Total Divas Season 1 Recap: Episode 1 – “Welcome to the WWE!”

Last week, I wrote that The Total Divas belonged on the WWE Network and, less than a week later, after Vince obviously read my piece, it was announced that the reruns of the first two seasons would, in fact, be shown on the network. So, having been a major force in changing the WWE program lineup, instead of using my newly-discovered super powers for pure evil…well, I’m still gonna take over the world and you will all do my bidding. But, first, I’m pleased to be able to review the first Total Divas seasons, starting with Episode 1, which originally aired on July 28, 2013.

For those who don’t know me, I’m the girlfriend of Matt Perri who recaps Main Event each week. So, essentially, the Bella Twin to his John Cena…or Daniel Byran…or…you know, whatever. I’ve wanted to recap this show for a while now and this seemed like a good a time as any. 

Matt will be chiming in with his thoughts. It’s the least I can let him do for making him watch this show.
Yep, I can already hear the groaning: “Total Divas? Fuck this. I’m going to Scherer’s place.” Trust me: that site sucks. You don’t wanna go there.
Let’s start!
The show gets started by introducing Brie and Nikki Bella. They’re twins, they’re hot, they dress alike, but they’re different., and don’t forget it. Brie says Nikki is more loud, Nikki says Brie is more passive, (MATT: Kinky.) foreshadowing fights to come, I’m sure. and they’re shown in various outfits and winning matches.They state that they left the WWE for 11 months and that the other girls are jealous of them. 
Trinity and Ariane (AKA Naomi and Cameron) talk about how they formed the Funkadactlyls and how they became the fan favorites when the Bellas left, though they do admit that in the pyramid of the divas (those at the top/face of the company – scenes of Bellas), midcard and veterans, they are still midcard. Ariane spends an inordinate amount of time talking about Trinity’s “donk” which is so big, she uses it as a weapon in the ring.
Nattie (Natalya) is shown to be a veteran, she is WWE Royalty as she the niece of Bret “The Hitman” Hart and her dad is Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. She’s trained for almost 13 years. It’s her turn to shine.
The Divas proclaim themselves, “cheerleaders” and that it’s fun being a Diva. 

Tampa, Florida 
10 days before Wrestlemania


Nikki states she was mentally and physically exhausted when they took time off for 11 months, she missed wrestling, and now she can’t get enough.
Trinity and Ariane are in a gym, they’re gonna wrestle for the first time at Wrestlemania, but they are working more on their dancing moves than fighting. Jon (AKA Jimmy Uso) is Trinity’s fiance and he’s there to coach the girls on their dancing (MATT: With a shit-eating grin that says, “Fuck, I love my job.”) and apparently watch while they first play-fight then actually take some decent shots.
Nattie is in the ring being coached and fighting hard. Trainer Bill DeMott and her Dad, Jim, are there to give advice also. Nattie points out there is only one Diva’s match at Wrestlemania (29, at time of this episode) and that how she wants to be in it. She says she’s had doors slammed in her face, despite her family name and that she had much more success in other countries and wants to be big in the US.
Meanwhile, John Cena shows up to take Nikki on a date, she describes him as the most amazing man to step foot on this earth. He takes her fishing but don’t seem to catch anything, seeing as though they’re probably fishing in one of Florida’s many man-made cesspools. They kiss in the rain and she compares their relationship to The Notebook. She convinces him to try to recreate it but doesn’t seem to know a word of dialogue from the scene despite it being “her favorite scene”.
(MATT: This was both sweet and amusing. You can tell that Nikki is the real “Diva” of the two sisters and would rather be shopping and getting her nails done than pretending to fish with Cena who, at one point, compliments her skimpy “fishing outfit”. Because Cena knows that Nikki will cut him off from sex, she makes John Cena re-enact the scene from The Notebook — the Caffeine Free Diet Coke of romantic epics. Nikki says it’s hot to kiss in the rain and the producers, who believe we can’t understand spoken English, feel compelled to give us arbitrary subtitles to go with the moment like it’s a Tony Scott movie.)
Brie lives with Bryan Danielson (AKA Daniel Bryan) and they’ve been together 2 1/2 years. Brie walks her dog with Daniel Bryan and realizes she may need her mom to watch the dog while she’s at Wrestlemania. She mentions she buys all her food from the farmer’s market and is her twin’s opposite. They arrive at Brie’s place (they only live a mile apart) only to discover that John bought Nikki a Range Rover because rich bastard.
Brie is jealous of Nikki’s gift, stroking the leather interior like it’s Cena’s chest and Bryan and the Bellas sit in the kitchen, talking about Nikki’s new gift, peppering every sentence with the words, “Range Rover” like it’s a meta-search keyword.
(MATT: Ok…hold the phone. Like Bryan couldn’t march over to the dealership right now and buy Brie TWO of those?
METhat’s not the point, it’s romantic.
MATT: No, it isn’t. It’s the CVS Pharmacy teddy-bear-and-flowers for rich people. She probably found him banging a room of groupies and that was his make-up gift.
ME: Yeah…you’re probably right. He probably got it for free, too.)
Brie says Nikki has wanted one before they could drive, it will make her happy and she deserves it. Brie asks if this means that Nikki and John are taking their relationship to the next level. Nikki says she doesn’t know and says (to the camera) that after all he just got divorced from someone he loves. Daniel laughs that John bought her a car before an engagement ring, (though, it should be noted that, at this point, he hasn’t bought Brie one, either). Nikki admits he may have done it in part to hold off having to get a ring for a while.

New York
Day One of Wrestlemania

Nattie is happy it’s the first day of Wrestlemania Week and compares it to the Super Bowl. Nattie is met by Senior VP of WWE Talent Relations & Development Jane Geddes and Mark Carrano, also of WWE Talent Relations. They to talk to her and tell her she’s not on the card for Wrestlemania. Nattie is near tears. They acknowledge she has family coming in to see her. They tell her there is a mixed tag match and she’s not in. Instead, the Bellas and Funkadactyls are scheduled. She complains to the camera that the Bellas take off for a year and walk right in. It’s even more upsetting because she taught them to wrestle.
Nattie probably thinks it can’t get worse, but it’s about to. Jane and Mark, instead, ask her to show the two new girls from the L.A. camp around and chaperone them because she’s good enough to teach but not to wrestle. “Teach them everything you know, teach them your secrets, make them amazing, so they can take your spot,” she laments.
The new girls, Eva Marie and JoJo fly in from Newark and are introduced to the other Divas. Eva Marie is from the Bay Area (so I’ll have to start rooting for her more). Both girls have started training a month ago and JoJo even says she is scared being away from home for the first time. JoJo is so young and green, I’m surprised she didn’t bring her teddy bear and sippy cup.
(MATT: It’s sad, really. Eva Marie makes JoJo look like leftover steak that you let a pit bull get a hold of.)
Nattie pretends to be happy for Brie and says she’s excited to have new girls. Eva Marie shows up with red highlights from the day before and Jane, being the wonderful feminist she is, orders Marie to color her hair blonde. Jane tells her that Nattie will show them around, Nattie tries to fake that she wants to help, and then looks even more crestfallen when Jane reveals that Eva Marie is probably going blonde. Nattie keeps saying she is the blonde, they have a blonde, and she’s clearly threatened, giving a fake smile that should win her an Academy Award.
(MATT: The whole thing is really telling. Scott Keith once stated that Divas were, basically, “models that wrestle”. Watching this was uncomfortable and corroborates that theory.) 
Five Days till Wrestlemania

Ariane’s boyfriend, Vincent, flies in. She’s nervous as he’s never seen her wrestle. She has to practice, he’s going to sightsee, despite just coming in from a long trip on a plane with a seat that couldn’t recline. 
(MATT: Vincent is pretty Felonius Gru from Despicable Me, only a lot sweeter. We get a great bit where Ariane says that Vincent “balances” her and then we get a flashback from EARLIER TODAY where Vincent is struggling to carry 5 of her 152 pieces of luggage while Ariane gazes longingly at her servant.)
The dress rehearsal is not going good for anyone. Nattie is bummed she has to show the newbies the ropes and Vincent who, for some reason can’t sightsee by himself, is backstage. Ariane is mad that her tag team partner Brodus Clay said they sucked so Vincent comforts her as she cries. Ariane says he’s the sweetest guy ever, unless someone hurts her. Vincent loses his shit and wants Brodus to step out so he can beat the shit out of him. Trinity is worried that if Vincent does so, he will hurt her (Trinity’s career) as they are sold as a duo act. Nattie runs damage control and calms him down. Jimmy (who was also backstage but didn’t speak up) sides with Vincent’s actions and Trinity says work is less fun because of things like this.
The Bella twins want to see the newbies especially since they heard one of them looks kinda like them. Nikki is insulted and calls them out of their hotel rooms. Eva says she has to change her hair to blonde. Nikki says she is happy Eva Marie will be blonde since people are saying they look like her. Eva Marie says they will have to follow the twins’ leads as they are more experienced.
Meanwhile, Trinity goes to Ariane and takes her to lunch. She grills her about what happened with Brodus and Vincent. Trinity admits Brodus was wrong, but says Vincent shouldn’t have wanted to start a fight. Ariane said he would have been a punk had he let her be disrespected, but that she is over it.
Two Days Until Wrestlemania
Eva Marie is in the salon, clearly not happy about going blonde. The colorist begins stripping her hair of the red highlights and she says blonde doesn’t work for her (MATT: I laughed when Eva Marie said, “I look like Mufasa…this is bad.”) and tells JoJo she refuses to go blonde. She tells the colorist that she is going fire engine-red and the colorist starts putting it on. JoJo watches with admiration and respect because this could possibly be Eva Marie’s career. Eva Marie says the hair color screams her and there will be no mixup now with her and The Bellas. (MATT: Uh…I’ll allow it. She looks stunning.) Jane calls Eva Marie saying she wants to see her hair. Jane is stunned and asks what happens to blonde. (Jane’s hair is blonde.) Jane says she hates to say it…but she likes it, but in the future, when they say do something do it.
The Divas attend the pre-Wrestlemania party. 
The Bellas are confused about Eva Marie’s hair and Nattie’s upset that the noobs are stealing the spotlight. 
The ladies are all dressed up and Nikki says the newbies look too comfortable and that they need to get their intimidation on as veterans. They steal all the photo moments from the newbies but Eva Marie says she will take it as a one-time initiation but then that’s it.
One Day Till Wrestlemania

The twins are “starving”, and (MATT: Pretend…) to eat breakfast together. Brie says she is going ring shopping. Brie hints that John may not want to marry Nikki as he’s been married before and Nikki says it bothers her that this perfect man may not want to marry her. This really upsets me. I want to yell at the screen for Nikki to realize that Cena is far, FAR from “the perfect man” and to grow a spine and at least have that talk with Jon. Brie says Nikki being sad over this makes her sad. I like these ladies as wrestlers and even characters, I really do, but right now it seems like they’re sharing one personality.
Trinity wants Ariane to talk to Vincent, Ariane hasn’t and now they snap at each other. They mock each other and keep fighting. Trinity says Ariane has some deep-rooted issues and everyone else sees it.
(MATT: Thankfully, this is about as “Kardashian” as the show gets. It actually ends on a mature note.)
John and Nikki go to a romantic dinner. (MATT: Which looks, suspiciously, like a Black Angus.) Nikki needs to know if there is a possibility that marriage is something he could want. Nikki says she needs marriage and doesn’t want to walk away. John says he tried marriage already and while Nikki has changed him he doesn’t know if he wants those things. Jon says he enjoys things with her that he can’t with anyone else like opening his home and his life to her, and that he liked their random Thursday dinner and fishing trip. John says it’s the “little things” that make him happy. Nikki admits that Brie ring shopping is motivating a lot of what she’s feeling. Of course it is. She needs to have a parallel life after all they are sharing one brain.
Day of Wrestlemania 29
Each and every Diva is excited about Wrestlemania and, apparently, every one of them is required to randomly say “80,000 people” are there. The twins are both impressed with Daniel Bryan and Kane for winning their match. The girls have ridiculously-silly red outfits with sequin-ridden canes and top hats. Putting on the Ritz anyone?
At least they have their costumes ready. The seamstresses are still sewing The Funkadactyls costumes. Where is the magical fairy godmother from Cinderella to fix things when you need her? The Bellas walk by, fully-clothed, and get bitchy, saying they hope Ariane and Trinity don’t walk out naked. Ariane tells them to step off because they don’t want to go there right now.
The match is up next and, still, the seamstress needs more time. She gives them the costumes, barely in time, and they race to put them on and get ready to go on stage.
The Bellas are ready to go on…but John Cena’s music hits instead and the main event between him and The Rock is on. Nattie and the newbies are watching from the WWE luxury box. Nattie is incredibly disgusted as she worked HARD to get these girls in. She goes to the dressing room where she finds out that the girls were cut from their match. This was the twins first Wrestlemania to wrestle in, so they’re really sad. Trinity says there’s nothing worse that could happen. Not even a career-threatening eye injury, Trinity? Well, that’s later down the road for her so, for now, this is the worst thing. They hug it out and decide to try again next year.
(MATT: This segment is disgustingly inaccurate. The editing practically makes you believe that The Undertaker’s match went too long when, in fact, it was Triple H and Brock Lesnar that went too long…but showing that wouldn’t be what’s “Best for Business”, would it?) 
The show ends with fireworks over Met Life Stadium in New York.
DANIELLE:
Not bad for the first show, but they really shafted JoJo who we didn’t get to know much about.


Diva I most wanted to punch this episode – Nikki. Wow, is she way too clingy and needy.
Diva I most wanted to hug this episode – Eva Marie. Great job sticking up for yourself choosing a hair color that is the real you even if it’s from a bottle.
MATT:
Ok…this show was good. I really don’t wanna be that cynical asshole and say it’s gonna get worse…but I know it will. Not a bad start.

