Smackdown – July 18, 2002

Smackdown
Date: July 18, 2002
Location: First Union Arena, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

It’s the go home show for Vengeance but the bigger story here is the in ring return of the Rock who will be facing Kurt Angle to warm up for his World Title match on Sunday. Other than that we get to meet the first Smackdown General Manager, who I’m sure won’t be a huge disappointment and create a bunch of plot holes. Let’s get to it.

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Smackdown – June 20, 2002

Smackdown
Date: June 20, 2002
Location: ARCO Arena, Sacramento, California
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

It’s the final show before King of the Ring 2002 and we’re officially in the Kurt Angle is Bald era. As big of a change as it was, that would wind up being his signature look for years to come and still is to this day. Tonight we wrap up the first round of the tournament to get us down to the final four so let’s get to it.

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Smackdown – June 13, 2002

 

Smackdown
Date: June 13, 2002
Location: Bi-Lo Center, Greenville, South Carolina
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

We’re ten days away from King of the Ring and it’s really not looking like the most interesting thing in the world. Granted you could say that about almost any show around this point but this one is looking even worse. Smackdown no longer has its own owner so things are changing all over again. Let’s get to it.

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Smackdown – May 16, 2002

Smackdown
Date: May 16, 2002
Location: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

It’s the go home show for Judgment Day and luckily hopefully we should get something competent this week. Smackdown may not be great but they’re put together far better than Raw. At least this show has more than one top level good guy, which the red show certainly can’t say at the moment. Let’s get to it.

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Smackdown – May 2, 2002

Smackdown
Date: May 2, 2002
Location: Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 10,000
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

We’ve got a big match scheduled for tonight as WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan is defending against Chris Jericho. I’m sure we’ll get an explanation for why Smackdown can have a #1 contender when it’s been established that the shows trade possession of that status. Maybe Jericho can carry Hogan to passable tonight too but I wouldn’t bet on either. Let’s get to it.

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What the World Was Watching: WrestleMania XV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What the World Was Watching: St. Valentine’s Day Massacre: In Your House

So after being away for several months due to some work obligations, “What the World Was Watching” returns by picking up where we left off in 1999.  The Steve Austin-Vince McMahon rivalry is continuing and they are set to do battle in a steel cage match where if Austin loses then he surrenders his WrestleMania title shot.  The Undertaker is busy with his Ministry of Darkness nonsense and Mankind is keeping the Rock busy before WrestleMania.

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

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What the World Was Watching: Saturday Night Raw – February 13, 1999

Even though it is the height of the Attitude Era, RAW was still being pre-empted by the Westminster Dog Show.  As a result, this is Saturday Night Raw. At least it is in Skydome and that is always a cool visual.

A video package recaps the Austin-McMahon feud from the Royal Rumble up to last week’s show.

Michael Cole and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are taped from Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  This is the “go home” show for St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

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

Footage of Mankind defeating the Rock for the WWF title during Halftime Heat is shown.  There was a spoiler for that match since this show was taped nearly a week before that match aired.

Shane McMahon tells the Corporation that Vince McMahon is on a separate assignment in Texas, so he lets them know that he is in charge.  Test, Ken Shamrock, and the Big Bossman have no idea where Kane is.

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

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What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – January 25, 1999

Pictures and audio excerpts recap last night’s Royal Rumble match.

Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are in the booth from Phoenix, Arizona.

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

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are taped from Lowell,
Massachusetts, which is one of my favorite venues.  It’s sort of amazing how the WWF was able to
do a ton of pyro by the constricted entrance without engulfing the building.

