What the World Was Watching: WrestleMania XV

Boyz 2 Men sing “America the Beautiful” to kick off the show.  They receive a Cena-like mixed reaction.

Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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What the World Was Watching: In Your House – D-Generation X

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross and Jerry
“the King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from Springfield,

Opening Light
Heavyweight Championship Tournament Finals Contest:  Taka Michinoku beats “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher
with a Michinoku Driver to win the title at 12:03:
The predictable light heavyweight tournament finals ends
here and I think they would have been better served using a round robin format
to crown the champion than this.  They
use a refreshing formula at the beginning of the match whereby Christopher
tosses Michinoku around for a couple of minutes before Michinoku rallies, which
gets the crowd into the match. 
Christopher takes a nasty dive into the guardrail and cuts his lip
open.  The match has an irregular flow
because Christopher still wants to work a slow, Memphis style and Michinoku
prefers to work faster sequences and transitions between moves.  Christopher completely kills the crowd by
toying with Michinoku seven minutes in and this ends with the usual “you miss
your finisher and I hit mine” sequence that the WWF is known for.  After the match, WWF officials present Taka
with the title, but I couldn’t help but think at the time “what next?”  The division didn’t have anyone to elevate as
a credible challenger for Michinoku’s belt and as a result, the division was
dead on arrival.  Rating:  **½
Kevin Kelly and
the Jackal hype the Superstar line.
Jose, Miguel
Perez & Jesus defeat The Disciples of Apocalypse when Jose pins Chainz
after Perez hits Chainz with a somersault leg drop at 7:46:
The Boricuas do a horrid rap on the way to the ring that
makes R-Truth’s old gig completely comprehensible.  You can give them credit for trying, but 1998
Konnan this was not.  Since Crush is
gone, DOA is down to only three members so we get a six man tag.  The match has nothing but lots of kicking and
punching and the only highlight is that Perez feigns a knee injury off of a
flying axe handle and runs in behind the referee’s back and alters the finish
after Chainz hits a Death Valley driver. 
Rating:  ¼*
Butterbean tells
Dok Hendrix that he’s ready to take care of Marc Mero tonight.
A video package
recaps the Marc Mero-Butterbean feud.
Michael Cole
interviews Sable, who he says was at Butterbean’s undercard fight the night
before and held up his title belt.  Sable
says that she’s in Marc Mero’s corner tonight and Mero interrupts the
interview, telling her she doesn’t have permission to talk, and he pledges to
knock out Butterbean
Contest:  Butterbean beats Marc Mero
(w/Sable) by disqualification when Mero uses a low blow and hits Butterbean
with a stool in the fourth round:
The match is scheduled for four, two minute rounds.  For those unfamiliar with Butterbean, he was
a Toughman Contest superstar that eventually became a professional boxer and
won the IBA Super Heavyweight title in April 1997, which he never lost.  The fans quickly turn on this, for obvious
reasons.  They might get into it if it
was a legit fight, but the biggest mark can tell there’s something amiss when
Mero throws out a high knee in the second round and starts choking Butterbean
behind the referee’s back with the tape that holds the ropes together.  They also didn’t bother to have any judges so
that’s another clue the fix is in.  They
book this to make Mero more of a jerk, but the whole exercise made Butterbean
look weak with his obviously pulled punches. 
That said, I would rather have seen Mero fight Butterbean at
WrestleMania XV than Bart Gunn since Mero was a Golden Gloves champion and
would have had a fighting chance.
Kevin Kelly is in
the WWF America Online center with Dude Love. 
I can’t help but have the old AOL dial tone go through my head right now.
The Artist
Formerly Known as Goldust comes out with Luna Vachon, with her leading him on a
leash.  He’s sporting a pink attire, pink
hair, and white face paint.  He reads Dr.
Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham until Luna pushes him down and drags him
away.  Really, really weird.
Cole interviews
the Legion of Doom and Hawk says that Road Dogg Jesse James and Bad Ass Billy
Gunn remind him of boogers in his nose. 