That’s it. Tommy will take you into the weekend with the Smackdown Review. Andy PG will start your week off right with the PG Era Raw Rant on Monday.

Thank you to all the BoD’ers and, hey, if you wanna read more of our stuff, please visit WE HATE YOUR GIMMICK at http://wehateyourgimmick.blogspot.com and, of course, visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/wehateyourgimmick/.

WWE: Handicapping the Money In The Bank briefcase match

Scott Keith lays it all the line with a look at who has a shot to win the prestigious Money In The Bank briefcase on Sunday's WWE show, and more importantly who does not.  Which is pretty much everyone.


Figured I'd try for something closer to my normal "voice" with this one.  Please continue to share and enjoy.

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – June 29, 1998

by Logan Scisco


Pictures of last
night’s Steve Austin-Kane WWF title match are shown and narrated by Jim Ross
and Jerry “the King” Lawler.
Ross and Lawler
are in the booth and they are live from Cleveland, Ohio.  I am glad that we now have Ross and Lawler
full-time instead of just having them fill the second hour.

Vince McMahon,
Commissioner Slaughter, and Gerald Brisco come out and the WWF title is encased
in a glass box in the ring.  The crowd
loudly questions Vince’s sexuality as he gloats about Steve Austin losing the
title at the King of the Ring.  Kane and
Paul Bearer come out and Bearer puts over how he and his son’s dreams have come
true.  McMahon goes to put the WWF title
around Kane’s waist when Austin crashes the party and says Kane never made him
bleed at the King of the Ring.  As a
result, Austin demands a rematch and goads Kane into giving him one by saying
that if he doesn’t he will never be as good as his brother.  Austin’s intensity carried this segment,
which was much better than the generic “authority figure sets up a title match”
angle.  1 for 1
Opening
Contest:  Steven Regal beats Darren
Drozdov via submission to the Regal Stretch at 4:41:
This Regal’s WWF debut and he is introduced by
Sable.  He is sporting his traditional
attire and not the ridiculous “Real Man’s Man” gimmick that he would receive at
the end of the year.  His theme music is
a generic rock n’ roll beat, which is quite a shock after seeing Regal wrestle
under the Blue Blood theme in WCW.  Ross
does his best to put over Regal, but the crowd does not take kindly to his
mat-based style and Lawler is more interested in talking to Sable on
commentary.  A pretty boring squash, and
this is a good example of why airing vignettes before someone debuts is a good
idea.  Rating:  * (1 for 2)
Michael Cole
interviews Ken Shamrock, who cuts a very bland promo about how he respects the
Rock and how it feels good to be the King of the Ring.  Owen Hart interrupts and says that he is a
better King of the Ring than Shamrock can hope to be.  Owen challenges Shamrock to a fight tonight
and Shamrock accepts.  Triple H and Chyna
come out and Triple H argues that if there is going to be a “king of kings”
match then he has to be in it.  He
challenges them to a triple threat match, which is accepted.  What was funny about this segment was that
Shamrock still wanted to use the old names for wrestlers like Rocky Maivia
instead of “The Rock” and Hunter Hearst-Helmsley instead of “Triple H.”  1 for
3
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Brawl for All
First Round:  Steve Blackman beats
“Marvelous” Marc Mero via decision:
Ah yes, the Brawl for All, a competition that led to a bunch of injuries and was originally booked as a shoot, has begun.  The rules for the Brawl for All:  three one-minute rounds and a points system
is used to render a decision if a knockout is not achieved (five points for
most punches, five points for a takedown, and ten points for knockdowns).  The crowd loudly boos since in their mind
they paid to watch wrestling (they work up a loud “we want wrestling” chant)
and not a toughman competition. 
Marketing probably plays a role as well, since the WWF did not hype the
competition in the weeks leading up to it. 
Although Mero has the advantage in punching skills, Blackman just keeps
taking him down for easy points throughout the bout and wins.  1 for
4
Kevin Kelly says
that he will find out why Kane decided to accept Steve Austin’s challenge
tonight
.
Chyna’s DDT on
Owen Hart last night at the King of the Ring is the Skittles Slam of the Week.
Kane tells Kelly
that he took Austin’s challenge because he knows he can beat him and that he is
a better champion than his brother ever was.
The Undertaker is
shown arriving at the arena, which is always an angle I laugh at.  At what other workplace is it acceptable to
show up halfway through your shift?
Val Venis pins
Togo (w/Yamiguchi-San) with the Money Shot at 3:02:
Venis leers at Yamiguchi-San’s wife, who is sitting in
the front row, and this is the first step in one of the most ridiculous, yet memorable,
feuds of 1998.  During the match, Dustin
Runnels joins Ross and Lawler on commentary and encourages them to spread the
word of God.  Extended squash for Venis,
who remains undefeated in the World Wrestling Federation.  After the bout, Yamiguchi-San hits Venis
after Venis does his dance in front of his wife and Venis lays him out and the
rest of Kaientai with a chair.  Somehow
Venis is the face here.  Rating:  *½ (2 for 5)
Cole interviews
Austin, who says he is very confident that he is going to regain the WWF title
tonight.
“King of Kings”
Triple Threat Match:  Ken Shamrock
defeats Owen Hart & Triple H (w/Chyna) by pinning Triple H after the Rock
blasts Triple H with the Intercontinental title at 9:35 shown:
This is the perfect concept for a TV main event, but it
is trumped tonight by the Kane-Austin title match.  This has the usual triple threat formula
where two guys wrestle and another guy ends up on the floor, but at least the
action is continuous.  Chyna interferes
against Owen yet again, by pulling down the top rope during the bout, but it
does not work out well for Triple H as the Rock uses the distraction to
interfere.  So basically, Shamrock is the
true “king of kings” and Triple H has been infringing on his rightful gimmick
for the last sixteen years.  Wrestling
enthusiasts take note.  Rating: 
***¼ (3 for 6)
After the bout,
D-Generation X brawls to the locker room with the Nation and Owen puts Shamrock
in a ring post figure-four before WWF officials intervene.
The Undertaker
comes out to give a “confession” to Cole. 
The Undertaker says he interfered in last night’s WWF title match
because he did not want to see his brother set himself on fire.  Vince McMahon comes out and insists that the
Undertaker only helped his brother because he thinks he can beat Kane for the
title and not Austin.  McMahon warns the
Undertaker against interfering in tonight’s WWF title match.  McMahon’s role in this segment was random and
his adoption of the Undertaker’s language about hell and suffering was odd.  3 for
7
The Undertaker
tossing Mankind off the top of the Hell in a Cell is the JVC Kaboom! of the
Week.
Brawl for All
First Round:  Bradshaw beats Mark
Canterbury via decision:
Canterbury is of course everyone’s favorite Arkansas hog
farmer Henry Godwinn.  They have not
released a bracket for this tournament, so who knows who is really facing
who.  Bradshaw refuses to sit on his
stool during the rest periods and Canterbury only tries to do takedowns in the
third and final round, which is too little, too late.  At least this fight featured some punching
sequences.  4 for 8
We get our first
graphic highlighting the “Highway to Hell” and SummerSlam in nine weeks.
LOD 2000 welcome
back Paul Ellering as their manager now that Sunny is out of the company.  However, the Disciples of Apocalypse come out
and Ellering IN A SWERVE announces that he is really with the DOA.  The DOA do a beatdown, with Ellering using
pages of newspaper as a weapon. 
What.  The. Hell.  4 for
9
The Undertaker
tells Kevin Kelly that no one tells him what to do, which means that he will
not heed Vince McMahon’s warning not to get involved in the main event.
WWF Championship
Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve Austin pins
Kane (Champion w/Paul Bearer) after a Stone Cold Stunner to win the title at
8:27:
Austin carries a lot of the offensive load of the match,
which really puts a damper on Kane’s “superhuman” ability to crush his
opponents.  Near the end of the bout, the
Undertaker walks out, but does not interfere, and Austin goes under a Kane big
boot and delivers a Stunner to win his second WWF title.  No ref bumps or shenanigans in this one,
which is pretty refreshing.  One could
point to this match as the beginning of sudden world title changes in the
company, as the WWF title switched hands more frequently than it had in the
past due to the Monday Night Wars.  Rating: 
** (5 for 10)
After the bout, Austin gives the Undertaker
a Stone Cold Stunner and the Undertaker and Kane sit up at the same time and
stare at Austin as he walks to the locker room.
The Final Report Card:  Aside from popping a rating (which this show
did), it made little sense to give Kane a one day reign as champion.  The short reign, as well as the way his match
with Austin played out on this show, dented some of his credibility as an
unstoppable monster (as long as he was not fighting his brother, but that sort
of cancelled out because they both possessed “supernatural” powers).  Kane went on to have a memorable career after
this, but I never viewed him the same way again after this title loss.  This show gets a neutral rating because while
there are some highlights like the Triple Threat and the Austin segments, there
is a lot of random stuff that is not as good like the out of the blue Regal
debut, the beginning of the Brawl for All (which was not adequately promoted),
and the random Ellering turn (which is right out of the Vince Russo playbook).
Monday Night War Rating:  5.4 (vs. 4.1 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Neutral

