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.

Shane McMahon walks out with the Corporation, but tells them to head to the locker room.  Shane says that Vince has gone to Texas to try to provoke Steve Austin into a physical confrontation so that he can void Austin’s contract.  As Shane discusses tonight’s card, a steel cage is lowered around him as D-Generation X is shown fighting the Corporation backstage.  X-Pac leaps into the ring and tears Shane apart until Chyna (wearing Corporate white instead of her usual black gear) runs in and gives him a low blow.

Cole lets us know that the WWF’s Super Bowl commercial was the most “controversial” ad ever aired during the big game.  Cole has used that word about six times in the span of ten minutes in the show so far.

Vince is shown in Victoria, Texas at a bar with the stooges, who are decked out in Texas cowboy hats and stereotypical rancher attire.  He lets them know that they look ridiculous.  Vince inquires to “toots” that runs the bar whether she has seen Steve Austin, but she “reckons not” and pulls out a stick, warning Vince and his friends to leave the bar.

Opening Contest:  Val Venis defeats “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn defeats by disqualification when Ken Shamrock interferes at 4:52:

Intercontinental Champion Ken Shamrock is doing commentary for this bout, which is really a mistake because talking is not Shamrock’s strong suit as a wrestler.  They need him out there to sell the silly storyline with his sister, but he just proceeds to YELL A LOT ABOUT HOW HE IS SOOOO MAD ABOUT HIS SISTER BEING DISRESPECTED BUT HE PROMISED HER THAT HE WOULD NOT ATTACK VENIS!  This match was setup by last week’s show where Venis attacked Gunn after mistakenly believing that he beat him down after his match with Test.  Everything just goes through the motions before the inevitable Shamrock interference with a chairshot, but once again we get a misinterpretation of the action as Gunn ends up with the chair and Venis thinks Gunn hit him so he lays out Gunn with the chair before leaving.  Rating:  *½

Mankind buys Max Mini, who has no mask, for $587.  Didn’t the Thirteenth Amendment ban this type of behavior?

The Rock calls Vince McMahon and complains about Mankind stealing his bounty, which would have paid for “five new shirts.”  He tells Vince that he is just going to have to take matters into his own hands.

Kevin Kelly interviews Debra, which is interrupted by Mark Henry.  Henry tries to put the moves on Debra, but he is attacked by Jeff Jarrett and Owen Hart before WWF officials intervene.

Mankind gives financial advice to Kurrgan and then gives him a wad of cash with which to invest.

PMS tells D-Lo Brown that he needs to teach a pig another lesson.  Brown objects and says that he has done enough to make up for the miscarriage.  However, Jacqueline says D-Lo has much more to do.

The Big Bossman defeats D-Lo Brown (w/PMS) after a Bossman Slam at 2:45:

PMS calls out the Big Bossman because Bossman bumped into PMS earlier in the show and showered some vile words on them.  There is another backstory here as these men were the third and fourth place finishers in the Royal Rumble, but the commentators completely miss it.  D-Lo gets a visual pin with a Lo Down, but PMS is distracting the referee and that leads to Brown eventually walking into a Bossman Slam to lose.  The Bossman then abuses Brown with the night stick before Mark Henry makes the save.

The stooges hit on some women playing pool, with Pat Patterson taking a low blow with one of the woman’s pool sticks.  Vince comes onto the scenes and says that he has found Steve Austin.

The Blue Meanie walks out but is attacked by Goldust, who finishes off the assault with Shattered Dreams.  It is unclear just based on the RAW episodes who is really supposed to be the heel in this feud.

Mark Henry talks with D-Lo Brown as he is being worked on by WWF doctor Francois Petit.  Henry tells D-Lo that he does not need to worry about Terri’s miscarriage, with Petit adding that Terri was never pregnant in the first place.

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Droz defeats Kurrgan with a flying shoulder block at 1:42:

Droz’s run through the Oddities continues as he beats Kurrgan in less than two minutes.  Droz does a beatdown until the rest of the Oddities decide to help Kurrgan, but you would think that they would have decided to sit closer to the ring this time because of what Droz did to George “the Animal” Steele last week.

Vince and the stooges are eating some barbecue while waiting for Austin.  Vince just picks at his food and complains about it, so Brisco calls over the waitress and proceeds to criticize her for serving food like that to “Mr. Mac-mahon.”  He gets some baked beans dumped over his cowboy hat for that.

