What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – September 28, 1998

by Logan Scisco

A video package replays
the lead-in video for last night’s Breakdown pay-per-view.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Detroit, Michigan.

Steve Austin’s
music hits, but Vince McMahon, the stooges, and police officers walk out.  McMahon has the WWF title (the smoking skull
edition) over his shoulder.  McMahon
makes clear that Austin will not get a rematch for the championship like last
time, but he decrees the evening “Stone Cold Steve Austin Night” and jokes how
police are throughout the facility to make him feel welcome.  McMahon announces that a new WWF champion
will be crowned tonight, although he makes clear that the champion will get the
non-smoking skull title because that belt is going above his fireplace.  The stooges put the smoking skull belt around
McMahon’s waist and McMahon is showered with boos as he mocks Austin by scaling
the corner turnbuckles.  This was pretty
hilarious.  1 for 1
Opening Contest
for the WWF Tag Team Championship:  Southern
Justice (w/Jeff Jarrett) beat The New Age Outlaws (Champions) via
disqualification when the Road Dogg blasts Dennis Knight with Jarrett’s guitar
at 3:00:
Ross spends this match putting over Billy Gunn and how he
is shouldering the workload for D-Generation X in light of injuries to Triple H
and X-Pac.  Gunn literally does the hot
tag sequence by himself, but when he prepares to give Knight a piledriver, Road
Dogg hits Knight with a guitar for no reason and gets the team
disqualified.  After the match, Gunn and
his partner argue and Gunn proceeds to blow off the entire DX crew when they
try to place peacemaker.  All hail Gunn’s
upcoming singles push!  Rating: 
* (1 for 2)
Michael Cole
reports that there is lots of arguing in the DX locker room.
Submission
Match:  Owen Hart defeats Dan Severn by
referee stoppage at 2:16:
Severn has not appeared on television since SummerSlam
and is supposedly a face now as he shakes hands with members of the Detroit Red
Wings at ringside.  Booking this for RAW
is strange because after SummerSlam, where Severn walked out on Owen, you would
think they could have run a small feud that culminated at either Breakdown or
Judgment Day.  Owen escapes a dragon
sleeper and delivers an inverted piledriver, the same move that broke Steve
Austin’s neck at SummerSlam 1997, and that ends the match.  Severn then does a stretcher job.  On one hand, I can understand the logic of keeping
Severn strong if you are going to have him lose, but this was incredibly
tasteless.
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so they can get rid of all these Triple H posters!
Al Snow (w/Head) beats
Vader (w/Commissioner Slaughter) after hitting him with Head at 2:36:
Commissioner Slaughter accompanies Vader to the ring
since he hates Al Snow.  Seeing Vader as
a jobber for hire in a match like this is sad. 
Vader actually dominates the match, but Slaughter accidentally distracts
the official too long and Snow hits Vader with Head to win.  Vader actually kicks out at two, but a three
count was registered anyway.  On the
bright side, Snow is really over with the Head gimmick.
Billy Gunn has
left the building!
The 10-10-321
Rewind Segment is Gangrel telling Edge on Sunday Night Heat that “he will come
home.”
Six Man, Four
Corner Elimination Match for a European Title Shot:  D-Lo Brown 
beats “Double J” Jeff Jarrett, Edge, “Double J” Jeff Jarrett, Gangrel, “Marvelous”
Marc Mero, and Darren Drozdov at 5:10:
Order of
Elimination:  Edge pins Gangrel with a La
Magistral cradle at 1:05; Jeff Jarrett and Droz are counted out at 3:26; Edge
pins Mero after D-Lo hits Mero with a Lo Down at 4:36; D-Lo pins Edge with a
Sky High at 5:10
Ah, the days when you did not have to beat the champion
on television to earn a title match. 
D-Lo is super over here.  The
match gets off to a ridiculous start when Edge pins Gangrel in just over a
minute, thereby making their feud a little more pointless and confusing.  Since this is 1998, the match goes by way too
quickly with people hitting their signature spots and being eliminated much too
soon.  Not as soon as that awful diva’s
Survivor Series-style match last year, but it’s way too quick for my
tastes.  Edge seems to have D-Lo on the ropes,
but Gangrel and Christian walk out, distract Edge, and help D-Lo get another
crack at the European championship.  Rating: 
*½ (1 for 3)
In one of the more
memorable segments in RAW history, McMahon comes back out to conduct a ceremony
for awarding the WWF title to Kane or the Undertaker.  Steve Austin rushes past security in a Zamboni
and makes a classic dive into the ring to attack McMahon.  Austin is eventually arrested by police and
McMahon is forced to temporarily cancel the ceremony.  This segment is still amazing sixteen years
later.  2 for 4
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The ceremony
resumes after the commercial break, but this time there are no police or
stooges, just McMahon, Kane, and the Undertaker.  McMahon is furious that Kane and the Undertaker
have allowed Austin to attack him for the third time in less than a week.  As a result, he books Kane and the Undertaker
to face each other at Judgment Day for the title with Austin as the guest
referee.  The look of “oh really?” that
the Undertaker gives McMahon in this segment is hilarious.  For tonight, McMahon books Kane and the
Undertaker to face Ken Shamrock, Mankind, and the Rock in a handicap
match.  The crowd pops big for the mere
mention of the Rock’s name.  McMahon goes
a step too far in saying that Kane and the Undertaker have physical and mental
handicaps and when he is caught flipping the bird to the Brothers of
Destruction they beat him down and break his ankle with the ring steps (Kane
lays out the stooges for fun).  This was
a great way to book McMahon’s commupance after he grew too drunk on his own
power and paid the price.  Sometimes when
you play with fire you end up getting burned. 
3 for 5
Singles Match with
Chyna as Special Guest Referee:  Faarooq
defeats Mark Henry after Chyna hits Henry with a low blow at 1:14:
Part of the reason this match exists is that Mark Henry
beat up Triple H on Sunday Night Heat and prevented a match between the
two.  That was not very smart of Henry
since he would have had a great chance of becoming Intercontinental
champion.  Chyna predictably costs Henry
the match, but she is served legal papers at the end of the match.  She does not appear happy, but we have no
idea why.
Cole interviews
Ken Shamrock, who turns heel by saying he hates Detroit.  He promises payback for his partners and
opponents in the main event.
A new vignette for
Steven Regal, a “real man’s man,” is shown operating industrial equipment.  Who really thought this gimmick belonged in
1998?
The Insane Clown
Posse, who hail from Detroit, do the Oddities theme music live.
Kurrgan &
Golga (w/Giant Silva, Luna Vachon & The Insane Clown Posse) beat The
Headbangers when Kurrgan pins Thrasher after a splash at 1:59:
On the previous episode of RAW, the Headbangers turned
heel on the Oddities, so this is the immediate blowoff of that angle.  This just sort of happens for a while until
the ICP trip Thrasher as he runs the ropes and that leads to an Oddities
victory.  At least it was short.
Cole interviews
the Rock, who gloats about his victory at Breakdown.  The Rock’s promos are quickly becoming the
best thing about these shows.
A backstage
segment makes it seem that Terri Runnels and Val Venis are having
relations.  Is Venis the pioneer of the “Meat”
gimmick?
European
Championship Match:  Val Venis (w/Terri
Runnels) beats X-Pac (Champion) via disqualification when Chyna interferes at
3:12:
X-Pac is wrestling with one eye due to Jeff Jarrett’s
guitar shot last night at Breakdown. 
When Terri nearly costs X-Pac the match, Chyna wanders out to a big pop
and pushes her.  When Venis tries to show
off for Chyna, she beats him up with X-Pac’s help.  The pop Chyna received her was just
amazing.  Rating:  ** (4 for 6)
After the match,
Venis and Terri kiss in the ring, but Goldust’s theme begins to play.  Dustin Runnels announces that he warned Venis
that “he was coming back.”  This angle
just got a million times better.
Cole interviews
Mankind, who reiterates his disdain for the People’s Elbow.
Handicap
Match:  The Rock, Ken Shamrock &
Mankind beat The Undertaker & Kane when the Rock pins the Undertaker with a
Rock Bottom at 12:52:
Shamrock, Mankind, and the Rock beat each other up before
their opponents come out, which fits their rivalry and is hilarious at the same
time.  Unfortunately, the Undertaker and
Kane’s plodding offense hinder the audience’s ability to stay engaged in the
match.  That is definitely not a good
sign for the pay-per-view.  Eventually,
the Rock, Mankind, and Shamrock start functioning like a unit and it eventually
leads to the Rock pinning the Undertaker clean in a HUGE upset.  The finish was pretty funny as Earl Hebner
panicked and literally screamed at everyone “THIRTY-FIVE SECONDS!  LET’S GO!!!” and proceeded to run around the
ring like the end of the world is coming. 
Of course, he did the slow three count at the end for no reason too, so
that negates the whole concern about time. 
The end was fun, but the middle dragged. 
Rating:  ** ½ (5 for 7)
The Final Report Card:  This was a really entertaining edition of
RAW.  I would have preferred the six man
elimination match get more time, but the main event held its own and the
Austin-McMahon segments stole yet another show. 
The Judgment Day main event is not very interesting based on existing
storylines, as it is clear that the crowd wants Austin or the Rock is the top
spot, but we will get back to that eventually.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.0 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Breakdown – In Your House

by Logan Scisco

So after a three week absence my column has
returned.  Graduate school caught up with
me and I had a litany of papers and book readings due that prohibited me from
blocking out three hours to watch this show. 
I got all of that out of the way, though
The WWF must have
had a history buff on the production staff at this time because the video
package for this card features clips of John F. Kennedy, Benito Mussolini, and
George Patton.  It is like a tame version
of Mr. McMahon’s Utopia, but it is very effective at getting you excited for
the show.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Hamilton, Ontario,
Canada.

