What the World Was Watching: Rock Bottom – In Your House

So after a three
months absence, I have returned so that the Blog can finish up looking back at
1998 when the World Wrestling Federation finally turned the tide against World
Championship Wrestling.  When we left off,
the Rock was tearing it up as the newly crowned corporate heel champion, but he
has Mankind in hot pursuit of the title that he thought was in the bag at
Survivor Series.  Steve Austin was still
feuding with the Undertaker, something that segments of the audience are
growing tired of, and the New Age Outlaws teased joining the Corporation before
realigning with D-Generation X.  The
Corporation still has Commissioner Shawn Michaels in their pocket, though.  And Debra McMichael, newly arrived from WCW,
has reunited with Jeff Jarrett, ignoring the fact that he called her a “dumb
blonde” when he returned to the company in 1997
.

WWF Champion The
Rock shows up at Planet Hollywood in Vancouver, British Columbia.  He promises that future pay-per-views will be
named after him and tells us to enjoy the action.  The Rock getting a pay-per-view named after
him fit nicely into existing storylines as it constituted a reward for going
heel.
Michael Cole and
Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Vancouver,
British Columbia, Canada.  Ross is absent
due to his mother’s recent passing.  The
opening is where Cole says that there is two tons of dirt near the grave and
the tombstone weighs “in excess of three thousand pounds,” thereby serving as
great fodder for recappers of the future.
D-Lo Brown &
Mark Henry (w/PMS) defeat Supply & Demand (w/The Hos) when Henry pins Venis
after a splash at 5:58:
The WWF should have done more with the Supply &
Demand tag team of Val Venis and the Godfather since the tag division was
relatively weak at this point in the company’s history (and would remain so
until the summer of 1999).  The “Pretty
Mean Sisters” faction of Terri Runnels and Jacqueline align themselves with
D-Lo and Henry at this show, although the reasons for it are not
explained.  D-Lo draws a lot of heat,
with the crowd showering him with “D-Lo sucks!” chants on several occasions.  The hos and PMS get into a predictable confrontation
on the floor, creating a distraction that allows Jacqueline to pull Venis’s
tights down and produce the finish.  This
was standard RAW fare that was made better by the hot crowd.  Rating:  **¼
Footage of Mankind
attacking the Rock earlier in the day when he was being interviewed by Michael
Cole in a skybox.  The Rock’s ribs are
allegedly hurt, but he is willing to fight against doctor’s orders so that he
can keep the title.
The Headbangers
beat Kurrgan & Golga (w/Giant Silva & Luna Vachon) when Mosh pins Golga
after the Stage Dive at 6:52:
Cole tells us that the Headbangers “defrocked” Luna by
cutting her hair on a recent episode of RAW, which is not the appropriate use
of that word.  That does not keep him
from continuing to use it, though.  These
two teams had been feuding on RAW, with the Headbangers turning on the Oddities
and then getting the Insane Clown Posse to defect to their side.  The Oddities were seemingly okay with this
defection, though, because they are still using the ICP’s engineered theme music.  If this was booked as a three minute match it
would be acceptable, but it just keeps dragging as the Headbangers can only do
so much with their opponents.  The ending
is botched, with Golga taking forever to run the ropes and ending up too far
away to take the Stage Dive.  Rating: 
¾*
Vince McMahon,
Shane McMahon, and the stooges huddle to discuss how they help the Rock defend
the title tonight.  Patterson suggests
getting hockey equipment and ambushing Mankind. 
Brisco just offers to get Mr. McMahon some coffee, a humorous connection
back to a few months ago when the stooges abandoned McMahon and left him at the
mercy of Steve Austin.
Steve Blackman beats
Owen Hart via count out at 10:28:
The crowd inverts the face-heel dynamic since Owen is a
beloved Canadian.  Cole tells us that
Owen has “perfected” the Sharpshooter, which makes sense when you compare his
Sharpshooter with the Rock’s version.  I
await him telling us that Owen was the “architect” of the Hart family.  This is a bit of a weird bout as both men
trade offense throughout without really building to the proper transitions and
then Owen gets sent chest-first into an exposed turnbuckle and barely sells it.  Blackman gets booed out of the building after
locking Owen into the Sharpshooter, but he gets out and then heads to the
locker room to lose.  Talk about a finish
wiping out ten minutes of hard work.  Rating: 
**½
Vince McMahon
wanders around backstage looking for Mankind. 
He finds the boiler room, which has a “Mankind’s office” sign on the
door that McMahon rips off in disgust. 
He tentatively walks in to negotiate with the Rock’s opponent for the
evening.
The Brood beats
the J.O.B. Squad (w/Head) when Christian pins Scorpio after the Impaler at 9:08:
The Brood gimmick was ahead of its time.  It was seeking to capitalize on the “goth”
look that was all the rage in the late 1990s among jaded youth, but it would
have had more popularity with the Twilight
craze that swept the nation a decade later. 
As another aside, how many stables in wrestling history have had the
hired help go on to have better careers than the leader?  Snow might be over, but the crowd is not
buying into this J.O.B. Squad concept, sitting on their hands for much of this
despite all six guys doing their best to get a reaction.  Cole and Lawler are also disinterested,
debating the merits of Paul McCartney music and Cole insisting that he listens
to “the new stuff.”  After what feels
like an eternity we get to the ending sequence, which has a few cool spots such
as Edge launching off of Gangrel to plancha Al Snow and Bob Holly, but a spot
fest a good match does not make.  Rating: 
**
Mankind and
McMahon continue to negotiate backstage, although we cannot hear what they are
saying.
