The SmarK RAW Rant – 10.12.98
Well I can’t just stop now. There’s a TOURNAMENT to be recapped! Turns out that Vince stripped HHH of the IC title off-screen last week, so it’s a one-night tournament to find a new champion. What, no series of four-way matches leading to another four-way match to crown the champion?
Live from Uniondale, NY
Your hosts are JR & King.
Vince McMahon is so confident tonight that he’s driving himself in a super-expensive custom white Corvette, despite his crippling injury. And he wants Steve Austin to have free reign to enter the building and challenge him, so keep the garage door up!
I mean, what could possibly go wrong?
WWF tag titles: The New Age Outlaws v. LOD2000
So Droz is abruptly clad in Road Warrior gear with a painted face, replacing Hawk. So Hawk does color for the match, claiming to be sober. Speaking of abrupt, Billy Gunn is suddenly back with no explanation after teasing stuff on Heat the night before. Droz powerslams Road Dogg to start, but Animal comes in and the Outlaws do some double-teaming, and then DOA runs out and starts brawling with the LOD while the Headbangers run in and hit the Outlaws with their boombox and it’s a schmoz at 2:00. “I’ll tell you one thing, that was no JVC KaboomBox, because they don’t break!” Oh, JR. DUD
Just to recap the nonsense on display in that last segment, we learned that the Headbangers have suddenly earned a tag title shot we didn’t know about before, the Oddities feud is done with, Droz has replaced Hawk in the LOD and they’re facing DOA at the PPV, Billy Gunn’s angle where he quits D-X is done with, and the Southern Justice feud with D-X is also forgotten, as is Road Dogg’s throat damage from Jeff Jarrett (which had basically been dropped anyway.) Regardless, that’s a LOT of info to cram into 2:00.
Meanwhile, Vince and his stooges watch Kane arriving at the arena, wearing a track suit and his mask.
Intercontinental title tournament, quarterfinals: Steve Blackman v. Ken Shamrock
Shamrock throws knees to start, but Blackman dropkicks him and puts him down with an elbow for two. Shamrock catches him on a leapfrog attempt and turns it into a powerslam for two. Shamrock works the leg, but Blackman comes back with a clothesline out of the corner. He goes in for the kill, but Shamrock picks the ankle from the the ground and taps him out at 2:40. And then the Blue Blazer runs out and attacks both guys and leaves. Shamrock is so angry that he anklelocks Blackman again. He’s no Liberty Belle. *1/2 JR admits that they have no idea what the brackets are.
Meanwhile, Undertaker shows up now, strolling in the garage 20 minutes into the show.
Intercontinental title tournament, quarterfinals: Val Venis v. Marc Mero
This week, the Big Valbowski is like a clock: Stick two hands and a face on it, and he’ll tell you what time it is. Weak sauce. Maybe they should hire 29 writers for him. Mero dodges a charge and takes him down with a drop toehold, but Val works the arm and gets a powerslam for two. Mero gets a backdrop and tries to follow with the Merosault, but Terri runs interference and Val gets the Perfectplex for the pin at 2:10. Jackie attacks Terri afterwards, which is pretty justifiable. I mean, she was flirting with her man and then cost him the match! Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.
Meanwhile, Paul Bearer shows up, and the stooges are clueless. “You don’t have a clue about a lot of things, Patterson.” Sick burn there, Mr. McMahon.
Meanwhile, Sable walks out on an interview and attacks Jackie, then drags her into the arena for a brawl that nearly gives us multiple exposed boobies.
Moments ago, let’s watch the entire segment again.
Intercontinental title tournament, quarterfinals: Mankind v. Mark Henry
Mark immediately clubs on Mick in the corner, but Chyna joins us at ringside, perhaps moved by Mark’s pre-match poem. Mark with a clothesline on Mankind and he hits a press slam and splashes the leg, then goes to work on it. Mick suddenly hits the double-arm DDT to come back, and then pulls off his shoe and debuts MR. SOCKO as a finisher, which puts Mark out at 3:15. Once he figured out the detail of keeping the sweat sock in his pants, he was off to the races. *
Meanwhile, Steve Austin arrives, driving a cement truck. If only Vince hadn’t told the guy to keep the garage door open!
Intercontinental title tournament, quarterfinals: Jeff Jarrett v. X-Pac
Jarrett beats on him in the corner to start and gets a backdrop, but X-Pac hits a spinkick and goes up, but misses a senton. Jarrett tries the figure-four, but X-Pac cradles for two. Jarrett with a powerslam for two. Blind charges, but the ref gets bumped and doesn’t see Jarrett blocking the broncobuster with a foot to the nuts. He goes for the guitar, but Head is in the guitar case and X-Pac gets a rollup for the pin at 3:00. Since when does Jarrett use a guitar case? Dumb finish. **
Meanwhile, say goodbye to Vince’s Corvette thanks to Austin dumping hundreds of pounds of cement right into it. Man, who got to clean THAT up? Some classic mirth-making from Stone Cold on display here.
Steve Austin joins us to kick off the second hour as this show zips right along. He’s not afraid of Vince, but Vince comes out in his wheelchair, guarded by POLICE DOGS and a mysterious bodyguard. So tonight, the main event will be Steve Austin teaming with the Rock against Kane and Undertaker. Then Vince goes onto a whole rant about how he was VIOLATED in his rectal area and suffering from headaches due to the bedpan to the head. What an amazing heel. Anyway, if Austin doesn’t raise the hand of someone and give them the title this Sunday, HE’S FIRED. Austin: “You don’t have the balls!” Vince: “I don’t have balls? I’ve got balls the size of grapefruits and you’ll be picking the seeds out of your teeth!”
