–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.
–Steve Austin comes out and guarantees the shedding of Vince’s blood this Sunday. WWF Champion Mankind walks out and let’s Austin know that he will be facing him at WrestleMania after he retains the title tomorrow night on pay-per-view. Mankind adds that he looks forward to facing Austin tonight per the orders of Vince McMahon when the Corporation interrupts. The Rock puts over his chances of winning the WWF title at St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, while Vince says he is so confident he will win on Sunday that he bans any member of the Corporation from interfering in his match with Austin. McMahon drives himself into an entertaining frenzy about how officials will have to scrub Austin’s guts off the cage and how Austin’s experience in the WWF will never be the same again after he loses. McMahon concludes that he will referee the Austin-Mankind main event later in the evening.
–Debra is shown lotioning her legs, while Mark Henry watches from a nearby monitor.
–Opening Contest: D-Lo Brown (w/Mark Henry & Ivory) beats “Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Owen Hart & Debra) after a Sky High at 1:12:
Jarrett gets arguably the biggest pop of his career walking out, although much of that is on account of Debra. This is a tune up bout before tomorrow night’s pay-per-view as D-Lo and Henry are booked to face Jarrett and Owen for the tag team titles. Ivory makes her debut here, introduced by Brown as a way to satisfy Henry’s desires so he is not distracted by Debra. There is not much to this one, with Jarrett trapping Brown in a figure-four until Ivory distracts him and enables Brown to hit the Sky High to go over. We get a customary cat fight between Ivory and Debra at the end of the match.
–Footage is shown from earlier in the day when Val Venis and Ryan Shamrock were “hanging out” in one of the Skydome suites.
–A video package recaps the Ken Shamrock-Val Venis feud.
–Kevin Kelly interviews Val Venis and Ryan Shamrock. Before that goes anywhere, though, Ken Shamrock hits the ring and tears Venis apart as Ryan does a terrible acting job. Venis and Ryan escape as Ken tears apart officials like it is SummerSlam 1997 all over again.
–After the commercial break, Venis tells Ryan that he is going to end the issue with Ken Shamrock tonight.
–Non-Title Match: Gillberg (WWF Light Heavyweight Champion) beats Goldust with a schoolboy at 1:34:
The old Goldust attendant makes a comeback here, delivering some blue flowers to Goldust courtesy of Bluedust. Gillberg tries a spear, which hilarious fails when he bounces off Goldust. Goldust hits the Curtain Call, but a scantily clad Bluedust appears on the Titantron and the distraction makes Goldust Gillberg’s first victim. After the match, Goldust gets revenge on Gillberg with Shattered Dreams, but the lights go out and when they return Goldust is covered in blue paint. So is that a “Blue bath”?
–Earl Hebner tells Kevin Kelly that no WWF official will take part in the Ken Shamrock-Val Venis title match this Sunday due to Shamrock’s recent actions. If a referee cannot be found, Shamrock will be forced to forfeit the title.
–D-Generation X comes out for promo time. Triple H runs down Chyna’s lack of female anatomy, while X-Pac tells Kane that he is not afraid of him. Road Dogg rips off some of Steve Austin’s catch phrases by claiming that he is going to “stomp a mudhole” in Al Snow. Billy Gunn ends the segment by saying that since he does not have a match he will referee the Ken Shamrock-Val Venis Intercontinental title match. Simple hype work here, but the crowd was digging every word of it.
–Shane McMahon is shown talking to Vince McMahon, who is hyped to be refereeing tonight’s Steve Austin-Mankind match.
–We are supposed to get the Mankind-Austin match next and everyone makes their entrances. Vince encourages lots of violence from both men with low blows, eye gouging, and “creative use of furniture,” but Austin and Mankind see threw his ploy and Mankind shoves Socko down McMahon’s throat. Austin and Mankind then fight with the Corporation and clear house, leading McMahon to announce after the commercial break that Austin will run the Corporate gauntlet later tonight.
–The Godfather (w/the Hos) beats Viscera (w/Mideon) via disqualification when Mideon runs in at 1:22:
Imagine the most generic rock beat that you can and that is what Viscera has for his theme. It goes without saying that Viscera does not take the hos and the Godfather does not even try to offer them. Just think, this match is four years in the making as these two could have faced off in the 1995 King of the Ring semi-finals! Some brief action culminates in a Mideon run-in so that Viscera can splash the Godfather a few times and put over the “power” of the Ministry of Darkness.
–Val Venis and Ken Shamrock are fighting in the locker room until Billy Gunn tries to break it up and gets involved. Eventually, DX and the Corporation have to break up all of the fighting.
–Non-Title Match: X-Pac (European Champion) beats Kane (w/Chyna) via disqualification when Chyna intereferes at 2:56:
If you ever needed to get a monster over in this period all you had to do was book them against X-Pac since he flew around and made the monster’s offense looks like a million bucks. Kane dominates the bout, but when X-Pac starts to make a comeback it is cut short via a Chyna low blow. A two-on-one attack culminates in Triple H making the save. I could complain about another disqualification finish, but that makes more sense for this match since you do not want either guy eating a pin before the pay-per-view.
–Paramedics discover the Road Dogg out cold in the locker room with blood coming out of his ear.
–Al Snow warns the Road Dogg that he is coming to win the Intercontinental title in the second match of their three match series at St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. He issues an open challenge for a Hardcore match from anyone tonight. No one answers, so he fights himself, including blowing a fire extinguisher into his face and moonsaulting threw a table. Bob Holly comes out to stop this, but Snow starts fighting him and that begins the process of giving us “Hardcore Holly,” Bob’s best gimmick.
–Kevin Kelly interviews Droz, who wants to know why Kelly called him a “punk” on Sunday Night Heat. He attacks Kelly before Steve Blackman breaks it up.
–The Rock pins Steve Blackman after a Corporate Elbow at 3:51:
For all intents and purposes, the Rock is treated as a face here. Blackman gets in a surprising amount of offense but he misses his chance at an upset when the Rock avoids a pump kick. This may be the first time that the Rock won a match with the Corporate Elbow as well. Rating: *
–Corporate Gauntlet Match: Vince McMahon wins the match for the Corporate team after pinning “Stone Cold” Steve Austin at 6:45:
Order of Elimination: Ken Shamrock gets disqualified after Test interferes at 1:33; Test gets disqualified at 2:33; Kane gets disqualified at 4:14; Chyna gets disqualified at 4:29; Big Bossman gets disqualified at 5:28
One of the problems of Gauntlet matches like this is that they are rushed so it makes the defeated parties look really weak. For example, Ken Shamrock eats a Stone Cold Stunner in just ninety seconds. Corporate team members keep getting disqualified when they break up Austin’s pin attempts and trash begins to filter into the ring at a growing rate as if this is Bash at the Beach 1996. With no one left to run the gauntlet after the Big Bossman gets disqualified for using the nightstick (the Rock is seemingly exempt due to his “grueling match” with Blackman earlier), Vince McMahon inserts himself into the bout and gets the victory. Great piece of booking that put a ton of heat on McMahon going into the pay-per-view on Sunday. Rating: *½
The Final Report Card: As the match ratings illustrate, the in-ring work did not carry this show. However, the hot crowd and good segments largely kept things moving along. The show also did a good job building the pay-per-view with McMahon taunting Austin at the end, Chyna teasing a confrontation with Triple H and X-Pac, and Ivory and Debra having a fight to build the tag team title match.
Monday Night War Rating: N/A
Show Evaluation: Thumbs Up