Opening
Contest:  Edge beats “Double J” Jeff
Jarrett (w/Southern Justice) via disqualification when Jarrett hits Edge with a
guitar at 5:14:
It is funny to hear Lawler ask the same questions about Edge that people
asked about the Shield:  Where do they hang
out before shows?  Why do they feel the
need to enter through the crowd and not the traditional way?  Jarrett debuts the Stroke here, but it is
only used as a transitional move.  Edge
busts out an impressive spot where he hits two consecutive suplexes and
transitions a third into a facebuster. 
This is a decent, competitive match with Jarrett giving Edge a few hope
spots before getting desperate and hitting the newcomer with a guitar.  Rating:  **¼ (1 for 1)
Bradshaw defeats
Darren Drozdov with the Flair pin at 4:01:
No one would call this a technical exhibition, but it is
a tolerable brawl that plays to the strengths of both men.  Bradshaw uses the old heel tactic of putting
his feet on the ropes to pin the rookie and then gives him a lariat to put the
finishing touch on this match.  The
crowd’s silence brought this down a notch, but both guys were trying.  Rating:  *¾ (2 for 2)
A video package
hypes the triple threat main event for Breakdown, where WWF Champion Steve
Austin will defend his title against the Undertaker and Kane.  The announcement for that match took place on
Sunday Night Heat.
“Marvelous” Marc
Mero (w/Jacqueline) pins Miguel Perez with the TKO at 3:38:
The anti-Sable element in the crowd tries to work up a
“Jackie” chant but that goes nowhere. 
You can tell that Perez (who has shaved his back) is motivated to make
this work, but Mero’s heel offense slows the pace down so much that it takes
something away from the match.  Mero hits
a TKO out of nowhere to win.  Rating: 
*½ (3 for 3)
Michael Cole
interviews The Oddities and Insane Clown Posse. 
The ICP cut pretty good promo against the DOA and dare I say, it is
better than at least half of the WWF roster at this point.
Cole interviews
DOA and Paul Ellering, who says that the DOA will drop the Oddities like the
DOW Jones Industrial Average.
DOA (w/Paul
Ellering) beats Golga & Kurrgan (w/Giant Silva, Luna Vachon & The
Insane Clown Posse) via disqualification when the Insane Clown Possee interfere
at 1:54:
Within the first minute of the match Golga hits the top
rope with so much force that it breaks. 
Everything goes downhill from there, which is probably why the ICP runs
in and gets beaten down by the DOA.  No
word on whether the outcome of this match was later annulled because of the
broken top rope.
The Undertaker and
Kane destroying the Rock on last week’s show is the Penzoil Rewind segment.
The Rock walks out
and reiterates how he is still the People’s Champion despite losing to Triple H
at SummerSlam.  He promises to get
revenge on Kane for chokeslamming him on last week’s show.  By calling out a main eventer, the Rock
symbolized that he was rising up the card here. 
4 for 4
The Lion’s Den
match from SummerSlam is shown in its entirety.
Southern Justice
defeats Too Much when Mark Canterbury pins Scott Taylor after the Problem
Solver at 4:06:
Southern Justice are getting a small push to appear as a
threat to the New Age Outlaws, who are really devoid of significant challengers
in the tag team division.  Too Much are
positioned as the faces in this bout, which makes no sense at all, but Southern
Justice can’t really play that role either. 
Southern Justice wins this abbreviated match to keep on rolling
along.  Rating:  * (4 for 5)
Vader pins Dustin
Runnels after a Vader Bomb at 3:25:
They might as well bill this match as “two WCW guys who
are struggling to establish their position in the Attitude Era.”  During the match, Val Venis mocks Runnels
Christian advocacy by parading around with a sign that reads “I Have
Come.”  Runnels starts praying when he
sees Venis’s sign and Vader takes advantage to win his first RAW match via
pinfall in what seems like forever.  Rating: 
½* (4 for 6)
A video package
highlights Sable’s in-ring performances.
Al Snow comes out
of the crowd and says that he will not leave the ring until he sees a WWF
official.  Commissioner Slaughter, Pat
Patterson, and Gerald Brisco come out and order Snow to leave the ring.  Since they do not book Snow in a match, Snow
gives Patterson a low blow with Head and flees through the crowd.  This was wasn’t very good until Patterson got
hit below the belt.  4 for 7
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Cole interviews
the Headbangers, who are confused about why they are wrestling on RAW since
they rarely appear.  They make some
nonsensical comments about their opponents before heading to the ring.
D-Lo Brown &
Mark Henry beat The Headbangers via disqualification when Chyna interferes at
5:23:
I was always a fan of the D-Lo Brown & Mark Henry tag
team and wish they had been given a run with the tag team titles around this
time.  This is your
paint by the numbers tag match that ends when Chyna runs in and tackles Henry
for the second consecutive week.  WWF
officials get decked by Chyna and D-Generation X has to run in to restrain
her.  Rating:  *¾ (4 for 8)
Get a big poster
of Triple H when you buy Stridex pads!
D-Generation X
(w/Chyna) defeat Kaientai (w/Yamaguchi-San) when X-Pac pins Taka Michinoku with
an assisted X-Factor at 4:33:
These two teams have contrasting gimmicks:  one side tells you to suck it and the other
side wants to chop it off.  This is a fun
squash, with Kaientai mounting very little offense (and what they do get comes
at the expense of the Road Dogg – surprise, surprise), but I do not like how
Michinoku, who is the light heavyweight champion, ate the pin.  Then again, since when does that title mean
anything?  After the bout, Chyna nails
Yamaguchi-San with a forearm.  Rating: 
*½ (5 for 9)
After the bell, DX
gets a female fan to moon the audience.
The Final Report Card:  Well, this RAW was better than last week’s in
terms of in-ring action and I was entertained enough to give it a thumbs up.  If you want to see your usual main event
players, though, then this will not be your kind of show.  Next week’s RAW will be back in its regularly
scheduled time slot, so we are thankfully done with these “Shotgun RAW”
shows.  Who knows, we might even get an
appearance from Steve Austin!

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

by Logan Scisco

Steve Austin unsuccessful in getting into Vince McMahon’s office in the locker
room area.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are taped from Des Moines,
Iowa.

