What the World Was Watching: WrestleMania XIV

Jim Ross and Jerry
“the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Boston, Massachusetts
.

Opening Fifteen
Team Battle Royal:  The Legion of Doom
(w/Sunny) win by eliminating The New Midnight Express at 8:19:
The WWF did not run tag team battle royals very often and
the last one prior to this that I recall was held in 1991 when the Nasty Boys
won and earned a title shot at WrestleMania VII.  This is the only tag team battle royal in
WrestleMania history and is the third battle royal to be contested at the event
and the first since WrestleMania IV.  The
rules for this type of battle royal is that when your partner is eliminated
then you have to exit the ring.  The
other teams in this include the Headbangers, Too Much, the Rock N’ Roll
Express, the New Midnight Express, Faarooq & Kama Mustafa, D-Lo Brown &
Mark Henry, the Disciples of Apocalypse, the Quebecers, the Godwinns, the Truth
Commission, Savio Vega & Miguel Perez, Jose & Jesus, Steve Blackman &
Flash Funk (??!?!), and Bradshaw & Chainz. 
There’s lots of interference in this battle royal, as Kurrgan eliminates
the Truth Commission and Barry Windham comes out and tosses Chainz.  The referees seemingly miss all of this.  The Legion of Doom are repackaged here with
Sunny, wearing futuristic skull helmets, and this match just serves to
reintroduce them and position them as top contenders in the tag division
again.  However, as the old saying goes
you can put lipstick on a pig and it is still a pig.  The Godwinns blast the Legion of Doom with
buckets because that feud lingers on despite the best wishes of the audience,
but it does no good as the LOD go over in their last WrestleMania appearance
and earn a tag team title shot at next month’s Unforgiven pay-per-view.  This would have been better with fewer teams
and it was just guys randomly trading punches. 
The crowd liked the LOD going over, though.  Rating:  *
Ross and Lawler
talk about the DX Public Workout, where Steve Austin ended up tied in the ropes
and Mike Tyson and Shawn Michaels kissed him on the forehead.  Other WrestleMania festivities are shown.
Light Heavyweight
Championship Match:  Taka Michinoku
(Champion) beats Aguila with a Michinoku Driver at 5:19:
 Aguila gets the jobber entrance, which is
unbecoming of WrestleMania, but he did not get a lot of television time prior
to this event.  Both men flip around a
lot, but there’s very little psychology to speak of and the Boston crowd does
not respond well to the match.  Of
course, they might respond better if the WWF gave them a reason to care about
this division.  After some really obvious
spot positioning and weak striking, Michinoku catches Aguila with a dropkick
when Aguila dives off the second rope and defends the title.  This was the swan song of the light
heavyweight division, as Michinoku would not defend the title at another
pay-per-view until October and Gillberg held the title by the end of the year.  Rating:  *½
Gennifer Flowers
interviews the Intercontinental Champion the Rock.  The Rock cuts a hilarious interview where he
demands to be called “the People’s Champion” and says he does not care about
the homeless as long as they stay off his property.  He makes some jokes about the judicial system
and interns “oral” role in his theoretical White House.
European
Championship Match:  Triple H (Champion
w/Chyna) pins Owen Hart with a Pedigree at 11:27:
Keep in mind that Owen is wrestling this match on an
injured ankle.  Triple H gets a live
musical entrance because the D-Generation X band is present this evening.  Chyna is also handcuffed to Commissioner
Slaughter during this match.  Now logic
would suggest that Owen gets his revenge here after being outwitted and duped
by Triple H at every turn during their three month feud.  However, that is not to be as Chyna drags
Slaughter to ringside to help Triple H puts his hand on the rope to break a
Sharpshooter and then tosses powder in Slaughter’s eyes, which enables her to
low blow Owen and help Triple H retain the title.  This built into a really solid match after a
slow and awkward start and this resulted in Owen permanently being relegated to
midcard status for the rest of his WWF run. 
After the match, Chyna tosses Slaughter into the crowd to continue
getting heat and put an end to the DX-Slaughter angle for good.  Rating:  ***¼
A video package recaps the Marc Mero &
Sable-Goldust & Luna Vachon feud
.
Mixed Tag Team
Match:  “Marvelous” Marc Mero & Sable
beat The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust & Luna Vachon when Sable pins
Luna after a TKO at 9:11:
This is the second mixed tag match in WrestleMania
history if you count men and women and not the Doink/Dink-Bam Bam Bigelow/Luna
match from WrestleMania X.  This is
Mero’s first and only WrestleMania match and he sheds the jealous heel persona
to be more of a traditional babyface in this bout.  The big question entering this match is
whether Sable could wrestle and she is very protected to make her look great.  When she tears into Luna the place explodes
and Luna does a good job bumping for her. 
It is puzzling booking to have Luna run away from Sable based on her run
with Bam Bam Bigelow in 1993-1994, but that is par for the course regarding
most WWF heels.  Sable even gets in a few
shots on Goldust and the crowd goes wild for a Sable powerbomb.  Mero acts like a small kid after the bell,
celebrating as if he got the winning pin. 
Well booked and entertaining bout that disguised Sable’s weaknesses and played
the crowd like a fiddle.  Who would have
imagined sixteen years ago that in 2014 Goldust would be a tag team champion,
Sable would be married to a former UFC champion, Mero would be preaching the
virtues of Christianity, and Luna would no longer be with us?  Rating:  ***
Tennessee Lee
introduces Gennifer Flowers, who is accompanied down the aisle by Jeff
Jarrett.  Flowers tells Jarrett that he’s
great and then does the guest ring announcing duties for the next match.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  The Rock (Champion
w/The Nation of Domination) beats Ken Shamrock by reverse decision at 4:48:
During this match, one smart fan holds up a “Rob Van Dam”
poster.  Since Commissioner Slaughter was
disabled by Chyna a few matches ago the Nation is allowed to congregate around
ringside for this one.  If the Rock gets
disqualified in this then he loses the title, but the announcers never bring
that up and it never factors into the match. 
Shamrock takes another sick shot with a chair in this match, causing me
to question his sanity, but he shakes it off and snaps.  The Rock submits to the ankle lock, but Shamrock
beats up the entire Nation and reapplies the ankle lock.  Faarooq runs out, but he decides not to help
the Rock, thereby continuing that issue. 
WWF officials run out to stop Shamrock, but that just leads to many of
them getting belly-to-belly suplexed. 
All of this causes the initial decision to be reversed and as the Rock
is carried out on a stretcher he hoists up the Intercontinental title in
victory.  After hearing of the decision,
Shamrock tosses the Rock off the stretcher and tosses him through the
D-Generation X band’s equipment.  This
was just a standard RAW match and the Dusty finishes in this feud hurt
Shamrock’s heat because he never managed to win the title from the Rock.  Rating:  **
Jim Ross tells the
television audience that this has become the highest grossing event in the
history of Boston, resulting in over $1,000,000 in ticket revenue.
Dumpster Match
for the WWF Tag Team Championship: 
Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie beat The New Age Outlaws to win the
titles at 10:02:
This is the first time I recall hearing the crowd echo
the Road Dogg’s introduction for the Outlaws. 
Terry Funk does not bother to wear the typical Chainsaw Charlie attire
for this one.  The crowd is pretty
subdued until Cactus pulls out a ladder and works up an “ECW” chant.  Gunn and Cactus take a crazy bump off the
ladder into the dumpster and Funk takes a crazy bump from a spike powerbomb off
the apron into the dumpster, but that does not end things as the battle goes
backstage.  Cactus lays out both of the
Outlaws on a forklift and Funk takes control of it and forces the Outlaws into
a backstage dumpster to seemingly win the titles.  However, they did not use the official
dumpster at ringside, so that might become a point of contention from the
Outlaws by the next RAW.  Fun brawl,
although the finish defied logic with the Outlaws just laying on the forklift
and somehow being forced off of there by Funk’s driving.  Rating:  **½
A video package
hypes the Undertaker-Kane match.
Pete Rose comes
out and turns heel by running down the Boston Red Sox, which may go over the
head of later viewers since the Red Sox have won three World Series since this
event.  Rose is supposed to do guest ring
announcing duties, but Kane Tombstone’s Rose to a huge reaction thereby starting
a running WrestleMania gag.  Rose does a
stretcher job and acts like he’s dead. 
Now THIS is what a celebrity appearance is all about.
The Undertaker
defeats Kane (w/Paul Bearer) with three Tombstones at 16:58:
 So after SIX
months of build we finally get this match between Kane and the only force in
the WWF that can stop him:  his brother
the Undertaker.  The Undertaker gets an
awesome entrance with druids holding lighted torches along the aisle.  I know at the time of this match that some of
my friends were looking forward to this match more than the Shawn
Michaels-Steve Austin main event.  This
is nowhere near a great technical encounter, but it is definitely a spectacle
because of how well Kane has been built since his debut and the Undertaker’s zombie
reputation.  Kane dominates most of the
match, with a really long chinlock spot in the middle, but the Undertaker kicks
out of a Tombstone and rallies as Bearer damns him at ringside.  However, it takes three Tombstones for the
Undertaker to put Kane down for good.  I
remember this match being much better than this, so it has not aged well, a
fact not helped by these two fighting many more times after this.  Still, it had some nice storytelling with the
Undertaker having to use everything in his arsenal to put Kane down for a three
count and that is enough for me to give it another ½*.  Rating:  *½
After the match,
Bearer throws a chair into the ring and stomps on a fatigued Undertaker.  The Undertaker recovers to deck Bearer, but
Kane smashes him with the chair and Tombstones him on it to show that this feud
will continue.  The Undertaker sits up,
though, as Kane and Bearer go to the backstage area.
A sad black and
white commercial that shows Gorilla Monsoon, Classie Freddie Blassie, and
Killer Kowalski, all of whom have died by now, hypes the Attitude Era.
A video package
hypes the Shawn Michaels-Steve Austin main event.
WWF Championship
Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve Austin defeats
“The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels (Champion w/D-Generation X) with a Stone
Cold Stunner to win the title at 20:01:
Mike Tyson is greeted to a chorus of boos when he comes
out to be the guest enforcer and he jaws with Austin after Austin makes his
entrance.  As the readers of this review
are aware, Michaels back was really messed up for this match and he had not
wrestled since defending the title against the Undertaker at the Royal
Rumble.  This would be his last match
until SummerSlam 2002.  Triple H attacks
Austin in the early going, so he and Chyna end up getting tossed from ringside.  If you read Michaels face during this match
you can tell that he is in a lot of pain, but that does not stop him from
incorporating his usual offensive arsenal like the flying forearm, kip up, and flying
elbow or being tossed with reckless abandon over the top rope.  Attitude Era brawling by the DX band and by
the timekeeper’s table also helps mask some of Michaels limitations.  Michaels opts to spend the match working the
leg and Tyson turns a blind eye to his cheating, like holding the ropes during
a figure-four spot.  The referee is
bumped out of a sleeper spot, but when Austin catches Michaels with a Stunner
after he blocks Sweet Chin Music, Tyson slides into the ring and counts the
fall.  I wish we could have seen a
healthy Michaels against Austin because that would have garnered a higher
rating, but kudos to Michaels for fighting through his injury and doing the
job.  Rating:  ***½ 
After the match,
Austin tosses Tyson an Austin 3:16 shirt and Tyson displays it for the
audience.  Michaels gets up and
interrogates Tyson about this shift of loyalties and that leads to Tyson
knocking him out to pay off the angle. 
Tyson then drapes Austin’s shirt over Michaels before walking to the
backstage area with the new champion.
The Final Report Card:  This was a very good WrestleMania.  The two worst matches were at the top of the
card and things picked up after that point. 
The show had a lot of “WrestleMania moments” and more than most
WrestleManias:  Austin winning the title,
Sable getting in the ring and TKOing Luna, Pete Rose getting Tombstoned by
Kane, and the Undertaker using three Tombstones to beat Kane.  The WWF’s intelligent booking also paid off
with this show since the midcard matches generated more crowd reaction and,
unlike WCW, they put the title cleanly on the guy that the fans wanted.  It also generated the highest WrestleMania
buyrate since WrestleMania VIII in 1992 and reversed a five year decline in
WrestleMania buyrates for the company.  I
like to see the Michaels-Austin match as the passing of the torch from the New
Generation to the Attitude Era and it is arguably one of the most important
matches in the history of the company, on the level of Iron Sheik-Hulk Hogan in
1985.
Attendance: 
19,028
Buyrate: 
2.3 (+1.6 from previous year)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – March 17, 1998