The Brood defeats Mideon, Viscera & The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) by disqualification when the Acolytes interfere at 2:05:

If they had built the Brood better up to this point this could have really been a fun feud.  The Undertaker sits in his custom chair by the entrance instead of ever standing on the apron, so I guess we cannot count this as his return to action for the first time since Rock Bottom.  After the Acolytes interfere, the Ministry tears the Brood apart and hang Gangrel with a noose as the Undertaker looks on.

Mankind gives Debra a sweater because she may get a “chest cold.”

Footage of the Halftime Heat empty arena match between Mankind and the Rock is shown again.

Mankind comes out to celebrate his WWF title victory, which is quickly interrupted by the Rock.  The Rock does not give his best promo here because he has lost his voice and it takes him a while to get to his main point:  give him back his bounty.  Mankind says the bounty is down to $72,000 and he is not going to give it back even though he promised he would if the Rock gave him the Halftime Heat match.  Mankind does say that he will give the Rock a rematch, so the Rock proposes a Last Man Standing Match (the first in WWF history) at St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and Mankind accepts.

Vince and the stooges are at a pawn shop where they have supposedly trapped Austin.  Vince walks up behind a bald man in an Austin shirt and tries to provoke him, but the man, who is not Austin, pops up with a shotgun.  Vince does find out that Austin is at a bar close by, though.

Hardcore Tag Team Match:  The Acolytes defeat Road Dogg & Al Snow when Bradshaw pins the Road Dogg after a spike powerbomb through a table at 6:40:

With all of these hardcore tag team matches recently I cannot help but wonder if the WWF was thinking of creating another division in early 1999.  That seems unlikely, though, based on the deficiencies in the roster.  Like last week, we get a ton of garbage brawling, but this has more diversity, assisted by some stiff Acolytes spots such as Faarooq spearing Snow through a door.  Viscera takes out Snow backstage when the fighting gets paired off and Road Dogg cannot fight off two Acolytes, producing the finish.  Rating:  ***

After the match, three druids come to the ring and beatdown Road Dogg.  The druids then stand facing the entrance and they are unmasked to reveal the Brood.  This was silly booking as there was more mileage out of a Brood-Ministry feud rather than combining both groups.  But you know, Russo and all.

Backstage, Road Dogg is shown arguing with Al Snow about losing the last match.  He then beats up Snow with a chair when Snow tries to walk away.  In any other world that would constitute a heel turn.

Vince McMahon and the stooges finally find Austin.  McMahon tries to provoke him by reminding him of his Royal Rumble loss and constantly turning around his chair.  When Austin says he will wait for St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, McMahon unleashes a barrage of curses, but Austin still refuses to engage.  He chooses to leave the bar instead and leave McMahon and the stooges at the mercy of the other patrons.

Steel Cage Match:  Triple H beats Kane at 12:27:

Classic WWF escape rules apply.  Despite this being the main event, it has really fallen into the background of the rest of the show.  What was the whole deal at the beginning of the Corporation wondering where Kane was?  I guess he made it to the show after all.  Like a video game, Kane activates the turnbuckle fire during the match and that turns the lighting of the ring red, but no specials are unleashed before regular lighting is restored.  One of the good things about this match is that there are not a lot of escape spots, turning this into a battle of attrition, and that keeps the crowd’s interest and helps them rally behind Triple H.  X-Pac prevents Kane from getting out via the door by slamming it into his face and fighting him at the top of the cage.  Chyna runs in to try to keep Triple H from getting out, but Triple H kicks her away and he climbs out for a hot finish.  This was much better than I thought it would be and was arguably the best cage match in RAW history up to this point.  Rating:  ***½

After the match, Chyna tells Kane, whose arm is really torn up by the cage, to let D-Generation X gloat because they will not be doing so at St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

The Final Report Card:  This show was much better than last week, assisted by the humorous Vince-Austin segments and Mankind’s interactions with some of the roster backstage as he gave away the bounty.  The last two matches on the show also rescued a lackluster second hour and the main event was a clear sign that Triple H was being pegged for a big push in 1999.

Monday Night War Rating:  5.9 (vs. 4.7 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up