A hearse backs up
into the arena to the “Highway to Hell” song, but Steve Austin comes out the
driver’s side door, pulls out a casket, and then opens the casket to grab a
beer.  Austin walks to the ring and calls
Vince McMahon out.  After some delay,
McMahon arrives with his stooges.  Austin
pledges to beat the Undertaker in the ring tonight and stuff him in the hearse
he brought to the arena.  He warns
McMahon to get out of his way because otherwise, he is going to end up in the
hearse himself.  A simple segment that
gave some motivation for Austin’s actions later in the show.  1 for
1
Get a big poster
of Triple H when you buy Stridex pads!
Opening Triple
Threat Contest:  Dan Severn defeats Ken
Shamrock and Owen Hart when he makes Shamrock submit to a dragon sleeper at 4:43:
This was the first time that Shamrock and Severn opposed
each other in a WWF ring, but they do not mix it up, as Severn just watches
Shamrock fight Owen during the match. 
After three and a half minutes, Severn finally gets involved by breaking
up a Shamrock pin attempt and then putting him in a dragon sleeper to break up
the ankle lock.  It’s about time someone
used that strategy in a triple threat match. 
Rating:  **½ (2 for 2)
After
the bell, Severn refuses to release the hold until Steve Blackman comes out and
Severn proceeds to put Blackman in a dragon sleeper.  As Severn leaves the ring, he gives Owen a
high five, thereby turning heel.  When
Shamrock comes to, he gets in Commissioner Slaughter’s face about what just
took place.
Brawl for All Semi-Finals:  Bart Gunn defeats The Godfather (w/Hos) via
knockout at 20 seconds of the third round:
“Bill Clinton” calls into the show and makes some Monica
Lewinsky jokes.  The Godfather refuses to
let Bart Gunn choose the ho option since Bart attacked him on last week’s
show.  The Godfather lands a few hard
jabs, but Bart lands some hard shots at the end of the second round and
proceeds to knock him out with a right hand in the third.  Bart gloats to Ross about his victory after
the bout.  3 for 3
Ken Shamrock and
Steve Blackman are shown tossing things around the locker room as they search
for Owen Hart and Dan Severn.
Michael Cole says
that Owen Hart’s special trainer for the Lion’s Den match at SummerSlam will be
Dan Severn.
Gangrel beats
“Too Sexy” Brian Christopher (w/Scott Taylor) with an Implant DDT at 1:03:
This was Gangrel’s RAW debut.  It’s a shame that the character never went
anywhere because it had one of the best entrances in wrestling history.  Edge takes an interest in Gangrel’s entrance,
raising his sunglasses to get a better view from the crowd.  Gangrel makes short work of Christopher in
what is a somewhat sloppy squash.
Ken Shamrock tells
Cole that he is going to break every bone in Owen Hart’s body at
SummerSlam.  Cole runs away as Shamrock
and Steve Blackman continue to break things. 
Blackman breaks things in the most unemotional way possible, which
cracks me up.
D-Generation X and
the Nation of Domination, who are scheduled to face off in a street fight later
tonight, are shown brawling backstage as WWF officials desperately try to break
things up.
The Disciples of
Apocalypse (w/Paul Ellering) beat Scorpio & Faarooq when Skull pins Scorpio
with a small package after an illegal switch at 4:31:
“President Clinton” calls back in and gloats about the
state of the economy.  Scorpio and
Faarooq were undefeated up to this point, but the greatness that is DOA must be
continued at all costs and they lose here. 
In fairness, the loss happens in cheap fashion, as the DX-Nation brawl descends
on the ringside area and distracts the referee, who misses Scorpio pinning
8-Ball after a 450.  Scorpio made this
match better than one might expect, but the wrong team went over.  Rating:  **¼ (3 for 4)
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Street
Fight:  The Nation of Domination wrestle
D-Generation X to a no contest at 6:24:
For this match, the combatants are allowed to bring
whatever weapons they like to the ring, but no one is ingenious enough to
bring the kitchen sink.  This is actually
four-on-three, since the Godfather getting knocked out earlier in the show
precluded him from participating. 
There’s tons of head trauma in this from the weapons shots, and it is
somewhat unsettling to hear Jim Ross casually remark on the possibility of
concussions.  Near the end of the bout,
Jeff Jarrett and Southern Justice attack X-Pac and Jarrett cuts off some of
X-Pac’s hair.  Jarrett and Southern
Justice allow the Nation to isolate Triple H, who beat him down with a ladder,
thereby planting the seeds for the type of match that will take place between
the Rock and Triple H at SummerSlam.  In
a puzzling development, the Nation choose to just walk out after this beatdown
instead of pinning Triple H, so that gives us a no contest.  Then again, the carnage lets us know who the
real winners were.  This was a fun brawl
that advanced two storylines for SummerSlam 
Rating:  *** (4 for 5)
Tiger Ali Singh
gives $500 to a fan for licking between his servant Babu’s toes.  You see, Babu has been working out all day
and is nasty.  The less said about this
segment the better.  4 for 6
Sable interfering
in the Luna Vachon-Jacqueline match on last week’s show is the Stridex Triple
Action segment.
Arm Wrestling
Match:  Sable beats Jacqueline by
disqualification:
This stemmed from a challenge that Jacqueline issued on
Sunday Night Heat.  There are few gimmick
matches in wrestling that I hate more than arm wrestling contests.  This is no exception as Jacqueline pulls her
hand away when Sable is going to win and turns the table over on her.  Jacqueline then breaks the bikini contest
trophy over Sable’s back before the Oddities make the save.  So, we’ve had disqualifications in a bikini
contest AND an arm wrestling match between these two!  4 for
7
Cole interviews
Val Venis, who is facing Kaientai in a gauntlet match tonight.  Venis says he is conditioned to “run all
night long.”
Darren Drozdov
shows us his tattoos on the latest installment of “Droz’s World.”  I’m not sure what the purpose of these
segments happens to be since they aren’t giving Droz a sustained push at the
moment.
Brawl for All
Semi-Finals:  Bradshaw defeats Darren
Drozdov via decision:
Droz’s “tale of the tape” emphasizes his ability to puke
on command.  I wonder if that would be
against the rules of the Brawl for All. 
This is a good slugfest and Bradshaw blocks several of Droz’s takedown
attempts.  Bradshaw lands more punches
and advances to the finals next week against Bart Gunn.  5 for
8
The announcers
tell us that Al Snow is back in the WWF. 
No reason is given as to why that King of the Ring stipulation was not
upheld, but there you have it.  Al Snow
talks with Head at a bar and mocks how he is returning to the WWF to be part of
the “JOB Squad.”
Dustin Runnels
reminds us that our bodies are a temple.
Sable comes out
and demands Jacqueline to come out and fight. 
Jacqueline and Marc Mero appear on the Titantron and Jacqueline responds
by challenging Sable to a mixed tag match at SummerSlam.  Before Sable can issue a response, the
Oddities burst into Mero and Jacqueline’s locker room and attack them.  Won’t heels ever learn that allowing your
opponent to choose a mystery partner never turns out well?
Cole reminds us of
Steve Austin’s promise earlier in the show.
Gauntlet
Match:  Kaientai (w/Yamaguchi-San) beats
Val Venis when Taka Michinoku pins Venis after a Michinoku Driver at 7:55:
Order of
Elimination:  Venis pins Men’s Teioh with
a fisherman’s suplex at 1:12; Venis pins Funaki with a powerslam at 1:26; Venis
pins Dick Togo with the Money Shot at 4:20
The stipulation for this match is that if Venis wins that
he gets five minutes with Yamaguchi-San. 
“President Clinton” calls in for the last time to make more jokes about
Ms. Lewinsky.  This has some good work
rate, especially the Togo and Michinoku portions, but the crowd does not care
because they have been conditioned to see Kaientai as a joke.  Venis runs through three of Kaintenai’s
members, but Michinoku beats him clean.  Rating: 
*** (6 for 9)
-After the bout,
Kaientai pound away on Venis and then Mrs. Yamaguchi-San comes out to slap
him.  However, Venis grabs a squirt gun
shaped like a penis and squirts it all over his adversaries, causing them to flee.  I could have done without all of that.
The Undertaker and
Steve Austin come out for their confrontation, but when the Undertaker throws
his hair back we find out that it is actually Kane.  Kane and Austin brawl back to the hearse,
where Austin tosses Kane into the back. 
However, when Austin goes to drive away, he cannot get in and the
Undertaker is shown in the driver’s seat. 
The Undertaker drives away as “Highway to Hell” is played over the
loudspeakers.  This was a great ending
for the show and I always mark out a little when I see that the Undertaker is
in the front seat.  7 for 10
The Final Report Card:  The rating of the show seemed to be hurt by
the lack of Austin segments, but I was okay with not having the main event
angle dominate the show.  We have had our
fair share of the Undertaker, Kane, Mankind, and Austin in recent months so it
was good to get a break from all of it. 
Despite the rating, this show had two good
Brawl for All matches and gave the audience an entertaining street fight and
gauntlet match.  You cannot ask for much
more than that during this era.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.2 (vs. 4.9 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – August 10, 1998

