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

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross, Kevin
Kelly, and Michael Cole are in the booth and they are live from Waco, Texas.

Opening Contest
for the WWF Tag Team Championship:  The
New Age Outlaws (Champions) beat The Legion of Doom when The Road Dogg pins
Animal after Billy Gunn blasts Animal with a tag team title belt at 4:57:
By this time the Road Dogg had polished the Outlaws
introduction into what most fans remember. 
Quick match, with the LOD hitting the Road Dogg with the Doomsday
Device, but the referee works to get Hawk out of the ring and the Outlaws use
underhanded tactics to win.  After the
match, the Legion of Doom argue with each other and start brawling, which is an
interesting visual.  WWF officials run
out to split it up.  Unfortunately, this
didn’t lead to a feud that might be interesting and instead segwayed into the
LOD 2000 repackaging, which, as you can guess, led into a new feud with the
Outlaws!  Rating:  *¾ (1 for 1)
Non-Title
Match:  Ken Shamrock defeats Jeff Jarrett
(NWA North American Champion w/Jim Cornette) via submission to the ankle lock
at 5:43:
Due to beating the Rock in the War of Attrition match at
No Way Out of Texas, Shamrock gets an Intercontinental title match at
WrestleMania XIV.  The crowd loves seeing
Shamrock destroy Jarrett in the early going and Shamrock kicks out when
Cornette trips him when he suplexes Jarrett in the ring and tries to hold down
his leg on the cover.  This is a very
proficient match between two guys that can go, with several false finishes
mixed in, and the referee gets inadvertently bumped, but Cornette accidentally
blasts Jarrett with his tennis racket and that leads to the finish.  Rating:  **½ (2 for 2)
After the match,
Cole interviews Jarrett, who says that it might be time for he and Cornette to
go their separate ways
.
Shawn Michaels
entrance at WrestleMania XII is the WrestleMania Millennium Moment
.
Jerry Lawler
interviews Animal in the locker room and Animal screams a lot before Hawk runs
in and they fight some more as Bradshaw and a few jobbers work to separate
them.
The Truth
Commission & Kurrgan (w/The Jackyl) beat The Disciples of Apocalypse when
Kurrgan pins 8-Ball with the Paralyzer at 3:56:

Since Kurrgan has ditched his Truth Commission ring gear, he is not considered
part of the Truth Commission anymore, which is just Sniper and Recon.  The Jackyl doesn’t do commentary for this
match as he has done for most Truth Commission matches to this point.  During the match, Ross announces that there
will be a fifteen team battle royal at WrestleMania.  This follows a predictable, yet smart,
booking pattern whereby DOA tries to keep Kurrgan from entering the ring.  Skull and 8-Ball slam Kurrgan to a huge
reaction, but 8-Ball is left alone with Kurrgan and that has a predictable
result.  Better than I expected it to
be.  Rating:  *½ (3 for 3)
After the match,
the Jackyl yells at Sniper for not tagging in and slaps him, but when Sniper
goes after the Jackyl, Kurrgan puts him in a Paralyzer and drags him to the
locker room
.
D-Generation X is
in Shawn Michaels home in Texas and cuts a promo.  Triple H says that WrestleMania will be
X-rated and that the next four weeks will set the Nielsen ratings on fire.  Good promo (4 for 4)
Sunny comes out to
do guest ring announcing duties and asks the crowd if things are really bigger
in Texas
.
Taka Michinoku wrestles
Barry Windham (w/Jim Cornette & The Rock N’ Roll Express) to a no contest
at 2:34:
This is quite a David vs. Goliath battle, as Windham can
throw Michinoku around with ease.  The
match is happening because Taka could not read his contract.  Michinoku surprises Windham with a few
moonsaults and Windham doesn’t bother to take off his ring gear for the match.  Windham hits his trademark suplex and lariat,
but the lights go off and Kane walks out. 
Michinoku ends up the target as the NWA flee.  Paul Bearer calls out Steve Austin and
challenges him to a match next week on RAW.
We head into hour
two so Lawler takes over the commentating duties for Cole and Kelly.
Cole interviews
the New Age Outlaws as they leave the arena and they take credit for splitting
the Legion of Doom up.  In a small piece
of foreshadowing, the Road Dogg is wearing a D-Generation X t-shirt.  Cole gets tired of the Outlaws antics, but
after the Outlaws get into their car it is attacked by Chainsaw Charlie and
Cactus Jack.  The Outlaws manage to speed
away.  Hard to really see everything
going on with the darkness outside and I just can’t stand Cole (4 for 5)
Goldust gives a
funny Dusty Rhodes impression and talks about his career over a video
package.  Best line:  “I beat Ric Flair 25,000 times in a row!  I had a legendary feud, but Terry Funk always
whooped my ass so I don’t want to talk about that right now!”
Bradshaw pins The
Artist Formerly Known as Goldust with the lariat at 3:35:
Tonight, Goldust is dressed like his father Dusty Rhodes
circa 1990 and comes out to the “American Dream” theme song, which is a top
five theme song in my books.  A small
comedy match here, as Goldust tries to mock Dusty’s moves and injures
himself.  He also gets on the mic and
talks like Dusty and yells at the crowd. 
Bradshaw squashes Goldust and blocks a bionic elbow attempt with a
lariat to win.  Match was not much, but
Goldust’s comedy made it worth watching. 
Rating:  ½* (5
for 6)
Cole interviews
Goldust, who says that nothing compares to Goldust.
Kelly tries to
interview Hawk, who exits the arena without face paint and refuses to talk.
Non-Title
Match:  Steve Blackman pins The Rock
(Intercontinental Champion w/The Nation of Domination) after hitting him with
nunchucks at 4:14:
In a nice touch, the Rock hangs back during the Nation of
Domination’s entrance so that he can get more attention than the other members
of the group.  Faarooq gets on the apron
after the Rock hits Blackman with a powerslam and that nearly costs the Rock
the match when Blackman whips the Rock into Faarooq and schoolboys him for
two.  The situation happens again when
Faarooq hops on the apron, but D-Lo tosses Blackman’s nunchucks to Blackman
instead of the Rock, which costs the Rock the match.  Pure angle development and Blackman’s win
meant nothing in the long run.  Rating: 
¼* (5 for 7)
After the match,
D-Lo tells the Rock that Faarooq told him to toss the nunchucks to Blackman and
Faarooq does not care that the Rock knows.
Call 1-900-737-4WWF
to hear about WrestleMania, Shawn Michaels, and a national television deal for
the WWF!
Kelly interviews
Luna Vachon, who says she is waiting for Sable and cannot wait to rearrange her
face.
NWA Tag Team
Championship Match:  The Headbangers beat
The Rock N’ Roll Express (Champions w/Jim Cornette) when Thrasher pins Ricky
Morton with a shoulder block at 4:22
Before the match, Commissioner Slaughter comes out with
referee Earl Hebner and replaces Tommy Young at the referee.  Cornette gives a great rant about this with
the commentary team.  Ross does his best
to argue that this match matters because the Headbangers loved the Rock N’ Roll
Express as kids, so that is why they want to beat them for the NWA tag team
titles.  The Express fail to get anything
to go their way in the match and since Hebner is refereeing he does not
disqualify the Headbangers when Robert Gibson is tossed over the top rope.  Cornette smashes Thrasher in the back with
his tennis racket, but Thrasher falls on top of Morton and scores the pin and
Cornette throws a tantrum.  Poor contest
as these teams just do not have chemistry. 
Rating:  ½* (5 for 8)
Pete Rose is
announced as a guest celebrity at WrestleMania.
A video package
hypes Steve Austin’s road to WrestleMania.
European
Championship Match:  Owen Hart (Champion)
beats “Marvelous” Marc Mero by disqualification at 4:12:
During his entrance, Mero sends Sable to the locker room.  Owen is set to defend the European title
against Triple H at WrestleMania, so he is no longer a part of the main event
picture and won’t be for the remainder of his career.  Less than a minute into the match she
returns, but Mero kicks out of Owen’s schoolboy to keep the match going.  Mero gets frustrated with the referee as he
pounds away in the corner and pushes him down, which draws the disqualification.  What is weird is that they don’t have Mero
hit the TKO and getting a phantom pin before the referee called for the
bell.  Rating:  *½ (5 for 9)
After the bell,
Luna Vachon runs out and Goldust and WWF officials try to hold her away from
Sable.  When Sable sees Luna she tries to
engage her as well.  Goldust eventually
restrains Sable, but Mero takes exception to that and starts pounding away on
him.  Lot of heat for this as we continue
moving toward a mixed tag match at WrestleMania.
Tune in next week
to see D-Generation X, Mike Tyson, and Kane’s challenge of Steve Austin!
The Final Report Card:  The first hour was really good, but the
second hour lagged.  It was quite
surprising not to see Steve Austin and the show really missed his
appearance.  It might be surprising to
those who never watched the product at the time that the Sable-Luna angle got
airtime at the end of the show, but it is really the second hottest act that
the WWF has going on aside from Austin. 
Solid effort this week to build us to WrestleMania XIV.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.2 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

by Logan Scisco

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: 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 – February 9, 1998

by Logan Scisco

The presidential
sex scandal parodies continue, as Sunny is dressed like Marilyn Monroe and
sings “Happy Birthday” to Classie Freddie Blassie.  It was Blassie’s eightieth birthday.
The D-Generation X
beatdown of Steve Austin on last week’s show is recapped in a video package.
Jim Ross, Kevin
Kelly, and Michael Cole are in the booth and they are taped from Evansville,
Indiana.  I will be really happy when we
get rid of this three man commentary team in hour one.  Listening to it is like Ross fighting a
verbal handicap match.