Striptease
Match:  Goldust beats “Double J” Jeff
Jarrett (w/Debra McMichael) via reverse decision at 8:03:
So the stipulations of this non-PG match are that if
Goldust wins then Debra must strip, but if Jarrett wins Goldust has to
strip.  Knowing Vince, I am surprised
they did not do a swerve, have Goldust lose clean, and then strip to tick of
GLAAD.  The stipulation helps give a dull
match some heat and after Goldust hits Shattered Dreams, Debra smashes Goldust
with a guitar behind the referee’s back. 
Somehow the broken bits of guitar in the ring do not bother the referee
as Jarrett hits the Stroke to seemingly win. 
However, Commissioner Shawn Michaels comes out and reverses the
decision.  Debra strips out of her
business suit, but before she can go further the Blue Blazer interrupts.  What, you really did not think they were
going to go through with this stipulation? 
Rating:  ½*
McMahon leaves the
boiler room and seems to be in a good mood
.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  The New Age Outlaws
(Champions) defeat The Big Bossman & Ken Shamrock (w/Shawn Michaels) when
Billy Gunn pins Ken Shamrock with an inside cradle at 17:06:
The Bossman-Shamrock tag team is often overlooked when
people think of the Attitude Era, but I thought it had some appeal since both guys’
styles complemented each other well.  If
Ross was on commentary he would say that the heat sequence was “deliberate” as Shamrock
and Bossman grind the match to a snail’s pace so they can beat on the Road
Dogg.  In Cole’s third embarrassing error
of the night he refers to the Bossman’s night stick as “a baton.”  Based on how the Outlaws feud with the
Corporation was going it seemed like a given that they would lose the tag team
titles here, thereby giving them a program for the early winter of 1999.  However, although Michaels trips Gunn when he
tries to suplex Shamrock back into the ring, Gunn reverses the cover and the
Outlaws retain.  What really hurt this
match was that during the heat sequence Shamrock and the Bossman never seemed
to have a coherent strategy to work on a body part and they never went for a
cover.  Why would you do that when
wrestling the tag team champions?  Rating: 
A video package recaps
the ongoing Rock-Mankind feud
.
McMahon tells
Shane and the Rock that the contract for the title match will be altered in the
ring and that Mankind just wants witnesses.
After entrances
for the next match, Vince McMahon steps in the ring and makes fun of a hole in
Mankind’s tights.  Mankind says he will
cross out the contract clause that says he gets the title if the Rock cannot
wrestle, but only if McMahon admits that he never heard Mankind submit at the
Survivor Series and do so on his knees. 
McMahon refuses to do so, saying that the Rock heard him submit at
Survivor Series and that was good enough for him, so we end up having our
scheduled title match after all…
WWF Championship
Match:  Mankind beats The Rock (Champion
w/Vince & Shane McMahon) with the Mandible Claw at 13:34:
Mankind’s theme has some awful techno beat as he heads to
the ring.  There was something about
techno beats that the WWF music team could not get away from during this period
as they also tried to do it with parts of the Rock’s theme and had to abandon
that when it also sounded horrid.  They
try to rip off Over the Edge with Vince telling the referee to disqualify Mankind
“for any legitimate reason” after he beats the Rock to a pulp on the arena
floor.  The Rock is also good for comedy
here, taking a headset and cutting a promo on Mankind as he smashes his face
into the commentary table, but then keep it on as Mankind makes a
comeback.  Vince tries to get the referee
to disqualify Mankind after a low blow, but in a shrewd move that Bret Hart
should have done in Montreal, Mankind decks takes out the referee and the
timekeeper.  All of this leads to a new
referee coming in, which makes little sense because the first referee would
have disqualified Mankind at this point for piledriving him, and that produces
some hot near-falls with each man’s signature moves.  A Mandible Claw seems to give Mankind the
title, but McMahon announces after the match that since the Rock never
submitted he cannot lose the championship. 
Did the WWF give a one night contract to Dusty Rhodes with these
finishes?  Fun match once the overbooking
began, but it was not on the same level as their Survivor Series bout.  Rating:  **¾
After the bout,
Mankind puts both McMahons in the Mandible Claw and beats on the stooges, but
eventually Ken Shamrock and the Big Bossman run in to beat him down.
A video package recaps
the Steve Austin-Undertaker feud
.
Buried Alive
Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve Austin defeats
The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) at 21:31:
Austin has to win this match to get a slot in the Royal
Rumble per the orders of Vince McMahon. 
That is a classic example of the booking getting too cute because it
basically constituted a spoiler since there was no way Austin was not going to
be in the Rumble match.  In a Buried
Alive match I always wonder why the wrestlers never stay near the grave.  Why go back to the ring, which has more give
to it than concrete and why not use all the shovels and such around the grave
to wear out your opponent?  Wrestling
logic I suppose.  As Austin has noted in
recent years, the stipulation ruined this bout as he and the Undertaker could
only build drama near the grave and it made the match too much of a choking and
punching encounter.  Cole gaffe #4 rears
its ugly head as he refers to “the Royal Rumble tournament” that is on the line
between these two.  And for those
wondering why I am being hard on Cole, I have to think of something to keep me
preoccupied with this match which just meanders all around the arena without
any rhyme or reason to it.  Eventually, Austin
hits a Stunner to send the Undertaker into the grave and walks off.  This allows the Undertaker to get out, but an
explosion out of the grave sends out Kane, who Tombstones the Undertaker back
into the grave and Austin brings out a backhoe. 
However, to really top off this awful match, the backhoe takes forever to
dump dirt on the Undertaker and then takes too long to rake the dirt in.  Austin soon tires of shoveling dirt and drinks
beer, finally being declared the winner. 