by Logan Scisco

Mankind is shown
smashing up the boiler room underneath the arena and ranting about something.
A video package
recaps Mankind getting hit over the head with a chair by the Undertaker on last
week’s show and how the Undertaker, dressed as Kane, attacked Mankind on Sunday
Night Heat.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Omaha, Nebraska.

Mankind walks out
and demands to hear the truth from Vince McMahon, who has always leveled with
him.  McMahon tentatively comes into the
ring and cuts a Gilded Age promo about how he loathes people who need his help.  McMahon tells Mankind that Kane and the
Undertaker are working together and do not care about him, which brings out
Kane and Paul Bearer.  Bearer accuses McMahon
of trying to poison his son’s mind, to which McMahon suddenly freaks out and
accuses the Undertaker of being underneath Kane’s mask.  McMahon goes to rip Kane’s mask off, but the
lights suddenly go out.  When they come
back on the Undertaker has McMahon by the throat, but Mankind sacrifices
himself for McMahon and Bearer also gets decked.  Today’s creative team needs to watch the way
that this story was developed because it had lots of interesting twists and
turns.  1 for 1
The Undertaker is
shown walking into Kane’s dressing room backstage.
Luna Vachon (w/Sable
& The Oddities) beats Jacqueline (w/Marc Mero) with a splash off the top
rope at 2:25:
Sable continues her on-screen connection to the Oddities
by introducing Luna for this match.  As
expected, Sable interferes by tripping Jacqueline when she climbs to the top
rope and that allows Luna to win.  After
the match, Sable gives Luna the bikini contest trophy that Jacqueline and Mero
have carried around the ring.  Ross puts
over how Sable is making the Oddities feel good about themselves.  What segment of the fan base were the
Oddities supposed to appeal to?
Michael Cole tells
us that Steve Austin is not happy because he has to worry about what the
Undertaker is doing and he isn’t happy about having to defend the tag team
titles in a four corners match tonight.
We get the first
showing of the Highway to Hell music video for SummerSlam.  I still get excited seeing this video sixteen
years later.
Brawl for All
Quarter-Finals:  Darren Drozdov beats
Savio Vega via decision:
Although Droz and Hawk fought to a draw in the first
round, Droz advanced because Hawk was in no condition for a rematch.  Droz takes down Savio a few times and nearly
knocks Savio out at the end of the third round. 
He advances to the semi-finals in a dull contest.  1 for
2
Triple H and Chyna
are shown arriving at the arena, but X-Pac isn’t with them.  Is D-Generation X falling apart?
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to get your Steve Austin Bad to the Bone t-shirt for $25 (plus $6 shipping
& handling)!
Cole interviews
Chyna, who tells him to suck it and pushes him into a car.  That sounds a little more dirty than I meant
it.
Ross and Lawler
discuss how Jeff Jarrett and Southern Justice beat up Tennessee Lee on Sunday
Night Heat, thereby ending Lee’s brief WWF stint.
LOD 2000 are
scheduled to face Southern Justice, but Hawk’s substance abuse problems rear
their ugly head again as Hawk is startled by the fireworks during the LOD’s
entrance and falls off the ramp.  WWF
officials refuse to let Hawk compete, so Southern Justice beat up Animal before
Droz makes the save.  However, Jeff
Jarrett hits the ring, blasts Droz with a guitar, and shaves part of his head.  At least this is giving Jarrett an edge to
his character.  2 for 3
X-Pac is shown
arriving at the arena alone.
Get a big poster
of Triple H when you buy Stridex pads!
The members of
D-Generation X come out to the ring individually.  X-Pac cuts off Triple H’s opening promo by
saying that he’s tired of him “and his bitch.” 
DX members take turns calling each other jack offs and realize that they
have things in common.  Chyna interrupts
them trying to moon the crowd, which they call “the DX split,” before doing it
herself.  You see, we’ve all been fooled
by DX wanting to split up!  Triple H
tries to get another female fan to take her top off, but she refuses.  2 for
4
Cole interviews
Steve Austin in the locker room, but ends getting tossed into the shower.  Be a star, Steve!
Bart Gunn comes by
the announce table and tells Ross that he is tired of getting disrespected for
beating Steve Williams in the Brawl for All.
Our next match is
supposed to be The Godfather-Vader, but Vader chooses to take the Godfather’s
hos rather than fight.  After leaving the
ring, Vader tells Bart Gunn that he had better knock the Godfather out next
week, to which Gunn knocks Vader out with a left hand and attacks the
Godfather.  So whenever Vader “wins” he
really loses!  2 for 5
Val Venis and John
Wayne Bobbitt are shown arriving to the arena in a limo.
Dustin Runnels
tells us that the next segment contains explicit content.  He urges viewers to watch quality, wholesome
programming instead, such as a special about reptiles on the Discovery
Channel.  For those not familiar with
this era, Runnels character was a jab at evangelical Christian forces that were
criticizing the content of WWF programming during this period.
Val Venis is
wheeled to the ring by John Wayne Bobbitt and Mrs. Yamaguchi-San.  For those unfamiliar with 1990s popular
culture, Bobbitt became famous for his wife severing his penis while he slept
in 1993.  Lawler interviews Venis, who
has an ice bag on his groin, and Venis says he is now half the man he used to
be.  However, he’s just fooling us as he
rips off his clothes to reveal his ring attire. 
He says the cold cutting board he was on, some timely “shrinkage,” and
Bobbitt turning off the light as Yamaguchi-San came down with his sword helped
him avoid problems.  Amazing how all of
those things came together at once!  Sort
of like Washington fleeing Brooklyn Heights with the Continental Army during
the American Revolution!  Lawler makes
some puns about the situation and Venis ends the segment by kicking Mrs.
Yamaguchi-San to the curb because she brought him too much trouble.  Venis tosses her a double AA battery as she
leaves.  This was ridiculous on so many
levels.  2 for 6
Edge is shown
hanging out in the crowd.
Brawl for All
Quarter-Finals:  Bradshaw beats
“Marvelous” Marc Mero via decision:
In another case of a loser advancing, Mero made it into
the quarter-finals after Steve Blackman suffered a knee injury.  Mero is able to land a few good punches, but
he is still vulnerable to takedowns, which is how Bradshaw keeps the bout
even.  Bradshaw is clearly gassed by the
third round, but Mero cannot land a knockout. 
Another round is used as a tiebreaker when everything ends up tied after
regulation and for all intents and purposes, there should have been a fifth
round because the fourth followed the same pattern of Mero landing more punches
and Bradshaw landing a takedown.  But you
know, TV time constraints and all.  In
retrospect, the WWF should have banned takedowns from this competition because
guys going for takedowns all ruined a lot of bouts.  2 for
7
The Undertaker
tells Cole that he will do his explaining in the ring tonight.
The Undertaker’s
beatdown of Mankind on Sunday Night Heat is the Stridex Triple Action segment.
Four Corners
Match for the WWF Tag Team Championship: 
Kane & Mankind beat Steve Austin & The Undertaker (Champions),
The New Age Outlaws, and The Rock & D-Lo Brown to win the titles when Kane
pins the Undertaker with a chokeslam at 14:29:
Ross and Lawler make clear that partners cannot pin each
other, which is how the Outlaws defended the titles in a multi-team match a few
months prior to this.  This is the
so-called “Outlaws rule.”  Owen Hart is
supposed to be the Rock’s partner, but Ken Shamrock knocks him out of the match
with an ankle lock before the opening bell, so D-Lo Brown takes Owen’s
place.  In a funny bit, Mankind does not
want to stand next to Kane in his team’s corner, so he chooses to stand near
the Rock when he tags out o D-Lo.  The Rock
doesn’t take kindly to this and demands Mankind go back to his proper place.  It’s really amazing how organic the “Rocky
sucks” chants are too, as the crowd just starts chanting it at random intervals
of the match, even when the Rock isn’t in the ring.  Kane solemnly stands in the corner when all
hell breaks loose, where Mankind tags him, and Kane proceeds to give the
Undertaker one chokeslam to regain the titles for his team.  After the bell, the Undertaker rises to his
feet, not selling the damage Kane just inflicted upon him, and he stares at
Austin as we go off the air.  This had
some good storytelling and action, although things really slowed to a crawl
near the end.  Rating:  ***¼ (3 for 8)
Tune in next week
to see Ken Shamrock, Owen Hart, and Dan Severn collide in a triple threat
match!
The Final Report Card:  This RAW was Vince Russo’s dream scenario
when there are very few matches and segments constitute the entire show.  I have nothing against using lots of angles
to advance storylines, but this show took it too far.  This show ended RAWs four week winning
streak, which should have been evidence for Russo’s future employers that his
view of wrestling was not always a ratings winner.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.5 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – August 3, 1998