Steve Austin comes
out with a white bag and calls out WWF Champion Shawn Michaels, but D-Generation
X appears on the Titantron.  Michaels
says he calls the shot in the WWF and Austin will face him on his schedule.  Michaels says that Austin needs to give him a
reason to come to the ring and Austin says he should because he has the WWF
title.  Michaels blows that off, but
realizes that a toy belt is in his bag and becomes irate.  Austin says that he will be easy to find if
Michaels wants his belt back.  Sometimes
the simple stuff is all you need to do to in order to tell a great story and
that’s all this did.  1 for 1
Call 815-734-1161
to get your RAW is War varsity jacket for $199.99 (plus $21 shipping & handling)!  I really want to know how many people bought this thing at that price.
Sunny comes out to
do guest ring announcing duties for our next match
.
Opening
Contest:  Jeff Jarrett & Barry
Windham (w/The Rock N’ Roll Express & Jim Cornette) beat The Legion of Doom
by disqualification when Bradshaw interferes at 4:59:
The announcers barely talk about the Legion of Doom
losing to the NWA faction two weeks ago and Cole tries to sell this match as
some kind of new attraction.  Of course,
Jarrett and Windham lost on last week’s show to Bradshaw and Flash Funk, so
they don’t seem in line for a push.  The
LOD’s storyline continues to be “are these guys too old?”  When all hell breaks loose, Hawk ends up on
the arena floor and the NWA faction works over his knee before tossing him back
into the ring.  Jarrett proceeds to apply
a figure-four, but Hawk is not going to submit to break character so Bradshaw
does the predictable run-in and although he never touches anyone in the NWA
faction that costs the LOD the match by disqualification.  That makes no sense to Sunny, who seems confused
announcing the result.  With the piped in
crowd noise, you would think this was the main event of WrestleMania.  Rating:  *½ (1 for 2)
D-Generation X is
shown talking about a plan to get the WWF title back from Steve Austin
.
Henry Godwinn
(w/Phineas Godwinn) pins Pierre (w/Jacques) when Phineas hits Pierre with a
slop bucket at 4:24:
The Quebecers and Godwinns began a small feud on the most
recent edition of Shotgun Saturday Night and are booked to face each other at
No Way Out, so this offers a preview of what is come.  Of course, why these teams are booked against each other makes little sense, since both are heels and are not over.  Pierre nearly kills himself with a plancha
and he hits a flying leg drop, which Kelly says he stole from Brian
Christopher.  To be fair, Pierre was
technically a pirate in 1995, so that’s not a stretch.  This match is decent for a big man match, but
the finish is silly as Jacques trips Henry and Henry conveniently puts his head
through the ropes to get hit by a slop bucket. 
Phineas then hits Pierre with his bucket after Jacques distracts the referee
by running from Phineas.  Got that?  Rating: 
*¾ (1 for 3)
Chyna walks in on
the Los Boricuas poker game and speaks to them in Spanish about helping out
with Steve Austin.  Lost in this
translation is how to cheat the paying customer and replace Savio Vega with
Shawn Michaels in the eight man tag match main event at No Way Out.
Shawn Michaels
yelling at Steve Austin last week is the Western Union Rewind segment
.
“Too Sexy” Brian
Christopher & El Pantera beat Taka Michinoku & Aguila when Pantera pins
Michinoku after a flying headbutt at 5:28 shown:
Now, you might remember that Pantera beat Christopher two
weeks ago and Lawler slapped him, so it would make little sense for them to be
partners.  However, on a recent episode
of Shotgun Saturday Night, Pantera turned against Michinoku since they are
facing each other for the light heavyweight title at No Way Out, so they are
teaming up now.  You can tell that all of
this is booked on the fly because Pantera debuted two weeks ago, so they should
have just made him a heel and avoided these problems.  This has a fast start, but Christopher makes
sure he slows that to a crawl when he gets involved.  This has a good finish, as Christopher’s
attempt to hit Michinoku with a foreign object fails, but Pantera puts it in
his mask, makes a blind tag, and headbutts Michinoku to capture the victory and
set himself up as a threat for No Way Out. 
This had its moments if you exclude Christopher’s involvement.  Rating:  **¼ (2 for 4)
Kane and Paul
Bearer come out and Bearer complains about Vader using a fire extinguisher on
Kane last week.  Bearer gives Kane a
Vader clock and Kane uses his magical powers to set it on fire.  Bearer promises that the Undertaker will not
be at No Way Out because the Undertaker is gone.  If the clock fire had been more impressive
I’d give this a point, but it was pretty weak sauce.  2 for
5
The Rock hitting
the Rock Bottom on Tom Brandi on Shotgun Saturday Night is the Footaction Slam
of the Week
.
Jerry Lawler joins
Jim Ross in the booth as we enter hour two
.
The Rock &
Faarooq (w/The Nation of Domination) beat Ken Shamrock & Chainz (w/The
Disciples of Apocalypse & Ahmed Johnson) when Faarooq pins Shamrock after
the Rock hits Shamrock with a chair at 4:21:
This is our last exhibition bout before the “war of
attrition” ten man tag match at No Way Out. 
Before the match, the Rock makes clear that he is in favor of cloning as
long as it is done very, very selectively and that means no one in Evansville
should be cloned.  In fact, the Rock says
only he should be cloned because he’s the “best damn Intercontinental champion
there ever was.”  They should have just
booked the Rock against the Honky Tonk Man to settle that question once and for
all.  Chainz finds himself in peril and
when Shamrock gets the tag he cleans house and puts Faarooq in the ankle
lock.  However, the referee is busy
sorting out a fight between the factions at ringside and the Rock gets a chair
and delivers a sick shot to help his team win. 
After the match, Shamrock snaps and suplexes the referee and Chainz and
his team has to restrain him.  Rating: 
** (3 for 6)
Footage from the
WrestleMania XIV press conference is shown. 
Vince McMahon announces that the main event is Shawn Michaels defending
the WWF title against Steve Austin and Mike Tyson will serve as the enforcer of
the match.  Tyson puts over Bruno
Sammartino and how much he loved him as a kid. 
Shawn Michaels chews out a reporter who puts down wrestling and Austin
and Michaels have a confrontation and Tyson has to get between them.  This looked like a fun press conference
.
Los Boricuas and
Chyna are shown looking for Steve Austin in the locker room.  Chyna finds a jobber in a towel and tosses
him into a locker.
Steve Blackman
defeats Recon (w/Sniper) via submission to an armbar at 4:33:
This is when they gave Blackman glowing sticks and had
him put on a martial arts display before each match.  Amazing how that didn’t catch on.  Seconds into the match, the Jackyl’s music
hits and he descends from the rafters on a platform and cuts a promo refuting
the idea that he is a sociopath.  The
promo makes it impossible to pay attention to the match, which is a shame
because it is pretty decent.  Jackyl is
upset that Recon loses and slaps him. 
Recon is upset, but the Jackyl turns his back and Recon backs off.  I won’t rate the match, but the Jackyl’s
promo was not very entertaining and neither were the post-match antics.  3 for
7
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to hear what former NWA champion is having negotiations with Jim
Cornette about coming into the WWF!
The New Age Outlaws
come out in University of Kentucky t-shirts and discuss how they are getting
chills near the entrance because of last week’s dumpster incident.  Billy Gunn wants to recreate it so they pull
out a dumpster and the Road Dogg narrates last week’s events.  They push the dumpster off the entrance and
Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie blow up dolls are inside.  Billy does CPR to the Cactus one and they
promise to hurt Cactus and Chainsaw at No Way Out.  This segment effectively put over the Outlaws
as cocky, arrogant heels that you wanted to see destroyed by Cactus and
Chainsaw.  4 for 8
Los Boricuas and
Chyna continue to look for Steve Austin in the back, but after Los Boricuas go
through some double doors, Austin chains them shut.
Thrasher (w/Mosh)
pins The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust (w/Marc Mero, Sable & Luna
Vachon) with a schoolboy at 4:28:
Goldust has become partial to the Marilyn Manson persona,
as he is doing it again for this show. 
This is another preview of a pay-per-view tag team match since the
Headbangers will face Goldust and Marc Mero at No Way Out.  When the crowd starts chanting loudly for
Sable, Mero, Luna, and Goldust order her to the locker room.  This match drags on until Sable comes back
out and gets into a shouting match with Luna. 
When Goldust tries to confront Sable she slaps him and Thrasher takes
advantage to win.  After the match, Mero
has to restrain Luna before she can mix it up with Sable.  The match was not very good, but the angle
behind it had some good heat.  Rating: 
*¼ (5 for 9)
D-Generation X
comes out and Shawn Michaels demands Steve Austin return what belongs to
him.  Austin comes out with the title
belt, but DX flees and the New Age Outlaws wander out.  Chyna grabs the belt from the canvas as
Austin faces four-on-one odds, but Chainsaw Charlie cuts through the canvas and
he and Cactus Jack come from under the ring. 
Owen Hart joins in as well and DX and the New Age Outlaws flee.  Nice closing segment that wetted the
audience’s appetite for the pay-per-view main event.  6 for
10
The Final Report Card:  A decent “go home” show for No Way Out and I
am surprised that the eight man tag team match did not get more build in the
weeks leading up to the show.  Tonight
was really the first sustained hype of the main event.  Regardless, the last segment did what it was
supposed to do and the Austin-Michaels storyline for the evening was well
executed.  The Sable-Mero storyline is
arguably the second best one that the company is doing right now and its
beginning to segway nicely into a mixed tag match for WrestleMania.  The next RAW was held on a Saturday, February
21st, so we will recap No Way Out of Texas and go to that episode.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.2 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

by Logan Scisco

D-Generation X
gives a special report, with WWF Champion Shawn Michaels and Triple H breaking
down what language they will use on different parts of the show.  Michaels parodies President Clinton by saying
that he was “up all night” with his intern.
Jim Ross, Kevin
Kelly, and Michael Cole are doing commentary and they are live from
Indianapolis, Indiana
.

