previous episode of RAW, the Headbangers turned
heel on the Oddities, so this is the immediate blowoff of that angle.  This just sort of happens for a while until
the ICP trip Thrasher as he runs the ropes and that leads to an Oddities
victory.  At least it was short.
Cole interviews
the Rock, who gloats about his victory at Breakdown.  The Rock’s promos are quickly becoming the
best thing about these shows.
A backstage
segment makes it seem that Terri Runnels and Val Venis are having
relations.  Is Venis the pioneer of the “Meat”
gimmick?
European
Championship Match:  Val Venis (w/Terri
Runnels) beats X-Pac (Champion) via disqualification when Chyna interferes at
3:12:
X-Pac is wrestling with one eye due to Jeff Jarrett’s
guitar shot last night at Breakdown. 
When Terri nearly costs X-Pac the match, Chyna wanders out to a big pop
and pushes her.  When Venis tries to show
off for Chyna, she beats him up with X-Pac’s help.  The pop Chyna received her was just
amazing.  Rating:  ** (4 for 6)
After the match,
Venis and Terri kiss in the ring, but Goldust’s theme begins to play.  Dustin Runnels announces that he warned Venis
that “he was coming back.”  This angle
just got a million times better.
Cole interviews
Mankind, who reiterates his disdain for the People’s Elbow.
Handicap
Match:  The Rock, Ken Shamrock &
Mankind beat The Undertaker & Kane when the Rock pins the Undertaker with a
Rock Bottom at 12:52:
Shamrock, Mankind, and the Rock beat each other up before
their opponents come out, which fits their rivalry and is hilarious at the same
time.  Unfortunately, the Undertaker and
Kane’s plodding offense hinder the audience’s ability to stay engaged in the
match.  That is definitely not a good
sign for the pay-per-view.  Eventually,
the Rock, Mankind, and Shamrock start functioning like a unit and it eventually
leads to the Rock pinning the Undertaker clean in a HUGE upset.  The finish was pretty funny as Earl Hebner
panicked and literally screamed at everyone “THIRTY-FIVE SECONDS!  LET’S GO!!!” and proceeded to run around the
ring like the end of the world is coming. 
Of course, he did the slow three count at the end for no reason too, so
that negates the whole concern about time. 
The end was fun, but the middle dragged. 
Rating:  ** ½ (5 for 7)
The Final Report Card:  This was a really entertaining edition of
RAW.  I would have preferred the six man
elimination match get more time, but the main event held its own and the
Austin-McMahon segments stole yet another show. 
The Judgment Day main event is not very interesting based on existing
storylines, as it is clear that the crowd wants Austin or the Rock is the top
spot, but we will get back to that eventually.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.0 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Breakdown – In Your House

by Logan Scisco

So after a three week absence my column has
returned.  Graduate school caught up with
me and I had a litany of papers and book readings due that prohibited me from
blocking out three hours to watch this show. 
I got all of that out of the way, though
The WWF must have
had a history buff on the production staff at this time because the video
package for this card features clips of John F. Kennedy, Benito Mussolini, and
George Patton.  It is like a tame version
of Mr. McMahon’s Utopia, but it is very effective at getting you excited for
the show.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Hamilton, Ontario,
Canada.

Opening
Contest:  Owen Hart pins Edge with a
rollup at 9:16:
Based on what was taking place on RAW, I have no idea why
they did not book Edge-Gangrel here. 
Both men get loud ovations during their entrances, but Owen generates
some heat by coming out in a Toronto Argonauts jersey.  Owen is the right guy to lead the rookie through
a good match and this one goes back and forth for more than nine minutes with
neither man sustaining much of an advantage. 
Owen actually makes the “let me land on my feet as I’m diving toward
your foot” spot work as he applies the Sharpshooter, but Edge quickly
escapes.  The man soon to be known as
Christian appears near ringside and that allows Owen to cradle Edge
and hand the rookie his first loss.  I
did not expect this result at the time, as Owen was directionless in terms of
storylines.  One of the better openers of
1998 that a lot of people forget.  If you
have never seen it, I suggest checking it out. 