Jim Ross and
Michael Cole are in the booth and they are taped from Phoenix, Arizona.  This is a special Tuesday St. Patrick’s
edition of Raw because Raw was pre-empted by USA Network’s Moby Dick.  Today, RAW would get cute with this being St.
Patrick’s Day, but this is the Attitude Era so we do not have leprechauns or
green set themes for this show.

Kevin Kelly
interviews Ken Shamrock and his introduction of Shamrock tries to channel
Howard Finkel and fails miserably.  Kelly
asks Shamrock if he can control his temper at WrestleMania and Shamrock says
that the Rock has to worry the most about him losing his temper.  Intercontinental Champion the Rock and the
Nation of Domination walk out and the Rock busts out the first “Know your role
and shut your mouth.”  The Rock says that
if Shamrock can last two minutes with any member of the Nation that he will
defend his title against Shamrock and drafts a reluctant D-Lo Brown to do his
bidding.  Shamrock’s mic work here was
better than normal and the Rock continues to bring the usual
entertainment.  1 for 1
Opening Two
Minute Challenge:  Ken Shamrock beats
D-Lo Brown by disqualification when the Rock interferes at 1:48:
D-Lo attacks Shamrock from behind to kick off this
challenge and the crowd busies itself with a “Rocky sucks” chant.  D-Lo gets through the first minute without
difficulty, but Shamrock turns the tide and puts him in the ankle lock.  Before D-Lo can submit with twelve seconds
left in the challenge, the Rock nails Shamrock with a chair and then gives him
another sick shot to the head.  As WWF
officials tend to a knocked out Shamrock, Faarooq argues with the Rock about
his actions and the Rock jaws with fans on the way back to the locker
room.  THIS is how to build heel heat.
Kelly says that
Shamrock has suffered a concussion and other elements of his medical condition
are uncertain.  Shamrock is shown not
wanting to go to the hospital and woozy.
Sable comes out
and challenges Luna Vachon to a match tonight.
The Phoenix Sun
gorilla rappels from the rafters, trampolines into the ring, and jumps around
before taking up a position at the broadcast booth.
Jeff Jarrett
(w/Tennessee Lee) defeats Tom Brandi via submission to the figure-four leglock
at 1:48:
Jarrett makes his entrance on a horse in electric
lights.  Jarrett’s rebooted push
continues here against the hapless Brandi whose fifteen minutes of fame with
Marc Mero and Sable are long game.  At
least Jarrett does some setup for the figure-four this week.
Kelly tells us
that Shamrock is being sent to the hospital, but the Rock interrupts his report
and says that he is now worried about who he is going to face at WrestleMania
since Shamrock won’t be able to make it.
Lawrence Taylor’s
victory over Bam Bam Bigelow at WrestleMania XI is the M&M WrestleMania
Millennium Moment.
A video package
hypes the Shawn Michaels-Steve Austin WrestleMania main event by providing
comprehensive retrospectives on Shawn Michaels career.  The good thing about this video package is
that it puts over the importance of the main event and the WWF title and puts a
focus on the future and not on the past, which is a problem with the product
today.
Handicap
Match:  The Headbangers (NWA Tag Team
Champions) beat The Rock N’ Roll Express & Jim Cornette when Mosh pins
Ricky Morton with the Stage Dive at 2:06:
This grew out of a Superstars match where Cornette pinned
Mosh after the Headbangers beat the Rock N’ Roll Express in a title defense
after the usual NWA shenanigans.  The
Headbangers hit the Stage Dive out of nowhere to win this without Cornette ever
being part of the match.  However, when
the Headbangers try to beat up Cornette, the repackaged Bart Gunn and Bob Holly
come out and attack them.  Cornette
announces them as the New Midnight Express and they are now named “Bombastic”
Bob and “Bodacious” Bart.  Cornette has
the New Express beat up the Rock N’ Roll Express because the Rock N’ Roll
Express has done a poor job protecting him. 
Since the New Midnight Express did not have the old Midnight Express’s
awesome theme music this was a failure out of the gate much like the rest of
the NWA angle.  (2 for 3)
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to hear what the plan is for D-Generation X to eliminate Steve
Austin before WrestleMania!
Gennifer Flowers
says that Shawn Michaels could be her “boy toy” anytime, that Steve Austin
would not be “stone cold” with her, and that she could make the Undertaker rise
from the dead.  So that’s who we can
blame for American badass Undertaker…
The Phoenix Sun
gorilla keeps jumping around in the ring and unveils a “Gorilla 3:16”
t-shirt.  Kane and Paul Bearer take
exception to that as the lights go out and Kane lays the Gorilla to waste.  HUGE heel heat for that.  3 for
4
Jerry Lawler comes
out to do commentary for hour two
.
Footage is shown
of European Champion Owen Hart breaking his ankle against Barry Windham on last
week’s show.  He comes out to do
commentary for the next match.  They
clearly edit out a part where Ross tells the fans to quit reaching over the
guardrail and messing with the commentators.
Chainsaw Charlie
beats Billy Gunn (w/The Road Dogg) by disqualification at 2:23:
This was setup from last week’s show where Gunn nailed
Charlie in the back with a chair.  Ross
tells the fans that the tag team championship match at WrestleMania will be a
dumpster match.  The Road Dogg proceeds
to commentate the match on the house mic and when things get sour for Billy
after he refuses to pin Charlie after two piledrivers, the Road Dogg runs in
and creates the disqualification.  After
the bell, Charlie fights off the heels, gives Gunn a DDT on a tag team title
belt, and Cactus Jack comes out to help Charlie tie up Road Dogg by the feet
and lift him several feet in the air. 
Nice segment that allows the faces to get revenge for the attack the Outlaws launched against
Cactus and Charlie on last week’s show.  (4 for 5)
Steve Austin’s
bullying of Vince McMahon on last week’s show is the Bop It Slam of the Week.
Luna Vachon tells
the announcers from the backstage area that she accepts Sable’s challenge, but
it will be at a time that she decides
.
Vince McMahon
walks out to a chorus of boos and is interviewed by Kevin Kelly.  McMahon considers Austin’s conduct on last
week’s show unprofessional, but considers it somewhat justified by Mike Tyson
joining D-Generation X.  McMahon gets
tired of Kelly going back to last week’s footage and says he did not hit Steve
Austin last week because he wanted to save the WrestleMania main event since he
would have broken Austin’s jaw.  When
asked if he wants to see Austin win the WWF title at WrestleMania, McMahon says
that if Austin would be willing to be molded into the WWF’s corporate image
that would be okay for the company, but if he won the title in present form it
would be a public relations disaster. 
McMahon says that Austin and WWF fans cannot handle his answer, but when
Kelly presses him for an answer, McMahon relents and says his answer is not
only a “no,” but a “hell no.”  McMahon
hits another segment out of the park here as McMahon gradually morphed into the
Mr. McMahon character over the course of the interview and let his disdain of
Austin be publicly aired.  5 for 6
Ross says that
Lucky Luke and Prince have been chosen to rap Mike Tyson to the ring at
WrestleMania.  Owen makes me laugh by
saying that he hates rap.  A Tyson video
package is aired
.
Steve Austin gets
a career retrospective video package to hype his participation in the
WrestleMania main event.  It talks about
his WCW firing and Ringmaster gimmick.
Triple H walks out
and questions Owen’s manhood.  He
challenges Owen to a European title match tonight and when Owen refuses, Triple
H tosses water in his face and pushes him down. 
This leads to a brawl that leads to…
European
Championship Match:  Triple H (w/Chyna)
beats Owen Hart (Champion) by referee stoppage at 45 seconds to win the title:
Owen pounds on Triple H on the floor and tosses him into
the ring, but Triple H distracts the referee, thereby allowing Chyna to smash a
baseball bat into Owen’s injured ankle and roll him into the ring.  Triple H puts Owen in an ankle lock and the
referee stops the match to give Triple H his then-record setting second
European title reign.  You really want to
root for Owen in this feud, but it is becoming increasingly impossible when
he’s made to look like a fool each week. 
You would almost think that is the point of all this…
Confrontation:  Sable (w/Marc Mero) and Luna Vachon
(w/Goldust):
Both women come out to confront the other and brawl, but
WWF officials will not allow it to take place and the fans are not very
happy.  Mero and Goldust assist by
holding their valets back, leading the crowd to work up a “Let them go!”
chant.  Sable eventually gets free of
Mero and chokes Luna and rips her clothes as the crowd explodes.  At the end of the segment, Sable appears to
have suffered a knee injury.  The booking
team went way overboard on the injury angles this week.
The lights go out
and Kane returns and in a really awesome heel move Mero flees the ring to “get
help,” thereby leaving Sable alone.  Sable
begs for her life when the lights go out again and the Undertaker shows up on
top of the Titantron and tells Kane that he felt his wrath at the Royal Rumble
and now it is time for him to feel his. 
The Undertaker uses his powers to set a casket that has Kane in effigy
alight as we go off the air.  Everything
from the Sable-Luna brawl through this shows in about five minutes why the
Attitude Era was an awesome time to be a fan. 
6 for 7
The Final Report Card:  Since the WWF was not facing competition from
WCW with this show they decided to use it to hype the WrestleMania main event
with two long video packages for Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin, which was a
good move.  The show also played up the
“WWF corporate executives do not want Austin to be the WWF champion” and it was
the first time that Vince McMahon portrayed a heel character on WWF television
(although USWA fans saw an early version of the character in 1993).  Good effort this week in exposing the product
to new fans and any WCW fans that were starved for wrestling action on a
Tuesday night.
Monday Night War Rating:  N/A