D-Generation X
comes out, with Shawn Michaels and Triple H dressed like Uncle Sam.  Red, white, and blue balloons fall from the
rafters and DX is holding signs calling for a match between Steve Austin and
Mike Tyson.  They lead the crowd in a
“let them fight” chant before Austin comes out. 
Austin says he didn’t win the Royal Rumble to fight Tyson, he won it to
fight Michaels for the title.  Michaels
does not respond on the mic, which is unusual, and Austin carefully walks out
of the ring and flips Chyna off.  You
could cut the tension between Austin and Michaels with a knife in this segment
and that’s the sign of a great build.  1 for 1
Call 815-734-1161
to get your RAW is War varsity jacket for $199.99 (plus $21 shipping &
handling).  Now I remember why I never
got one of those…
Opening “King of
Hardcore” Contest:  Cactus Jack and
Chainsaw Charlie wrestle to a no contest at 8:16 shown:
Before the match, a clip of Jim Ross talking to Mick
Foley and Terry Funk is shown and Foley says that he wants to fight Funk
tonight to establish a legacy for himself. 
Funk says the winner of this match will be “king of hardcore.”  In Foley’s first book he discussed how he
pitched the idea to Vince McMahon about a death match series between he and
Funk that would culminate at WrestleMania, but it was not picked up.  You could argue that this is the first
“hardcore” match of the Attitude Era, as both men bring weapons to the ring in
dumpsters and take turns bashing each other with them.  This is a spectacle for its time with the
audience, who has not been desensitized to this degree of violence, so it gets
a good reaction.  Charlie takes a nasty
looking piledriver when Cactus has a trash can over his head and when both men
brawl near the entrance, Cactus backdrops Charlie into a nearby dumpster and
proceeds to climb up on the Titantron and delivers a flying elbow drop into the
dumpster.  The New Age Outlaws then run
out of the back, tie the lid of the dumpster shut, and then push it off the
entrance, which draws an 8.0 on the Jim Ross outrage meter.  A good brawl under the time constraints, with
an insane finish that took the Cactus Jack/Chainsaw Charlie-New Age Outlaws
feud to another level.  Rating: 
**½ (2 for 2)
WWF officials and
wrestlers proceed to pour out of the back to help Foley and Funk and Sunny
proceeds to curse the Outlaws.  Ross then
goes into his “how do you learn to take a fall from that?” shtick.  Vince McMahon confronts the Outlaws by the
entrance and they try to argue that they just got caught up in the moment.  The Outlaws end up in a brawl with some of
the WWF superstars, like Flash Funk and the Headbangers.  An ambulance eventually comes to get Foley
and Funk.
The Outlaws are
interrogated by Jim Ross over their actions and they are confronted by
D-Generation X, who tells them that what they did was good for ratings and that
they need to man up.
Kane giving Vader
a Tombstone is the Playstation Slam of the Week
.
Jerry Lawler comes
out to do commentary with Ross for the second hour.
European
Championship Match:  Owen Hart (Champion)
beats “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn (w/The Road Dogg) by disqualification when the Road
Dogg interferes at 5:28:
Owen fires away on both of the Outlaws, taking vengeance
for what happened to Foley and Funk earlier. 
This is a typical television match, with both men running through their
usual offense and Gunn controlling most of the match as a heel.  You would think that Gunn would find a way to
make his heel offense flow more smoothly, but that’s not the case here.  Gunn does a sunset flip, but Owen rolls
through it and applies a Sharpshooter, which triggers the interference and
disqualification.  Rating:  ** (3 for 3)
After the match,
D-Generation X wanders out and they overwhelm Owen.  Triple H gives Owen a DDT on the stage and
then try to get the Outlaws to toss Owen off the stage.  However, WWF officials intervene before that
can occur.  DX tells the Outlaws that
they need to keep their edge and do whatever it takes to get over.
Ross and Lawler
talk more about the New Age Outlaws actions on tonight’s show.  Michael Cole calls in from the hospital and
says that doctors are working on Mick Foley and Terry Funk.
“Marvelous” Marc
Mero (w/Sable) beats Mosh (w/Thrasher) with a schoolboy at 2:27:
Before wrestling, Mero makes a scantily clad Sable wear
his robe, disrobe him, and then he banishes her to the back when someone
delivers chocolates to her.  To replace
Sable, Mero calls out Marilyn, which is Goldust dressed as Marilyn Manson.  Goldust keeps interfering so Mero can
maintain the advantage and when the Headbangers finally figure out how to
counter him, Mero gives Mosh a low blow and rolls him up for the win.  This match just existed to keep Mero’s issue
with Sable going and put Goldust into it. 
3 for 4
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to find out what WWF superstar was rushed from the Indianapolis
airport to a local hospital!
-Barry Windham
tells Bradshaw that he is the reason the New Blackjacks failed and that if
Bradshaw can find a tag team partner then he can see him in the ring.
A vignette shows
Tiger Ali Singh saying that his goal is to be the best fighter in the
world.  It shows him as a rich playboy.  If Singh was as good as he says he is he
would have been on the active roster by now.
Chainz (w/The
Disciples of Apocalypse, Ken Shamrock & Ahmed Johnson) beats Faarooq (w/The
Nation of Domination) by count out at 3:35:
This is this week’s showcase of the men involved in the
“war of attrition” tag team match at No Way Out.  Speaking of which, the announcers have not
been clear about what that actually means. 
It only takes seventeen seconds for Ross to remind us that Faarooq was
an All-American at Florida State. 
Michael Cole calls in during the match and says that Terry Funk has
regained consciousness at the hospital, but Mick Foley has not.  Ugly brawl, which ends when Faarooq and Kama
suffer a miscommunication and the ensuing argument causes Faarooq to get counted
out.  After the match, Faarooq orders the
rest of the Nation behind him on the entrance and they give the Nation salute
to their opponents.  Surprising to see the
faces go up 2-0 on the Nation in these matches thus far.  Rating:  ½* (3 for 5)
Kurrgan using the
Paralyzer on jobber Michael Modest on Shotgun Saturday Night is the Western
Union Rewind segment.
Bradshaw & Flash
Funk defeat Jeff Jarrett & Barry Windham (w/Jim Cornette & The Rock N’
Roll Express) when Bradshaw pins Jarrett with a lariat at 3:59 shown:
Bradshaw has a mystery partner for this match so that he
can get into the ring with Windham, which turns out to be Funk.  The heels utilize a smart strategy, as the
Express give Funk a double hot shot on the guardrail and take him out of the
match.  Bradshaw manages to fight his own
battle effectively, though, and stuns Jarrett with a lariat to win.  After the match, the NWA beats Bradshaw down
to get some of their “heat” back.  They
are really trying with this feud, but Bradshaw-Windham just isn’t the kind of
battle that is going to set the world on fire. 
Rating:  *½ (3 for 6)
Ross and Lawler
recap the dumpster attack that took place in the first hour.  Michael Cole calls in again to say that all
hell has broken loose at the hospital and police have been called in.  There can be too much of a good angle and
this is entering parody territory.
Ross and Lawler
hype the WrestleMania press conference, which will be carried by ESPN News,
CNNSI (remember that failed channel?), and TSN.
Wink Collins
announces that WrestleMania XIV tickets sold out in ninety seconds and in case
you are wondering why this is happening, Kane comes out.  However, before he can do any damage to poor
Wink, Vader comes out and tells Kane that he cannot wait to face him at No Way
Out.  Vader blasts a fire extinguisher in
Kane’s face and Kane is forced to flee. 
So the Big Red Machine has to flee because of a fire extinguisher?  3 for
7
“Stone Cold”
Steve Austin beats The Road Dogg (w/Billy Gunn) by disqualification when Billy
Gunn interferes in 26 seconds:
This match barely gets started, as Austin tears apart the
Road Dogg and gives Gunn a Stone Cold Stunner when he interferes.  D-Generation X rushes out and a five-on-one
beatdown leads to Austin being tied in the ropes and Shawn Michaels taunts him
with the WWF title and says that is the closest he is going to get to it.  Foley, bandaged up, and Funk, who is in a hospital gown,
rush out to make the save and DX and the Outlaws flee.  I was with this entire segment until Foley
and Funk ran out because that just defies all logic.  3 for 8
The Final Report Card:  At the time, the dumpster incident was pretty
crazy, but the WWF had no idea what to do with it for the rest of the
show.  That segment would have been much
better as a main event and then played into the next week because the idea that
Mick Foley and Terry Funk are on the brink of death, yet show up to rescue
Steve Austin in the main event segment is ridiculous.  Vince Russo must have been pulling ideas from
the Bible and the rise of Lazarus for this week’s show.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.5 (vs. 4.9 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

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

by Logan Scisco


A still image of
Bobo Brazil, who recently passed away, is shown.
Michael Cole
narrates a video package that recaps Mike Tyson’s altercation with Steve Austin
on last week’s show.  Cole says that
Tyson does not want to be a guest referee at WrestleMania XIV and wants to face
Austin instead.  Shawn Michaels also
promises to give his view on the Austin-Tyson interaction tonight.
Jim Ross, Cole,
and Kevin Kelly are in the booth and they are in Davis, California
.