Rating:  DUD
The Final Report:  1998 featured several fun WWF pay-per-views,
but this show was not one of them.  As
has been the case for much of the year, the top of the card has to excel to
cover for a deficient midcard and that did not happen here.  If anything, the show had lots of oddly
booked finishes with Mankind going over the Rock but not winning the title, the
Outlaws retaining when it may have made more sense to give the titles over to
the Corporation, and Owen Hart losing in a puzzling count out after a
competitive match.  The Debra stripping
nonsense, Kane popping out of a grave like Michael Myers, and the overbooking
of the title match was Russo in overdrive. 
Yet there were already some danger signs with Russo in the sense that
some of his material was recycling old concepts, such as going back to the Over
the Edge well in the Rock-Mankind match. 
Avoid this show on the Network because the memorable moments of December
1998 happened on RAW.
Attendance: 
20,042
Buyrate: 
0.78 (+0.34 over previous year)

Show Rating: 
Thumbs Down

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – December 7, 1998

by Logan Scisco

A video package
recaps Steve Austin and Kane beating up Paul Bearer on last week’s show.  We are also reminded of the Big Bossman
beating Mankind for the Hardcore title.
Michael Cole and
Jerry “The King” Lawler are doing commentary for tonight’s go home show for
Rock Bottom:  In Your House.  Jim Ross was on a hiatus for this show
because his mother had passed away.  In
his first sentence, Cole lets us know that RAW is the “most controversial
sports entertainment television show.” 
It is easy to be a leader when you are in a category of one.  This show was taped in New Haven,
Connecticut.

Triple H, X-Pac,
and Chyna walk out and Triple H calls out the New Age Outlaws, who have been
flirting with the Corporation.  The
Outlaws walk out in suits and the Road Dogg announces them as the Corporate
Outlaws.  Commissioner Shawn Michaels
comes out at the behest of the Outlaws and he and Triple H shoot at each other,
with Triple H saying that he carried Michaels around when he no longer should
have been wearing the WWF title. 
Michaels books Triple H and X-Pac to face the Big Bossman and Ken
Shamrock in a “anything goes match” later in the evening, saying that if the
Outlaws get involved then “so be it.”  At
the end of the segment, the McMahons shake the Outlaws hands near the
entrance.  All the inside references here
might have been fun in 1998, but it does not translate well to today.  Also, the segment lacked a lot of intensity
from all sides.  0 for 1
Backstage, Triple
H tells Chyna to watch he and X-Pac’s back in their tag match tonight.
Opening
Contest:  D-Lo Brown (w/Mark Henry) pins
“Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra McMichael) with a cradle at 4:17:
This is a rematch from Sunday Night Heat, where D-Lo
Brown clocked Jarrett with his own guitar. 
Jarrett is booked to face Goldust at Rock Bottom in a striptease
match.  D-Lo dominates much of the match,
nearly killing Jarrett with the running powerbomb.  Again, why did no one in the locker room
force D-Lo to quit using that move?  Of course,
we cannot have a RAW match these days without a distraction and Goldust walks out
in a raincoat.  He flashes Debra, leading
to D-Lo cradling Jarrett and winning. 
These two guys were just going through the motions until Goldust walked
out.  Rating:  *½ (0 for 2)
Steve Austin tells
Tony Garea that he is angry over what has been going on lately in the WWF.
Call 814-734-1161
to get your WWF cologne for men for $19.99 (plus $4 shipping &
handling)!  Adam and George sell it in a
mock NWO ad.
Clips of Vince
McMahon’s talk at Oxford University is shown. 
Evidently it was a give-and-take talk with students, so I can only
imagine the type of questions that he fielded.
The Headbangers
defeat Gangrel & Edge via disqualification when Luna Vachon interferes at
2:06:
It is just weird to see several matches of this Edge and
Gangrel team when you are so used to seeing Edge and Christian together.  After each team exchanges cool double team
moves, Luna runs out and attacks the Headbangers.  She is followed by Tiger Ali Singh and Babu
for some reason and the Oddities then run out and destroy the Headbangers.  Uh, okay. 
It also does not make a lot of sense for the Oddities to still use the
ICP theme music when they were turned on by that same group.  The match was less than three minutes, so it
gets no rating.
Mankind says that
he will not leave Steve Austin’s side for their scheduled tag team match
against the Rock and Mankind
Paul Bearer
getting stuffed into a sewer on last week’s show is the Glover Rewind segment.
Vince McMahon gets
in Paul Bearer’s face backstage and demands to know if the Undertaker will work
with the Rock tonight.  Bearer says
McMahon has nothing to worry about.
Goldust beats
Owen Hart with a schoolboy at 4:17:
Owen unretired the previous night on Sunday Night Heat in
order to face Steve Blackman at Rock Bottom. 
At least Owen’s retirement lasted longer than John Cena’s firing and the
Authority’s banishment.  Unfortunately,
it did not last long enough for his sake. 
We get a decent back-and-forth bout until Debra does her own version of
the raincoat trick, which distracts Owen more than Goldust and produces the
finish.  Just television filler here and
the finish was completely predictable.  Rating: 
*½ (0 for 3)
Footage of WWF
superstars talking to British fans before the Capital Carnage event is
shown.  Some British fans give their take
on WWF action, but unfortunately we do not get any gems like SummerSlam 1992.