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

by Logan Scisco

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

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

by Logan Scisco

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

by Logan Scisco

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – December 22, 1997

by Logan Scisco

A video package
recaps the Legion of Doom’s legacy and their beat down at the hands of
D-Generation X and the New Age Outlaws on last week’s show.
Jim Ross, Michael
Cole, and Kevin Kelly are doing commentary and they are taped from Lowell,
Massachusetts.  Lowell’s arena is really
small, but I always liked the intimate feel it gave off on television.
D-Generation X
comes to the ring in bath robes except for Chyna.  Triple H gloats about beating down the Legion
of Doom last week and says that they aren’t happy about the New Age Outlaws
trying to take credit for it.  As a
Christmas present, DX takes off their robes and boxers to reveal thongs, which
are censored.  Commissioner
Slaughter comes out and says that Shawn Michaels needs to defend the European
title tonight and books him to face Triple H. 
Michaels and Triple H argue over that as we head to a commercial break.

Cole interviews
the Godwinns, who say that they want a title shot from the New Age Outlaws.
Opening
Contest:  Thrasher (w/Mosh) defeats Henry
Godwinn (w/Phineas Godwinn) by disqualification after Phineas interferes at
1:09:
Before this match really gets going, Phineas interrupts
the count after a flying body press and the Godwinns beat down the Headbangers
and whip them with belts before WWF officials break things up.  The Headbangers have really taken a beating
lately from all kinds of teams.
A video package
recaps Dude Love’s issues with the New Age Outlaws.
Mankind cuts a
promo from the boiler room and warns the New Age Outlaws that beatings are
ahead.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your copy of WWF the Music: 
Volume 2.  It costs $20 for CD and
$15 for the tape (plus $4 shipping & handling)!
A recap of Steve
Austin tossing the Intercontinental title off of a bridge last week is
shown.  Austin coming out at the end of
last week’s show and giving Santa Claus imposter a Stone Cold Stunner is also
played as a “RAW exclusive.”
A camera outside
of D-Generation X’s locker room overhears Shawn Michaels and Triple H arguing
.
Dok Hendrix hypes
the next Madison Square Garden card.  In
a steel cage match, Shawn Michaels & Triple H will face Steve Austin &
the Undertaker.  Also, the Rock defends the
Intercontinental title against Ken Shamrock, the New Age Outlaws defend the tag
team titles against the Legion of Doom, and Vader faces Goldust.
Non-Title
Match:  The Rock (Intercontinental
Champion w/The Nation of Domination) wrestles The Undertaker to a no contest at
7:31 shown:
The Rock is playing the appropriate role this time in
Lowell, as he was booed out of the building in February when he upset Triple H
for his first Intercontinental title win. 
The Nation use their numbers to put the Rock in control, with Kama Mustafa
doing much of the work to take vengeance for his failed efforts against the
Undertaker in 1992 and 1995.  The Rock
throws everything that he has against the Undertaker, but the Undertaker
rebounds with a chokeslam and Tombstone before the lights go off and Kane and
Paul Bearer come to the ring.  These two
showcased some good chemistry, although that never manifested in their future
bouts when the Rock rose to the top of the card.  The Rock’s selling was also really good in
this match.  Rating:  **½
Bearer proceeds to
insult the Undertaker’s parents and Kane unleashes a flurry of strikes against
him when he tries to shut Bearer up.  The
Undertaker grabs Kane by the throat, but still refuses to fight back.
As we enter hour
two, Ross and Jim Cornette take over announcing duties.
The European
championship match between Shawn Michaels and Triple H is scheduled to happen
next, but Owen Hart does a hit and run attack on Triple H during his entrance.
Call
1-900-RUMBLE-98 to register yourself in the Steve Austin pickup truck
contest!  It’ll cost you $1.99 or you can
send a postcard to Devon, Pennsylvania.
The New Age
Outlaws are shown carefully venturing into the bowels of the arena and they
beat someone up, but it isn’t Mankind.
Marc Mero
(w/Sable) beats Scott Taylor with a TKO at 2:25:
Sable’s outfit this week is a reindeer mascot.  Taylor gets in most of the offense in the
match, but gets caught with a TKO out of nowhere and maintains his jobber
status.
After the match,
Mero gives Taylor a low blow and sets him up for another TKO, but Tom Brandi
breaks that up.  Mero appears to hurt his
knee going into the guardrail and Sable takes advantage by taking off her
reindeer outfit and she waves to the crowd in a Miss Claus outfit.
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to find out the new superstar that has signed with the WWF with
this week, new Bret Hart rumors, and why Shawn Michaels had a good time in
Hollywood!
Triple H tells the
announce team that if Shawn Michaels wants to face him then he’s going to get
all that he can handle.  He tells Chyna
that he has everything to prove by beating Michaels tonight.
Kurrgan (w/The
Jackal) defeats 8-Ball with a sidewalk slam at 2:38:
Jackal cuts a promo during the match saying that the
revolution is at hand and hyping his intellect. 
8-Ball gets Kurrgan down to one knee, but the Jackal holds his foot when
he runs the ropes and that leads to the finish.
After the match,
the Truth Commission beats up 8-Ball, but Skull runs in with a 2×4 and forces
them to flee.
The New Age Outlaws
search for Mankind continues, but they don’t find anything.
Tonight’s
Kane-Undertaker confrontation is this week’s 1-800-COLLECT Rewind segment.
Ken Shamrock
beats D-Lo Brown (w/Faarooq & Kama Mustafa) via submission to the anklelock
at 2:22:
This match has some good chain wrestling to start, but
D-Lo gets in very little offense as Shamrock rolls through him with ease and
gets the submission victory.
After the match,
the Rock comes out and runs down the UFC and offers Shamrock an Intercontinental title
shot at the Royal Rumble.  He calls off
the Nation from attacking Shamrock and says that all of those things are
Christmas gifts.  Faarooq does not appear
to be happy at having his power usurped.
WWF and European
Champion Shawn Michaels says he will take care of Triple H later tonight and
then tells Chyna that he is going to have to kick Triple H around to prove a
point.
The New Age
Outlaws are in the third part of their search and this time they find Mankind
behind some boxes and he sings Christmas carols as he beats them down.  However, numbers overwhelm him and they lock
him in a freezer.
Goldust and Luna
come out and Goldust is dressed as a Christmas tree.  Goldust reads “The Night Before Christmas” as
Santa Claus comes out and tosses candy into the audience.  Goldust doesn’t appreciate the interruption,
but continues reading until Santa gets into the ring and gives Goldust a stiff
shot with his bag of goodies.  Santa, of
course, turns out to be Vader.  Call me
crazy, but Goldust’s craziness and Vader’s stiff attack made this highly
entertaining.
European
Championship Match:  Triple H pins “The
Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels (Champion) after a lockup to win the title at
1:37:
Forced to fight each other, D-Generation X stalls and
Michaels lays down for Triple H, who pushes him down after a lockup and then
runs a few laps between the ropes before doing a slow big cover and getting the
win.  Genius booking from a storyline
perspective and I remember hating DX even more after this as a fan.
After the match,
Shawn Michaels mocks his “Lost Smile” promo, which was cut in Lowell back in
February, and DX mocks Commissioner Slaughter, who is in the entrance.  Slaughter just smiles and says that Triple H
will defend the title next week against Owen Hart.
The Final Report Card:  For those expecting a competitive main event
this show was a letdown, but the New Age Outlaws search for Mankind, the
Undertaker-Kane segment, and the Goldust-Vader interaction were entertaining segments.  The rumor for why the European title switch happened with Triple H on this show is
that Michaels refused to job the title to Owen Hart.  In terms of the Royal Rumble, the show setup
another title match between the Rock and Ken Shamrock as well.  Due to the entertaining angles and the
strength of the Rock-Undertaker match, I’ll give this show a thumbs up, but it
almost ended up in neutral territory.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.1 (vs. 3.5 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

