Monday Night Raw – June 17, 2002

Monday Night Raw
Date: June 17, 2002
Location: The Arena in Oakland, Oakland, California
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s the go home show for King of the Ring and that means we’re getting the first two quarterfinal matches tonight. Unfortunately it means we’re also getting more of the mess that Raw has become. However, with WWE having to hit a big reset button last week, it should be interesting to see where things go from here. Let’s get to it.

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Monday Night Raw – May 13, 2002

Monday Night Raw
Date: May 13, 2002
Location: Air Canada Center, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

Since when does a city get Wrestlemania in March and Raw in May? It’s the final Raw before Judgment Day and the big question is what can possibly happen to Hogan and Undertaker now? Last week was a total disaster and I can’t imagine things are going to get any better here. Let’s get to it.

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Monday Night Raw – April 8, 2002

Monday Night Raw
Date: April 8, 2002
Location: America West Arena, Phoenix, Arizona
Attendance: 13,500
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

Hopefully things pick up a little bit after last week’s mess of a debut for the solo red show. Backlash is in thirteen days and it’s really not clear what we should be expecting from either brand, save for some of the top matches. Steve Austin is officially on Raw though and you know he’s going to do something big. Let’s get to it.

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What the World Was Watching: WrestleMania XV

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

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

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

Steve Austin arrives at the arena and comes across a driver of a Coor’s Light truck.  Product placement 101.

Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are calling the action and they are live from Albany, New York.  This is the last RAW we have to hear called by Cole for a while so I am happy about that.  This is the go home show for WrestleMania XV.

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What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – March 8, 1999

A video package chronicles Steve Austin attacking the Rock on Sunday Night Heat and Paul Wight not trying to save the Rock from the assault.

Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are calling the action and they are live from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – January 11, 1999

It has been a long time since the World Was Watching appeared here on the Blog.  That was partly due to some career moves on my part and just a general lack of time.  That is solved for the time being, though, so we will head back into 1999.  The last recap ended – somewhat fittingly – with Mankind’s upset title victory over the Rock.  The Road Dogg also defended his Hardcore title against Al Snow out in the snow on the last show and the tasteless Terri Runnels pregnancy angle began with D-Lo Brown.  Needless to say, 1999 will be a combination of some memorable moments and some really wacky Russo booking.

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

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

Vince McMahon
tells the stooges that he is leaving to briefly train for the Royal Rumble (because
he supposedly could not do this earlier in the day) and he says he will come
back with a “Christmas bonus” for the Corporation.  He leaves Shane in charge of tonight’s show,
but reminds the stooges that he will hold them responsible for Shane’s
actions.  Once Vince drives off, Shane
races toward the arena because he has a lot of things to do.
Michael Cole and
Jerry “The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are taped from Spokane,
Washington. Cole welcomes us to the “greatest action adventure series on
television!” whatever that means.

The Corporation
walks out to a generic techno beat and some of the Corporation’s initial
Titantron video was later incorporated into the “Hollywood Rock” Titantron.  Before Shane McMahon can begin his monologue,
D-Generation X walks out and brings out Mankind who hilariously tries to look
cool by using DX’s gestures. 
Commissioner Shawn Michaels books Billy Gunn to face Ken Shamrock, Road
Dogg to face Big Bossman, and Triple H & X-Pac to face The Rock & Test
(who is referred to as the “corporate insurance policy”).  As revenge for Mankind beating up Vince last
week, Shane decides to face him in the ring over the objections of the stooges.  Mankind and DX laugh at Shane’s challenge and
Mankind does some awful crotch chops on his way to the back.
Cole hypes the
latest edition of People Magazine, which featured Steve Austin as a “breakout”
star of 1998.
D-Lo Brown talks
to Mark Henry and tries to convince him not to fool around with the ladies in the
locker room because they have a match to attend to
.
Opening
Contest:  Al Snow (w/Head) beats Gangrel
with the Snow Plow at 3:00:
Teddy Long is the referee but he does not turn this into
a tag match.  Snow and Gangrel go back
and forth in a match that does not really have much rhyme or reason to it.  Snow goes over clean by hitting a Snow Plow
out of nowhere.  After the match, the
Brood attacks Snow in the dark and gives him a bloodbath.  I cannot remember if this bloodbath stuff is
leading anywhere, but are we to assume that Gangrel cares more about pouring
blood on his opponents than winning?  Rating: 
We are shown
footage of Snow freaking out about the bloodbath during the commercial break
.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  Billy Gunn defeats
Ken Shamrock (Champion) by reversing a victory roll at 8:21:
Shamrock gets arguably the biggest heel heat in his
career as the Spokane crowd works up a loud “Shamrock sucks!” chant.  After the four minute mark, this really picks
up as Shamrock works the knee and Billy gets some well-timed hope spots to keep
the crowd engaged.  Billy appears to have
won the title as this was announced as a title match, but Commissioner Shawn
Michaels steps in to say that he never booked the match that way so Shamrock
keeps the title.  The WWF loved that
finish in December, having used a version of it at Rock Bottom.  After the match, Gunn moons Michaels, but
Shamrock takes him out.  Rating: 
***
Hawk costing Droz
a match against Al Snow on Sunday Night Heat is the Playstation Slam of the
Week
.
Hawk walks out
after having fallen off the Titantron the night after Survivor Series.  The WWF was so concerned about him that they
never bothered providing an update about his condition on subsequent RAWs.  Hawk says that Droz was his dope pusher and
enabler, doing so in an effort to take Hawk’s job.  Hawk pledges to get revenge when he heals up,
but Droz comes out and attacks him from behind.  Animal comes down and tosses Droz off of Hawk,
but the partners do not have a full reconciliation
.
Mark Henry says
that he is ready to have some fun with PMS and goes into their locker
room.  D-Lo Brown is beside himself at
his partner’s behavior
.
Footage of Steve
Austin giving Santa a Stone Cold Stunner last year is shown
.
Steve Blackman
defeats The Blue Blazer via disqualification when Owen Hart interferes at 2:22:
Before the bout, Owen Hart comes out and says that he has
proven that he is not the Blue Blazer and that part of the “Blue Blazer lives
inside each and every one of us.”  He
then says on commentary that he hopes the Blazer gets unmasked so that “he can
get to the bottom of this” and compares his plight to OJ Simpson and Bill
Clinton.  Blackman beats the Blazer up
like a jobber until Owen predictably runs in for a two-on-one beatdown before
Goldust intervenes.  He and Blackman
unmask the Blazer to reveal Jeff Jarrett. 
Jarrett tosses the Blazer cape back over his head as Owen shouts that he
does not know who the Blazer is.  For
comedy this is okay, but this angle is just doing nothing for everyone
involved.
PMS say that they
are going to take a shower as Henry watches
.
Hardcore
Championship Match:  The Road Dogg pins
The Big Bossman (Champion) when Mankind blasts the Bossman with a steel bar to
win the title at 6:55:
This is initially billed as non-title, but Road Dogg
goads the Bossman into putting the title on the line.  One could point to this match as when hardcore
matches jumped the shark as Road Dogg starts pulling out conveniently placed
cookie sheets and buckets from underneath the ring to attack the Bossman.  It is unfortunate that the Bossman is no
longer with us as his ring attire in 1998 foreshadowed the Shield so he would
fit right in.  Speaking of ring attire,
the Bossman goes to it to find objects to beat down Road Dogg such as a noose
(who knew wrestling could produce such vibrant social commentary?) and crack
cocaine (okay, it is just powder but it is funnier if you think it is crack
because why would police just carry random pouches of white powder?).  To send the silliness factor up a notch, the
finish comes when Mankind throws a net over the Bossman and blasts him with a
steel bar to give the Road Dogg the title. 
I hated this at first, but both guys stepped it up a notch when it went
into the crowd.  Rating:  **¼
PMS help Henry get
out of his clothes and put a collar on him. 
They then have him get on a massage table where they put a ball in his
mouth and put whipped cream on him.
A promo video sees
Jeff Jarrett rant about what pisses him off
.
The stooges try to
convince Shane McMahon not to square off with Mankind.
PMS now blindfold
Henry and strap him down to the table
.
Bob Holly &
Scorpio beat The Acolytes via disqualification at 3:20:
The Acolytes are still nothing more than Faarooq and
Bradshaw desperately trying to revive their careers.  The referee has no control of this as it is
just a wild brawl and somehow the Acolytes are the ones that get disqualified.  Rating:  DUD
Shane McMahon runs
toward the Gorilla position backstage as the stooges run after him and beg him
not to fight Mankind
.
Shane’s challenge
to Mankind is the Glover Rewind segment
.
Mankind beats
Shane McMahon (w/Pat Patterson & Gerald Brisco) via disqualification when
the Rock interferes at 3:04:
Shane comes out to the Brawl for All music which is a
nice touch.  The Corporation comes out
early into the match, but Shawn Michaels does not let them rush the ring when
Shane gets in trouble.  Mankind gives
Shane a chair, but no sells the chair shot he receives.  He then dispatches of the stooges with
ease.  Somehow all of this is legal and
the Rock eventually hits the ring to lay out Mankind when Shane becomes trapped
in the Mandible Claw.  As Mankind and the
Rock brawl at ringside, X-Pac does a Bronco Buster to Shane until the
Corporation rescues him.  Not much of a
match, but it was still entertaining.  Rating: 
*
Classie Freddie
Blassie plays the part of “vulgar Santa” in a WWF Attitude vignette
.
The stooges are
worried about how they are going to be punished by Vince when he comes back to
the arena.
D-Lo tries to get
Henry from PMS, but cannot get into their locker room and has to head the ring
alone.  Footage from the PMS locker room
shows PMS whipping Henry and there is a clamp on him as well.
The Headbangers
beat D-Lo Brown with a double flapjack at 2:42:
Lawler spends his time during this match providing
details on the other abuse PMS is putting Henry through in the locker room.  D-Lo puts up a good fight here, but cannot
beat the former tag team champions. 
Henry walks out after the finish looking the worse for wear and D-Lo
shows no sympathy.
Patterson tells
Brisco to keep his mouth shut as Vince arrives back at the arena.  Brisco does not follow instructions, makes
Vince angry, and then hilarious asks Patterson if he thinks they will still get
their Christmas bonus
.
Check out the
latest edition of Tattoo magazine that talks about the Undertaker!
Triple H &
X-Pac (w/D-Generation X) wrestle The Rock & Test (w/The Corporation) to a
no contest at 10:30:
Prior to the match, Shawn Michaels expels D-Generation X
from ringside, but Vince walks out and overrules him.  Test just does some basic offense here,
getting repetitive with delivering several knees in the corner, but does a good
job looking imposing and versatile.  When
it looks as if the Rock will finish off Triple H, the arena’s lights go out and
Kane walks out, but he chokeslams Triple H instead of going after his former
enemies.  He also takes out the rest of
D-Generation X, including Chyna as the show goes off the air.  So Kane was the “Christmas bonus.”  At least he did not come out as the “Christmas
Creature.”  It would have been nice to
get a clear finish after sitting through this, but it does keep everyone
reasonably protected so it served that purpose. 
Rating:  **
The Final Report:  After the Road Dogg-Bossman match, this show
lost a lot of direction.  We had the
ridiculous PMS-Mark Henry stuff crowding the show (and probably leaving some
parents horrified and deciding that their children would not be watching WWF
programming in the near future) and then a weird Kane turn at the end (which in
the long run would not last very long). 
Some of the impact of the end of the slow loses its luster since Kane
has been around forever; has turned 20,000 times or so; and the character has
lost all meaning.  The Corporation was
also becoming way too big for its own good at this point, starting to mirror
the NWO in late 1996 when everyone and their mother, father, aunt, uncle, and
cousin decided to join up.  If you watch
this show, follow the first half but then abandon it after the Hardcore title
switch.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.7 (vs. 4.0 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Neutral

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – December 7, 1998

by Logan Scisco

A video package
recaps Steve Austin and Kane beating up Paul Bearer on last week’s show.  We are also reminded of the Big Bossman
beating Mankind for the Hardcore title.
Michael Cole and
Jerry “The King” Lawler are doing commentary for tonight’s go home show for
Rock Bottom:  In Your House.  Jim Ross was on a hiatus for this show
because his mother had passed away.  In
his first sentence, Cole lets us know that RAW is the “most controversial
sports entertainment television show.” 
It is easy to be a leader when you are in a category of one.  This show was taped in New Haven,
Connecticut.