Opening
Contest:  Owen Hart pins Edge with a
rollup at 9:16:
Based on what was taking place on RAW, I have no idea why
they did not book Edge-Gangrel here. 
Both men get loud ovations during their entrances, but Owen generates
some heat by coming out in a Toronto Argonauts jersey.  Owen is the right guy to lead the rookie through
a good match and this one goes back and forth for more than nine minutes with
neither man sustaining much of an advantage. 
Owen actually makes the “let me land on my feet as I’m diving toward
your foot” spot work as he applies the Sharpshooter, but Edge quickly
escapes.  The man soon to be known as
Christian appears near ringside and that allows Owen to cradle Edge
and hand the rookie his first loss.  I
did not expect this result at the time, as Owen was directionless in terms of
storylines.  One of the better openers of
1998 that a lot of people forget.  If you
have never seen it, I suggest checking it out. 
Rating:  ***¼
Dok Hendrix and
Sable urge us to call the Superstar line. 
Sable is a horrible pitchwoman for this.
Al Snow &
Scorpio (w/Head) beat Too Much after Snow pins Scott Taylor after a Snow Plow
at 8:04:
Snow is a permanent part of the company now after beating
Commissioner Slaughter in a boot camp match on RAW.  WWF and WCW were in this weird phase in 1998
of booking pay-per-view matches between competitors that appeared on their C
and D shows and this is a great example of that.  The WCW example would be the Norman
Smiley-Prince Iaukea match at Starrcade. 
This match is a dull mess that takes seven minutes to setup Snow decking
Too Much with Head to get revenge for King of the Ring.  If Brian Christopher had not
been Lawler’s kid, I think he and Taylor would have been released by this
point.  It is a good thing they
eventually stumbled on the Too Cool gimmick. 
Rating:  ½*
Michael Cole
interviews the Undertaker and Kane.  The
Undertaker says that it is no one’s business who will beat Steve Austin for the
WWF title tonight, but assures the audience that they have reached a deal with
each other.
“Marvelous” Marc
Mero (w/Jacqueline) beats Darren Drozdov with Marvelocity 5:11:
Our series of Shotgun Saturday Night-style matches with
little build continues here, but hey, at least this is unique.  Ross cannot help himself in referring to
Mero’s old persona by saying that he is no longer a “Badd man.”  Mero just gets the hell beat out of him in
this match, as you can tell he is taking some stiff and reckless offense from
his opponent.  Jacqueline hits Droz
behind the referee’s back with a shoe and Mero uses that to hit Marvelocity
(the awesome new name for the Wild Thing) and win.  So Mero now needs shoe interference to beat
someone of Droz’s caliber? 
Unsurprisingly, this was Mero’s last win on WWF pay-per-view.  Rating:  *
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A clean shaven
Bradshaw, a look that makes him look COMPLETLEY different from his former
Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw and Blackjack Bradshaw gimmicks, says Vader is about to
learn it is “about survival of the fittest, not survival of the fattest.”
No Holds Barred,
Falls Count Anywhere:  Bradshaw pins
Vader with a neckbreaker at 7:56:
This match actually has a story as Bradshaw and Vader
tried to be tag team partners during the summer and that did not work out.  In retrospect, the WWF should have let that
team just run through the division for a while. 
Who would not want to see Vader and Bradshaw just annihilating guys with
power moves?  Then again, that was eventually what Bradshaw and Faarooq became and what do you know, that finally got Bradshaw over. 
They brawl a little on the outside to pay lip service to the stipulation
and then kick out of each other’s finishers. 
Who do these guys think they are working a main event style?  Another lariat and a neckbreaker from
Bradshaw, which Ross does his best to sell as a finisher as devastating as Jake
Roberts DDT, put Vader away in what is the Mastadon’s last WWF pay-per-view
appearance until 2005 (and let’s just forget about that one).  We are proving the law of diminishing returns
with these B-level matches thus far.  Rating: 
½*
Kevin Kelly, Tom
Pritchard, and Jason Sensation talk about tonight’s remaining matches.  His impressions here of the Rock and Jeff
Jarrett are not very good.
D-Lo Brown beats
Gangrel with the Sky High at 7:51:
Since D-Lo is no longer the European champion, he is back
to being billed from Chicago.  Looking
back, Gangrel was a character ahead of its time.  The 1990s had the goth craze, but with the
Twilight stuff that came a decade or so later this gimmick could have been
bigger than it was.  Gangrel takes the
running powerbomb like a champ and that’s the highlight as the crowd gradually
turns on D-Lo’s stalling and the match’s tedious pace.  Gangrel has several botches as well, so that
just makes the match come off even worse. 
Lawler makes fun of a fan with a Hulkamania sign in the crowd, to which
Ross asks if he is playing the air guitar. 
God, I miss snarky commentary like this that was actually
entertaining.  Eventually, Mark Henry
wanders out, rams Gangrel into the post, and helps his friend win.  Like Edge, this is Gangrel’s first loss.  So, why didn’t we get Gangrel-Edge on this show
instead of having them both lose to Owen and D-Lo?  After the match, Gangrel spits blood in
Henry’s eyes and hits D-Lo with the Implant DDT to get some of his heat
back.  This was just awful.  Law of diminishing returns still in effect!  Rating:  ¼*
A video package
recaps the end of the triple threat match on RAW between the Rock, Ken
Shamrock, and Mankind where Kane and the Undertaker interfered and beat up all
of the participants.
Shamrock tells
Cole he will go as far as it takes to become the number one contender for the
WWF championship.
Dok Hendrix interviews
the Rock, who gets a big pop from the crowd. 
He promises to lay the smackdown on Shamrock and Mankind and make them
famous.  It’s amazing how far along the
Rock’s promo work has come over the past year.
Kevin Kelly
interviews Mankind, who goes on a hilarious rant about stupid things he has
seen in his life.  It culminates in an
indictment of the People’s Elbow.  He
promises not to sell it.
Triple Triple
Threat, Steel Cage Match to Determine the #1 Contender for the WWF
Championship:  The Rock beats Ken
Shamrock & Mankind when he pins Shamrock after a Mankind chair shot at
18:47:
This is one of the last uses of the blue bar steel cage
and this has pinfall, submission, and escape rules.  I remember being really excited for this
because you could do this type of match in that awful WWF Warzone game on the
Nintendo 64.  Fighting your friends to escape the cage was always a good
time, assuming you could go all the crazy button combos to pull off the moves.  The Rock is insanely over here,
getting chants before his entrance and throughout the match.  Things pick up ten minutes in when the Rock
overcomes a Mankind and Shamrock double team to deliver a double People’s Elbow.  Not to be outdone, Mankind later dives off
the top of the cage to try to elbow drop the Rock, but misses.  Shamrock brings a chair into the ring when he
is prevented from escaping the cage and he eventually get smashed in the head
with it by Mankind.  However, Mankind
opts to climb out instead of going for the pin and the Rock covers Shamrock to win before Mankind can reach the floor. 
That was a nice finish and the right guy went over, but this
had too much one-on-one action and too many dead spots for my taste.  Rating:  ***
A video package
recaps the Val Venis-Dustin Runnels feud
.
Val Venis (w/Terri
Runnels) defeats Dustin Runnels with the Money Shot at 9:10:
This was the only pay-per-view appearance for Runnels
preacher gimmick, which gets the jobber entrance.  To show how times have changed, Runnels is
somehow the heel here.  This match is
also the return of Terri Runnels to television after being gone for eleven
months.  Since Venis wrestles as a heel
here, this match dies on the vine as the crowd does not care about Runnels and
why should they?  The guy has not won a
meaningful match all year.  Venis forgets
to kick out of a bulldog at two and mercifully recovers and finishes the preacher off with the Money Shot.  After the match, Venis makes
out with Terri in the ring.  Thankfully,
Runnels would bring back the Goldust character to pay this off.  Rating:  ½*
We get a recap of
Jeff Jarrett’s continuing feud with D-Generation X that should have ended after
SummerSlam.
X-Pac & The
New Age Outlaws beat Jeff Jarrett & Southern Justice when Billy Gunn pins Dennis
Knight after a Fameasser at 11:20:
This is the last pay-per-view appearance for Southern
Justice, as Mark Canterbury reinjured his neck after this and never returned to
WWF television.  X-Pac is placed in peril
and is well suited for the role to take Southern Justice’s power moves.  Despite that, the crowd could care less about
Jarrett and Southern Justice, so this match, like many on tonight’s card, plays
in front of a largely silent audience.  The
crowd finally gets into this when all hell breaks loose and in the midst of that,
Jarrett levels X-Pac with a guitar. 
However, Gunn is able to catch Knight with a Fameasser (not yet named)
and put D-Generation X over.  After the
match, X-Pac is selling an eye injury due to the guitar shot.  Rating:  ½*
A video package
hypes tonight’s triple threat match for the WWF championship.
Triple Threat
Match for the WWF Championship:  Kane and
the Undertaker pin Steve Austin (Champion) after a double chokeslam to create a confusing situation at 22:05:
In this match, Vince McMahon threatened to strip Austin
of the WWF title if any superstar tried to help him and stipulated that Kane
and the Undertaker could not pin each other. 
Austin launches a pre-emptive strike with a chair on the Undertaker
during the latter’s entrance, which is the appropriate way to start the match,
but he cannot capitalize and put Kane away before the Undertaker recovers.  What I liked about the stipulation for this
match is that it actually made some of the rest spots appear sensible, as Austin
would try to keep Kane or the Undertaker out of the match and focus on the
other man.  In other words, this is like
those ridiculous handicap matches the No Mercy career mode would make you play.  It takes sixteen minutes before Kane and the
Undertaker turn on each other, but they eventually join forces at the end to
put Austin away with a double chokeslam. 
The only problem is that they both pin Austin, so who is the new
champion?  Austin had some well-timed
comebacks and Ross’s commentary helped, but Kane and the Undertaker just did
not have enough creative offense to take this up a notch.  Rating:  **½
After the bell,
McMahon sends Gerald Brisco to ringside to grab the bell and then runs to his
limo backstage, escaping as Austin beats up the stooges.  He flips Austin off before his limo speeds
into the night.
The Final Report Card:  This was a very, very strange card.  Lots of matches added at the last second and
the crowd did not care about a lot of what was taking place in the ring outside
of the WWF championship match and the triple threat cage match.  If you need a cure for insomnia, this is a
great show to pick because after the opener things gradually get worse with the
exception of the triple threat.  The
ending to the main event eventually created a great fall storyline, but it was
an awful ending for a sub-par pay-per-view. 
What is it about September shows and screwy finishes when it comes to
this company?  In Your House 3, the weird
ending to IYH:  Mind Games in 1996, the
Ground Zero double disqualification between Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker
(although that was actually good), and last year’s Randy Orton-Daniel Bryan
debacle.  The company might as well run a
show called “September Screwed” (hey, it’s better than Fast Lane!) because it has an awful record putting on
enjoyable shows during that month of the year.
Attendance: 
17,405
Buyrate: 
0.86 (+0.41 from previous year)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – September 21, 1998

by Logan Scisco

We have a change
in the commentary team as Shane McMahon and Jim Cornette are given the
responsibilities for tonight’s show, which is taped from Sacramento,
California.  During this time the company
had Shane commentating on Sunday Night Heat. 
He was not very good at it, though. 
Ross and Lawler are not here because they were working on Jim Carey’s
film Man on the Moon.

The Rock comes
down to the ring, where Vince McMahon is standing with Ken Shamrock and
Mankind.  Kane and the Undertaker guard
the entrance as McMahon announces that WWF Champion Steve Austin and a partner
of his choice will face them later in the show. 
McMahon books the Rock, Shamrock, and Mankind to face each other in a
number one contender’s match so that they do not team with Austin later in the
evening, which is a nice twist.  There’s
some great humor here, as McMahon reminds Shamrock that he is the World’s Most
Dangerous Man, hypes the Rock as a future “People’s Champion,” and then puts
his arm around Mankind and says “nevermind.” 
The winner of the number one contender’s match will face the winner of
the Breakdown main event on next week’s RAW, where McMahon will be the guest
ring announcer.  Another solid promo by
McMahon that saw him play the roster’s top players like a fiddle.
Jeff Jarrett
nailing the Road Dogg with a guitar on last week’s show is the Penzoil Rewind
segment
.
Opening Contest:  “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn beats “Double J” Jeff
Jarrett with a neckbreaker at 7:30:
Since the Road Dogg was hit in the throat last week and
cannot speak they have Gunn read the New Age Outlaws introduction off of cue
cards.  This match goes smoothly until we
get a weak referee bump at the seven minute mark.  The referee gets his senses quickly enough to
prevent Jarrett from using the guitar and that distraction enables Gunn to
win.  Rating:  ** ¼ (2 for 2)
Michael Cole
catches up with Vince McMahon backstage as he is talking with Ed Ferrara.  McMahon tells Cole that he has no idea who
will be Austin’s tag team partner tonight and doesn’t care.
WWF Champion Steve
Austin comes out and says that he does not expect any help tonight.  He figures that since the Breakdown main
event is a de facto handicap match he might as well get started early tonight.  Just a filler promo.  2 for
3
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been hyping this forever.  I guess those
Triple H posters were not hot items.
The Oddities come
out and dance with the Headbangers in the ring, but the Headbangers turn heel by
spraying Kurrgan in the face with an aerosol can, rip up Golga’s Cartman doll,
and beat down the rest of the gang.
Cole interviews the
Undertaker and Kane and the Undertaker promises that he or Kane will win the
WWF title at Breakdown.
WWF Women’s
Championship Match:  Jacqueline (w/Marc
Mero) beats Sable after Mero trips Sable on a suplex attempt at 2:51:
Since these two-thirds of the division (Luna is the other
competitor) we do not even need the illusion of a tournament and the winner of
this will be the first women’s champion since Alundra Blayze left with the title
at the end of 1995.  The not yet named
Tori is shown in the audience trying to get the crowd behind Sable before the
match begins and this is not the squash that took place on last week’s
show.  Mero bumps off the apron during
Sable’s comeback, thereby continuing his depush, but when Sable tries to suplex
Jacqueline back into the ring, Mero does the trip and hold trick and Jacqueline
becomes the first women’s champion of the Attitude Era.
Kane & The
Undertaker beat Stone Cold” Steve Austin & “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn when the
Undertaker pins Gunn after a chokeslam at 8:35:
No Savio Vega?  McMahon
is incensed that Gunn walks out as Austin’s partner and blames Pat Patterson
and Gerald Brisco for not taking care of business.  Seeing McMahon freak out as if Gunn is the
next big superstar is pretty funny in retrospect.  Unsurprisingly, Kane and the Undertaker beat
the hell out of Gunn  and when all hell
breaks loose he gets caught by an Undertaker chokeslam to lose the match for
his team.  After the bell, Austin takes
out the Undertaker and Kane with chairs before leaving.  Standard tag here that had a lot of energy and
you can’t fault the company for trying to get a new guy a rub from these three
main eventers.  Rating:  *** (3 for 4)
Southern Justice
wrestle The Disciples of Apocalypse (w/Paul Ellering) to a no contest at 2:10:
The DOA are back after being absent from RAW for the
better part of a month.  It only takes
two minutes for his match to fall apart and Jarrett clocks Ellering with his
guitar.  After that the match just ends,
so I am just going to consider this a no contest.
McMahon tells Cole
backstage that he does not think Bill Gunn made a wise choice by volunteering
to be Steve Austin’s partner.
Steven Regal is
shown shaving in the woods
.
No
Disqualification, Falls Count Anywhere Match: 
Al Snow beats Commissioner Slaughter after hitting him with Head at
6:08:
The provision of this match is that if Snow wins he gets
a job in the company, which he has been agitating for since June.  For his age, Slaughter bumps really well for
Snow and the stipulation masks his inability to do a normal match.  Head proves to be the key to get out of the
Cobra Clutch and a low blow allow Snow avoid a loaded boot attack and go on to
win the match.  So Snow has a job now, rejoice!  Rating:  *** (4 for 5)
After the bout,
Patterson and Brisco attack Snow, but Scorpio makes the save.
The Rock talks about how he will soon be
called “the best damn WWF champion there ever was.”  He says he plans to lay the smackdown on
Mankind and Ken Shamrock.  I think this
guy is ready for the big time.
Val Venis beats
Owen Hart via disqualification when Dustin Runnels interferes at 2:23:
Dustin Runnels is doing the announcing for this match and
he is still distraught over Terri sleeping with Venis.  Shane and Cornette point out that he does not
need to turn the other cheek in this situation. 
Owen is in dire need of a new direction after the end of his feud with
Ken Shamrock.  That won’t happen here,
though, as Runnels runs in and attacks Venis. 
After the bell, Venis ties Runnels in the ropes and makes him watch a
new video, where Terri tells him that Venis is a better man.  This gimmick for Dustin is terrible, but he
did a good acting job here.
European
Championship Match:  X-Pac defeats D-Lo
Brown (Champion) to win the title after an X-Factor at 5:15:
These two are capable of good matches, but this ends up
as a really abbreviated display of what they can do.  X-Pac’s offense carries this encounter, which
ends when D-Lo tries a nonsensical dive off the top rope that leads into an
X-Factor.  This is X-Pac’s first singles
championship victory in the WWF.  Rating: 
** (5 for 6)
Mankind wishes us
a nice day after explaining how he will avoid being submitted by Ken Shamrock
.
Triple Threat
Number One Contender’s Match for the WWF Championship:  Ken Shamrock wrestles Mankind and The Rock to
a no contest after Kane and the Undertaker interfere at 10:55:
Two of these men lost the King of the Ring finals in 1997
and 1998, while one of them won it and in terms of WWF history, the two losers
became bigger than the winner.  The crowd
continues to back the Rock, loving the People’s Elbow on Shamrock and his
mannerisms in the ring.  The Rock had
good timing with Shamrock, but has several awkward exchanges with Mankind.  That’s understandable because he barely worked
with Mankind up to this point.  This
match does not give us a number one contender, though, as Kane and the
Undertaker walk out with McMahon and lay waste to the talent, thereby serving
as a classic McMahon double cross.  It is
a shame that we get this result, but the company will fix that at Breakdown.  Rating:  *** (6 for 7)
As Kane and the
Undertaker lay waste to the Rock in the ring, McMahon gets attacked by Austin
in the aisle.  McMahon is not pleased
that Kane and the Undertaker did not have his back.
The Final Report Card:  Although this card lacked the same
emotionally charged crowd and match quality of the previous show, it served as
a good go home show for Breakdown.  While
you have Austin, the Undertaker, and Kane fighting each other at the top of the
card, the company is also building the Rock, Ken Shamrock, and Mankind in the
upper midcard.  The only thing that is a
mess is the tag division, as those belts are on the New Age Outlaws and there
is a lack of credible teams to face them.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.0 (vs. 3.9 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