by Logan Scisco

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

Opening Light
Heavyweight Championship Tournament Finals Contest:  Taka Michinoku beats “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher
with a Michinoku Driver to win the title at 12:03:
The predictable light heavyweight tournament finals ends
here and I think they would have been better served using a round robin format
to crown the champion than this.  They
use a refreshing formula at the beginning of the match whereby Christopher
tosses Michinoku around for a couple of minutes before Michinoku rallies, which
gets the crowd into the match. 
Christopher takes a nasty dive into the guardrail and cuts his lip
open.  The match has an irregular flow
because Christopher still wants to work a slow, Memphis style and Michinoku
prefers to work faster sequences and transitions between moves.  Christopher completely kills the crowd by
toying with Michinoku seven minutes in and this ends with the usual “you miss
your finisher and I hit mine” sequence that the WWF is known for.  After the match, WWF officials present Taka
with the title, but I couldn’t help but think at the time “what next?”  The division didn’t have anyone to elevate as
a credible challenger for Michinoku’s belt and as a result, the division was
dead on arrival.  Rating:  **½
Kevin Kelly and
the Jackal hype the Superstar line.
Jose, Miguel
Perez & Jesus defeat The Disciples of Apocalypse when Jose pins Chainz
after Perez hits Chainz with a somersault leg drop at 7:46:
The Boricuas do a horrid rap on the way to the ring that
makes R-Truth’s old gig completely comprehensible.  You can give them credit for trying, but 1998
Konnan this was not.  Since Crush is
gone, DOA is down to only three members so we get a six man tag.  The match has nothing but lots of kicking and
punching and the only highlight is that Perez feigns a knee injury off of a
flying axe handle and runs in behind the referee’s back and alters the finish
after Chainz hits a Death Valley driver. 
Rating:  ¼*
Butterbean tells
Dok Hendrix that he’s ready to take care of Marc Mero tonight.
A video package
recaps the Marc Mero-Butterbean feud.
Michael Cole
interviews Sable, who he says was at Butterbean’s undercard fight the night
before and held up his title belt.  Sable
says that she’s in Marc Mero’s corner tonight and Mero interrupts the
interview, telling her she doesn’t have permission to talk, and he pledges to
knock out Butterbean
.
Toughman
Contest:  Butterbean beats Marc Mero
(w/Sable) by disqualification when Mero uses a low blow and hits Butterbean
with a stool in the fourth round:
The match is scheduled for four, two minute rounds.  For those unfamiliar with Butterbean, he was
a Toughman Contest superstar that eventually became a professional boxer and
won the IBA Super Heavyweight title in April 1997, which he never lost.  The fans quickly turn on this, for obvious
reasons.  They might get into it if it
was a legit fight, but the biggest mark can tell there’s something amiss when
Mero throws out a high knee in the second round and starts choking Butterbean
behind the referee’s back with the tape that holds the ropes together.  They also didn’t bother to have any judges so
that’s another clue the fix is in.  They
book this to make Mero more of a jerk, but the whole exercise made Butterbean
look weak with his obviously pulled punches. 
That said, I would rather have seen Mero fight Butterbean at
WrestleMania XV than Bart Gunn since Mero was a Golden Gloves champion and
would have had a fighting chance.
Kevin Kelly is in
the WWF America Online center with Dude Love. 
I can’t help but have the old AOL dial tone go through my head right now.
The Artist
Formerly Known as Goldust comes out with Luna Vachon, with her leading him on a
leash.  He’s sporting a pink attire, pink
hair, and white face paint.  He reads Dr.
Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham until Luna pushes him down and drags him
away.  Really, really weird.
Cole interviews
the Legion of Doom and Hawk says that Road Dogg Jesse James and Bad Ass Billy
Gunn remind him of boogers in his nose. 
Was there a contest for oddest promo segment tonight?
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  “The Road Dogg”
Jesse James & “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn (Champions) defeat The Legion of Doom by
disqualification when Hawk blasts James and Gunn with a bucket at 10:35:
James and Gunn take stalling to a whole new level, as
they restart their ring entrance several times since the LOD won’t cede a clear
line of access into the ring.  The LOD
dominate until Gunn blasts Hawk with a cooler, which Lawler then completely
writes off by reminding the fans that it is just made out of styrofoam.  Neither team does anything to make this
interesting until the LOD prepare to give James a Doomsday Device, but Henry
Godwinn breaks it up by hitting Animal with a bucket.  That bucket eventually finds its way into
Hawk’s hands and like an idiot he hits the champions and nearly decks the referee
and gets his team disqualified.  So, what
is it going to take to end this awful LOD-Godwinns feud?  The tag division is really running on fumes
at this point and the LOD are clearly past their expiration date. Rating: 
DUD
Call 815-734-1161
to get WWF the Music Volume 2.  It will
cost you $20 for CD and $15 for tape with $4 shipping & handling
.
A video package
hypes the boot camp match between Sergeant Slaughter and Triple H
.
Cole interviews
Triple H and Chyna and Triple H is carrying a special “survival kit” for
tonight’s boot camp match that has a comb, depends, and some other geriatric
equipment.
Jim Cornette
interviews Sergeant Slaughter, who promises to beat Triple H up in the next
match.
Boot Camp
Match:  Triple H (w/Chyna) beats Sergeant
Slaughter with a Pedigree on a chair at 17:40:
This is actually Triple H’s first pay-per-view match in
the United States since becoming a member of D-Generation X.  Slaughter comes out to the Patriot’s theme
music, which is the theme later given to Kurt Angle.  A smart fan in the audience holds up a sign
that makes it onto camera in the early going that asks a great question:  “Who booked this?”  Slaughter is too old to give this a good
effort, as he is gingerly bumping around ringside and the crowd is dead
silent.  The bump of the match goes to
the guest timekeeper, who Helmsley takes out to get access to the ring
bell.  Even that generates very little
reaction.  By the way, Slaughter takes
off his belt to choke Helmsley early in the match, but that causes him to keep
pulling up his pants throughout this encounter. 
The only person getting anything resembling a reaction is Chyna, who
breaks up Slaughter’s Cobra Clutch and knocks out the referee.  Slaughter immobilizes her with powder to the
eyes and re-applies the Cobra Clutch, but Chyna breaks that up with a low blow,
and that leads to the end.  This was
meant to help get Triple H over, but that’s tough to do when no one cares about
the major storyline of Helmsley insulting Slaughter’s family.  I can’t believe someone thought it was a good
idea to give this eighteen minutes.  Rating: 
½*
Cole interviews
Jeff Jarrett, who says that he is ready for his return to the ring.
Jeff Jarrett
defeats The Undertaker by disqualification when Kane interferes and chokeslams
Jarrett at 6:53:
So this is the culmination of the “I’m not getting any
respect around here” storyline that Jarrett has been harping for weeks.  His entrance music is horrid, with some
generic music dubbed over by Jarrett talking about how great he is.  Definitely not one of Jim Johnston’s finer
works.  The Undertaker squashes Jarrett
for five minutes until Kane shows up and confronts his brother.  Kane strikes the Undertaker, but the
Undertaker refuses to retaliate and Kane leaves.  Jarrett tries to put the Undertaker in the
figure-four, but the Undertaker chokeslams him to get some of his heat
back.  As you can imagine, this did
nothing for Jarrett and he went back to his country music gimmick within the next
few months.  He didn’t really get a
reaction until Debra, who if you recall he blasted as a “dumb blonde” in his return promo, was brought into the company as his valet.  Rating:  ¼*
Cole interviews
Mark Henry, who is sitting with Milton Bradley executives.  Henry says he should return very soon to
in-ring competition and he wants Steve Austin to win the next match.
A video package
recaps the Steve Austin-Rock feud
.
Hendrix interviews
the Rock and the Nation of Domination. 
The only notable thing is that this is the first time that I remember
the Rock using the “People’s Eyebrow” in a promo.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve
Austin (Champion) beats The Rock (w/The Nation of Domination) with a Stone Cold
Stunner at 5:30:
After being in a coma for more than an hour, the crowd
wakes up for this one by showering the Rock with “Rocky sucks” chants and going
nuts for Austin.  This is the memorable
contest where Austin shows up in his Austin 3:16 pickup truck and proceeds to
beat up the entire Nation of Domination with it.  The crowd eats all of that up and thinks it’s
the greatest thing they’ve ever seen. 
You can tell that Austin is still working cautiously because of the neck
injury, though.  This is the match where
Austin started to show more of a brawling style and it is also the debut of the
Rock taking off his elbow pad for the People’s Elbow (which is not yet
named).  Austin accidentally gives the
referee a Stone Cold Stunner, but he isn’t disqualified and a second referee
counts the fall when the Rock takes a Stunner shortly thereafter.  A quick, entertaining match that provided a
small taste of things to come between these two.  Austin also has his Intercontinental title
belt back, but he’s well above the title at this point.  Rating:  **½
Kelly and the
Jackal hype the Superstar line some more.
A video package
hypes the Shawn Michaels-Ken Shamrock WWF title match.
Cornette
interviews Ken Shamrock, who says that he has a lot of experience in
pay-per-view fights and says Michaels will be squealing like a baby.
WWF Champion Shawn
Michaels cuts a generic promo on Shamrock. 
You can tell Michaels hard lifestyle is really starting to catch up with
him because he looks awful, much like he did in mid-1995.
WWF Championship
Match:  Ken Shamrock defeats “The
Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels (Champion w/D-Generation X) by disqualification
when DX interferes at 18:28:
This is Shamrock’s only main event title match during his
WWF tenure, which is somewhat surprising based on where his 1998 push seemed to
be taking him.  Despite being pushed hard
the last two months, with unofficial tap out wins over Bret Hart and Michaels,
Shamrock just doesn’t seem credible in this spot because of how he had been
booked up to that point.  I mean,
wrestling the British Bulldog, weaker parts of the Nation of Domination, beating
a depushed Vader, and making Billy Gunn tap out are hardly the accomplishments
of a top talent.  Michaels wrestles a
very toned down style in this match and it just doesn’t work against Shamrock,
who doesn’t have the moveset to keep the fans interested if Michaels stays
grounded.  DX’s interference doesn’t even
illicit much outrage, unless Chyna is the one doing the damage.  Shamrock counters Sweet Chin Music with a
belly-to-belly, but when he applies the ankle lock DX runs in and Michaels keeps
the title.  I hate disqualification finishes
in main event championship matches, especially because this didn’t lead to
Shamrock getting another title shot. 
Michaels also seemed to be going through the motions for whatever
reason.  Rating:  **½
After the match,
Michaels poses on the ring apron as DX beats on Shamrock, but he’s knocked off
and through a table by Owen Hart in street clothes and Owen pounds away until
DX gets near him and he flees through the crowd.  Unfortunately, this didn’t lead to anything
since Michaels and Austin did not want to work with Owen for separate, and
arguably justified, reasons.
The Final Report Card:  Owen’s return was a nice way to end the
pay-per-view, but this entire show was dull. 
All night long you sit through matches and you figure that Shawn
Michaels will put on a great performance in the main event and save the show,
but he comes out and gives a poor effort along with most of the roster.  Austin’s match with the Rock was the
highlight, but it was way too short and at the time I worried about Austin’s health
and if he’d ever be able to have 15-20 minute matches again and if not, how the
WWF was going to book around that.  This
show received the lowest buyrate of the year, which isn’t shocking since
Michaels-Shamrock seemed more of a RAW main event and the roster was really
weak at this time.  Yes, the future star
power was there, but it would take a few more months to take the New Age
Outlaws, Mick Foley, the Rock, Triple H, and others to a higher plane.
Attendance: 
6,538
Buyrate: 
0.44