Triple H, X-Pac,
and Chyna walk out and Triple H calls out the New Age Outlaws, who have been
flirting with the Corporation.  The
Outlaws walk out in suits and the Road Dogg announces them as the Corporate
Outlaws.  Commissioner Shawn Michaels
comes out at the behest of the Outlaws and he and Triple H shoot at each other,
with Triple H saying that he carried Michaels around when he no longer should
have been wearing the WWF title. 
Michaels books Triple H and X-Pac to face the Big Bossman and Ken
Shamrock in a “anything goes match” later in the evening, saying that if the
Outlaws get involved then “so be it.”  At
the end of the segment, the McMahons shake the Outlaws hands near the
entrance.  All the inside references here
might have been fun in 1998, but it does not translate well to today.  Also, the segment lacked a lot of intensity
from all sides.  0 for 1
Backstage, Triple
H tells Chyna to watch he and X-Pac’s back in their tag match tonight.
Opening
Contest:  D-Lo Brown (w/Mark Henry) pins
“Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra McMichael) with a cradle at 4:17:
This is a rematch from Sunday Night Heat, where D-Lo
Brown clocked Jarrett with his own guitar. 
Jarrett is booked to face Goldust at Rock Bottom in a striptease
match.  D-Lo dominates much of the match,
nearly killing Jarrett with the running powerbomb.  Again, why did no one in the locker room
force D-Lo to quit using that move?  Of course,
we cannot have a RAW match these days without a distraction and Goldust walks out
in a raincoat.  He flashes Debra, leading
to D-Lo cradling Jarrett and winning. 
These two guys were just going through the motions until Goldust walked
out.  Rating:  *½ (0 for 2)
Steve Austin tells
Tony Garea that he is angry over what has been going on lately in the WWF.
Call 814-734-1161
to get your WWF cologne for men for $19.99 (plus $4 shipping &
handling)!  Adam and George sell it in a
mock NWO ad.
Clips of Vince
McMahon’s talk at Oxford University is shown. 
Evidently it was a give-and-take talk with students, so I can only
imagine the type of questions that he fielded.
The Headbangers
defeat Gangrel & Edge via disqualification when Luna Vachon interferes at
2:06:
It is just weird to see several matches of this Edge and
Gangrel team when you are so used to seeing Edge and Christian together.  After each team exchanges cool double team
moves, Luna runs out and attacks the Headbangers.  She is followed by Tiger Ali Singh and Babu
for some reason and the Oddities then run out and destroy the Headbangers.  Uh, okay. 
It also does not make a lot of sense for the Oddities to still use the
ICP theme music when they were turned on by that same group.  The match was less than three minutes, so it
gets no rating.
Mankind says that
he will not leave Steve Austin’s side for their scheduled tag team match
against the Rock and Mankind
Paul Bearer
getting stuffed into a sewer on last week’s show is the Glover Rewind segment.
Vince McMahon gets
in Paul Bearer’s face backstage and demands to know if the Undertaker will work
with the Rock tonight.  Bearer says
McMahon has nothing to worry about.
Goldust beats
Owen Hart with a schoolboy at 4:17:
Owen unretired the previous night on Sunday Night Heat in
order to face Steve Blackman at Rock Bottom. 
At least Owen’s retirement lasted longer than John Cena’s firing and the
Authority’s banishment.  Unfortunately,
it did not last long enough for his sake. 
We get a decent back-and-forth bout until Debra does her own version of
the raincoat trick, which distracts Owen more than Goldust and produces the
finish.  Just television filler here and
the finish was completely predictable.  Rating: 
*½ (0 for 3)
Footage of WWF
superstars talking to British fans before the Capital Carnage event is
shown.  Some British fans give their take
on WWF action, but unfortunately we do not get any gems like SummerSlam 1992.
Before the next
match, the Godfather and Val Venis come out with the hos.  The Godfather says he is going to give one of
the fans two hos tonight and picks out a fat guy named Bob from the audience.  I guess this was the WWF’s 1998 version of
Make a Wish?  0 for 4
The Acolytes
(w/Jackyl) wrestle Supply & Demand to a double disqualification in 57
seconds:
This is Bradshaw gimmick change number four, but this one
finally got him over with the audience. 
Amazing what you can do if you take two hard-hitting guys, team them up,
and give them some momentum.  Both teams
brawl inside and outside the ring, not paying any heed to the referee’s
directions and get disqualified.  If this
builds to a future match, this was perfectly acceptable booking.
Steve Austin
hitting the Undertaker with a shovel is the JVC Kaboom! of the Week.
Austin walks out
and says that the Undertaker will receive no mercy at Rock Bottom.  The Undertaker gives a voiceover in response,
as his symbol – not to be confused with a cross so as not to draw unnecessary
heat from Christian groups – is hoisted up in the air.  The Undertaker promises to sacrifice Austin
and his symbol goes up in flames.  The Austin
promo was solid here, but the Undertaker’s Ministry garbage is already old at
this point.  I think I just have
Austin-Undertaker fatigue.  0 for 5
Mankind is shown
talking to himself, upset that Austin does not consider him a friend, as he
exits the boiler room of the arena.
Steve Blackman
defeats Tiger Ali Singh (w/Babu) with a pump kick at 2:13:
As I keep getting exposed to bad Tiger Ali Singh matches,
it goes to show how the hype for this guy was completely unwarranted in the
fall of 1997.  In fact, the hype for
Singh and Taka Michinoku appeared unwarranted by this point since Michinoku was
DOA after losing the Light Heavyweight title. 
At least they put Blackman over clean as a sheet here.
After the match,
the Blue Blazer comes to attack Blackman, but trips running down the ramp.  Blackman attacks him, but Owen Hart appears
and slams Blackman on the ramp.  You see,
they are not the same person!
Mankind looks for
Steve Austin backstage, with a garbage bag over his shoulder.  He finally finds Austin’s locker room.
Get the new
edition of Rolling Stone.  Steve Austin
is profiled in it!
Mark Henry
(w/D-Lo Brown) beats Darren Drozdov (w/Animal) with a splash at 3:27:
We are just getting vague updates about Hawk’s condition
after falling off the Titantron a few weeks ago, so someone must have come to
their senses and realized that that segment was in poor taste.  Henry is a bumping machine in this match,
taking a nasty spill to the floor and flipping himself into the steps.  Chyna walks out and instead of decking Henry,
she decks Droz, thereby helping Henry pick up the win.  Very rough bout, but that is more on Droz
than Henry.  Rating:  ½* (0 for 6)
A camera catches
the New Age Outlaws talking strategy with Shawn Michaels, the Big Bossman, and
Ken Shamrock.
No Holds
Barred:  Triple H & X-Pac (w/Chyna)
defeat The Big Bossman & Ken Shamrock 8:18
This is Triple H’s first in-ring appearance on RAW after
he returned from injury on last week’s show. 
The Big Bossman starts the match by wanting to use his night stick and
then tosses it aside like a moron to wrestle a regular bout.  There is a funny moment early in the match
when X-Pac asks the audience if they want him to tag Triple H, which gets a
tepid response.  In another fun spot, the
steps fall on the Big Bossman after his attempt to ram them into X-Pac fails.  According to the statistics we received at
TLC two months ago, that should have killed him.  One thing that irks me about matches like
this is that they should function as tornado tags since the rules are suspended
(see LOD-Nasty Boys at SummerSlam 1991 for this same criticism).  Eventually, the New Age Outlaws walk out, but
when Billy Gunn gets the opportunity to deck Triple H with a chair he nails
Shamrock instead.  SWERVE!  Somehow this leads to a disqualification, or
something like that, in a NO HOLDS BARRED match.  Rating:  *½ (0 for 7)
Mankind exits
Steve Austin’s locker room.
D-Generation X
celebrates their swerve in the locker room.
Steve Austin
arrives in his locker room and finds a trash bag with a beer in it.
Steve Austin
& Mankind beat The Rock & The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) by
disqualification when the Big Bossman and Ken Shamrock interfere at 8:18:
Mankind must have stiffed Earl Hebner on some shirt sales
because he starts the match before Austin even comes to the ring.  The excitement is too much for Michael Cole,
who has lost his voice by this point in the show.  This bout is a vintage Attitude Era brawl,
with four-way action starting the match and everyone getting in their big spots
before the inevitable run-in by the Corporation.  Rating:  ** (1 for 8)
After the bell,
the Bossman handcuffs Mankind to the top rope while the Undertaker blasts
Austin with the timekeeper’s bell and a chair. 
The Undertaker carries Austin up the ramp and the druids tie Austin to
the Undertaker’s symbol, raising it as the show goes off the air.  And where is Kane?  Somehow all this ridiculousness means that
Austin is in trouble at Rock Bottom because the Undertaker has taken his “mind,
body, and soul.”  People say the 1994
Rumble stuff is bad, but this is much, much worse.  I was laughing at my television due to how
stupid this was.  1 for 9
The Final Report Card:  Survivor Series was a great show from a
storytelling perspective, but the company is in a dead period before the
eventual Rock-Austin showdown at WrestleMania. 
The lack of a strong build for Rock-Mankind, which is relying heavily
upon what happened at Survivor Series and not much else, and fatigue with the
Austin-Undertaker feud means that something in the midcard needs to stand out,
but nothing is since it is so weak.  Think
about it:  Owen Hart is basically a
comedy act with this Blue Blazer story, the LOD 2000 storyline has fizzled
after Hawk fell off the Titantron, the Godfather is wandering around with Val
Venis as a quasi-tag team, and the Brood are just randomly inserted into
matches with very little direction.  As
things stand, Mark Henry is arguably the MVP of midcard storylines because at
least his issue with Chyna is interesting. 
Another criticism of this show is that the company could have gotten a
few more weeks of mileage out of the Outlaws feigning that they had gone
corporate.  They burned through that
storyline too quickly.  Just skip this
show if they ever upload 1998 RAWs to the Network and get to Rock Bottom.  You will not miss anything.
Monday Night War Rating:  5.15 (vs. 4.2 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – November 30, 1998

by Logan Scisco

A video package
recaps how the Undertaker tried to embalm Steve Austin alive on last week’s
show.  The Undertaker and Paul Bearer are
shown talking backstage moments before the show went on the air.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Baltimore, Maryland.