Rating:  ***¼
Dok Hendrix and
Sable urge us to call the Superstar line. 
Sable is a horrible pitchwoman for this.
Al Snow &
Scorpio (w/Head) beat Too Much after Snow pins Scott Taylor after a Snow Plow
at 8:04:
Snow is a permanent part of the company now after beating
Commissioner Slaughter in a boot camp match on RAW.  WWF and WCW were in this weird phase in 1998
of booking pay-per-view matches between competitors that appeared on their C
and D shows and this is a great example of that.  The WCW example would be the Norman
Smiley-Prince Iaukea match at Starrcade. 
This match is a dull mess that takes seven minutes to setup Snow decking
Too Much with Head to get revenge for King of the Ring.  If Brian Christopher had not
been Lawler’s kid, I think he and Taylor would have been released by this
point.  It is a good thing they
eventually stumbled on the Too Cool gimmick. 
Rating:  ½*
Michael Cole
interviews the Undertaker and Kane.  The
Undertaker says that it is no one’s business who will beat Steve Austin for the
WWF title tonight, but assures the audience that they have reached a deal with
each other.
“Marvelous” Marc
Mero (w/Jacqueline) beats Darren Drozdov with Marvelocity 5:11:
Our series of Shotgun Saturday Night-style matches with
little build continues here, but hey, at least this is unique.  Ross cannot help himself in referring to
Mero’s old persona by saying that he is no longer a “Badd man.”  Mero just gets the hell beat out of him in
this match, as you can tell he is taking some stiff and reckless offense from
his opponent.  Jacqueline hits Droz
behind the referee’s back with a shoe and Mero uses that to hit Marvelocity
(the awesome new name for the Wild Thing) and win.  So Mero now needs shoe interference to beat
someone of Droz’s caliber? 
Unsurprisingly, this was Mero’s last win on WWF pay-per-view.  Rating:  *
Call
1-800-737-1161 to get your “Down Where? 
Down Here!” D-Generation X t-shirt for $25 (plus $6 shipping &
handling)!
A clean shaven
Bradshaw, a look that makes him look COMPLETLEY different from his former
Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw and Blackjack Bradshaw gimmicks, says Vader is about to
learn it is “about survival of the fittest, not survival of the fattest.”
No Holds Barred,
Falls Count Anywhere:  Bradshaw pins
Vader with a neckbreaker at 7:56:
This match actually has a story as Bradshaw and Vader
tried to be tag team partners during the summer and that did not work out.  In retrospect, the WWF should have let that
team just run through the division for a while. 
Who would not want to see Vader and Bradshaw just annihilating guys with
power moves?  Then again, that was eventually what Bradshaw and Faarooq became and what do you know, that finally got Bradshaw over. 
They brawl a little on the outside to pay lip service to the stipulation
and then kick out of each other’s finishers. 
Who do these guys think they are working a main event style?  Another lariat and a neckbreaker from
Bradshaw, which Ross does his best to sell as a finisher as devastating as Jake
Roberts DDT, put Vader away in what is the Mastadon’s last WWF pay-per-view
appearance until 2005 (and let’s just forget about that one).  We are proving the law of diminishing returns
with these B-level matches thus far.  Rating: 
½*
Kevin Kelly, Tom
Pritchard, and Jason Sensation talk about tonight’s remaining matches.  His impressions here of the Rock and Jeff
Jarrett are not very good.
D-Lo Brown beats
Gangrel with the Sky High at 7:51:
Since D-Lo is no longer the European champion, he is back
to being billed from Chicago.  Looking
back, Gangrel was a character ahead of its time.  The 1990s had the goth craze, but with the
Twilight stuff that came a decade or so later this gimmick could have been
bigger than it was.  Gangrel takes the
running powerbomb like a champ and that’s the highlight as the crowd gradually
turns on D-Lo’s stalling and the match’s tedious pace.  Gangrel has several botches as well, so that
just makes the match come off even worse. 
