What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – July 20, 1998

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are taped from Binghampton, New
York.  This is our go home show for Fully
Loaded.

Vince McMahon
comes out and says that tonight is a night for respect for one’s fellow man and
retribution for those who do not. 
McMahon provides evidence from the events of recent weeks to support his
argument that the Undertaker is working with Kane and then invites the
Undertaker out.  McMahon, who has great
on screen chemistry with the Undertaker, points out that if the Undertaker
wants to be the WWF champion he has to start showing respect to the right
people and he will not tolerate being disrespected anymore.  When questioned again about working with
Kane, the Undertaker refuses to answer, so McMahon books him to face Kane and
Mankind in a handicap match.  However,
McMahon makes the fatal error of telling the Undertaker to go to hell and ends
up getting chokeslammed.  Gerald Brisco
and Commissioner Slaughter also eat chokeslams when they run to McMahon’s
aid.  I love how McMahon continually
tries to act tough around the Undertaker only to end up paying for it.  1 for
1
Opening Contest
for the European Championship:  D-Lo
Brown (w/The Rock) defeats Triple H (Champion w/Chyna) after the Rock gives
Triple H a Rock Bottom to win the title at 6:02:
Aside from the handicap main event, the other attractions
are Triple H and the Rock defending their titles against a member from the
Nation and D-Generation X, respectively. 
Both men are scheduled to face each other in a title-for-title
two-out-of-three falls match at Fully Loaded, so the outcome of these matches
could change these plans.  D-Lo was a
curious choice for this match since Owen was arguably the second-best singles
star in the Nation.  Then again, Owen has
continually failed to beat Triple H, so D-Lo was as good an option as any of
the remaining Nation members.  The Rock
interferes in this bout after Chyna and Mark Henry get into a confrontation on
the arena floor and that enables D-Lo to win his first WWF gold in a major
upset.  This means that the Rock-Triple H
match at Fully Loaded will no longer be title-for-title.  Rating:  ** (2 for 2)
The Nation
celebrates D-Lo’s title victory in the locker room.
Triple H tells Jim
Ross that the Rock is not leaving the arena with the Intercontinental title.
Brawl for All
First Round:  Steve Williams beats Pierre
by TKO at 2:56 of the third round:
This was Steve Williams WWF debut.  The Brawl for All concept was meant to put
him over as a big star and eventually feud with Steve Austin.  Of course, if that was the point of the
tournament, then why make it a shoot, but that requires too much logic for the
WWF sometimes.  During Williams entrance,
Barry Switzer puts him over for being a tough guy while playing football for
the University of Oklahoma.  Pierre is at
a severe disadvantage because he only has vision in one eye, but hey, it’s not
like the Brawl for All is regulated by your local athletic commission.  Williams completely dominates Pierre, who is completely
out of his element here, and we get our first non-decision result of the Brawl
for All.  3 for 3
Val Venis’s
revelation that he is having an affair with Yamaguchi-San’s wife on last week’s
show is played.
Yamaguchi-San,
wearing his tie around his head, yells at his wife for disgracing him on last
week’s show.  He makes her hold the ropes
open so that Kaientai and he can step into the ring and then orders her to
crawl beneath his legs where he can hit her with a paddle.  However, before Yamaguchi-San can proceed
with the punishment, Val Venis makes the save, and carries Yamaguchi-San’s wife
to the dressing room.  Yamaguchi-San
going over the top is what made this segment worthwhile.  4 for
4
The Undertaker
chokeslamming Vince McMahon earlier in the show is the Skittles Slam of the
Week.
We are supposed to
get an Animal-Skull match in our next segment, but it never happens as Hawk no shows
during Animal’s entrance and the DOA give Animal a beatdown.  Hawk makes the save before the DOA run over
one of Animal’s legs with one of their Titan bikes, but he is also attacked and
overwhelmed.
Steve Blackman
(w/Ken Shamrock & Dan Severn) pins Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee
& Southern Justice) after a pump kick at 2:11:
Somehow the Jarrett-Blackman rivalry is still ongoing and
based on the piped in boos, no one cares. 