Steve Austin is
shown arriving at the arena with a shovel. 
The Headbangers and the Insane Clown Posse are already in the ring, so
Austin proceeds to give all of them – save Shaggy 2 Dope – a Stunner.  Getting on the mic, Austin promises to use
his shovel against the Undertaker.  A
throwaway segment and I am never a fan of one guy taking out tag teams.  0 for
1
Mark Henry is
shown getting ready for his date with Chyna. 
D-Lo Brown tries to make sure he looks good.
Ross hypes Austin
and the Undertaker being on TV Guide.  He
reminds viewers that if they cannot find them they will have to settle for the
“retired” Hulk Hogan or the “Austin wannabe” Goldberg.  Austin is still looking for Vince in the
back.  He runs into Stephanie McMahon,
who is not identified as such, and she says she has not seen Vince around.
Opening Non-Title
Contest:  The New Age Outlaws (WWF Tag
Team Champions) defeat Gangrel & Edge (w/Christian) by disqualification
when Christian hits Billy Gunn with a tag team title belt at 2:56:
The previous night on Sunday Night Heat, the Corporation
was attempting to recruit the Outlaws and they appear on the ramp to watch the
match.  Typical 1998 accelerated tag team
match here, although a young Edge shows off by doing a super hurricanrana on
the Road Dogg and taking a powerbomb off the second rope from Billy Gunn.  After Christian runs interference to prevent
a Gunn piledriver, the Big Bossman and Ken Sharmock run in and beatdown the
Brood.  So are the Brood faces or heels
at this point?  I am so confused with
their booking.
Steve Austin
continues to search for the Undertaker backstage, checking out several
freezers.  Predictably, he walks into one
to investigate, but gets locked in by the Undertaker and Paul Bearer.
Steve Austin
giving Stunners to the Headbangers and Violent J earlier in the show is the
Glover Rewind segment.
Mark Henry is
nervously excited for his date and he asks D-Lo to accompany him to give him
confidence.  D-Lo reluctantly agrees to
go.
The Undertaker
comes out and calls out Kane because we definitely need to see more of
that.  They briefly battle over whether
someone will be eternally damned before the Undertaker gives Kane a Tombstone.  Paul Bearer brings some orderlies from a
mental institution to the ring, but Kane beats up a couple of them before
walking through the crowd.  Sadly, this
ridiculous angle would continue.  0 for 2
D-Lo complains
that he is not dressed right for Mark Henry’s date, but Henry has a jacket for
him and a pair of sunglasses.  However,
he hands him a chauffeur hat next, meaning that D-Lo needs to drive Henry’s
limo.  That was a good comic twist on
that sketch.  After the commercial break,
Chyna is not happy to see Henry at the hotel and she refuses to accept the
flowers Henry offers her.  She is puzzled
that D-Lo is the chauffer, which is pretty funny.
X-Pac comes out
and calls out Shawn Michaels, angry about Michaels costing him his match
against the Rock last week.  Michaels
threatens to “send him back to that money pit in Atlanta,” but refuses to fight
him because he is not an active wrestler. 
He books X-Pac to face Ken Shamrock, with the European title being on
the line.  He exits to D-Generation X’s
music because “he was DX before DX was cool.” 
At least this was short, but they did not give X-Pac a lot of mic time
here.  0 for 3
Mark Henry and
Chyna arrive at their date location, where Chyna pulls out the price tag for
Henry’s flowers (they are $1.99).
A camera shot of
the freezer shows that Austin has escaped.
On the date, Mark
Henry botches the pronunciation of Perrier water.
Goldust defeats
“Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra McMichael) via disqualification when Owen Hart
interferes at 3:26:
This bout is a rematch from three weeks ago where Jarrett
blasted Goldust with a guitar and the two had a locker room fight.  Owen Hart is on guest commentary for the
match and he tries hard to keep a straight face when talking about the
Henry-Chyna date with Lawler.  By itself,
this match has very little heat.  Goldust
dominates, with Jarrett only avoiding defeat when Debra puts his foot on the
rope after a Curtain Call.  Debra gets in
the way of Shattered Dreams and her distraction leads to Owen attacking Goldust
from behind.  This show is falling into a
really bad habit over the last few episodes of having no clean finishes.  Rating:  *¼ (0 for 4)
After the bell,
the Blue Blazer appears to help attack Goldust, but suddenly the Blazer turns
on Owen.  The Blazer unmasks to reveal
Steve Blackman to arguably the biggest pop Blackman has received up to this
point in his career.
A split screen
shows Austin looking for the Undertaker backstage, while Paul Bearer and the
orderlies look for Kane.
Al Snow nailing
Ken Shamrock in the head with Head on last week’s show is the Medievil Slam of
the Week.
Hardcore
Championship Ladder Match:  The Big
Bossman defeats Mankind (Champion) to win the title at 6:11:
This is the first ladder match to be held on RAW.  Shawn Michaels does commentary and scores
some of Mankind’s moves since he says Mankind is going to try to outdo him in
the match type that made him famous.  If
you hate the slow climb, you will not like this one as Mankind does it within
the first several minutes where it makes no sense to do it.  When Mankind appears set to win, the Rock
interferes and the Bossman wins.  Of all
the WWF ladder matches up to this point, this was clearly the worst.  Everything was rushed and there was not a lot
of wrestling between the climb spots.  Rating: 
* (0 for 5)
The Undertaker and
Paul Bearer think they have found Kane. 
After the break, the Undertaker and Kane fight in a dark room in the
arena.  The Undertaker comes out on top
and tells Bearer to get the orderlies as he tries to put Kane in a body
bag.  However, Austin comes out of the
darkness and breaks his shovel over the Undertaker’s head.  You can see where this is going…
Non-Title
Match:  Duane Gill (Light Heavyweight
Champion w/The Pasadena Chargers) pins “Marvelous” Marc Mero after the Blue
Meanie tosses Mero off the top rope at 2:08:
Before the match, Mero says that if he cannot beat Gill
that he will never appear again.  The
youth football team that Gill coaches comes to the ring, since he is wrestling
in his hometown.  As expected, Mero
manhandles Gill, but the Blue Meanie interferes and Gill wins.  This was Mero’s last in-ring appearance on
WWF television.
Bearer directs the
orderlies to get Kane.
Mark Henry reads
Chyna a poem and she proceeds to guzzle down lots of alcohol.  He says that they need to go dancing after
having dinner.
European
Championship Match:  Ken Shamrock (Intercontinental
Champion) defeats X-Pac (Champion) via disqualification when Triple H
interferes at 4:47:
This is our first good bout of the evening, well that is
until interference runs its course again. 
X-Pac hits the X-Factor, but Shawn Michaels distracts the referee and
the Big Bossman clocks X-Pac.  However,
when Shamrock applies the ankle lock, Triple H runs in, which gets a pretty
sizable pop.  This warrants a point for
Triple H alone as I am a mark for surprise returns.  Rating:  ** (1 for 6)
The orderlies
place the filled body bag on a stretcher and strap it in.
Mark Henry dances
because, well of course, but Chyna does not want to dance.  Henry leaves for the restroom, leaving an
opportunity for some guys to hit on Chyna. 
She does not take kindly to that, leading to her clocking one of them
and Henry beats up another.  This was
fun, especially when Henry threw a guy across the bar.
Val Venis (w/The
Godfather & Hos) beats Tiger Ali Singh (w/Babu) via disqualification when
Terri Runnels interferes at 2:58
This feud between Tiger Ali Singh and the Godfather is
just going nowhere and doing very little for either guy.  That still beats today’s product where guys
wrestle each other with little backstory, but some Attitude Era feuds never
seemed to click and this is one of them. 
The hos neutralize Babu, while PMS comes out and interferes in the bout.  What a mess this was, and this was our fourth
disqualification finish of the evening. 
We are also six-for-six when it comes to run-in finishes.
After the bout,
the Acolytes, who recently debuted elsewhere on WWF programming, destroy Tiger
Ali Singh and Babu.  Why have these guys
beat up Singh and Babu and not a face team, though?  The Jackyl was the initial manager of the
Acolytes as well, but that did not last long.
The ambulance that
is supposed to take Kane to the mental facility departs, but Steve Austin and
Kane are shown watching footage of the whole thing in the back.  One guess who was in the body bag and is
headed for the mental health facility.
Shane McMahon
comes out to say that Sable is about to learn a lesson in humility.  She comes out and models WWF Attitude
cologne, which costs $19.99 (plus $4 shipping & handling).  Shane asks to smell it and tries to do so all
over Sable, but she squirts it in his face. 
You see, it is all funny!  1 for 7
Non-Title
Match:  The Rock (WWF Champion) defeats
Al Snow (w/Head) with the Rock Bottom at 4:57:
The Rock is back to using some kind of weird theme
music.  It is slightly better than the
disco theme they tried to give him a month earlier, but the beat for this theme
is one of those generic numbers you would get on the No Mercy video game.  It just does not add to the atmosphere or fit
the Rock at all.  Compared to other RAW
main events of this period, this has only a fraction of the expected crowd
reaction, an indication that tonight’s show has not delivered.  The Rock hilariously delivers the Corporate
Elbow to Head after a ref bump, which wakes up the crowd, and then beats Snow
clean.  Snow does get a visual pin on the
Rock by hitting him with Head in between all of that.  Rating:
 *½ (1 for 8)
After the match,
the Rock, Ken Shamrock, and the Big Bossman beatdown Al Snow and Mankind.  The JOB Squad finally makes a save.
Paul Bearer runs
into Austin backstage when he tries to unlock the freezer Austin was placed in
earlier.  The freezer opens to reveal
Kane and they haul Bearer out to the ring. 
Austin prevents Kane from immediately beating up Bearer or getting a gas
can.  Instead, he opts to cut Bearer’s
shirt and tie with a pair of scissors and teases stabbing him.  Austin aborts that idea too and they take him
outside and open a manhole cover.  They
shove Bearer down into the sewer head-first to close the show.  How is that punishment worse than killing
someone?  1 for 9
The Final Report Card:  Most of these shows have been good for the
last few months, but this show is beginning to illustrate how Russo is getting
a little too much creative control for his own good.  Every match, save for the WWF title match at
the end, had a run-in finish and the majority had disqualification finishes.  I do not mind DQ endings, but if you use them
too much throughout the show it really burns out the crowd and gets
irritating.  Some of these other angles
are also getting really ridiculous. 
Austin throwing a guy down a sewer? 
The hos gawking over Babu? 
Medical orderlies going after Kane? 
Things are really going off the rail.
Monday Night War Rating:  5.0 (vs. 4.2 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

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

by Logan Scisco

A video package
recaps all the major happenings on last week’s show:  Steve Austin and the Rock fighting for the
WWF title and Ken Shamrock joining the Corporation.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are taped from Columbus,
Ohio.  Ross lets us know that Austin suffered
a blackout in San Jose, California at a WWF event.