September Classics: Mankind vs. Ken Shamrock vs. The Rock – Breakdown 9/27/98

This was set up the week before on RAW with the three men shown here involved in a triple threat match for a shot at the WWF Championship, but it was ruined by the interference of The Undertaker and Kane. It wasn’t until Sunday Night Heat, one hour before the show, that we all would find out that it was a cage match. RUSSO-RIFFIC! The match itself is a pretty good one…..and check out how over The Rock is.


Mankind vs The Rock vs Ken Shamrock by therock38

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – September 14, 1998

Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from San Jose, California.  We are finally back on Monday nights, so this
should be a better show.

As we come on the air,
WWF Champion Steve Austin walks to the ring. 
Vince McMahon, Kane, and the Undertaker are already in the ring.  McMahon gloats about how Kane or the
Undertaker will get the WWF title off of Austin’s waist and announces a new
stipulation to the Breakdown triple threat in that the Undertaker and Kane are
prohibited from pinning each other. 
Finally, McMahon pushes Austin too far on the mic and Austin decks
him.  However, the Undertaker and Kane lay
Austin out with a double chokeslam.  In a
hilarious bit, McMahon mimics Austin’s jaw jacking and rolls over in glee on
the canvas.  The Undertaker reminds
Austin that it’s nothing personal, it’s just business.  Before heading to the locker room, McMahon
books Austin to defend his title against Ken Shamrock in tonight’s main event.  This was a really good opening promo by
McMahon that established the logic behind the Breakdown main event.  1 for
1
Get your Triple H
Stridex poster!  This was a really long
promotion because they have been airing these commercials forever.
Opening
Contest:  “Double J” Jeff Jarrett
(w/Southern Justice) beats The Road Dogg (w/Billy Gunn & X-Pac) after
hitting him with a guitar at 3:08:
Here’s that Jarrett-Roadie blowoff we’ve wanted to see
since 1995!  The WWF actually remembers
that and show some old footage.  This is
a fast paced match that benefits from a hot crowd.  Somehow, Jarrett is not disqualified when
Southern Justice pull Road Dogg out of the ring and start beating him down.  When X-Pac and Gunn assist their comrade,
Jarrett hits his opponent with the neck of the guitar to win.  I think they had a malfunction with the guitar
since it was already broken when Jarrett went to use it.  Honestly, hitting people with guitars is one
of the best things Jarrett ever added to his gimmick.  Rating:  ** (2 for 2)
Footage of Ken
Shamrock challenging Steve Austin on Sunday Night Heat is shown.
The Road Dogg is
shown being helped into an ambulance backstage.
Michael Cole
interviews the Rock, who tells the Nation to stay backstage.  You see, the Nation is falling apart and the
Rock is gradually going his own way.  His
promo on the previous Saturday RAW constituted a de facto face turn.
The Rock pins
Kane (w/The Undertaker) after Mankind hits Kane with a sledgehammer at 6:10:
The atmosphere for this match is electric, with the crowd
going crazy for all of the Rock’s trademark spots.  The referee gets bumped at the five minute
mark and misses the People’s Elbow, allowing the Undertaker to interfere.  However, when the Undertaker is beating up
the Rock, Mankind makes a surprise return and clocks Kane with a sledgehammer
and that’s enough to put the Rock over. 
The crowd treated this outcome like a WrestleMania main event.  Rating:  *** (3 for 3)
After the match,
Kane can’t sit up on the canvas.  The
Undertaker challenges Mankind to a match later tonight.
Michael Cole
interviews Mankind, who accepts the Undertaker’s challenge for later
tonight.  He smashes one of the RAW is
War barrels with a sledgehammer
.
Dustin Runnels is
in the ring and welcomes the crowd to hell. 
Val Venis walks out and introduces the crowd to his new film “The
Preacher’s Wife,” which sees him in bed with Terri Runnels.  Runnels falls to his knees upon seeing the
footage and Venis tells him that trait must run in the family.
A vignette for
Steven Regal, a so-called “Real Man’s Man,” is shown.  He is chopping down a whole forest with an
axe.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  Triple H (Champion
w/Chyna & X-Pac) defeats Owen Hart (w/Mark Henry) with a Pedigree at 5:24:
After our usual exchange of moves between these two
shenanagins begin to happen as Mark Henry pulls Chyna off the ring apron and
X-Pac attacks him in response.  That distraction
allows Triple H to Pedigree a distracted Owen and beat him for what seems like
the hundredth time this year.  What?  You expected a different outcome?  Rating:  **½ (4 for 4)
After the match,
Mark Henry gets on the house mic and challenges X-Pac and Chyna to a handicap
match for later in the show.  He promises
to prevail just like he did this past Sunday!
Mankind is shown
tossing things into a dumpster backstage on his way to the ring.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your “Down Where?  Down Here!” DX
shirt for $25 (plus $6 shipping & handling)!  I’m sure that lots of kids were forced to
take that shirt off when they came to school wearing it.
The Undertaker (w/Kane)
wrestles Mankind to a no contest at 7:15:
Both men bring sledgehammers to the ring, but the referee
does not allow for their use so that comes to naught.  A wild brawl ensues with the use of the
objects in the dumpster that Mankind wheels to the ring and allowing Mankind to
do a few ghastly bumps.  The Undertaker
Tombstones Mankind on a chair, but wants to smash him with a sledgehammer
instead.  However, before the Undertaker
can deliver a death blow, the Rock pops out the dumpster, takes out the
Undertaker’s knee, and throws Mankind into the crowd to save him from a further
beating.  This was fun while it lasted
and it is awesome to see the first interactions between the Rock and
Mankind.  Rating:  ***  (5 for 5)
Edge wrestles
Gangrel to a double count out at 3:34:
I am really surprised that they did not save a match like
this for the pay-per-view.  Even though
they are not given a lot of time, both men pack a lot into this one and Edge
takes a nasty bump on the floor when Gangrel sidesteps a plancha.  Gangrel follows up with his Impaler DDT on
the floor and both men end up counted out. 
After the bell, Gangrel tells Edge that his blood flows through his
veins.  Yeah, this should’ve been on
pay-per-view and been given about ten minutes. 
Rating:  **½ (6 for 6)
Handicap
Match:  Mark Henry (w/D-Lo Brown) beats X-Pac
& Chyna (w/Triple H) when he pins Chyna after a powerslam at 3:54:
Triple H mocks Henry before the match by walking around
like a gorilla.  I wonder if they’ll be
editing out that footage on the Network. 
Come to think of it, maybe that’s what Xavier Woods stable is up to.  Henry beats the hell out of X-Pac and the
crowd becomes unglued when Chyna steps into the ring.  Seriously, she gets a Rock-type pop for
spearing Henry.  However, Henry plants
Chyna (seriously, he gets some great torque) with a powerslam when she dives
off the ropes and picks up the win.  The
road agent that booked this deserves a prize. 
Rating:  **¼ (7 for 7)
Highlights of the Howard Finkel-Harvey
Wippleman tuxedo match in 1995 are shown.
Evening Gown
Match:  Sable beats Jacqueline (w/Marc
Mero) at 1:44
The crowd is more into this “match” than any divas
contest you will see today.  The camera
has to pan wide as Jacqueline teeters on the verge of a wardrobe malfunction
every time Sable tosses her around.  This
is a complete squash, as Jacqueline does not get in a shred of offense.  The future Tori is shown sitting unimpressed
in the crowd after the match.  Sable
takes off her dress after the match just because.
Cole interviews
Ken Shamrock, who says that he is excited to finally get a crack at the WWF
championship.
WWF Championship
Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
(Champion) defeats Ken Shamrock 12:14
It seems to me that this match is leaving money on the
table, but when Austin was locked in a feud with the Undertaker and Kane and
when the Rock was in the process of moving up the card, Shamrock went on the
backburner.  Surprisingly, the announcers
do not mention that the backstory of these two dates all the way back to
WrestleMania XIII, but that is probably due to the Bret Hart factor.  Austin actually plays the heel role here,
utilizing a lot of restholds and directing the action.  He even resorts to a mule kick when Shamrock
begins rallying.  Before we can get a
definitive finish, the Undertaker and Kane hit the ring and we get a double
disqualification.  This match would have
come off better if the crowd was into Shamrock more.  Most of them were not sure what to think of
Austin by the end of it because of his heelish tactics.  Rating:  ***¼  (8
for 8)
After Austin and
Shamrock are dispatched by Kane and the Undertaker, Mankind and the Rock run
out and brawl with them.  Austin then
re-enters the ring with a chair and smashes his Breakdown opponents as McMahon
looks on with sadness by the entrance. 
Austin chases McMahon to the locker room as we play the show out.
The Final Report Card:  Whew, let me catch my breath.  The company must have been worried about not drawing
a rating after the last two RAWs were shown on Saturdays, so they loaded up
this card.  The San Jose crowd was
nuclear for the entire show and added something to each match.  This may not have developed a lot of angles,
but in terms of atmosphere and match quality up and down the card it is the
best RAW of the year up to this point.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.0 (vs. 4.5 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

September Classics: Shawn Michaels vs. Mankind – In Your House: Mind Games

So I said the other day that this match has been shown many times. However, it’s hard to deny that it’s a memorable match. Foley was able to keep up with Michaels for thirty minutes. We all know the story of Vince McMahon changing the match on the fly, but it doesn’t really take away form the fact that this match saved what was otherwise a forgettable show.


026. Shawn Michaels vs. Mankind (In Your House… by ccu150

What the World Was Watching: SummerSlam 1998

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from New York, New York.