Blackman brings Shamrock and Severn with him to even the odds around
ringside and speaking of which, it makes little sense for Southern Justice to
be with Jarrett at infrequent periods. 
Blackman beats Jarrett clean and in short order here, which is a very
puzzling result.  Jarrett is in desperate
need of an overhaul because he is getting nowhere with his 1993-1996
gimmick.  After the bell, Owen Hart
attacks Shamrock from behind on the floor and Severn does not seem to care.
The Undertaker is
shown leaving the arena.  Michael Cole
confirms this after the commercial break and Cole says that the Undertaker said
that he will see everyone Sunday at Fully Loaded.
Jim Ross interviews
WWF Champion Steve Austin, who says he is concerned about whether he is walking
into a trap at Fully Loaded.  Vince
McMahon interrupts the promo after taking exception to Austin saying that
McMahon deserves to be screwed over and rebooks the main event to Austin facing
Kane and Mankind in a handicap match. 
Austin refuses to wrestle and threatens to walk out like the Undertaker,
but McMahon announces that if that happens he will strip Austin of the WWF
title and give it to the Undertaker. 
Austin says fine, but vows to beat up McMahon in the locker room when he
gets the opportunity.  This was a good
twist of the main event to continue feeding the Kane-Undertaker cahoots
storyline.  5 for 5
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Jason Sensation’s
skills and beating at the hands of Owen Hart on last week’s show is recapped.
Owen Hart beats
Faarooq via submission to the Sharpshooter at 5:35:
I am surprised that Faarooq did not enter the Brawl for
All, since he was also stuck in the purgatory of the midcard after leaving the
Nation of Domination.  During the bout,
Owen gets on the house mic and tells the crowd that he is not a nugget.  This match is fine, although I am not sure
why Faarooq is still doing his “I am going to keep jumping on your back until
you knee me in the groin” spot as a face. 
Faarooq submits clean to the Sharpshooter despite being a foot away from
the ropes, which illustrates how far he has fallen over the last year as a
character.  After the bell, Ken Shamrock
runs out, but Owen escapes through the crowd. 
Rating:  ** (6 for 6)
Mankind predicts a
very peaceful evening for Steve Austin in tonight’s handicap match.
Marc Mero and
Jacqueline come out and Jacqueline insults Sable some more.  Sable comes out in a sun dress and Jacqueline
soon strips it off.  Sable doesn’t mind
and tosses Jacqueline out of the ring by her hair.  Kevin Dunn’s camera crew follows Sable up the
ramp and misses Edge doing a hit and run on Mero in the ring.  It would have been better to combine this
segment with the Sable-Jacqueline interaction on last week’s broadcast.  6 for
7
Shawn Michaels
comes out to do commentary for the rest of the show.
The announcers
recap the 8-Ball-Scorpio Brawl for All match, which Scorpio won.
The Rock tells the
announcers from the backstage area that he will beat X-Pac and enter Fully
Loaded as the Intercontinental champion.
X-Pac pinning the
Rock after an X-Factor is the JVC Kaboom! of the Week.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  The Rock (Champion) defeats
X-Pac (w/Chyna) via disqualification when Triple H interferes at 9:46:
X-Pac pinned the Rock in a tag team match on last week’s
show, so that is used as evidence for why X-Pac is a threat to leave the
building with the Intercontinental title. 
D-Lo Brown winning the European title also provided the possibility that
X-Pac might win this match.  The Rock
dominates nearly the entire match and kicks out of an X-Factor and getting hit
with the Intercontinental title by Chyna. 
The referee gets bumped on a Rock clothesline, and Triple H tries to
help X-Pac win the title by cutting off D-Lo Brown’s interference attempt and
Pedigreeing the Rock, but another official stops the pinfall and that helps the
Rock retain.  I really hate the “second
referee corrects the first on things he did not see” finish.  After the match, Triple H gets a female fan
in the audience to take her top off. 