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

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

by Logan Scisco

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Neutral

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – November 10, 1997

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross and Jim
Cornette are in the booth and they are live from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
D-Generation X
comes out to their traditional theme music for the first time as Ross says Bret
Hart has left the company because of Shawn Michaels.  Michaels tells the crowd that he beat Bret in
his own country, with his own hold, he’s the WWF champion now, and he “ran him
South with the other dinosaurs” and his friends there will beat him up one
day.  Nice line.  Michaels says that no superstar in the WWF
can make him quit, which brings out Ken Shamrock.  The segment gets awkward since Shamrock can’t
translate his physical intensity into a good promo to run down DX and challenge
Michaels for the WWF championship. 
Commissioner Slaughter eventually comes out and says that Michaels has a
scheduled title defense against Shamrock, although he doesn’t specify the
date.  Slaughter also books Triple
H-Shamrock where DX is banned from ringside and he will be sitting at
ringside.  I know what they were trying
to spell out here in storyline terms, but this was just brutal to sit through
.

Opening
Contest:  Ahmed Johnson defeats Marc Mero
(w/Sable) by disqualification when Mero uses a low blow at 2:26:
Ahmed’s spinebuster looks awful these days, since he is
trying to be extra careful.  He looks
ready to win the match with a Pearl River Plunge, but gets distracted by Sable
and Mero finally gets caught using the low blow, which I guess was in the
referee’s scouting report.  Mero tries to
give Ahmed the TKO after that, but can’t lift him up on his shoulders to do the
move.  This loss ends Mero’s undefeated
streak since his return.
In the Karate
Fighters Holiday Tournament, Shrimp Scampy, a mini dressed in Mascarti Sagrada,
Jr.’s old attire, beats Dok Hendrix.  In
other matches of the tournament Jerry Lawler has beaten Brian Christopher and
Tito Santana has defeated Carlos Cabrera.
Sunny comes out to
be the guest ring announcer for our next match.
Light Heavyweight
Championship First Round Match:  Taka
Michinoku beats Devon Storm with the Michinoku Driver at 5:00:
Brian Christopher commentates another match in this
tournament, so I am tempted to put this on mute.  Storm gets the jobber entrance, but anyone
that has followed the light heavyweight division since July can tell who’s
going over here.  Both men are proficient
wrestlers, but they try to get too cute with their spots and as a result the
match comes off as too choreographed and artificial.  Christopher tries to prevent Michinoku from
winning, but Michinoku uses a springboard dropkick to knock Christopher off the
apron and wraps up the match shortly thereafter.  Rating:  **¼
Jim Ross
interviews Goldust, who is laying the foundation for his “Artist Formerly Known
as Goldust” gimmick.  He comes out in a
gold rope, a flame in his blonde hair, earrings, black face paint, lipstick, and
“F U”, which stands for “forever unchained”, painted in gold on his face.  Vader comes out, not happy that Goldust
walked on him at Survivor Series last night, and demands answers.  When Goldust doesn’t appear ready to do that,
Vader powerbombs him.  Vader is just
awesome.  It’s reprehensible that they
didn’t find a way to book him against Austin in 1998 because he still had
something to offer.
Michael Cole is backstage
and says that Blackjack Windham has been assaulted in his locker room.  Bradshaw freaks out and goes nuts in front of
the camera over this development
.
Dok Hendrix hosts
the upcoming Madison Square Garden card. 
The only problem is that there are going to be some changes.  For example, the main event is billed as a
Fatal Four Way match for the WWF title between Shawn Michaels, the Undertaker,
Steve Austin, and Bret Hart.  The Legion
of Doom are scheduled to defend the tag team titles against Owen Hart & The
British Bulldog, Triple H with Chyna is his corner is booked against Vader with
George “the Animal” Steele in his corner, and Ahmed Johnson faces Faarooq in a
New York City street fight.
The Headbangers
(w/The Disciples of Apocalypse) beats Sniper & Recon (w/Jackal & The
Interrogator) when Mosh pins Recon after Thrasher powerbombs Mosh on top of
Recon at 4:52:
Surprisingly, this has a clean finish as the Headbangers
fend off interference attempts by Jackal and the Interrogator.  Just a standard tag match, which has a big
brawl between all of the participants at the very end to continue the DOA-Truth
Commission feud.  Rating:  **
Ross and Cornette
hype the house show circuit
.
Since we are in
hour two, Cornette is replaced in the booth with Jerry “the King” Lawler.
Cole interviews
Intercontinental Champion Steve Austin, but before he gets too involved in his
promo Rocky Maivia comes out and claims that he was the best Intercontinental
champion of all-time when he held the belt. 
Maivia challenges Austin for the title and Austin accepts, while also
challenging him to get a haircut. 
Interesting segment since these two had one of the most anticipated
WrestleMania matches three and a half years later.
Ross interviews
Steve Blackman, who says he is still learning, and Jose of Los Boricuas
interrupts his interview.  The Boricuas
try to gang up on Blackman, but he uses his karate skills to fend them off
before WWF officials intervene.
Cole interviews
“Road Dogg” Jesse James and “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn, who are set to face the New
Blackjacks in a Bunkhouse battle tonight. 
They are excited and ready to go.
Bunkhouse
Battle:  “Road Dogg” Jesse James &
“Bad Ass” Billy Gunn beat Bradshaw when Gunn pins Bradshaw after a tornado DDT
on a chair at 1:40:
Since Windham is injured, Bradshaw goes it alone in this
match, which is no disqualification. 
It’s actually a precursor to the hardcore battles of 1998 and beyond,
with trash cans, tables, and chairs galore. 
Bradshaw dominates the action, until Gunn catches him with a tornado DDT
to finish.  This was really entertaining.
Another segment of
Jeff Jarrett’s interview with Jim Ross is shown.  Jarrett puts himself over as a unique talent
of the Monday Night Wars and says his goal is to win
the WWF title.  When asked to do word
association on a list of guys he puts over Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Mankind,
and Randy Savage, but when asked about Triple H he says “tag along.”  How things changed after 1997.
Cole interviews
Butterbean, the IBA Superheavyweight Boxing Champion, in the crowd, but Marc
Mero comes out and says he’s a real boxer and should be interviewed.  Mero says Butterbean should keep his eyes off
of Sable and says he can knock Butterbean out in four rounds or less before
leaving.
Call 815-734-1161
to get the Steve Austin “jackass” t-shirt. 
It will cost you $25 (plus $6 shipping & handling)!
The Undertaker
wrestles Kama Mustafa to a no contest at 2:25:
Remember when this was a top feud in 1995?  This is the Undertaker’s first time in the
ring since Badd Blood and that was a great booking decision since it gave an
entire month for Kane to get over.  The
Undertaker squashes Kama, but before he can finish him off the lights go out
and Paul Bearer and Kane come out.  The Undertaker
appeals to Kane to make amends and reiterates that he will never fight him,
even if Kane destroys the entire WWF.
Footage of last
week’s match between Shawn Michaels and Ken Shamrock is shown
.
Triple H wrestles
Ken Shamrock to a no contest at 7:44 shown:
Triple H is not happy about not having D-Generation X
with him and jaws with Commissioner Slaughter at ringside.  Both men show off what they can do, but the
crowd isn’t into it.  Slaughter prevents
Rick Rude and Chyna from getting involved, but can’t prevent Shawn Michaels
from running out and blasting Shamrock with Rude’s briefcase after the referee
is bumped and the show goes off the air as the referee is counting the fall.  Rating:  **
The Final Report Card:  After a horrid opening segment, this show
built up a pretty good pace.  The
Undertaker-Kane feud is the best thing that the company has going at this point
and it is a wonderful piece of storytelling that will keep unfolding until
WrestleMania.  Shamrock has also been
adequately built as a threat to Michaels, but as is the case with most
champions after they win the title, it is always tough for me to take their
first programmed challenger as a threat since they usually beat them.  This RAW scored a pretty good rating, as
people tuned in to see the fallout from Montreal, but surprisingly the WWF
didn’t really address it outside of Ross saying that he wished Bret Hart well
in his future endeavors.  Part of this
was probably motivated by the WWF banking on people buying the replay on Tuesday.  What is significant, though, is that this
show started a string of RAW’s that were at 3.0 or above in the Nielsen
ratings, thereby generating some of the highest ratings that RAW had seen since
the spring of 1996.  The tide was turning
in the Monday Night Wars, albeit slowly.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.4 (vs. 4.3 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