Was there a contest for oddest promo segment tonight?
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  “The Road Dogg”
Jesse James & “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn (Champions) defeat The Legion of Doom by
disqualification when Hawk blasts James and Gunn with a bucket at 10:35:
James and Gunn take stalling to a whole new level, as
they restart their ring entrance several times since the LOD won’t cede a clear
line of access into the ring.  The LOD
dominate until Gunn blasts Hawk with a cooler, which Lawler then completely
writes off by reminding the fans that it is just made out of styrofoam.  Neither team does anything to make this
interesting until the LOD prepare to give James a Doomsday Device, but Henry
Godwinn breaks it up by hitting Animal with a bucket.  That bucket eventually finds its way into
Hawk’s hands and like an idiot he hits the champions and nearly decks the referee
and gets his team disqualified.  So, what
is it going to take to end this awful LOD-Godwinns feud?  The tag division is really running on fumes
at this point and the LOD are clearly past their expiration date. Rating: 
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A video package
hypes the boot camp match between Sergeant Slaughter and Triple H
Cole interviews
Triple H and Chyna and Triple H is carrying a special “survival kit” for
tonight’s boot camp match that has a comb, depends, and some other geriatric
Jim Cornette
interviews Sergeant Slaughter, who promises to beat Triple H up in the next
Boot Camp
Match:  Triple H (w/Chyna) beats Sergeant
Slaughter with a Pedigree on a chair at 17:40:
This is actually Triple H’s first pay-per-view match in
the United States since becoming a member of D-Generation X.  Slaughter comes out to the Patriot’s theme
music, which is the theme later given to Kurt Angle.  A smart fan in the audience holds up a sign
that makes it onto camera in the early going that asks a great question:  “Who booked this?”  Slaughter is too old to give this a good
effort, as he is gingerly bumping around ringside and the crowd is dead
silent.  The bump of the match goes to
the guest timekeeper, who Helmsley takes out to get access to the ring
bell.  Even that generates very little
reaction.  By the way, Slaughter takes
off his belt to choke Helmsley early in the match, but that causes him to keep
pulling up his pants throughout this encounter. 
The only person getting anything resembling a reaction is Chyna, who
breaks up Slaughter’s Cobra Clutch and knocks out the referee.  Slaughter immobilizes her with powder to the
eyes and re-applies the Cobra Clutch, but Chyna breaks that up with a low blow,
and that leads to the end.  This was
meant to help get Triple H over, but that’s tough to do when no one cares about
the major storyline of Helmsley insulting Slaughter’s family.  I can’t believe someone thought it was a good
idea to give this eighteen minutes.  Rating: 
Cole interviews
Jeff Jarrett, who says that he is ready for his return to the ring.
Jeff Jarrett
defeats The Undertaker by disqualification when Kane interferes and chokeslams
Jarrett at 6:53:
So this is the culmination of the “I’m not getting any
respect around here” storyline that Jarrett has been harping for weeks.  His entrance music is horrid, with some
generic music dubbed over by Jarrett talking about how great he is.  Definitely not one of Jim Johnston’s finer
works.  The Undertaker squashes Jarrett
for five minutes until Kane shows up and confronts his brother.  Kane strikes the Undertaker, but the
Undertaker refuses to retaliate and Kane leaves.  Jarrett tries to put the Undertaker in the
figure-four, but the Undertaker chokeslams him to get some of his heat
back.  As you can imagine, this did
nothing for Jarrett and he went back to his country music gimmick within the next
few months.  He didn’t really get a
reaction until Debra, who if you recall he blasted as a “dumb blonde” in his return promo, was brought into the company as his valet.  Rating:  ¼*
Cole interviews
Mark Henry, who is sitting with Milton Bradley executives.  Henry says he should return very soon to
in-ring competition and he wants Steve Austin to win the next match.
A video package
recaps the Steve Austin-Rock feud
Hendrix interviews
the Rock and the Nation of Domination. 
