The SmarK RAW Rant – 11.16.98
It’s the day after Survivor Series, Vince can walk again, and now the Rock era begins…
Live from Lexington, KY, drawing a mammoth 17,610.
Your hosts are JR & The King
Vince McMahon and Shane and their assorted cronies and stooges are out to mock the crowd for buying into their supposed feud and getting behind Steve Austin, because they’re all DAMN FOOLS. So Vince brings out someone else who had everyone fooled, the new WWF corporate champion, the Rock. And holy shit, he walks out with the belt and suddenly looks like the biggest star in the entire damn business. Like, he instantly understood how to carry himself like a World champion. So the Rock proceeds to turn on the crowd and emphasizes that they’re all trailer park trash (well, I mean, it IS Kentucky…) and Rock never forgot all the people chanting “Die Rocky Die” and “Rocky Sucks” last year. See, that’s actually a completely valid heel motivation. So he’ll raise the Corporate Eyebrow and drop the Corporate Elbow on everyone and he’d rather kiss Mr. McMahon’s ass than any of the asses in the audience. So Vince directs everyone to the Titantron so he can show how they screwed Austin, but instead Austin himself pops up on there and Vince freaks out. But then we get the real conspiracy footage, as they show off how they faked Rock’s attack last week and had Vince take the People’s Elbow to really sell it.
Finally, Steve Austin interrupts, but Vince would like to remind him that his new contract stipulates that no hands shall be laid on Vince unless provoked. But Austin has another piece of paper, giving him a title shot TONIGHT, as signed by Shane two weeks ago. And it’s notarized by Judge Mills Lane! Maybe Colt Cabana should have taken his case to him.
So yeah, this was an amazing opening segment, duh, and the ratings war was like Mick Foley getting hurled off the cell as a result.
The Oddities v. The New Age Outlaws & X-Pac
I dunno if something was cut, but this jumps right to the start of the match with no introductions. The Outlaws double-team Kurrgan with a Road Dogg kneedrop for two, but he comes back with a sideslam as ICP is back at ringside again, apparently having settled their beef with the WWF for the moment. Golga comes in with a corner splash on Dogg, but misses an elbow and Gunn gets the hot tag. Fameasser gets two and it’s BONZO GONZO as Shaggy 2 Dope comes in and splashes Golga by accident, allowing Gunn to get the pin at 2:50. Shaggy protests that “he thought it was the other guy” but the replay clearly shows that Gunn was nowhere near Golga. Who would ever suspect clowns could be evil? DUD
Meanwhile, Mankind is backstage and he’s pissed.
Meanwhile, Vince sends the stooges to go deal with Mankind, because he might be an imbecile, but he can also be a lunatic, so Pat Patterson draws the short straw and gets to handle it.
Ken Shamrock is here and he’s OFF THE FORMAT SHEET. Oh my god I never want to hear that phrase on a wrestling show again. Anyway, he got screwed at the PPV and he’d rather fight than talk, so he wants Big Bossman and he’ll even put the title on the line.
Val Venis v. Mark Henry
Val’s innuendo of the week: If you want to win the Kentucky Derby, you should have sexual intercourse with him without the benefit of any contraceptive devices. They slug it out and Henry gets a belly to belly to put Val on the floor, and he works the back out there and runs him into the post. JR is expecting a bearhug any minute now! Don’t encourage him. Back in, Val comes back with a legsweep as JR wonders who the father of Terri’s alleged baby might be. Maybe it was Papa Shango? Henry pounds away in the corner as Chyna makes her return with her new jawline, but Val rolls him up for the pin at 2:45. Mark doesn’t even care about the loss and offers to take Chyna on a nice dinner, no sex and/or lawyers involved. Chyna’s initial post-surgery face was not her best look. Match was whatever. ½*
Meanwhile, Patterson returns, unable to find the boiler room. “You couldn’t find your ASS!” “I know where it is Mr. McMahon!” declares Brisco. “Of course you do” Vince says, ”he’s sitting on it!” I don’t know how many takes these guys needed not to completely lose it, but it had to be a lot.
Goldust & Steve Blackman v. Jeff Jarrett & The Blue Blazer
The mismatched babyfaces double-team Jarrett to start, but he comes back with a suplex on Blackman and brings in the Blazer, who is looking more like Dr. Tom tonight. Blackman quickly boots the Blazer down for the pin at 2:07. And indeed, Owen Hart comes in to attack Blackman, which should hopefully prove once and for all that Owen Hart is not the Blue Blazer.
Meanwhile, Brisco returns from the boiler room, but there was weird noises, so he didn’t go in. So Slaughter calls him a wuss and goes to take care of this himself.
After the break, Slaughter returns unsuccessful, so Vince sends all three idiots at once.