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are taped from San Diego,
California
.

The Nation of
Domination comes out for the opening segment, as the Rock and Owen Hart are
facing Steve Austin and the Undertaker for the tag team titles later
tonight.  The Rock urges Austin and the
Undertaker to come out and immediately defend the titles, but Commissioner
Slaughter walks out instead.  The Rock
gives him a smackdown on the mic and Austin and the Undertaker arrive.  Austin slides into the ring to fight the Rock
and Owen, but the Undertaker gets distracted by Kane near the entrance and does
not help his partner.  Mankind and the
Undertaker end up brawling near the entrance as Austin takes a beating before
recovering and forcing the Rock and Owen to flee.  1 for
1
Opening
Contest:  Golga (w/The Oddities &
Sable) beats “Marvelous” Marc Mero (w/Jacqueline) with a seated senton splash
at 3:11:
Mero and Jacqueline are sporting the trophy that
Jacqueline earned for winning the Fully Loaded bikini contest.  Sable unveils a “surprise” by accompanying
Golga to the ring.  Kurrgan and Giant
Silva walk out in tuxedos and Kurrgan sings the Miss America song before Luna
Vachon walks out.  This was the Oddities
face turn and the Jackyl, who had been managing them, is nowhere to be
found.  This follows the usual big
man-small man formula and when Jacqueline tries to interfere, Luna attacks
her.  Silva chokeslams Mero behind the
referee’s back and that sets up Golga’s win. 
This is prime for a Wrestlecrap induction.  Rating:  * (1 for 2)
Brawl for All
Quarter-Final Match:  The Godfather
defeats Scorpio via decision:
Now, readers of this column might say “Wait Logan, I
thought Dan Severn already beat the Godfather?” and if you asked that question
you would be right.  However, Severn
withdrew from the tournament because he said he had nothing to prove, so the
Godfather was put back in.  I hate that
and would have preferred Scorpio to be given a bye to the semi-finals.  Scorpio rejects the Godfather’s overture to
take the hos, which was a bad idea in retrospect because he cannot overcome the
Godfather’s size advantage and loses.  Disappointing
contest, as I expected Scorpio to try to use takedowns to win the bout.  1 for
3
Michael Cole
interviews the New Age Outlaws, who say that they are not intimidated by Kane
& Mankind, who they will face tonight.
Kane &
Mankind (w/Paul Bearer) beat The New Age Outlaws when Kane pins The Road Dogg
with a Tombstone at 5:19:
In a smart move, the Outlaws pull Mankind out of the ring
and beat him down while Kane is doing his routine of making fire come out of
the ring posts.  However,
Kane is the real strength of the team and the Outlaws cannot find a way to deal
with him.  When the Road
Dogg ends up alone with Kane, we get the predictable result of him eating a
Tombstone.  You will notice that in these
big Outlaws matches the Road Dogg always ends up eating the
pin.  This had its moments, but was
rushed and messy, especially near the end. 
Rating:  *½ (1 for 4)
Ross and Lawler
recap Hawk’s poor condition on last week’s show.  Hawk apologizes for his behavior last week
and asks for forgiveness.
Jeff Jarrett and
Tennessee Lee say that Jarrett is going to scare Hawk straight “Jeff Jarrett
style,” whatever that means.
Hawk pins “Double
J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee) with a neckbreaker at 2:31:
Hawk is not under the influence this week, so he is able
to perform his usual trademark moves and no sells.  Jarrett is recently having trouble with
Tennessee Lee, who keeps botching interference, and after Lee fails to get his
belt off in time for Jarrett to use it, Hawk catches the country music star off
guard to pick up a win.  After the bout,
Southern Justice attack the LOD because, you know, Godwinns-LOD set the world
on fire in 1997.
Vince McMahon
walks to the ring with his stooges.  He
predicts a tag team title change tonight and continues to advance his theory
that the Undertaker and Kane are working together.  He asks the Undertaker to come out and
explain himself based on last week’s show, where Kane attacked Austin as the
Undertaker looked on in the ring.  Austin
crashes the party before the Undertaker can say a word and says he only wants
to beat the Undertaker at SummerSlam.  As
Austin leaves, the Undertaker tells him that McMahon wants them to fight among
themselves and offers to give Austin one of the tag team title belts.  Austin accepts and the Undertaker makes it
clear that he is going to be watching Austin’s back to keep him safe for
SummerSlam.  This was a nice way to pay
off the Undertaker walking around with both tag team titles since Fully
Loaded.  2 for 5
The Rock tells the
commentary team that he could care less about Austin and the Undertaker’s
issues.
Highlights from
the Intercontinental title triple threat match on last week’s RAW constitute
the Stridex Triple Action segment.
#1 Contender’s
Match for the Intercontinental Championship: 
Triple H (w/Chyna) beats X-Pac with a Pedigree at 5:04:
Triple H is on Pacific Blue this week!  This is our usual solid Kliq matchup, with