What the World Was Watching: King of the Ring 1998

by Logan Scisco


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

Opening Bonus Contest:  The Headbangers & Taka Michinoku defeat
Kaientai (w/Yamaguchi-San) when Michinoku pins Funaki with the Michinoku Driver
at 6:44:
This is one of two bonus matches taking place this
evening.  The action is fast and furious
here, with Michinoku carrying the match for his team.  He manages to get the winning pin after all
hell breaks loose to avenge a loss to Kaientai at the last pay-per-view, and I
imagine it helped that this time he evened the odds with the Headbangers.  Rating:  **½
Sable walks out and
welcomes out Vince McMahon, who comes out with the stooges.  As Sable leaves the ring, Pat Patterson,
smacks her on the rear end and gets slapped. 
Ross says that Patterson got in trouble because he got involved “in an
area that he’s not familiar with.”  With
the crowd riled up, McMahon says that tonight’s main event outcome will
disappoint them, but that is okay because the crowd is full of people experienced
with disappointments.  Not one of McMahon’s
better promos and this was just filler.
King of the Ring
Semi-Final:  Ken Shamrock beats “Double J”
Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee) via submission to the ankle lock at 5:30:
When Jarrett does his “Aint I great!” spiel before the
match, the crowd shouts back “Aint I gay!” 
Add that to the list of things you may not hear on the WWE Network.  Jarrett isn’t wearing his usual entrance
jacket, which makes for a weird visual. 
Shamrock lets Jarrett get in some token offense on his leg before
deciding to stop selling and win the bout. 
After the match, Shamrock gives Lee a belly-to-belly suplex and
hilariously remembers that he needs to sell the leg.  Rating:  **
Michael Cole
interviews Shamrock and Shamrock says that he did not come to the pay-per-view
to finish in second place
.
King of the Ring
Semi-Final:  The Rock pins Dan Severn
after D-Lo Brown hits Severn with the Lo Down at 4:25:
Kama Mustafa, who accompanies the Rock to the ring with Mark
Henry before being evicted by the referee, is starting to look more like his
future Godfather persona with the hat and tinted glasses.  Finkel even announces him as such.  This match was a bummer when I initially saw
the show because I wanted a Shamrock-Severn final, but the WWF made the right
call here for two reasons.  First, if you
are going to have Shamrock-Severn, you might as well promote that match to make
money.  And second, the Rock is way more
over than Severn.  This match is an
awkward styles clash, as the Rock is not a technical wrestler, so he cannot adequately
chain wrestle Severn, and Severn does not know how to sell the Rock’s usual
offense.  For example, he looks
completely lost selling the Rock’s flurry of punches in the corner.  I should add that D-Lo Brown debuts his chest
protector, which he needed to recover from a “torn pectoral muscle” suffered at
the hands of Severn in the qualifying round, when he interferes to put the Rock
into the finals. This is Severn’s first singles loss since arriving in the WWF.  Rating:  ½*
Cole interviews
the Rock, who delivers a great impromptu promo against Shamrock by saying that Shamrock
is going to eat “rock bottom” as he tries to climb the mountain to the King of
the Ring title.
A video package
recaps what has been going on with Al Snow for the last two months.
Jerry Lawler tells
Al Snow, who is backstage, that he is going down tonight, but Snow says he is
not laying down for anyone and that Too Much is going to get some Head like
they have never had before.
-Too Much beats Al
Snow & Head when Brian Christopher pins the Head at 8:26:
Does anyone remember when the Head was a playable
character in WWF Attitude?  Just before
the match, it is announced that Lawler is the guest referee and that goes about
as well for Snow as you can expect.  The
difference between Too Much and Too Cool is as much as night and day as Brian
Christopher and Scott Taylor were devoid of credible victories or a great deal
of charisma heading into this match, so the crowd just cares about the
Head.  Snow gives Taylor a Snow Plow, but
Lawler tosses Christopher a bottle of Head and Shoulders, thereby giving the
Head shoulders and enabling Christopher to pin it for the win.  Some people hate that finish, but I found it humorous.  I have no idea why Snow did not go
over here since it wasn’t like he wasn’t going to be part of the WWF after this.  Having him lose and enter the company anyway
makes the original stipulation of Snow needing to win to get a meeting with
Vince McMahon and get a contract a joke, but you know, Vince Russo.  Rating:  ¾*
X-Pac (w/Chyna)
defeats Owen Hart when Chyna gives Owen a DDT at 8:32:
This a rematch of the 1994 King of the Ring semi-finals
and also has a backstory due to each man costing the other their King of the
Ring tournament match.  We get a good
technical match, but the real highlight is when Mark Henry runs out to give
X-Pac a splash behind the referee’s back. 
That cues a Vader run-in and Chyna interfering when Owen puts X-Pac in
the Sharpshooter.  This match continues Owen’s winless streak in singles matches on
pay-per-view this year.  In fact, each of those losses are due to Chyna.  Rating: 
**¾
Paul Bearer
waddles out and gives us the sad story of Kane’s history, and how Kane watched
WWF programming and wanted to be like his older brother.  Bearer nailed this promo.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  The New Age Outlaws
(Champions w/Chyna) beat The New Midnight Express (NWA Tag Team Champions w/Jim
Cornette) when Billy Gunn pins Bombastic Bob after a double hot shot at 9:57:
This is the second bonus match of the show, which is a
clue that a title change is highly unlikely. 
The WWF could not get the old Midnight Express theme, but the one that
they use for the New Midnights isn’t that bad. 
After wrestling the lugs of the tag division for the last six
months, the Outlaws finally get to wrestle a team they can have a good match
with.  Ross has a great comment about
Cornette during this bout concerning Cornette’s self-centered personality:  “Cornette’s dream is to die in his own arms.”  When all hell breaks loose, we get a nice
series of false finishes, coupled with a required Chyna-Cornette confrontation
where Cornette eats a low blow (with Chyna missing her initial cue), and the
Outlaws barely retain the titles.  This
should have led to the Midnights getting a higher place in the tag team
division, but Russo’s emphasis on “super teams” at the expense of established
teams did not do them any favors.  Rating: 
***¼
Triple H and Chyna
come out to do color commentary for the King of the Ring final.  Triple H was last year’s winner, but why did
Commissioner Slaughter allow this?  The
Nation doesn’t get to accompany the Rock to ringside for the final bout, so why
does his enemy and the guy he put out of the tournament get to sit so close to
the ring?  Clarence Mason never would have
allow this had he stayed in the company!
1998 King of the
Ring Finals:  Ken Shamrock defeats The
Rock via submission to the ankle lock at 14:11:
If this was a UFC tournament, Shamrock would’ve bowed out
by now due to injury.  It does not take
long for Triple H to get involved in this bout, as he spits water in the Rock’s
face, but thankfully that’s the scope of his interference.  It takes ten minutes for the match to get a
good rhythm going, as prior to that you have a few mindless brawling sequences
and Shamrock being unsure of whether he should sell the leg injury he suffered
in the semi-finals.  In the end, Shamrock surprises
the Rock with the ankle lock and wins the King of the Ring, which was the right
booking choice because it gave Shamrock the win in his feud with the Rock
without taking the Intercontinental title, which the Rock needed for his feud
with Triple H.  Shamrock does not get the
crown and other royal properties, but that does not really fit his gimmick
anyway.  Rating:  ***¼
Hell in a
Cell:  The Undertaker pins Mankind after
a Tombstone at 17:00:
Going into this pay-per-view, many were not enthused
about this match and people (correctly) predicted that it would not be as good
as the Shawn Michaels-Undertaker HIAC match at Badd Blood.  However, it ended up being memorable for a
different reason as Foley took a series of sick bumps to mask the shortcomings
of the Undertaker wrestling on an injured foot. 
The brutality of the match fits the feud between both men, as their
first in-ring encounter took place at the King of the Ring two years ago and
all of their encounters have been increasingly violent.  This was rated as Match of the Year for 1998
and while I disagree with that, one has to take into consideration that this
was before people became desensitized to wrestlers jumping off ladders and
doing other crazy stunts.  Jim Ross
deserves an honorable mention for his commentary as well, since without it I
doubt that the match would have received as much acclaim as it did.  It is very difficult to rate this match,
since it does not fit within a conventional wrestling paradigm, and the match
loses a good deal of its effect after you have seen it.  Still, you cannot help but be amazed at what
Foley put himself through in this bout (which is really what the whole story of
the match is about after you view it multiple times), and this match put him
over for good.  Rating:  ***½
A video package
recaps the Steve Austin-Kane feud and the Undertaker’s role in all of it.
First Blood Match
for the WWF Championship:  Kane (w/Paul
Bearer) beats “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (Champion) to win the title at 14:52:
In a nice attention to detail, cans of gasoline surround
the ring so Kane can set himself on fire if he fails to win the title.  After three months of feuding with McMahon as
WWF champion, Austin finally runs into a challenge that he cannot overcome as
he fails to make Kane, who is wearing a mask and an outfit that has both (instead
of one) arms covered, bleed.  However,
his title loss is not without controversy as the Hell in a Cell lowers randomly
during the match, and Austin is busted wide open when the Undertaker inadvertently
(or intentionally?) hits Austin with a chair when he is aiming for Mankind.  The crowd goes DEAD quiet when the bell is
rung and the pay-per-view goes off the air shortly thereafter.  Decent brawl, but the stipulation really hurt
the drama of the match, and I never felt that either guy really put the other in a position to get busted open.  Rating: 
**
After the show
goes off the air, several WWF officials and Mankind get Stone Cold Stunners
from Austin.
The Final Report Card:  All things considered, this was a very
successful show for the company and a thumbs up effort.  It drew the largest buyrate for the event since
1993, which was the first year that it was available on pay-per-view, and the
Hell in a Cell match created a lot of buzz in wrestling circles and gave people
another reason to watch the WWF over WCW. 
The show also set the stage for the hot feuds of the summer as the
Austin-Kane-Undertaker triangle continued and the Rock moved away from Shamrock
to go against Triple H.
Attendance: 
17,087
Buyrate: 
1.1 (+0.6 from the previous year)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – June 22, 1998

by Logan Scisco

A video package
highlights the confrontation between Steve Austin & the Undertaker and Kane
& Mankind on last week’s show.
Jim Ross and Michael Cole are doing
commentary and they are taped from Austin, Texas.  Tonight is the go home show for the King of
the Ring.

Vince McMahon
comes out and invites Kane to the ring. 
Paul Bearer is sitting at home, recovering from the Undertaker’s attack
on last week’s show.  McMahon tells Kane
that it is his destiny to be WWF champion and that a victory over Steve Austin
at the King of the Ring will erase his awful childhood.  McMahon announces that Kane is challenging
Austin to a first blood match at the King of the Ring, and Kane speaks for the
first time and proclaims that if he does not win the WWF title, he will set
himself on fire.  The only question that
remains is whether Austin will accept the challenge.  Kane’s announcement was so outrageous and out
of left field that I have to give this a point. 
1 for 1
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to get your D-Generation X home video. 
It can be yours for $14.95 (plus $4 shipping & handling)!
Opening King of
the Ring First Round Contest:  Ken
Shamrock defeats Mark Henry with a belly-to-belly suplex at 4:35:
The Nation continues to try to accompany their members to
the ring, but they are dispatched to the locker room yet again by WWF
officials.  Henry concentrates his attack
on Shamrock’s back, but Shamrock rallies and when Henry is knocked to the
floor, Vader attacks him to get revenge for last week, and Shamrock advances to
face the winner of the Marc Mero-Jeff Jarrett match in the semi-finals.  I’m impressed by Henry’s development to this
point.  He’s not participating in *****
matches and his skills are still limited, but he is showing better awareness of
how to work around his limitations.  Rating: 
**½ (2 for 2)
Shamrock tells
Kevin Kelly that he is going to climb the top of the mountain and win the King
of the Ring.
Edge is shown
sitting in the audience.  He makes his
debut tonight.
X-Pac (w/Chyna)
beats Dustin Runnels with a spinning heel kick at 5:31:
Runnels prays before the match, clueing us in on his new
Christian gimmick.  Runnels is the 1998
version of Tito Santana and is putting over all the talents that bookers have
longer term plans for.  He nearly
finishes X-Pac off, but when he goes for a bulldog, Chyna trips him and that
allows X-Pac to earn his first victory since returning to the company.  After the match, Runnels offers a handshake,
but X-Pac refuses the gesture.  Rating: 
**½ (3 for 3)
Ross interviews
Bearer from his home via satellite and Bearer promises to be at the King of the
Ring with his son.
Jerry “the King”
Lawler, who’s crown was taken by Snow last week, rants about Al Snow after the
commercial break and invites him into the ring. 
Snow comes to the ring through the crowd and is dressed like an old
woman.  Lawler says that if he gets his
crown back that he will give Snow an appointment with Vince McMahon.  After Lawler gets his crown back, Snow
receives a contract, not an appointment, that books him and Head in a tag match
against Too Much.  If Snow wins, he gets
an appointment with McMahon, but if he loses, he has to leave the company.  Snow says that McMahon just wants him to do
another job on pay-per-view and says they might as well do the match now.  Too Much rushes the ring, but Snow takes care
of them with Head and leaves.  This is a
good example of a storyline that went over the heads of most of the audience,
who were not of the smark persuasion.  3 for 4
King of the Ring
First Round Match:  “Double J” Jeff
Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee) pins “Marvelous” Marc Mero (w/Jacqueline) with a DDT
after Sable distracts Mero at 4:30:
This is the first heel-heel King of the Ring match in
history and Jarrett nearly causes Mero to tear his ACL by botching a powerbomb
near the ropes.  For all intents and
purposes, Mero should have gone over here, since he was still getting heat for
the Sable feud, but Vince Russo’s affinity for Jarrett wins out and he moves on
to face Shamrock at the King of the Ring. 
Rating:  *½ (3 for 5)
Jarrett tells
Kevin Kelly that he will become the King of the Ring this Sunday.
Steve Austin’s
fight with Kane on top of the Hell in a Cell on last week’s show is the
Cinnaburst Rewind segment.
Lawler joins Ross
to do commentary for the second hour.
Kane beats The
Road Dogg with a Tombstone at 4:04:
The good thing about tag teams is that you can sacrifice
one of their members in a singles match and they do not lose credibility.  This is a prolonged squash as the Road Dogg
just manages a few token blows.  Rating: 
½* (3 for 6)
Paul Bearer
reiterates his promise to be at the King of the Ring and the Undertaker
suddenly shows up and destroys him for the second week in a row.  The live feed to Bearer’s home goes out
before we can see the end of the beating. 
The Undertaker has a great line before commencing the beating:  “Do you think I’ve forgotten where you
live?!?!”
Edge defeats Jose
via count out at 1:08:
This is Edge’s debut and his entrance has an NWO-feel to
it where a red hue covers the screen. 
The debut go as planned, though, as Edge breaks Jose’s neck with a
somersault plancha and prematurely ends the match.  Edge would never do that move again as a
result of the incident.
Kane is shown trashing
his locker room after finding out that the Undertaker has attacked his
father.  Mankind tries to restrain him in
the back.
King of the Ring
First Round Match:  Dan Severn beats Owen
Hart via submission to a modified bow and arrow at 2:59:
This match has a nice exchange of maneuvers, but there is
no psychology behind them.  Owen’s
attempt to bring a chair into the ring distracts the referee and X-Pac gives
Owen a SICK chair shot to the back of the head that enables Severn to
advance.  Owen would requires staples to
close that gash.  Severn will face the winner
of the Rock-Triple H first round match at the King of the Ring.  The “dream final” of Ken Shamrock and Severn
also stays alive.
After the
commercial break, the Nation is in the ring and the Rock challenges
D-Generation X to a fight.  DX comes out
to engage them, but WWF officials prevent a fight from breaking out.
King of the Ring
First Round Match:  The Rock defeats
Triple H (w/Chyna) with a fisherman’s suplex at 8:08:
This match lacks the heat of their future encounters and
the Rock and Chyna are more over than Triple H is as well.  Chyna tries to interfere several times to
give Triple H the match, but the Rock keeps kicking out.  What I really like about this match is that
it doesn’t have to end in a finisher, as the Rock gives Triple H a low blow and
uses a move he’s never used before to win. 
Rating:  **½ (4 for 7)
After the match,
the Nation and DX brawl as WWF officials flood the ring to break things up.
Mankind is shown
trying to comfort Kane some more in the locker room.
After the
commercial break, Mankind is in the ring and the Hell in a Cell lowers as he
cuts a promo against the Undertaker for King of the Ring.  He recaps his feud with the Undertaker and
chastises the Undertaker for attacking Paul Bearer the last several weeks.  He claims that the Undertaker’s punishment
will be within the cell and not the bars of a prison.  A great promo by Foley that put some fire
into a match that was quickly becoming an afterthought on the card.  5 for
8
Mankind beats “Bad
Ass” Billy Gunn (w/Chyna) with the Mandible Claw at 5:38:
Chyna is forced to go back to the locker room after she
attacks Mankind on the floor, which somehow isn’t enough to draw a
disqualification.  This features your usual
Foley spots and is an exciting brawl, where tries to counter Foley’s use of
weapons and aggressive style.  However,
that isn’t enough as his piledriver is reversed into a slingshot into the post
and Mankind finishes him off.  Rating: 
*** (6 for 8)
Mankind goes back
to the locker room, but can’t find Kane.
Sable comes out
and welcomes out WWF Champion Steve Austin. 
Austin sends Sable to the locker room to give Vince McMahon the
bird.  Austin is wearing his cool
baseball jersey shirt and accepts the first blood stipulation at the King of
the Ring.  He promises to bring some
cookout food for when Kane sets himself on fire after failing to win his
title.  Kane walks out and signals for
“blood” to drop into the middle of the ring and drench Austin.  This leads to a crowd chant for Austin to
kick Kane’s ass and that plays us out.  7 for 9
The Final Report Card:  There were some twists and turns in this show
mixed with some above average ring work. 
We now have new odds stacked against Austin as it will be difficult for
him to make Kane bleed and retain his title and the Undertaker continues his
quest to destroy Paul Bearer.  We also
got more of a reason to care about the Hell in a Cell match between the
Undertaker and Mankind, something that the company has been pushing
aggressively the last two weeks since they likely realized that they needed a
greater hook for a show that only had five pre-announced matches.
So our King of the Ring card is as follows:
WWF Championship Match:  Steve Austin (Champion) vs. Kane
Hell in a Cell:  The Undertaker vs. Mankind
King of the Ring Finals:  TBA vs. TBA
King of the Ring Semi-Final #1:  Ken Shamrock vs. Jeff Jarrett
King of the Ring Semi-Final #2:  The Rock vs. Dan Severn
Al Snow & Head vs. Too Much
Monday Night War Rating:  4.3 (vs. 4.1 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – June 15, 1998

by Logan Scisco

Kane and Mankind’s
beatdown of Steve Austin at the end of last week’s show is replayed.
Jim Ross and Michael Cole are in the booth
and they are live from San Antonio, Texas. 
Hell in a Cell is hanging above the ring, but Ross does not know why.