Before the next
match, the Godfather and Val Venis come out with the hos.  The Godfather says he is going to give one of
the fans two hos tonight and picks out a fat guy named Bob from the audience.  I guess this was the WWF’s 1998 version of
Make a Wish?  0 for 4
The Acolytes
(w/Jackyl) wrestle Supply & Demand to a double disqualification in 57
seconds:
This is Bradshaw gimmick change number four, but this one
finally got him over with the audience. 
Amazing what you can do if you take two hard-hitting guys, team them up,
and give them some momentum.  Both teams
brawl inside and outside the ring, not paying any heed to the referee’s
directions and get disqualified.  If this
builds to a future match, this was perfectly acceptable booking.
Steve Austin
hitting the Undertaker with a shovel is the JVC Kaboom! of the Week.
Austin walks out
and says that the Undertaker will receive no mercy at Rock Bottom.  The Undertaker gives a voiceover in response,
as his symbol – not to be confused with a cross so as not to draw unnecessary
heat from Christian groups – is hoisted up in the air.  The Undertaker promises to sacrifice Austin
and his symbol goes up in flames.  The Austin
promo was solid here, but the Undertaker’s Ministry garbage is already old at
this point.  I think I just have
Austin-Undertaker fatigue.  0 for 5
Mankind is shown
talking to himself, upset that Austin does not consider him a friend, as he
exits the boiler room of the arena.
Steve Blackman
defeats Tiger Ali Singh (w/Babu) with a pump kick at 2:13:
As I keep getting exposed to bad Tiger Ali Singh matches,
it goes to show how the hype for this guy was completely unwarranted in the
fall of 1997.  In fact, the hype for
Singh and Taka Michinoku appeared unwarranted by this point since Michinoku was
DOA after losing the Light Heavyweight title. 
At least they put Blackman over clean as a sheet here.
After the match,
the Blue Blazer comes to attack Blackman, but trips running down the ramp.  Blackman attacks him, but Owen Hart appears
and slams Blackman on the ramp.  You see,
they are not the same person!
Mankind looks for
Steve Austin backstage, with a garbage bag over his shoulder.  He finally finds Austin’s locker room.
Get the new
edition of Rolling Stone.  Steve Austin
is profiled in it!
Mark Henry
(w/D-Lo Brown) beats Darren Drozdov (w/Animal) with a splash at 3:27:
We are just getting vague updates about Hawk’s condition
after falling off the Titantron a few weeks ago, so someone must have come to
their senses and realized that that segment was in poor taste.  Henry is a bumping machine in this match,
taking a nasty spill to the floor and flipping himself into the steps.  Chyna walks out and instead of decking Henry,
she decks Droz, thereby helping Henry pick up the win.  Very rough bout, but that is more on Droz
than Henry.  Rating:  ½* (0 for 6)
A camera catches
the New Age Outlaws talking strategy with Shawn Michaels, the Big Bossman, and
Ken Shamrock.
No Holds
Barred:  Triple H & X-Pac (w/Chyna)
defeat The Big Bossman & Ken Shamrock 8:18
This is Triple H’s first in-ring appearance on RAW after
he returned from injury on last week’s show. 
The Big Bossman starts the match by wanting to use his night stick and
then tosses it aside like a moron to wrestle a regular bout.  There is a funny moment early in the match
when X-Pac asks the audience if they want him to tag Triple H, which gets a
tepid response.  In another fun spot, the
steps fall on the Big Bossman after his attempt to ram them into X-Pac fails.  According to the statistics we received at
TLC two months ago, that should have killed him.  One thing that irks me about matches like
this is that they should function as tornado tags since the rules are suspended
(see LOD-Nasty Boys at SummerSlam 1991 for this same criticism).  Eventually, the New Age Outlaws walk out, but
when Billy Gunn gets the opportunity to deck Triple H with a chair he nails
Shamrock instead.  SWERVE!  Somehow this leads to a disqualification, or
something like that, in a NO HOLDS BARRED match.  Rating:  *½ (0 for 7)
Mankind exits
Steve Austin’s locker room.
D-Generation X
celebrates their swerve in the locker room.
Steve Austin
arrives in his locker room and finds a trash bag with a beer in it.
Steve Austin
& Mankind beat The Rock & The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) by
disqualification when the Big Bossman and Ken Shamrock interfere at 8:18:
Mankind must have stiffed Earl Hebner on some shirt sales
because he starts the match before Austin even comes to the ring.  The excitement is too much for Michael Cole,
who has lost his voice by this point in the show.  This bout is a vintage Attitude Era brawl,
with four-way action starting the match and everyone getting in their big spots
before the inevitable run-in by the Corporation.  Rating:  ** (1 for 8)
After the bell,
the Bossman handcuffs Mankind to the top rope while the Undertaker blasts
Austin with the timekeeper’s bell and a chair. 
The Undertaker carries Austin up the ramp and the druids tie Austin to
the Undertaker’s symbol, raising it as the show goes off the air.  And where is Kane?  Somehow all this ridiculousness means that
Austin is in trouble at Rock Bottom because the Undertaker has taken his “mind,
body, and soul.”  People say the 1994
Rumble stuff is bad, but this is much, much worse.  I was laughing at my television due to how
stupid this was.  1 for 9
The Final Report Card:  Survivor Series was a great show from a
storytelling perspective, but the company is in a dead period before the
eventual Rock-Austin showdown at WrestleMania. 
The lack of a strong build for Rock-Mankind, which is relying heavily
upon what happened at Survivor Series and not much else, and fatigue with the
Austin-Undertaker feud means that something in the midcard needs to stand out,
but nothing is since it is so weak.  Think
about it:  Owen Hart is basically a
comedy act with this Blue Blazer story, the LOD 2000 storyline has fizzled
after Hawk fell off the Titantron, the Godfather is wandering around with Val
Venis as a quasi-tag team, and the Brood are just randomly inserted into
matches with very little direction.  As
things stand, Mark Henry is arguably the MVP of midcard storylines because at
least his issue with Chyna is interesting. 