Triple H targeting X-Pac’s neck in the early going and X-Pac making a rally at
the end.  Chyna, who should be impartial
in the match, trips X-Pac before he can do a Bronco Buster and that results in
Triple H taking advantage of the situation and getting an Intercontinental
title shot against the Rock at SummerSlam. 
After the match, X-Pac argues with Triple H, who feigns ignorance about
Chyna’s interference.  Rating: 
**¼ (3 for 6)
Val Venis &
Taka Michinoku wrestle Dick Togo & Funaki (w/Yamaguchi-San, Men’s Teoh
& Yamaguchi-San’s Wife) to a no-contest at 1:43:
Ross gives me a good laugh by saying that San Diego is
“Ryan Leaf country.”  I bet you cannot
find a single person in San Diego today that would refer to Leaf in such
glowing terms.  I like how we still do
not have a name for Yamagachi-San’s wife despite her being on television for
nearly a month at this point.  When Venis
goes to tag in Michinoku after absorbing some of Kaientai’s early offense,
Michinoku dropkicks him in the face, thereby turning heel.  You see, Mrs. Yamaguchi-San is Michinoku’s
sister.  Kaientai beat Venis up and carry
him backstage, where no one seems to care that he might get his private region
severed.
European
Championship Match:  D-Lo Brown (w/Mark
Henry) beats Dan Severn (w/Steve Blackman) via disqualification when Ken
Shamrock interferes at 2:34:
This match was booked after D-Lo antagonized Severn and
got him to interfere in a match against Ken Shamrock on Sunday Night Heat.  The same situation takes place here, as
Severn has Brown on the ropes before Shamrock comes down the ring and takes out
Mark Henry and Brown in view of the referee. 
Severn is not happy about this development to say the least.
D-Lo celebrates
his victory, but Edge comes out of nowhere and attacks him by the entrance
before walking away.  When D-Lo comes to,
he has no idea what happened.
Kaientai is shown
beating down Venis some more backstage. 
It’s funny to hear Ross try to verbally reprimand them like a
parent:  “Don’t do that!  Stop that!”
Tiger Ali Singh,
who has not been seen on WWF television since 1997, when he was referred to as
a can’t miss prospect, comes out.  This
time, he is sporting a mixture of an anti-American and million dollar man
gimmick where he pays audience members to do degrading things.  He has his servant Babu select an obese
American woman from the crowd and pays her $500 for each piece of clothing she
takes off.  The facial expressions of
some people in the audience to this is priceless.  The woman goes to take off her bra, but Singh
changes the rules and pays her to put clothes back on.  Singh was pretty entertaining in this
segment.  Unfortunately for him, his ring
work was awful.  4 for 7
Backstage,
Yamaguchi-San has the camera crew leave Kaientai’s locker room, where they are
carrying Val Venis to a cutting board.
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WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve
Austin & The Undertaker (Champions) defeat The Rock & Owen Hart when
The Undertaker pins Owen Hart with a Tombstone at 11:12:
Austin is a one man heat machine as the crowd eats up
everything he does or has done to him. 
Owen and the Rock keep cheating as much as they can to maintain the
advantage, but eventually Austin fights out of a Sharpshooter and a Rock Bottom
to get the Undertaker into the match, where the fate of the heels is eventually
sealed.  It’s hard to tell how much
genuine heat this had based on it being a taped show, but you could tell by the
crowd’s physical reactions that they really got into his match.  The beginning stages with the Undertaker were
slow, but Austin really took things up a notch when he got in the ring and in
peril.  Rating:  *** (5 for 8)
After the bell,
Mankind hits the ring and puts the Undertaker in a Mandible Claw.  As Austin is still fighting the Rock near the
announce table, Kane steps into the ring and smashes Mankind with a chair,
although he may have been aiming for the Undertaker.  The Undertaker takes the chair, but instead
of hitting Kane, he hits Mankind again. 
The New Age Outlaws hit the ring to go after Kane and the Undertaker,
but Austin comes back to aid his partner.
WWF officials are
shown breaking down the door to Kaientai’s dressing room and find Val Venis
held up with his tights down. 
Yamaguchi-San has a sword held up high and he comes down with it, but the lights in the room go dark and that ends the show.
The Final Report Card:  If you watch this RAW, go ahead and skip
ahead to the McMahon-Austin-Undertaker segment because the first half of this
show was awful.  After McMahon’s segment,
the show righted itself and we got a fun main event to close.  The “choppy choppy” angle is silly, but it is
one of those over the top angles that you can sit back and get a good laugh out
of sixteen years later.  I wouldn’t
recommend showing it to a new fan, but sometimes you have to take the good with
the bad when looking back at one of the high points of WWF history.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.9 (vs. 4.2 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up 