Sable walks out
and introduces Vince McMahon, who brought her back to the WWF.  A wrestling company not sticking with a
retirement stipulation?  No!  McMahon has Sable read a prepared statement
that denies his use of charitable organizations to get back at Steve Austin and
promising to bring those who attacked Austin to justice.  McMahon kisses Sable on the cheek, but before
he can leave, Austin comes out with his sights set on beating up McMahon.  McMahon begs Austin to listen to reason and
says that the Undertaker arranged Austin’s beating on last week’s show.  See, the cops that were called on him just gave
the Undertaker an excuse not to back Austin up. 
The Undertaker proceeds to come out and calls McMahon a liar.  Before the Undertaker can beatdown McMahon,
though, the lights go out and Kane and Mankind show up with Paul Bearer in
tow.  Bearer piles onto the Undertaker
accusations by claiming that the Undertaker worked with him on last week’s plan.  Bearer then challenges Austin and the
Undertaker to a tag team match in the cell against Kane and Mankind and argues
that the entrance ramp that separates them is the “highway to hell.”  The Sable part of this segment was
nonsensical, but McMahon begging for his life and planting the seeds of an
Undertaker-led conspiracy was nice storytelling.  1 for
1
Opening King of
the Ring Qualifying Contest:  The Rock
beats Vader with a Rock Bottom at 4:40:
The rest of the Nation is barred from ringside for this
bout, just like last week’s show.  Cole is
still calling the Rock the “co-leader” of the Nation, which makes no sense now
that Faarooq is no longer in the group. 
Looking back at things now, I wish they had given Vader more time off
and then had him come back as part of Paul Bearer’s faction.  It would have gelled with Vader’s post-match
promo at Over the Edge about needing to re-evaluate his career.  They also could have booked Vader to go to
the semi-finals and face Ken Shamrock in a rematch of their Cold Day in Hell
encounter.  The Rock knocks Vader out of
the ring, where Mark Henry attacks him and gives him a splash, and that allows
the Rock to advance into the tournament and face Triple H or X-Pac in the first
round.  Rating:  ** (2 for 2)
The Road Dogg
gives a scouting report to Triple H and X-Pac on how they can beat each other.
Edge is coming!
Darren Drozdov
pins “Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee) after Marc Mero gives Jarrett a
low blow at 2:15:
During the bout, Mero and Jacqueline come out and Mero
rants about Sable’s return to the company. 
Jacqueline and Lee get into a confrontation on the floor, which
distracts Jarrett and results in Mero giving his future King of the Ring
opponent a low blow.  Droz takes advantage to notch his biggest win to date.
Billy Gunn tells
Triple H and X-Pac why they are going to stage the Match of the Year tonight.
Val Venis defeats
Chainz with the Money Shot at 4:37:
The Val Venis momentum tour continues as he dispatches
with the directionless Chainz.  They gave
this match too much time since the crowd could care less about Chainz and the
booking team wasn’t going to do anything with him after this match.  Rating:  *½ (2 for 3)
The Undertaker
tells Kevin Kelly that he can’t trust Steve Austin, but Austin can trust him
since his intentions of wanting a WWF title shot at clear.
Triple H tells
X-Pac that he can’t lay down for him since it’s the King of the Ring.  X-Pac says that he doesn’t need to take a
dive and wishes Triple H the best of luck.
Dustin Runnels
beats “Marvelous” Marc Mero (w/Jacqueline) with a bulldog at 4:08:
Returning the favor, Jeff Jarrett, Tennessee Lee, and
Southern Justice walk out during the match and Jarrett runs Mero down on
commentary.  After Mero hits a super
hurricanrana, Jarrett distracts the referee and Sable walks out to distract
Mero, enabling Runnels to score the upset. 
Classic Russo overbooking of that match, but I have to give them credit
for making the Mero-Jarrett first round match much more than TV filler.  This is Runnels first win since ditching the
Goldust gimmick.  Rating:  ** (3 for 4)
Chyna tells Triple
H and X-Pac that it’s time for their match
.
Kevin Kelly
interviews Dustin Runnels, who says he is happy with ending his losing streak
and that he needs to thank Jesus Christ for his victory.
Jerry “the King”
Lawler joins Ross to do commentary for the second hour of the show.
King of the Ring
Qualifying Match:  Triple H defeats X-Pac
by count out at 5:15:
This is X-Pac’s first match since his return to the
company following WrestleMania XIV. 
Triple H is also defending his King of the Ring title.  Chyna plays the role as a one woman
lumberjack, tossing both guys into the ring and keeping the action flowing.  The Rock distracts Triple H by cutting a
promo in the crowd and that allows Owen Hart to crotch X-Pac on the guardrail
and disable him.  Triple H checks on his
friend after the Rock’s promo and does not want to take a count out win, but
X-Pac tells him to get in the ring and take the victory.  Standard match, but it was well booked in
that it did not make X-Pac look weak on his return, advanced the DX-Nation
storyline, and pushed the King of the Ring as a big deal.  Triple H will now face the Rock in the first
round.  Rating:  ** (4 for 5)
The Undertaker’s
chokeslam spree on last week’s show is the JVC Kaboom! of the Week.
Al Snow walks out
with his old Avatar mask and Lawler confronts him in the ring.  Snow says that the Avatar gimmick was a dumb
idea cooked up by Vince McMahon (which it was) and he says that he is going to
make two citizens arrests: McMahon for attempted murder of his career and
Lawler for lewd conduct.  Lawler tries to
throw Head into the crowd, but that leads to Snow attacking him and giving a
referee in the ring a Snow Plow.  Snow
beats up a security guard and proceeds to flee into the crowd.  They are really turning their wheels with
Snow right now and they need to get to the point.  4 for
6
Steve Austin tells
Michael Cole that he can’t trust the Undertaker because the Undertaker wants
his WWF title.
Owen Hart &
Mark Henry beat Ken Shamrock & Dan Severn via disqualification when
D-Generation X interferes at 4:41:
Shamrock and Severn are reluctant partners in this match
and Shamrock doesn’t even acknowledge his partner’s presence after making his
entrance.  This is also a preview of the
King of the Ring first round, as Shamrock will face Henry and Severn will face
Owen in upcoming tournament matchups. 
Everyone looks good in this match, which features some fun technical
sequences between Owen and his face opponents, and Owen manages to put Shamrock
in the Sharpshooter, but DX interferes before Owen can get him to submit.  Rating:  **¼ (5 for 7)
After the bell,
the Nation runs out to fight DX and Vader runs out to assist DX and attack Mark
Henry.  WWF officials have to separate
everyone.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your “Don’t Trust Anybody” Steve Austin t-shirt for $25 (plus $6
shipping & handling)!
Tag Team Royal
Rumble to Determine the #1 Contenders to the WWF Tag Team Championship:  Kane & Mankind (w/Paul Bearer) win after
eliminating Terry Funk & 2 Cold Scorpio at 8:30:
This is the first tag team Royal Rumble in WWF history
and thirty second entry times are used, so the action is fast and furious.  Just like the WrestleMania XIV battle royal,
when one member of a team is eliminated, their partner must also leave the
match.  Kane & Mankind are surprise
entrants and enter as the second team, facing LOD 2000, who draws number
one.  Other participating teams are the
New Midnight Express, the Headbangers, the Disciples of Apocalypse, Kurrgan
& Golga, Too Much (Brian Christopher & Scott Taylor), Faarooq &
Steve Blackman (who seemingly love to tag together despite not wrestling that many matches as a team), Taka Michinoku & Bradshaw, and Terry Funk & 2 Cold
Scorpio.  The eliminations come slowly
and then accelerate once all of the teams have entered the match.  Funk tries to use a chair to help his team
win a title shot, but that doesn’t account for Mankind, who uses the chair to
wear out Funk and eliminate him.  Putting
Kane & Mankind in the match acted as a spoiler, since no other team could
possibly beat them, but the closing sequence with Funk and Scorpio was fun
while it lasted.  6 for 8
After the
commercial break, Hell in a Cell lowers around Kane and Mankind in the ring for
the main event.  Of course, the WWF isn’t
giving away that tag match on free TV, so we get a wild brawl instead between
Austin and the heels after the Undertaker does not show up when announced.  As Austin fights his opponents on the ramp,
Paul Bearer locks himself in the cell, but the Undertaker climbs out from underneath
the ring and beats him to a bloody pulp. 
After Austin decimates Mankind, he climbs to the top of the cell to
fight with Kane and that plays us out. 
The crowd loved every moment of this. 
7 for 9
The Final Report Card:  This show really started to move us through
the “Highway to Hell” storyline with the Undertaker accused of plotting behind
Steve Austin’s back.  Since the
Undertaker had not been a heel since early 1992, the possibility that he might
turn was a big deal at the time.  The
midcard is also developing nicely, although the Al Snow storyline is beginning
to wear thin.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.3 (vs. 4.0 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

by Logan Scisco


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

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

Show Evaluation:   Neutral

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – June 1, 1998

by Logan Scisco


Vince McMahon
narrates a video package where he hilariously says that last night’s WWF title
match was fair, that Dude Love lost because of his own incompetent, and Austin
will go down as one of the most “cold hearted” WWF superstars of all-time after
last night.  Imagine Vince’s crazy
Survivor Series lead-in packages and that’s what this was all about
.
Jim Ross and
Michael Cole are in the booth and they are live from Chicago, Illinois.