Another criticism of this show is that the company could have gotten a
few more weeks of mileage out of the Outlaws feigning that they had gone
corporate.  They burned through that
storyline too quickly.  Just skip this
show if they ever upload 1998 RAWs to the Network and get to Rock Bottom.  You will not miss anything.
Monday Night War Rating:  5.15 (vs. 4.2 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – November 30, 1998

by Logan Scisco

A video package
recaps how the Undertaker tried to embalm Steve Austin alive on last week’s
show.  The Undertaker and Paul Bearer are
shown talking backstage moments before the show went on the air.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Baltimore, Maryland.

Steve Austin is
shown arriving at the arena with a shovel. 
The Headbangers and the Insane Clown Posse are already in the ring, so
Austin proceeds to give all of them – save Shaggy 2 Dope – a Stunner.  Getting on the mic, Austin promises to use
his shovel against the Undertaker.  A
throwaway segment and I am never a fan of one guy taking out tag teams.  0 for
1
Mark Henry is
shown getting ready for his date with Chyna. 
D-Lo Brown tries to make sure he looks good.
Ross hypes Austin
and the Undertaker being on TV Guide.  He
reminds viewers that if they cannot find them they will have to settle for the
“retired” Hulk Hogan or the “Austin wannabe” Goldberg.  Austin is still looking for Vince in the
back.  He runs into Stephanie McMahon,
who is not identified as such, and she says she has not seen Vince around.
Opening Non-Title
Contest:  The New Age Outlaws (WWF Tag
Team Champions) defeat Gangrel & Edge (w/Christian) by disqualification
when Christian hits Billy Gunn with a tag team title belt at 2:56:
The previous night on Sunday Night Heat, the Corporation
was attempting to recruit the Outlaws and they appear on the ramp to watch the
match.  Typical 1998 accelerated tag team
match here, although a young Edge shows off by doing a super hurricanrana on
the Road Dogg and taking a powerbomb off the second rope from Billy Gunn.  After Christian runs interference to prevent
a Gunn piledriver, the Big Bossman and Ken Sharmock run in and beatdown the
Brood.  So are the Brood faces or heels
at this point?  I am so confused with
their booking.
Steve Austin
continues to search for the Undertaker backstage, checking out several
freezers.  Predictably, he walks into one
to investigate, but gets locked in by the Undertaker and Paul Bearer.
Steve Austin
giving Stunners to the Headbangers and Violent J earlier in the show is the
Glover Rewind segment.
Mark Henry is
nervously excited for his date and he asks D-Lo to accompany him to give him
confidence.  D-Lo reluctantly agrees to
go.
The Undertaker
comes out and calls out Kane because we definitely need to see more of
that.  They briefly battle over whether
someone will be eternally damned before the Undertaker gives Kane a Tombstone.  Paul Bearer brings some orderlies from a
mental institution to the ring, but Kane beats up a couple of them before
walking through the crowd.  Sadly, this
ridiculous angle would continue.  0 for 2
D-Lo complains
that he is not dressed right for Mark Henry’s date, but Henry has a jacket for
him and a pair of sunglasses.  However,
he hands him a chauffeur hat next, meaning that D-Lo needs to drive Henry’s
limo.  That was a good comic twist on
that sketch.  After the commercial break,
Chyna is not happy to see Henry at the hotel and she refuses to accept the
flowers Henry offers her.  She is puzzled
that D-Lo is the chauffer, which is pretty funny.
X-Pac comes out
and calls out Shawn Michaels, angry about Michaels costing him his match
against the Rock last week.  Michaels
threatens to “send him back to that money pit in Atlanta,” but refuses to fight
him because he is not an active wrestler. 
He books X-Pac to face Ken Shamrock, with the European title being on
the line.  He exits to D-Generation X’s
music because “he was DX before DX was cool.” 
At least this was short, but they did not give X-Pac a lot of mic time
here.  0 for 3
Mark Henry and
Chyna arrive at their date location, where Chyna pulls out the price tag for
Henry’s flowers (they are $1.99).
A camera shot of
the freezer shows that Austin has escaped.
On the date, Mark
Henry botches the pronunciation of Perrier water.
Goldust defeats
“Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra McMichael) via disqualification when Owen Hart
interferes at 3:26:
This bout is a rematch from three weeks ago where Jarrett
blasted Goldust with a guitar and the two had a locker room fight.  Owen Hart is on guest commentary for the
match and he tries hard to keep a straight face when talking about the
Henry-Chyna date with Lawler.  By itself,
this match has very little heat.  Goldust
dominates, with Jarrett only avoiding defeat when Debra puts his foot on the
rope after a Curtain Call.  Debra gets in
the way of Shattered Dreams and her distraction leads to Owen attacking Goldust
from behind.  This show is falling into a
really bad habit over the last few episodes of having no clean finishes.  Rating:  *¼ (0 for 4)
After the bell,
the Blue Blazer appears to help attack Goldust, but suddenly the Blazer turns
on Owen.  The Blazer unmasks to reveal
Steve Blackman to arguably the biggest pop Blackman has received up to this
point in his career.
A split screen
shows Austin looking for the Undertaker backstage, while Paul Bearer and the
orderlies look for Kane.
Al Snow nailing
Ken Shamrock in the head with Head on last week’s show is the Medievil Slam of
the Week.