Opening
Contest:  Ken Shamrock (w/Ahmed Johnson
& The Disciples of Apocalypse) beats Mark Henry (w/The Nation of
Domination) by disqualification when the Nation interferes at 3:18:
This is a preview for the “war of attrition” ten man tag
team match that will happen at No Way Out. 
Henry runs through a series of power moves, but Shamrock uses his UFC
leg strikes to destabilize Henry and gets a huge pop for delivering a
belly-to-belly suplex.  That brings in
the Nation and the predictable ten man brawl and Shamrock’s team stands tall
after that.  Good opener that got the
crowd into the show.  Rating: 
** (1 for 1)
A VERY long video
package recaps the Undertaker-Kane feud. 
After that finishes, exclusive video footage shows WWF officials
breaking open the casket at the Royal Rumble, but the Undertaker is gone.
Shawn Michaels
imitating the Undertaker last week is the Western Union Rewind segment
.
Barry Windham,
without the Blackjack mustache, says that he got tired of the cartoonish nature
of the WWF and he wants to get back to real wrestling as part of the NWA.  Jeff Jarrett gloats about being a champion
and a well versed wrestler.
Jeff Jarrett
& Barry Windham (w/Jim Cornette & The Rock N’ Roll Express) defeat The
Legion of Doom when Windham pins Animal after hitting him with Cornette’s
tennis racket at 5:01:
Not that the NWA faction had much of a chance at
succeeding, but since the Legion of Doom had a history with the NWA the WWF
should have turned them heel and made them part of it.  It would have worked better than the Rock N’
Roll Express and would have freshened up the Legion of Doom’s act better than
the “LOD 2000” gimmick.  Jarrett and
Windham work really well as a team and since they control nearly all of the
offense this match comes off quite well. 
The finish is sloppy, though and ruins the match, as Windham hits Animal
with Cornette’s tennis racket and Animal appears to kick out at two, but the
bell rings and gives the NWA a win.  I
assume that the Legion of Doom did not want to job here and this mess was meant
to somehow protect them.  Rating: 
*¾ (1 for 2)
Shawn Michaels
appearance on Pictionary is shown.
The announcers
recap the Tyson-Austin altercation last week.
D-Generation X
talk to the announce team from the locker room. 
European Champion Triple H promises to beat Owen Hart tonight because he
is more of a man than he is.  WWF
Champion Shawn Michaels says that he has been carrying the WWF on his shoulders
and he thinks that he might just give up his WrestleMania title match so that
Steve Austin and Mike Tyson can fight one-on-one.  Triple H asks him to reconsider and Michaels
says that he can probably do something and as he rants his jacket falls off to
expose a referee shirt.  He says he’d
love to be the guest referee for an Austin-Tyson match.  DX was trying to be too cute for their own
good here and you just wanted them to get to the point.  1 for
3
Cactus Jack
suplexing Chainsaw Charlie through a pair of chairs at the Royal Rumble is the
Footaction Slam of the Week.
The announce team
hypes the house show circuit
.
Vader wrestles
The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust (w/Luna Vachon) to a no contest at 2:57:
Goldust and Luna dress up like Vader for this match.  Cole hypes Vader as “the Kodiak Bear of the
WWF,” but what happened to the Mastodon nickname?  Did the WWF lose a lawsuit over that
too?  Vader is still too much for Goldust
to handle, but this match is nowhere near the quality of their Rumble
encounter.  Vader powerbombs Goldust and
hits a Vader Bomb, but the lights go out and Kane walks out.  Vader proceeds to give him a reverse
Tombstone, but Goldust distracts Vader after that and Kane sits up and gives
Vader a Tombstone.  This is the first
step in setting up a match between the two at No Way Out.  The Goldust-Vader match wasn’t much, but the
brief Kane-Vader interaction was fun.  2 for 4
Mick Foley and
Terry Funk are shown chatting in the ring before the show.  They make fun of and compliment their
Chainsaw Charlie and Cactus Jack gimmicks
.
We enter hour two,
so its Jerry Lawler’s time to do commentary with Ross.
Non-Title
Match:  The New Age Outlaws (WWF Tag Team
Champions) defeat Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie by disqualification at
5:04:
For this match, the New Age Outlaws are wearing baseball
catchers gear and it works to their advantage, as Cactus Jack’s low blow has no
effect on the Road Dogg since he is wearing a cup.  When these two teams are brawling, this is an
entertaining match, but when they start reverting to the conventional tag team
formula it leaves a lot to be desired. 
As all hell breaks loose, Charlie starts throwing chairs into the ring,
but he doesn’t get disqualified, but that happens when Cactus hits Road Dogg
with a chair and then uses it to launch an aerial attack on Billy Gunn.  A few fun spots in this, but it was mayhem
without cohesion.  Rating:  *½ (2 for 5)
After the match,
Cactus Jack puts the referee in a Mandible Claw and Road Dogg is covered with
chairs and Charlie gives him a moonsault.
A video package
hypes Light Heavyweight Champion Taka Michinoku.
The Honky Tonk Man
comes out to do guest ring announcing duties
.
Number One
Contenders Match for the Light Heavyweight Title:  El Pantera beats “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher
with a cradle at 4:25:
Someone must have realized that no one was doing anything
with the light heavyweight division so they needed to start doing some matches
on Raw.  The winner of this faces Taka
Michinoku at No Way Out.  Pantera hits an
awesome suicide dive through the corner turnbuckles, but Christopher responds
with a sunset flip powerbomb from the apron to the arena floor.  There’s lots of piped in crowd noise for
this, though.  Christopher still wants to
stall too much, but its not excessive due to the short time allotted for the
match.  Christopher’s Tennessee Jam
attempt misses and Pantera takes advantage to win the bout.  Rating:  ** (3 for 6)
After the match,
Lawler goes into the ring to shake Pantera’s hand, but cheap shots him.  As if we haven’t had enough of the
Lawler-light heavyweight division angle already.
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to hear what is going on in the WWF locker room!
Cactus Jack and
Chainsaw Charlie are giving an interview with the announcers backstage, but
D-Generation X distracts them and the New Age Outlaws launch a sneak
attack.  The Outlaws and DX pound away
until WWF officials intervene.
The Headbangers
beat The Quebecers when Mosh pins Jacques with a sunset flip at 3:07:
The Quebecers get the jobber entrance and we get a rushed
match, with the hot tag coming about ninety seconds in.  The Quebecers seem to come out on top after
that, but Thrasher trips Pierre on the top rope and Mosh surprises Jacques with
a sunset flip to win the match.  This
result isn’t good for the Quebecers future in the division, but they take out
their frustration after the match with their fun Boston Crab/flying leg drop
maneuver on Mosh.  Rating:  * (3 for 7)
Owen Hart defeats
“Hunterdust” (w/”Chyna”) via submission with a Sharpshooter at 5:06 shown:
The anticipated match between Owen Hart and Triple H has
been building for a month, since Helmsley cost Owen the WWF title after In
Your House:  D-Generation X.  However, instead of Triple H coming out for
the match, Goldust comes out dressed as Triple H (with big prosthetic nose
included) and Luna Vachon dressed as Chyna. 
The first half of the match is a snoozer, as Goldust methodically pounds
away, but when we return from commercial break Owen cruises to a victory as if
he’s in a squash match.  Goldust is
nothing more than a jobber at this stage of his career.  Rating:  ¾* (3 for 8)
After the match,
D-Generation X appears on the Titantron and laughs about fooling Owen.  Commissioner Sergeant Slaughter comes out and
says that since Triple H was contractually obligated to defend the title, Owen
is the new European champion in lieu of beating Triple H’s replacement.  As a result of this decision, Triple H must
face Owen at a later date if he wants to get his European title back.
The announcers
talk about the Tyson-Austin encounter. 
This is the third time we have talked about it tonight.
Don King says that
Mike Tyson wants Steve Austin, but the Nevada State Commission will not let
Tyson fight.  He says that he and Vince
McMahon will have to find a way to bring both men together at WrestleMania
without violating Nevada’s rules.
Steve Austin comes
out and says that Mike Tyson will soon learn not to mess with him.  He pledges to fight Tyson anywhere, anytime
and asks him to show up at No Way Out.  A
generic promo for Austin, but it served the purpose of continuing the intrigue
about fighting Tyson.  (4 for 9)
The Final Report Card:  A very lackluster edition of Monday Night
Raw, which usually happens when the event is taped.  The entire show revolved around Austin-Tyson, which had no real chance of happening anyway because of the
Nevada State Athletic Commission.  Giving
Owen Hart the European title via Goldust was also lame, but Triple H had not defended
the title in more than a month and was still on the shelf so something had to
be done.  Just a very uneventful and
passable show.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.5 (vs. 4.7 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

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

-Before I get into
this week’s review, I wanted to know if any readers had feedback on the WWE
2k14 game.  I bought WWE 13 and was
irritated by the one count glitch.  Worth
a buy this year or not?  I just don’t
want to get burned again.
A still image of
Juanita McMahon, who recently passed away, is shown.
Michael Cole
narrates a video package about Kane’s turn on his brother at last night’s Royal
Rumble pay-per-view.
Jim Ross, Michael
Cole, and Kevin Kelly are in the booth and they are live from Fresno,
California
.