The only notable thing is that this is the first time that I remember
the Rock using the “People’s Eyebrow” in a promo.
Championship Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve
Austin (Champion) beats The Rock (w/The Nation of Domination) with a Stone Cold
Stunner at 5:30:
After being in a coma for more than an hour, the crowd
wakes up for this one by showering the Rock with “Rocky sucks” chants and going
nuts for Austin.  This is the memorable
contest where Austin shows up in his Austin 3:16 pickup truck and proceeds to
beat up the entire Nation of Domination with it.  The crowd eats all of that up and thinks it’s
the greatest thing they’ve ever seen. 
You can tell that Austin is still working cautiously because of the neck
injury, though.  This is the match where
Austin started to show more of a brawling style and it is also the debut of the
Rock taking off his elbow pad for the People’s Elbow (which is not yet
named).  Austin accidentally gives the
referee a Stone Cold Stunner, but he isn’t disqualified and a second referee
counts the fall when the Rock takes a Stunner shortly thereafter.  A quick, entertaining match that provided a
small taste of things to come between these two.  Austin also has his Intercontinental title
belt back, but he’s well above the title at this point.  Rating:  **½
Kelly and the
Jackal hype the Superstar line some more.
A video package
hypes the Shawn Michaels-Ken Shamrock WWF title match.
interviews Ken Shamrock, who says that he has a lot of experience in
pay-per-view fights and says Michaels will be squealing like a baby.
WWF Champion Shawn
Michaels cuts a generic promo on Shamrock. 
You can tell Michaels hard lifestyle is really starting to catch up with
him because he looks awful, much like he did in mid-1995.
WWF Championship
Match:  Ken Shamrock defeats “The
Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels (Champion w/D-Generation X) by disqualification
when DX interferes at 18:28:
This is Shamrock’s only main event title match during his
WWF tenure, which is somewhat surprising based on where his 1998 push seemed to
be taking him.  Despite being pushed hard
the last two months, with unofficial tap out wins over Bret Hart and Michaels,
Shamrock just doesn’t seem credible in this spot because of how he had been
booked up to that point.  I mean,
wrestling the British Bulldog, weaker parts of the Nation of Domination, beating
a depushed Vader, and making Billy Gunn tap out are hardly the accomplishments
of a top talent.  Michaels wrestles a
very toned down style in this match and it just doesn’t work against Shamrock,
who doesn’t have the moveset to keep the fans interested if Michaels stays
grounded.  DX’s interference doesn’t even
illicit much outrage, unless Chyna is the one doing the damage.  Shamrock counters Sweet Chin Music with a
belly-to-belly, but when he applies the ankle lock DX runs in and Michaels keeps
the title.  I hate disqualification finishes
in main event championship matches, especially because this didn’t lead to
Shamrock getting another title shot. 
Michaels also seemed to be going through the motions for whatever
reason.  Rating:  **½
After the match,
Michaels poses on the ring apron as DX beats on Shamrock, but he’s knocked off
and through a table by Owen Hart in street clothes and Owen pounds away until
DX gets near him and he flees through the crowd.  Unfortunately, this didn’t lead to anything
since Michaels and Austin did not want to work with Owen for separate, and
arguably justified, reasons.
The Final Report Card:  Owen’s return was a nice way to end the
pay-per-view, but this entire show was dull. 
All night long you sit through matches and you figure that Shawn
Michaels will put on a great performance in the main event and save the show,
but he comes out and gives a poor effort along with most of the roster.  Austin’s match with the Rock was the
highlight, but it was way too short and at the time I worried about Austin’s health
and if he’d ever be able to have 15-20 minute matches again and if not, how the
WWF was going to book around that.  This
show received the lowest buyrate of the year, which isn’t shocking since
Michaels-Shamrock seemed more of a RAW main event and the roster was really
weak at this time.  Yes, the future star
power was there, but it would take a few more months to take the New Age
Outlaws, Mick Foley, the Rock, Triple H, and others to a higher plane.