Lawler makes fun of a fan with a Hulkamania sign in the crowd, to which
Ross asks if he is playing the air guitar. 
God, I miss snarky commentary like this that was actually
entertaining.  Eventually, Mark Henry
wanders out, rams Gangrel into the post, and helps his friend win.  Like Edge, this is Gangrel’s first loss.  So, why didn’t we get Gangrel-Edge on this show
instead of having them both lose to Owen and D-Lo?  After the match, Gangrel spits blood in
Henry’s eyes and hits D-Lo with the Implant DDT to get some of his heat
back.  This was just awful.  Law of diminishing returns still in effect!  Rating:  ¼*
A video package
recaps the end of the triple threat match on RAW between the Rock, Ken
Shamrock, and Mankind where Kane and the Undertaker interfered and beat up all
of the participants.
Shamrock tells
Cole he will go as far as it takes to become the number one contender for the
WWF championship.
Dok Hendrix interviews
the Rock, who gets a big pop from the crowd. 
He promises to lay the smackdown on Shamrock and Mankind and make them
famous.  It’s amazing how far along the
Rock’s promo work has come over the past year.
Kevin Kelly
interviews Mankind, who goes on a hilarious rant about stupid things he has
seen in his life.  It culminates in an
indictment of the People’s Elbow.  He
promises not to sell it.
Triple Triple
Threat, Steel Cage Match to Determine the #1 Contender for the WWF
Championship:  The Rock beats Ken
Shamrock & Mankind when he pins Shamrock after a Mankind chair shot at
18:47:
This is one of the last uses of the blue bar steel cage
and this has pinfall, submission, and escape rules.  I remember being really excited for this
because you could do this type of match in that awful WWF Warzone game on the
Nintendo 64.  Fighting your friends to escape the cage was always a good
time, assuming you could go all the crazy button combos to pull off the moves.  The Rock is insanely over here,
getting chants before his entrance and throughout the match.  Things pick up ten minutes in when the Rock
overcomes a Mankind and Shamrock double team to deliver a double People’s Elbow.  Not to be outdone, Mankind later dives off
the top of the cage to try to elbow drop the Rock, but misses.  Shamrock brings a chair into the ring when he
is prevented from escaping the cage and he eventually get smashed in the head
with it by Mankind.  However, Mankind
opts to climb out instead of going for the pin and the Rock covers Shamrock to win before Mankind can reach the floor. 
That was a nice finish and the right guy went over, but this
had too much one-on-one action and too many dead spots for my taste.  Rating:  ***
A video package
recaps the Val Venis-Dustin Runnels feud
.
Val Venis (w/Terri
Runnels) defeats Dustin Runnels with the Money Shot at 9:10:
This was the only pay-per-view appearance for Runnels
preacher gimmick, which gets the jobber entrance.  To show how times have changed, Runnels is
somehow the heel here.  This match is
also the return of Terri Runnels to television after being gone for eleven
months.  Since Venis wrestles as a heel
here, this match dies on the vine as the crowd does not care about Runnels and
why should they?  The guy has not won a
meaningful match all year.  Venis forgets
to kick out of a bulldog at two and mercifully recovers and finishes the preacher off with the Money Shot.  After the match, Venis makes
out with Terri in the ring.  Thankfully,
Runnels would bring back the Goldust character to pay this off.  Rating:  ½*
We get a recap of
Jeff Jarrett’s continuing feud with D-Generation X that should have ended after
SummerSlam.
X-Pac & The
New Age Outlaws beat Jeff Jarrett & Southern Justice when Billy Gunn pins Dennis
Knight after a Fameasser at 11:20:
This is the last pay-per-view appearance for Southern
Justice, as Mark Canterbury reinjured his neck after this and never returned to
WWF television.  X-Pac is placed in peril
and is well suited for the role to take Southern Justice’s power moves.  Despite that, the crowd could care less about
Jarrett and Southern Justice, so this match, like many on tonight’s card, plays
in front of a largely silent audience.  The
crowd finally gets into this when all hell breaks loose and in the midst of that,
Jarrett levels X-Pac with a guitar. 