by Logan Scisco

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Neutral

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – October 6, 1997

by Logan Scisco

Vince McMahon
tells viewers that Brian Pillman passed away the previous afternoon and
wrestlers gather near the entrance to hear the ring bell tolled ten times in
his memory.
McMahon, Jim Ross,
and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Kansas
City, Missouri
.
Michael Cole
interviews D-Generation X, who at this time are just dubbed as “The Kliq.”  DX gives Cole a wedgie as European Champion
Shawn Michaels gloats about winning Hell in a Cell last night at Badd
Blood.  Michaels wants to see some
footage from last night, but the truck plays footage of the Madison Square
Garden incident instead.  McMahon is not
happy about this and sells it well with his facial expressions.  We go to commercial before Michaels can
finish ranting at McMahon.  A great
segment for the smarks, but a good chunk of the audience was lost during it.

When we return
from commercial, Michaels is still yelling at McMahon when the Hart Foundation
comes out.  WWF Champion Bret Hart says
that Michaels is a disgrace to professional wrestling and he says Michaels and
Triple H are queer and he makes more money than all of the forces of the
Kliq.  He puts over the WWF title, how
his possession of it trumps anything that Michaels can say, and that he drove
Diesel and Razor Ramon out of the company and he will do the same to Michaels
and Triple H.  He challenges Triple H to
a match on tonight’s show.  Michaels
responds by saying that Bret is only main eventing Survivor Series because he
is wrestling him and that Diesel and Razor left the company to expand the Kliq
and let them control the wrestling business. 
This segment solidifies Bret as the face in this feud as the crowd
immediately takes his side.
The announce crew
recaps the Badd Blood tag team championship match
.
Opening Non-Title
Lumberjack Match:  The Headbangers defeat
The Godwinns (WWF Tag Team Champions w/Uncle Cletus) when Mosh pins Phineas
with a schoolboy at 4:15:
In a funny spot, the
Headbangers take advantage of the lumberjack stipulation by flying over the top
rope and body surfing among the wrestlers surrounding the ring.  By the way, the lumberjacks are composed of
the Disciples of Apocalypse, Rockabilly, the Sultan, Flash Funk, the New
Blackjacks, the Legion of Doom, the Truth Commission, Los Boricuas, and the
Nation of Domination.  This match works a
faster pace than the contest at Badd Blood and is much better by
comparison.  The referee gets bumped when
Mosh tries to splash Phineas in the corner and everyone pours into the ring to
fight.  The ring clears just as the
referee revives, though, and the Headbangers pick up a measure of revenge for
Badd Blood.  Rating:  **
Ross and Lawler hype the house show circuit.
Jesus of Los Boricuas says that he is going to easily defeat Marc Mero
tonight
.
Marc Mero (w/Sable) beats Jesus with the TKO at 2:21:
This was Mero’s return from a
knee injury that he suffered in the early months of 1997.  He has shed the “Wildman” gimmick and is
coming back with a “new attitude,” which is code for a heel turn.  Mero’s offense has changed into a more
grounded, striking style, but that is not as appealing as his old aerial
attack.  This is a short squash to
re-establish Mero, but its only highlight is the TKO, which is his new
finishing maneuver.
Jim Cornette gives his views on the wrestling business, where he runs
down the New World Order, especially Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Sean Waltman, and
Eric Bischoff.  He puts over Mick Foley,
Arn Anderson, and Ric Flair and other hardworking talents.  This is a brutally honest rant, but I have
never been a fan of segments like this because they make the company doing them
look petty and second rate.
The British Bulldog (w/The Hart Foundation) defeats Rocky Maivia (w/The
Nation of Domination) with a running powerslam at 3:44:
This is a “proxy revenge” match
from the previous night, where Owen Hart beat Faarooq in the Intercontinental
championship tournament final.  This
match is somewhat notable because it features the debut of the People’s Elbow,
although Maivia isn’t throwing his elbow pad into the crowd.  Just your standard back-and-forth match, with
the Bulldog earning a surprisingly clean victory considering the factions
presence at ringside.  Rating: 
**
After the match, Faarooq goes after the Bulldog, which causes the
factions to brawl with each other until WWF officials and Commissioner
Slaughter intervene.
The announcers recap the Intercontinental tournament final between Owen
Hart and Faarooq from last night’s Badd Blood pay-per-view
.
McMahon interviews Steve Austin to get his decision about his
future.  Austin says he cost Faarooq the
Intercontinental title last night because he felt like it.  Austin says he didn’t go to a doctor, so he
has no medical clearance.  McMahon then
presents him with a release form, but Austin says he is not going to sign
without preconditions because he has leverage. 
What he wants in return for signing is for McMahon to give him a match
with Owen Hart for the Intercontinental title. 
McMahon agrees and offers a handshake, but Austin says no until he has
it in writing.  Faarooq comes on the
Titantron and cuts a great promo about what suffering and toughness really is,
sort of like the black version of Dusty Rhodes “hard times” promo.  Austin just says “bring it on.”  To hell with fighting Owen Hart, I want to
see Austin-Faarooq after that promo exchange. 
After finishing his promo, Austin pushes McMahon and then grabs Lawler’s
crown and kicks it into the crowd.
Call 1-900-737-4WWF to hear more of what Jim Cornette has to say!
Hawk promises that Owen Hart is going to be the shortest
Intercontinental champion in WWF history, but that’s not possible because Dean
Douglas was only champion for about twenty minutes.
Owen Hart tells the crowd that he cannot wait to face Steve Austin
again
.
Intercontinental Championship Match: 
Owen Hart (Champion) beats Hawk when Henry Godwinn hits Hawk with a
horse shoe at 3:20:
The crowd’s love of the Hart
Foundation does not apply to Owen, since he is the foil of the hottest act in
the company.  The Godwinns come down to
ringside as Hawk sloppily bumps around for Owen and hardly sells the
enziguri.  The Godwinns try to cost Hawk
the match by hitting him in the back with a slop bucket, but he kicks out and
Animal comes down and brawls with the Godwinns as the match continues in the
ring.  Hawk hits the flying clothesline,
which has to set up twice because of a planned distraction by Uncle
Cletus, but interference shortly thereafter costs him the match.  Rating:  *½
McMahon does his infamous interview with Melanie Pillman, which is completely
distasteful as he questions her about her husband’s drug use and how she plans
on supporting her family.  This is
probably the lowest point in RAW history, which says something considering the
Katie Vick incident.
A video tribute is aired for Brian Pillman.
Ross and Lawler talk about how much they miss Brian Pillman.
The next match is supposed to feature Sniper & Recon against the
Hardy Boys, but Kane comes out with Paul Bearer and destroys the Hardy’s.  Bearer gets on the mic and says that he had
to bring in Kane because the Undertaker would not take him back.  He warns the Undertaker to prepare for his
worst nightmare.  This push that they gave to Kane was genius since it disguised his shortcomings and made him appear like a total wrecking machine that was an equal to the Undertaker.
Non-Title Match:  Triple H
(w/Chyna) defeats Bret “the Hitman” Hart (WWF Champion) by count out at 7:49 shown:
This is the first time that
Hunter Hearst Helmsley is billed as “Triple H” during his entrance, but that
name change goes a long way towards making him a serious contender.  As Bret dominates the action, Shawn Michaels
wanders out and picks his nose with the Canadian flag.  This brings the Hart Foundation to ringside
and Helmsley stops the five moves of doom with a foot to the face when Bret
tries the second rope elbow drop.  Ross subtly buries Bret by calling him “too predictable” in the ring.  Bret gets Helmsley in the Sharpshooter, but
Chyna helps Helmsley get to the ropes and then stops Bret from applying the
ring post figure-four.  When Bret
confronts her, Michaels blasts Bret with Sweet Chin Music and that enables
Helmsley to score the upset.  Rating: 
**
The Final Report Card:  This match was like a smart fan’s dream as
the WWF bashed WCW throughout the evening and made several insider
references.  The tasteless segment with
Melanie Pillman aside, this was a great episode that continued Steve Austin’s
search for revenge against Owen Hart, built a possible feud for Austin with
Faarooq and the Nation after he moved on from the Owen issue, set up the build
for Bret-Shawn at Survivor Series, and continues the tag team feud between the
Godwinns and the Legion of Doom.  This
was also the highest rating for RAW since mid-August, which can probably be
chalked up to fans wanting to see how the company would respond to Brian
Pillman’s death.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.0 (vs. 3.9 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

