The SmarK RAW Rant – 12.14.98
Live from Tacoma, WA
Your hosts are Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler
D-Generation X are here to start, and it’s the hallmark of Vince Russo booking: People dressed up as other people for “comedy”. Jesus, it worked ONE TIME and then we had to endure it for years later. So we’ve got Road Dogg as Vince (complete with two midgets attached to his ass), Billy Gunn as Shane (complete with silver spoon), X-Pac as Ken Shamrock, Chyna as Big Bossman and of course HHH as the Crock. The comedy is somewhat undercut by Cole explaining the jokes on commentary (“King, he’s got a silver spoon!”) Shut up, Cole. Anyway, we get a bunch of jokes about assholes and sphincters, and Jason Sensation comes out as Shawn Michaels and he’s dropping a basketball. GET IT? HE DROPPED THE BALL! GET IT? Also, he’s “HB-Gay”. And he doesn’t lie down for anyone because he’s always bending over. This is brutal. X-Pac keeps trying to get “five knuckle shuffle” over as a catchphrase. As if that’ll ever happen.
Finally, the real Corporation interrupts this god-awful segment and Shawn punishes them by forcing the Outlaws to defend against Shamrock & Bossman. That’s more of a punishment for us. And Rock challenges HHH to a title match tonight, but Shawn points out that “HHH only hangs out with World champions but he’s never been one.” Oooooh, I bet that one hit pretty close to home. No wonder he spent the next 20 years collecting belts. Rock does the bit where he can’t remember his own catchphrase (HHH: “Don’t worry, yours is no better!”) and we hit Shawn’s music. Now that second portion was way better.
Meanwhile, Vince gives a pep talk to his troops.
Val Venis & The Godfather v. The Brood
Edge gets double-teamed by the babyfaces, but Christian hits Val with an inverted DDT for two. Val comes back with a legsweep and makes the hot tag to “martial arts expert” Godfather, and the Seaman’s Suplex from Val finishes at 2:35. This Val/Godfather team went nowhere but their push inexplicably continues. *
The Blue Blazer v. Goldust
Goldust quickly hits the Final Curtain and sets up for Shattered Nuts, but Jeff Jarrett runs in for the DQ at 2:10. “I guess this ends speculation that Jarrett’s the Blazer” notes Cole. And yet Owen Hart shows up EVERY FUCKING WEEK in the same place and they’re convinced it’s him? Steve Blackman comes out to save and unmasks the Blazer, and in fact it’s Owen Hart under there. Clearly that proves nothing. If it had been someone else under the mask they would have been like “Oh, we know it’s really Owen Hart and he got someone else to wear the mask.” I know we ask this question every week, but what the hell was even the story being told here? It literally makes no sense.
Mark Henry (with his new Sexual Chocolate gimmick and music) joins us to share the sexy details of his sex date with Chyna. Apparently Chyna wore him out with too much sex, sexually speaking. This brings out the JOB Squad for no adequately explored reason.
Bob Holly & Scorpio v. D-Lo Brown & Mark Henry
The JOB Squad attacks and brings a referee because…reasons? I mean, Mark already said he’s not here to fight. Scorpio gets a crossbody on Henry for two after Holly beats D-Lo in the corner, but Henry comes back with a splash on Scorpio and D-Lo hits the Sky High powerbomb for two. D-Lo goes up and misses a senton, but Terri and Jackie distract the JOB Squad morons at ringside and the match completely falls apart, leading to Jackie hitting Holly and Henry getting the pin at 3:00. DUD
WWF tag team titles: The New Age Outlaws v. Ken Shamrock & Big Bossman
Well that’s the last time we’ll hear their intro for a while. Like seriously, why would they take the titles off them at the height of their popularity? THAT WAS THEIR WHOLE DEAL! Sorry, spoiler. The Outlaws double-team Bossman for a bit and chase him out of the ring, but that allows Shamrock to nail Gunn in the knee with a chair and heels take over. Shamrock goes to work on the knee, but he tries a rana and Billy turns it into a powerbomb. Road Dogg gets the hot tag off that and quickly runs into a chairshot from Shawn, but Bossman only gets two. Dogg comes back with a low blow and Billy comes back in hopping on one leg, but he goes after Shawn and gets hit in the face with the nightstick as a result, and Ken Shamrock puts him in the anklelock to win the tag titles at 6:46. I should note that Billy Gunn was neither pinned nor submitted and yet this is a title change, unlike Mankind’s title match at Rock Bottom. I’m sensing that Vince McMahon might be a bit biased. Much better match here than at the PPV. **1/2
Vince McMahon, speak of the devil, comes out with a tumbler full of balls, ready to draw Austin’s number for the Royal Rumble. And shockingly, it’s #1. Shane thinks this is unfair, so they draw again, and it’s still #1. At this point, Michael Cole catches on that the tumbler is rigged.