Steven Regal v. The Godfather
Godfather’s really got the gimmick down now, with the day-glo outfit and classic music. So Godfather lets us know that Lexington has produced some really quality hos and Regal can either have the fight or have all three ladies, for free. And since he’s a Real Man’s Man, he’ll “take the broads”. But then Godfather lets him know that “England ain’t nothin’ but a place full of fags” and the brawl is on. They let THAT stay on the Network version? Would have been an all-time classic segment if they’d just ended with Regal taking the broads.
Intercontinental title: Ken Shamrock v. Big Bossman
This would be the debut of Bossman’s badass new heel theme, I think. Shamrock puts him down with a high kick and grabs the nightstick, but Bossman slugs it away and works him over on the ropes. A sign in the front row notes “British Bulldog: WWF Bound”. Well that proved to be prophetic. Just don’t tell Bret. They brawl on the floor and Shamrock runs him into the stairs, and then clobbers him with a clothesline back in the ring. They slug it out and Bossman hits a corner splash and a spinebuster gets two. Shamrock dodges a charge and they head back to the floor again and continue choking each other out back in the ring. Finally they both just deck the ref and continue the brawl as it’s a no contest at 4:00. Finally all the agents break it up as Vince and Shane head down to settle things themselves. Vince has an offer: He might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he’s the most dangerous, and Vince can use that. Really? He wants a dull knife? Anyway, apparently every corporation needs a dangerous man, so Ken makes nice with Bossman and joins Vince’s team. What kind of fucked up corporations does Vince deal with?!?
Meanwhile, Kane meets some autograph seekers outside and tries to murder them. Fucking marks, bothering the wrestlers outside. Probably wanted to put a selfie on Instagram or some shit.
Gangrel & Edge v. LOD 2000
Droz gets a lariat on Gangrel to start, but the Brood double-teams him and suplexes him onto the top rope, then Edge gets a corner splash off Gangrel’s back in the spot that would eventually become an E&C signature. Droz comes back with a powerslam, but OH FUCK ME THIS IS THAT MATCH. So yeah, Hawk appears at the stage and climbs the Titantron, resulting in the LOD getting counted out at 2:10. And we take a break. Tonight’s Suicide of the Week brought to you by Medieval on Sony Playstation!
Back with Hawk on top of the screen and threatening to jump, as Paul Ellering joins us, trying to talk him down again, but Hawk screams about how Droz is a liar and a snake. So Droz climbs up with him and Hawk “accidentally” falls backwards behind the screen as a result, apparently plunging to his grisly death on live national TV. A tragic occurrence. Really makes you think about life and how wrestlers have shortened careers and…
Never mind, it’s time for Sable! She’s the new Women’s champion, the Ronda Rousey of 1998! Shane interrupts and points out that all her success is due to Vince McMahon’s star-making abilities. Well that was a pointless segment.
Meanwhile, the three stooges head into the boiler room armed with football gear (“This is Kentucky, there’s no riot gear available!”) calling for Mick like he’s a lost cat, but Foley jumps out of the dark and destroys all three morons single-handedly.
WWF title: The Rock v. Steve Austin
Austin attacks to start and the arena EXPLODES. Rock bails as the heat is just off the charts already, so Austin chases him and beats on him in the aisle and this is the one of the few times were the announcers talk about the “electrifying atmosphere” and they’re not full of shit. Back in the ring, Austin with a suplex and middle rope elbow for two. Rock comes back with a neckbreaker and clothesline and they brawl into the front row and over to the announce table, where Rock chokes him out with a TV cable. Austin comes back and drops elbows on him on the table, but Rock backdrops out of a piledriver and the crowd is just losing their mind for Austin. Back in, Rock with a sleeper, and he slams Austin into the first ever CORPORATE ELBOW, then goes to the sleeper again. The crowd is literally so loud that you can’t hear the announcers. It’s crazy. Austin fights out and Rock clotheslines him back down again for two, but now Mankind brawls with Bossman while trying to go after Vince, but Shamrock assists in kicking Mick’s ass and keeping him away. Back in the ring, Austin makes the comeback and they trade finisher attempts, but it’s KICK WHAM STUNNER and Shamrock pulls out the ref at two. Austin deals with the Corporation, but Undertaker comes in with the old shovel to the head trick for the DQ at 7:59. Oh lord, we’re headed to THAT classic feud. Anyway, this was a fantastic piece of business that probably had them seeing Wrestlemania main event right after. ***3/4
Extra Attitude: Austin stuns the shit out of the Corporation and drinks beer with Earl Hebner.
So yeah, this was the highest rated opposed RAW in history up until that point, and things would only escalate from there. A hell of a show, one of the best I can remember.