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – November 17, 1997

by Logan Scisco

Post-show footage
of last week’s main event is shown. 
Triple H didn’t get a three count after Shawn Michaels hit Ken Shamrock
with Rick Rude’s briefcase because Commissioner Slaughter broke up the count.  In the chaos, Shamrock schoolboyed Michaels
and Slaughter counted to three and awarded him the victory.  That’s some WCW-type booking there.
-Jim Ross and Jim
Cornette are in the booth and they are taped from an undisclosed location.
Champion Steve Austin comes out and the crowd gives him a “hell yeah” to beat
up Rocky Maivia.  Austin goads Maivia to
come down, but Maivia sends the rest of the Nation of Domination.  D-Lo Brown eats a Stunner, but all of that is
a distraction that allows Maivia to steal the Intercontinental belt.  After that, Austin lets Ross know that he is
going to be around for the whole show to make sure that Maivia pays.
In the last first
round match of the Karate Fighters Holiday Tournament, Sunny beats George and

Contest:  Jerry “the King” Lawler
(w/Brian Christopher) beats Marc Mero (w/Sable) by disqualification when Sable
interferes at 4:41:
This opening match does have a storyline, with Lawler
trying to avenge Brian Christopher’s defeat to Mero last month.  Butterbean is back this week and Mero gets in
his face before the match.  Christopher
continues a streak of being on commentary for the opening RAW match.  Lawler and Mero box for while and that goes
as well for Lawler as you might expect and then Christopher tries to come onto
Sable at ringside.  Mero isn’t happy
about that, but the distraction allows Lawler to hit a piledriver.  Before the pin can be registered, though,
Sable delicately climbs in and breaks it up. 
After the match, Mero gives Lawler a TKO and then berates Sable for
costing him the match.  This is the first
match that Lawler has won in a while and while the wrestling wasn’t great, the
stuff that happened outside of the match was pretty well played.  Rating:  *
Ross recaps
Montreal and interviews Vince McMahon about it. 
This is where McMahon gives his famous account of the incident where he
says that he didn’t screw Bret Hart, but that “Bret Hart screwed Bret
Hart.”  I remember being so confused
about this stuff as a kid, but I can appreciate this segment much more looking
back at it.
“Road Dogg” Jesse
James & “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn defeat Savio Vega & Miguel Perez by
disqualification when Jesus & Jose interfere at 45 seconds:
James and Gunn come out in some of Los Boricuas ring gear
and their attire, which they seemingly stole before the show went on the
air.  Savio and Miguel attack James and
Gunn as they are making their offensive entrance, but before this really gets
going the other Boricuas interfere and they beat down James and Gunn.
A video package
hypes Ken Shamrock
Shamrock giving
Triple H a belly-to-belly suplex is the Lazer Tag Slam of the Week.
Sunny comes out to
be the guest referee for our next match.
Mini Tag
Match:  Max Mini, Mini Nova & Mini
Tauras wrestle El Torito, Tarantula & El Battalion to a no contest at 2:50:
Tauras is an interesting mini, as he uses a series of
legdrags to befuddle his opponents. 
There’s lots of flipping and flying and Sunny has to leapfrog El
Torito.  Suddenly the lights go out and
Kane comes down to the ring to a huge pop, but this isn’t a WrestleMania 2
incident since the minis flee the ring and hide behind the commentating team in
a funny spot.  The Headbangers come to
the minis aid, but Kane doesn’t sell getting a boombox broken over his head and
each of the Headbangers eat a Tombstone. 
If Kane had Tombstoned Max Mini this would’ve been a ***** segment.
Rick Rude
introduces D-Generation X.  This is a
notable segment because this is when Rude jumped to WCW, so he appeared on a
live episode of Monday Nitro and this taped episode, thereby becoming the only
superstar of the Monday Night Wars to appear on both shows on the same night if
you don’t include the simulcast that happened on the last edition of Nitro in
2001.   Knowing this piece of trivia helped me win
tickets to a WWE house show a few years ago. 