Opening Contest
for the European Championship:  D-Lo
Brown (Champion) beats Val Venis via disqualification when Venis throws down the
referee at 15:26:
D-Lo was really having fun with the European champion
concept as he had himself billed from different parts of Europe.  For this bout, he is announced as being a
resident of Helsinki, Finland.  Edge is
shown watching the match in the crowd, which becomes important later in the
show.  This is a very well-paced,
back-and-forth match, and the crowd eventually comes around to appreciating it
at the ten-minute mark.  D-Lo blocks the
Money Shot with his knees and botches a powerbomb spot, which foreshadowed the
unfortunate botch the ended Darren Drozdov’s career.  Venis eventually takes off D-Lo’s chest
protector and puts it on, but the referee does not care for that and his
attempt to get Venis to take it off leads to the disqualification.  D-Lo carried a good chunk of this match and
the Madison Square Garden crowd was actually cheering for him by the end.  A few botches at the end and the finish bring
this down a notch, but kudos to the WWF for giving these two guys a lot of time
and exposure.  Rating:  ***½
After the bout, a
frustrated Venis gives the referee a Money Shot.
Michael Cole is
backstage with a hearse that Steve Austin destroyed on Sunday Night Heat.  Mankind rants about his “SummerSlam ride” not
being in good condition and how he will not be able to toss Kane in there
later.  He hopes to use a sledgehammer
against Kane later in the show.
The Insane Clown
Posse, one of the most controversial musical acts of the late 1990s, perform
the Oddities theme song.  The Oddities dance
around.  Only about 50% of the crowd –
and that is being generous – bother to wave their hands for the ICP.
Handicap
Match:  The Oddities (w/Luna Vachon)
defeat Kaientai (w/Yamaguchi-San) when Golga pins all the members of Kaientai
at 10:13:
So, we get this handicap tag match between the three
giants of the Oddities and the four men of Kaientai simply because the Insane
Clown Posse were booked for the show. 
Jim Ross makes us aware that he likes the ICP, which I find hard to
believe.  The match hides the
shortcomings of Kurrgan and Giant Silva by having them do a few token spots and
Kaientai works in some nice quadruple team maneuvers.  Still, this match was given way too much time
and the result did not matter in the end scheme of things as most of the
participants were gone from the company by the end of the year.  Rating:  ½*
Hair vs. Hair
Match:  X-Pac (w/Howard Finkel) pins
“Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Southern Justice) after hitting him with a guitar at
11:12:
On Sunday Night Heat, Jarrett and Southern Justice shaved
Howard Finkel’s head, so he accompanies X-Pac to the ring in a DX shirt.  Sadly, he is not very well coordinated when
doing the crotch chops with X-Pac.  The
announce team today would never let him live that down.  Based on the capabilities of both men, this
match is a disappointment and never seems to click.  There are lots of double knockout spots and
Jarrett pulls out a spot that I hate where he applies the figure-four without
working the legs at all.  Southern
Justice appear to miss their cue, requiring Jarrett to kick out of the X-Factor
and X-Pac proceeds to take a guitar from Dennis Knight and cracks it over
Jarrett’s head for the win.  After the
bout, all of the people who have had their hair cut by Jarrett over the last
few weeks hit the ring and cut his hair, thereby significantly transforming his
look for the first time in his WWF career. 
Rating:  **¼
Dok Hendrix
discusses the Lion’s Den structure.
Cole interviews
The Rock, who took out Triple H’s knee on Sunday Night Heat.  He cuts a generic promo and makes fun of
Triple H’s injured knee.
Edge & Sable beat
“Marvelous” Marc Mero & Jacqueline when Sable pins Mero after Edge slams
her into the cover position at 8:26:
Sable’s mystery partner for the match is revealed as
Edge, which sort of fits existing storylines since Edge attacked Mero a few
weeks prior on RAW.  It is also a nice
way to elevate a new star and is much better than putting someone like Kurrgan
into the match.  This is a glorified
squash as they book Sable as Superwoman and she manhandles her opponents.  That takes away from any real drama the match
might have.  Edge almost becomes an
afterthought until he works in a plancha spot late.  WrestleMania XIV this was not.  Rating:  **¼
Cole tells Mankind
that Kane is not going to be here to help him defend the tag team titles and
asks if he is going to forfeit.  Mankind
says he is going to get killed against the New Age Outlaws, but Vince McMahon
gives him a pep talk about how he belongs in Madison Square Garden.  McMahon says that if Mankind overcomes the
odds that he will get into the MSG Hall of Fame by next week.  Mankind says he needs a weapon and McMahon
hilariously grabs some random stuff and hands it to Mankind to use.  Now THIS is what a backstage segment is all
about.
A video package
hypes the Ken Shamrock-Owen Hart Lion’s Den match.
Lion’s Den
Match:  Ken Shamrock defeats Owen Hart
(w/Dan Severn) via submission to the anklelock at 9:16:
This was an ingenious idea because it added a unique
match to card and allowed the WWF to sell more tickets to the show in the MSG
theater.  Imagine a wrestling match in a
UFC-type structure and that is what this match is like.  It features some nice spots, such as Shamrock
using the angled walls of the structure to rebound off of and then using them
to escape a Sharpshooter and a dragon sleeper. 
Since Owen never tries that, it fits well within the story they are
trying to tell of this being Shamrock’s environment.  Dan Severn angrily walks out when Owen is
placed in the anklelock, thereby ending that relationship.  A great action packed match that lived up to
the hype.  It also holds up really well
today and is one of Owen’s better matches. 
Seriously, if you haven’t seen this, check it out.  Rating:  ****
Cole interviews
WWF Champion Steve Austin, who says he will use any means necessary to walk out
of Madison Square Garden as the champion.
No Holds Barred,
Falls Count Anywhere Match for the WWF Tag Team Championship:  The New Age Outlaws defeat Kane & Mankind
(Champions) when The Outlaws pin Mankind with a spike piledriver on a tag team
title belt at 5:18:
Poor Mankind is left to defend the titles on his own
after he is the odd man out of the Undertaker-Kane alliance.  The Outlaws bring a large dumpster filled
with weapons to the ring and Mankind suffers a nasty two-on-one onslaught.  Jim Ross must have watched too much
SummerSlam 1991 before this one, as he criticizes the referee for not making
the Outlaws tag in and out.  Mankind
survives an Outlaws side suplex-neckbreaker combination and a spike powerbomb
through chairs, but a spike piledriver gives the Outlaws the tag team titles
for the second time.  Typical RAW match,
but it served its purpose of getting the titles back on the Outlaws and making
Mankind look resilient.  Rating: 
**
After the match,
the Outlaws toss Mankind in the dumpster and after closing it, Kane emerges out
of the dumpster and smashes Mankind in the face with a sledgehammer.  The Outlaws wisely flee to the locker room.  Jim Ross’s outrage meter reaches 0.8 for
this.
A video package
hypes the Rock-Triple H ladder match for the Intercontinental title.
Connecticut Yankee
comes out to give Triple H some live entrance music.
Ladder Match for
the Intercontinental Championship: 
Triple H (w/Chyna) beats The Rock (Champion w/Mark Henry) to win the
title at 26:14:
This was the first ladder match that the WWF had featured
on television since SummerSlam 1995.  I
miss the old visual for ladder matches with the champion surrendering the title
to the referee and then having it slowly raised above the ring.  The small aisle of the MSG venue gives us a
great visual early in the match of the Rock beating Triple H down and having
the fans on top of him shouting that he sucks. 
The story of the match is the Rock working on Triple H’s injured knee to
prevent him from climbing the ladder and Triple H evening some of the odds by
busting the Rock open with a baseball slide into the ladder.  The Rock also manages a split reaction,
working a 50/50 “Let’s go Rocky!  Rocky
sucks!” chant.  One thing to really
criticize this match for are the slow climb spots.  They work for Triple H, since he has one leg,
but the Rock doing them after pulverizing Triple H’s knee for five minutes is
ridiculous.  Whatever your thoughts are
about Triple H, you have to admire him taking some the brunt of the sick bumps
in this match.  This brutal war comes to
an end when Triple H hits a Pedigree, but gets powder tossed in his eyes by
Mark Henry.  That produces a double climb
of the ladder with Chyna coming in and giving the Rock a low blow so Triple H
can win to a HUGE pop.  This match ended
the first phase of the Triple H-Rock feud, as well as the Rock’s nine month
reign as Intercontinental champion, but unfortunately for Triple H he lost some
of the momentum gained from this match when a knee injury put him on the
shelf.  The Rock now moves out of the
Intercontinental title level and into contention for the WWF title, with this
match showing he had the skills needed to make that jump.  Rating:  ****½
WWF Championship
Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (Champion)
pins The Undertaker after a Stone Cold Stunner
Austin suffers a concussion about two minutes into the
bout when his head collides with the Undertaker and that just ruins the match’s
flow.  McMahon had to freaking out
backstage because when that collision took place Austin went down in a heap and
appeared to be knocked out.  Kane does
walk out around the seven minute mark, but the Undertaker waves him off,
thereby squandering his primary advantage. 
I understand the idea of the Undertaker wanting to win on his own, but
does that not negate the story on the previous RAW of Kane and the Undertaker
being an unstoppable combination?  The
highlight of the contest is the Undertaker giving Austin a guillotine leg drop
on the Spanish announce table (I can’t say through because the table doesn’t
break).  Austin rallies from that to win
after giving the Undertaker a low blow during his ropewalk spot, but after all
the buildup, this match was a disappointment to say the least.  And again, we get a slow Earl Hebner three
count for no reason at all, since he wasn’t bumped.  Some people give this match over ***, but I
just don’t get that rating in light of its disjointed nature and botches.  Rating:  **¼
After the match,
the Undertaker takes the WWF title from Hebner and, after a tense few moments,
hands it to Austin.  Kane walks out to
stare down Austin with his brother in the aisle as the show goes off the air.
The Final Report Card:  Disappointing main event aside, this was a
fantastic SummerSlam.  The ladder match
is the highlight of the show, but the Lion’s Den match is deserving of credit
as well. I always wonder how good Austin-Undertaker could have been if not for
the concussion Austin suffered minutes into the match.  If the WWE wants to remember how to
adequately build to a big show, they should rewatch what they did for this
pay-per-view, which attracted the highest buyrate for a SummerSlam since 1992.
Attendance: 
21,588
Buyrate: 
1.48 (+0.68 from previous year)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – August 10, 1998

by Logan Scisco

Mankind is shown
smashing up the boiler room underneath the arena and ranting about something.
A video package
recaps Mankind getting hit over the head with a chair by the Undertaker on last
week’s show and how the Undertaker, dressed as Kane, attacked Mankind on Sunday
Night Heat.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Omaha, Nebraska.

