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.

The Corporation honors Vince McMahon’s Royal Rumble victory.  This is McMahon’s first use of the “No Chance in Hell” theme song on WWF television.  McMahon in turn congratulates the Rock for winning the WWF title at the Royal Rumble and awards him the $100,000 bounty for “coming down to ringside to watch” McMahon toss Austin out of the Rumble.  McMahon then proceeds to recount a hilarious story about how the Rock woke up last night in a cold sweat due to having to face him at WrestleMania and says that he has filed papers to remove himself from the match, although he reserves the right to name his challenger.  Steve Austin interrupts the segment via satellite from San Antonio, Texas and says that he is actually going to WrestleMania and has Commissioner Shawn Michaels in tow to communicate the news.  Michaels says that WWF rules say that if the winner of the Rumble is unable or unwilling to go to WrestleMania then the runner-up gets the rights to do so.  Austin closes the segment by challenging McMahon to a steel cage match at the February pay-per-view – St. Valentine’s Day Massacre – and if he loses then he will lose his WrestleMania title shot.  After deliberating with the Corporation, McMahon accepts the challenge.

An armored car arrives at the arena to bring the Rock his $100,000 bounty.

Opening Contest:  Billy Gunn (w/Triple H & Chyna) defeats Goldust with a piledriver at 2:00:

Before the match, Triple H challenges the Rock to an “I Quit” match for the WWF title.  The bout is wrestled at 100 miles per hour, which is a signal that there will be interference and less than a minute in the Blue Meanie shows up in Goldust-style attire.  Goldust is not happy with this gimmick infringement, but gets blasted with Head and loses.  Cole freaks out and lets us know that we just saw “Bluedust.”

Mankind is shown arriving at the arena.

The Oddities are in the ring with George “the Animal” Steele, but WWF Champion the Rock comes out and gets WWF officials to escort them to the back.  The Rock says that Triple H only beat him at SummerSlam months ago because Chyna interfered and hit him in the “People’s jewels.”  He accepts Triple H’s challenge.  As the Rock cuts the promo, Mankind goes to the armored car, attacks the security officials protecting it, and steals the Rock’s $100,000 bounty.  Mankind walks out to the ring and tosses some of the money into the crowd, picking on one fan that has a “terrible t-shirt.”  Mankind says he did not quit last night at the Royal Rumble and shows footage from Sunday Night Heat where he said “I Quit” to Shane McMahon and this was the same “I Quit” phrase that was used to lose him the match, causing Cole to yell like a schoolgirl that Mankind never quit.  Mankind proceeds to challenge the Rock to an empty arena match during Halftime Heat this Sunday and the Rock accepts.  Of course, this is all for naught if the Rock loses the WWF title to Triple H in the main event, right?

Mideon brings an eye to the announce team and says that “evil is coming again tonight.”

Droz beats George “the Animal” Steele after ramming him into an exposed turnbuckle in 47 seconds:

This is a really odd match to book in 1999 and the Oddities do not stick by their man George, leaving him after the opening bell.  The ending is logical, though, as Steele can’t help but eat a turnbuckle and Droz smashes his head into the now exposed buckle to win.  After the match, Droz beats up Steele and some WWF officials before the Oddities finally realize something bad is going on and run back to the ring.

Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco remind the Ken Shamrock and the Big Bossman that they need to not focus on Debra in tonight’s match.  They have both men drink water laced with saltpeter to resist Debra’s charms.

Kevin Kelly interviews Debra, who says that no man can resist her temptations.  Mark Henry tries to make a move on her as we go to the next match.