Paul Bearer comes
out to the Undertaker’s old theme music and gloats about setting the Undertaker
up at the Royal Rumble.  He goes through
a lengthy narration about last night’s events until the Undertaker’s current
theme music hits and druids roll out a casket. 
Instead of the Undertaker, Kane pops out of the casket and that ends the
segment.  This started with lots of crowd
heat, but Bearer’s recap of last night went on way too long and killed the
segment.  0 for 1
Ross interviews
D-Generation X and European Champion Triple H says that he proved last night
that Owen Hart can’t cut it in the WWF. 
WWF Champion Shawn Michaels promises that DX will find the Undertaker
and bring him back tonight.
Opening Six Man
Tag Team Contest:  Faarooq, Kama Mustafa
& D-Lo Brown wrestle The Disciples of Apocalypse to a double
disqualification at 4:40:
Surprisingly, this match features a lot of fast action
and the commentary team puts over D-Lo Brown’s potential throughout the
match.  When all hell breaks loose,
referee Earl Hebner can’t keep things under control and tosses the match out
for a lame ending.  After the bell, Mark
Henry and the Rock run out to give the Nation five-on-three odds, but Ken
Shamrock and Ahmed Johnson run out to even the odds and they run the Nation
off.  Kevin Kelly says Ahmed has never
look better, but I would disagree. 
Ending aside, this was a good brawl and the crowd was hot for the
finish.  Rating:  ** (1 for 2)
Vince Russo, in
his Vic Venom days, hypes WWF and RAW Magazine. 
Call 8-15-734-1161 to get twelve issues of both for $29.97.  I had a WWF Magazine subscription at this
time and it was a pretty good read while Russo was at the helm.  When he left, it went way downhill.
“Marvelous” Marc
Mero (w/Sable) beats Tom Brandi with a TKO at 3:29:
As they come down to the ring, Mero puts Sable in a robe
that says “Property of Marc Mero” on the back of it.  During the first minute of the match, Sable
gets flowers from a secret admirer and Mero berates Sable over it.  This distractions help Brandi take the edge
over Mero and he scores several dramatic near-falls, but as Sable momentarily
distracts the referee, Mero hits a low blow and achieves another tainted win.  This match showed that Brandi could go, but
awful gimmicks ruined any chance he had to catch on in the company and he was
gone shortly after this feud.  Rating: 
**½ (2 of 3)
D-Generation X
cautiously approaches a hearse in the arena, but when they open the doors a
bunch of young women hop out and Chyna closes Michaels and Triple H in there
with them.  Why these women were in the
hearse to begin with is never explained.
The Sony
Playstation Slam of the Week is Vader’s Vader Bomb on Goldust at last night’s
Royal Rumble.
Mike Tyson’s limousine
is shown pulling into the arena.  Shane
McMahon, Tyson, and his entourage get out of the limos.
The Quebecers
defeat Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie by disqualification when Jack puts
the referee in the Mandible Claw at 3:03:
The Quebecers return to the company after a three year
absence.  They were a temporary
acquisition during the Monday Night Wars, as they wrestled in WCW prior to this
as the Amazing French Canadians. 
Unfortunately, the Quebecers are not wearing their awesome mountie-style
uniforms.  You would think that a former
three-time tag team championship team would get more billing upon their return,
but that’s not the case here.  This is a
wild brawl, which goes beyond the bell. 
If this is meant to set up a rematch for next week, then it accomplished
its purpose.  Rating:  ** (3 of 4)
D-Generation X
come across the mini wrestlers in their search for the Undertaker.  The minis speak Spanish, so they don’t
understand DX, but in a funny moment, Chyna lifts Max Mini up so Shawn Michaels
can interrogate him.  Is this whole thing
a parody of when they had Leslie Nielsen track down the Undertaker at
SummerSlam 1994?
Mike Tyson is
shown chatting with Vince McMahon and his cronies
.
NWA North
American Heavyweight Championship Match: 
Jeff Jarrett (Champion w/Jim Cornette & The Rock N’ Roll Express)
beats Bradshaw (w/Barry Windham) when Windham inadvertently lariats Bradshaw at
3:41:
There is something ironic about Cornette saying that
Jarrett will lead the NWA into the year 2000, since Jarrett was on top of WCW
in 2000 when it started to fall apart. 
Throughout the match, the Express help beat down Bradshaw when it
appears that he is getting an advantage in the match and Windham does not help.  Bradshaw appears to have
the title won after clearing the Express out of the ring and delivering a
powerbomb, but Windham seems to accidentally hit his partner with a lariat to
help Jarrett retain the title.  Another
short, yet solid match on tonight’s card. 
Rating:  ** (4 of 5)
After the match,
Bradshaw continues his fight with the NWA faction and Windham comes into the
ring when the NWA faction has the advantage. 
He then turns on Bradshaw by hitting him with another lariat and he is
the new member of the NWA faction.  If
you want living proof that the WWE will not give up on someone, just look at
Bradshaw.  The guy went through three
different gimmicks before they found something that caught on (the APA faction
with Faarooq).
­-The announce crew
hypes the house show circuit
.
Shawn Michaels
complains in the locker room that he cannot find the Undertaker, when suddenly
the lights go out.
Vince McMahon
narrates a quick video package to pay tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.
As we enter hour
two, Jerry “the King” Lawler joins Ross for commentary
.
The Undertaker’s
music hits and a figure that appears to be the Undertaker descends from the top
of the arena.  However, when the lights
hit, the D-Generation X music hits and Shawn Michaels strips off the Undertaker’s
ring gear.  Triple H and Chyna bring a
grill and cooking supplies to the ring and they proceed to mock the Undertaker
being burned alive last night.  Triple H
announces that he will grant a European title match to Owen Hart next week and
then hilariously rips Ric Flair by saying that Space Mountain is old, broken
down, and in need of repair.  Michaels
says that his next target is Steve Austin and delivers a nice opening salvo for
their feud by saying that he has won the titles that Austin has won in the
past, that he is on the top of the mountain, and that he does not lay down for
anyone.  This whole segment was great in
terms of transitioning DX away from the Undertaker and into other feuds.  It also put over the WWF title and
immediately put over Austin-Michaels as a must see event.
  5 of 6
Mike Tyson is
shown talking with the Legion of Doom and Sunny.
Owen Hart, Taka
Michinoku & The Headbangers defeat Los Boricuas when Owen makes Jesus
submit to the Sharpshooter at 2:59
This is a very random match, but it shows why tag team matches
can be ideal ways to fill two hours of television programming.  Honky Tonk Man is doing commentary for some
reason, but thankfully he’s not looking for a new project like he was last
year.  They should’ve given this more
time, but it was just a vehicle to put
over Owen for next week’s match with Triple H.
After the match,
Cole interviews Owen, who accepts Triple H’s offer of a European title match on
next week’s show.
Non-Title
Match:  The Rock (Intercontinental
Champion) pins Ahmed Johnson with the Rock Bottom at 2:43:
Speaking of random matches, it’s surprising that this
match is being held without any build since Ahmed is a former Intercontinental
champion and might be able to give a rub to the Rock.  Ahmed appears to have the match in hand after
he hits a spinebuster, but Mark Henry comes out and nails him with a chair to
help the Rock win the bout.  After the
match, Ken Shamrock hits the ring and runs off the heels.
Mike Tyson is
shown handling Cactus Jack’s barbed wire baseball bat in the locker room.
Highlights of last
night’s casket match between the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels constitute the
Western Union Rewind segment
.
Mike Tyson is
shown measuring Triple H and Chyna’s muscles.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  The New Age Outlaws
(Champions) defeat The Godwinns when Billy Gunn pins Phineas with a loaded pig
at 4:53:
This match is the Godwinns long awaited title match that
they earned for helping the Outlaws in their feud with the Legion of Doom.  The Outlaws wear overalls for the contest,
but the Godwinns don’ take kindly to that and rip them off of Billy Gunn.  Ross notes that it’s the first time we’ve
seen Gunn in tights, which reflects a nice attention to detail that is missing
from today’s product.  The Godwinns
completely dominate Gunn, but he uses a pig toy, loaded with a brick, to help
his team retain the titles.  These teams
just don’t have a lot of chemistry.  Rating: 
*¼ (5 of 7)
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to find out if it will be a “macho” week for the WWF!
Vince McMahon
comes out and says that he will soon make the biggest announcement in WWF
history.  McMahon welcomes Mike Tyson
out, who says that he loves Bruno Sammartino. 
McMahon announces that Tyson will be at WrestleMania, but before he can
finish his sentence, Steve Austin comes out. 
A sea of WWF officials immediately race out behind Austin and McMahon is
not happy about him ruining Tyson’s time. 
Austin says that he is sick of Tyson’s antics tonight, refuses to shake
Tyson’s hand, and says that he wants a piece of him in a WWF ring.  He then flips Tyson off, which leads to Tyson
pushing Austin and leading to both men being restrained.  During the melee, one of Tyson’s entourage
tries to go after Austin, but Austin intelligently takes him down and lays on
top of him to avoid having the entire angle and his image compromised.  As Austin is pulled out of the ring, McMahon
becomes irate and screams “You’ve ruined it!” at Austin and tries to physically
go after him as Austin is escorted to the locker room.  This is one of the greatest RAW segments of
all time and I marked out watching it just as much as I did when it originally
aired.  6 of 8
In the locker
room, Tyson and his entourage are shown arguing with McMahon, who tries to apologize
for Austin’s behavior as we go off the air.
The Final Report Card:  This was a memorable, historic, and fantastic
episode of RAW.  The D-Generation X and
Tyson-Austin segments carried it, but the in-ring action was also quite good for
most of the show.  I remember that
everyone at school was talking about Tyson and Austin the next day and it also
got the WWF significant mainstream attention from the sports media.  It was one of those angles that was perfectly
placed, timed, and executed and no one else on the roster could have made it
work except for Austin.  McMahon played a
great supporting role as well, especially his nonverbal mannerisms when all
hell broke loose in the ring.  This was
also the highest rated RAW of all-time to this point and was the first RAW to
break the 4.0 mark in the Nielsen ratings. 
Compared to the previous week, Tyson was worth about a 0.6 increase.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.0 (vs. 4.5 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Royal Rumble 1998

Another great black and white video package
hypes the Royal Rumble match and puts over everyone from Steve Austin to the
Headbangers as a threat
.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“the King” Lawler are in charge of commentary and they are live from San Jose,
California.

