The SmarK Rant for WWF Monday Night RAW–03.22.99

The SmarK 24/7 Rant for Monday Night RAW – March 22 1999

(Sorry, I was super-busy on Saturday night and didn’t have time to watch anything new for this morning.  However, here’s a historic episode of RAW from 1999 from the 24/7 archives to continue filling in those gaps.  But we’ll update as needed for fun!) 

– Live from Albany, NY.

– Your hosts are Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler.

– Apparently, the WWE doesn’t believe in paying royalties, because “Thorn In My Eye” or “All Together Now” or whatever was the opening theme at this point is now GONE and replaced with generic rock music.  (At least it’s back on the Network.) 

– We begin with Vince, European champion Shane, and WW(bleep) champion the Rock. Man, Vince got old in the past few years. I guess the XFL will do that to you. Shane wants X-Pac TONIGHT, in a Greenwich Street Fight, right here in, uh, Albany. Meanwhile, Vince thinks that Austin and Undertaker are conspiring against him, but with the Great One on his side, he’s not worried about it. Rock is going to end Austin’s career, but Austin is backstage and doesn’t seem terribly scared about. Well, actually, 4 years from this show, Rock WOULD end Austin’s career, at Wrestlemania XIX. Austin gets bored and leaves, but returns a bit later. It’s kinda scary that Rock wasn’t even that great a promo at this point compared to the transcendent stuff he came up with later once he started teaming with Foley. So tonight, in this very ring, Austin and Big Show will face off in the main event, and Rock will referee, but Mankind is offended at having his refereeing prowess disrespected and challenges Rock to a match for the referee spot tonight, and when everyone tells him to kiss his ass, he goes over their heads and pulls out a Magic Contract from Commissioner Michaels that sets the match he wants anyway. (Seriously, how long did they milk the off-screen Shawn Michaels thing after he was taken off TV?  It’s like the Anonymous GM by this point.  Also, note the Russo trope of “You didn’t read the fine print” in full force.)  Geez, Russo’s stuff was getting convoluted at this point. Vince and Rock laugh off the refereeing thing, but then Austin returns…with a semi-trailer full of beer, which gives us the famous Beer Bath segment that sees Austin hosing the Corporation down with gallons of smooth, easy-drinking Coors Light. Now seriously, what kind of a badass drinks LIGHT beer? Austin’s promo here is tremendous, and Austin & Rock together were like printing money at this point. This was obviously a GREAT opening segment, probably one of the most memorable in the history of the show.

World tag titles: Owen Hart & Jeff Jarrett v. Edge & Gangrel

Gangrel attacks Owen to start and fires off an overhead belly to belly, which sets up a powerslam from Edge that gets two. Owen comes back with his own suplex and Jarrett comes in with a fistdrop. Edge gets a Michnoku driver, but Jarrett slugs back, only to have Christian sneak in for a double-team that gets two…for Christian. Uh. OK. (Lucha House Party Rules!) Edge switches back in again with a bodypress for two. Owen comes in and takes him down with a Sharpshooter, but the Public Enemy runs in and everyone stops to get rid of them because they hate them so much. Boy, there was an art imitating life thing if there ever was one. Lights out and Debra gets a bloodbath, which would be YOUR Sportz Entertainment Finish at 3:00 or so. 1/4*

– For those who have asked, a Sportz Entertainment Finish was the patented Vince Russo “get out of booking a winner” card whereby no winner or loser would be declared, and everyone would just leave the ring and move onto the next segment.

Intercontinental title v. Hardcore title: Road Dogg v. Billy Gunn

The New Age Outlaws had not yet split up at this point, so this is face v. face. This was another brilliant Russo idea, as they had spent months building up Billy Gunn challenging for the IC title, only to switch things up and give the belt to Road Dogg just before Wrestlemania and then the Hardcore title to Gunn, leaving them with messed up matches for Wrestlemania. They trade armdrags to start to show how scientific they are, and Road Dogg grabs a headlock. They slug it out and Dogg wins that one, and the kneedrop gets two. Gunn comes back with a pair of hiptosses and the Fameasser, but the cast of thousands runs in to break up the potential pin and it’s no contest at 3:15. Well, this show is off to quite the start. DUD

Meanwhile, the LOD attack Patterson and Brisco backstage.

The Blue Meanie calls out Shamrock to settle things once and for all. However, it’s Ryan Shamrock, Ken’s “sister”, that he’s calling out due to jealousy issues over Goldust, and this triggers a brawl with Ken and Goldust as well. This is Crash TV indeed.