Antics like that are why I was barred from going to WWF house shows in
the Attitude Era.  Thanks Triple H!  Rating:  **½ (7 for 8)
Handicap
Match:  Kane & Mankind (w/Paul
Bearer) beat “Stone Cold” Steve Austin via disqualification when the Undertaker
interferes at 4:51:
This is one of those famed Attitude Era brawls where
Austin hits everything that moves.  The
Undertaker walks out three minutes in with a chair and sets up in Austin’s
corner.  As Austin prepares to give Kane
a Stunner, the Undertaker tries to hit someone, it is not clear who, with a
chair and ends up blasting Kane.  That
seemingly produces a DQ win for the tag team champions, but who really cares,
as Austin lays out Mankind and the Undertaker with the chair and walks away
with his hands raised.  The continuous
action throughout this match made it seem like more than a throwaway TV main
event.  Rating:  **½ (8 for 9)
The Final Report Card:  The ending to the main event gives us a small
taste of the Fully Loaded main event and maintains the mystery behind the
Highway to Hell storyline.  For a taped
RAW, this provided a lot of excitement with the X-Pac-Rock fight, the main
brawl, and some entertaining mic work by the main players.  Steve Williams also had a dominant appearance
in the Brawl for All and if you were not sure how things played out in future
weeks, you would assume he was the man to beat.
So our announced card for Fully Loaded is
the following:
WWF Tag Team Championship Match:  Kane & Mankind (Champions) vs. Steve
Austin & The Undertaker
Two-out-of-Three Falls Match for the Intercontinental
Championship:  The Rock (Champion) vs.
Triple H
Hart Family Dungeon Match with Dan Severn as
Special Referee:  Ken Shamrock vs. Owen
Hart
Bikini Contest:  Sable vs. Jacqueline
Monday Night War Rating:  5.0 (vs. 4.7 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – July 13, 1998

by Logan Scisco

A video package
recaps the Undertaker becoming the number one contender to the WWF championship
on last week’s show.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“the King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from East Rutherford,
New Jersey.

Shawn Michaels
comes out, making his first WWF appearance since WrestleMania XIV.  Michaels sits down to do commentary for the
show and tells Ross that he is not sure when he will return to the ring.
Opening
Contest:  The Undertaker pins Vader with
a Tombstone at 4:35:
Looking back, I wish Vader had entered the Brawl for
All.  It was already littered with lower
midcard talent and guys looking to reboot their careers or get them going, so
it would have been well suited for 1998 Vader. 
After the entrances, Kane, Mankind, and Paul Bearer come out, but they
let the match proceed as scheduled.  As
another “what if,” imagine what a stable of Vader, Kane, and Mankind would have
been like in 1998.  Vader gives this the
old college try, but the Undertaker unceremoniously finishes him with Tombstone
and Earl Hebner does his slow three count to add insult to injury.  Really Earl? 
Rating:  ** (1 for 1)
After the match,
Mankind prepares to hit the Undertaker with a chair, but Kane takes it from
Mankind and then whacks Vader with it. 
Does this mean Kane and the Undertaker are in cahoots?
-Brawl for All
First Round:  Bart Gunn beats Bob Holly
via decision
This match constituted the breakup of the New Midnight
Express as Ross tells us that Jim Cornette resigned as their manager as a
result of them deciding to face each other. 
That, for all intents and purposes, ends the last vestiges of the NWA
angle for good.  This is the first Brawl
for All to feature a regular WWF referee as Danny Hodge is no longer doing the
honors.  Bart just dominates Holly in
this bout and easily makes it to the next round.  There was nothing about this that made it
exciting, so it does not get a point from me. 
After the match, Bob gives Bart a cheap shot and there is a small fight
between the two before WWF officials break it up.  1 for
2
The D-Generation X
skit mocking the Nation of Domination on last week’s show is recapped.
Jason Sensation
joins the broadcast team and he imitates other WWF superstars at Lawler’s
urging.  When he imitates Bret Hart,
Michaels asks whether that is a midcarder (a shot at Bret’s status in the WCW
upper midcard at the time because – say it with me – WCW).  Ross interviews the Nation, who are
backstage, and they are not happy with last week’s skit.  The Godfather debuts his “pimpin’ ain’t easy”
line during this segment.  Owen gets mad
at Sensation continuing to imitate him at Lawler’s urging and runs out and
attacks him before DX intervenes.