Vince and Shane
McMahon and the stooges come out.  Vince
says he had nothing to do with the Undertaker’s attack on Austin at the end of
last week’s show.  He says he is naming a
new WWF commissioner in order to please the fans and that this new commissioner
will not answer to him unless it deals with Austin.  Vince then goes into 1996 mode in welcoming
out Shawn Michaels as the new commissioner, which gets a mixed reaction.  Michaels proceeds to book a WWF title match
between the Rock and X-Pac, which shocks Vince, and Michaels gives the
D-Generation X crotch chop on his way out. 
Having Michaels back adds some extra energy to the show, so this was a
good booking decision.  1 for 1
Kevin Kelly
interviews the Insane Clown Posse and the Oddities.  The ICP is facing the Headbangers tonight,
but the ICP says that they are not ready to wrestle, so Kurrgan and Golga need
to take their place.  Kurrgan and Golga
accept.
The Headbangers
defeat Kurrgan & Golga (w/Luna Vachon, Giant Silva & The Insane Clown
Posse) when Mosh pins Golga with a schoolboy at 1:30:
The Headbangers really need to do something different now
in light of their heel turn.  They are
sporting the same look and doing the same act. 
Golga has also started doing this weird move where he pulls his shirt up
before doing a corner splash, which somehow makes the move more dangerous.  You do not have to be a genius to see a heel
turn coming from the ICP here – for the second time in a month – as Violent J
gets knocked off the apron by Golga, which leads to the finish.  After the match, they beat down the Oddities
and cut Luna’s hair.
A video package chronicles
Kane’s recent path of destruction, highlighting how he tried to set the Brood
on fire several weeks ago.
Steve Blackman
beats The Blue Blazer with a pump kick at 2:57:
The Blazer gets a pop coming out, although the volume of
the commentary makes it tough to decipher if it is genuine or piped in.  It is clear early in the match that the
Blazer is not Owen Hart because he does not hit the right octave on Owen’s “woo!”  He also botches the enziguri.  Blackman wins a messy bout, but when he goes
to unmask the Blazer he gets attacked by Owen Hart.  So who is the Blazer?!?!
Footage is shown
of Austin blacking out at a house show in San Jose, which Ross says was a
byproduct of getting hit in the head with a shovel by the Undertaker on last
week’s show.
Shawn Michaels and
Vince McMahon are shown exchanging words backstage.
Gangrel &
Edge (w/Christian) beat Mark Henry & D-Lo Brown when Gangrel pins Henry
after a schoolboy at 7:08:
Low midcard act or not, the Brood still had arguably the
best entrance in the company at the time. 
Gangrel and Edge showcase some nice double team moves, including a
double DDT off the second rope, but their timing needs work.  Ross makes sure we know that Henry is a “400
pounder who can dunk a basketball.”  D-Lo
nearly botches his running powerbomb on Edge, another warning sign that he
needed to eliminate that move from his arsenal. 
Everyone tries really hard in this match to get over, incorporating some
fun moves, but Gangrel’s sloppy ring work is exposed relative to the other
three guys.  This match gives us our
second distraction finish of the night, as Chyna comes out and distracts Henry.  Rating:  **½ (2 for 2)
After the match,
Chyna says she will go on a date with Henry and Henry falls to the canvas in
joy.  He gives D-Lo a hug and in a nice
touch, D-Lo screams because of his “chest injury.”
Steve Austin tells
doctors at the medical facility that he is tired of being there, but they tell
him he has a severe concussion and needs to take a few weeks off.  He is given a sedative and is told he can
leave the facility in the morning.
The Undertaker
nailing Austin with a shovel, with added sound effect, is the JVC Kaboom! of
the Week.
Shawn Michaels is
shown talking with D-Generation X, carrying on like old times.
Goldust wrestles “Marvelous”
Marc Mero to a no-contest at 3:57:
Mero no longer has Jacqueline by his side because he
fired her on Sunday Night Heat after she accidentally cost him a match against
the Big Bossman.  These two cannot seem
to have a match without women involved as Terri Runnels struts out to the ring
in a skimpy outfit followed by Jacqueline. 
Goldust sets Mero up for Shattered Dreams, but gets low blowed by
Jacqueline and Terri comes in and finishes the move on Mero.  This is the beginning of Terri and Jacqueline’s
PMS faction, which gave us Meat.  Sad to
see two guys of Goldust and Mero’s caliber wasted like this.  Rating:  ** (2 for 3)
Steve Austin signs
an autograph for one of the medical attendants and tells Ross that the
Undertaker has hell to pay and is not going to make it to the Buried Alive
match at Rock Bottom.
The end to the WWF
title match on last week’s RAW is the Glover Rewind segment.
Triple Threat
Match for the Hardcore Championship: 
Mankind (Champion) beats Ken Shamrock & The Big Bossman when Mankind
pins Shamrock after Al Snow clocks Shamrock with Head at 8:26:
This match came from last week’s show when the Bossman
and Shamrock prevented Mankind from getting to Vince McMahon in the main event.  This is one of those “conspiracy”-style
matches where it is a de facto handicap match designed to take Mankind’s
Hardcore title.  Things look bleak for
Mankind before the JOB Squad comes to his aid and help him pull out the win.  These Hardcore matches were more fun than
later incarnations because it was before the genre became really cartoonish
with weapons.  Rating:  *** (3 for 4)
After the match,
Mankind tries to go after Vince McMahon on the ramp, but gets attacked by
Shamrock and the Bossman.
Footage shows a
hearse outside of Austin’s medical facility. 
The Undertaker and Paul Bearer then smother Austin with chloroform.  The Undertaker tells Austin that he is about
to go on his last ride.  After the
commercial break, the Undertaker and Bearer put Austin in the hearse and speed
away.  How they got his body through
security I have no idea.
WWF Light Heavyweight
Championship Match:  Dwayne Gill pins
Christian (Champion w/Edge & Gangrel) to win the title after Scorpio hits
Christian when a slingshot splash at 2:26:
The light heavyweight title has not been defended on RAW
in ages.  Christian manhandles Gill, but
makes the cardinal sin of continuing to pick his shoulders up off the mat, which
he ends up regretting later when the JOB Squad intervenes.  If the light heavyweight title had any
credibility it was gone after this match. 
As a side note, Gill would remain champion until briefly returning to
the company to job it to the debuting Essa Rios in February 2000.  That match was where Lita immediately drew
all the attention away from Rios by giving Gill a moonsault after the bell.
Michael Cole
interviews Gill, who enjoys a piped in crowd pop as he says that this victory
is one of the greatest moments of his life.
The hearse stops
in a deserted field where an empty grave is located.  Paul Bearer commands the Undertaker to dig
the grave deeper.  Steve Austin stirs
back to life to try attacking Bearer, but the Undertaker puts him in a
chokehold and they reapply the chloroform. 
The Undertaker decides that burying Austin alive is too good for him, so
he decides to embalm him instead.
The next match is
scheduled to be the Godfather-Tiger Ali Singh, who used to have a feud going
that has been forgotten about.  Before
the bell, Stephen Regal urges Singh not to take the deal with the hos and they
double team the Godfather before Val Venis makes the save.  This gives us the origin of the “Supply &
Demand” tag team.  Oh, and Venis also
gets the hos because he evened the odds. 
For some reason I think that would still not muster John Cena to make a
save on a show today.
Shawn Michaels is
shown arguing with the Corporation yet again. 
After the commercial break, he also talks with Earl Hebner, probably in
a nod to Montreal.
Non-Title
Match:  Scorpio & Bob Holly (w/Al
Snow & Dwayne Gill) beat The New Age Outlaws (WWF Tag Team Champions) when
Scorpio pins Billy Gunn after Mankind clocks Gunn with a leaf blower at 5:23:
The crowd has a lot of energy for this match, working up
an “O-H-I-O” chant and reminding the fans at home that “Michigan sucks.”  A camera edit gets rid of a botch, but aside
from that this match is pretty good.  We
get yet another run-in finish, though, as Mankind interferes as payback for the
JOB Squad helping him out earlier and gives them a win over the tag team
champions.  Crowd was not happy with the
finish.  So, does this mean that the JOB
Squad “are in contention” for a title shot now? 
Rating: ** (4 for 5)
After the bell,
Ken Shamrock and the Big Bossman hit the ring to beat up Mankind and the
Outlaws beat up the rest of the JOB Squad. 
The stooges then try to recruit the Outlaws into the Corporation after
the match, talking to them as they head to the back.
The hearse pulls
up to a funeral home.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your D-Generation X football jersey for $39.99 (plus $9 shipping and
handling)!
The Undertaker puts
Steve Austin on an embalming table. 
After commercial, the Undertaker tells Austin that he is going to
experience the worst pain of his life. 
The Undertaker chants a lot of stuff in tongues, but when he goes to
stab Austin, Kane breaks in and makes the save. 
Bearer tries to finish the job, but Austin blocks him and crawls
away.  This was interesting and kept
viewers following the show, but how did Kane find out Austin was abducted?  That is a plot hole I cannot overlook.  4 for
6
WWF Championship
Match:  The Rock (Champion) defeats X-Pac
with the Corporate Elbow at 8:32:
Shawn Michaels gets rid of the seconds for both men,
making this a one-on-one encounter.  On
paper, one would think this was a great chance to keep building X-Pac as a
talent worthy of the upper midcard and put over the Rock as a heel, but they
have to rush lots of this because of time. 
It really picks up during the last three minutes, with some near-falls
that the crowd completely buys into. 
Ross’s commentary helps with that. 
But what would tonight be without one last twist, especially with Russo
booking, so Michaels takes a chair from the Rock and blasts X-Pac, thereby
putting the Rock over.  Rating: 
**½ (5 for 7)
After the match,
Michaels celebrates with the Corporation as the New Age Outlaws brawl with The
Big Bossman and Ken Shamrock.
The Final Report Card:  I could have done without many of the distraction
and run-in finishes on this show, but at the very least they advanced some new
stables and angles.  We can debate whether
those new stables and angles were any good, but they did give the show some
positive momentum.  Some criticized the
HBK turn at the time, saying that they burned through it way too fast, but just
going with the flow of the storylines, I do not mind.  I guess I am just a fan of the crash TV model
in some respects, but I can see where some people would hate this show if they
never cared for the Austin-Undertaker feud, hated the HBK heel turn, and/or
hated PMS and the JOB Squad.  I really
miss the crowd dynamics of some of these shows as well, as the WWF staged
several of them in college towns and RAW came off as a party and celebration
more than a wrestling show.  We do not
get that anymore outside of NXT (and little wonder that people actually like it).
Monday Night War Rating:  4.9 (vs. 4.5 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Reading: WWF Magazine – December 1999

by Logan Scisco

Since this week’s magazine selection is from December
1999 it would be remiss for the staff of WWF
Magazine
to ignore Christmas.  Sure enough,
we get a holiday-type cover featuring the self-proclaimed, undisputed champion
of Christmas Mick Foley:

 And Mick has kept the Christmas gig going, doing promo
spots with his daughter Noelle last month on WWE television.  He was a better salesman than anyone else the
WWE could have trotted out there, although I continue to insist that if they
want the Network subscriptions to rise that they need to call Don West.
The 1999 Christmas season featured one WWF product I just
had to have:  WrestleMania 2000 for the
Nintendo 64.  I was really excited for
the WWF to go to THQ since the company did great work on the WCW games.  It was one of my favorite games to play,
especially because it was the first to feature a create-a-wrestler mode.  I remember taking Brian Christopher through
the career mode (and why I made that selection I have no idea).  Unfortunately, I lent it to a friend in
middle school and they never returned it.
Since Vince Russo went off to World Championship
Wrestling, the magazine was handed over to Kevin Kelly.  As a result, he answers the letters to the
editor.  Since we are not in 1995 land,
there are no funny illustrations or awful lists provided by fans.  Many of the letters tie back to the October
1999 issue of the magazine we reviewed two weeks ago.  A fan named Thomas Brennan blasts the fan who
questioned Prince Albert’s education credentials, while Miguel Balseca
completely buys into Vince McMahon’s vision of the product by calling Christian
a member of the “sports-entertainment world.” 
A fan called “TakersLady,” using Web TV (remember that product?) frets
that the Undertaker is facing a career-ending injury, which Kelly denies.  The Undertaker did have a bad groin injury in
late 1999, but it was not career-ending. 
Still, it is interesting that people were talking about the Undertaker’s
health FIFTEEN years ago!  They actually
let a fan write in how the newly-debuted Dudley Boys dominated the ECW tag team
ranks, and of course, since we are in 1999 it would be remiss without a fan –
in this case one named Justin Struthers – talking about Debra and her “puppies.”  He begs that she needs to “let them run free.”
Speaking of Jarrett, he was also on his way to WCW.  Before he got there, though, his last gimmick
was beating up female wrestlers and celebrities and putting them in the
figure-four. 
 All of this culminated in Jarrett eventually dropping the
Intercontinental title to Chyna.  The
quick piece says that female superstars aligning against Jarrett is a “new version
of women’s liberation with a distinctly hardcore edge.”  It warns that Jarrett will soon face the
wrath of all of these women, but I guess that is why he fled down South.
And when I talked about how we did not have any more
lists, I was wrong.  This week we have a
top five for ways that “Sexual Chocolate” Mark Henry can curb his
appetite.  I did find number one
humorous.
 Our “Rookies to Legends” this week misses the mark once
again as it covers Miss Kitty, the last wife that Jerry Lawler had:
 In storyline terms, Miss Kitty debuted courtesy of Jeff
Jarrett, who made her a personal assistant to Debra.  She soon made Debra’s life difficult and
started to drive her and Jarrett apart. 
The piece tries to say that Kitty has bigger ambitions and if that
included exposing herself on WWF pay-per-view then it was correct.  However, the soon-to-be-named Kat never made
a lasting contribution to the WWF that could be considered “legendary.”
This month’s guest writer of “the Bite” is Howard Finkel,
who in late 1999 was rocking a bitter announcer gimmick where he made a habit
of chewing out Tony Chimmel and Lillian Garcia.
 The piece starts with the Fink asking some rhetorical
questions such as “Why have I been around so long?  Why am I still here?”  You know, the same questions that Vince
McMahon has probably been asking himself when it comes to Finkel for
years.  He complains about not being used
more, while saying that he has high hopes for Chris Jericho, which is why he is
sporting a Jericho-style wig in the piece.
WWF Magazine
REALLY liked Chyna in 1999, as evidenced by its next feature piece on how she
has been a big factor in the WWF. 
Remember that she and Triple H were subject of another piece two months
prior to this.
The article describes that Chyna’s success is due to a
difficult childhood, which shaped her into becoming a great athlete and
student.  After all, she does have a
double major in Spanish and Literature from the University of Tampa.  Her fluency in Spanish is why the company used
her in some skits with Los Boricuas in 1997 and 1998.  The classic understatement in the article is
that despite being “quintessential professionals…there have been rumors that
[her partnership with Triple H] is nearing an end.”  Sadly, it hypes her career as only getting
better, saying that she is “a history maker, a trendsetter, a one of a kind,”
but 1999 would be the peak of Chyna’s career. 
After having a feud with Chris Jericho over the Intercontinental title
she was slowly scaled away from the main title picture and by 2001 she was
wrestling women, which was a step down for her.
In a curious ad, you can get some of the first WWF DVDs, “Hell
Yeah:  Stone Cold’s Saga Continues” or
WrestleMania XV.  The price for each is $24.95,
but that is sort of laughable considering that WrestleMania XV gives you ninety
minutes of more content, as well as voiceovers of the big matches.
 A piece titled “At the Crossroads” breaks down what is in
the future for X-Pac, who was in the midst of a heel turn against his tag team
partner Kane.  As such, the article
emphasizes that X-Pac wants to be his own man and fight his own battles,
belying a Napoleon-like complex X-Pac has carried because of his size relative
to other WWF superstars.  That is one of
the good uses of the magazine, as it gave you some additional logic behind
angles and face/heel turns, even if some of them ended up being ridiculous.
 We also hear that X-Pac was the first person to “guide
Kane to his own heart and give him the courage to realize his human potential.”  So next time anyone wants to criticize Kane
as a corporate stooge you can blame X-Pac. 
Instead of X-Pac eventually turning on Kane, I would have enjoyed seeing
Kane in a DX green outfit like the picture shows below because that would have
been really different and cool, at least for one show:
 Next, Bill Banks talks about the newly-debuted Chris Jericho’s
desire to go after Steve Austin.
 Banks takes some shots at WCW, saying that Austin and Jericho
were denied similar opportunities to shine down South and that this slight made
both men more aggressive in their pursuit for glory and titles.  It even bashes Austin’s initial “Ringmaster”
gimmick from when he debuted in 1996. 
Really, this piece is well-written and does a nice job hyping a
potential Austin-Jericho showdown.  It
treats both men as athletes and wrestling as an actual sport, something the
company would be better off doing today. 
Unfortunately, a showdown between the two would have to wait until late
2000 because Jericho was quickly diverted into the Intercontinental title
picture while Austin went out with an injury.
And since this is the December issue, the WWF makes sure
we know what hot items you can buy for the holiday season.  Ho ho ho indeed!
 Most of the big items are for Steve Austin and the Rock
as you can see here
Then we get our more “crude” items of the Attitude Era on
another page.  Who really wants that Road
Dogg stuffed animal?  If you do, it will
cost you $20.  And that Debra poster will
cost you another $10.  I wonder if some
kid bought the “Show Me Your Puppies!” t-shirt (for $25) and was told to take
it off by school administrators. 
Seriously, $25 for that shirt?
 And you can also get yourself some WWF cologne for
$14.99.  I do not think this item was
selling well as it is the only one in the catalog that is marked down from its
initial sale price (which was $19.99 a unit). 
I still remember Bobby Heenan cracking jokes about WCW cologne on Nitro.  The WWF Attitude bag is cool, but I know very
little about the WWF fielding a racing team in 1999.  Evidently, if you want the racing jacket
pictured here you will be out $44.
An oddly titled article called “The Devil’s Bathtub” is
up next, which provides a comparison between Michael Hayes and Paul Bearer.
 You see, both men used to be best friends on the Gulf of
Mexico and broke into the business as volunteers.  Both men had been abandoned by their
managerial charges by late 1999, so the magazine teases at a possible alliance.  The magazine was also trying to recognize
more wrestling history by this point as it brings up Hayes’s run with the
Freebirds.  Unfortunately, it does not
tell us who Bearer and Hayes might want to bring into their stable if they
unified forces.  It does let us know that
the Fabulous Freebirds and the Undertaker “were supreme entertainers,” though.
I had forgotten about this product, which I never
actually saw anywhere.  I never had any
friends who bought it, so did anyone on the Blog every play around with this
toy?
Magazine writer Laura (no last name given) provides her “Attitude
Award” for 1999 and selects Kane and Stephanie McMahon!  If you are not a fan of Stephanie, you really
will not like this piece as Laura notes that “Since her debut in the ring,
Stephanie McMahon’s presence has been compelling” and that she cares little for
money and more about her ideals than money. 
Kane wins because he stood up for his friend X-Pac and overcame Vince McMahon
and Chyna tormenting him throughout the year. 
So basically, the “Attitude Award” is who faced lots of adversity and
overcame the odds.  Today, John Cena
would win that award every year!
Kevin Kelly then says that he was amazed that 1999
featured great in-ring performances by Vince and Shane McMahon.  Yeah, those criticisms of 1999 revolving
around the McMahons too much appear very
warranted now.  Best part is, it would
get worse for WrestleMania 2000 when there would be a McMahon in every corner!  So Kelly gives his “Attitude Award” to both
of the male McMahons.
And when it comes to Bill Banks he selects Jeff Jarrett,
which is pretty humorous considering Jarrett’s departure from the company.  Banks claims Jarrett has gone a long way
since his country music gimmick, but his selection seems to be based more on
personal factors as Jarrett dealt with the loss of Owen Hart and helped his
wife fight her battle against breast cancer.
We get the results from the Unforgiven pay-per-view,
featuring the infamous “Kennel from Hell” match.
That is probably one of those cases where the awful recap of the matches was
okay.  One of the pictures from the
Six-Pack Challenge match is probably sitting about Triple H’s office in Titan
Towers:
The “Private Eye” segment provides some pictures of the
MTV Video Music Awards.  So much for
kayfabe in this one:
“The Informer” tells us that D-Lo Brown and Mark Henry
started having problems when Henry had his wallet fall into the lap of D-Lo’s fiancé
on a flight back from England.  D-Lo
thought Henry was making moves on his woman and his fiancée thought the same,
thereby triggering a long series of tensions between the two.  We are told the Steve Austin-Undertaker
rivalry went onto the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) circuit as they each
had their own Funny Cars, with the Undertaker’s car winning.  And evidently, Al Snow is very upset about
the jokes Mankind made about him in Have
a Nice Day
!
This issue had tons
of advertisements in it, much more than previous issues.  I am not sure if that was because there were
not as many columns to write or if that is something that I might see more of
in the 2000 magazines.  However, it did
get a little tiring flipping through four or five ads before the next story.  Maybe with Russo gone that is a good thing
for the magazine, as this one had less ridiculousness in the stories, which
offered a more serious portrayal of the superstars and various angles.