Seriously, how was it even a fair fight with WCW at this point? STOP THE DAMN MATCH! TED TURNER’S GOT A FAMILY, DAMMIT!
Intercontinental title tournament, semi-finals: Val Venis v. Ken Shamrock
Shamrock remains extremely pissed and attacks Val on the floor, then tosses him in and beats the hell out of him before choking him out on the ropes. Val gets a big boot, but ROBO-SHAMROCK just ignores it and clotheslines him for two. He goes to work on the back again with a backdrop suplex into a Boston crab, but Val pulls himself to the ropes. And then Ken just pulls him right back out, but Val gets the ropes on a second try. He makes the comeback with the Russian legsweep, but stops to swivel his hips and then opts to drop an elbow for two instead of going for the finish. This gives Robo-Shamrock a chance to reset his RAM, and he clips the knee and finishes Val with the anklelock at 4:30. This was the BEST Shamrock and exactly how he should have been booked all along. **
And then with Val beaten and in pain, Goldust returns to finally pay off the stupid Dustin Runnels thing and set up their match at the PPV with the Shattered Dreams. So wait, now Val is suddenly the heel and Goldust is the babyface? I mean, it was odd enough when Dustin was the heel for being cuckolded by his cheating wife, but at least it was consistent.
Meanwhile, Vince and the stooges survey the damage of the car. Mick stops by and digs in the pile of cement to see if he can find the keys to the car. “See if you can find the briefcase, too!” notes Patterson.
Meanwhile, The Rock tells Michael Cole to get lost and cuts his own promo, noting that he’s got no problem facing Undertaker, but he doesn’t want to be Austin’s partner. D-Lo and Mark storm in, all butthurt about being left out of the match, and they go talk it over.
Intercontinental title tournament, semi-finals: Mankind v. X-Pac
Mick attacks in the corner to start, but X-Pac puts him down with a spinkick and they fight to the floor. Mick grabs a chair, but then changes his mind and that allows X-Pac to put him down in the corner and follow with the broncobuster. Mick basically no-sells it and blasts him with a forearm out of the corner and then puts him on the floor with a kneelift. This brings Shamrock down to whack Mick with a chair, and X-Pac gets a cheap rollup to advance to the finals at 3:20. Another nothing match. *1/2 And then Shamrock beats on X-Pac as well and goes after the neck. The Stooges come out and lead Mankind away on behalf of Vince so that Shamrock can finish the job without being interrupted, and we take a break.
Intercontinental title: Ken Shamrock v. X-Pac
So X-Pac decides he wants to work the match, and so Shamrock immediately DDTs him and drops an elbow. He keeps working on the neck with kneedrops, but X-Pac throws chops until Shamrock just puts him down with a clothesline and a sidekick. Shamrock hauls him to the apron and pounds the neck out there, then guillotines him on the apron. THAT’S THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING! Back in, X-Pac fights back with a spinkick and stomps him down in the corner to set up the broncobuster, but Shamrock casually picks the ankle and locks it in. X-Pac gets the ropes, so Ken reapplies it and hauls him back to the middle to crank on it until he taps at 4:00 to give Shamrock the title. This would have been better served by waiting for the PPV. **1/4
The Rock & Steve Austin v. Undertaker & Kane
So yeah, this is a thing that happened, on goddamned free TV no less. Crazy. Everyone brawls to start and our heroes double-team Undertaker with elbows. Austin starts with Undertaker, but gets clotheslined as Paul Bearer waddles out and Taker gets two. UT drops an elbow for two, but Austin fights back and wraps the knee around the post. Rock with the People’s Elbow as the crowd goes bananas, and that gets two. I should note that at this point, there were reports from house shows that Rock was pinning Mark Henry with the elbow, and people on the internet LOST THEIR MINDS with rage. Kane runs interference and Taker gives Rock as a massive chokeslam as a result, and Kane works him over. And now the Nation joins us at ringside as Taker beats on Rock in the corner. JR notes that Austin will never humble himself before Vince because he’s a real man’s man. Wait, I thought that was Steven Regal? Rock fights back with a DDT on Kane, but Kane clotheslines him back down and drops him on the top rope for two. The Brothers work Rock over in the corner and choke him out, then put him on the floor and pound on him. Back in, Kane goes to a chinlock, but Rock fights back and it’s HOT TAG Austin, by gawd! And then D-Lo and Henry promptly turn on the Rock and leave him for dead on the floor. Austin keeps fighting on his own and gets a clothesline for two on Taker, and the THESZ PRESS, but Kane breaks it up and the mystery bodyguard runs in for the DQ at 11:10…and it’s BIG BOSSMAN. Talk about an instant character rehab. So that goes very badly for Austin, as the three heels all beat him down while Vince watches with evil glee from the ramp as we end the show.
Extra Attitude: The beating continues afterwards with Bossman choking him out and leaving, and then Vince decides to wheel himself down and personally lay the badmouth on Austin. So he orders Patterson and Brisco to “put the boots to him” to soften him up first, and Austin promptly hits them both with stunners before Rock returns from the dead to give them a stereo People’s Elbow. Vince trying to wheel his chair up the ramp in terror is a hilarious visual, and of course Vince dumps him on his ass and puts the boots to him while he cowers in fear. And of course his idiot minions can’t even get him back into the chair properly, as he takes one more comedy bump to send the crowd home happy.
This was a tremendous two hours of entertainment with a great payoff. I’m still iffy on redoing Judgment Day, though.