Cornette alludes to this on commentary by noting that Rude “gets
around.”  Anyway, WWF Champion Shawn
Michaels says he can’t wait to beat up Bret Hart’s friends now that he has run
Bret out of the company and Triple H calls out Commissioner Slaughter.  Triple H says DX makes the rules in the WWF
and insults Slaughter’s manhood.  When
Slaughter attacks Helmsley, DX lays him out.
Light Heavyweight
Championship Tournament First Round Match: 
Scott Taylor pins Eric Shelley with a flying DDT at 5:26:
Jerry Lynn was supposed to face Shelley, but has been
replaced in the tournament by Taylor with no reason given.  Jeff Jarrett calls in during the show and
says he is going to return on RAW next week. 
Shelley looks much better here than he did on a RAW earlier in the year,
but that might be because Taylor is dominating the action.  If either of these guys had more build
heading in, the crowd would’ve been into what is a pretty proficient contest.  Taylor advances and faces the winner of Flash
Flanagan-Brian Christopher in the semi-finals. 
Rating:  **¼
Marc Mero comes
out with Sable and demands an interview. 
Ross complies and Mero alleges that Butterbean is stalking Sable and
challenges him.  Butterbean gets in the
ring and pushes Mero down, but WWF officials intervene before anything else
happens.  Mero’s ring work deteriorated
significantly by this point, but he had great mic skills and did a great job playing
his character here.
A second part of
Ross’s interview with Vince McMahon over Montreal is shown.  McMahon says he would welcome Bret back to
the company, but they would have to sit down and have a clear understanding of
each other’s motivations.  He says he’s
already over Montreal and that part of Bret will always be in the WWF and he’ll
remember the good times over the bad.
Vader-Goldust is
scheduled to take place, but Goldust comes out with Gerald Brisco and says that
he has medical documentation that he cannot compete.  As Vader argues with Brisco over the
documentation, Goldust pulls an object that looks like a hammer out of his
sling and blasts Vader with it.  Vader
quivers after the blow and sells it pretty well as Goldust marches off.
1-900-737-4WWF to hear all of the latest news and gossip!
Slaughter comes out and orders Triple H to face him at In Your House.
Dude Love beats
The Rock” Rocky Maivia (w/The Nation of Domination) by disqualification when
the Nation of Domination interfere at 4:49 shown:
Maivia makes sure to clarify on the mic that this is a
non-title match is a hilarious bit, since he is sporting the belt he stole from
Steve Austin earlier in the show.  This
is a standard TV main event, which is butchered by the commercial break.  Maivia has such natural crowd heat in this
role that it is unreal.  Love hits Sweet
Shin Music, but that triggers interference from the Nation.  The Nation beats down Love until Steve Austin
comes out to help, but Maivia escapes with the title belt in the midst of the
chaos.  Rating:  **
The Final Report Card:  The McMahon segments are really interesting
from a business perspective and to hear some of McMahon’s arguments about
Montreal.  I know that I criticized the
company for not diving into Montreal on their last show, but showing the
McMahon segments on this taped RAW was a stroke of genius because it gave fans
something to flip back to that was interesting and yet could not be
spoiled.  The rest of the show was
effective in building up storylines for the next In Your House pay-per-view, as
Mero continues his spiral into being paranoid about Sable and Triple H is
strengthening his feud with Commissioner Slaughter.  Enjoyable show for what it was.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.1 (vs. 4.1 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – November 10, 1997

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross and Jim
Cornette are in the booth and they are live from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
D-Generation X
comes out to their traditional theme music for the first time as Ross says Bret
Hart has left the company because of Shawn Michaels.  Michaels tells the crowd that he beat Bret in
his own country, with his own hold, he’s the WWF champion now, and he “ran him
South with the other dinosaurs” and his friends there will beat him up one
day.  Nice line.  Michaels says that no superstar in the WWF
can make him quit, which brings out Ken Shamrock.  The segment gets awkward since Shamrock can’t
translate his physical intensity into a good promo to run down DX and challenge
Michaels for the WWF championship. 