Next time, we will move away from WWF Magazine and over to an early 1999 edition of WOW Magazine, put together by Bill Apter
as a “smart fan” alternative to other kayfabe wrestling publications.  It will cover the results of Backlash 1999, chronicle
the independent circuit, and provide some great photographs of wrestlers and
valets during the period.

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

by Logan Scisco


A video package
recaps Vince McMahon firing Steve Austin last night at Judgment Day.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

All of the WWF
superstars head to the ring for an announcement from Vince McMahon.  McMahon comes out and announces that a one
night, sixteen man tournament will take place at the Survivor Series to
crown a new WWF champion.  McMahon closes
by saying that he hopes all of the superstars in the ring learned not to cross
him last night and that a new saying will be sweeping the country that says “McMahon
3:16:  I have the brass to fire your ass.”  What makes this segment funny is Mankind
eating everything up in the ring as he continues to try to suck up to McMahon.  Before McMahon leaves, though, Austin is
shown with a rifle on the Titantron.  We
go to break after that.  1 for 1
The stooges and
the Big Bossman accompany McMahon to his locker room.  He sends the Bossman to get his family
and get out of town.  Austin is shown in
his truck polishing a rifle.  This has a plot
hole in the sense that McMahon could just call the cops and have Austin removed
for constituting a threat.
Footage of
D-Generation X visiting Motley Crew’s tour bus is shown.
Opening Non-Title
Contest:  X-Pac (European Champion w/Chyna)
pins Ken Shamrock (Intercontinental Champion) after the X-Factor after Mankind
interferes at 4:15:
This is obviously a rematch from last week’s
Intercontinental title tournament final. 
You know that plot hole I talked about above?  Well, they go backstage and close it by
saying that police officers have been called to the arena.  Speaking of police, officers come to
ringside, handcuff Chyna, and take her backstage.  All of that is probably due to Mark Henry’s
sexual harassment lawsuit.  Watching
these 1998 X-Pac matches, he missed the Bronco Buster in nearly each big
match.  Mankind wanders out to ringside and despite putting Shamrock in
the Mandible Claw, the referee does not call for a disqualification and X-Pac
capitalizes to win.  Rating:  ** (1 for 1)
Police put Chyna
in a cruiser and send her away.  Officers
then approach Austin in his truck, but seem more interested in getting his
autograph than investigating him.  One of
the officers kids is named Bret.  Not
sure if that is an intentional reference or not.  McMahon has a meltdown backstage that the
officers did not do anything.  After the
commercial break, McMahon demands that an officer go after Austin, but the
officer refuses to “put their life in danger” and leaves.
The Headbangers
defeat LOD 2000 (w/Hawk) when Thrasher pins Droz with a schoolboy at 1:54:
The Headbangers make fun of the New Age Outlaws
introduction and wear toy tag team title belts. 
You see, they think they are the rightful tag team champions after
beating the Outlaws by disqualification last night at Judgment Day.  This Headbangers push is so random since they
meant very little throughout 1998 up to this point, but the tag division is
pretty light on heel teams.  Somehow,
Droz does not break his neck before the awful D-Lo incident in this match when
the Headbangers drop him right on his head when trying a double inverted
suplex.  This abbreviated match ends when
Droz gets distracted by Hawk and rolled up. 
Did Hawk do it on purpose?
The stooges leave
McMahon alone to get coffee, hilariously falling over themselves with excuses
to leave.  Mankind visits McMahon after
the break and brings him some candy.  For
once, McMahon is happy to see Mankind since he has no protection from Austin.
The Undertaker and
Paul Bearer, newly reunited at Judgment Day, come to the ring.  The Undertaker announces that Bearer will
help him lead his Ministry of Darkness.  Evidently
Bearer has helped refocus the Undertaker on what is important and the
Undertaker promises to unleash a plague on the rest of the WWF.  Bearer proclaims that he has used Kane his
entire life because he is weak and stupid and that the last straw of their
relationship was when Kane refused his help last night.  In response to that, Ross says that Bearer is
a “rotund demon.”  This segment is
important for the Kane-Undertaker storyline because the Undertaker takes
responsibility for setting the fire that killed their parents.  The Undertaker admits to committing homicide
on national television because he wanted to kill his weak brother.  I am glad that all the cops in the arena
tonight have more important things to do! 
Kane walks out and challenges his brother to a casket match tonight.  At least when we got repetitive matches in
the past they put a stipulation on it.  3 for 3
Mankind and
McMahon have a bonding experience, with Mankind saying that McMahon should hire
Austin back so they can form a clique of them, Austin, and Mr. Socko.  Mankind tries to get McMahon to play Twister
and McMahon goes on a tirade and kicks him out. 
Ah, back when the WWF could do good humor.  4 for
4
Steve Blackman
beats “Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra McMichael) via disqualification when the
Blue Blazer interferes at 2:27:
Jarrett promised a surprise for this show and that was welcoming back the “dumb blonde” he ranted about being paired
with in WCW when he came back to the company in the fall of 1997.  This is a complete sellout of Jarrett’s
entire justification for coming back to the company as he criticized the
country music gimmick too, yet reverted to that by the spring.  Criticisms aside, this marked a transition of
the Jarrett character from the Southern Justice era to a more serious commodity.  The crowd works up its crude chant for Debra
to show her assets, which makes me wonder if that is why the WWF created the “puppies”
chant as a tamer version.  Blackman nails
Jarrett with his pump kick, but the Blue Blazer runs in and gives Blackman a
belly-to-belly suplex, thereby causing a disqualification.
After the bell,
Jarrett prepares to hit Blackman with his guitar, but Al Snow steps into the
ring.  However, Debra distracts Snow and
he ends up eating the guitar shot instead.
A phone rings in
McMahon’s locker room and like a horror film he agonizes over whether he should
answer it.  Austin is on the other end
and tells McMahon that his time is up and he is coming to get him.  The stooges are taking a really long coffee
break.  After the commercial break,
McMahon is on the phone with his limo driver and tries to arrange an
escape.  He carefully drives his
wheelchair to the parking lot, but when he gets to his limo Austin is inside
and takes control of McMahon’s wheelchair, directing him back into the arena
with his compound bow in tow.  As Austin
harasses McMahon, intentionally driving him into door and walls, none of the
other WWF employees seem to care and many of them take pictures of the event.  As McMahon screams about his ankle, Austin tells
him he used to work in the hospital and can fix it, but that just makes McMahon
panic more.  Austin directs McMahon back
to his locker room and slams the door in the cameraman’s face.  5 for
5
X-Pac’s X-Factor
to D-Lo Brown at Judgment Day is the WWF Warzone Slam of the Week.
Austin asks
McMahon if he has ever been hunting and McMahon says yes, but he never killed
anything.  McMahon admits that it was
just a safari and he just took pictures. 
In response, Austin pulls out a knife and asks whether he thinks it
would be enough to kill an elephant. 
These segments are awesome.
The Rock beats
D-Lo Brown (w/Mark Henry) with a Rock Bottom at 3:43:
The Rock has some AWFUL theme music here that has a disco
spin on the narrative part of his theme. 
It is one of the worst themes I have ever heard and thank god they
changed it because you just cannot imagine the Rock as a main eventer with it.  D-Lo tries to rally after getting hit with a
People’s Elbow, but jumps into a Rock Bottom for the finish.  D-Lo needs to quit doing that.  Rating:  ** (6 for 6)
After the match,
D-Lo and Henry beat on the Rock and Henry gives him a splash as WWF officials
intervene.
Austin continues
to threaten McMahon with his knife, even motioning to stab him.  Austin tells McMahon not to worry because
when he finishes him off tonight he will go quickly.  Austin then moves to explaining what damage a
compound hunting bow can do.
Tiger Ali Singh is
back after a prolonged absence.  Babu
acts as if he is cooking on a grill and Ali offers $500 to a person to swallow
the cassava he has prepared.  A sketchy
older woman is drawn from the crowd and does it.  The Godfather comes in at the end and says
that the woman who swallowed the cassava used to be one of his hos and as a
result he is entitled to some of her income. 
Tiger Ali Singh takes exception to that, but the guy cannot even brawl
properly.  Effective use of the Godfather
that saved this embarrassing segment.  7 for 7
Austin forces
McMahon to squeal like a pig under threat of getting shot with a bow.  He moves to re-enact the scene from Misery
where Kathy Bates breaks James Caan’s legs. 
Austin places a piece of lumber between McMahon’s legs and goes to find
a sledgehammer.  Chances are he will not
be able to find one because Triple H has the only one in his possession.
Ross and Lawler
recap the Goldust-Val Venis match from Judgment Day.
Val Venis
(w/Terri Runnels) pins Mankind after Ken Shamrock interferes at 3:33:
Venis is still selling the effects of Goldust’s low blow
from the previous evening.  Lawler spends
part of the match wondering if Venis and the Godfather ho in the Tiger Ali
segment have ever gotten together. 
Mankind applies the Mandible Claw, but Ken Shamrock wanders out and
smashes Mankind in the knee with a chair, causing him to lose this boring
match.  Rating:  * (7 for 8)
After the match,
Mankind and Shamrock brawl into the crowd. 
Goldust comes on the Titantron after that and tells Venis that he is
going to keep shattering his dreams.  The
best part of this promo is that Goldust goes back to quoting movie lines, which
was his specialty in 1995 and 1996. 
After the promo, Terri tells Venis something that he is disgusted with
and walks off.  It does not take a genius
to figure out what that was to the astute viewer.
Austin promises
McMahon that he is going to carry out his plans for him tonight and that
McMahon will not feel anything.  They bet
on who will win the casket match and McMahon reluctantly picks Kane.  Austin says if Kane wins they will do things
the easy way, but any other outcome will mean the hard way.
Casket
Match:  Kane wrestles The Undertaker
(w/Paul Bearer) to a no contest at 4:48:
This is the first WWF casket match to ever air on free
television.  The match features a weird
spot where the Undertaker closes the casket on both men and they proceed to
rumble around in there and destroy it. 
After laying Kane out with a chair, the Undertaker and Bearer leave and
that’s that.  Wow, what a complete waste
of time.  Can they not give Kane ONE win
over the Undertaker in a singles match of some sort?  Rating:  DUD (7 for 9)
Austin wheels
McMahon out to the ring and in a tribute to the Running Man, they rehash
McMahon’s bold words from earlier in the evening.  He gives McMahon a letter, which he says
McMahon will not like, and has McMahon face the Titantron.  Austin puts a gun to McMahon’s head and pulls
the trigger, but it’s a toy that says “Bang 3:16.”  Austin calls attention to the fact that
McMahon has wet himself and gives him a Stone Cold Stunner.  One of the better endings in RAW history.   8 for 10
The Final Report Card:  This was not a wrestling-driven RAW, but that
is okay because the segments with McMahon, Mankind, and Austin were
entertaining.  It is sad how much of a
drop off in entertainment value a lot of segments have today because these
showed that if you take two characters that play well off of each other that
you can create compelling television. 
Daniel Bryan got over in part because of his segments with Kane, so the
company can still do this if they want to, but we just do not get enough of
it.  A very fun RAW that is worth checking
out whenever the WWF gets around to putting it up on the Network.
Monday Night War Rating:  5.0 (vs. 4.4 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Judgment Day – In Your House