Mankind walks out
and demands to hear the truth from Vince McMahon, who has always leveled with
him.  McMahon tentatively comes into the
ring and cuts a Gilded Age promo about how he loathes people who need his help.  McMahon tells Mankind that Kane and the
Undertaker are working together and do not care about him, which brings out
Kane and Paul Bearer.  Bearer accuses McMahon
of trying to poison his son’s mind, to which McMahon suddenly freaks out and
accuses the Undertaker of being underneath Kane’s mask.  McMahon goes to rip Kane’s mask off, but the
lights suddenly go out.  When they come
back on the Undertaker has McMahon by the throat, but Mankind sacrifices
himself for McMahon and Bearer also gets decked.  Today’s creative team needs to watch the way
that this story was developed because it had lots of interesting twists and
turns.  1 for 1
The Undertaker is
shown walking into Kane’s dressing room backstage.
Luna Vachon (w/Sable
& The Oddities) beats Jacqueline (w/Marc Mero) with a splash off the top
rope at 2:25:
Sable continues her on-screen connection to the Oddities
by introducing Luna for this match.  As
expected, Sable interferes by tripping Jacqueline when she climbs to the top
rope and that allows Luna to win.  After
the match, Sable gives Luna the bikini contest trophy that Jacqueline and Mero
have carried around the ring.  Ross puts
over how Sable is making the Oddities feel good about themselves.  What segment of the fan base were the
Oddities supposed to appeal to?
Michael Cole tells
us that Steve Austin is not happy because he has to worry about what the
Undertaker is doing and he isn’t happy about having to defend the tag team
titles in a four corners match tonight.
We get the first
showing of the Highway to Hell music video for SummerSlam.  I still get excited seeing this video sixteen
years later.
Brawl for All
Quarter-Finals:  Darren Drozdov beats
Savio Vega via decision:
Although Droz and Hawk fought to a draw in the first
round, Droz advanced because Hawk was in no condition for a rematch.  Droz takes down Savio a few times and nearly
knocks Savio out at the end of the third round. 
He advances to the semi-finals in a dull contest.  1 for
2
Triple H and Chyna
are shown arriving at the arena, but X-Pac isn’t with them.  Is D-Generation X falling apart?
Call 815-734-1161
to get your Steve Austin Bad to the Bone t-shirt for $25 (plus $6 shipping
& handling)!
Cole interviews
Chyna, who tells him to suck it and pushes him into a car.  That sounds a little more dirty than I meant
it.
Ross and Lawler
discuss how Jeff Jarrett and Southern Justice beat up Tennessee Lee on Sunday
Night Heat, thereby ending Lee’s brief WWF stint.
LOD 2000 are
scheduled to face Southern Justice, but Hawk’s substance abuse problems rear
their ugly head again as Hawk is startled by the fireworks during the LOD’s
entrance and falls off the ramp.  WWF
officials refuse to let Hawk compete, so Southern Justice beat up Animal before
Droz makes the save.  However, Jeff
Jarrett hits the ring, blasts Droz with a guitar, and shaves part of his head.  At least this is giving Jarrett an edge to
his character.  2 for 3
X-Pac is shown
arriving at the arena alone.
Get a big poster
of Triple H when you buy Stridex pads!
The members of
D-Generation X come out to the ring individually.  X-Pac cuts off Triple H’s opening promo by
saying that he’s tired of him “and his bitch.” 
DX members take turns calling each other jack offs and realize that they
have things in common.  Chyna interrupts
them trying to moon the crowd, which they call “the DX split,” before doing it
herself.  You see, we’ve all been fooled
by DX wanting to split up!  Triple H
tries to get another female fan to take her top off, but she refuses.  2 for
4
Cole interviews
Steve Austin in the locker room, but ends getting tossed into the shower.  Be a star, Steve!
Bart Gunn comes by
the announce table and tells Ross that he is tired of getting disrespected for
beating Steve Williams in the Brawl for All.
Our next match is
supposed to be The Godfather-Vader, but Vader chooses to take the Godfather’s
hos rather than fight.  After leaving the
ring, Vader tells Bart Gunn that he had better knock the Godfather out next
week, to which Gunn knocks Vader out with a left hand and attacks the
Godfather.  So whenever Vader “wins” he
really loses!  2 for 5
Val Venis and John
Wayne Bobbitt are shown arriving to the arena in a limo.
Dustin Runnels
tells us that the next segment contains explicit content.  He urges viewers to watch quality, wholesome
programming instead, such as a special about reptiles on the Discovery
Channel.  For those not familiar with
this era, Runnels character was a jab at evangelical Christian forces that were
criticizing the content of WWF programming during this period.
Val Venis is
wheeled to the ring by John Wayne Bobbitt and Mrs. Yamaguchi-San.  For those unfamiliar with 1990s popular
culture, Bobbitt became famous for his wife severing his penis while he slept
in 1993.  Lawler interviews Venis, who
has an ice bag on his groin, and Venis says he is now half the man he used to
be.  However, he’s just fooling us as he
rips off his clothes to reveal his ring attire. 
He says the cold cutting board he was on, some timely “shrinkage,” and
Bobbitt turning off the light as Yamaguchi-San came down with his sword helped
him avoid problems.  Amazing how all of
those things came together at once!  Sort
of like Washington fleeing Brooklyn Heights with the Continental Army during
the American Revolution!  Lawler makes
some puns about the situation and Venis ends the segment by kicking Mrs.
Yamaguchi-San to the curb because she brought him too much trouble.  Venis tosses her a double AA battery as she
leaves.  This was ridiculous on so many
levels.  2 for 6
Edge is shown
hanging out in the crowd.
Brawl for All
Quarter-Finals:  Bradshaw beats
“Marvelous” Marc Mero via decision:
In another case of a loser advancing, Mero made it into
the quarter-finals after Steve Blackman suffered a knee injury.  Mero is able to land a few good punches, but
he is still vulnerable to takedowns, which is how Bradshaw keeps the bout
even.  Bradshaw is clearly gassed by the
third round, but Mero cannot land a knockout. 
Another round is used as a tiebreaker when everything ends up tied after
regulation and for all intents and purposes, there should have been a fifth
round because the fourth followed the same pattern of Mero landing more punches
and Bradshaw landing a takedown.  But you
know, TV time constraints and all.  In
retrospect, the WWF should have banned takedowns from this competition because
guys going for takedowns all ruined a lot of bouts.  2 for
7
The Undertaker
tells Cole that he will do his explaining in the ring tonight.
The Undertaker’s
beatdown of Mankind on Sunday Night Heat is the Stridex Triple Action segment.
Four Corners
Match for the WWF Tag Team Championship: 
Kane & Mankind beat Steve Austin & The Undertaker (Champions),
The New Age Outlaws, and The Rock & D-Lo Brown to win the titles when Kane
pins the Undertaker with a chokeslam at 14:29:
Ross and Lawler make clear that partners cannot pin each
other, which is how the Outlaws defended the titles in a multi-team match a few
months prior to this.  This is the
so-called “Outlaws rule.”  Owen Hart is
supposed to be the Rock’s partner, but Ken Shamrock knocks him out of the match
with an ankle lock before the opening bell, so D-Lo Brown takes Owen’s
place.  In a funny bit, Mankind does not
want to stand next to Kane in his team’s corner, so he chooses to stand near
the Rock when he tags out o D-Lo.  The Rock
doesn’t take kindly to this and demands Mankind go back to his proper place.  It’s really amazing how organic the “Rocky
sucks” chants are too, as the crowd just starts chanting it at random intervals
of the match, even when the Rock isn’t in the ring.  Kane solemnly stands in the corner when all
hell breaks loose, where Mankind tags him, and Kane proceeds to give the
Undertaker one chokeslam to regain the titles for his team.  After the bell, the Undertaker rises to his
feet, not selling the damage Kane just inflicted upon him, and he stares at
Austin as we go off the air.  This had
some good storytelling and action, although things really slowed to a crawl
near the end.  Rating:  ***¼ (3 for 8)
Tune in next week
to see Ken Shamrock, Owen Hart, and Dan Severn collide in a triple threat
match!
The Final Report Card:  This RAW was Vince Russo’s dream scenario
when there are very few matches and segments constitute the entire show.  I have nothing against using lots of angles
to advance storylines, but this show took it too far.  This show ended RAWs four week winning
streak, which should have been evidence for Russo’s future employers that his
view of wrestling was not always a ratings winner.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.5 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – August 3, 1998

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are taped from San Diego,
California
.

The Nation of
Domination comes out for the opening segment, as the Rock and Owen Hart are
facing Steve Austin and the Undertaker for the tag team titles later
tonight.  The Rock urges Austin and the
Undertaker to come out and immediately defend the titles, but Commissioner
Slaughter walks out instead.  The Rock
gives him a smackdown on the mic and Austin and the Undertaker arrive.  Austin slides into the ring to fight the Rock
and Owen, but the Undertaker gets distracted by Kane near the entrance and does
not help his partner.  Mankind and the
Undertaker end up brawling near the entrance as Austin takes a beating before
recovering and forcing the Rock and Owen to flee.  1 for
1
Opening
Contest:  Golga (w/The Oddities &
Sable) beats “Marvelous” Marc Mero (w/Jacqueline) with a seated senton splash
at 3:11:
Mero and Jacqueline are sporting the trophy that
Jacqueline earned for winning the Fully Loaded bikini contest.  Sable unveils a “surprise” by accompanying
Golga to the ring.  Kurrgan and Giant
Silva walk out in tuxedos and Kurrgan sings the Miss America song before Luna
Vachon walks out.  This was the Oddities
face turn and the Jackyl, who had been managing them, is nowhere to be
found.  This follows the usual big
man-small man formula and when Jacqueline tries to interfere, Luna attacks
her.  Silva chokeslams Mero behind the
referee’s back and that sets up Golga’s win. 
This is prime for a Wrestlecrap induction.  Rating:  * (1 for 2)
Brawl for All
Quarter-Final Match:  The Godfather
defeats Scorpio via decision:
Now, readers of this column might say “Wait Logan, I
thought Dan Severn already beat the Godfather?” and if you asked that question
you would be right.  However, Severn
withdrew from the tournament because he said he had nothing to prove, so the
Godfather was put back in.  I hate that
and would have preferred Scorpio to be given a bye to the semi-finals.  Scorpio rejects the Godfather’s overture to
take the hos, which was a bad idea in retrospect because he cannot overcome the
Godfather’s size advantage and loses.  Disappointing
contest, as I expected Scorpio to try to use takedowns to win the bout.  1 for
3
Michael Cole
interviews the New Age Outlaws, who say that they are not intimidated by Kane
& Mankind, who they will face tonight.
Kane &
Mankind (w/Paul Bearer) beat The New Age Outlaws when Kane pins The Road Dogg
with a Tombstone at 5:19:
In a smart move, the Outlaws pull Mankind out of the ring
and beat him down while Kane is doing his routine of making fire come out of
the ring posts.  However,
Kane is the real strength of the team and the Outlaws cannot find a way to deal
with him.  When the Road
Dogg ends up alone with Kane, we get the predictable result of him eating a
Tombstone.  You will notice that in these
big Outlaws matches the Road Dogg always ends up eating the
pin.  This had its moments, but was
rushed and messy, especially near the end. 
Rating:  *½ (1 for 4)
Ross and Lawler
recap Hawk’s poor condition on last week’s show.  Hawk apologizes for his behavior last week
and asks for forgiveness.
Jeff Jarrett and
Tennessee Lee say that Jarrett is going to scare Hawk straight “Jeff Jarrett
style,” whatever that means.
Hawk pins “Double
J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee) with a neckbreaker at 2:31:
Hawk is not under the influence this week, so he is able
to perform his usual trademark moves and no sells.  Jarrett is recently having trouble with
Tennessee Lee, who keeps botching interference, and after Lee fails to get his
belt off in time for Jarrett to use it, Hawk catches the country music star off
guard to pick up a win.  After the bout,
Southern Justice attack the LOD because, you know, Godwinns-LOD set the world
on fire in 1997.
Vince McMahon
walks to the ring with his stooges.  He
predicts a tag team title change tonight and continues to advance his theory
that the Undertaker and Kane are working together.  He asks the Undertaker to come out and
explain himself based on last week’s show, where Kane attacked Austin as the
Undertaker looked on in the ring.  Austin
crashes the party before the Undertaker can say a word and says he only wants
to beat the Undertaker at SummerSlam.  As
Austin leaves, the Undertaker tells him that McMahon wants them to fight among
themselves and offers to give Austin one of the tag team title belts.  Austin accepts and the Undertaker makes it
clear that he is going to be watching Austin’s back to keep him safe for
SummerSlam.  This was a nice way to pay
off the Undertaker walking around with both tag team titles since Fully
Loaded.  2 for 5
The Rock tells the
commentary team that he could care less about Austin and the Undertaker’s
issues.
Highlights from
the Intercontinental title triple threat match on last week’s RAW constitute
the Stridex Triple Action segment.
#1 Contender’s
Match for the Intercontinental Championship: 
Triple H (w/Chyna) beats X-Pac with a Pedigree at 5:04:
Triple H is on Pacific Blue this week!  This is our usual solid Kliq matchup, with
Triple H targeting X-Pac’s neck in the early going and X-Pac making a rally at
the end.  Chyna, who should be impartial
in the match, trips X-Pac before he can do a Bronco Buster and that results in
Triple H taking advantage of the situation and getting an Intercontinental
title shot against the Rock at SummerSlam. 
After the match, X-Pac argues with Triple H, who feigns ignorance about
Chyna’s interference.  Rating: 
**¼ (3 for 6)
Val Venis &
Taka Michinoku wrestle Dick Togo & Funaki (w/Yamaguchi-San, Men’s Teoh
& Yamaguchi-San’s Wife) to a no-contest at 1:43:
Ross gives me a good laugh by saying that San Diego is
“Ryan Leaf country.”  I bet you cannot
find a single person in San Diego today that would refer to Leaf in such
glowing terms.  I like how we still do
not have a name for Yamagachi-San’s wife despite her being on television for
nearly a month at this point.  When Venis
goes to tag in Michinoku after absorbing some of Kaientai’s early offense,
Michinoku dropkicks him in the face, thereby turning heel.  You see, Mrs. Yamaguchi-San is Michinoku’s
sister.  Kaientai beat Venis up and carry
him backstage, where no one seems to care that he might get his private region
severed.
European
Championship Match:  D-Lo Brown (w/Mark
Henry) beats Dan Severn (w/Steve Blackman) via disqualification when Ken
Shamrock interferes at 2:34:
This match was booked after D-Lo antagonized Severn and
got him to interfere in a match against Ken Shamrock on Sunday Night Heat.  The same situation takes place here, as
Severn has Brown on the ropes before Shamrock comes down the ring and takes out
Mark Henry and Brown in view of the referee. 
Severn is not happy about this development to say the least.
D-Lo celebrates
his victory, but Edge comes out of nowhere and attacks him by the entrance
before walking away.  When D-Lo comes to,
he has no idea what happened.
Kaientai is shown
beating down Venis some more backstage. 
It’s funny to hear Ross try to verbally reprimand them like a
parent:  “Don’t do that!  Stop that!”
Tiger Ali Singh,
who has not been seen on WWF television since 1997, when he was referred to as
a can’t miss prospect, comes out.  This
time, he is sporting a mixture of an anti-American and million dollar man
gimmick where he pays audience members to do degrading things.  He has his servant Babu select an obese
American woman from the crowd and pays her $500 for each piece of clothing she
takes off.  The facial expressions of
some people in the audience to this is priceless.  The woman goes to take off her bra, but Singh
changes the rules and pays her to put clothes back on.  Singh was pretty entertaining in this
segment.  Unfortunately for him, his ring
work was awful.  4 for 7
Backstage,
Yamaguchi-San has the camera crew leave Kaientai’s locker room, where they are
carrying Val Venis to a cutting board.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your Steve Austin 3:16 baseball jersey $39.99 (plus $9 shipping &
handling)!
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve
Austin & The Undertaker (Champions) defeat The Rock & Owen Hart when
The Undertaker pins Owen Hart with a Tombstone at 11:12:
Austin is a one man heat machine as the crowd eats up
everything he does or has done to him. 
Owen and the Rock keep cheating as much as they can to maintain the
advantage, but eventually Austin fights out of a Sharpshooter and a Rock Bottom
to get the Undertaker into the match, where the fate of the heels is eventually
sealed.  It’s hard to tell how much
genuine heat this had based on it being a taped show, but you could tell by the
crowd’s physical reactions that they really got into his match.  The beginning stages with the Undertaker were
slow, but Austin really took things up a notch when he got in the ring and in
peril.  Rating:  *** (5 for 8)
After the bell,
Mankind hits the ring and puts the Undertaker in a Mandible Claw.  As Austin is still fighting the Rock near the
announce table, Kane steps into the ring and smashes Mankind with a chair,
although he may have been aiming for the Undertaker.  The Undertaker takes the chair, but instead
of hitting Kane, he hits Mankind again. 
The New Age Outlaws hit the ring to go after Kane and the Undertaker,
but Austin comes back to aid his partner.
WWF officials are
shown breaking down the door to Kaientai’s dressing room and find Val Venis
held up with his tights down. 
Yamaguchi-San has a sword held up high and he comes down with it, but the lights in the room go dark and that ends the show.
The Final Report Card:  If you watch this RAW, go ahead and skip
ahead to the McMahon-Austin-Undertaker segment because the first half of this
show was awful.  After McMahon’s segment,
the show righted itself and we got a fun main event to close.  The “choppy choppy” angle is silly, but it is
one of those over the top angles that you can sit back and get a good laugh out
of sixteen years later.  I wouldn’t
recommend showing it to a new fan, but sometimes you have to take the good with
the bad when looking back at one of the high points of WWF history.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.9 (vs. 4.2 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Fully Loaded 1998 – In Your House

by Logan Scisco

The video package
raises the big questions for tonight’s main event:  Will Kane and the Undertaker work together?  Will Mankind be the odd man out?  Is Vince McMahon organizing everything?  Hopefully tonight we will find some answers!
Jim Ross and Jerry
“the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Fresno, California.