However, Gunn is able to catch Knight with a Fameasser (not yet named)
and put D-Generation X over.  After the
match, X-Pac is selling an eye injury due to the guitar shot.  Rating:  ½*
A video package
hypes tonight’s triple threat match for the WWF championship.
Triple Threat
Match for the WWF Championship:  Kane and
the Undertaker pin Steve Austin (Champion) after a double chokeslam to create a confusing situation at 22:05:
In this match, Vince McMahon threatened to strip Austin
of the WWF title if any superstar tried to help him and stipulated that Kane
and the Undertaker could not pin each other. 
Austin launches a pre-emptive strike with a chair on the Undertaker
during the latter’s entrance, which is the appropriate way to start the match,
but he cannot capitalize and put Kane away before the Undertaker recovers.  What I liked about the stipulation for this
match is that it actually made some of the rest spots appear sensible, as Austin
would try to keep Kane or the Undertaker out of the match and focus on the
other man.  In other words, this is like
those ridiculous handicap matches the No Mercy career mode would make you play.  It takes sixteen minutes before Kane and the
Undertaker turn on each other, but they eventually join forces at the end to
put Austin away with a double chokeslam. 
The only problem is that they both pin Austin, so who is the new
champion?  Austin had some well-timed
comebacks and Ross’s commentary helped, but Kane and the Undertaker just did
not have enough creative offense to take this up a notch.  Rating:  **½
After the bell,
McMahon sends Gerald Brisco to ringside to grab the bell and then runs to his
limo backstage, escaping as Austin beats up the stooges.  He flips Austin off before his limo speeds
into the night.
The Final Report Card:  This was a very, very strange card.  Lots of matches added at the last second and
the crowd did not care about a lot of what was taking place in the ring outside
of the WWF championship match and the triple threat cage match.  If you need a cure for insomnia, this is a
great show to pick because after the opener things gradually get worse with the
exception of the triple threat.  The
ending to the main event eventually created a great fall storyline, but it was
an awful ending for a sub-par pay-per-view. 
What is it about September shows and screwy finishes when it comes to
this company?  In Your House 3, the weird
ending to IYH:  Mind Games in 1996, the
Ground Zero double disqualification between Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker
(although that was actually good), and last year’s Randy Orton-Daniel Bryan
debacle.  The company might as well run a
show called “September Screwed” (hey, it’s better than Fast Lane!) because it has an awful record putting on
enjoyable shows during that month of the year.
Attendance: 
17,405
Buyrate: 
0.86 (+0.41 from previous year)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

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

by Logan Scisco

We have a change
in the commentary team as Shane McMahon and Jim Cornette are given the
responsibilities for tonight’s show, which is taped from Sacramento,
California.  During this time the company
had Shane commentating on Sunday Night Heat. 
He was not very good at it, though. 
Ross and Lawler are not here because they were working on Jim Carey’s
film Man on the Moon.

The Rock comes
down to the ring, where Vince McMahon is standing with Ken Shamrock and
Mankind.  Kane and the Undertaker guard
the entrance as McMahon announces that WWF Champion Steve Austin and a partner
of his choice will face them later in the show. 
McMahon books the Rock, Shamrock, and Mankind to face each other in a
number one contender’s match so that they do not team with Austin later in the
evening, which is a nice twist.  There’s
some great humor here, as McMahon reminds Shamrock that he is the World’s Most
Dangerous Man, hypes the Rock as a future “People’s Champion,” and then puts
his arm around Mankind and says “nevermind.” 
The winner of the number one contender’s match will face the winner of
the Breakdown main event on next week’s RAW, where McMahon will be the guest
ring announcer.  Another solid promo by
McMahon that saw him play the roster’s top players like a fiddle.