Opening
Contest:  Vader pins The Artist Formerly
Known as Goldust (w/Luna Vachon) with a Vader Bomb at 7:52:
Goldust is wearing a green wig and a jobber-style striped
attire for tonight’s match.  This is the
blowoff for the feud between these two that began at the Survivor Series and it
is the second year in a row that Goldust is in the opening match at the Royal
Rumble.  It is the first time at the
Rumble that he is not wrestling for the Intercontinental title.  The crowd is hot, as they loudly boo Luna’s
interference and pop each time Vader hits a power move.  Goldust blocks a Vader Bomb with a low blow,
but Vader quickly rebounds and goes for another.  This causes Luna to rush into the ring and
jump on Vader’s back.  The referee nearly
botches the finish by calling for a disqualification, but the bell does not
ring, so Vader delivers the Vader Bomb with Luna on his back in an awesome spot
to get the win.  If you want to see a
match with no stalling from Goldust, this is it.  Entertaining opener, but this feud probably
should have ended at the last In Your House since it seemed well past its
expiration date.  This was Vader’s last
victory on a WWF pay-per-view.  Rating: 
**½
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to get reactions from the participants in tonight’s
matches.  It’s all on option five and
will cost you $1.49 a minute!
Steve Austin blows
off Michael Cole after arriving at the arena. 
After Austin goes into the arena, the Godwinns are on his heels.
Sunny comes out to
be the guest referee for our next match.
-Nova, Mosaic
& Max Mini defeat Battallion, Tarantula & El Torito when Mini pins El
Torito with a La Magistral cradle at 7:48:
So, we get a minis tag match to save some of the guys for
the Rumble and Mike Tyson is shown watching it from a special press box.  Lawler cracks a funny joke about how he saw
Max Mini reading Little Women in the
locker room.  I will be happy when these
mini matches disappear from the company because they are so business exposing
and the participants love to spam arm drags from multiple positions.  Sunny looks really rough here and she
abandons her impartiality by helping Mini do some attacks on his
opponents.  After the 150th
arm drag (or so it seems) they decide to do a spot where everyone does a top
rope attack, but that gets old by the third guy and everyone looks silly
standing there waiting for someone to do a move.  Mini gets the win because he always
does.  Rating:  DUD
The Nation of
Domination is looking for Steve Austin and Faarooq tells Mark Henry that he
needs to show him something by leading the way. 
The Nation burst into Austin’s locker room, but just find a chair with a
middle foam finger in it.
Kevin Kelly hypes
the WWF’s America Online chatroom.  Jim
Cornette is there and hypes the traditional wrestling of the National Wrestling
Alliance.  He pledges to make us like
wrestling.
Mike Tyson is
shown chatting with Vince and Shane McMahon in his box.  This is the first time we are exposed to
Shane McMahon in an executive capacity and back in 1998 he did appear to be the
heir apparent of the company.  How times changed…
The announcers
hype the upcoming Intercontinental title match between the Rock and Ken
Shamrock.
During the Free
for All, the Nation of Domination argued over who was going to win the Royal
Rumble.  The Rock gives an interview to
Cole and gives President Bill Clinton some advice over the Paula Jones sex
scandal.  If I remember correctly this
was just before Monica Lewinsky came onto the scene.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  The Rock (Champion)
beats Ken Shamrock by reverse decision at 10:52:
This is the first encounter between the Rock and
Shamrock, who will be engaged in a feud for the next six months.  This is an underrated feud that worked very
well because the company pitted the cocky heel that needed his comeuppance
against the legitimate badass in the company. 
The Rock utilizes all of the traditional heel tactics in this one,
incorporating stalling, eye rakes, cheap shots, complaining to the referee,
etc.  After both men equally exchange offense,
Shamrock hits a belly-to-belly, which brings out the Nation and Shamrock fights
them off.  The Rock blasts Shamrock with
brass knuckles and puts them in Shamrock’s tights, but Shamrock recovers and
pins the Rock after a belly-to-belly suplex. 
Shamrock appears to have won the title, but the Rock tells the referee
that Shamrock hit him with brass knuckles. 
The referee finds the knuckles in Shamrock’s tights and reverses the
decision, so Shamrock snaps and puts the referee in an ankle lock.  A good first chapter of the feud between
these two and this finish kept Shamrock strong, while putting more heat on the
Rock.  Rating:  **¾
Call 815-734-1161
to buy all of the Faces of Foley t-shirts for $49.99 (plus $9 shipping & handling)!
Los Boricuas are
shown searching for Steve Austin and they enter his locker room.  They beat up someone that they think is
Austin, but they actually attack a member of DOA and that creates another gang
war in the locker room that WWF officials have to break up.
A video package
hypes the upcoming tag team title match between the New Age Outlaws and the
Legion of Doom
.
Cole interviews
the Legion of Doom.  Animal says that he
is competing against doctor’s orders over his back and Hawk promises that the
New Age Outlaws are going to be put on ice.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  The Legion of Doom
defeat The New Age Outlaws (Champions) by disqualification at 7:55:
The Outlaws wear Green Bay Packers jerseys to the ring
because the Packers had just defeated the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC
Championship Game.  The Legion of Doom
come out swinging early, but the Road Dogg trips Animal and Hawk ends up going
shoulder-first into the ring post on a blind charge.  This messy sequence results in Hawk being
handcuffed to the ring post.  Animal
catches Billy Gunn with an awkward powerslam, but before the referee can
register a three count, the Road Dogg blasts him with a chair and that lets the
champions preserve the titles.  After the
bell, the Outlaws do a beatdown on Animal before Hawk can break free of his
handcuffs.  The first couple of minutes
were okay, but everything from there went south in a hurry.  Rating:  *¼
Ross announces
that Mildred Bowers of Nashville, Tennessee wins the Steve Austin 3:16 truck
.
A video package
chronicles why Steve Austin is a marked man in this year’s Royal Rumble.
“Stone Cold”
Steve Austin wins the 1998 Royal Rumble by eliminating the Rock at 55:27:
This is the third consecutive year that the Royal Rumble
is placed in the middle of the card instead of the main event.  This is a great Rumble to put on your
television if you are suffering from insomnia because after a small hardcore
match at the beginning between Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie, who draw one and two,
almost nothing happens.  Tag wrestler,
tag wrestler, and more tag wrestlers and lower midcarders come out and no one
tosses anyone else, so the ring just fills up for a clear out that never
comes.  Owen Hart, who was attacked while
making his entrance as #9, comes into the match later and eliminates Jeff
Jarrett for one of the biggest pops of the night.  Owen is eliminated shortly thereafter by a
Triple H and Chyna dual crutch attack so that feud continues.  They tease Austin not making an appearance,
as #22 does not show, but he does show up out of the crowd as #24 and quickly tosses Marc Mero and 8-Ball.  Los
Boricuas, trying to get revenge for Austin’s defeat of Savio Vega at
WrestleMania XII, all try to toss Austin when Savio enters the match, but that
fails.  The Nation of Domination proceeds
to practice the worst strategy in Rumble history, as they have all five members
in the ring as the field narrows and decide to fight each other rather than
work together.  Men start flying shortly
after Vader enters at #30 and Vader gets tosses by Goldust in less than three
minutes.  The final four turns into a
small tag match between Austin and Dude Love and Faarooq and the Rock, but
Austin turns on his partner and the Rock then turns on his and we have a brief
clash of the future main event stars before Austin hits a Stunner and tosses
the Rock to win his second consecutive Rumble. 
This Rumble was worse than 1995. 
The star power here was worse and at least the
1995 atrocity had a one minute clock so the pain and suffering was
reduced.  1995 had a more entertaining
finish too.  Rating:  ¾*
Mike Tyson is
shown celebrating with Shane McMahon after watching Austin’s victory.  He proceeds to give an unintelligible
interview with Cole.
A video package
hypes the Shawn Michaels-Undertaker casket match.
Casket Match for
the WWF Championship:  “The Heartbreak
Kid” Shawn Michaels (w/D-Generation X) defeats The Undertaker at 20:38
This was the end of the five month feud between these two,
which would resume more than ten years later over the Undertaker’s WrestleMania
streak.  Ninety seconds into this is
where Michaels takes the awkward backdrop out of the ring and onto the edge of
the casket that temporarily ended his career. 
Interestingly enough, you could make the argument that the Undertaker
was responsible for both of Michaels
departures from wrestling.  This match
isn’t as brutal as Hell in a Cell, but Michaels delivers a devastating
piledriver on the steps to his opponent. 
In a funny spot near the end, Michaels dumps the Undertaker into the
casket and tries to give him the D-Generation X crotch chop, but the Undertaker
grabs Michaels nether region and rallies. 
The Undertaker misses a flying clothesline and goes into the casket and
Michaels delivers a flying elbow drop into it, causing the casket to close on
both of them.  By casket match logic,
shouldn’t that lead to a draw?  The
Undertaker hits an insane super Tombstone into the casket from the apron, but
Chyna takes out of the referee and the New Age Outlaws and Los Boricuas hit the
ring in shades of 1994.  The crowd goes
insane as the lights go out and Kane shows up and clears the ring.  However, after his pyro malfunctions he
attacks his brother, which turns into some serious crowd heat, and he
chokeslams his brother into the casket and closes the lid, giving Michaels the
victory.  The usual good match between
these two that became excellent in the last five minutes.  It also featured some great spots that you
had never seen in a casket match before. 
Rating:  ****
After the match,
Kane and Paul Bearer, who has wandered out, seal the casket, place it by the
entrance, and Kane smashes an axe into it. 
They then douse it with gasoline and set it on fire as we go off the
air.  Well, that blows 1994 out of the
water.
The Final Report Card:  I find it hard to rate this show because on
the one hand, the main event was awesome and the crowd helped provide a
pay-per-view atmosphere to the event. 
The opening contest was entertaining as well, but on the whole the
Rumble really drags down the show.  It
might have been predictable that Austin was winning, but the booking for it was
very poor and the company did not have enough star power at the time to make
that match interesting.  It didn’t help
either that Triple H was on the shelf and they had Owen Hart and Ken Shamrock
eliminated early in the contest.  Based
on the awesomeness of the closing segment and the impression that it leaves,
I’ll give this show a neutral rating, but if you do watch the show, just fast
forward through the Rumble.  The show
comes off much better without it.
Attendance: 
18,542
Buyrate: 
0.97 (+.27 over previous year)

Show Evaluation:  Neutral

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

by Logan Scisco

D-Generation X
tells Owen Hart not to mess with their business and Triple H says that Shawn
Michaels will have a message about the Undertaker’s family later tonight.
Jim Ross, Michael
Cole, and Kevin Kelly are in the booth and they are broadcasting from Penn
State University.  This is the fifth
anniversary of RAW being on the USA Network.