Opening
Contest:  Val Venis pins “Double J” Jeff
Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee) with a rollup at 7:51:
This is Venis’s pay-per-view debut and he teases
stripping before Jarrett’s entrance puts a stop to that.  Kaientai tries to get a spot at ringside for
the match, but they and Southern Justice are evicted before the opening bell.  Yamaguchi-San is allowed to do commentary,
though, and Lawler tries to get more information on what his relationship is
like with his wife.  This is a very solid
opener, with Venis pulling several false finishes before running Jarrett into
Tennessee Lee and getting the win.  Venis
remains undefeated.  Rating:  ***
After the match,
Venis tells Yamaguchi-San that he will never “measure up” to the Big Valbowski
.
Non-Title
Match:  D-Lo Brown (European Champion
w/The Godfather) beats X-Pac (w/Chyna) with a Sky High at 8:26:
This is the first of a series of matches that these two
would have in 1998.  The European title
functioned as the WWF’s version of WCW’s TV championship during the late 1990s
and it gave someone trying to make a name for themselves like D-Lo something to
do.  Ross makes sure we know that D-Lo is
a Certified Public Accountant.  The chest
protector gimmick is quite brilliant because not only can D-Lo do more harm to
his opponents if he hits a splash or the Lo Down, but he also does a lot of
damage to himself if he misses those moves. 
D-Lo gets the win to continue building him as more than a paper
champion, although he gets an assisted distraction from the Godfather to finish
X-Pac off.  These two would go on to have
better matches, but this was still a solid effort.  Rating:  **½
Kevin Kelly and
Tom Pritchard let us know from the WWF.com center backstage that the Undertaker
has not yet shown up.
Terry Funk tells
the audience that the next match is going to be his last for a while because he
is so beaten up.  Bradshaw, his teammate
for the next match, is not very happy about hearing this news.  Since Bradshaw has had a rough 1998, I can’t
say that I blame him.  Besides, it is
pretty lousy to tell your tag team partner that you are leaving the company
right before walking through the curtain.
Faarooq &
Scorpio defeat Terry Funk & Bradshaw when Scorpio pins Funk with a 450
splash at 6:49:
Scorpio abandoned teaming with Terry Funk to work with
Faarooq and they had wrestled a few matches on Shotgun Saturday Night in the
weeks leading up to this.  We get an
entertaining and stiff exchange between the future Acolytes in this bout and
Bradshaw brings his working boots by going to the top rope on several
occasions.  Since this match was hastily
added to the card, you might think it’s just filler, but we get some very
entertaining wrestling until an awkward brawling segment at the end.  The crowd does not appreciate it, but that is
more of a fault of not giving many of the guys in the match a sense of
direction in the booking than anything else. 
After the bout, Bradshaw takes out his frustration on Funk and decimates
Scorpio and Faarooq for good measure.  Rating: 
**
Mark Henry pins
Vader with a splash at 5:03:
These two actually have an issue as Henry and Vader
ruined each other’s chances of advancing in the King of the Ring last
month.  Their feud has largely been relegated
to Shotgun Saturday Night.  This match is
a complete train wreck as Vader is not capable of carrying the younger Henry
and we get awkward combinations of power moves. 
Henry kicks out of Vader’s splash off the second rope and then
unceremoniously finishes him with a splash that causes the crowd to moan.  It’s just sad to see Vader reduced to the
level of an enhancement talent, especially if you grew up following his WCW
career.  Rating:  ½*
Kelly and
Pritchard continue to discuss whether the Undertaker is going to show up on
tonight’s show.
WWF Tag Team
Champions Kane & Mankind walk out with Paul Bearer.  Bearer gloats about how the Undertaker does
not want to face Kane because he wants to keep his main event spot at
SummerSlam.  The New Age Outlaws show up
and issue a challenge to Kane & Mankind for the titles tomorrow night on
RAW.  When they do not get a response,
they tear into the champions and WWF officials have to separate them.  Seeing Billy Gunn and Kane share 50-50
offense in this segment is just so wrong.
Ross and Lawler
recap Hawk showing up late to save Animal from the DOA on the last edition of
RAW.
The Disciples of
Apocalypse (w/Paul Ellering) defeat LOD 2000 when 8-Ball pins Animal after a DDT
at 8:51:
With Sunny out of the picture, I no longer have a reason
to care about the LOD.  You can sense how
the LOD are past their expiration date by listening to the crowd, as they get
very little reaction for anything in the match. 
They also do not care about the DOA’s constant cheating throughout the
contest.  Ellering’s excited attempts at
interference are laughable as he continually whiffs in his attempts to make a
difference.  It takes forever for Animal
to get the hot tag and Skull does eat a Doomsday Device, but the match
continues a little longer and the DOA do an illegal switch and win.  You would think that the LOD would have that
scouted based on the numerous times they have faced the DOA up to this
point.  The WWF gave this way too much
time and after this bout the LOD, DOA, and Ellering should have been cut loose
for good.  Unfortunately, this feud
continued!  Rating:  DUD
Vince McMahon and
his stooges come out and McMahon says that he is not to blame if the Undertaker
does not show up.  Instead, he points the
finger at Steve Austin based on his provocations of the Undertaker.  McMahon reads the “card subject to change”
addendum on the programs that the crowd bought before the show and announces
that Austin’s “suitable replacement” for tonight’s main event if the Undertaker
no shows is the Brooklyn Brawler. 
Forgetting about this sixteen years later, I cracked up pretty hard at
this, especially because the Brawler comes out screaming “I’m ready” and is all
amped up.
Hart Family
Dungeon Match with Dan Severn as Special Guest Referee:  Owen Hart defeats Ken Shamrock with a
crossface at 4:54:
This is the first extensive footage of the famous Hart Dungeon
on television.  It appeared in some video
packages before this show, but we actually get a match that takes place in
it.  Shamrock walking down the steps to
the basement is like something out of a C-level horror film.  This is a submission match and they work a
quasi-UFC/WWE style that I am sure was not taught in the actual Dungeon by Stu
Hart.  I am more amazed that they managed
to work a five minute match within the confines of the Dungeon than anything
else.  However, since this Vince Russo we
need some type of ref bump, so sure enough that happens with Severn getting
knocked loopy, thereby allowing Owen to hit Shamrock with a dumbbell and then
tapping Shamrock’s hand on the canvas when Severn awakes to win.  Seriously, they booked a screwjob for this!  Finish aside, this was a fun change of pace,
but I can’t get past some of the ridiculousness of the contest like Shamrock’s
head going through some drywall and Owen swinging off pipes.  Rating:  **
-Two-Out-of-Three
Falls Match for the Intercontinental Championship:  The Rock (Champion) wrestles Triple H
(w/Chyna) to a time limit draw at 30:00:
This match has a caveat on the traditional
two-out-of-three falls format as there is a mandatory one minute rest period
between falls.  The WWE’s current
creative team should be forced to rewatch this DX-Nation feud and realize how
you can go about making a secondary title important.  Ross and Lawler hyping the thirty minute time
limit is a clue of where this match is heading, especially since that time
limit was not discussed in the build to the match.  Sure enough, after both men’s factions
interfere at various points and after exchanging falls, with the Rock winning
the first after a Rock Bottom at 20:20 and Triple H winning the second after
Chyna DDT’s the Rock on a chair at 26:34, the time limit expires.  This is deemed as the first “classic” between
the Rock and Triple H, but most of the heat on the match comes from
interference (five run-ins!) and not from the two participants.  Also, they really struggled to continue the
match with unique moves after the twenty minute mark.  It felt like this was a fifteen minute match
drawn out to thirty minutes.  Their
Judgment Day Iron Man match in 2000 would fix these problems and because both
men’s characters had reached another level, it was a much better match.  Rating:  ***
After the bell,
the Nation and D-Generation X brawl, with DX standing tall in the ring.
Kevin Kelly and
Tom Pritchard inform us that the Undertaker arrived during the Intercontinental
title match.
A video package
hypes the bikini contest between Sable and Jacqueline.
Bikini
Contest:  Jacqueline (w/Marc Mero) beats
Sable by disqualification:
Before the contest, Dustin Runnels issues a prayer.  Why that did not produce a feud with Jerry
Lawler, the WWF’s resident pervert is beyond me, but I guess Runnels feud with
Val Venis made the same point. 
Jacqueline has a wardrobe malfunction by dancing too much in her
bikini.  Sable goes without a top and
wears body paint, which she says was not what Vince McMahon wanted.  That’s not a bikini, though, so she loses by
disqualification.  Seriously, a
disqualification in a bikini contest!?!?
After the contest,
McMahon walks to the ring and covers Sable. 
This McMahon-Sable angle is not making any sense in light of existing
storylines.
A video package
chronicles the events leading up to the main event for the WWF tag team titles.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve
Austin & The Undertaker defeat Kane & Mankind (Champions w/Paul Bearer)
when The Undertaker pins Kane after a Tombstone at to win the titles at 17:27:
This is the first time that the WWF tag team titles are
on the line in a pay-per-view main event since In Your House 3 in September
1995.  I really feel bad for Mankind as
the odd man out in this main event angle, but he was actually able to
capitalize on that later for his late 1998 run. 
The Undertaker and Kane are skittish about contact throughout the match,
lending some credence to the view that they are working together, but the
Undertaker reluctantly agrees to hot tag in and fight Kane late in the
match.  You see, we are back to the “tag
team partners that do not like each other” that has been an Austin staple since
he first won the tag team titles with Shawn Michaels in the summer of
1997.  I do not like the WWF champion
holding the tag titles to build their feud since it weakens the overall tag
division, so the result of this match was rather silly.  The crowd was into this, but it was really an
extended RAW main event.  That said, what
did you expect from a throwaway pay-per-view before SummerSlam?  Rating:  **
The Final Report Card:  Despite achieving an all-time record buyrate
for In Your House shows, this was the very definition of a middle of the road
pay-per-view.  Outside of the LOD-DOA
debacle, there was nothing that was awful about this show, but there was also
nothing really great or memorable aside from Sable’s moment, and that was
lessened when she later did Playboy. 
Triple H and the Rock, as well as Shamrock and Owen, would go on to have
better, more memorable contests at SummerSlam. 
If you are looking to burn some time, this is as decent a card as any to
watch, but do not expect anything fantastic.
Attendance: 
9,855
Buyrate: 
0.9 (+0.31 over previous year)

Show Evaluation:  Neutral

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – July 20, 1998

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are taped from Binghampton, New
York.  This is our go home show for Fully
Loaded.