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – May 18, 1998

by Logan Scisco

A video package recaps how Vince McMahon has
stacked the deck against WWF Champion Steve Austin at Over the Edge and the end
of last week’s show where Austin and McMahon were in a tag team match against
the Rock and D-Lo Brown.
Jim Ross and
Michael Cole are in the booth and they are live from Nashville, Tennessee
.

Vince McMahon, Pat
Patterson, and Gerald Brisco walk out and McMahon announces that his “devastating
clothesline” gave Steve Austin a mild concussion.  He announces that for Austin’s protection he
is barred from the arena.  Austin shows
up and tells the security guard that he is coming into the building one way or
the other.  Dude Love walks out, in a
suit of course (it’s so weird seeing Foley with slicked back hair in this
role), and promises that Over the Edge will be a special night for everyone
that hates Austin.  McMahon then calls
out Dustin Runnels, who has a bad knee due to knee surgery, and then books him
to face Love.  The stipulation is that if
Runnels wins he will become the number one contender to the WWF title and get
the Over the Edge title match against Austin, but if he loses he will have to
work for thirty days without being paid. 
The heat for this segment is off the charts and the great thing about
the Austin-McMahon angle was its ability to elevate, albeit temporarily, some
of those who were involved in it.  1 for 1
Jerry “the King” Lawler
is shown helping someone covered in a sheet out of a van and escorts them into
the arena.  The security guard checks to
make sure it’s not Austin and lets them in.
Opening
Contest:  Val Venis beats 2 Cold Scorpio
with the Money Shot at 6:10:
This is Venis’s debut and he gets a good reaction, which
is why vignettes work before debuting a character.  It’s sad how quickly the WWF gave up on the
Funk-Scorpio team because the tag division was really devoid of talent at this
time.  It’s not really clear if Venis is
a face or a heel, so that leads to the crowd being unsure of how to react to
Scorpio’s role in the match.  Even though
you anticipate a squash, this ends up as a very competitive match whereby
Scorpio is playing the 1998 version of Tito Santana.  It’s too long for a debut, though, and the
crowd loses interest despite the match being technically proficient.  Venis also didn’t really show a lot of
dimensions to his character to distinguish him from a generic wrestler.  Scorpio misses a moonsault and Venis takes
advantage to win.  Rating:  ** ¼ (2 for 2)
When the security guard will not let Steve
Austin into the building, he assaults him.
Austin walks out
to the ring and calls out McMahon and his stooges.  He proposes a three-on-one fight between them
and McMahon hilariously backs out by saying that he does not show up to a
street fight in a tweed jacket.  The
stooges cut small promos on Austin and McMahon decides to book a two-on-one
street fight and won’t tell Austin which two of them he will fight.  This had a lot of great back and forth,
probably capped by Patterson denying that he sucked and Austin saying that he
thought he did as a small inside reference. 
3 for 3
Another vignette
for Edge is aired.  We must embrace the
Edge and let go….
Lawler tells his
disguised man that he is there to protect him and not to get makeup or enjoy
the other amenities backstage.
Sable comes out
and calls out Marc Mero and proposes an amicable split.  Mero says that’s not possible because she
signed a contract two years ago that made her his property.  Ross makes a hilarious comment about how the
Emancipation Proclamation ended contracts like that.  Mero demands that she get into his corner for
his match with Terry Funk tonight.
Terry Funk defeats
“Marvelous” Marc Mero (w/Sable) with a DDT at 4:01:
Funk and Mero brawl back and forth until Funk knocks the
referee down while pounding on Mero in the corner.  Mero hits a low blow, but Sable hops on the
apron to tell the referee about it, allowing Funk to surprise Mero with a DDT
and win.  Predictable ending and this was
too rushed to really draw anyone in. 
Funk recovering seconds after Mero’s TKO to get to the finish was also
ridiculous.  Rating:  *¼ (3 for 4)
Police officers
arrive at the arena to arrest Steve Austin.
The 1-800-COLLECT
Rewind segment is the Undertaker destroying Jerry Lawler on last week’s show.
The police
investigate whether Lawler’s disguised man is Steve Austin.  They realize it is not and move on.
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to hear about the recent fortunes of a former WWF television
announcer!
Chainz &
Skull beat LOD 2000 when 8-Ball pins Animal with an illegal switch at 2:39:
Since LOD 2000 and the DOA are booked to face each other
at Over the Edge, Chainz & Skull face DOA so as not to give that match away
for free.  Based on Ross’s commentary,
this feud is quickly turning into nearly every other LOD feud since the summer
of 1997 where the storyline is “can these old guys still fight?”  Things get really sloppy when all hell breaks
loose and 8-Ball sneaks in out of the crowd to give the DOA another win via
illegal switch.  I’m over that finish and
this feud at this point.  After the
match, the LOD demand a six man match against the DOA next week and they will
bring a mystery partner with them.
This week’s
Celebrity Deathmatch features Steve Austin.
Ross discusses
that Paul Bearer is using DNA testing to confirm that he is Kane’s father.  Kane wears a ski mask at the medical clinic
as his DNA is being taken because he has awful burns on his face (allegedly).
Lawler comes out
to do commentary and Ross makes fun of him by saying that he’s a grown man
wearing a crown carrying around another man in a blanket.  Lawler unveils the man to be Al Snow and says
that he has promised Snow a meeting with Vince McMahon.  Snow wants his meeting with McMahon immediately