Opening Non-Title
Four Corner Contest:  The New Age Outlaws (WWF Tag Team Champions) defeat The Godwinns, The Headbangers, and
Sniper & Recon when Billy Gunn pins Phineas after hitting him with a
foreign object at 4:12:
The Outlaws wear Florida Gators shirts to get under the
crowd’s skin, since Florida defeated Penn State in the Citrus Bowl.  This is not under elimination rules, so the
first team that gets a fall wins.  In a
nice spot, all of the teams pound away on the Outlaws when they get into the
ring, so the tag team champions bail.  I
never understand why teams bother to tag out in these matches since tagging in
another team prohibits you from registering a pin or a submission to win.  The crowd really gets on the Outlaws case,
working up a large “We are Penn State!” chant and going wild for the attacks by
other teams on them.  The ending makes
zero sense as the other two teams see Gunn hit Phineas with a foreign object,
but sit on the apron and let the referee count the fall.  Finish aside, I’ll give this a point because
of the crowd.  Rating:  *¾ (1 for 1)
A video package
hypes the Legion of Doom, who will face the New Age Outlaws for the tag team
titles at the Royal Rumble.  The Legion
of Doom have not been on television since the Outlaws attacked them a month ago
and shaved Hawk’s mohawk and powerbombed Animal through a table.
Steve Austin shows
up to the arena in his pickup truck as the crowd goes crazy.
The Godwinns are
shown being tended to in the back by WWF officials because Austin attacked them
during the commercial break.
Cole interviews
Austin, who complains that he won the Royal Rumble last year “fair and square”
and didn’t get credit for it.  He has an
awesome line in this interview by saying that Vince McMahon might own the ring,
but if a wrestler dares get into it he is going to make sure they get tossed
out of it.  Austin takes a pen from Cole
and draws a target on his chest to let everyone in the locker room know how to
find him.  Great short interview. 
2
for 2
Austin hyping MTV
Celebrity Death Match on a house show is shown.
DX arrives at the
arena in their limo, but a WWF production truck is blocking the car entrance,
so they have to get out and walk around it.
Handicap
Match:  Kurrgan (w/The Jackyl) defeats
Lance Diamond & Joey Cicero at 2:26:
At this time, Diamond was a rising star in the ECWA and
was engaged in a lengthy feud with Cheetah Master.  He won the ECWA’s Super 8 Torurnament in 1998
as well.  Kurrgan has to defeat both men to
win this handicap match, which he accomplishes with ease.  Kurrgan finishes Diamond off with the
Paralyzer and pins Cicero after a suplex. 
After the match, Kurrgan tears apart a Penn State football helmet for
some cheap heat.  This was a good squash
and it effectively disguised Kurrgan’s weaknesses.  If this was the 1980s Kurrgan would have had
a token feud with Hulk Hogan.  The Jackyl’s
commentary also made it tolerable.  3 for 3
Backstage, Owen
Hart is shown attacking Triple H in DX’s limo, but Shawn Michaels and Chyna
jump in and the limo drives off.
Vader beats “Marvelous”
Marc Mero (w/Goldust) by disqualification at 3:10:
Before the match, Mero gets on the house mic to introduce
Sable, but the mic is not working and Mero doesn’t know it, so he talks in
silence until Sable’s music hits. 
However, instead of Sable coming out it is the Artist Formerly Known as
Goldust dressed like Sable.  Ross loses
his mind about all of this.  In the
middle of the match, Sable predictably comes out and kicks Goldust in the
thigh.  Mero gets her to leave, but this
lets Vader recover from a low blow. 
However, after he hits a Vader Bomb, Goldust hits him in the back of the
head with a coconut and that draws the disqualification.  There was not a lot of in-ring action in this
one, but the extracurriculars made it entertaining.  Rating:  *¾ (4 for 4)
The announcers
hype the house show circuit.
DX returns to the
arena in their limo, but where’s Owen?
Bam Bam Bigelow
pushing Lawrence Taylor at the 1995 Royal Rumble is the 1-800-COLLECT Slam of
the Week.
Vader is shown in
pain in his locker room, a victim of Steve Austin’s rampage
.
Ken Shamrock
& Mark Henry wrestle The Rock & D-Lo Brown (w/Kama Mustafa) to a no
contest at 3:08:
The storyline behind this is that Mark Henry suffered an
attack at the hands of the Nation of Domination on Shotgun Saturday Night two
weeks ago and Ken Shamrock made the save before too much damage could be
done.  Henry is wearing a “Rocky sucks”
t-shirt and the Rock pledges to rip it off of him before the end of the match.  Shamrock wrestles the entire match, which
gives away where this is going, and sure enough, one Shamrock puts the Rock in
an ankle lock, Henry turns on Shamrock and helps the Nation destroy him in the
middle of the ring.  The Rock plants
Shamrock with a Rock Bottom and Henry does the three count and then rips off
the “Rocky Sucks” t-shirt to reveal a Nation of Domination t-shirt.  Great pacing to this match while it lasted
and Henry’s beatdown on Shamrock looked devastating.  Rating:  ** (5 for 5)
Call 815-734-1161
to get all three “Faces of Foley” t-shirts for $49.99 (plus $9 shipping).  If you only want one of them they will cost
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The announcers
recap Mark Henry’s heel turn.  Backstage,
the Nation of Domination is interviewed by Cole and the Rock tells Faarooq that
he recruited Henry for him and just wants him to be grateful.
Since we are in
hour two, Ross and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in charge of the announcing
duties.
DX comes out and
Triple H says that Owen Hart got dumped into a sewer and then makes lewd
comments toward sorority girls on Penn State’s campus.  Shawn Michaels warns Mike Tyson to stay out
of his business at the Royal Rumble. 
Before Michaels can talk about Kane, Owen appears on the Titantron with
his face scratched and bloody and he says that he is going to make DX’s life
hell.  Triple H dares Owen to come out
and Owen does, but WWF officials intercede before he can get to the ring.  This segment was going somewhere, but when
Owen got involved it fell apart.  That’s
not an indictment of him, but this would have been better served having
Michaels get to his bit about Kane.  5 for 6
Skull &
8-Ball beat The Rock N’ Roll Express (w/Jim Cornette) by disqualification at
2:30:
This is the next step in the NWA angle its sort of
surreal seeing Cornette working in tandem with the Rock N’ Roll Express.  The Express get the Rockers old theme music,
which does not fit at all.  The crowd
doesn’t care because this is the Northeast, so it comes off like the Smokey
Mountain tag team title match that was held at the 1993 Survivor Series.  Skull & 8-Ball use their power to
dominate the action and Cornette tries to run in and nail 8-Ball with his
tennis racket, but gets caught by the referee and that produces a
disqualification.  Cornette eats a right
hand for Skull, but the Express do a small beatdown on the members of the
Disciples of Apocalypse before Chainz makes the save. This was largely
forgettable.  5 for 7
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to hear about the rumors that Hulk Hogan will be in the Royal
Rumble.  I never recall hearing this
rumor around this time.
Cactus Jack is
shown walking around the grounds of Beaver Stadium and he recaps his death
match battles with Terry Funk in Japan. 
He says that Funk’s idea to call himself Chainsaw Charlie might be
silly, but it was his choice to take on that gimmick and they just want to
brutalize the New Age Outlaws.
Mankind wrestles
The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust (w/Luna Vachon) to a no contest at 25
seconds:
For this match, Goldust comes out to Dude Love’s music
and is dressed like Dude Love.  Mankind
quickly puts Goldust in the Mandible Claw, but Steve Austin runs out and gives
both men Stunners before giving a “hell yeah” into Jim Ross’s microphone.
Vince McMahon
appears on the Titantron and is booed. 
McMahon says that Mike Tyson has been invited to the Royal Rumble and
will be on Raw next week where he anticipates a special announcement will be
made.
Sunny comes out in
cheerleader garb to do guest ring announcer duties.
Savio Vega &
Jesus beat Taka Michinoku & Scott Taylor when Jesus pins Taylor after a
reverse superplex at 4:36:
Lawler makes an awkward quip about how he is not afraid to
admit that he likes younger women except when he has to drop them off at
school.  Ross is not sure how to play
that so he just goes along with calling the match.  After watching a good chunk of Michinoku’s
matches from this period, I have to come to the conclusion that he has one of
the best bumps off of a powerbomb that I have ever seen.  The light heavyweights go to the air one too
many times near the end of this encounter, as Savio catches Michinoku’s
moonsault attempt on the floor and slams him and Taylor gets crotched and
finished with a reverse superplex.  That
ending sequence was awesome and this is why tag team wrestling can easily fill
TV time.  Rating:  **½ (6 for 8)
We get another
flashback to Bam Bam Bigelow pushed Lawrence Taylor at the 1995 Royal Rumble.
The Twix Rewind
segment is Shawn Michaels winning the 1995 Royal Rumble.
DX comes back out
to be interviewed by Cole.  Michaels
introduces Kane as the next member of DX, but the Undertaker comes out instead
and tells Michaels to leave his family out of their feud.  This is the segment where the Undertaker
chokes Michaels out of nowhere, which is a clip Botchamania uses a lot.  The Undertaker then goes to chokeslam Chyna,
but before he can do that all members of DX beat him down.  The light go out and Kane’s music hits and
the crowd goes crazy as Kane gets in the ring and makes the save.  After the Undertaker recovers, Kane and the
Undertaker exchange their unique “one knee, hand to the air” salute.  Have I mentioned that the booking of this
whole Kane-Undertaker issue is awesome? 
7 for 9
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 drawing for
the Royal Rumble is next, but since there is very little time left it is
doubtful whether any drawing will take place. 
Chaos unfolds when Ken Shamrock comes in and attacks Mark Henry and
Goldust and Vader start going at it.  The
Honky Tonk Man comes out, signaling that he will be in the Royal Rumble match.  Steve Austin’s music hits and everyone wants
a piece of him, but Austin comes out from the crowd and gives Phineas Godwinn a
Stone Cold Stunner and then tries to leave. 
As most of the superstars brawl in the ring, the Rock, Savio Vega, and
D-Lo Brown attack him to play us out. 
Not really a great take home segment, but it was important to show
Austin with some vulnerability heading into the pay-per-view. 
7
for 10
The Final Report Card:  Since we are in the Russo era, we are not
going to get long main event matches, but entertaining segments and wild
behavior makes up for that.  Goldust’s
antics continue to get wilder and the Rock is really coming into his own on the
microphone and in the ring.  The winner
of the Royal Rumble is pretty clear since they really have not given any other
participant much billing, but the casket match for the WWF title has some
intriguing scenarios now that Kane’s loyalties appear to be with his brother
against D-Generation X.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.4 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)