Mick Foley, still
displaying parts of the Dude Love persona, kicks off the broadcast sitting in a
chair in the middle of the ring and admits that Steve Austin kicked his ass
last night at Over the Edge.  He calls
out Vince McMahon and apologies to him for letting him down, but hopes he can
still be the number one contender after the great match he had last night.  McMahon demands that Foley get on his knees if
he wants to apologize, but Foley refuses and admits that hitting McMahon with a
chair last night felt good.  McMahon
dares Foley hit him with a chair again, but makes clear that doing so will risk
his financial future.  After Foley backs
down, McMahon announces that Foley’s services are no longer required because
where Steve Austin makes him money, Foley just makes him sick.  The Dude Love theme plays and McMahon dances around
Foley.  Segments like this are why the Mr.
McMahon persona has a claim as the greatest heel of all time and this exposes
the Big Show-Authority debacle earlier in the year as awful.  1 for
1
LOD 2000, Darren
Drozdov, and Sunny are shown waiting backstage for the Disciples of Apocalypse
because they are having a Chicago street fight against them tonight.
Opening Chicago
Street Fight:  LOD 2000 & Darren
Drozdov (w/Sunny) battle The Disciples of Apocalypse to a no contest at 4:04:
This entire match unfolds by the arena entrance and its
lots of mindless garbage brawling.  It
devolves into a war of attrition as the LOD and Skull and 8-Ball take each
other out, leaving Chainz and Droz brawling alone.  Their brawl causes them to collide with the
Undertaker, who is entering the arena, and he lays them both out.  Well, that was a big waste of time.  Rating:  ¼* (1 for 2)
The Undertaker is
shown interrogating people in the backstage area about Vince McMahon’s
whereabouts.
Val Venis pins
Papi Chulo with the Money Shot at 3:36:
Papi Chulo is Aguila without the mask since the light
heavyweight division doesn’t matter anymore. 
Chulo gets in a few token moves, but this is a squash to continue
building up Venis.  This did a better job
showcasing Venis’s skills than his debut against 2 Cold Scorpio.  2 for 3
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to get your “Don’t Trust Anybody” Steve Austin t-shirt for $25 (plus $6
shipping & handling)!
The Undertaker is
in the ring after the commercial break cuts arguably his best promo about how
Vince McMahon took advantage of his loyalty to the company and made him squash
giants to protect himself and his handpicked champions.  He claims that McMahon does not want him
representing the company and demands a WWF title shot.  McMahon comes out, riles the Undertaker up,
and books him tonight in a number one contender’s match against Kane.
The Undertaker’s
chokeslam of Pat Patterson through an announce table at Over the Edge is the
JVC Kaboom! of the Week.  Patterson
deserved some type of financial bonus for taking that bump because he
completely laid out for it.
The announce crew
recaps what happened in the Sable-Marc Mero match last night at Over the Edge.
King of the Ring
Qualifying Match:  “Marvelous” Marc Mero (w/Jacqueline)
beats “The Lethal Weapon” Steve Blackman with the Wild Thing at 2:55:
This is our first qualifying match for the 1998 King of
the Ring Tournament and this year’s tournament, like previous years, will see
the semi-finals showcased on pay-per-view. 
Since that’s the case, I’m not sure why they continue to call these
qualifying matches as opposed to first round matches.  Anyway, before the match, Mero introduces
Jacqueline, known to USWA fans as Miss Texas, as his new valet.  Jacqueline distracts the referee to help Mero
hit his usual low blow, but Mero finishes Blackman with the Wild Thing instead
of the TKO.  In a funny spot, Cole yells “TKO!”
after Mero hits a Samoan Drop before the Wild Thing and Ross has to correct
him.  Cole also can’t remember whether it
has been years or months since the Wild Thing was last used by Mero.  Is this match a sign of a new push for Mero?  Time will tell as Mero now moves on to face
either Jeff Jarrett or Faarooq in the first round.
Steve Austin’s
appearance of Madcow’s radio show is shown.
Edge’s new
vignette announces that he is both light and dark, nothing and everything, as
well as everywhere and invisibile.
Jerry “the King”
Lawler joins Ross for hour two.
Six-Man
Elimination Match:  The Rock, Owen Hart
& D-Lo Brown beats Triple H & The New Age Outlaws when Owen Hart
becomes the sole survivor after Ken Shamrock interferes at 7:28 shown:
Previous
Eliminations:  Billy Gunn pins D-Lo Brown
with a piledriver at 1:29; The Rock pins The Road Dogg with a Rock Bottom at
2:25; Owen Hart pins Billy Gunn with a spinning heel kick at 3:47; Triple H
pins the Rock with a Pedigree at 6:56
Commissioner Slaughter does his overdone shtick of
sending Chyna, X-Pac, Kama Mustafa, and Mark Henry to the locker room before
this match.  Chyna is allowed to come
back down to the ring after Triple H is left against Owen and the Rock, which
makes no sense, and she distracts Owen to facilitate the Rock’s
elimination.  However, we don’t get
another chapter of Triple H-Owen as Ken Shamrock attacks Owen for a big pop.  Yet another example of how feuds carefully
overlapped during the Attitude Era and made weekly television exciting.  I am a mark for elimination matches, but the
eliminations in this happened too quickly for TV time constraints.  The crowd was buzzing for the whole match,
though.  Rating:  **½ (3 for 4)
After the bell,
the Nation of Domination attacks Shamrock and Dan Severn makes the save.  Shamrock and Severn have a brief staredown,
which excites the Chicago crowd, but they do not physically engage.  After Severn leaves, Triple H attacks
Shamrock when it is announced that Owen won by disqualification and WWF officials
have to separate them.
Vince McMahon is
shown shaking hands with Kane in the locker room as Paul Bearer looks on
approvingly.
Tennessee Lee
introduces his newest tag team, Southern Justice, who are the Godwinns in
suits.  Their purpose is to serve as Jeff
Jarrett’s backup.
King of the Ring
Qualifying Match:  “Double J” Jeff
Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee & Southern Justice) beats Faarooq after hitting
Faarooq with a belt buckle at 3:21:
The Chicago crowd works up a mocking “We want Flair!”
chant at Jarrett early in this bout. 
Once Southern Justice were welcomed out this match ceased to have much
suspense.  As I said in the Over the Edge
review, Faarooq has very little identity as a face, even more so now that his
feud with the Nation has died off, so Jarrett going over in this bad match is
the right call here.  Rating: 
* (3 for 5)
A video package
hypes the charity work of the McMahon family. 
This would have made a great campaign commercial for Linda’s Senate
campaign.
WWF Light
Heavyweight Championship Match:  Taka
Michinoku (w/Bradshaw) defeats Funaki (w/Kaientai) with the Michinoku Driver at
3:11:
I bet Dick Togo was angry that he did not get a title
shot after taking Michinoku to the limit on last week’s show.  Al Snow makes an appearance at ringside,
dressed in stereotypical Japanese clothing and posing as a ringside photographer,
but he is soon evicted.  A fun, fast
paced match between these two that is a breath of fresh air after the last
bout.  It’s just a shame that Michinoku
didn’t get to wrestle the members of Kaientai in longer singles matches on RAW.  Rating:  **¼ (4 for 6)
Paul Bearer tells
Jim Ross from the backstage area that his son is bound to be WWF champion and
he can defeat the Undertaker on tonight’s show
.
Al Snow yells at
the Head in the parking lot for causing them to get evicted from the show.
Vince McMahon
comes by to do commentary duties with Ross and Lawler for the rest of the show.
King of the Ring
Qualifying Match:  Mark Henry pins Terry
Funk with a splash at 4:54:
Despite being in the company since 1996, Henry only has a
handful of RAW in-ring appearances to his credit because of injuries.  Funk does a fantastic job walking him through
his match, which features Funk using everything he knows, from chairs to an
Asai moonsault to take the bigger Henry down and failing in the end due to age
and Henry’s brute strength.  I probably
overrated this, but I enjoyed the story it told, which was better than any
other match that has been on the show tonight. 
Rating:  *** (5 for 7)
WWF Champion Steve
Austin comes out to do commentary for the next match with Ross, Lawler, and
McMahon.
#1 Contender’s
Match for the WWF Championship:  Kane
(w/Paul Bearer) defeats The Undertaker with a Tombstone after Mankind
interferes at 6:27:
In terms of wins and losses, it is really unfair to make
the Undertaker beat Kane for a third time to get a title show since he beat him
at WrestleMania and in an Inferno Match at Unforgiven.  It’s sort of like how it is tough for a
sports team to beat another team three times in the course of a season.  It’s funny to hear McMahon question whether
the Undertaker is too old in this match and he and Austin have some
entertaining banter on commentary, although it comes close to overwhelming the
match.  Forced to work at a faster pace
for television, this is the best encounter between these two so far and Kane
gets the title shot at the King of the Ring thanks to Mick Foley’s
interference.  Rating:  **½ (6 for 8)
After the match,
Kane looks over Austin at the announce table and Austin takes exception to that
and the crowd wants a brawl.  However,
Kane just motions that the title will soon be around his waist and his pyro
goes off as he walks to the back.  The
Undertaker revives and fights with Mankind and that convinces Vince McMahon to
tell Ross that he might just rehire Foley since he is showing him some guts.
The Final Report Card:  This was
Chicago, so a hot crowd could be expected, but the crowd heat for the entire
show was off the charts and the WWE would kill for a crowd like this
today.  It’s a testament to how well the entire card has been built from the recently debuted Val Venis all
the way to Austin.  Vince McMahon’s awesome character also carried the first hour of the show and properly advanced the major angles.  The ending was not as
hot as previous RAWs and they would have been better served just having the
Undertaker and Mankind brawl to the back than staging an average brawl around
the ring as the show played out, but that’s a minor complaint.  EASY thumbs up this week.

Monday Night War Rating:  4.4 (vs. 3.7 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Over the Edge 1998 – In Your House

by Logan Scisco


The show starts
with the “Mr. McMahon’s Utopia” video package, which is one of the best WWF
video packages of all-time.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“the King” Lawler are on commentary and they are live from Milwaukee, Wisconsin
(otherwise known as the town that R-Truth can’t remember).

Opening
Contest:  LOD 2000 (w/Sunny & Darren
Drozdov) defeat The Disciples of Apocalypse (w/Chainz) when Animal pins Skull
after a powerslam at 9:48:
I mentioned in the Unforgiven review that that show was
Sunny’s last WWF pay-per-view appearance, but this one actually is (I somehow
forgot this show and jumped in my mind from Unforgiven to King of the Ring).  She definitely looks worse for wear and her
firing shortly after this was not surprising. 
Ross hypes the LOD’s AWA background on commentary since Milwaukee was a
former AWA stop and some AWA legends are being honored later in the show.  This has a hot start, but the DOA choke the
life of it (literally).  The DOA tries an
illegal switch late in the match, but Droz nails Skull in the head when he runs
the ropes and the LOD wins.  This match
isn’t putting either team anywhere near the title picture, though.  Rating:  *
Intercontinental
Champion The Rock comes out and runs down the Milwaukee beer industry and their
women.  Faarooq runs out and gives the
Rock a piledriver on a chair (sort of) and then beats up some of the Nation
before he leaves the ring.  The Rock does
a stretcher job and Ross and Lawler speculate on whether we will have an
Intercontinental championship match tonight or not.  The most ridiculous part of the stretcher job
is they do not have EMTs come out to the ring and Owen is the one who has to
put a neck collar on the Rock.
Michael Cole talks
to WWF Champion Steve Austin in the locker room.  Austin says he doesn’t care about the odds he
faces tonight and says that no one has volunteered to watch his back in the
title match.
“Double J” Jeff
Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee) beats Steve Blackman after Lee hits Blackman with a
karate stick at 10:19:
Blackman is like one of those non-credible challengers
that Jarrett used to face in 1995 when he was Intercontinental champion.  During the bout, Al Snow is shown doing
commentary with the Spanish announce team dressed in stereotypical Mexican
attire (he’s eventually removed by security and gets a bigger reaction than the
match).  The real
highlight of this match is Lawler reading off country song lyrics to narrate
big moments.  This is a serviceable match,
but it has very little heat, and Jarrett picks up the cheap win via Lee’s
interference.  You can hear the crickets
as he makes his way to the back.  Rating: 
**
Marc Mero giving
Sable the conditions for the match between him and someone of Sable’s choosing
on last week’s RAW is shown.
Sable’s Freedom
vs. Sable’s Career Match:  “Marvelous”
Marc Mero pins Sable with an inside cradle at 29 seconds:
Ross makes an allusion to Mero’s Johnny B. Badd gimmick
by telling Lawler “You know, Mero looks a lot like Little Richard.”  Back in 1998, I thought Sable would pick the
Undertaker as the superstar to face Mero. 
However, Sable opts to choose herself for this match and Mero feigns
sadness at having to wrestle her.  He
decides to lay down for her, but when Sable covers him, he reverses it and
sends her packing.  A guy in the front
row yells “NO!  NO!” when Mero reverses
the pin and that is pretty funny.  Mero
actually gets a decent pop for the pin, but sadly he wouldn’t be done with
Sable yet.  This was actually Mero’s last
victory on a WWF pay-per-view.
Cole recaps what
we have just seen, as if we are idiots, and Sable thanks her fans for their
support and tries to cry and can’t.
Dok Hendrix is in
the locker room with the Nation of Domination, but they refuse to talk with
him.  Commissioner Slaughter has forced
the Rock to defend the Intercontinental title regardless of what Faarooq did to
him earlier.  There’s something that
doesn’t seem quite fair about that to me, especially since Faarooq was
unprovoked.
Bonus Handicap Match:  Kaientai (w/Yamaguchi-San) beat Taka
Michinoku & Bradshaw after Dick Togo pins Michinoku with a Senton Bomb at 9:53:
This is back when a bonus match actually made sense
within existing storylines.  The Kaientai
feud was the WWF’s attempt to give Bradshaw something to do after the New
Blackjacks split up and the NWA angle was a bust, but it never really took off.  Seeing Bradshaw face Kaientai is like
watching a real world version of Gulliver’s
Travels
.  It leads to some
entertaining spots, though, with Bradshaw viciously slamming members of
Kaientai on the arena floor and having all of the members of Kaientai try to
take him down simultaneously.  Everything
devolves into some really fun spots for the finish, which sees Kainetai’s
numbers overwhelm their opponents and continue to build momentum with a
win.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot
for Kaientai to do after the Michinoku feud because their size created a
credibility problem.  Rating: 
**½
Sable is shown
slowly walking out of the arena with her bags.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  The Rock (Champion)
defeats Faarooq with the Flair pin at 5:09:
This is the big blowoff for the Rock-Faarooq feud that
has been simmering throughout 1998, but Ross prefers to talk about it as an
extension of the Florida State-Miami football feud.  The Rock initially refuses to come out for
the bout, so Commissioner Slaughter walks out and orders him to come to the
ring in ten seconds or forfeit the title. 
So, we are supposed to buy Slaughter as a face in this situation after
he beat up Steve Austin a few weeks ago on RAW? 
The Rock does come out and we get a whimper of a match to settle this
long-term feud.  Faarooq was not
well-suited to playing a face and he would dabble around in the lower midcard
before the Acolyte tag team revived his career. After the match, Faarooq
piledrives the Rock and the Nation runs in to do a beatdown before D-Generation
X makes the save.  THAT finally wakes up
the crowd.  Rating:  *½
 -Mask vs. Mask Match:  Kane (w/Paul Bearer) pins Vader with a
Tombstone at 7:22:
This is really the last pay-per-view where Vader had a
great deal of credibility, but the WWF really spoiled the outcome by making
this a mask vs. mask match.  I never
understood why that stipulation held up in kayfabe anyway since WWF viewers had
already seen Vader without his mask on several occasions, so who cares if he
loses it?  Vader also did not get as much
airtime relative to Kane’s ongoing feud with the Undertaker, so that was
another clue that he was going to be cannon fodder here.  The only real interesting event of this match
is when Vader hits Kane with a wrench that he acquires from underneath the
ring, but that isn’t enough to stop the Big Red Machine, who remains undefeated
against anyone not named the Undertaker. 
Rating:  ½*
After the match,
Vader is unmasked and Lawler acts like this is an unheard of event.  In a funny moment, Kane puts the mask on Paul Bearer, who dances around like Vader and proclaims it “Paul Bearer time.”  Cole interviews Vader, who announces that he’s
a “big, fat piece of shit.”  One would
think this would create a small redemption angle for Vader that would see him
return to his roots and vault back up the card, but it was not meant to be.
The Crusher and
Mad Dog Vachon are recognized in a small ceremony for AWA superstars.  The crowd is very appreciative of both men
and I would guess that Jim Cornette played a role in putting this together,
probably over Kevin Dunn’s objections. 
Lawler takes objection to the ceremony, makes fun of Mad Dog Vachon, and
the Crusher beats him up.
Owen Hart, Kama
Mustafa & D-Lo Brown (w/Mark Henry) defeat Triple H & The New Age
Outlaws (w/X-Pac & Chyna) when Owen pins Triple H with a Pedigree on a tag
team title belt at 18:34:
For the first time tonight, the crowd is really buzzing
about a match.  Owen is the most over
participant, getting an “Owen sucks” and being loudly booed when he enters the
match.  Momentum swings back and forth
and when all hell breaks loose things really step up a notch as Chyna decks Mark
Henry and Billy Gunn and Triple H give D-Lo a spike piledriver on a tag team
title belt.  However, Owen breaks that up
and gets a measure of revenge against Triple H by finally pinning him on
pay-per-view.  Of course, by the time
that Owen has gotten this revenge he’s a heel and we’re supposed to be mad
about it.  The match was just average,
but it put Kama and D-Lo on the same level as the more recognized members of
D-Generation X and thereby gave the Nation some credibility in their feud with
DX.  Rating:  **
A video package
hypes the upcoming WWF championship match between Steve Austin and Dude Love
.
Hendrix interviews
Vince McMahon, Pat Patterson, and Gerald Brisco and McMahon mockingly says that
he will be an impartial referee tonight. 
He says that if Austin touches him, he will stop the match and strip him
of the title and makes it very clear that the match will end “by his hand only.”
-WWF Championship
Match with Vince McMahon as Guest Referee, Pat Patterson as Guest Ring Announcer,
and Gerald Brisco as Guest Timekeeper:  “Stone
Cold” Steve Austin (Champion) pins Dude Love with a Stone Cold Stunner at 22:28:
This is one of my all-time favorite matches and there are
so many things to love about it.  First, Howard
Finkel gives a pre-written introduction for Patterson that compares him to
Wayne Gretzky, discusses Patterson surviving a “grueling” tournament in Rio de
Janeiro to win the Intercontinental title, and applauds him as a role model for
children.  Second, Patterson gives the
most hilarious ring introductions ever by saying Brisco is the reincarnation of
Jim Thorpe and emphasizing that he’s a real Native American unlike Chief Jay
Strongbow, arguing that Vince makes “life worth living” and has a “yes I can”
attitude (too bad Linda didn’t run for Senate earlier and change the “I” in
that to “we”), arguing that Dude Love is an inspiration, and that Austin is a “foul
mouthed punk” and a “bum.”  Third, as the
match proceeds, McMahon changes the rules to a no disqualification and falls
count anywhere match (which were hilariously dubbed as “reminders”), which
causes the Ross rage-o-meter to reach a 1.0. 
And fourth, it has one of the wildest and craziest finishes to a WWF
title match, as McMahon is inadvertently laid out by a Love chair shot; the
Undertaker, who comes out before the match to watch Austin’s back, chokeslams
Patterson and Brisco through the ringside announce tables to prevent them from
counting a Love pin on Austin; and Austin takes an unconscious McMahon’s hand
to register the three count after he gives Love a Stunner.  Ross sums the match up beautifully:  “Steve Austin is the toughest son of a bitch
I ever saw!”  This was my Match of the
Year for 1998 (I think it ended up finishing third in the PWI voting that year)
due to the great build up, the ability of the booking to draw a loud crowd
reaction, and a very witty ending.  Rating: 
*****
The Final Report Card:  The WWF was still working toward “red hot”
status, so this show is still in the transition period where they were
reinforcing their gains against WCW.  The
entire card aside from the main event is lackluster and is RAW fare, but the
main event is the only thing that needed to deliver at the time and it
did.  Surprisingly, this show drew fewer
buys than Unforgiven and drew the fewest buys of any show in the Austin era.  The only thing that I think could account for that is that the fans felt Austin winning was a foregone conclusion.  I won’t give this show a thumbs up, since it is just a one match show, but if you have never
seen Austin-Love, then you need to check it out.
Attendance: 
9,822
Buyrate: 
0.58 (+0.01 from the previous year)


Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – May 25, 1998

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross and Michael Cole are in the booth
and they are taped from Chattanooga, Tennessee. 
This is the go home show for Over the Edge.

Vince McMahon, Pat
Patterson, Gerald Brisco, and two police officers walk out and McMahon gloats
that he assaulted WWF Champion Steve Austin at the end of last week’s show and
got away with it.  Austin then walks out
and gets the police officers to arrest McMahon for assault.  When Patterson and Brisco get into
altercations with the officers when they handcuff McMahon, the police officers
arrest them for obstruction.  Austin then
dumps a beer on McMahon as the crowd goes wild. 
THIS is how you give a heel their comeuppance and it fits perfectly with
last week’s legal storyline.  The crowd
loved this segment and it is one of the better opening segments of RAW
ever.  1 for 1
Opening
Contest:  LOD 2000 & Darren Drozdov defeat
The Disciples of Apocalypse when Droz pins Chainz after a sitout powerbomb at 4:08
This is Drozdov’s debut and he was LOD 2000’s mystery
partner in this contest, something that the crowd finds rather
underwhelming.  After watching Beyond the Mat I cannot divorce
associating Droz with McMahon screaming “HE’S GONNA PUKE” over and over
again.  Droz works in some basic offense
that you would expect from a rookie and he gets the winning fall in a bad
match.  Rating:  ½* (1 for 2)
Call 815-734-1161
to get your Steve Austin “Hell Yeah” t-shirt for $25 (plus shipping &
handling charges)!
Austin helps
police put McMahon and the stooges into a squad car in the back.
Dan “The Beast”
Severn beats Owen Hart via disqualification when the Nation interferes at 3:14:
This is not a conventional WWF match as Owen and Severn
experiment with a quasi-shoot style that you would see in Pancrase.  As a result, the crowd really isn’t sure how
to react to it and Cole and Ross aren’t sure how to sell it either.  Owen eventually gets outmaneuvered by Severn
and placed in an armbar, but the Nation runs in to save Owen from a submission
loss.  Severn eats two splashes from Mark
Henry as a result.  I liked what they
were going for here, but they did not have enough time to develop it.  Rating:  *½ (1 for 3)
Steve Austin’s
appearance on MTV Celebrity Deathmatch is chronicled.
Vince McMahon and
the stooges are shown jawing with the officers and rocking the squad car
backstage.
Edge is coming!
Hank the Angry Drunken
Dwarf and Crackhead Bob, who have been guests on the Howard Stern Show, come
out with the Jackyl.  Hank curses a lot
about the Internet and Bob says some other nonsense.  The Jackyl introduces more Oddities, which include
“Princess” Luna (Vachon), Golga (John Tenta under a mask with knots on his
head)), and Giant Silva (billed at this time as “The Largest Man in the World”).  The oddities hug Jackyl and the Headbangers
make their entrance for the next match. 
This whole thing just screams awkward. 
1 for 4
Golga (w/The
Oddities) beats Thrasher (w/Mosh) with a powerslam at 2:55:
Crackhead Bob joins the commentary team with the Jackyl.  Golga works in the old Earthquake-style
powerslam to win as a wink to the fans as to his true identity and Giant Silva
destroys Mosh after the match, as well as the referee.  You can tell that Ross thinks this is
completely stupid by the tone of his voice, but Cole was eating it up (of
course).
Al Snow is shown
hanging out in the crowd.
Steve Austin is
shown conversing with the police officers by the police car McMahon and the stooges
are held in.
The interaction
between Kane and the Undertaker on last week’s show is the Super Soaker 1500
Rewind segment.
Vader defeats “Double
J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee) via disqualification when Kane interferes at
3:58:
Vader looks much better here than he did a few weeks ago
on RAW and he destroys Jarrett for three-quarters of the match.  Kane runs in before he can deliver a Vader
Bomb and destroys him before WWF officials intervene.  Rating:  * (1 for 5)
As a condition for
his and his stooges release, McMahon apologizes to Austin and then gives a
death glare to the camera to send us into hour two, where Jerry “the King”
Lawler replaces Cole.
McMahon comes out
with the stooges, seemingly chastened by his encounter with the law tonight,
and says there is not a single WWF superstar that can intimidate him at Over
the Edge and make him call the match fairly. 
McMahon books Austin to face the Undertaker in tonight’s main event and
appears proud of himself.  A second
entertaining promo by McMahon tonight.  2 for 6
D-Generation X is
shown at a local airfield and they make some jokes about flying a plane.
Al Snow comes out
of the crowd and gets in Lawler’s face and demands to meet with McMahon.  Lawler insists that Snow met McMahon last
week.
Non-Title
Match:  Taka Michinoku (WWF Light
Heavyweight Champion) beats Dick Togo (w/Yamaguchi-San) with a hurricanrana at
3:50:
I have no idea why they did not make this for the title
to at least let Michinoku chalk up a title defense on RAW.  This is a fun match as both men exchange fast
paced moves and Michinoku scrapes by Togo. 
See, if this was for the title they could have worked in a filler match
for Over the Edge and made Togo a contender. 
It would have also added some weight to the Taka-Kaientai feud.  After the bout, Michinoku tries to go after
Yamaguchi-San, but Kaientai demolish him before he can inflict damage.  Rating:  **½ (3 for 7)
Val Venis hitting
the Money Shot on 2 Cold Scorpio is the Gastrol GTX Slam of the Week.
DX is back at the
airfield joking around, but they have no idea where Triple H is.  Road Dogg does work in a funny “Rockabilly”
reference that Billy Gunn takes exception to.
Faarooq beats “Marvelous”
Marc Mero (w/Sable) with a clothesline at 2:28:
Sable aggressively disrobes Mero before the match, which
further underlies the tension between the two. 
The Ross football meter goes to 1:03 for this match and he makes sure to
include that Mero was a former Golden Gloves champion.  Sable distracts Mero and causes him to lose
another match.  This leads to Mero getting
on the mic after the match and arranging a match for Over the Edge between
himself and someone of Sable’s choosing. 
If Sable’s chosen superstar wins, she gets her freedom, but if Mero wins
Sable has to leave the WWF forever.
Call
1-900-747-4WWF to find out what the newest front office shakeups are in the
wrestling world!
A video package
hypes “WWF model citizen” Pat Patterson.
Triple H is shown “flying”
an aircraft and making sexual references. 
He paints some anti-WCW and anti-Nation slogans in the sky.  This whole thing was a waste.  3 for
8
Non-Title
Match:  The Rock (Intercontinental
Champion w/Mark Henry) wrestles Triple H (European Champion w/Chyna) to a
double count out at 7:58 shown:
The Rock gives the audience his opinion on the new drug,
Viagra, before the match.  This match is
more warmly received than it was a year prior, which shows how adding a few
pieces (e.g. Chyna) and flipping the alignments of the characters can overcome
some initial booking difficulties.  Chyna
and Mark Henry have their first big time confrontation in this match after both
of them interfere.  Both men show signs
that they are the next big things in the business as they work through a good
encounter, assisted by their seconds. 
This is a situation where a double count out finish was warranted to
deepen the DX-Nation feud.  Rating: 
*** (4 for 9)
After the match,
Faarooq comes out and gives the Rock a piledriver by the entrance.  Triple H laughs in the ring.
McMahon is
announced as the special guest referee for the Austin-Undertaker match, but the
match never takes place as the Undertaker, who has not been in a good mood
lately, takes exception to McMahon flexing his muscles during his
entrance.  The Undertaker stares down
McMahon and chokeslams him, but before he can give him a Tombstone, Kane runs
in and they brawl into the crowd.  As the
stooges held McMahon up in the ring, Austin’s music sounds and it’s Stunners
galore to send the crowd into a frenzy. 
Austin ties McMahon into the ropes and goes to hit him with a chair, but
Dude Love runs out and eats the chair shot instead and McMahon gets away.  I miss endings like this.  5 for
10
The Final Report Card:  This is the very definition of a WWF show in
1998:  a lackluster undercard sandwiched
between a red hot top angle.  The
McMahon-Austin segments steal the show and do a great job setting up Over the
Edge.  This show also gave a test run for
the Rock-Triple H feud that would dominate the summer of 1998, so it has that
going for it as well.  Our next review
will cover Over the Edge 1998 and then we will go into the June RAWs.
As an aside, would the readers prefer to
have my disguise the results rather than putting them before expressing my
thoughts on the match?  I can do
whatever, but I just assumed that most readers saw these shows in their youth
and remembered a good chunk of them. 
Just taking the temperature of the blog in that regard as I continue
fine tuning my recaps.
So, here is our Over the Edge card:
WWF Championship Match with Vince McMahon as
Guest Referee, Pat Patterson as Guest Ring Announcer, and Gerald Brisco as
Guest Timekeeper:  Steve Austin
(Champion) vs. Dude Love
Intercontinental Championship Match:  The Rock (Champion) vs. Faarooq
Mask vs. Mask Match:  Vader vs. Kane
Freedom vs. Career Match:  ?????? vs. Marc Mero
The New Age Outlaws & Triple H vs. Owen
Hart, Kama Mustafa & D-Lo Brown
Steve Blackman vs. Jeff Jarrett
LOD 2000 vs. The Disciples of Apocalypse
Monday Night War Rating:  4.2 (vs. 4.2 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

by Logan Scisco

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – May 11, 1998

by Logan Scisco

A video package
recaps Mick Foley becoming the number one contender to the WWF championship
last week.
Jim Ross and
Michael Cole are doing commentary and they are live from Baltimore, Maryland
.