Also, Vince promises to name another person for the Rumble, who will in fact enter the Rumble for the first time: Himself. Michael Cole is also shocked by this development. Vince draws #30 and offers $100,000 to anyone who can eliminate Austin. This brings out Mankind live via the boiler room, and he challenges Vince to a match tonight. Unless he doesn’t have the testicular fortitude. “RAW is a train outta control!” notes Cole. Truer words have never been spoken.
Meanwhile, Vince’s stooges offer him advice about the Mankind challenge. And of course, coffee.
Guitar on a pole: Jeff Jarrett v. Steve Blackman
Yes, Vince Russo also presents an “object on a pole” match here tonight. Blackman slugs away to start and uses his lethal martial arts, but Jarrett cuts him off from climbing for the guitar. Blackman comes back with a catapult into the corner, but Debra distracts Steve with her boobies. Blackman ignores this and drops an elbow on Jeff for two, then clotheslines him to the floor, but Debra comes in and strips again, which allows Jarrett to climb the pole and get the guitar. Blackman gets the guitar, but misses a shot, and the ref is bumped. I thought the first person to get the guitar wins? They literally said that at the beginning of the match! So Owen runs out with another guitar, smashes it on Blackman while Debra is stripping and the ref is out and Jarrett is lip-synching “With My Baby Tonight”, and Jarrett gets the pin at 3:31. This was ridiculously overbooked is what I’m saying here. *1/2
Meanwhile, someone has painted “Bloodbath” in Tiger Ali’s Singh’s dressing room. Could it be the vampire coven who earlier promised a bloodbath was coming?
Meanwhile, Vince decides to accept Mankind’s challenge.
Tiger Ali Singh is out for a match, but the lights go out and he’s covered in that mysterious, viscous red liquid after an attack from the Brood. Another Russo hallmark.
No Holds Barred: Kane v. Mankind
Kane attacks in the corner and tries the chokeslam, but Mankind fights back until he gets clotheslined and booted. Kane tosses him, but Mankind whips him into the stairs, which Kane cheerfully no-sells and runs the stairs into Mankind’s head. Back in, Kane clubbers on him in the corner, but Mankind clotheslines him to the floor, at which point Vince interrupts and offers Mick a street fight. So it’s a Sportz Entertainment Finish at 3:30 or so, another Russo specialty.
Meanwhile, Kane has been kidnapped by orderlies from a mental institution during the break and hauled off in a straitjacket. Obamacare at work, am I right?
Meanwhile, Mankind is busy beating on Vince in the parking lot, but the stooges try to save and he beats on them as well. Mick puts Vince out with Mr. Socko and tries to load him into the trunk of a car, but Rock saves and gives Mankind a Rock Bottom on the hood of the car. Car being destroyed needlessly? Check.
WWF title: The Rock v. HHH
Rock attacks and gets a backdrop for two, but HHH comes back with clotheslines out of the corner and slugs away. Rock tosses him and they brawl on the floor, where Rock clotheslines him off the railing and does the gag where he does his own commentary. Back in, HHH uses the knee and drops an elbow for two and he’s calling spots so loudly that he might as well be wearing a headset. Rock gets a neckbreaker and a clothesline for two, and a legsweep gets two. Rock with the chinlock, but HHH fights out of it, so Rock hits him with a DDT for two. Back to the chinlock and HHH fights up, so it’s the CORPORATE ELBOW, which continues to get bigger and bigger reactions every week, but it only gets two. Rock keeps clamping on the chinlock, but HHH suplexes out and makes the comeback with the high knee. He stomps away in the corner and HHH is YELLING spots (“Reverse to facebuster!”) and indeed that’s what happens. Rock bails and they brawl on the floor, but Chyna comes in with a low blow behind the ref’s back and HHH gets two. KICK WHAM PEDIGREE, but the ref is still distracted and Shawn hits him with the belt for two. Chyna goes after Shawn, but this brings out the CORPORATE HIRED GUN, Motley Crue’s own bodyguard, Andrew Martin, who hits HHH with the pumphandle slam and Rock pins him to retain at 10:50. Michael Cole’s amazing call of this debut: “King! It’s…uh…that guy! You know, that guy!” Not making this up, I swear. Anyway, good match, as they seemingly build every week to the HHH v. Shawn match that was never coming. Well, you know what I mean. ***
Man, HHH sure got his revenge on Test in the long run, you have to give him that. The man plays the LONG game.
Anyway, this was a pretty easy show to watch, despite all the Russo-isms up and down the show. You can really see the wheels coming off more and more every week, though.