Jeff Jarrett
nailing the Road Dogg with a guitar on last week’s show is the Penzoil Rewind
segment
.
Opening Contest:  “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn beats “Double J” Jeff
Jarrett with a neckbreaker at 7:30:
Since the Road Dogg was hit in the throat last week and
cannot speak they have Gunn read the New Age Outlaws introduction off of cue
cards.  This match goes smoothly until we
get a weak referee bump at the seven minute mark.  The referee gets his senses quickly enough to
prevent Jarrett from using the guitar and that distraction enables Gunn to
win.  Rating:  ** ¼ (2 for 2)
Michael Cole
catches up with Vince McMahon backstage as he is talking with Ed Ferrara.  McMahon tells Cole that he has no idea who
will be Austin’s tag team partner tonight and doesn’t care.
WWF Champion Steve
Austin comes out and says that he does not expect any help tonight.  He figures that since the Breakdown main
event is a de facto handicap match he might as well get started early tonight.  Just a filler promo.  2 for
3
Call 815-734-1161 to get your “Down
Where?  Down Here!” DX shirt for $25
(plus $6 shipping & handling)!
Buy Stridex!  Get a Triple H poster!  You know the drill by now since they have
been hyping this forever.  I guess those
Triple H posters were not hot items.
The Oddities come
out and dance with the Headbangers in the ring, but the Headbangers turn heel by
spraying Kurrgan in the face with an aerosol can, rip up Golga’s Cartman doll,
and beat down the rest of the gang.
Cole interviews the
Undertaker and Kane and the Undertaker promises that he or Kane will win the
WWF title at Breakdown.
WWF Women’s
Championship Match:  Jacqueline (w/Marc
Mero) beats Sable after Mero trips Sable on a suplex attempt at 2:51:
Since these two-thirds of the division (Luna is the other
competitor) we do not even need the illusion of a tournament and the winner of
this will be the first women’s champion since Alundra Blayze left with the title
at the end of 1995.  The not yet named
Tori is shown in the audience trying to get the crowd behind Sable before the
match begins and this is not the squash that took place on last week’s
show.  Mero bumps off the apron during
Sable’s comeback, thereby continuing his depush, but when Sable tries to suplex
Jacqueline back into the ring, Mero does the trip and hold trick and Jacqueline
becomes the first women’s champion of the Attitude Era.
Kane & The
Undertaker beat Stone Cold” Steve Austin & “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn when the
Undertaker pins Gunn after a chokeslam at 8:35:
No Savio Vega?  McMahon
is incensed that Gunn walks out as Austin’s partner and blames Pat Patterson
and Gerald Brisco for not taking care of business.  Seeing McMahon freak out as if Gunn is the
next big superstar is pretty funny in retrospect.  Unsurprisingly, Kane and the Undertaker beat
the hell out of Gunn  and when all hell
breaks loose he gets caught by an Undertaker chokeslam to lose the match for
his team.  After the bell, Austin takes
out the Undertaker and Kane with chairs before leaving.  Standard tag here that had a lot of energy and
you can’t fault the company for trying to get a new guy a rub from these three
main eventers.  Rating:  *** (3 for 4)
Southern Justice
wrestle The Disciples of Apocalypse (w/Paul Ellering) to a no contest at 2:10:
The DOA are back after being absent from RAW for the
better part of a month.  It only takes
two minutes for his match to fall apart and Jarrett clocks Ellering with his
guitar.  After that the match just ends,
so I am just going to consider this a no contest.
McMahon tells Cole
backstage that he does not think Bill Gunn made a wise choice by volunteering
to be Steve Austin’s partner.
Steven Regal is
shown shaving in the woods
.
No
Disqualification, Falls Count Anywhere Match: 
Al Snow beats Commissioner Slaughter after hitting him with Head at
6:08:
The provision of this match is that if Snow wins he gets
a job in the company, which he has been agitating for since June.  For his age, Slaughter bumps really well for
Snow and the stipulation masks his inability to do a normal match.  Head proves to be the key to get out of the
Cobra Clutch and a low blow allow Snow avoid a loaded boot attack and go on to
win the match.  So Snow has a job now, rejoice!  Rating:  *** (4 for 5)
After the bout,
Patterson and Brisco attack Snow, but Scorpio makes the save.