Vince McMahon
walks out and announces that WWF Champion Steve Austin will be in tag team
action tonight.  Dude Love comes out
wearing a suit and glasses, carrying a copy of the Wall Street Journal, and
rocking a suit.  Love cuts a funny promo
about his identity, nearly causing McMahon to corpse, and hugs McMahon.  McMahon proceeds to announce that at Over the
Edge, Gerald Brisco will be the guest timekeeper and Pat Patterson will be the
guest ring announcer for the WWF title match. 
The guest referee does not show, so McMahon goes to the back and then
soon re-emerges in a referee shirt.  Fun
segment to kick off tonight’s show.  1 for 1
Sable is shown
arriving at the arena and she blows off Kevin Kelly.
Footage is shown
of D-Generation X reprising their “invasion” by going to WCW headquarters in
Atlanta, Georgia.  Security doesn’t quite
know what to make of them.
Al Snow is shown
arriving backstage with Head.  He is
carrying tickets and Kevin Kelly informs him that he is not entering the
appropriate part of the arena.  Snow
berates Head for not directing them to the right arena entrance.
-Opening
Contest:  Vader beats Barry Windham
(w/Jim Cornette & The New Midnight Express) with a Vader Bomb at 2:07:
And here I thought the Undertaker’s squash of Windham
sent him away for good.  Vader wrestles
this match in a t-shirt and is not moving very well, but he still manages to
shrug off some of Windham’s strikes and NWA interference to win anyway.  After the match, Vader takes out the New
Midnight Express.  This keeps Vader
strong for a mask vs. mask match with Kane at Over the Edge.
Steve Austin’s
appearance on premiere of MTV’s Celebrity Deathmatch is shown.  That show is how I knew wrestling was
starting to become mainstream again.
Austin’s Stone
Cold Stunner on Pat Patterson on last week’s show is the Gastrol GTX Slam of
the Week.
Austin is shown arriving
in a vehicle backstage.  Kelly informs
him about the roles of Brisco, Patterson, and McMahon in the title match at
Over the Edge and how he has been booked in a tag match tonight.  Austin is not happy and goes looking for
McMahon.
Skull (w/8-Ball)
beats Hawk (w/Animal & Sunny) with a small package after an illegal switch
at 2:30:
Considering the participants, this isn’t bad as both men
do some power moves and brawling until Hawk flying out of the ring on a
shoulder thrust in the corner allows 8-Ball to switch places with Skull and
chalk the win.
A video package
recaps DX’s altercation with law enforcement at CNN headquarters.  They appear to be quite popular with the
average person there.
A brief Edge
vignette where it is announced that he’s the person of our dreams is shown
.
Bradshaw and Taka
Michinoku are shown smoking cigars earlier in the day and Bradshaw gives
Michinoku a driving lesson.  When they
return to the arena they are attacked by Kaientai.
Faarooq (w/Steve
Blackman) beats “Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee) via disqualification
when the Nation of Domination interferes at 1:52:
Faarooq finally has some unique entrance music, but it just
sounds like generic hip hop.  Blackman
beats up Jarrett several times when he ends up outside of the ring and when
Faarooq gets ready to finish Jarrett with a Dominator, the Nation
interferes.  In the ensuing brawl, the
Nation beats down Faarooq while Jarrett destroys Blackman with nunchucks.  You can’t say they aren’t trying with this
Jarrett-Blackman feud and considering Blackman’s lack of mic skills, this is
about as good as we were going to get.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your Steve Austin “You Wanna Raise Hell?” t-shirt for $25 (plus $6
shipping & handling)!
WWF Champion Steve
Austin comes out and demands McMahon come out to tell him what is going on with
his booking tonight.  McMahon appears on
the Titantron with Patterson and Brisco and they refuse to give him any
information.  Just a generic segment to
continue the storytelling for tonight.  1 for 2
A spliced together
compilation of Val Venis’s vignettes are shown.
Jerry “the King”
Lawler comes out to do commentary for hour two.
The next scheduled
segment is the Marc Mero-Sable bout (or “public confrontation” if you prefer).  Sable gets on the mic and tells Mero that she
didn’t think it would come to this and Mero responds by picking her up for a
TKO and then setting her down.  Mero
demands an apology for Sable trying to ruin his career, but Sable responds by
giving him a low blow and a Sable bomb. 
Jim Cornette’s 1997 Timeline shoot ranted about this segment and Steve
Austin scrapped a planned program with Mero over it because he did not want to
take offense from a guy who was just beaten by a woman.  That aside, this got a huge reaction from the
crowd and was entertaining.  2 for 3
The Undertaker
comes out after Lawler based on Lawler’s interaction with Paul Bearer on last
week’s show.  The lights go out before
the Undertaker can Tombstone Lawler and Kane and Bearer walk out.  Bearer promises that next week he will prove
that he is Kane’s father.  After Kane and
Bearer go back to the locker room, the Undertaker Tombstones Lawler.  This shows why the Attitude Era was great
because the Undertaker going after Lawler immediately after the Sable-Mero
segment happened out of nowhere.  3 for 4
Al Snow comes out
of the crowd with Head to do commentary duties with Jim Ross.  Security, directed by Pat Patterson, removes
Snow, who demands to see McMahon.
DX delivers a “parting
shot” to CNN headquarters by blowing it up (computer generated of course) with
an artillery gun.  Live in the arena, DX
comes out and X-Pac tells Eric Bischoff to suck it.  DX runs through their usual promo spots
before Owen Hart appears and announces that “Enough is enough and it’s time for
a change.”  Owen brings the Nation of Domination
with him to fight DX.
Chyna’s
participation in last week’s eight person tag match is the 1-800-COLLECT Rewind
segment.
Jim Cornette
replaces Lawler to do commentary for the rest of the show.
­-Non-Title
Match:  Triple H (European Champion
w/D-Generation X) wrestles Owen Hart (w/The Nation of Domination) to a
no-contest at 7:07 shown:
Owen’s alliance with the Nation makes sense in storyline
terms because he needed a crew to back him up against DX and their constant interference
in his matches.  Owen, Kama Mustafa, and
D-Lo Brown of the Nation are booked to face DX in a six man tag match for Over
the Edge as well.  Chyna’s crotching of
Owen on the top rope nearly sparks a brawl between the two factions and
Commissioner Slaughter allegedly puts an end to the bout.  Hey Slaughter, why didn’t you just send
everyone to back BEFORE the match like you usually do?  This is one of the reasons that running
authority figure stories like this never work out from a logic perspective.  I thought they might give Owen a cheap win
here since he has a new factional alignment, but it was not to be.  The match showed that the crowd was digging
the early stages of the DX-Nation feud, though. 
Rating:  **½ (4 for 5)
Dustin Runnels
comes out with his Goldust attire and tosses it into a barrel by the
entrance.  He proceeds to set it on fire
and then cuts a promo where he says that McMahon took his dignity away with the
Goldust character.  McMahon was everyone’s
favorite whipping boy at this time.  A
storyboard for him would have tons of lines all over the place.  Runnels says that the Goldust character is
dead.  This had a lot of shock value at
the time, but since the Goldust character was eventually reprised (like Jeff
Jarrett ripping his country gimmick and going back to it) it didn’t matter in
the long run.  4 for 6
Handicap
Match:  Kaientai (w/Yamaguchi-San) beats Terry
Funk & 2 Cold Scorpio via disqualification when Taka Michinoku &
Bradshaw interfere at 3:09:
I know it’s Terry Funk and all, but does it make a lot of
sense to have him wrestle a week after he was “destroyed” by Mick Foley?  This is Kaientai’s in-ring RAW debut.  The height difference between Kaientai and
their opponents always caused me to think that they didn’t have much of a
chance at winning their matches.  The
referee doesn’t care that Kaientai never tag and all stay in the ring at the
same time and eventually Michinoku and Bradshaw run out to drive Kaientai
off.  This is the first loss for Funk and
Scorpio.  The match was not a
conventional tag match and the flow of it was messy.  Rating:  * (4 for 7)
McMahon is shown
talking with Austin’s mystery tag team partner in the locker room, but we
cannot see who it is.
Al Snow tries to
re-enter the arena, but security refuses him entry.
“Stone Cold”
Steve Austin & Vince McMahon (w/Gerald Brisco & Pat Patterson) wrestle The
Rock & D-Lo Brown (w/The Nation of Domination) to a no contest when McMahon
attacks Austin at 8:28:
McMahon names himself as Austin’s mystery partner making
this a de facto handicap match.  Austin
decides to wrestle it like No Mercy on the N64 by hitting anything that moves,
including Brisco and Patterson.  Instead
of giving a hot tag to McMahon after avoiding a Lo Down, Austin gives McMahon
the bird.  Austin gives Brown a Stunner,
but the Rock breaks that up and McMahon clotheslines Austin.  Brisco and Patterson join in the beat down to
end this match, which did a great job sustaining heat.  **½ (5
for 7)
After the bell,
Austin beats back McMahon and the stooges only to have Dude Love run in and
tackle him.  However, Dustin Runnels and
D-Generation X run into the ring to brawl with Love and the Nation and the
crowd’s loud reaction to all of this plays us out.
The Final Report Card:  RAW continues its streak of having lots of
wild and unpredictable action as Austin gets held from some unlikely sources to
beat back Dude Love and the Nation of Domination at the end of the show and the
Undertaker destroyed Jerry Lawler.  D-Generation
X’s “invasion” of WCW headquarters was pretty funny, although it was nowhere
near their “invasion” of the WCW card in Norfolk, Virginia prior to this
show.  The deck has been stacked against
Austin for Over the Edge and the rest of that card is starting to come together
with Vader being booked against Kane, DX fighting the Nation, and the Rock
defending the Intercontinental title against Faarooq.  Excellent storytelling this week in all of
the big angles and the crowd’s reactions throughout the show are a testament to
that.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.3 (vs.4.3 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

by Logan Scisco

Michael Cole
narrates a video package recapping the events of last week’s show, where Steve
Austin escaped the show with the WWF championship.
Jim Ross and
Michael Cole are in the booth and they are taped from Richmond, Virginia.