Vince McMahon
comes out and says that tonight is a night for respect for one’s fellow man and
retribution for those who do not. 
McMahon provides evidence from the events of recent weeks to support his
argument that the Undertaker is working with Kane and then invites the
Undertaker out.  McMahon, who has great
on screen chemistry with the Undertaker, points out that if the Undertaker
wants to be the WWF champion he has to start showing respect to the right
people and he will not tolerate being disrespected anymore.  When questioned again about working with
Kane, the Undertaker refuses to answer, so McMahon books him to face Kane and
Mankind in a handicap match.  However,
McMahon makes the fatal error of telling the Undertaker to go to hell and ends
up getting chokeslammed.  Gerald Brisco
and Commissioner Slaughter also eat chokeslams when they run to McMahon’s
aid.  I love how McMahon continually
tries to act tough around the Undertaker only to end up paying for it.  1 for
1
Opening Contest
for the European Championship:  D-Lo
Brown (w/The Rock) defeats Triple H (Champion w/Chyna) after the Rock gives
Triple H a Rock Bottom to win the title at 6:02:
Aside from the handicap main event, the other attractions
are Triple H and the Rock defending their titles against a member from the
Nation and D-Generation X, respectively. 
Both men are scheduled to face each other in a title-for-title
two-out-of-three falls match at Fully Loaded, so the outcome of these matches
could change these plans.  D-Lo was a
curious choice for this match since Owen was arguably the second-best singles
star in the Nation.  Then again, Owen has
continually failed to beat Triple H, so D-Lo was as good an option as any of
the remaining Nation members.  The Rock
interferes in this bout after Chyna and Mark Henry get into a confrontation on
the arena floor and that enables D-Lo to win his first WWF gold in a major
upset.  This means that the Rock-Triple H
match at Fully Loaded will no longer be title-for-title.  Rating:  ** (2 for 2)
The Nation
celebrates D-Lo’s title victory in the locker room.
Triple H tells Jim
Ross that the Rock is not leaving the arena with the Intercontinental title.
Brawl for All
First Round:  Steve Williams beats Pierre
by TKO at 2:56 of the third round:
This was Steve Williams WWF debut.  The Brawl for All concept was meant to put
him over as a big star and eventually feud with Steve Austin.  Of course, if that was the point of the
tournament, then why make it a shoot, but that requires too much logic for the
WWF sometimes.  During Williams entrance,
Barry Switzer puts him over for being a tough guy while playing football for
the University of Oklahoma.  Pierre is at
a severe disadvantage because he only has vision in one eye, but hey, it’s not
like the Brawl for All is regulated by your local athletic commission.  Williams completely dominates Pierre, who is completely
out of his element here, and we get our first non-decision result of the Brawl
for All.  3 for 3
Val Venis’s
revelation that he is having an affair with Yamaguchi-San’s wife on last week’s
show is played.
Yamaguchi-San,
wearing his tie around his head, yells at his wife for disgracing him on last
week’s show.  He makes her hold the ropes
open so that Kaientai and he can step into the ring and then orders her to
crawl beneath his legs where he can hit her with a paddle.  However, before Yamaguchi-San can proceed
with the punishment, Val Venis makes the save, and carries Yamaguchi-San’s wife
to the dressing room.  Yamaguchi-San
going over the top is what made this segment worthwhile.  4 for
4
The Undertaker
chokeslamming Vince McMahon earlier in the show is the Skittles Slam of the
Week.
We are supposed to
get an Animal-Skull match in our next segment, but it never happens as Hawk no shows
during Animal’s entrance and the DOA give Animal a beatdown.  Hawk makes the save before the DOA run over
one of Animal’s legs with one of their Titan bikes, but he is also attacked and
overwhelmed.
Steve Blackman
(w/Ken Shamrock & Dan Severn) pins Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee
& Southern Justice) after a pump kick at 2:11:
Somehow the Jarrett-Blackman rivalry is still ongoing and
based on the piped in boos, no one cares. 
Blackman brings Shamrock and Severn with him to even the odds around
ringside and speaking of which, it makes little sense for Southern Justice to
be with Jarrett at infrequent periods. 
Blackman beats Jarrett clean and in short order here, which is a very
puzzling result.  Jarrett is in desperate
need of an overhaul because he is getting nowhere with his 1993-1996
gimmick.  After the bell, Owen Hart
attacks Shamrock from behind on the floor and Severn does not seem to care.
The Undertaker is
shown leaving the arena.  Michael Cole
confirms this after the commercial break and Cole says that the Undertaker said
that he will see everyone Sunday at Fully Loaded.
Jim Ross interviews
WWF Champion Steve Austin, who says he is concerned about whether he is walking
into a trap at Fully Loaded.  Vince
McMahon interrupts the promo after taking exception to Austin saying that
McMahon deserves to be screwed over and rebooks the main event to Austin facing
Kane and Mankind in a handicap match. 
Austin refuses to wrestle and threatens to walk out like the Undertaker,
but McMahon announces that if that happens he will strip Austin of the WWF
title and give it to the Undertaker. 
Austin says fine, but vows to beat up McMahon in the locker room when he
gets the opportunity.  This was a good
twist of the main event to continue feeding the Kane-Undertaker cahoots
storyline.  5 for 5
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to get your Steve Austin 3:16 baseball jersey $39.99 (plus $9 shipping &
handling)!
Jason Sensation’s
skills and beating at the hands of Owen Hart on last week’s show is recapped.
Owen Hart beats
Faarooq via submission to the Sharpshooter at 5:35:
I am surprised that Faarooq did not enter the Brawl for
All, since he was also stuck in the purgatory of the midcard after leaving the
Nation of Domination.  During the bout,
Owen gets on the house mic and tells the crowd that he is not a nugget.  This match is fine, although I am not sure
why Faarooq is still doing his “I am going to keep jumping on your back until
you knee me in the groin” spot as a face. 
Faarooq submits clean to the Sharpshooter despite being a foot away from
the ropes, which illustrates how far he has fallen over the last year as a
character.  After the bell, Ken Shamrock
runs out, but Owen escapes through the crowd. 
Rating:  ** (6 for 6)
Mankind predicts a
very peaceful evening for Steve Austin in tonight’s handicap match.
Marc Mero and
Jacqueline come out and Jacqueline insults Sable some more.  Sable comes out in a sun dress and Jacqueline
soon strips it off.  Sable doesn’t mind
and tosses Jacqueline out of the ring by her hair.  Kevin Dunn’s camera crew follows Sable up the
ramp and misses Edge doing a hit and run on Mero in the ring.  It would have been better to combine this
segment with the Sable-Jacqueline interaction on last week’s broadcast.  6 for
7
Shawn Michaels
comes out to do commentary for the rest of the show.
The announcers
recap the 8-Ball-Scorpio Brawl for All match, which Scorpio won.
The Rock tells the
announcers from the backstage area that he will beat X-Pac and enter Fully
Loaded as the Intercontinental champion.
X-Pac pinning the
Rock after an X-Factor is the JVC Kaboom! of the Week.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  The Rock (Champion) defeats
X-Pac (w/Chyna) via disqualification when Triple H interferes at 9:46:
X-Pac pinned the Rock in a tag team match on last week’s
show, so that is used as evidence for why X-Pac is a threat to leave the
building with the Intercontinental title. 
D-Lo Brown winning the European title also provided the possibility that
X-Pac might win this match.  The Rock
dominates nearly the entire match and kicks out of an X-Factor and getting hit
with the Intercontinental title by Chyna. 
The referee gets bumped on a Rock clothesline, and Triple H tries to
help X-Pac win the title by cutting off D-Lo Brown’s interference attempt and
Pedigreeing the Rock, but another official stops the pinfall and that helps the
Rock retain.  I really hate the “second
referee corrects the first on things he did not see” finish.  After the match, Triple H gets a female fan
in the audience to take her top off. 
Antics like that are why I was barred from going to WWF house shows in
the Attitude Era.  Thanks Triple H!  Rating:  **½ (7 for 8)
Handicap
Match:  Kane & Mankind (w/Paul
Bearer) beat “Stone Cold” Steve Austin via disqualification when the Undertaker
interferes at 4:51:
This is one of those famed Attitude Era brawls where
Austin hits everything that moves.  The
Undertaker walks out three minutes in with a chair and sets up in Austin’s
corner.  As Austin prepares to give Kane
a Stunner, the Undertaker tries to hit someone, it is not clear who, with a
chair and ends up blasting Kane.  That
seemingly produces a DQ win for the tag team champions, but who really cares,
as Austin lays out Mankind and the Undertaker with the chair and walks away
with his hands raised.  The continuous
action throughout this match made it seem like more than a throwaway TV main
event.  Rating:  **½ (8 for 9)
The Final Report Card:  The ending to the main event gives us a small
taste of the Fully Loaded main event and maintains the mystery behind the
Highway to Hell storyline.  For a taped
RAW, this provided a lot of excitement with the X-Pac-Rock fight, the main
brawl, and some entertaining mic work by the main players.  Steve Williams also had a dominant appearance
in the Brawl for All and if you were not sure how things played out in future
weeks, you would assume he was the man to beat.
So our announced card for Fully Loaded is
the following:
WWF Tag Team Championship Match:  Kane & Mankind (Champions) vs. Steve
Austin & The Undertaker
Two-out-of-Three Falls Match for the Intercontinental
Championship:  The Rock (Champion) vs.
Triple H
Hart Family Dungeon Match with Dan Severn as
Special Referee:  Ken Shamrock vs. Owen
Hart
Bikini Contest:  Sable vs. Jacqueline
Monday Night War Rating:  5.0 (vs. 4.7 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

July Classics: Mankind vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley – In Your House: Canadian Stampede 7/6/97

The finals of the 1997 King of the Ring tournament featured Mankind vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley, with Helmsley winning the crown. After the match, Helmsley and Chyna proceeded to beat down Mankind. This prompted Mankind to request a rematch, which took place at this show, the infamous Canadian Stamepede.

http://network.wwe.com/video/v31327267/milestone/31345801

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – July 13, 1998

by Logan Scisco

A video package
recaps the Undertaker becoming the number one contender to the WWF championship
on last week’s show.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“the King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from East Rutherford,
New Jersey.

Shawn Michaels
comes out, making his first WWF appearance since WrestleMania XIV.  Michaels sits down to do commentary for the
show and tells Ross that he is not sure when he will return to the ring.
Opening
Contest:  The Undertaker pins Vader with
a Tombstone at 4:35:
Looking back, I wish Vader had entered the Brawl for
All.  It was already littered with lower
midcard talent and guys looking to reboot their careers or get them going, so
it would have been well suited for 1998 Vader. 
After the entrances, Kane, Mankind, and Paul Bearer come out, but they
let the match proceed as scheduled.  As
another “what if,” imagine what a stable of Vader, Kane, and Mankind would have
been like in 1998.  Vader gives this the
old college try, but the Undertaker unceremoniously finishes him with Tombstone
and Earl Hebner does his slow three count to add insult to injury.  Really Earl? 
Rating:  ** (1 for 1)
After the match,
Mankind prepares to hit the Undertaker with a chair, but Kane takes it from
Mankind and then whacks Vader with it. 
Does this mean Kane and the Undertaker are in cahoots?
-Brawl for All
First Round:  Bart Gunn beats Bob Holly
via decision
This match constituted the breakup of the New Midnight
Express as Ross tells us that Jim Cornette resigned as their manager as a
result of them deciding to face each other. 
That, for all intents and purposes, ends the last vestiges of the NWA
angle for good.  This is the first Brawl
for All to feature a regular WWF referee as Danny Hodge is no longer doing the
honors.  Bart just dominates Holly in
this bout and easily makes it to the next round.  There was nothing about this that made it
exciting, so it does not get a point from me. 
After the match, Bob gives Bart a cheap shot and there is a small fight
between the two before WWF officials break it up.  1 for
2
The D-Generation X
skit mocking the Nation of Domination on last week’s show is recapped.
Jason Sensation
joins the broadcast team and he imitates other WWF superstars at Lawler’s
urging.  When he imitates Bret Hart,
Michaels asks whether that is a midcarder (a shot at Bret’s status in the WCW
upper midcard at the time because – say it with me – WCW).  Ross interviews the Nation, who are
backstage, and they are not happy with last week’s skit.  The Godfather debuts his “pimpin’ ain’t easy”
line during this segment.  Owen gets mad
at Sensation continuing to imitate him at Lawler’s urging and runs out and
attacks him before DX intervenes.
Triple H &
X-Pac (w/Chyna) defeat The Rock & Owen Hart when X-Pac pins The Rock after
an X-Factor at 6:28:
Shawn Michaels starts talking about the Kliq on
commentary and is actually censored for doing so.  The match does not follow the normal tag
formula, as X-Pac gets in peril, absorbs a People’s Elbow and other Nation
offense, and then surprises the Rock out of nowhere with the X-Factor to
win.  The expected solid match between
these guys and they could have done much more if given another five minutes.  Rating:  **¾ (2 for 3)
Sable comes out to
do commentary for the next match.  Sable
promises that her bikini at Fully Loaded will make her bikini at the 1997
Slammy Awards look like an evening gown.
Steve Blackman
beats “Marvelous” Marc Mero (w/Jacqueline) with a pump kick at 2:14:
This is a rematch from the Brawl for All, but it is
overwhelmed by Sable and Jacqueline fighting near the announce table and
Michaels and Lawler fawning over Sable. 
Mero appears to have the match won with a low blow, but when Jacqueline
tries to do something off the top rope to Blackman, Sable stops her and
Blackman suddenly recovers and wins. 
Mero was never able to reinvent himself after the Sable feud, which was
quite sad considering his in-ring and mic talents.  The feud also made it impossible to go back
to WCW as Johnny B. Badd because he would have been showered with “Sable”
chants.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  Kane & Mankind
(w/Paul Bearer) defeat The New Age Outlaws (Champions w/Chyna) when Kane pins
The Road Dogg with a Tombstone to win the titles at 5:34:
Before the bell, the Undertaker comes out to watch this
match.  Of all the teams left in the tag
division, Kane and Mankind are the only credible challengers for the
titles.  Think about it:  LOD 2000 is irrelevant, the DOA are being
somewhat repackaged with Ellering but that isn’t enough, the New Midnight
Express broke up, and 2 Cold Scorpio and Terry Funk are enhancement
talent.  After all hell breaks loose in
the ring, all hell breaks loose outside it as the Nation and the remaining
members of DX brawl and in the chaos, D-Lo Brown interferes with a Lo Down on
the Road Dogg and the Outlaws seven month reign as tag team champions is
over.  Theoretically, this makes the
Fully Loaded main event tag match for the WWF tag team titles.  Rating:  ** (3 for 4)
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merchandise, but that price is outrageous.
Triple H yells at
Vince McMahon over the lack of control referees have in recent matches.  Having the Outlaws add to the complaints is
pretty funny considering how much cheating they engaged in to keep the titles
during their reign.
Kaientai
(w/Yamiguchi-San) beats Taka Michinoku & Too Much when Dick Togo pins Scott
Taylor after a Senton Bomb at 3:38:
Evidently, the Michinoku-Too Much pairing was forced by
the office in storyline terms as opposed to a genuine alliance.  Unsurprisingly, tempers flare between Scott
Taylor and Michinoku and Michinoku dropkicks Taylor into the hands of Kaientai,
who finishes him off.  After the bout,
Christopher beats up Michinoku and Val Venis comes out and reveals that he has
been having an affair with Yamiguchi-San’s wife.  The match was good, but I am not giving this
a point because the idea that Taka would ever agree to pair with Too Much under
any circumstances is ridiculous.  Rating: 
**¼ (3 for 5)
The Undertaker
chokeslamming The Godfather, D-Lo Brown, and Terry Funk on last week’s Raw is
the Skittles Slam of the Week.
Vince McMahon
comes out and talks with the Undertaker. 
McMahon commends the Undertaker on his deception last week, but raises
the question of whether the Undertaker is getting help from Kane.  The Undertaker refuses to answer McMahon’s
question and Steve Austin comes out. 
Austin asks the Undertaker whether he will have his back at Fully Loaded
and the Undertaker remains non-committal. 
That brings out D-Generation X and Triple H demands the Outlaws get an
immediate rematch against Kane and Mankind with three referees: a  regular official in the ring and the
Undertaker and Austin on the outside of the ring.  This will reveal whether the Undertaker and
Kane are working together.  Triple
H:  COO before we even knew it!  4 for
6
Brawl for All
First Round:  Dan Severn beats The
Godfather via decision:
As someone who did not see a lot of UFC growing up, I was
really excited to see what Severn could do in this format.  Severn is not used to releasing a takedown
after performing one, which the rules require, so the referee has to constantly
yell for him to break.  Severn also keeps
going for submissions, which are not allowed. 
The crowd is not happy about the lack of punches thrown and Severn
advances due to his takedown skills in a very boring bout.  After this, Severn would withdraw from the
Brawl for All because he did not care for the format and this bout shows
why.  We have had six Brawl for All
matches and all of them have gone to a decision, which is not very
exciting.  4 for 7
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match with The Undertaker and Steve Austin as Special
Enforcers:  Kane & Mankind (Champions
w/Paul Bearer) wrestle The New Age Outlaws to a no-contest at 8:09:
I am not often a fan of having the same match happen
again on the same show, but this was a very creative way to book around that
problem.  The main referee gets bumped
when Billy Gunn inserts himself into the match without a tag, but when Austin
tries to count the Road Dogg’s small package on Kane, the Undertaker pulls him
out of the ring.  The Undertaker tries to
count a pin when Kane chokeslams Road Dogg and Austin interrupts that.  The Undertaker and Austin then get into
separate fights with Mankind and Kane, respectively, and the Nation of
Domination hits the ring to brawl with the Outlaws, which brings out
D-Generation X.  Austin and the
Undertaker delivering Stunners and chokeslams plays us out and no one ends up
winning the match.  I’ll give this one a
point for the crazy post-match brawl.  Rating: 
** (5 for 8)
The Final Report Card:  This show gave us more storyline development
for the Undertaker-Kane relationship and whether they were in cahoots with each
other, although that issue is becoming very, very complicated.  Why would Kane want the Undertaker to face
Austin for the WWF title instead of himself? 
If he did decide to work with his brother, was it his idea?  When was such an agreement made?  Why would Kane or the Undertaker not tell
McMahon about it, since McMahon also wants to get the title off of Austin?  Does McMahon know and is he just playing dumb
to lure in Austin?  All this aside, this
RAW had a really hot first hour and then the second hour was death.  If not for the post-match brawl at the end,
this RAW would have ended up in neutral territory.  A slight thumbs up for this episode, which
saw RAW regain its Nielsen ratings lead only a week after WCW showed its big
Goldberg-Hogan match.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.7 (vs. 4.5 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – July 6, 1998