WWF Championship Match:  Jeff Jarrett & Owen Hart (w/Debra) Ken Shamrock & The Big Bossman to win the titles after Owen pins Shamrock after the Blue Blazer hits Shamrock with a guitar at 4:37:

The storyline of the match is whether or not the Big Bossman can resist Debra’s advances and focus on the match.  Debra starts to strip on the apron, although that fails to stop Shamrock from locking in the ankelock on Owen.  In the ensuing four way brawl, the Blue Blazer runs in and causes a title switch, causing me to roll my eyes since this “mysterious Blazer” storyline is still in effect.  The match could have been better with more time and without all of the silly shenanigans.  Rating:  *

Kevin Kelly interviews the new champions and Owen says that he is vindicated in that he is not the Blue Blazer.  If only that could be true in five months…

Shane McMahon and the stooges come out and Shane says that Kane apologized to the McMahons last night for his behavior.  Kane comes out and Shane wants him to get down on both of his knees and apologize, but X-Pac interrupts the segment.  X-Pac proposes that Kane dump the Corporation and become a member of DX and teases going after Shane.  However, Kane chokeslams X-Pac and Shane gives him a Bronco Buster.

Footage is shown of PMS taking D-Lo Brown shopping for feminine products.  D-Lo is recognized by the clerk and walks out with his items, but he does not pay!

Val Venis unveils his new production entitled “Saving Ryan’s Privates,” although the title shown is “Sister Act.”  The film’s trailer promotes the fact that Ken Shamrock’s sister will be involved and we get a PG-13 scene of them in the shower.

Test pins Val Venis after a pumphandle slam at 1:23:

Test does not have his annoying theme song that repeats the word “Test” a zillion times yet, so that is a relief.  As can be expected, Ken Shamrock runs out, smashes Venis in the back with a chair, and that produces the finish.  Shamrock does a beatdown of Venis after the bell and Billy Gunn makes the save, but Venis does not understand the situation and beats up Gunn before WWF officials intervene.

Hardcore Tag Team Match:  The Road Dogg & Al Snow defeat Gangrel & Edge when Road Dogg pins Gangrel after all four men fall through tables at 5:44:

Lots of stereotypical garbage brawling culminates in a fight in the women’s restroom (causing the Godfather’s hos to run out of there) and on a series of boxes.  In the midst of the fight on the boxes, Bluedust gives Snow the Head back and somehow we are supposed to celebrate all of this.  Rating:  **

Kevin Kelly interviews the Road Dogg and Al Snow.  Snow tells Dogg that he is hardcore and he proposes a two-out-of-three falls match for Dogg’s Hardcore title.  Dogg accepts, but afterward both men are beaten down by the Ministry.  The Undertaker is shown seated in his “symbol chair” and he says that “This will be a holy war.”  This Ministry stuff is the most ridiculous act on the show and unfortunately it is getting top billing because of who the Undertaker is.  It is definitely not a highlight of his career.

“I Quit” Match for the WWF Championship:  The Rock defeats Triple H (w/Chyna) at 9:07:

It is interesting that they did not save this match for a later RAW as it was unthinkable that Triple H was going over here due to the Rock just winning the title back the Rumble.  Booking these two to follow the brutal “I Quit” match the previous night did not do them any favors either.  The bout also features some weird sequences such as where Triple H threatens to choke the Rock with electrical cord if he does not quit and then ends up not doing that after the Rock refuses.  Triple H hits a series of Pedigrees in the ring and arena floor and aims to do one on the announce table, but before he pulls that spot off, Kane and the Corporation come down to ringside.  Kane grabs Chyna and the Big Bossman threatens to allow Kane to chokeslam Chyna if Triple H does not submit, so Triple H does so and loses.  Creative ending that protected Triple H, but it would have been better to play off of any injuries sustained by the Rock the previous night.  The lack of discussion about that made the Rock look weak as he mounted very little sustained offense.  Rating:  **1/2

After the match, Kane and Triple H tease a confrontation and Chyna turns on Triple H, ending their nearly two-year relationship.  The Corporation beats down Triple H as Chyna watches and it is unclear where DX is in this whole mess.

The Final Report Card:  The biggest flaw in the show was that there was way too much talking, a Russo specialty.  Although several of the angles on this show would matter later (e.g. X-Pac’s attempt to broker a friendship with Kane), very few of them were entertaining enough to outweigh the lack of in-ring action.  Even the Austin-McMahon segment was awkwardly delivered at the top of the show and both men were not on their usual “game.”

Monday Night War Rating:  5.5 (vs. 5.0 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down