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: Monday Night Raw – December 15, 1997

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross, Michael
Cole, and Kevin Kelly are in the booth and they are in Durham, New Hampshire.
Cole interviews
the Undertaker and announces that he will face Shawn Michaels in a casket match
at the Royal Rumble for the WWF title. 
The Undertaker cuts a good promo and acknowledges that the only casket
match he lost took ten men to beat him and D-Generation X doesn’t have ten
people in it and Michaels doesn’t have ten friends to help him.  Kane and Paul Bearer come out and Bearer
rehashes “the Undertaker is a murderer” bit. 
Kane hits the Undertaker and when he tries to do it a second time, the
Undertaker blocks it, but then leaves instead of retaliating.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your copy of WWF the Music: 
Volume 2.  It will cost you $20
for CD and $15 for the tape (plus $4 shipping & handling)!
Brian Christopher
and Jerry Lawler’s attack on Taka Michinoku on last week’s RAW is the
1-800-COLLECT Rewind segment.

Opening Non-Title
Contest:  Taka Michinoku (Light
Heavyweight Champion) beats Jerry “the King” Lawler by disqualification when
Brian Christopher interferes at 5:42:
Ross hypes the UFC: 
Ultimate Japan card during this match, which is a big styles clash since
Lawler can’t work at Michinoku’s speed. 
Still, Lawler gives it a good effort by throwing a few dropkicks in the
early going, but the allure of the Memphis stall is too much to resist and the
match slows considerably in the middle. 
Lawler hits the piledriver, but opts to go for a fist drop off the
second rope and eats a Michinoku Driver (!) before Christopher runs in for the
predictable disqualification.  Rating: 
After the match,
Michinoku gets the better of Christopher and heel miscommunication allows
Michinoku to get away unscathed.  The
crowd wasn’t into any of this.
Call
1-900-747-4WWF to find out how D-Generation X almost started a riot over the
weekend!
The Legion of Doom
tell the announce team that their match with DX isn’t going to be pretty
tonight.
The Nation of
Domination comes out and the Rock toots his own horn at the expense of Faarooq,
who wants to say a few words.  The Rock
demands that Austin come out and he does, but Austin doesn’t have the
Intercontinental belt.  He says he’ll
show the Rock later on what happened to his championship belt.  The Rock gives him an hour to return him his
property or face some justice at the hands of the Nation.
Dude Love beats
“The Road Dogg” Jesse James (w/Billy Gunn) with Sweet Shin Music at 4:36:
This continues the building feud between Love and the tag
team champions.  Gunn does the
introduction mic work and is nowhere near James’ level.  Ross tells Gunn that he and James should call
themselves “The New Age Outlaws” and Gunn says that’s a great idea, so now the
tag team champions will actually have a team name.  In the middle of the match, Love undergoes a
small transformation into his other personas, as he puts James in the Mandible
Claw, rips some of his hair out, and screams “Bang, Bang!”  Love captures another win, but takes a double
suplex by the entrance after the match and the Outlaws whip a referee into Love
to send him flying off the entrance platform. 
That bump had to hurt because Love barely grazed the table set up to
cushion his fall on the way down.  Rating: 
Mark Henry
defeats The Brooklyn Brawler via submission to a bearhug at 2:03:
This was Henry’s return to action after suffering an
ankle injury that put him on the shelf at the end of 1996.  He looks as generic as you can be, with a
black shirt and black ring trunks.  Ross
informs us during this squash that Steve Austin has left the arena with a WWF
camera crew.
A video package
highlights the growing tension between Shawn Michaels and Owen Hart.
For the second
hour Ross and Jim Cornette are in the booth.
Vince McMahon
warns Owen Hart that he is endangering the safety of ringside fans by attacking
Shawn Michaels through the crowd. 
McMahon orders Owen to appear in the ring since he is still under
contract and Owen comes out of the crowd to a nice reaction.  Owen curses McMahon and tells him that no one
is going to run him out of the WWF. 
McMahon implies that Owen only cares about winning the WWF title, but
Owen just calls it a “piece of leather with tin on it” and swears that he will
make Michaels life a living hell. 
McMahon has police come to the ring and tells Owen that he will come
through the entrance like every other WWF superstar next week and the police
escort Owen out through the crowd.  One
of the top segments of Owen’s career, but like a lot of things in the Attitude
Era, this didn’t really lead to anything significant.  It’s also somewhat eerie to watch in
retrospect.
Call
1-900-RUMBLE-98 to register yourself in the Steve Austin pickup truck
contest!  It’ll cost you $1.99 or you can
send a postcard to Devon, Pennsylvania.
Footage of Sable
revealing herself last week is shown.
Tom Brandi beats
The Sultan (w/The Iron Sheik) with a school boy after heel miscommunication at
3:46:
Brandi is the old Salvatore Sincere, who is trying to
turn a new leaf as a face, but didn’t really catch on.  Brandi’s failure to make it in the WWF
surprised me because he seemed to have the type of look that the WWF
preferred.  Brandi takes a big beating in
this match, but takes advantage of a miscue by the Sultan and chalks up the
upset.  Rating:  *¾
After the match,
Marc Mero runs in and pounds Brandi down.
Since an hour has
elapsed, the Nation of Domination comes back out as a video package recaps how
the Rock became the new Intercontinental champion on last week’s show.  The Rock says that he and the Nation are
coming for the title belt, but Steve Austin appears on the Titantron and this
is the famous segment where he tosses the Intercontinental title belt off a
bridge.
Vince McMahon
announces the beginning of the Attitude Era and that the audience is tired of
having its intelligence insulted and the simplistic “good guys versus bad
guys.”  He does tell parents that they
should use discretion if they let their kids watch the Warzone.
Steve Blackman
beats Jose with a German suplex at 1:38:
This is Blackman’s first RAW singles match and there’s a
small back story to this since the Boricuas interrupted a Blackman promo after
Survivor Series.  Blackman decimates Jose
with martial arts moves and finishes him off in relatively short order.
WWF and European
Champion Shawn Michaels says he isn’t worried about Owen Hart and after a rock,
paper, and scissors game they come to the conclusion that Triple H will take
care of Owen.  They also warn the Legion
of Doom that they are ready for them.
The Undertaker
Tombstoning the Sultan on Shotgun Saturday Night is the Lazer Tag Slam of the
Week.
The Legion of
Doom beat “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels & Triple H (w/Chyna) by
disqualification when Chyna interferes at 7:40 shown:
Standard tag team main event here as the LOD a bevy of
clotheslines and Michaels and Triple H cheat to turn the tide.  During the hot tag segment, the New Age
Outlaws run down to the ring and smother Hawk with ether, which allows DX to
pulverize Animal after Chyna gets into the ring and gives him a low blow.  Rating:  **
After the bell,
the Outlaws shave Hawk’s head and with DX’s help they powerbomb Animal from the
apron through the announce table.  This
only gets a .4 on the Ross outrage meter, though.
The Final Report Card:  A much better episode of RAW this week with
the destruction of the Legion of Doom, the Austin bridge segment, and Owen’s
interaction with Vince headlining the show. 
In a weird way, Austin’s popularity is putting Shawn Michaels title
reign in the same category as Bret Hart’s in 1995 whereby the main focus is on
his storylines and the WWF title is fading into the background.  Still, D-Generation X is doing a great job
making fans hate them and wanting someone to put them in their place.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.7 (vs. 4.1 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up