Sable v. Ivory

Hindsight and future deeds make Sable’s act around this time look REALLY lame. Sable stalls to start and boots Ivory down, while Terri and Jackie annoy D-Lo Brown at ringside. Ivory reverses a powerbomb attempt for two and gets a bad sunset flip for two. Jackie trips up Ivory and Sable finishes with the powerbomb at 2:10. And of course Tori (not to be confused with Torrie) runs out and attacks Sable to set up their match at Wrestlemania. This show is beyond “car wreck” and into “drunken redneck demolition derby”. DUD

Referee Match: The Rock v. Mankind

Brawl outside right away and Rock hits the stairs, but recovers with a clothesline. Mankind slugs back and they head back in, where Mankind tries to drop Mr. Elbow, but Rock moves and chokes him down to take over. Mick goes low and fires back with a knee, so Rock retaliates with his own nutshot and out they go again. Rock does his commentary routine, but gets clobbered as a result, and they head back in again for a clothesline from Rock. Mankind comes back again with a neckbreaker, and the ref gets bumped. Rock with the DDT, but Mankind gets one of his own, and there’s no ref. Aaaaaaaaand, cue the run-in, as Big Show interjects himself for the DQ at 6:34. So Mankind gets to be the ref tonight. *

Kane v. Goldust

No match, as this is one of the really brilliant Russo swerves. Goldust does his entrance, and then shoots off his confetti gun…which turns out to be a fireball, and Goldust reveals himself to be HHH in a rather convincing disguise. Totally forgot about that one. Good acting job from HHH here.

Meanwhile, JR and Steve Williams are live from a frat house for their silly Frat Party, but Hardcore Holly makes an appearance and brawls with Williams into the kitchen. An innocent tank full of fish gets murdered as a result. Pretty fun stuff, with a fridge getting destroyed and Holly taking a bag of frozen veggies to the head.

Greenwich Street Fight: Shane McMahon v. X-Pac

 

This takes place in the parking lot, and the Mean Street Posse immediately jumps X-Pac, and they all run away. No match.

Big Bossman, Test & Ken Shamrock v. Undertaker, Bradshaw & Faarooq.

 

Bossman goes after Undertaker with the nightstick right away, but UT clotheslines it away and slugs him out of the ring while the APA brawls with Shamrock and Test on the floor. It turns into the usual silly Russo brawl with everyone fighting into the crowd until the lights go out for, you guessed it, the Sportz Entertainment Finish at 2:00 or so. No real match here, just another in the endless parade of bait-and-switch that was Vince Russo.

Steve Austin v. Big Show

Rock may have lost the referee match, but Vince sticks him at ringside as commentator anyway. Austin slugs away in the corner to start, but gets pounded down. Cole calls it “getting smacked down” and draws the ire of the Rock, for copyright reasons. Show does the choke in the corner, but Austin goes low and tries to post him, only to get kicked into the front row as a result. Show chokes him out, so Mankind jumps on him to break it up. Well that’s a no-no. Show goes after Mankind, so Austin pulls off a turnbuckle, only to get shoved into it. Oh, the irony. Show drops an elbow for two. Show argues the count, so Mankind starts a fight and Austin tries a stunner, only to get tossed down. Show with the boot and Austin bails, so Show follows him out and presses him onto the concrete. Vince sneers approvingly. Austin reverses Show into the post, which is no-sold, and Show whips Austin right back into that post. Mick, showing pretty blatant favoritism, threatens Show with a chair to get them back in. Once there, Show misses an elbow and Austin stomps him down, but walks into a bearhug. Austin slugs out, but it’s right back into it again. So Austin slugs out again and the Thesz Press gets two. A chair to the leg and the head and it’s KICK WHAM STUNNER to finish at 9:26. Why the FUCK would they beat Big Show a month into his WWF career? No wonder he bombed. (That finish was truly one of the most bone-headed decisions in the history of the sport in retrospect.  I mean, they jut killed off someone who could have been worth MILLIONS in one TV match for literally no reason.)  Russo just had no clue. Rock of course charges in for the pre-Wrestlemania beatdown, and we’re out. **1/2 Decent little brawl, and it wins match of the night by virtue of being the only match to both last more than 3 minutes and have a finish.

The Pulse:

Truly this was Vince Russo at his most Russoish, as the entire show was one big plane crash of tossing everything at the viewer with no time to breathe. On the other hand, it flew by, I’ll give ’em that. A horrible, but highly-rated, episode of RAW that was quite historic for one angle and little else.