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Chicago, Illinois
.

Opening
Contest:  Al Snow (w/Head) beats “Marvelous”
Marc Mero (w/Jacqueline) with the Snow Plow at 7:14:
This is a curious opener since Snow has a lingering feud
with Jeff Jarrett.  Jarrett does come out
to crickets and tries to convince Mero to let him wrestle Snow instead, but
Mero says refuses.  After all, he has a
job to do for the new hot act in the company. 
Mero puts on a good effort in his last pay-per-view match in the
company, but unless Sable is involved no one really cares about him
anymore.  Snow reverses the TKO into his
finisher and picks up the win.  Rating: 
**¾
LOD 2000 beat The
Disciples of Apocalypse & Paul Ellering when Droz pins Skull after a
Doomsday Device at 5:55:
The awful DOA-LOD feud reaches its climax here, at least on
pay-per-view.  Chainz and Sunny ended up
as casualties of this feud, never reaching the end of the story.  It’s so weird to see the Hawk and Animal with
their hair grown out.  Hawk is not doped
up on pain pills tonight and works with Animal to deliver the Doomsday Device,
but Droz steals the pin and Hawk is not happy. 
Boring bout, but at least they kept this short.  Rating:  ½*
Dok Hendrix talks
with Al Snow and Sable and hypes the Superstar Line.  Call 1-900-737-4WWF to hear from the winners
and losers!  Sable reminds us that “everyone
likes a little Head.”
Light Heavyweight
Championship Match:  Christian
(w/Gangrel) pins Taka Michinoku (Champion w/Yamaguchi-San) with an inside
cradle to win the title at 8:36:
The light heavyweight title is defended for the first
time in ages here and since they pulled it out of mothballs the outcome could
be predicted from a mile away.  This was
Christian’s in-ring WWF debut.  Michinoku
had no heat, but the crowd reacts to the high spots.  Ross makes a subtle dig at the booking by
saying that he wants to see more light heavyweight matches.  Spots happen, but they do not mesh together
and the match fails to tell an adequate story as a result.  Michinoku appears headed to win the match
with a Michinoku Driver, but Christian cradles out of it to win the meaningless
title.  Solid match, but the crowd was
not buying into it.  Rating:  **¾
Kevin Kelly and
Tom Pritchard interview Droz in the WWF.com backstage area.  Droz says he seized an opportunity and that
is why he is on the first string.  Droz
actually cuts a really good heel promo here.
A video package
recaps the Goldust-Val Venis feud.
Goldust pins Val
Venis (w/Terri Runnels) after a low blow at 12:09:
The crowd is happy to see the return of Goldust, but
unfortunately there are not that many mind games that find their way into this
contest.  Venis spends the bulk of the match
working the shoulder, but none of that factors into the closing stretches of
this match.  Venis nearly runs into Terri
on the apron and that allows Goldust to shatter Venis’s dreams and pick up a
win.  This was better than most expected,
but this storyline is still a little confusing as to who the face and heel
really are.  Goldust got a small push
from this win, while Venis was shifted back into the midcard.  Rating:  **½
Michael Cole tells
us that Triple H and Ken Shamrock got into an altercation backstage, where
Shamrock smashes a car door into Triple H’s knee.  X-Pac interrupts to say that he will deal
with Shamrock tomorrow night on RAW.  He
promises to regain the European title.
European
Championship Match:  X-Pac (w/Chyna) defeats
D-Lo Brown (Champion) with an X-Factor to win the title at 14:36:
Since he is the champion, D-Lo is back to selecting a
European hometown and in this match he is from Milan, Italy.  Ross announces that the Nation of Domination
has parted ways, which I always thought was a cop out.  A stable that lasted for nearly two years
deserved a better send off than dissolving off-air.  Looking back at the series of matches between
these two, one forgets how much X-Pac carried them as Brown’s offense aside
from a few signature spots was pretty deficient.  In this match X-Pac bumps all over the place
as his high flying offense fails him.  They
run a false finish off of a ref bump where D-Lo clocks X-Pac with the title and
D-Lo makes the same mistake of jumping into an X-Factor, which is what cost him
the title to X-Pac the first time, to lose. 
Did not care for the finish because Brown should have learned not to do
that again, but the crowd came unglued at the end.  Rating:  ***½
Call 815-734-1161
to purchase your Austin 3:16 baseball jersey for $39.99 (plus $9 shipping &
handling)!
Cole tells us that
Paul Bearer was allegedly seen going into the Undertaker’s locker room
earlier.  The Headbangers interrupt his
report and hurl some insults at the New Age Outlaws.  Mosh insinuates that the Outlaws are doing
each other and says that they will do the j-o-b on the p-p-v.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  The Headbangers beat
The New Age Outlaws (Champions) via disqualification when the Road Dogg blasts
Mosh with a boombox at 14:10:
The Headbangers earned this title shot by busting the
Road Dogg open on the previous RAW with a boombox.  It shows how little depth there is in the tag
division that they are even getting a title shot.  What is funny about the boombox spot from RAW
is that Ross keeps having to say that the boombox that broke over the Road Dogg’s
head is not a JVC boombox.  JVC was a
sponsor at the time so I suppose they got upset that fans might think their
product was cheap.  Both Outlaws end up
in peril in this match and the Headbangers do a good job cutting off comebacks.  In fact, the Headbangers do such a good job
with it that the Road Dogg breaks up the Stage Dive by hitting Mosh with a
boombox, thereby causing a disqualification. 
This was a great booking technique to give the Headbangers another title
match down the road and rebuilding them as threats.  Rating:  ***¼
Michael Cole says
he can confirm that Paul Bearer entered Kane’s locker room backstage.  Mankind comes by and via Socko he
communicates that he is fired up.  He
blasts Shamrock’s promo ability, saying it has to be the second leading cause
of teen suicide.  He then does a weird
routine where he interrogates Mr. Socko about what underwear he is wearing.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  Ken Shamrock
(Champion) defeats Mankind via submission when Mankind applies the Mandible
Claw to himself at 14:36:
The dueling stories of this match are whether Shamrock
can make Mankind submit and whether the Mandible Claw is enough to put Shamrock
down for the count.  Shamrock outmaneuvers
Mankind throughout the bout, but the Mandible Claw is put over as Mankind’s
equalizer.  Mankind takes one too many
risks on the floor near the end and Shamrock powerslams him into the
steps.  This leads to the ankle lock in
the center of the ring, but instead of submitting to the hold, Mankind chooses
to apply the Mandible Claw to himself. 
Nice finish to a true battle of wills. 
Rating:  ***
After the bout,
when Shamrock hears he won by Mandible Claw he beats on the unconscious Mankind
and gives the referee a belly-to-belly suplex. 
WWF officials rush out and Mankind recovers in time to apply the
Mandible Claw to Shamrock and walk out to a decent pop.
The Big Bossman
tells Cole that unauthorized camera crews are not allowed near Vince McMahon.
Mark Henry
(w/D-Lo Brown) pins The Rock after a splash at 5:04:
The Rock is the hottest act in the company at this time,
so you would figure he squashes Henry to move onto bigger and better things
right?  Wrong.  The Rock does dominate a lot of the action,
but in a piece of booking that made no sense at the time Henry gets the win
after D-Lo runs interference.  To the WWF’s
credit, this did factor into the storylines leading up to Survivor Series, but
it was probably the biggest pay-per-view upset of 1998.  Rating:  *
A vignette is
aired for Survivor Series with the Deadly Game song.
A video package
hypes the Undertaker-Kane main event.
WWF Championship
Match with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin as Special Guest Referee:  The Undertaker and Kane wrestle to a no
contest at 17:38:
The crowd is way more into Austin than they are either of
the guys wrestling for the title, so it creates a really strange dynamic.  Austin does not take his job seriously, as he
mixes ridiculously slow counts with ridiculously fast counts.  A funny spot takes place when Kane and the
Undertaker fight on the floor and Austin volunteers to give the Undertaker some
microphone chord to choke his brother.  I
wish I could report that this match broke the mold for the Undertaker-Kane
series, but that’s not the case here as the Undertaker works the leg for five
minutes and puts the crowd into a coma. 
Austin even looks bored doing his job. 
After fifteen minutes of dullness cue the overbooking as Kane chokeslams
Austin and Paul Bearer wanders out with a chair.  However, instead of hitting the Undertaker he
turns and hits Kane, which has zero impact. 
The Undertaker’s chair shot to Kane is another matter, but Austin
refuses to count the pinfall.  When the
Undertaker complains, Austin gives him a Stunner and tees off with a chair and
then counts both men out and declares himself the winner.  I bet Vince Russo was screaming to book this
as “Austin is refusing to follow the script!” until he was shot down by
McMahon, Cornette, and a few other members of the booking team.  Austin’s antics are the only reason
this avoids a DUD.  Rating:  ½*
Austin goes
backstage looking for McMahon but is unsuccessful so he goes back into the ring.  Austin gloats that McMahon will not fire him,
but McMahon has the Titantron raised and appears in a box behind it.  As the crowd pelts him with memorabilia and
garbage, McMahon tells Austin that he is fired. 
Austin closes the show by promising McMahon that he has not seen the
last of him.
The Final Report Card:  I remember not enjoying this show in 1998,
but looking back it had some pretty solid in-ring work.  There are a few clunkers, but outside of the
main event the other matches put the crowd in a good mood and displayed
perfectly acceptable wrestling.  While it
is annoying that we did not get a WWF champion after this show, the selling point
was more about whether Austin would do his job or not and if you thought Austin
was really going to crown a winner here you were a moron.  I will go with a thumbs up on this show, but
save yourself the trouble if you ever watch this thing on the Network and turn
it off after Shamrock-Mankind.
Attendance: 
18,153
Buyrate: 
0.89 (+0.29 from previous year)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

by Logan Scisco

A video package
recaps the events from Breakdown to last week’s show concerning the WWF title
Jim
Ross tells us that Vince McMahon has invited Steve Austin to RAW.  What does it all mean?
-Vince McMahon is
shown driving a Corvette into the arena, flipping off a security attendant for
not leaving the garage door up.  The
stooges help him get into his wheelchair, although Commissioner Slaughter
nearly shuts the Corvette door on McMahon’s leg.
Ross and Jerry “The
King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from Uniondale, New York.  This is our go home show for Judgment Day.