Mick Foley walks
out to do the Love Shack, but is not wearing his Dude Love gear.  He complains about not getting an immediate
rematch with Steve Austin after Unforgiven and says Vince McMahon is trying to
get rid of him by booking him to face Terry Funk in a no holds barred match
tonight.  He says he won’t wrestle in the
Dude Love outfit anymore and he demands McMahon come out because “Cactus Jack”
wants answers.  McMahon comes out and
says that the match with Funk is a reward, not a punishment, because triumph
comes through adversity and that if Foley wins decisively he will become the
number one contender of the WWF title.  Steve
Austin then suddenly comes out and tears down the Love Shack.  McMahon came off as a master manipulator here
and his talk about triumph and sacrifice channeled the best evangelical
preachers in America.  1 for 1
Call 815-734-1161
to get your copy of the WrestleMania XIV video tape and a lifesize Steve Austin
poster for $44.95 (plus $9 shipping & handling)!
Opening
Contest:  The Rock & Owen Hart (w/The
Nation of Domination) beat Steve Blackman & Faarooq when Owen pins Blackman
with a spinning heel kick at 6:20:
Commissioner Slaughter tosses the Nation from ringside
before this bout and I find it humorous that Faarooq still doesn’t have a
unique entrance theme for his face character. 
Faarooq hits the Dominator just forty seconds into the match, which Cole
hilariously calls as “WOW!”, but Owen breaks the fall.  Blackman’s storyline arc is crazy at this
point, as he’s a proxy for Shamrock in his Nation feud and engaged in a lame
feud with Jeff Jarrett.  This match features
the first official call of the People’s Elbow, thereby giving the Rock’s whacky
elbow drop a name.  This match has really
good energy and Blackman’s multiple feuds intersect here (which is why that can
be a nice piece of booking) when Jarrett interferes and causes Blackman to be
pinned by Owen.  Rating:  **½ (2 for 2)
McMahon narrates a
video package hyping Gerald Brisco.  This
is pretty funny in light of Brisco being put in the Austin-McMahon feud and
Brisco makes clear that everything he has he owes to McMahon.  I love subtle stuff like this.
We get our first
Edge vignette, which sees him beating up a random man on the street and riding
a subway alone.
D-Generation X
cuts a generic promo and WWF Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws prepare to
defend the titles against the Disciples of Apocalyse, but LOD 2000 comes out
and challenges DX to an eight man tag pitting DOA and the LOD against Triple H,
the Outlaws, and X-Pac.  Hawk and DX go
back and forth in a comic exchange of questioning each other’s manhood which
shows that the parties involved don’t really like each other (which is why this
gets a point from me).  The DOA can’t be
happy that the LOD has hijacked their tag team title shot.  3 for
3
Dan Severn
defeats Savio Vega via submission to an armbar at 1:34:
Ross uses the match to hype UFC 17 and I’d love to see
Severn’s style critiqued by the WWE today, since it is definitely not “WWE
style.”  Severn hits some suplexes,
survives some Savio chops, and then puts Savio away with an armbar.
Jerry Lawler and
Paul Bearer are captured, supposedly off-camera, chatting in the locker room
and Bearer recaps how the Undertaker/Kane’s mother seduced him when he was
nineteen.  When we get back from
commercial, Lawler apologizes to viewers for having the conversation broadcast
over the air.  Lawler and Bearer were
great in this segment and the whole thing came off like a natural conversation
and not stiff like today’s segments.  It’s
amazing what you can do when you let people play to their natural
personalities.  By the way, this was
still during a “TV-PG” era!  4 for 4
A video shows
Sable training for her match, which the WWF is billing as a “public
confrontation”, with Marc Mero next week.
“Marvelous” Marc
Mero versus “Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee) does not occur:
Before this match starts, Steve Blackman runs out and
attacks Jarrett.  The beatdown is quite
weak, but it keeps advancing that feud while protecting Mero for his confrontation
with Sable next week.
The Disciples of
Apocalypse illegal switch against the New Age Outlaws on last week’s Raw is the
Playstation Slam of the Week.
Jerry Lawler joins
Ross for commentary as we enter hour two.
D-Generation X
wrestle LOD 2000 & The Disciples of Apocalypse to a no contest when the
LOD-DOA partnership disintegrates:
Sunny is tossed from ringside before the match,
continuing the ejection of seconds tonight, and X-Pac follows since Chyna is
wrestling with Triple H and the Outlaws thereby making this the first match she
is wrestling against other men in the company. 
The crowd loves Chyna and it’s pretty amazing in retrospect how over she
was.  With women’s equality becoming an en vogue topic these days, I’m surprised
the WWE hasn’t made another attempt to bring in Kharma or another sizable woman
again and run a similar angle.  The
storyline that the announcers keep selling is that the DOA aren’t happy with the
LOD taking their title shot away, but that has some logic gaps because why didn’t
the DOA just complain to Commissioner Slaughter and get their title shot
reinstated?  An argument over the hot tag
emerges in the face corner and that turns into a brawl to end this.  Decent little match, but the most interesting
parts were when DX was in control.  Rating: 
** (5 for 5)
Footage of the LOD
and DOA brawling backstage during the commercial break is shown
.
Kane (w/Paul
Bearer) wrestles The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust to a no contest at 1:52:
We were supposed to get heel-heel with Jarrett and Mero
earlier and now we get a pairing between these two, which is also unusual.  Luna has seemingly been divorced from Goldust
at this point, with the Evening Gown match blowing off their partnership.  Kane is wearing a bandage on his right hand
to sell his loss in the Inferno match at Unforgiven.  Kane manhandles Goldust, but the Undertaker
runs out and attacks Bearer over the comments Bearer made about his mother
earlier in the show.  Kane and the
Undertaker then engage in the THIRD pull apart brawl on the show tonight.  Doesn’t Russo know of any other finish?
Mick Foley’s promo
a month ago where he bid goodbye to the Cactus Jack character is the Cinnaburst
Rewind segment.
A video package
recaps the history between Mick Foley and Terry Funk.
Val Venis
introduces us to the set of his latest video “Val Venis:  Soldier of Love” and Jenna Jameson makes a
cameo.
No Holds Barred
Match with Pat Patterson as Guest Referee: 
Mick Foley defeats Terry Funk with a stump piledriver on a chair at 14:12:
Steve Austin comes out to do commentary for this match
and Pat Patterson is inserted at the last second as the guest referee.  Austin’s mic malfunctions, reminding long
time fans of Jim Ross’s mic problems at In Your House:  Buried Alive in 1996, and he gets pissed off
and decks Lawler.  Foley puts a new twist
on the concession stand brawl by taking out the vendor and giving him a
suplex.  The vendor and Foley also take a
moonsault from Funk.  However, Funk
argues that his neck is hurt and the match to stop, but Foley continues the
attack.  For all intents and purposes,
this was a squash for Foley and that fits the storyline to make him the number
one contender for Austin’s title.  Funk
took an insane beating in this match and it had some brutal spots, but the
squash aspect of it overwhelmed putting on a more competitive match.  I also found it difficult to relate to Funk
continually kicking out of some of Foley’s moves near the end, probably because
Funk had not been built into a big threat during his WWF run so you knew he was
going to lose anyway.  Rating: 
*** (6 for 6)
After the match,
Foley smashes Funk’s head repeatedly into a chair and Austin comes into the
ring and tosses a beer into Foley’s face, causing Foley to inadvertently put
Patterson in the Mandible Claw. 
Patterson then tries to hit Austin with a chair, but Austin counters it in
time with a kick and Stunner.  The Dude
Love music then comes on and McMahon comes out dancing with the Dudettes.  Foley re-embraces his older character and
McMahon dances like a fool to the music by the entrance.
The Final Report Card:  Even though this RAW fell too much in love with
crazy brawls, there were lots of fun moments that made the show engaging and
memorable.  Chyna’s participation in the
tag match, the vendor getting destroyed by Funk and Foley, the Bearer segment
with Lawler, and McMahon’s opening promo and crazy dancing at the end were the
highlights of the show.  This show also
had a great storyline arc of McMahon getting Foley back on his side and
convincing him to go back to a gimmick that he trashed earlier in the show.
Monday Night War Rating:  5.5 (vs. 3.5 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

MSG and Comcast want to buy WWE?


Long profile from Forbes on Vince McMahon but the most interesting part is that MSG & Comcast are rumored to be trying to buy the company. Vince doesn't play it down, but why would he since it's inflating the stock so much. 



I'm pretty sure Vince isn't planning to sell.  But man, can you imagine the soulless crap that the show would turn into under a corporation like that?   At least Vince understands wrestling.

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

by Logan Scisco

Michael Cole
narrates a video package that recaps last night’s Unforgiven pay-per-view.  Tonight, Vince McMahon will make a decision
about WWF Champion Steve Austin’s future
.
Jim Ross and Michael
Cole are in the booth and they are live from Hampton, Virginia.
Footage of
D-Generation X preparing for their “invasion” of WCW Monday Nitro, who are
running Nitro in Norfolk tonight, which is about fifteen minutes from where Raw
is being hosted, is shown.

Opening
Contest:  Ken Shamrock & Owen Hart
wrestle The Rock & Mark Henry (w/The Nation of Domination) to a no contest
at 1:43:
Shamrock and Owen had teamed for a few weeks on the house
show circuit prior to this RAW and they were a ranked tag team in the Apter
magazines, so I was excited to see them wrestle here.  However, Owen turns on Shamrock and ditches
his lackluster four month run as a face. 
Owen works better as a heel, so I fully approve of this move.  Owen Pillmanizes Shamrock’s ankle, which
works to write Shamrock out of next month’s pay-per-view.  The beatdown, which extends to Steve Blackman
and Faarooq when they try to make saves, was excellent. (1 for 1)
Dude Love hosts the
Love Shack and gloats about beating Steve Austin last night.  He proposes stripping Austin of the title and
having the WWF put him against Shawn Michaels for the title or hosting a
tournament or just giving it to him. 
Very solid promo work for Foley, which included some classic heel
cockiness.  2 for 2
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to find out if a new manager is headed to the WWF!
D-Generation X
declares war against WCW in Norfolk.  WCW
fans cheer when Triple H asks them if Eric Bischoff sucks.
#1 Contender’s
Match for the WWF Tag Team Championship: 
Terry Funk & 2 Cold Scorpio beat The Headbangers via
disqualification when Thrasher pushes the referee at 3:14:
It seems weird that the winner of this match gets a WWF
tag team championship opportunity since neither team has accomplished much of
note in recent weeks, but the WWF tag ranks are really thin at this point.  This match is non-stop action from the bell,
with Funk moonsaulting the other three men as they brawl on the arena floor.  The finish is lackluster, but both teams keep
fighting after the bell and at least this match made the tag team titles seem
important.  Rating:  ** (3 for 3)
Triple H asks if
any of the WCW fans got free tickets for tonight’s Nitro.  X-Pac says high to Scott Hall and Kevin Nash
and Triple H demands that they let them go.
Steve Austin tossing
Dude Love off of Sawyer Brown’s stage at Unforgiven last night is the
Cinnaburst Rewind segment.
Vince McMahon
walks out and says he knows Austin was trying to hit him with the chair at the
end of last night’s Unforgiven pay-per-view, which draws a huge cheer from the
crowd.  He says he is not going to fire
Austin yet and that Austin will defend the WWF title tonight against Goldust
with Gerald Brisco as the guest referee. 
McMahon announces that if Austin lays a finger on Brisco that he will be
fired and stripped of the WWF title. Brisco says he will be impartial tonight
and is not afraid of Austin.  McMahon
closes by saying that any wrestler in the company would be a better
representative with the title than Austin right now.  It’s a McMahon promo, so does it really need
a rating?  4 for 4
WCW closes the
gate to the arena to keep D-Generation X from entering the arena with their
vehicle.  I wish WCW had let them in and
then had Scott Norton and Meng and kick their ass.
Segments of Jeff
Jarrett’s “musical performance” and altercation with Steve Blackman at
Unforgiven last night are shown.
Bradshaw beats Double
J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee) via disqualification when Kamikaze interferes
at 1:14
Bradshaw doesn’t sell any of Jarrett’s offense and has
the upper hand until Kamikaze hits the ring and attacks him.  Taka Michinoku tries to make the save, but
also gets beaten down.  This time a
fourth man is with Kamizake, but he is masked and his identity is unknown.
Jerry Lawler comes
out to replace Cole on commentary for hour two.
Kevin Kelly
interviews Dude Love, who is irate that he has not been given the title.  Love confronts McMahon, who doesn’t
appreciate Kelly and the camera man being around and goes all Ronald Reagan on
them by saying that he is paying for the equipment and for them to shut it off.
Non-Title
Match:  The Disciples of Apocalypse (w/LOD
2000, Chainz & Sunny) beat The New Age Outlaws (WWF Tag Team Champions
w/D-Generation X) when 8-Ball pins Billy Gunn after an illegal switch at 3:35:
It’s like night and day having Ross and Lawler
back-and-forth in the booth versus the awful Ross-Cole team and it’s amazing
that it took so long for the WWF to just ditch Cole off the RAW
broadcasts.  Even more surprising that
they kept him around as Ross’s replacement. 
The DOA dominate much of the match and when Billy Gunn hits Skull with a
piledriver, 8-Ball makes an illegal switch and gives the DOA their first win in
ages.  To show how much heat the Outlaws
generated up to this point, the crowd goes nuts for the victory.  Rating:  *½ (5 for 5)
The Undertaker
beats Barry Windham with the Tombstone in 59 seconds:
And here I thought that Barry Windham was gone from the
company by this point.  The sad thing is
that THIS would’ve been a RAW main event if this was 1996.  It shows you how far the company has come
since then.  The Undertaker sends Barry
off to WCW with this squash.
After the match,
the Undertaker calls out Kane, who comes out after the commercial break with
Paul Bearer.  Bearer begs the Undertaker
for a truce and as he recounts the events of last night he reveals that Kane is
his son.  Excellent promo work from
Bearer here and I always say he doesn’t get the credit he deserves for his part
in this feud in 1997-1998.  6 for 6
The Undertaker’s
plancha on Kane and Vader at Unforgiven is the Castrol GTX Slam of the Week.
Kevin Kelly
interviews The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust and Luna Vachon.  Goldust says that he is a pure man that would
be a great representative of the company. 
Dude Love ambushes Goldust yelling “That’s my shot!” and WWF officials
have to pull him off of Goldust.
D-Generation X
comes back out and Triple H tells DOA that no one steals his buzz.  As Scott would say, “I love shoot comments
that aren’t supposed to be…”  Triple H
issues an open challenge to any member of the locker room that wants to face
him for the European title.  Skull walks
out, but Dan Severn walks past him and into the ring as Jim Cornette tries to
convince him not to fight Triple H. 
Cornette makes the mistake slapping Severn, which leads to Cornette being
placed in an armbar and choke. 
Unfortunately, this allows Triple H to get away.  This could’ve MADE Severn, but they pulled
back.  This makes Severn a face now.
WWF Champion Steve
Austin tells Michael Cole that he’ll defend the WWF title and says that Vince
McMahon isn’t going to get rid of him.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your copy of the WrestleMania XIV video tape and a lifesize Steve Austin
poster for $44.95 (plus $9 shipping & handling)!
The new Val Venis
vignette says that all men have “Venis envy” when compared to him.
Marc Mero walks
out and calls Sable to the ring.  Mero
says that Sable humiliated him at Unforgiven last night when Luna took her
evening gown off.  Sable counters that
she enjoyed the experience and she challenges Mero to a match on RAW in two
weeks.  She leaves before Mero answers
her challenge.  This was pretty poor
considering the past segments between these two, but that’s because they let
Sable dominate all the mic time.  6 for 7
Vince McMahon
shakes Gerald Brisco’s hand backstage and says that he will enjoy watching him
referee tonight’s main event.
WWF Championship
Match with Gerald Brisco as Guest Referee: 
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin (Champion) and The Artist Formerly Known as
Goldust (w/Luna Vachon) wrestle to a no-contest at 8:40:
Before the opening bell, McMahon jogs out and replaces
the timekeeper to further stack the deck against Austin.  Brisco dares Austin throughout the match to
hit him and counts quick falls for Goldust, but Austin resists and proceeds to
wrestle one of the faster-paced 1990s Goldust matches you will ever see.  Ross actually acknowledges that if Austin
loses the title that the crowd will riot, to which Lawler has a funny jab about
being there for crowd control.  Austin
hits a Stunner after a mule kick, but Brisco pulls a Nick Patrick and stops at
two because something is allegedly in his eye. 
Dude Love then runs in and brawls with Austin.  McMahon tries to take advantage of the
opportunity in a brilliant callback to the previous evening by trying to hit
Austin with the WWF title belt, but ends up KO’ing Brisco and that ends the
match.  This is one of those
underappreciated gems from the Attitude Era, but it’s a wild and fun match that
foreshadowed the Austin-Dude Love rematch that is to come at Over the Edge.  It’s also Goldust’s best match in ages.  Rating:  *** (7 for 8)
The Final Report Card:  This show had a little too much D-Generation
X and their “invasion” of WCW has been overhyped by subsequent WWE videos about
the Monday Night Wars.  However, some of
the segments were funny, like having a WCW fan claim that he didn’t pay for his
ticket and then asking for the company to free Scott Hall and Kevin Nash.  The main event was fantastic as well and
Austin really had his working boots on in his first run with the title.  The only missed opportunity was sidestepping
a Honky Tonk Man moment with Triple H and the European title with Dan Severn,
but you can’t always get what you want.
Monday Night War Rating:  5.7 (vs. 1.72 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up