and won’t shut up on commentary, so Lawler relocates him to the first row.
#1 Contender’s
Match for the WWF Championship:  Dude
Love (w/Gerald Brisco & Pat Patterson) defeats Dustin Runnels at 2:19
Runnels gets the jobber entrance so astute wrestling fans
know that his odds aren’t very good. 
Runnels is wearing an “FU” shirt, which is a piece of Goldust
merchandise so I guess he hasn’t fully ditched the character after all.  After some quick brawling, Runnels hits the
bulldog, but Brisco distracts the referee and that allows Love to apply the
Mandible Claw (or Love Handle if you prefer) to win.  1997-1998 has not been a good year for
Goldust.  He lost his wife for thirty
days to Brian Pillman and now he doesn’t get paid for thirty days.  With this quick match, which made Runnels an
afterthought, they’ve pretty much destroyed his new, non-Goldust persona’s
credibility.  This may have happened
because Runnels had knee surgery done just prior to this show.
Police officers
come to Steve Austin’s locker room and arrest him.  After the commercial break, McMahon and his
stooges come to Austin’s locker room and gloat as he’s taken away.
Dick Togo &
Mens Teioh (w/Yamiguchi –San & Funaki) wrestle The Headbangers to a double
disqualification at 5:30:
The Headbangers are attacked by Kaientai on their way to
the ring and the flow of this bout, like many of Kaientai’s matches is disjointed
between some nice tag team moves. 
Eventually, Funaki gets into the ring to assist a beatdown of Thrasher
and that triggers Bradshaw and Taka Michinoku running out to the ring and
triggering a double disqualification. 
What a waste of time this was.  Rating: 
½* (3 for 5)
Call 8-15-734-1161
to get your Raw is War play ring for $32.99 (plus $9 shipping & handling)!
Vader hitting a
Vader Bomb on Barry Windham on last week’s show is the Slam of the Week.
More clips of Paul
Bearer and Kane at the DNA facility are shown. 
Bearer doesn’t like needles and he’s hilarious in this segment with his
crack of “I’m going to show people I’m Kane’s daddy!” at the end.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  The New Age Outlaws
(Champions w/Chyna) beat The Rock & Owen Hart when The Road Dogg pins the
Rock at 4:48
This is also a preview of Over the Edge, where the
Outlaws and Triple H will face Owen Hart, Kama Mustafa, and D-Lo Brown.  The crowd works up a cool “Rocky sucks” chant
to match the beat of the Nation’s theme music as the Nation heads to the
ring.  Looking back at this feud, I have
no idea why I rooted for DX since their sophomoric antics do not translate well
at all sixteen years later.  DX and the
Nation brawl before the bout and it takes a commercial break to settle things
down.  Owen has incorporated a new piece
of his gimmick where he bites his opponent’s ears and draws blood.  Faarooq gives the Rock a piledriver behind
the referee’s back when all hell breaks loose and the Outlaws manage to retain
the titles.  If this was given ten
minutes it would’ve been very good since all of the guys in this match had good
chemistry with each other.  Rating: 
** (4 for 6)
Steve Austin is
shown sitting in the police cruiser and Ross wonders why they haven’t taken him
to jail yet.  The answer comes after the
commercial break as Austin gives an “apology” to the security guard (Austin
just tells the guard he’s so stupid he didn’t let him into the arena and flips
him off) and walks off as a free man.
Kevin Kelly hears from
the doctor who conducted the DNA test on Paul Bearer and Kane that Bearer is
Kane’s father.  When the lights go out
for Kane’s entrance, Ross jokes with Lawler than the Undertaker has appeared
behind them.  Bearer tells the Undertaker
that his mother was a whore and the Undertaker charges the ring.  When the Undertaker gets beaten down, Vader
makes the save and brawls with Kane as the Undertaker chases Bearer to the
locker room.  The crowd is really into
seeing Bearer get destroyed by the Undertaker, which is a testament to how well
he played this role.  5 for 7
Handicap Street
Fight with Sergeant Slaughter as Guest Referee: 
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin wrestles Pat Patterson & Gerald Brisco to
a no contest at 4:16:
Ross tells the audience that Patterson does “rear end
work” at the Brisco Brothers Body Shop (which Brisco wears a t-shirt
advertising).  Patterson has a t-shirt
emphasizing his first Intercontinental title reign.  The fact that Slaughter is referenced as “Sergeant”
and not “Commissioner” Slaughter anymore is telling as the WWF is trying to
streamline its authority figures. 
Slaughter takes offense at Austin’s banter before the match and he
clotheslines Austin from behind to give Brisco and Patterson the advantage.  After Austin gives Patterson and Brisco a
pair of Stunners, Slaughter tries to put him in a Cobra Clutch, but Austin gets
out and gives him a Stunner.  Dude Love
runs out and he and Austin brawl when a fan in a Steve Austin mask comes out of
the crowd and hits him with a chair (coupled with a funny strut by McMahon that
mimics Austin’s head bob).  Austin doesn’t
sell it and the fan is soon revealed to be Vince McMahon.  After a brief fight, Love puts Austin in the
Love Handle and McMahon and his cronies triumph as we go off the air.  Rating:  ½* (5 for 7)
The Final Report Card:  Aside from the disappointment that was Dude
Love-Dustin Runnels, this show still had its fun moments.  Ross and Lawler’s banter throughout the
second hour is fantastic and really brings the show up another notch.  There was not a great deal of angle
advancement on this show, but that didn’t matter because the Nashville crowd
was hot for everything and treated the main event like WrestleMania VI.  The feud with Love is one of Austin’s more
underappreciated programs and it was a vital part of making Austin a
blue-collar hero.
Monday Night War Rating:  5.3 (vs. 2.51 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up