The SmarK RAW Rant – 11.09.98
One week to go until Survivor Series!
Taped from Dallas, TX, drawing a sellout 13,000 and obliterating Nitro in the ratings by the biggest margin in history to that point.
I’ve been hearing good things about that Kurt Angle guy doing dark matches at this point. Seems like they have high hopes for him.
Your hosts are JR & Jerry Lawler
X-Pac v. Undertaker
Once again, it shows how worthless that the European title was when Taker doesn’t even care about challenging for it and it’s never mentioned. Taker quickly destroys X-Pac in the corner and stomps him into nothing, but Kane interrupts with his first run-in of the week and it’s a Sportz Entertainment Finish less than 30 seconds in. Kane tries to throw a fireball at Undertaker, but X-Pac gets in the way and takes one to the face. Man, that could have ignited his greasy hair and killed everyone in the building!
Bet you thought I was going to go with a Chyna joke there. Keeping you guessing.
Anyway, X-Pac might be permanently blinded, but luckily he was back in time for the PPV and completely ignoring the injury.
Meanwhile, Vince and the stooges greet the newly crowned Hardcore champion, Mankind, and Vince announces that he’ll be defending the title against Ken Shamrock in a falls count anywhere match tonight. But first he needs a makeover!
Val Venis v. Steve Blackman
Val’s introductions continue to be weak sauce. He’s gone from double entendre to single entendre and it’s very dull. Blackman charges in with the pump kick and misses it, but comes back with a dropkick into the corner and pounds on Val. Butterfly suplex and he goes to a chinlock and a suplex gets two. JR’s hyping of future RAW tapings is always so incredibly awkward, because he has to use vague language like “The giant Titantron and all the superstars will be there!” Blackman drops an elbow, but misses a change and lands on the apron. Val snaps him back in and goes up, but Blackman rolls through a bodypress for two. Val with a legsweep, but now Terri runs in and goes low for the DQ at 3:20. And then Owen Hart and the Blue Blazer both run in and beat on Blackman. Well that’s some pretty convincing evidence that they’re different people! Match was fine, although Dave notes in the Observer that Val’s porn career might be in jeopardy if he keeps getting hit in the nuts every week. *1/2
Meanwhile, Mick gets his hair cut and hopes to also get some new teeth. “What happened to the other ones?” “Oh, Steve Austin threw them into the crowd.” Mick was amazing in his talent to take something so simple like a haircut and make it hilarious.
Road Dogg v. D-Lo Brown v. Headbanger Mosh
Oddly, D-Lo and Mosh would end up as a team month later. Everyone trade near-falls with Shane as lowly referee and D-Lo drops Mosh on the top turnbuckle and slugs away on Dogg in the other corner. The announcers take potshots at Halloween Havoc running overtime and Mosh chokes Road Dogg out on the ropes. More hilarity as JR derides everyone jumping on the Jesse Ventura bandwagon following his shocking upset win for Governor of Minnesota, and then notes that later on they’re taking a special look at Jesse. You know, during the time when they were actively erasing all traces of his commentary from their history so they wouldn’t have to pay him? Anyway, this boring match continues and Mosh misses a flying legdrop, and D-Lo misses a frog splash on him and JR ponders a triple countout finish. Don’t give Russo any ideas. Dogg makes the comeback, but walks into the Lo Down, and Mosh hits the flying senton on D-Lo for the pin at 5:40 and no one gives a shit. DUD As usual, the Outlaws are all entrance and nothing once the match starts.
Goldust v. Jeff Jarrett
Terri comes out trying to get back with Goldust again, but Goldust tells her to FORGET the name of Goldust. Sick burn, bro. So to recap, the storyline is that Terri is cheating on her husband with Val, and then is also cheating on HIM with someone else who got her pregnant. Vince Russo, ladies and gentlemen. Jarrett gets a corner clothesline, but Goldust dumps him and they brawl outside until Debra distracts Goldust and Jarrett does a dramatic setup for a punch. Back in, Goldust comes back with a bulldog for two and pounds away in the corner to setup the Shattered Nuts, but Debra gets involved again and Jarrett puts him out with the El Kabong at 3:30 for the DQ. Why didn’t they just do that finish when they were fighting on the floor? ½*
Meanwhile, The Rock abuses Michael Cole, and then Goldust and Jarrett continue their brawl through the backstage area until the Blue Blazer takes out Goldust. And they brawl right in front of a sign that says “Don’t Block This Door!” They’re clearly blocking that door! This era really does have Attitude.
OK, so at this point there was a match taped between Golga and Steven Regal where Regal accidentally knocked Golga’s mask off and people were chanting “Earthquake” at him, and the match was a complete mess that they just deleted from the show. Also, for those keeping track, ICP quit the promotion before the show because WWF wouldn’t promote their CD, so that’s why the whole Oddities thing never went anywhere.