The Kyle Report: Wrestlemania 29 Review

Wrestlemania 29 was the 29th annual “Grand Daddy of Them All”,
held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford New Jersey on April 7th, 2013. It
drew 80,676 fans according to WWE, becoming the second highest attended WWE
event ever, and about 1,048,000 ordered it worldwide. 

The initial video package
talked about Hurricane Sandy, and it focused on the strong people that assisted
those affected by it. Chris Christie, the Governor of New Jersey, narrated
the entire thing and then welcomed us to WrestleMania 29.
The wide-shot camera
angles showed the jammed-packed crowd in attendance. An enthused Michael Cole
said there were over 80,000 people there, and the event was sold out. Then, a
video package was shown of some of the classic moments in WrestleMania’s history
and slides of the wrestlers involved in this show.
Your Hosts Are Michael
Cole, Jerry Lawler, and John Bradshaw Layfield.
Opening
Match: Randy Orton, Sheamus, and Big Show vs. The Shield (Seth Rollins,  Roman Reigns, and Dean Abmrose)
As usual, the Shield arrived
through the crowd while Big Show, Sheamus and Randy Orton entered separately.
Their entrances foreshadowed the story of the match. The Shield worked
together as a cohesive team, while Big Show, Sheamus, and Randy Orton were
fragmented. The Shield went to hit the three-man powerbomb on Sheamus, but the Big
Show saved Sheamus by spearing Reigns. The problems between Team Sheamus started to happen
when Sheamus tried to tag in The Big Show, but Orton selfishly tagged himself
to be the legal man. Orton cleaned house, while the camera showed Big Show
visibly pissed off. Orton set up for the RKO on Dean Ambrose, but wound up
RKO’ing Rollins, who jumped off the turnbuckle, in mid-air. Out of nowhere,
Reigns speared Orton, allowing Ambrose to pick up the win by pinning Orton. JBL
speculated that the Shield might be the greatest team ever. After the match,
Big Show ended up punching both Sheamus and Orton in the face and then walked away in disgust.
Winners:
The Shield in 10:37
Thoughts: An adequate, inoffensive opening tag
match. The story of the match was that the Shield worked as a cohesive unit,
while team Sheamus, Big Show, and Randy Orton could not put their differences aside.
People speculated whether or not Randy Orton would finally turn heel, but WWE ended
up not pull the trigger on the turn. Like I said, it was solid, but the Shield
have had much better matches on free TV. ** 1/2
A video package was
shown hyping up the John Cena vs The Rock match
Ryback
vs. Mark Henry
Henry took control early
on by delivering a powerslam and then a clothesline. Ryback went for Shell
Shock, but Henry pushed him into the turnbuckle. Henry then applied a bear hug. The
crowd then started to chant “Sexual Chocolate”, illustrating how little the
crowd cared about this match. Henry applied another bear hug, only for Ryback to drive
Henry into the corner where he delivered a couple of clotheslines. The crowd
came alive when Ryback executed the “Feed Me More” clothesline. The crowd then popped
huge when Ryback got Henry up for Shell Shock, but Henry countered by grabbing
the ropes and landing on Ryback’s back. Henry proceeded to pick up the win by
pinning him in a very anti-climactic finish. After the match, Ryback hit Shell
Shock, which made Henry’s win rather pointless.
Winner:
Mark Henry in 8:20
Thoughts: The match was tedious, and the crowd only popped
for the big spots, but it was not as bad as it could have been. They did not try to do more than they could, so neither Henry nor Ryback were exposed
for being less than stellar workers. I still do not understand why Ryback lost
this match because he ended up becoming the number one contender the next
night. I also wonder if WWE has a long-term plan for Ryback losing every big
match on PPV in his WWE career. * 1/4
Tag
Team Championship: Team Hell No (Kane and Daniel Bryan) © vs. Dolph Ziggler and
Big E Langston w/AJ Lee
AJ kissed Ziggler at the
start of the match. Ziggler turned around only to be kicked in the head by
Daniel Bryan (in what was a convincing near-fall that played off how Bryan lost
to Sheamus last year). Ziggler tagged in Langston and Bryan tagged in Kane. Boo!.
Langston delivered Kane three backbreakers in a row, and then hit a running
body attack. He’s pretty strong, to be honest. The heels made some quick tags and worked over Kane, but Kane fought
back by hitting a sick-looking DDT on Langston. Ziggler pulled Bryan off the
apron, but Kane ended up hitting a sidewalk slam on Ziggler. The pace is really picking up. Kane went for a
top-rope clothesline, but Ziggler moved
out of the way. Ziggler botched a Fameasser and got a two count out of it. Afterwards,
Kane tossed Langston outside the ring, and Bryan nailed Langston in the head
with a stiff knee. Ziggler nailed the Zig Zag and got a close near-fall out of
it. AJ Lee preoccupied the ref, as Kane dodged a briefcase shot and then gave
Ziggler a Chokelsam. Kane tagged in Bryan, and he hit the Flying Headbutt on
Ziggler. It was good enough to pick up the win.
Winners:
Team Hell No in 8:22
Analysis: The de ja vu spot was a nice play off of last
year’s Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan match, and it was actually very believable
near-fall. All four men worked hard, and thus got the rather silent crowd
engaged into it. Overall, it was a rock-solid, energetic match, with all four
men playing their specific roles well. I just wish they had more time and that Bryan
and Ziggler wrestled together longer. ** ¾
John Cena discussed Make-A-Wish and told us that we can donate $10 by texting 80088.

Chris
Jericho vs. Fandango
Fan-dan-go! started by
doing a little dancing, only to get suplexed by Jericho. Bret Hart thought his dancing was more entertaining than a HHH match. Out of
nowhere, Jericho Codebreaker. (By the way, every time I say out of nowhere, Don West screaming on top of his lungs comes to my mind. God, I miss that guy.) Fan-dan-go! fell out of the ring, though.
Jericho then followed up by giving him a dropkick. Back in the ring, Fan-dan-go! started to control the match, but Jericho came back by hitting a double
axehandle and then a Thesz Press. Bah, gawd. Jericho then nailed a cross body block to
pick up a two count. Fandango, however, threw Jericho shoulder first into the ring
post. Fan-dan-go! hit a neckbreaker, and then proceeded to hit his unique Leg Drop
off the top rope, getting a close near-fall. Jericho attempted the Walls of
Jericho, but Fan-dan-go! reversed it and then executed a clothesline. Fan-dan-go! went to the top again, but it was Jericho grabbed the top rope. Jericho went for a
superplex, but Fan-dan-go! countered by hitting a headbutt. Fan-dan-go! went for his top-leg drop, but Jericho moved out of the way. Things got messy when it appeared
Jericho was supposed to hit the Liontamer, but Fan-dan-go! was too close to the
ropes. Jericho tried to cover the botch up by going for the Walls of Jericho,
but Fan-dan-go! countered with a sloppy inside cradle to pick up the win.
Winner:
Fan….dan….go! in 9:11
Thoughts:  I forgot to breathe in the A’s, I think. Anyway, another decent match. There was a good amount of
back-and-forth action and counter-for-counter wrestling exchanges. Jericho’s
mission was to make Fandango look good, and he did a good job of doing so. Aside
from the sloppy finish, Fandango appeared to have some wrestling ability.
Jericho is so good at being able to adapt with anyone and have a watchable match
with them, though. 