Triple H &
X-Pac (w/Chyna) defeat The Rock & Owen Hart when X-Pac pins The Rock after
an X-Factor at 6:28:
Shawn Michaels starts talking about the Kliq on
commentary and is actually censored for doing so.  The match does not follow the normal tag
formula, as X-Pac gets in peril, absorbs a People’s Elbow and other Nation
offense, and then surprises the Rock out of nowhere with the X-Factor to
win.  The expected solid match between
these guys and they could have done much more if given another five minutes.  Rating:  **¾ (2 for 3)
Sable comes out to
do commentary for the next match.  Sable
promises that her bikini at Fully Loaded will make her bikini at the 1997
Slammy Awards look like an evening gown.
Steve Blackman
beats “Marvelous” Marc Mero (w/Jacqueline) with a pump kick at 2:14:
This is a rematch from the Brawl for All, but it is
overwhelmed by Sable and Jacqueline fighting near the announce table and
Michaels and Lawler fawning over Sable. 
Mero appears to have the match won with a low blow, but when Jacqueline
tries to do something off the top rope to Blackman, Sable stops her and
Blackman suddenly recovers and wins. 
Mero was never able to reinvent himself after the Sable feud, which was
quite sad considering his in-ring and mic talents.  The feud also made it impossible to go back
to WCW as Johnny B. Badd because he would have been showered with “Sable”
chants.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  Kane & Mankind
(w/Paul Bearer) defeat The New Age Outlaws (Champions w/Chyna) when Kane pins
The Road Dogg with a Tombstone to win the titles at 5:34:
Before the bell, the Undertaker comes out to watch this
match.  Of all the teams left in the tag
division, Kane and Mankind are the only credible challengers for the
titles.  Think about it:  LOD 2000 is irrelevant, the DOA are being
somewhat repackaged with Ellering but that isn’t enough, the New Midnight
Express broke up, and 2 Cold Scorpio and Terry Funk are enhancement
talent.  After all hell breaks loose in
the ring, all hell breaks loose outside it as the Nation and the remaining
members of DX brawl and in the chaos, D-Lo Brown interferes with a Lo Down on
the Road Dogg and the Outlaws seven month reign as tag team champions is
over.  Theoretically, this makes the
Fully Loaded main event tag match for the WWF tag team titles.  Rating:  ** (3 for 4)
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Triple H yells at
Vince McMahon over the lack of control referees have in recent matches.  Having the Outlaws add to the complaints is
pretty funny considering how much cheating they engaged in to keep the titles
during their reign.
Kaientai
(w/Yamiguchi-San) beats Taka Michinoku & Too Much when Dick Togo pins Scott
Taylor after a Senton Bomb at 3:38:
Evidently, the Michinoku-Too Much pairing was forced by
the office in storyline terms as opposed to a genuine alliance.  Unsurprisingly, tempers flare between Scott
Taylor and Michinoku and Michinoku dropkicks Taylor into the hands of Kaientai,
who finishes him off.  After the bout,
Christopher beats up Michinoku and Val Venis comes out and reveals that he has
been having an affair with Yamiguchi-San’s wife.  The match was good, but I am not giving this
a point because the idea that Taka would ever agree to pair with Too Much under
any circumstances is ridiculous.  Rating: 
**¼ (3 for 5)
The Undertaker
chokeslamming The Godfather, D-Lo Brown, and Terry Funk on last week’s Raw is
the Skittles Slam of the Week.
Vince McMahon
comes out and talks with the Undertaker. 
McMahon commends the Undertaker on his deception last week, but raises
the question of whether the Undertaker is getting help from Kane.  The Undertaker refuses to answer McMahon’s
question and Steve Austin comes out. 
Austin asks the Undertaker whether he will have his back at Fully Loaded
and the Undertaker remains non-committal. 