The Rock talks about how he will soon be
called “the best damn WWF champion there ever was.”  He says he plans to lay the smackdown on
Mankind and Ken Shamrock.  I think this
guy is ready for the big time.
Val Venis beats
Owen Hart via disqualification when Dustin Runnels interferes at 2:23:
Dustin Runnels is doing the announcing for this match and
he is still distraught over Terri sleeping with Venis.  Shane and Cornette point out that he does not
need to turn the other cheek in this situation. 
Owen is in dire need of a new direction after the end of his feud with
Ken Shamrock.  That won’t happen here,
though, as Runnels runs in and attacks Venis. 
After the bell, Venis ties Runnels in the ropes and makes him watch a
new video, where Terri tells him that Venis is a better man.  This gimmick for Dustin is terrible, but he
did a good acting job here.
European
Championship Match:  X-Pac defeats D-Lo
Brown (Champion) to win the title after an X-Factor at 5:15:
These two are capable of good matches, but this ends up
as a really abbreviated display of what they can do.  X-Pac’s offense carries this encounter, which
ends when D-Lo tries a nonsensical dive off the top rope that leads into an
X-Factor.  This is X-Pac’s first singles
championship victory in the WWF.  Rating: 
** (5 for 6)
Mankind wishes us
a nice day after explaining how he will avoid being submitted by Ken Shamrock
.
Triple Threat
Number One Contender’s Match for the WWF Championship:  Ken Shamrock wrestles Mankind and The Rock to
a no contest after Kane and the Undertaker interfere at 10:55:
Two of these men lost the King of the Ring finals in 1997
and 1998, while one of them won it and in terms of WWF history, the two losers
became bigger than the winner.  The crowd
continues to back the Rock, loving the People’s Elbow on Shamrock and his
mannerisms in the ring.  The Rock had
good timing with Shamrock, but has several awkward exchanges with Mankind.  That’s understandable because he barely worked
with Mankind up to this point.  This
match does not give us a number one contender, though, as Kane and the
Undertaker walk out with McMahon and lay waste to the talent, thereby serving
as a classic McMahon double cross.  It is
a shame that we get this result, but the company will fix that at Breakdown.  Rating:  *** (6 for 7)
As Kane and the
Undertaker lay waste to the Rock in the ring, McMahon gets attacked by Austin
in the aisle.  McMahon is not pleased
that Kane and the Undertaker did not have his back.
The Final Report Card:  Although this card lacked the same
emotionally charged crowd and match quality of the previous show, it served as
a good go home show for Breakdown.  While
you have Austin, the Undertaker, and Kane fighting each other at the top of the
card, the company is also building the Rock, Ken Shamrock, and Mankind in the
upper midcard.  The only thing that is a
mess is the tag division, as those belts are on the New Age Outlaws and there
is a lack of credible teams to face them.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.0 (vs. 3.9 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from San Jose, California.  We are finally back on Monday nights, so this
should be a better show.

As we come on the air,
WWF Champion Steve Austin walks to the ring. 
Vince McMahon, Kane, and the Undertaker are already in the ring.  McMahon gloats about how Kane or the
Undertaker will get the WWF title off of Austin’s waist and announces a new
stipulation to the Breakdown triple threat in that the Undertaker and Kane are
prohibited from pinning each other. 
Finally, McMahon pushes Austin too far on the mic and Austin decks
him.  However, the Undertaker and Kane lay
Austin out with a double chokeslam.  In a
hilarious bit, McMahon mimics Austin’s jaw jacking and rolls over in glee on
the canvas.  The Undertaker reminds
Austin that it’s nothing personal, it’s just business.  Before heading to the locker room, McMahon
books Austin to defend his title against Ken Shamrock in tonight’s main event.  This was a really good opening promo by
McMahon that established the logic behind the Breakdown main event.  1 for
1
Get your Triple H
Stridex poster!  This was a really long
promotion because they have been airing these commercials forever.