Opening Contest
for the WWF Tag Team Championships:  The
New Age Outlaws (Champions) beats LOD 2000 (w/Hawk) by count out at 2:09:
After teasing a turn, Billy Gunn announces before the
match that he is down with D-Generation X. 
This is the new LOD 2000, as Animal and Darren Drozdov compose the team.  Hawk does commentary and lets us know that he
is the alternate on the team.  The match
only lasts for ninety seconds before the Disciples of Apocalypse and Paul
Ellering attack Hawk at ringside.  As the
Outlaws watch this take place, the Headbangers run in and blast the Road Dogg
with a boombox.
Ross announces
that since Triple H is on the shelf with a knee injury that tonight’s show will
feature an eight man tournament to crown a new Intercontinental champion.
Kane is shown
walking into the arena alone.
Intercontinental
Championship Tournament First Round:  Ken
Shamrock defeats Steve Blackman via submission to a kneebar at 2:28:
This is a small blowoff for an angle that began two
months ago where Shamrock and Blackman were uneasy allies.  Shamrock is in the process of slowly turning
heel, having been positioned as a rival of the Rock over the last month.  He targets Blackman’s injured knee throughout
this match and advances via submission, but the bigger news is that the Blue
Blazer comes into the ring after the bell and attacks both men.  When the Blazer runs off, Shamrock snaps and
puts Blackman in the ankle lock to continue his heelish behavior.
The Undertaker is
shown arriving to the arena.
A video package chronicles
Goldust’s career.  They make it seem as
if Goldust completely destroyed Razor Ramon at the 1996 Royal Rumble and “Rowdy”
Roddy Piper at WrestleMania XII because both men are in WCW.
Intercontinental
Championship Tournament First Round:  Val
Venis (w/Terri Runnels) pins “Marvelous” Marc Mero (w/Jacqueline) with a
fisherman’s suplex at 2:17:
Mero’s stock has fallen so far that the announcers do not
even bother to mention that he won the Intercontinental title in a tournament
two years ago.  Mero seems to have the
match in hand, but Runnels runs interference and Venis advances.  After the match, the future PMS gets it on at
ringside before WWF officials intervene.
Paul Bearer is
shown arriving to the arena carrying a briefcase.  McMahon interrogates the stooges about why
Bearer is there.  They do not have any
answers for him.
Michael Cole
interviews Sable and tells her that she gave a wonderful acting performance on
Pacific Blue.  He asks her if she is
going to depart for Hollywood and she says that she only wants to be the women’s
champion.  She sees Jacqueline backstage
and drags her out to the crowd and a catfight ensues.
Cole interviews
Mankind, who says that Ken Shamrock cannot hurt him by hitting him with a chair
because he cannot swing one hard enough. 
He pulls out Socko at the end of the interview and the crowd works up a
loud “Socko” chant.
Mark Henry recites
a poem that he wrote for Chyna, asking for her a chance.
Intercontinental
Championship Tournament First Round: 
Mankind beats Mark Henry via submission to the Mandible Claw at 3:18:
It takes only a few seconds for Chyna to wander out to
ringside and this match, like others in the tournament so far, is really
abbreviated.  Henry tries to go after the
leg, but Mankind hits the double arm DDT and Mr. Socko debuts as a variation of
the Mandible Claw to put Mankind into the semi-finals.  After the match, Chyna asks Henry why he has
sued her and Henry says it is out of his hands. 
Such drama!  Rating:  *½ (1 for 1)
Steve Austin shows
up to the arena in a cement truck.  After
the commercial break, McMahon is incensed at that news and the stooges vow to
check it out.
Intercontinental
Championship Tournament First Round: 
X-Pac defeats “Double J” Jeff Jarrett with a rollup at 3:08:
This one sided feud in the midcard continues as X-Pac and
Jarrett put together a quick and entertaining bout that sees Jarrett block the
Bronco Buster yet have his guitar interference backfire thanks to Al Snow, who
puts Head in Jarrett’s guitar case.  Rating: 
** (2 for 2)
Backstage, Steve
Austin dumps cement into McMahon’s Corvette as McMahon goes nuts in his suite.
Steve Austin comes
out to the ring and says he plans on making McMahon’s life a living hell.  He says that he looks forward to being the
guest referee at Judgment Day and promises to raise his own hand at the end of
the main event.  McMahon and a large,
masked security guard show up with a couple of K-9 units and he books Austin to
team with the Rock to face Kane and the Undertaker.  He warns Austin to watch his back tonight and
then hilariously rants about how his last two weeks have been hell.  The highlight is him talking about the enema
bag attack and screaming “YOU VIOLATED ME AUSTIN!”  He closes by saying that if Austin refuses to
play ball and crown a new WWF champion at Judgment Day that he will be fired.  This is also where McMahon debuts his “balls
the size of grapefruits” line.  3 for 3
Intercontinental
Championship Tournament Semi-Finals:  Ken
Shamrock beats Val Venis (w/Terri Runnels) via submission to the ankle lock at
4:35:
Shamrock attacks Venis from behind to continue his mean
streak and spends the match working the lower back.  Venis gets a token comeback, but Shamrock
takes out his ankle and it is academic from there.  This was just an extended squash for Shamrock
and I am fine with that because Venis is not on his level.  Rating:  *½ (2 for 3)
After the bout,
Goldust walks out to a loud reaction.  He
begins playing mind games with Venis, who is petrified, and he gives him the
yet to be named Shattered Dreams.
Vince McMahon and
the stooges assess the damages to his Corvette. 
In a great piece of humor, Gerald Brisco tells McMahon that he and the
other stooges can get shovels to dig out the car.  Mankind shows up and tries to fish out the
keys and McMahon’s briefcase, but just ends up irritating the boss.  3 for
4
The Rock starts
cutting a promo for the main event until he is interrupted by D-Lo Brown and
Mark Henry.  The Rock calls off the promo
to talk with them in private.
Intercontinental
Championship Tournament Semi-Finals: 
X-Pac pins Mankind with a schoolboy after Ken Shamrock interferes at
3:16:
Despite their different style these guys have really good
chemistry and you wish they were given more time for this match.  Mankind gives X-Pac a swinging neckbreaker on
the outside, which hurts X-Pac’s neck, and Ken Shamrock, who wanders out,
smashes a chair into Mankind’s knee. 
That distraction helps X-Pac win, but Shamrock then enters the ring and does
a beatdown as WWF officials intervene.  Rating: 
*½ (3 for 5)
Mankind wants to
get vengeance on Shamrock, but the stooges convince him to go backstage because
McMahon wants to see him.
Intercontinental
Championship Tournament Finals:  Ken
Shamrock beats X-Pac via submission to the ankle lock to win the title at 3:56:
Officials try to convince X-Pac to forfeit, but he
refuses to do so and we get the finals of the tournament after all.  Triple H does guest commentary and puts over
X-Pac’s fighting spirit.  X-Pac escapes
the ankle lock once by getting to the ropes, but Shamrock just drags him to the
middle of the ring and finishes him off to win his first title in the
company.  With more time, this could have
told a great story, but it was so abbreviated that it lacked a lasting
impact.  Rating:  *½ (3 for 6)
“Stone Cold”
Steve Austin & The Rock defeat Kane & The Undertaker by
disqualification when the Big Bossman interferes at 11:13:
Paul Bearer waddles out within the first minute of the
match, but it is uncertain about why he is there.  D-Lo Brown and Mark Henry wander out
eventually as well.  The Rock puts
together a great variation of the People’s Elbow where he sets it up and the
Undertaker tries to sit up before it is delivered, so the Rock just kicks him
back down and finishes the move.  The
crowd digs everything that the Rock and Austin put together in this match and
Kane weaves in enough high impact moves to sustain interest.  After the hot tag, Henry and D-Lo take out
the Rock and McMahon’s masked security guard interferes and blasts Austin with
a night stick.  The guard unmasks to
reveal the Big Bossman, which gets a small pop. 
Rating:  *** (4 for 7)
After the bell,
Kane and the Undertaker pound away on Austin and the Undertaker puts Austin in
the same leglock that he used on McMahon the previous week.
The Final Report Card:  As a tournament mark, I liked the concept of
the show, but the problem is that everything ended up too short because they
wanted to put on a big tag team match at the end.  Still, I like that they went with a
tournament instead of a battle royal.  Judgment
Day is being sold as a one match show, with everything revolving around what
Austin will do as a referee, and I cannot say that I am excited about
that.  Still, this show’s exciting main
event was enough to get a thumbs up from me.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.8 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up 

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

by Logan Scisco

A video package recaps Steve Austin crashing
Vince McMahon’s championship ceremony last week and Kane and the Undertaker’s
subsequent attack on McMahon.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are taped from East Lansing,
Michigan
.