That brings out D-Generation X and Triple H demands the Outlaws get an
immediate rematch against Kane and Mankind with three referees: a  regular official in the ring and the
Undertaker and Austin on the outside of the ring.  This will reveal whether the Undertaker and
Kane are working together.  Triple
H:  COO before we even knew it!  4 for
6
Brawl for All
First Round:  Dan Severn beats The
Godfather via decision:
As someone who did not see a lot of UFC growing up, I was
really excited to see what Severn could do in this format.  Severn is not used to releasing a takedown
after performing one, which the rules require, so the referee has to constantly
yell for him to break.  Severn also keeps
going for submissions, which are not allowed. 
The crowd is not happy about the lack of punches thrown and Severn
advances due to his takedown skills in a very boring bout.  After this, Severn would withdraw from the
Brawl for All because he did not care for the format and this bout shows
why.  We have had six Brawl for All
matches and all of them have gone to a decision, which is not very
exciting.  4 for 7
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match with The Undertaker and Steve Austin as Special
Enforcers:  Kane & Mankind (Champions
w/Paul Bearer) wrestle The New Age Outlaws to a no-contest at 8:09:
I am not often a fan of having the same match happen
again on the same show, but this was a very creative way to book around that
problem.  The main referee gets bumped
when Billy Gunn inserts himself into the match without a tag, but when Austin
tries to count the Road Dogg’s small package on Kane, the Undertaker pulls him
out of the ring.  The Undertaker tries to
count a pin when Kane chokeslams Road Dogg and Austin interrupts that.  The Undertaker and Austin then get into
separate fights with Mankind and Kane, respectively, and the Nation of
Domination hits the ring to brawl with the Outlaws, which brings out
D-Generation X.  Austin and the
Undertaker delivering Stunners and chokeslams plays us out and no one ends up
winning the match.  I’ll give this one a
point for the crazy post-match brawl.  Rating: 
** (5 for 8)
The Final Report Card:  This show gave us more storyline development
for the Undertaker-Kane relationship and whether they were in cahoots with each
other, although that issue is becoming very, very complicated.  Why would Kane want the Undertaker to face
Austin for the WWF title instead of himself? 
If he did decide to work with his brother, was it his idea?  When was such an agreement made?  Why would Kane or the Undertaker not tell
McMahon about it, since McMahon also wants to get the title off of Austin?  Does McMahon know and is he just playing dumb
to lure in Austin?  All this aside, this
RAW had a really hot first hour and then the second hour was death.  If not for the post-match brawl at the end,
this RAW would have ended up in neutral territory.  A slight thumbs up for this episode, which
saw RAW regain its Nielsen ratings lead only a week after WCW showed its big
Goldberg-Hogan match.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.7 (vs. 4.5 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – July 6, 1998

by Logan Scisco

Highlights of Steve Austin regaining the WWF
championship from Kane on last week’s Raw are shown.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“the King” Lawler are our commentators tonight and they are taped from State
College, Pennsylvania.

The Undertaker
comes out, with more pyro blasts that usual, and demands a title shot from
Steve Austin.  Michael Cole goes looking
for Austin backstage, but Austin just blows him off and walks out to the ring.  Vince McMahon angrily interrupts the
conversation and chides the Undertaker for claiming that he is the number one
contender and Austin for thinking he defends the title on his schedule.  McMahon says that Austin and the Undertaker
can be in the ring together at Fully Loaded, the next pay-per-view, but they
will not be facing each other in a singles match.  Instead, they will face Kane and Mankind in a
tag match.  McMahon also promises to name
the number one contender for the WWF title tonight.  A great, logical segment to open tonight’s
show.  As an added bonus, McMahon
“salutes” Austin at the end of the segment, which devolves into him flipping
off the WWF champion.  1 for 1
Opening Brawl for
All First Round Contest:  Savio Vega
beats Brakus via decision:
Brakus was a German wrestler that was supposed to come to
the WWF the previous year.  He even got a
series of vignettes to hype his arrival in 1997.  However, he was so green that he was sent to
ECW and USWA after wrestling on a few house shows and dark matches in late
1996.  Aside from a match on Shotgun
Saturday Night and appearances on a few European shows, this was Brakus’s big
moment in the WWF and he does not acquit himself well as Savio staggers him
with some hard shots throughout the bout. 