Opening
Contest:  “Double J” Jeff Jarrett
(w/Southern Justice) beats The Road Dogg (w/Billy Gunn & X-Pac) after
hitting him with a guitar at 3:08:
Here’s that Jarrett-Roadie blowoff we’ve wanted to see
since 1995!  The WWF actually remembers
that and show some old footage.  This is
a fast paced match that benefits from a hot crowd.  Somehow, Jarrett is not disqualified when
Southern Justice pull Road Dogg out of the ring and start beating him down.  When X-Pac and Gunn assist their comrade,
Jarrett hits his opponent with the neck of the guitar to win.  I think they had a malfunction with the guitar
since it was already broken when Jarrett went to use it.  Honestly, hitting people with guitars is one
of the best things Jarrett ever added to his gimmick.  Rating:  ** (2 for 2)
Footage of Ken
Shamrock challenging Steve Austin on Sunday Night Heat is shown.
The Road Dogg is
shown being helped into an ambulance backstage.
Michael Cole
interviews the Rock, who tells the Nation to stay backstage.  You see, the Nation is falling apart and the
Rock is gradually going his own way.  His
promo on the previous Saturday RAW constituted a de facto face turn.
The Rock pins
Kane (w/The Undertaker) after Mankind hits Kane with a sledgehammer at 6:10:
The atmosphere for this match is electric, with the crowd
going crazy for all of the Rock’s trademark spots.  The referee gets bumped at the five minute
mark and misses the People’s Elbow, allowing the Undertaker to interfere.  However, when the Undertaker is beating up
the Rock, Mankind makes a surprise return and clocks Kane with a sledgehammer
and that’s enough to put the Rock over. 
The crowd treated this outcome like a WrestleMania main event.  Rating:  *** (3 for 3)
After the match,
Kane can’t sit up on the canvas.  The
Undertaker challenges Mankind to a match later tonight.
Michael Cole
interviews Mankind, who accepts the Undertaker’s challenge for later
tonight.  He smashes one of the RAW is
War barrels with a sledgehammer
.
Dustin Runnels is
in the ring and welcomes the crowd to hell. 
Val Venis walks out and introduces the crowd to his new film “The
Preacher’s Wife,” which sees him in bed with Terri Runnels.  Runnels falls to his knees upon seeing the
footage and Venis tells him that trait must run in the family.
A vignette for
Steven Regal, a so-called “Real Man’s Man,” is shown.  He is chopping down a whole forest with an
axe.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  Triple H (Champion
w/Chyna & X-Pac) defeats Owen Hart (w/Mark Henry) with a Pedigree at 5:24:
After our usual exchange of moves between these two
shenanagins begin to happen as Mark Henry pulls Chyna off the ring apron and
X-Pac attacks him in response.  That distraction
allows Triple H to Pedigree a distracted Owen and beat him for what seems like
the hundredth time this year.  What?  You expected a different outcome?  Rating:  **½ (4 for 4)
After the match,
Mark Henry gets on the house mic and challenges X-Pac and Chyna to a handicap
match for later in the show.  He promises
to prevail just like he did this past Sunday!
Mankind is shown
tossing things into a dumpster backstage on his way to the ring.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your “Down Where?  Down Here!” DX
shirt for $25 (plus $6 shipping & handling)!  I’m sure that lots of kids were forced to
take that shirt off when they came to school wearing it.