Commissioner Slaughter eventually comes out and says that Michaels has a
scheduled title defense against Shamrock, although he doesn’t specify the
date.  Slaughter also books Triple
H-Shamrock where DX is banned from ringside and he will be sitting at
ringside.  I know what they were trying
to spell out here in storyline terms, but this was just brutal to sit through

Contest:  Ahmed Johnson defeats Marc Mero
(w/Sable) by disqualification when Mero uses a low blow at 2:26:
Ahmed’s spinebuster looks awful these days, since he is
trying to be extra careful.  He looks
ready to win the match with a Pearl River Plunge, but gets distracted by Sable
and Mero finally gets caught using the low blow, which I guess was in the
referee’s scouting report.  Mero tries to
give Ahmed the TKO after that, but can’t lift him up on his shoulders to do the
move.  This loss ends Mero’s undefeated
streak since his return.
In the Karate
Fighters Holiday Tournament, Shrimp Scampy, a mini dressed in Mascarti Sagrada,
Jr.’s old attire, beats Dok Hendrix.  In
other matches of the tournament Jerry Lawler has beaten Brian Christopher and
Tito Santana has defeated Carlos Cabrera.
Sunny comes out to
be the guest ring announcer for our next match.
Light Heavyweight
Championship First Round Match:  Taka
Michinoku beats Devon Storm with the Michinoku Driver at 5:00:
Brian Christopher commentates another match in this
tournament, so I am tempted to put this on mute.  Storm gets the jobber entrance, but anyone
that has followed the light heavyweight division since July can tell who’s
going over here.  Both men are proficient
wrestlers, but they try to get too cute with their spots and as a result the
match comes off as too choreographed and artificial.  Christopher tries to prevent Michinoku from
winning, but Michinoku uses a springboard dropkick to knock Christopher off the
apron and wraps up the match shortly thereafter.  Rating:  **¼
Jim Ross
interviews Goldust, who is laying the foundation for his “Artist Formerly Known
as Goldust” gimmick.  He comes out in a
gold rope, a flame in his blonde hair, earrings, black face paint, lipstick, and
“F U”, which stands for “forever unchained”, painted in gold on his face.  Vader comes out, not happy that Goldust
walked on him at Survivor Series last night, and demands answers.  When Goldust doesn’t appear ready to do that,
Vader powerbombs him.  Vader is just
awesome.  It’s reprehensible that they
didn’t find a way to book him against Austin in 1998 because he still had
something to offer.
Michael Cole is backstage
and says that Blackjack Windham has been assaulted in his locker room.  Bradshaw freaks out and goes nuts in front of
the camera over this development
Dok Hendrix hosts
the upcoming Madison Square Garden card. 
The only problem is that there are going to be some changes.  For example, the main event is billed as a
Fatal Four Way match for the WWF title between Shawn Michaels, the Undertaker,
Steve Austin, and Bret Hart.  The Legion
of Doom are scheduled to defend the tag team titles against Owen Hart & The
British Bulldog, Triple H with Chyna is his corner is booked against Vader with
George “the Animal” Steele in his corner, and Ahmed Johnson faces Faarooq in a
New York City street fight.
The Headbangers
(w/The Disciples of Apocalypse) beats Sniper & Recon (w/Jackal & The
Interrogator) when Mosh pins Recon after Thrasher powerbombs Mosh on top of
Recon at 4:52:
Surprisingly, this has a clean finish as the Headbangers
fend off interference attempts by Jackal and the Interrogator.  Just a standard tag match, which has a big
brawl between all of the participants at the very end to continue the DOA-Truth
Commission feud.  Rating:  **
Ross and Cornette
hype the house show circuit
Since we are in
hour two, Cornette is replaced in the booth with Jerry “the King” Lawler.