In a later shoot interview, Savio claimed that Brakus thought the Brawl
for All was a worked tournament instead of a shoot, which helped him win this
bout.  2 for 2
Ken Shamrock defeats
“Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee) via disqualification when King Mabel
interferes at 4:22:
This is a special challenge match as Jarrett wants
revenge for losing to Shamrock in the King of the Ring semi-finals.  This is basically a repeat of that King of
the Ring match, including many of the same spots, but this time there is a run-in
by King Mabel, who comes out of the crowd and lays out Shamrock.  You see, Shamrock beat two King of the Rings
last week, but he did not beat the great King Mabel!  Rating:  ** (3 for 3)
Michael Cole
interviews Shamrock after the commercial break and Shamrock challenges Mabel to
a match later on in the show.
Vader wrestles
Bradshaw to a no-contest after Kane and Mankind interfere at 2:05:
In this face-versus-face encounter both men are in
desperate need of some direction as Bradshaw has been spending 1998 feuding
with the NWA and Kaientai and Vader has been losing to new attractions like the
Rock and Kane.  After some stiff shots
back and forth, Kane and Mankind crash the match.  So basically, Vader and Bradshaw still do not
have any momentum!
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The Disciples of
Apocalypse (w/Paul Ellering) beat The Headbangers when 8-Ball pins Mosh after a
side suplex-neckbreaker combination at 3:41:
The Headbangers pour hot candle wax on their arms on
their way to the ring, which I do not remember being a big cultural thing in
1998, but I was not part of that crowd so who knows.  Ellering is being hyped as a stock market
wizard and he says that he came back to the WWF to write the final chapter of
the Legion of Doom.  I think the New Age
Outlaws beat Ellering to that task.  In
other news, Mabel has accepted Shamrock’s challenge for later tonight!  In terms of the match, the DOA wrestle with a
little more energy than usual, but the match is nothing to write home about.  Rating:  *½ (3 for 4)
Steve Austin
giving Stone Cold Stunners to Kane and the Undertaker at the close of last
week’s show is the Skittles Slam of the Week.
D-Lo Brown (w/The
Godfather) beats Terry Funk with the Lo Down at 3:46:
This is Brown’s first match back from his “pectoral
injury” and he is using his chest protector. 
Funk pulls out another crazy Asai moonsault, which I really wish he
would not do since it causes his knee to slam into the guardrail.  Funk appears to have the match in hand, but
the Godfather nails Funk in the back of the head with a gold chain and D-Lo
picks up the first of a series of victories that will put him on the map as a
singles star in the company.  It’s sad to
see Funk reduced to the level of enhancement talent, but to his credit he has
really made D-Lo Brown and Mark Henry look good over the last month.  A true professional.  Rating:  **¼ (4 for 5)
After the match,
the Undertaker comes to the ring and chokeslams D-Lo Brown and the
Godfather.  Terry Funk thinks the
Undertaker has come to save him, but the Undertaker chokeslams him as
well.  Ross’s calls during this segment
are great as he screams “Who’s your daddy?!?!?” as D-Lo gets chokeslamed and
screams “WHY!?!  WHY?!” when he attacks
Funk.
Vince McMahon walks
out to announce the number one contender to the WWF title.  Mankind, Kane, and the Undertaker are called
to the ring.  McMahon lauds Mankind’s
sacrifice at Hell in a Cell, calls Kane stupid for giving Steve Austin a title
shot last week, and hilariously changes his tone of voice when he gets to the
Undertaker and calls him an “evil, diabolical excuse for a human being” for
setting his brother on fire in an Inferno match and nearly killing
Mankind.  McMahon refuses to name a
number one contender himself and says that a triple threat match will determine
the issue later tonight.  5 for 6
Brawl for All
First Round:  Hawk and Darren Drozdov
fight to a draw:
The crowd is a more receptive to this week’s Brawl for
All bouts than last week.  The bout starts
okay, but both men are gassed by the third round and things end as more of a
whimper than bang.  The contest ends as a
draw and since we have no bracket established for this tournament, we have no
idea what that means for future rounds. 