Hardcore
Championship Ladder Match:  The Big
Bossman defeats Mankind (Champion) to win the title at 6:11:
This is the first ladder match to be held on RAW.  Shawn Michaels does commentary and scores
some of Mankind’s moves since he says Mankind is going to try to outdo him in
the match type that made him famous.  If
you hate the slow climb, you will not like this one as Mankind does it within
the first several minutes where it makes no sense to do it.  When Mankind appears set to win, the Rock
interferes and the Bossman wins.  Of all
the WWF ladder matches up to this point, this was clearly the worst.  Everything was rushed and there was not a lot
of wrestling between the climb spots.  Rating: 
* (0 for 5)
The Undertaker and
Paul Bearer think they have found Kane. 
After the break, the Undertaker and Kane fight in a dark room in the
arena.  The Undertaker comes out on top
and tells Bearer to get the orderlies as he tries to put Kane in a body
bag.  However, Austin comes out of the
darkness and breaks his shovel over the Undertaker’s head.  You can see where this is going…
Non-Title
Match:  Duane Gill (Light Heavyweight
Champion w/The Pasadena Chargers) pins “Marvelous” Marc Mero after the Blue
Meanie tosses Mero off the top rope at 2:08:
Before the match, Mero says that if he cannot beat Gill
that he will never appear again.  The
youth football team that Gill coaches comes to the ring, since he is wrestling
in his hometown.  As expected, Mero
manhandles Gill, but the Blue Meanie interferes and Gill wins.  This was Mero’s last in-ring appearance on
WWF television.
Bearer directs the
orderlies to get Kane.
Mark Henry reads
Chyna a poem and she proceeds to guzzle down lots of alcohol.  He says that they need to go dancing after
having dinner.
European
Championship Match:  Ken Shamrock (Intercontinental
Champion) defeats X-Pac (Champion) via disqualification when Triple H
interferes at 4:47:
This is our first good bout of the evening, well that is
until interference runs its course again. 
X-Pac hits the X-Factor, but Shawn Michaels distracts the referee and
the Big Bossman clocks X-Pac.  However,
when Shamrock applies the ankle lock, Triple H runs in, which gets a pretty
sizable pop.  This warrants a point for
Triple H alone as I am a mark for surprise returns.  Rating:  ** (1 for 6)
The orderlies
place the filled body bag on a stretcher and strap it in.
Mark Henry dances
because, well of course, but Chyna does not want to dance.  Henry leaves for the restroom, leaving an
opportunity for some guys to hit on Chyna. 
She does not take kindly to that, leading to her clocking one of them
and Henry beats up another.  This was
fun, especially when Henry threw a guy across the bar.
Val Venis (w/The
Godfather & Hos) beats Tiger Ali Singh (w/Babu) via disqualification when
Terri Runnels interferes at 2:58
This feud between Tiger Ali Singh and the Godfather is
just going nowhere and doing very little for either guy.  That still beats today’s product where guys
wrestle each other with little backstory, but some Attitude Era feuds never
seemed to click and this is one of them. 
The hos neutralize Babu, while PMS comes out and interferes in the bout.  What a mess this was, and this was our fourth
disqualification finish of the evening. 
We are also six-for-six when it comes to run-in finishes.
After the bout,
the Acolytes, who recently debuted elsewhere on WWF programming, destroy Tiger
Ali Singh and Babu.  Why have these guys
beat up Singh and Babu and not a face team, though?  The Jackyl was the initial manager of the
Acolytes as well, but that did not last long.
The ambulance that
is supposed to take Kane to the mental facility departs, but Steve Austin and
Kane are shown watching footage of the whole thing in the back.  One guess who was in the body bag and is
headed for the mental health facility.
Shane McMahon
comes out to say that Sable is about to learn a lesson in humility.  She comes out and models WWF Attitude
cologne, which costs $19.99 (plus $4 shipping & handling).  Shane asks to smell it and tries to do so all
over Sable, but she squirts it in his face. 
You see, it is all funny!  1 for 7
Non-Title
Match:  The Rock (WWF Champion) defeats
Al Snow (w/Head) with the Rock Bottom at 4:57:
The Rock is back to using some kind of weird theme
music.  It is slightly better than the
disco theme they tried to give him a month earlier, but the beat for this theme
is one of those generic numbers you would get on the No Mercy video game.  It just does not add to the atmosphere or fit
the Rock at all.  Compared to other RAW
main events of this period, this has only a fraction of the expected crowd
reaction, an indication that tonight’s show has not delivered.  The Rock hilariously delivers the Corporate
Elbow to Head after a ref bump, which wakes up the crowd, and then beats Snow
clean.  Snow does get a visual pin on the
Rock by hitting him with Head in between all of that.  Rating:
 *½ (1 for 8)
After the match,
the Rock, Ken Shamrock, and the Big Bossman beatdown Al Snow and Mankind.  The JOB Squad finally makes a save.
Paul Bearer runs
into Austin backstage when he tries to unlock the freezer Austin was placed in
earlier.  The freezer opens to reveal
Kane and they haul Bearer out to the ring. 
Austin prevents Kane from immediately beating up Bearer or getting a gas
can.  Instead, he opts to cut Bearer’s
shirt and tie with a pair of scissors and teases stabbing him.  Austin aborts that idea too and they take him
outside and open a manhole cover.  They
shove Bearer down into the sewer head-first to close the show.  How is that punishment worse than killing
someone?  1 for 9
The Final Report Card:  Most of these shows have been good for the
last few months, but this show is beginning to illustrate how Russo is getting
a little too much creative control for his own good.  Every match, save for the WWF title match at
the end, had a run-in finish and the majority had disqualification finishes.  I do not mind DQ endings, but if you use them
too much throughout the show it really burns out the crowd and gets
irritating.  Some of these other angles
are also getting really ridiculous. 