Cole interviews
Intercontinental Champion Steve Austin, but before he gets too involved in his
promo Rocky Maivia comes out and claims that he was the best Intercontinental
champion of all-time when he held the belt. 
Maivia challenges Austin for the title and Austin accepts, while also
challenging him to get a haircut. 
Interesting segment since these two had one of the most anticipated
WrestleMania matches three and a half years later.
Ross interviews
Steve Blackman, who says he is still learning, and Jose of Los Boricuas
interrupts his interview.  The Boricuas
try to gang up on Blackman, but he uses his karate skills to fend them off
before WWF officials intervene.
Cole interviews
“Road Dogg” Jesse James and “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn, who are set to face the New
Blackjacks in a Bunkhouse battle tonight. 
They are excited and ready to go.
Battle:  “Road Dogg” Jesse James &
“Bad Ass” Billy Gunn beat Bradshaw when Gunn pins Bradshaw after a tornado DDT
on a chair at 1:40:
Since Windham is injured, Bradshaw goes it alone in this
match, which is no disqualification. 
It’s actually a precursor to the hardcore battles of 1998 and beyond,
with trash cans, tables, and chairs galore. 
Bradshaw dominates the action, until Gunn catches him with a tornado DDT
to finish.  This was really entertaining.
Another segment of
Jeff Jarrett’s interview with Jim Ross is shown.  Jarrett puts himself over as a unique talent
of the Monday Night Wars and says his goal is to win
the WWF title.  When asked to do word
association on a list of guys he puts over Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Mankind,
and Randy Savage, but when asked about Triple H he says “tag along.”  How things changed after 1997.
Cole interviews
Butterbean, the IBA Superheavyweight Boxing Champion, in the crowd, but Marc
Mero comes out and says he’s a real boxer and should be interviewed.  Mero says Butterbean should keep his eyes off
of Sable and says he can knock Butterbean out in four rounds or less before
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The Undertaker
wrestles Kama Mustafa to a no contest at 2:25:
Remember when this was a top feud in 1995?  This is the Undertaker’s first time in the
ring since Badd Blood and that was a great booking decision since it gave an
entire month for Kane to get over.  The
Undertaker squashes Kama, but before he can finish him off the lights go out
and Paul Bearer and Kane come out.  The Undertaker
appeals to Kane to make amends and reiterates that he will never fight him,
even if Kane destroys the entire WWF.
Footage of last
week’s match between Shawn Michaels and Ken Shamrock is shown
Triple H wrestles
Ken Shamrock to a no contest at 7:44 shown:
Triple H is not happy about not having D-Generation X
with him and jaws with Commissioner Slaughter at ringside.  Both men show off what they can do, but the
crowd isn’t into it.  Slaughter prevents
Rick Rude and Chyna from getting involved, but can’t prevent Shawn Michaels
from running out and blasting Shamrock with Rude’s briefcase after the referee
is bumped and the show goes off the air as the referee is counting the fall.  Rating:  **
The Final Report Card:  After a horrid opening segment, this show
built up a pretty good pace.  The
Undertaker-Kane feud is the best thing that the company has going at this point
and it is a wonderful piece of storytelling that will keep unfolding until
WrestleMania.  Shamrock has also been
adequately built as a threat to Michaels, but as is the case with most
champions after they win the title, it is always tough for me to take their
first programmed challenger as a threat since they usually beat them.  This RAW scored a pretty good rating, as
people tuned in to see the fallout from Montreal, but surprisingly the WWF
didn’t really address it outside of Ross saying that he wished Bret Hart well
in his future endeavors.  Part of this
was probably motivated by the WWF banking on people buying the replay on Tuesday.  What is significant, though, is that this
show started a string of RAW’s that were at 3.0 or above in the Nielsen
ratings, thereby generating some of the highest ratings that RAW had seen since
the spring of 1996.  The tide was turning
in the Monday Night Wars, albeit slowly.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.4 (vs. 4.3 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up