And seriously, why would you establish a tournament like this and not
have a tiebreaker established?  5 for 7
Marc Mero and
Jacqueline come out and Jacqueline implies that Mero lost the Brawl for All
last week because she took all the energy out of him since it was their two
month anniversary before the bout. 
Jacqueline runs down Sable’s inability to meet Mero’s needs and
unsurprisingly, this brings Sable out. 
Sable implies that Mero needs Viagra and she and Jacqueline debate over
who is more of a woman.  Jacqueline
challenges Sable to a bikini contest at Fully Loaded and Sable accepts.  Color me silly, but I found the exchange of
insults here hilarious, probably because Mero’s facial expressions during the
exchange were great.  6 for 8
The Undertaker
chokeslamming Mankind through the Hell in a Cell is the JVC Kaboom! of the
Week.
Val Venis defeats
Dustin Runnels via disqualification when Kaientai interfere at 2:35:
Runnels and Venis go back and forth in this lower midcard
match until Kainetai run in to get revenge on Venis for Venis dancing in front
of Yamiguchi-San’s wife on last week’s show. 
However, Yamiguchi-San’s wife is not happy at the beating or her husband
mocking Venis’s dance in the ring.
D-Generation X
comes out dressed as the Nation in one of the more famous skits of the
era.  There is no way this segment would
fly today as X-Pac is in blackface as “Mizark Henry” and the Road Dogg and
Billy Gunn have bad spray tans for their impressions of the Godfather and D-Lo
Brown.  Road Dogg steals the segment by
repeating Triple H’s (playing “The Crock”) lines and climbing the ropes at
random intervals to do D-Lo’s head bob.  Jason
Sensation is playing Owen Hart and sounds exactly like him.  The forced laughter from Lawler nearly ruins
the segment, though.  7 for 9
Ken Shamrock
defeats King Mabel via submission to the ankle lock at 2:09:
Mabel finds his old king tights for this match, which is
his first televised match in the company in more than two years.  Shamrock’s path through older kings continues
with this match as he weathers Mabel’s power offense, counters a second rope
dive, and forces him to submit to the ankle lock.  After the bell, Shamrock refuses to release
the hold.  The old existing king left in
the WWF is Steve Austin, which would have set up an interesting WWF title
match, but that never happened.
Vince McMahon
walks out to do commentary duties for the triple threat main event and Steve
Austin comes out to join him.
Triple Threat
Match to Determine the Number One Contender to the WWF Championship:  The Undertaker defeats Kane & Mankind by pinning
Mankind after a chair shot at 1:58:
The Undertaker does not arrive when his entrance music
plays, so McMahon has Tony Chimmel announce that the Undertaker is
“chickenshit” and books a no holds barred, falls count anywhere match between
Kane and Mankind instead.  Mankind
refuses to fight his friend, but Kane takes a chair and gives Mankind a sick
shot against the steps to win the bout. 
However, when the regular lights come on, Kane unmasks to reveal the
Undertaker and Steve Austin looks on in disbelief as we are played out.
Tune in next week
to see the New Age Outlaws defend the tag team titles against Kane &
Mankind!
The Final Report Card:  The closing segment to this show was great
and as someone commented in the King of the Ring review, the double long
sleeved Kane outfit fit this angle well due to the fact that it covered the
Undertaker’s tattoos.  It furthers the
Kane-Undertaker-Austin triangle because one is left wondering how the
Undertaker got Kane’s ring attire and how he was able to replace him in the bout.  This was a great RAW, but it lost in the
ratings because WCW panicked and ran Bill Goldberg’s victory over Hulk Hogan in
the Georgia Dome against it.  Still, that
would end up being a pyrrhic victory for WCW and it did not derail the WWF in
the long-term.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.0 (vs. 4.8 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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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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
Call 815-734-1161
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