The next night, Fandango received a huge babyface reaction,
but the WWE failed to capitalize on it. The thing is the character never really
pissed people off and people never took him seriously. It was just a whacky,
cheesy, goofy, but rather entertaining character. The fans told WWE this, but they did not want to listen. Now, he is receiving
little-to-no reaction at all. ** ½

Diddy performed, which made me hit
the fast-forward button. I like it when they use a music performer to sing
someone’s theme, but to give them their own mini-concert would be equal to
Diddy allowing wrestlers to wrestle at his concerts. I mean people order WM to see
wrestling, not an eight-minute concert. The time wasted here should have been used for the mid-carders that were short-changed.
World
Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio w/Ricardo Rodriguez vs. Jack Swagger
w/Zeb Colter
Zeb Colter cut a promo
on just about every nationality to get cheap heat. Del Rio started aggressively
at the start until Zeb Colter sidetracked him, which allowed Swagger get the
upper hand by throwing Rio into the post. Del Rio got a hope spot in by rolling
up Swagger for a two count but then got a big boot to the face from Swagger. Del
Rio made his comeback by using clotheslines, a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and
then a side kick for a two count. Swagger came back with a shoulder block to the
knee of Del Rio. Del Rio attempted an enziguiri, but Swagger ducked it. Swagger went
for the Swagger Bomb, but Del Rio countered and then hit a Backstabber for a
two. Del Rio tried to end it, but Swagger reversed it with a Gutwrench
Powerbomb for two. The work is solid but the crowd does not care. Swagger locked in the Patriot Lock, but Del Rio reversed it with
his Cross Armbreaker submission. Swagger countered back with the Patriot Lock. We Da People! Del
Rio managed to break the hold by kicking Swagger in the head. Colter put Swagger’s leg on the ropes
while Del Rio was pinning him. Rodriguez chased after Colter on his crutches, but Colter
ended kicking one of his crutches, which made Rodriguez fall to the ground. Honestly, I think Rodriguez and Cotler wrestling would have created more heat than this match. Del Rio was looking at what was going on outside the ring, which
allowed Swagger to attack him from behind. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Del Rio put in the
Cross Armbreaker, which made Swagger tap.
 Winner: Alberto Del Rio in 10:23
Analysis: Solid work, but
nothing remarkable. They had a rather decent scientific match that displayed some
quality mat-work, but the issue was that it just lacked emotion and intensity.
It  honestly felt like they were having an ordinary match, as it just lacked a sense of urgency and desperation and had no heat whatsoever. That could have been because the
feud was too complex for the fans to understand what it was all about. Or, because Del Rio and Jack Swagger’s characters are uninteresting. Or, because they
lacked a great deal of charisma in their particular roles. ** ½
 The
Undertaker vs. CM Punk w/Paul Heyman
Living Colour played Cult
of Personality” and received a big pop from the crowd. The Undertaker’s
entrance was somewhat weird. These goblins were trying to grab his feet but could not. Punk bitch slapped Undertaker in the face early on, only for Undertaker
to come back with a huge boot to the face. Outside the ring, Undertaker tossed
Punk into the security wall. He then threw Punk’s head right onto the announce
table and then into ring post. Undertaker executed a leg drop on the apron on
Punk’s throat. After, Punk took Taker down with an arm drag when Taker went for
Old School. Punk then hit the Old School Clothesline, and Punk dodged the Undertaker’s big boot, sending him knee first into the top turnbuckle. With Taker outside, Punk nailed a
double axehandle off the top to the floor and then inside the ring, he hit a
neckbreaker to get a two count. Undertaker attempted to mount a comeback via
punches, but Punk countered with a swinging neckbreaker for two. Punk went for
the top-rope Old School clothesline, but he was crotched on the top rope. Undertaker
punched Punk in the face, knocking him outside the ring. Undertaker tried
to dive outside the ring, but Heyman got on the apron, which allowed Punk to
attack with a top-rope clothesline.
Later, Punk went to the
top rope and hit the Flying Elbow, although the table did not break. Taker sneaked
into the ring before being counted out. Taker locked in the Hell’s Gate
submission, but Punk answered by rolling him up for two count. Punk locked in the
Anaconda Vice submission Undertaker, which led to a great visual when Undertaker
looked Punk sadistically into his eyes. Punk got out of the way of a Chokeslam
and hit the GTS. Undertaker bounced off the ropes and then hit a Tombstone,
only for two. Great spot. Punk hit a running knee in the corner, but  Undertaker caught him and went  for the Last Ride. Heyman gave Punk the urn,
and Punk nailed Taker in the back of the head. Punk only got a two, though.
Just an awesome exchange there. Punk went for the GTS, Undertaker countered and
hit the Tombstone Piledriver to for win. After the match, Taker walked off the urn that held Paul Bearer’s ashes.
Winner:
The Undertaker in 22:30
Thoughts:
This match was a perfect example of “it is not what you do, it is when and
why you do it”. Everything they did fit the context of the story they were
telling. Both men also had great body language, facial expressions, and
mannerisms, which helped elevate the match’s  drama and also helped transition the match to each different stage. They
also built the match off the audience’s reactions, had them in the palms of
their hands and sent them on a roller coaster ride.
Basically, CM Punk tried to defeat the Undertaker by using a
well-developed strategic plan. He did certain tactics to attempt to play mind games with the Undertaker (which is something that few little people have been able to pull off). Even though it
worked for a good portion of the match, it was not enough to defeat the
immortal Undertaker. 
Also, despite CM Punk going into the match with not a lot of momentum due to him losing four out of the five previous matches, both the Undertaker and CM Punk were able to fool a lot of people by making them believe that Punk had several chances of ending the streak. Just a terrific match. **** ½
No
Holds Barred: Brock Lesnar w/Paul Heyman vs. Triple H w/Shawn Michaels
They brawled right off
the bat, as HHH threw Lesnar into the security wall and then slammed him into the announce table. After, Lesnar
went after Triple H on the floor, but Hunter drilled Lesnar with a stiff
clothesline, which literally knocked Lesnar out. Lesnar had a chair in his
hands, but Triple H drilled him in the face with a knee. Outside, Lesnar drilled
a belly-to-belly suplex, and then Lesnar hit vertical suplex into a slam that
broke the Spanish announce table. After that, a lot of boring stuff happened. Brock Lesnar dominated Triple H forever. HBK tried to save his friend, but Brock Lesnar was having none of that, so he F-5’d HBK. Later
on, Lesnar drove HHH into the steps that were in the ring,but HHH applied the
Kimura Lock. He picked up HHH again and drilled him into steps. This time, Triple
H hung onto his head and drilled his head into the steps. Hunter hit Lesnar with a sledgehammer and then a Pedrigree onto the steps, picking up the win.
Winner: Triple H in 23:30 minutes
Thoughts:
They worked hard. They really did. The problem was nobody cared. The reason the fans did not care was because: (A) Not many people care about Triple H anymore. (B) They never believed he had a chance of losing. Or (C), the Undertaker and CM Punk match
burnt them out. Whatever the case may have been, the match just lacked that
“career on the line” atmosphere. The match also failed to top their brawl on
Raw, which was way more of a intense and bloody back-and-forth brawl, and most of all, I didn’t know who was going get the upper hand.
In my opinion, though, the biggest problem
with the match were the dynamics. Ass-kicker vs ass-kicker matches are
difficult to pull off, especially with WWE’s violence restrictions. I mean Lesnar is a good big man worker, but it is obvious that his
matches with bigger guys aren’t that impressive. His best matches come with
people who can bump like a fish in the water and take a beating (or at
least give off the illusion that they are taking a bad one). Triple H has been known to
take a good beating in the past, but due how fragile his body has become, he can hardly bump
anymore. So, basically, he was not the right size, character, and he could not take enough sick bumps in order to mesh with Lesnar. ** 3/4
A commercial for The
Rock’s next movie, Pain & Gain, is shown. There were clips from the Hall of
Fame ceremony too. Then Hall of Famers were on the stage.
.
WWE
Championship: The Rock vs. John Cena
Rock avoided a  Five Knuckle Shuffle and then hit a DDT. The Rock went for a Rock Bottom, but Cena countered with a Crossface. Rock countered it with a pinfall
attempt but only got two. Cena hits the spinning slam and then the Five Knuckle
Shuffle. Rock wiggled his way out of the Attitude Adjustment and then delivered a
Spinebuster. Cena locked in a the STF, but the Rock got out of it. Rock then hit a
Rock Bottom in for two. Then Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment for a count. Selling, no? Okay.
Cena went to the top
rope but missed a leg drop. The Rock connected with  Spinebuster and then the People’s
Elbow for a two count. Cena caught Rock in his arms and then went for the
Attitude Adjustment, but Rock hit the Rock Bottom for another two count. Again, really? Rock
wanted another People’s Elbow, but Cena reversed it with an Attitude Adjustment
for two. This is becoming stupid. They exchanged punches, and then Cena hit a Rock Bottom for a two
count. This is like a Davery Richards match on crack. Cena went for the People’s elbow; you
know, the same move that made him lose their previous match. Nice psychology….not. He then went
for the Attitude Adjustment, but Rock countered into Rock Bottom for two. Do they even have finishers anymore? Jesus. They
exchanged finishing move attempts again a few times, but neither guy could hit.
Rock hit a DDT. Rock went for a Rock Bottom, Cena slipped out, and hit the Attitude
Adjustment, which was enough to win the WWE Championship. It’s finally over! After the match,
they shook hands. Respect is earned! 
Winner
and new WWE Champion: John Cena in 20:23 minutes
Thoughts:
This match lacked psychology, any sort of strategy by either man, a story to follow, and rarely did either John Cena or the Rock played off their previous match at all. There
was no transitional period that elevated the match into the finisher galore stage of the match either. During the beginning, they should have worked over a body part or told some
sort of story. Instead, they used a cheap method to get the fans invested into the match. Trading finisher after finisher just devalued the credibility of their finishers, and it was a very lazy way to put together the supposed biggest match of the year. And, unlike CM Punk and Undertaker, Cena’s victory was never in doubt. I might get some heat for this rating, but I do not care. I
did not enjoy this match at all. * ½
Final
Thoughts:
The mid-carders on the show were evidently held down, so their matches would not
overshadow the main events. That would have been fine had the main events
delivered. However, a show should never rely on one or two matches, because this is what could happen. 

In addition, the crowd
was ready to go home after Undertaker’s epic match yet again. I’ve always believed that a title match should go on last, but I think the Undertaker’s Wrestlemania matches have become an exception to the rule. If Taker loses, the streak is
over, whereas wrestlers lose and then win back the title all the time.

Thumbs
in the middle, leaning down.