The Undertaker (w/Kane)
wrestles Mankind to a no contest at 7:15:
Both men bring sledgehammers to the ring, but the referee
does not allow for their use so that comes to naught.  A wild brawl ensues with the use of the
objects in the dumpster that Mankind wheels to the ring and allowing Mankind to
do a few ghastly bumps.  The Undertaker
Tombstones Mankind on a chair, but wants to smash him with a sledgehammer
instead.  However, before the Undertaker
can deliver a death blow, the Rock pops out the dumpster, takes out the
Undertaker’s knee, and throws Mankind into the crowd to save him from a further
beating.  This was fun while it lasted
and it is awesome to see the first interactions between the Rock and
Mankind.  Rating:  ***  (5 for 5)
Edge wrestles
Gangrel to a double count out at 3:34:
I am really surprised that they did not save a match like
this for the pay-per-view.  Even though
they are not given a lot of time, both men pack a lot into this one and Edge
takes a nasty bump on the floor when Gangrel sidesteps a plancha.  Gangrel follows up with his Impaler DDT on
the floor and both men end up counted out. 
After the bell, Gangrel tells Edge that his blood flows through his
veins.  Yeah, this should’ve been on
pay-per-view and been given about ten minutes. 
Rating:  **½ (6 for 6)
Handicap
Match:  Mark Henry (w/D-Lo Brown) beats X-Pac
& Chyna (w/Triple H) when he pins Chyna after a powerslam at 3:54:
Triple H mocks Henry before the match by walking around
like a gorilla.  I wonder if they’ll be
editing out that footage on the Network. 
Come to think of it, maybe that’s what Xavier Woods stable is up to.  Henry beats the hell out of X-Pac and the
crowd becomes unglued when Chyna steps into the ring.  Seriously, she gets a Rock-type pop for
spearing Henry.  However, Henry plants
Chyna (seriously, he gets some great torque) with a powerslam when she dives
off the ropes and picks up the win.  The
road agent that booked this deserves a prize. 
Rating:  **¼ (7 for 7)
Highlights of the Howard Finkel-Harvey
Wippleman tuxedo match in 1995 are shown.
Evening Gown
Match:  Sable beats Jacqueline (w/Marc
Mero) at 1:44
The crowd is more into this “match” than any divas
contest you will see today.  The camera
has to pan wide as Jacqueline teeters on the verge of a wardrobe malfunction
every time Sable tosses her around.  This
is a complete squash, as Jacqueline does not get in a shred of offense.  The future Tori is shown sitting unimpressed
in the crowd after the match.  Sable
takes off her dress after the match just because.
Cole interviews
Ken Shamrock, who says that he is excited to finally get a crack at the WWF
championship.
WWF Championship
Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
(Champion) defeats Ken Shamrock 12:14
It seems to me that this match is leaving money on the
table, but when Austin was locked in a feud with the Undertaker and Kane and
when the Rock was in the process of moving up the card, Shamrock went on the
backburner.  Surprisingly, the announcers
do not mention that the backstory of these two dates all the way back to
WrestleMania XIII, but that is probably due to the Bret Hart factor.  Austin actually plays the heel role here,
utilizing a lot of restholds and directing the action.  He even resorts to a mule kick when Shamrock
begins rallying.  Before we can get a
definitive finish, the Undertaker and Kane hit the ring and we get a double
disqualification.  This match would have
come off better if the crowd was into Shamrock more.  Most of them were not sure what to think of
Austin by the end of it because of his heelish tactics.  Rating:  ***¼  (8
for 8)
After Austin and
Shamrock are dispatched by Kane and the Undertaker, Mankind and the Rock run
out and brawl with them.  Austin then
re-enters the ring with a chair and smashes his Breakdown opponents as McMahon
looks on with sadness by the entrance. 
Austin chases McMahon to the locker room as we play the show out.
The Final Report Card:  Whew, let me catch my breath.  The company must have been worried about not drawing
a rating after the last two RAWs were shown on Saturdays, so they loaded up
this card.  The San Jose crowd was
nuclear for the entire show and added something to each match.  This may not have developed a lot of angles,
but in terms of atmosphere and match quality up and down the card it is the
best RAW of the year up to this point.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.0 (vs. 4.5 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.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your Steve Austin Bad to the Bone t-shirt for $25 (plus $6 shipping
& 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