by Logan Scisco

Highlights of Steve Austin regaining the WWF
championship from Kane on last week’s Raw are shown.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“the King” Lawler are our commentators tonight and they are taped from State
College, Pennsylvania.

The Undertaker
comes out, with more pyro blasts that usual, and demands a title shot from
Steve Austin.  Michael Cole goes looking
for Austin backstage, but Austin just blows him off and walks out to the ring.  Vince McMahon angrily interrupts the
conversation and chides the Undertaker for claiming that he is the number one
contender and Austin for thinking he defends the title on his schedule.  McMahon says that Austin and the Undertaker
can be in the ring together at Fully Loaded, the next pay-per-view, but they
will not be facing each other in a singles match.  Instead, they will face Kane and Mankind in a
tag match.  McMahon also promises to name
the number one contender for the WWF title tonight.  A great, logical segment to open tonight’s
show.  As an added bonus, McMahon
“salutes” Austin at the end of the segment, which devolves into him flipping
off the WWF champion.  1 for 1
Opening Brawl for
All First Round Contest:  Savio Vega
beats Brakus via decision:
Brakus was a German wrestler that was supposed to come to
the WWF the previous year.  He even got a
series of vignettes to hype his arrival in 1997.  However, he was so green that he was sent to
ECW and USWA after wrestling on a few house shows and dark matches in late
1996.  Aside from a match on Shotgun
Saturday Night and appearances on a few European shows, this was Brakus’s big
moment in the WWF and he does not acquit himself well as Savio staggers him
with some hard shots throughout the bout. 
In a later shoot interview, Savio claimed that Brakus thought the Brawl
for All was a worked tournament instead of a shoot, which helped him win this
bout.  2 for 2
Ken Shamrock defeats
“Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee) via disqualification when King Mabel
interferes at 4:22:
This is a special challenge match as Jarrett wants
revenge for losing to Shamrock in the King of the Ring semi-finals.  This is basically a repeat of that King of
the Ring match, including many of the same spots, but this time there is a run-in
by King Mabel, who comes out of the crowd and lays out Shamrock.  You see, Shamrock beat two King of the Rings
last week, but he did not beat the great King Mabel!  Rating:  ** (3 for 3)
Michael Cole
interviews Shamrock after the commercial break and Shamrock challenges Mabel to
a match later on in the show.
Vader wrestles
Bradshaw to a no-contest after Kane and Mankind interfere at 2:05:
In this face-versus-face encounter both men are in
desperate need of some direction as Bradshaw has been spending 1998 feuding
with the NWA and Kaientai and Vader has been losing to new attractions like the
Rock and Kane.  After some stiff shots
back and forth, Kane and Mankind crash the match.  So basically, Vader and Bradshaw still do not
have any momentum!
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The Disciples of
Apocalypse (w/Paul Ellering) beat The Headbangers when 8-Ball pins Mosh after a
side suplex-neckbreaker combination at 3:41:
The Headbangers pour hot candle wax on their arms on
their way to the ring, which I do not remember being a big cultural thing in
1998, but I was not part of that crowd so who knows.  Ellering is being hyped as a stock market
wizard and he says that he came back to the WWF to write the final chapter of
the Legion of Doom.  I think the New Age
Outlaws beat Ellering to that task.  In
other news, Mabel has accepted Shamrock’s challenge for later tonight!  In terms of the match, the DOA wrestle with a
little more energy than usual, but the match is nothing to write home about.  Rating:  *½ (3 for 4)
Steve Austin
giving Stone Cold Stunners to Kane and the Undertaker at the close of last
week’s show is the Skittles Slam of the Week.
D-Lo Brown (w/The
Godfather) beats Terry Funk with the Lo Down at 3:46:
This is Brown’s first match back from his “pectoral
injury” and he is using his chest protector. 
Funk pulls out another crazy Asai moonsault, which I really wish he
would not do since it causes his knee to slam into the guardrail.  Funk appears to have the match in hand, but
the Godfather nails Funk in the back of the head with a gold chain and D-Lo
picks up the first of a series of victories that will put him on the map as a
singles star in the company.  It’s sad to
see Funk reduced to the level of enhancement talent, but to his credit he has
really made D-Lo Brown and Mark Henry look good over the last month.  A true professional.  Rating:  **¼ (4 for 5)
After the match,
the Undertaker comes to the ring and chokeslams D-Lo Brown and the
Godfather.  Terry Funk thinks the
Undertaker has come to save him, but the Undertaker chokeslams him as
well.  Ross’s calls during this segment
are great as he screams “Who’s your daddy?!?!?” as D-Lo gets chokeslamed and
screams “WHY!?!  WHY?!” when he attacks
Funk.
Vince McMahon walks
out to announce the number one contender to the WWF title.  Mankind, Kane, and the Undertaker are called
to the ring.  McMahon lauds Mankind’s
sacrifice at Hell in a Cell, calls Kane stupid for giving Steve Austin a title
shot last week, and hilariously changes his tone of voice when he gets to the
Undertaker and calls him an “evil, diabolical excuse for a human being” for
setting his brother on fire in an Inferno match and nearly killing
Mankind.  McMahon refuses to name a
number one contender himself and says that a triple threat match will determine
the issue later tonight.  5 for 6
Brawl for All
First Round:  Hawk and Darren Drozdov
fight to a draw:
The crowd is a more receptive to this week’s Brawl for
All bouts than last week.  The bout starts
okay, but both men are gassed by the third round and things end as more of a
whimper than bang.  The contest ends as a
draw and since we have no bracket established for this tournament, we have no
idea what that means for future rounds. 
And seriously, why would you establish a tournament like this and not
have a tiebreaker established?  5 for 7
Marc Mero and
Jacqueline come out and Jacqueline implies that Mero lost the Brawl for All
last week because she took all the energy out of him since it was their two
month anniversary before the bout. 
Jacqueline runs down Sable’s inability to meet Mero’s needs and
unsurprisingly, this brings Sable out. 
Sable implies that Mero needs Viagra and she and Jacqueline debate over
who is more of a woman.  Jacqueline
challenges Sable to a bikini contest at Fully Loaded and Sable accepts.  Color me silly, but I found the exchange of
insults here hilarious, probably because Mero’s facial expressions during the
exchange were great.  6 for 8
The Undertaker
chokeslamming Mankind through the Hell in a Cell is the JVC Kaboom! of the
Week.
Val Venis defeats
Dustin Runnels via disqualification when Kaientai interfere at 2:35:
Runnels and Venis go back and forth in this lower midcard
match until Kainetai run in to get revenge on Venis for Venis dancing in front
of Yamiguchi-San’s wife on last week’s show. 
However, Yamiguchi-San’s wife is not happy at the beating or her husband
mocking Venis’s dance in the ring.
D-Generation X
comes out dressed as the Nation in one of the more famous skits of the
era.  There is no way this segment would
fly today as X-Pac is in blackface as “Mizark Henry” and the Road Dogg and
Billy Gunn have bad spray tans for their impressions of the Godfather and D-Lo
Brown.  Road Dogg steals the segment by
repeating Triple H’s (playing “The Crock”) lines and climbing the ropes at
random intervals to do D-Lo’s head bob.  Jason
Sensation is playing Owen Hart and sounds exactly like him.  The forced laughter from Lawler nearly ruins
the segment, though.  7 for 9
Ken Shamrock
defeats King Mabel via submission to the ankle lock at 2:09:
Mabel finds his old king tights for this match, which is
his first televised match in the company in more than two years.  Shamrock’s path through older kings continues
with this match as he weathers Mabel’s power offense, counters a second rope
dive, and forces him to submit to the ankle lock.  After the bell, Shamrock refuses to release
the hold.  The old existing king left in
the WWF is Steve Austin, which would have set up an interesting WWF title
match, but that never happened.
Vince McMahon
walks out to do commentary duties for the triple threat main event and Steve
Austin comes out to join him.
Triple Threat
Match to Determine the Number One Contender to the WWF Championship:  The Undertaker defeats Kane & Mankind by pinning
Mankind after a chair shot at 1:58:
The Undertaker does not arrive when his entrance music
plays, so McMahon has Tony Chimmel announce that the Undertaker is
“chickenshit” and books a no holds barred, falls count anywhere match between
Kane and Mankind instead.  Mankind
refuses to fight his friend, but Kane takes a chair and gives Mankind a sick
shot against the steps to win the bout. 
However, when the regular lights come on, Kane unmasks to reveal the
Undertaker and Steve Austin looks on in disbelief as we are played out.
Tune in next week
to see the New Age Outlaws defend the tag team titles against Kane &
Mankind!
The Final Report Card:  The closing segment to this show was great
and as someone commented in the King of the Ring review, the double long
sleeved Kane outfit fit this angle well due to the fact that it covered the
Undertaker’s tattoos.  It furthers the
Kane-Undertaker-Austin triangle because one is left wondering how the
Undertaker got Kane’s ring attire and how he was able to replace him in the bout.  This was a great RAW, but it lost in the
ratings because WCW panicked and ran Bill Goldberg’s victory over Hulk Hogan in
the Georgia Dome against it.  Still, that
would end up being a pyrrhic victory for WCW and it did not derail the WWF in
the long-term.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.0 (vs. 4.8 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up