Austin throwing a guy down a sewer? 
The hos gawking over Babu? 
Medical orderlies going after Kane? 
Things are really going off the rail.
Monday Night War Rating:  5.0 (vs. 4.2 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – November 23, 1998

by Logan Scisco

A video package
recaps all the major happenings on last week’s show:  Steve Austin and the Rock fighting for the
WWF title and Ken Shamrock joining the Corporation.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are taped from Columbus,
Ohio.  Ross lets us know that Austin suffered
a blackout in San Jose, California at a WWF event.

Vince and Shane
McMahon and the stooges come out.  Vince
says he had nothing to do with the Undertaker’s attack on Austin at the end of
last week’s show.  He says he is naming a
new WWF commissioner in order to please the fans and that this new commissioner
will not answer to him unless it deals with Austin.  Vince then goes into 1996 mode in welcoming
out Shawn Michaels as the new commissioner, which gets a mixed reaction.  Michaels proceeds to book a WWF title match
between the Rock and X-Pac, which shocks Vince, and Michaels gives the
D-Generation X crotch chop on his way out. 
Having Michaels back adds some extra energy to the show, so this was a
good booking decision.  1 for 1
Kevin Kelly
interviews the Insane Clown Posse and the Oddities.  The ICP is facing the Headbangers tonight,
but the ICP says that they are not ready to wrestle, so Kurrgan and Golga need
to take their place.  Kurrgan and Golga
accept.
The Headbangers
defeat Kurrgan & Golga (w/Luna Vachon, Giant Silva & The Insane Clown
Posse) when Mosh pins Golga with a schoolboy at 1:30:
The Headbangers really need to do something different now
in light of their heel turn.  They are
sporting the same look and doing the same act. 
Golga has also started doing this weird move where he pulls his shirt up
before doing a corner splash, which somehow makes the move more dangerous.  You do not have to be a genius to see a heel
turn coming from the ICP here – for the second time in a month – as Violent J
gets knocked off the apron by Golga, which leads to the finish.  After the match, they beat down the Oddities
and cut Luna’s hair.
A video package chronicles
Kane’s recent path of destruction, highlighting how he tried to set the Brood
on fire several weeks ago.
Steve Blackman
beats The Blue Blazer with a pump kick at 2:57:
The Blazer gets a pop coming out, although the volume of
the commentary makes it tough to decipher if it is genuine or piped in.  It is clear early in the match that the
Blazer is not Owen Hart because he does not hit the right octave on Owen’s “woo!”  He also botches the enziguri.  Blackman wins a messy bout, but when he goes
to unmask the Blazer he gets attacked by Owen Hart.  So who is the Blazer?!?!
Footage is shown
of Austin blacking out at a house show in San Jose, which Ross says was a
byproduct of getting hit in the head with a shovel by the Undertaker on last
week’s show.
Shawn Michaels and
Vince McMahon are shown exchanging words backstage.
Gangrel &
Edge (w/Christian) beat Mark Henry & D-Lo Brown when Gangrel pins Henry
after a schoolboy at 7:08:
Low midcard act or not, the Brood still had arguably the
best entrance in the company at the time. 
Gangrel and Edge showcase some nice double team moves, including a
double DDT off the second rope, but their timing needs work.  Ross makes sure we know that Henry is a “400
pounder who can dunk a basketball.”  D-Lo
nearly botches his running powerbomb on Edge, another warning sign that he
needed to eliminate that move from his arsenal. 
Everyone tries really hard in this match to get over, incorporating some
fun moves, but Gangrel’s sloppy ring work is exposed relative to the other
three guys.  This match gives us our
second distraction finish of the night, as Chyna comes out and distracts Henry.  Rating:  **½ (2 for 2)
After the match,
Chyna says she will go on a date with Henry and Henry falls to the canvas in
joy.  He gives D-Lo a hug and in a nice
touch, D-Lo screams because of his “chest injury.”
Steve Austin tells
doctors at the medical facility that he is tired of being there, but they tell
him he has a severe concussion and needs to take a few weeks off.  He is given a sedative and is told he can
leave the facility in the morning.
The Undertaker
nailing Austin with a shovel, with added sound effect, is the JVC Kaboom! of
the Week.
Shawn Michaels is
shown talking with D-Generation X, carrying on like old times.
Goldust wrestles “Marvelous”
Marc Mero to a no-contest at 3:57:
Mero no longer has Jacqueline by his side because he
fired her on Sunday Night Heat after she accidentally cost him a match against
the Big Bossman.  These two cannot seem
to have a match without women involved as Terri Runnels struts out to the ring
in a skimpy outfit followed by Jacqueline. 
Goldust sets Mero up for Shattered Dreams, but gets low blowed by
Jacqueline and Terri comes in and finishes the move on Mero.  This is the beginning of Terri and Jacqueline’s
PMS faction, which gave us Meat.  Sad to
see two guys of Goldust and Mero’s caliber wasted like this.  Rating:  ** (2 for 3)
Steve Austin signs
an autograph for one of the medical attendants and tells Ross that the
Undertaker has hell to pay and is not going to make it to the Buried Alive
match at Rock Bottom.
The end to the WWF
title match on last week’s RAW is the Glover Rewind segment.