Hardcore title: Mankind v. Ken Shamrock
Mick is now wrestling in a tux as a part of his Corporate makeover from Vince, although he’s still wearing his mask. Shamrock slugs him down and drops a knee, but Mick takes off one his fancy shoes and hits Ken with it to take over, before choking him out with the suit jacket. He hangs Ken in the Tree of Woe and drops an elbow on him, but takes him to the floor and Shamrock rolls him up for two out there. Shamrock works him over with his own shoe and hits him with the Hardcore title, but Mick backdrops him into the announce table. Back in, he tries a piledriver onto a chair, but Shamrock backdrops out of it and clotheslines Mankind to the floor again. Mick sends him into the stairs for two. Into the crowd and Ken chokes him out with a TV cable, then suplexes him onto the stairs and then again onto the floor. Mick goes low to escape the anklelock and then hits him with a chair and follows with a DDT onto it for two. They fight up the ramp and Shamrock suplexes him on the entrance way and gets two. He charges with a chair and Mick backdrops him onto the ramp, but Ken hits in the face with the chair, and then Bossman hits Shamrock with the nightstick and Mick gets the pin to retain at 8:20. Really fun and really different, although obviously the Hardcore trope would get beaten into the ground by Russo as time went on. ***1/2
Meanwhile, the Rock was ATTACKED in the dressing room, although no one saw anything.
Steve Austin is out to let Vince McMahon know that any devious plan will surely backfire on him, but Big Bossman interrupts. Austin lets him know that he’s not into prison games and ass will be whupped at the PPV. Good stuff here.
Meanwhile, Vince clarifies that even though Rock was brutally attacked, he’s still on the hook for the match tonight and will be unemployed should he lose.
Al Snow v. Tiger Ali Singh
So Tiger sends Babu in there in his place, and Snow quickly destroys him before Tiger pulls down the top rope and attacks Snow on the floor. And then Debra steals Head because there wasn’t enough bullshit going on here, but Snow seemingly finishes with the Snow Plow and then Tiger comes in with a bulldog and pins Snow at 2:30. Spectacularly goddamn stupid nonsense, everything wrong with Russo’s booking summed up in one shitty match. -**
Edge v. Kane
Kane tosses Edge around, but misses an elbow. Edge tries a rana and gets powerbombed, but comes back with a missile dropkick and a DDT. Kane pops up and slugs him out of the ring, then takes out the Brood and chucks Edge onto Gangrel. To the floor, where Kane beats up all the heels single-handedly, but they come back on him and the ref calls for the DQ at 4:30. Wait, so it’s fine when Kane is attacking everyone but not when they fight back? Complete squash for Kane. ½* Regardless, Kane chokeslams everyone after the match to get his heat back. What the hell was the point of turning Edge heel, anyway? The vampire gang has been a bunch of complete jabronis for weeks now and it took them a year to find any kind of direction for them. So anyway, Kane piles everyone in the middle of the ring, including the ref, and pours gasoline all over them, but sadly a bunch of referees stop him from recreating that Rage Against the Machine album cover. Like, dude, you’re about to commit first degree murder and arson on (nearly) live TV and you’re stopping because a bunch of referees are yelling at you? What a pussy.
Vince McMahon comes out and he wants the Rock to show up for his match, and he just gloriously trolls the Dallas crowd by noting that if Rock should end up arrested again, he’ll join the Cowboys because half of their roster are convicted felons, too. Shane McMahon comes out and pleads with his dad to stop taking out his frustrations on the Rock and Stone Cold (at which point Vince suddenly blurts out “I HATE STONE COLD!” like a crazy man, with perfect timing) and just settle his business within the family. So Vince tells Bossman to go beat on Shane, but Austin makes the save to further their issue before the PPV.
The Rock v. Mark Henry
So Rock needs to win to save his job and reclaim his spot in the tournament. Despite his conveniently unseen attack in the back, Rock still comes out, debuting the tracksuit look he’d wear for the next couple of months. So Rock attacks to start and lays the smackdown in the corner, then drops elbows on the neck on the apron. Henry sends him into the table to take over, and back in the ring he works the back with forearms and chokes him out on the ropes. Rock comes back with a suplex and beats on Henry, but he misses a charge and Mark clotheslines him and drops an elbow for two. Mark with a bearhug, but Rock escapes with a powerslam and gets two. Rock fights back with clotheslines and a legsweep for two, but now D-Lo distracts the ref and Rock takes advantage with our millionth low blow of the evening. Henry comes back with his own powerslam for two, but D-Lo takes the ref again and this time Bossman gets involved and cuffs the Rock, which Rock manages to reverse on him and cuff him to the corner himself. Rock nails Henry for two, but D-Lo takes the ref and he’s out. Rock Bottom and the ref is gone, so Rock hits the People’s Elbow for the big finish and Shane O Mac runs in and counts the winning pin at 7:25 while Bossman helplessly flails in the corner. Big heat for this because they had stips people actually believed, and stacked the deck against Rocky. *** Afterwards, Vince talks too much shit against Rock, and Rock beats up the Stooges and then gives Vince a Rock Bottom and People’s Elbow to blow the roof of the arena and end the show. I mean, I know the swerve was great and all, but HOLY SHIT they could have just went right to the Rock as top babyface without missing a beat.
Really good show this week, definitely got me hyped for Survivor Series at the time and again now.