Opening Contest
for the European Championship:  D-Lo
Brown (w/Mark Henry) beats X-Pac (Champion w/Chyna) with a Lo Down to win the
title at 5:18:
D-Lo earned this title shot by winning the six man, four
corner elimination match on last week’s show. 
A minute into the match, Chyna is served another legal summons and Henry
laughs at her.  This match has a unique
formula, as D-Lo dominates in the early going and X-Pac stages his comeback,
not getting a shine at the beginning. 
D-Lo fakes a knee injury and that enables Henry to catch X-Pac’s pescado
attempt, ram him into the post, and roll him into the ring where D-Lo captures
the European title for the second time.  Rating: 
** (1 for 1)
Vince McMahon is
shown yelling at a nurse at an undisclosed medical facility.
The Oddities are
shown playing touch football with the Insane Clown Posse for some reason.
Please buy Stridex
and get these Triple H posters!  They
have been shilling this since June.
In the new feud no
one cares about, the Headbangers call out the Insane Clown Posse and beat them
down with a chair until the Oddities literally walk out to make the save.  1 for
2
Footage of Steve
Austin cutting off Vince McMahon’s satellite feed on Sunday Night Heat is shown.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your Steve Austin 3:16 baseball jersey for $39 (plus $9 shipping &
handling)!
Ross and Lawler
fill time talking about the outcome of the Breakdown main event and the events
that took place between the main players on last week’s show
.
McMahon grows
irate at the medical facility when Mankind barges in.  He does not care for the balloons or candy that
Mankind brings him or Yurple the Clown. 
The segment is notable because Mankind debuts Mr. Socko here.  McMahon’s disgusted “Mr. Socko” at the end
still cracks me up.
  2 for
3
Check out Pacific
Blue this week as Sable goes to a female prison facility!
Sable comes out to
do commentary for the next match and Tori, her yet to be named obsessed fan, stands
behind her in the crowd.
“Marvelous” Marc
Mero (w/Jacqueline) beats Vader with Marvelocity at 4:12:
Sable lets us know that she wants the women’s title
because she now wants to be a serious wrestler “in this business!”  This is a match that I would have enjoyed in
1996, 1998 not so much.  Vader dominates
the action, but Jacqueline tries to interfere and that distraction leads to a
low blow and a Mero win.  Rating: 
¾* (2 for 4)
Jacqueline calls
out Sable after the match and cheap shots her after Mero causes a
distraction.  Jacqueline cuts a chunk out
of Sable’s hair and carries it off like a trophy.
Steven Regal, a “Real
Man’s Man” is shown making orange juice with his bare hands.
Owen Hart is
scheduled to face Edge, but he walks out in street clothes and apologizes for
hurting Dan Severn last week.  Fighting
off tears, he leaves, so Edge wins by forfeit.
Steve Austin’s
Zamboni attack last week is the 10-0-321 Rewind segment
.
Michael Cole catches
up with Owen Hart who is leaving the arena. 
Owen says “It’s over” and keeps walking. 
I wish it had been.
Ken Shamrock
beats Kane with a super powerslam off the top rope at 7:10:
Shamrock starts with some smart offense by targeting Kane’s
leg, but his hurricanrana is countered into a powerbomb and Kane slows this
down to a crawl.  The Undertaker comes
out for no reason and his interference causes Kane to get crotched when trying
a flying clothesline and Shamrock scores the win.  These two had very little chemistry.  Rating:  ½* (2 for 5)
Val Venis and
Terri Runnels are shown having fun backstage
.
Val Venis
(w/Terri Runnels) defeats Gangrel (w/Christian) by count out at 2:38:
Ross is all over the place calling this match, confusing
Gangrel and Edge and calling Christian “Christopher.”  Two minutes in, Edge confronts Christian at
ringside, but Gangrel attacks him from behind and gives him a DDT.  Gangrel and Christian do a beatdown, but that
causes Gangrel to get counted out.
Venis and Terri
celebrate in the ring when Goldust’s old usher from 1995 shows up and gives
Venis a gold envelope.  Venis is shocked
at the contents and Goldust invites him to his premiere next week on RAW.
Steve Austin
interrogating Shane McMahon on Heat and then having a staredown with the Rock
is shown.
McMahon demands a
new nurse and a painkiller.
Al Snow (w/Head)
beats “Double J” Jeff Jarrett by disqualification when Commissioner Slaughter
interferes at 4:15:
Jarrett appears to be the latest hired gun of
Commissioner Slaughter to go after Snow. 
They put together a decent match, but Slaughter shakes the ropes when
Snow goes to the top rope and the referee calls for the bell.  How can Slaughter not overrule that as
commissioner?  Rating:  *½ (2 for 6)
The Road Dogg
(w/X-Pac) defeats Mark Henry (w/D-Lo Brown) after X-Pac gives Henry an X-Factor
at 3:36:
The Road Dogg takes a 
swipe at Billy Gunn by bringing out a blow up doll dressed as him.   Lawler reveals that Henry is suing Chyna for
sexual harassment, which is why she has been receiving legal summons.  Chyna makes a predictable appearance late in
the match and that distraction allows X-Pac to get revenge for earlier in the
evening.  Rating:  * (2 for 7)
We get yet another
recap of last week’s events
.
Steve Austin,
dressed as a nurse, attacks McMahon at the medical facility.  He beats on his leg, hits him over the head
with a bedpan, shocks him with a defibrillator, and then shoves an enema up his
rectum as the camera fades to black. 
McMahon’s screaming and facial expressions made this segment.  3 for
8
The Undertaker
pins the Rock after a Tombstone on a chair at 13:10:
The Rock hopes that D-Lo Brown and Mark Henry can watch
his back for this match, but they are too intimidated by Kane, who walks out a
few minutes into the bout, and head to the locker room.  The Rock probably gets head with Kevin Dunn
by not doing the People’s Elbow facing the hard camera and Earl Hebner gets
bumped in the corner moments later.  Kane
blasts the Undertaker with a chair, but Hebner isn’t there to count the fall
and the Undertaker does the zombie situp and wins.  This had some slow parts in the beginning,
but it got hot at the end.  Rating: 
**½ (4 for 9)
The Final Report Card:  This was one of those RAW’s that felt like it
took four hours to sit through.  The McMahon
hospital segments were the highlight of the show and the main event was one of
the better Rock-Undertaker matches on record. 
Still, a thumbs down effort this week because it was such a chore to get
to the good stuff.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.55 (vs. 4.5 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

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

by Logan Scisco

We have a change
in the commentary team as Shane McMahon and Jim Cornette are given the
responsibilities for tonight’s show, which is taped from Sacramento,
California.  During this time the company
had Shane commentating on Sunday Night Heat. 
He was not very good at it, though. 
Ross and Lawler are not here because they were working on Jim Carey’s
film Man on the Moon.

The Rock comes
down to the ring, where Vince McMahon is standing with Ken Shamrock and
Mankind.  Kane and the Undertaker guard
the entrance as McMahon announces that WWF Champion Steve Austin and a partner
of his choice will face them later in the show. 
McMahon books the Rock, Shamrock, and Mankind to face each other in a
number one contender’s match so that they do not team with Austin later in the
evening, which is a nice twist.  There’s
some great humor here, as McMahon reminds Shamrock that he is the World’s Most
Dangerous Man, hypes the Rock as a future “People’s Champion,” and then puts
his arm around Mankind and says “nevermind.” 
The winner of the number one contender’s match will face the winner of
the Breakdown main event on next week’s RAW, where McMahon will be the guest
ring announcer.  Another solid promo by
McMahon that saw him play the roster’s top players like a fiddle.
Jeff Jarrett
nailing the Road Dogg with a guitar on last week’s show is the Penzoil Rewind
segment
.
Opening Contest:  “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn beats “Double J” Jeff
Jarrett with a neckbreaker at 7:30:
Since the Road Dogg was hit in the throat last week and
cannot speak they have Gunn read the New Age Outlaws introduction off of cue
cards.  This match goes smoothly until we
get a weak referee bump at the seven minute mark.  The referee gets his senses quickly enough to
prevent Jarrett from using the guitar and that distraction enables Gunn to
win.  Rating:  ** ¼ (2 for 2)
Michael Cole
catches up with Vince McMahon backstage as he is talking with Ed Ferrara.  McMahon tells Cole that he has no idea who
will be Austin’s tag team partner tonight and doesn’t care.
WWF Champion Steve
Austin comes out and says that he does not expect any help tonight.  He figures that since the Breakdown main
event is a de facto handicap match he might as well get started early tonight.  Just a filler promo.  2 for
3
Call 815-734-1161 to get your “Down
Where?  Down Here!” DX shirt for $25
(plus $6 shipping & handling)!
Buy Stridex!  Get a Triple H poster!  You know the drill by now since they have
been hyping this forever.  I guess those
Triple H posters were not hot items.
The Oddities come
out and dance with the Headbangers in the ring, but the Headbangers turn heel by
spraying Kurrgan in the face with an aerosol can, rip up Golga’s Cartman doll,
and beat down the rest of the gang.
Cole interviews the
Undertaker and Kane and the Undertaker promises that he or Kane will win the
WWF title at Breakdown.
WWF Women’s
Championship Match:  Jacqueline (w/Marc
Mero) beats Sable after Mero trips Sable on a suplex attempt at 2:51:
Since these two-thirds of the division (Luna is the other
competitor) we do not even need the illusion of a tournament and the winner of
this will be the first women’s champion since Alundra Blayze left with the title
at the end of 1995.  The not yet named
Tori is shown in the audience trying to get the crowd behind Sable before the
match begins and this is not the squash that took place on last week’s
show.  Mero bumps off the apron during
Sable’s comeback, thereby continuing his depush, but when Sable tries to suplex
Jacqueline back into the ring, Mero does the trip and hold trick and Jacqueline
becomes the first women’s champion of the Attitude Era.
Kane & The
Undertaker beat Stone Cold” Steve Austin & “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn when the
Undertaker pins Gunn after a chokeslam at 8:35:
No Savio Vega?  McMahon
is incensed that Gunn walks out as Austin’s partner and blames Pat Patterson
and Gerald Brisco for not taking care of business.  Seeing McMahon freak out as if Gunn is the
next big superstar is pretty funny in retrospect.  Unsurprisingly, Kane and the Undertaker beat
the hell out of Gunn  and when all hell
breaks loose he gets caught by an Undertaker chokeslam to lose the match for
his team.  After the bell, Austin takes
out the Undertaker and Kane with chairs before leaving.  Standard tag here that had a lot of energy and
you can’t fault the company for trying to get a new guy a rub from these three
main eventers.  Rating:  *** (3 for 4)
Southern Justice
wrestle The Disciples of Apocalypse (w/Paul Ellering) to a no contest at 2:10:
The DOA are back after being absent from RAW for the
better part of a month.  It only takes
two minutes for his match to fall apart and Jarrett clocks Ellering with his
guitar.  After that the match just ends,
so I am just going to consider this a no contest.
McMahon tells Cole
backstage that he does not think Bill Gunn made a wise choice by volunteering
to be Steve Austin’s partner.
Steven Regal is
shown shaving in the woods
.
No
Disqualification, Falls Count Anywhere Match: 
Al Snow beats Commissioner Slaughter after hitting him with Head at
6:08:
The provision of this match is that if Snow wins he gets
a job in the company, which he has been agitating for since June.  For his age, Slaughter bumps really well for
Snow and the stipulation masks his inability to do a normal match.  Head proves to be the key to get out of the
Cobra Clutch and a low blow allow Snow avoid a loaded boot attack and go on to
win the match.  So Snow has a job now, rejoice!  Rating:  *** (4 for 5)
After the bout,
Patterson and Brisco attack Snow, but Scorpio makes the save.
The Rock talks about how he will soon be
called “the best damn WWF champion there ever was.”  He says he plans to lay the smackdown on
Mankind and Ken Shamrock.  I think this
guy is ready for the big time.
Val Venis beats
Owen Hart via disqualification when Dustin Runnels interferes at 2:23:
Dustin Runnels is doing the announcing for this match and
he is still distraught over Terri sleeping with Venis.  Shane and Cornette point out that he does not
need to turn the other cheek in this situation. 
Owen is in dire need of a new direction after the end of his feud with
Ken Shamrock.  That won’t happen here,
though, as Runnels runs in and attacks Venis. 
After the bell, Venis ties Runnels in the ropes and makes him watch a
new video, where Terri tells him that Venis is a better man.  This gimmick for Dustin is terrible, but he
did a good acting job here.
European
Championship Match:  X-Pac defeats D-Lo
Brown (Champion) to win the title after an X-Factor at 5:15:
These two are capable of good matches, but this ends up
as a really abbreviated display of what they can do.  X-Pac’s offense carries this encounter, which
ends when D-Lo tries a nonsensical dive off the top rope that leads into an
X-Factor.  This is X-Pac’s first singles
championship victory in the WWF.  Rating: 
** (5 for 6)
Mankind wishes us
a nice day after explaining how he will avoid being submitted by Ken Shamrock
.
Triple Threat
Number One Contender’s Match for the WWF Championship:  Ken Shamrock wrestles Mankind and The Rock to
a no contest after Kane and the Undertaker interfere at 10:55:
Two of these men lost the King of the Ring finals in 1997
and 1998, while one of them won it and in terms of WWF history, the two losers
became bigger than the winner.  The crowd
continues to back the Rock, loving the People’s Elbow on Shamrock and his
mannerisms in the ring.  The Rock had
good timing with Shamrock, but has several awkward exchanges with Mankind.  That’s understandable because he barely worked
with Mankind up to this point.  This
match does not give us a number one contender, though, as Kane and the
Undertaker walk out with McMahon and lay waste to the talent, thereby serving
as a classic McMahon double cross.  It is
a shame that we get this result, but the company will fix that at Breakdown.  Rating:  *** (6 for 7)
As Kane and the
Undertaker lay waste to the Rock in the ring, McMahon gets attacked by Austin
in the aisle.  McMahon is not pleased
that Kane and the Undertaker did not have his back.
The Final Report Card:  Although this card lacked the same
emotionally charged crowd and match quality of the previous show, it served as
a good go home show for Breakdown.  While
you have Austin, the Undertaker, and Kane fighting each other at the top of the
card, the company is also building the Rock, Ken Shamrock, and Mankind in the
upper midcard.  The only thing that is a
mess is the tag division, as those belts are on the New Age Outlaws and there
is a lack of credible teams to face them.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.0 (vs. 3.9 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up