Triple Threat
Match for the Hardcore Championship: 
Mankind (Champion) beats Ken Shamrock & The Big Bossman when Mankind
pins Shamrock after Al Snow clocks Shamrock with Head at 8:26:
This match came from last week’s show when the Bossman
and Shamrock prevented Mankind from getting to Vince McMahon in the main event.  This is one of those “conspiracy”-style
matches where it is a de facto handicap match designed to take Mankind’s
Hardcore title.  Things look bleak for
Mankind before the JOB Squad comes to his aid and help him pull out the win.  These Hardcore matches were more fun than
later incarnations because it was before the genre became really cartoonish
with weapons.  Rating:  *** (3 for 4)
After the match,
Mankind tries to go after Vince McMahon on the ramp, but gets attacked by
Shamrock and the Bossman.
Footage shows a
hearse outside of Austin’s medical facility. 
The Undertaker and Paul Bearer then smother Austin with chloroform.  The Undertaker tells Austin that he is about
to go on his last ride.  After the
commercial break, the Undertaker and Bearer put Austin in the hearse and speed
away.  How they got his body through
security I have no idea.
WWF Light Heavyweight
Championship Match:  Dwayne Gill pins
Christian (Champion w/Edge & Gangrel) to win the title after Scorpio hits
Christian when a slingshot splash at 2:26:
The light heavyweight title has not been defended on RAW
in ages.  Christian manhandles Gill, but
makes the cardinal sin of continuing to pick his shoulders up off the mat, which
he ends up regretting later when the JOB Squad intervenes.  If the light heavyweight title had any
credibility it was gone after this match. 
As a side note, Gill would remain champion until briefly returning to
the company to job it to the debuting Essa Rios in February 2000.  That match was where Lita immediately drew
all the attention away from Rios by giving Gill a moonsault after the bell.
Michael Cole
interviews Gill, who enjoys a piped in crowd pop as he says that this victory
is one of the greatest moments of his life.
The hearse stops
in a deserted field where an empty grave is located.  Paul Bearer commands the Undertaker to dig
the grave deeper.  Steve Austin stirs
back to life to try attacking Bearer, but the Undertaker puts him in a
chokehold and they reapply the chloroform. 
The Undertaker decides that burying Austin alive is too good for him, so
he decides to embalm him instead.
The next match is
scheduled to be the Godfather-Tiger Ali Singh, who used to have a feud going
that has been forgotten about.  Before
the bell, Stephen Regal urges Singh not to take the deal with the hos and they
double team the Godfather before Val Venis makes the save.  This gives us the origin of the “Supply &
Demand” tag team.  Oh, and Venis also
gets the hos because he evened the odds. 
For some reason I think that would still not muster John Cena to make a
save on a show today.
Shawn Michaels is
shown arguing with the Corporation yet again. 
After the commercial break, he also talks with Earl Hebner, probably in
a nod to Montreal.
Non-Title
Match:  Scorpio & Bob Holly (w/Al
Snow & Dwayne Gill) beat The New Age Outlaws (WWF Tag Team Champions) when
Scorpio pins Billy Gunn after Mankind clocks Gunn with a leaf blower at 5:23:
The crowd has a lot of energy for this match, working up
an “O-H-I-O” chant and reminding the fans at home that “Michigan sucks.”  A camera edit gets rid of a botch, but aside
from that this match is pretty good.  We
get yet another run-in finish, though, as Mankind interferes as payback for the
JOB Squad helping him out earlier and gives them a win over the tag team
champions.  Crowd was not happy with the
finish.  So, does this mean that the JOB
Squad “are in contention” for a title shot now? 
Rating: ** (4 for 5)
After the bell,
Ken Shamrock and the Big Bossman hit the ring to beat up Mankind and the
Outlaws beat up the rest of the JOB Squad. 
The stooges then try to recruit the Outlaws into the Corporation after
the match, talking to them as they head to the back.
The hearse pulls
up to a funeral home.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your D-Generation X football jersey for $39.99 (plus $9 shipping and
handling)!
The Undertaker puts
Steve Austin on an embalming table. 
After commercial, the Undertaker tells Austin that he is going to
experience the worst pain of his life. 
The Undertaker chants a lot of stuff in tongues, but when he goes to
stab Austin, Kane breaks in and makes the save. 
Bearer tries to finish the job, but Austin blocks him and crawls
away.  This was interesting and kept
viewers following the show, but how did Kane find out Austin was abducted?  That is a plot hole I cannot overlook.  4 for
6
WWF Championship
Match:  The Rock (Champion) defeats X-Pac
with the Corporate Elbow at 8:32:
Shawn Michaels gets rid of the seconds for both men,
making this a one-on-one encounter.  On
paper, one would think this was a great chance to keep building X-Pac as a
talent worthy of the upper midcard and put over the Rock as a heel, but they
have to rush lots of this because of time. 
It really picks up during the last three minutes, with some near-falls
that the crowd completely buys into. 
Ross’s commentary helps with that. 
But what would tonight be without one last twist, especially with Russo
booking, so Michaels takes a chair from the Rock and blasts X-Pac, thereby
putting the Rock over.  Rating: 
**½ (5 for 7)
After the match,
Michaels celebrates with the Corporation as the New Age Outlaws brawl with The
Big Bossman and Ken Shamrock.
The Final Report Card:  I could have done without many of the distraction
and run-in finishes on this show, but at the very least they advanced some new
stables and angles.  We can debate whether
those new stables and angles were any good, but they did give the show some
positive momentum.  Some criticized the
HBK turn at the time, saying that they burned through it way too fast, but just
going with the flow of the storylines, I do not mind.  I guess I am just a fan of the crash TV model
in some respects, but I can see where some people would hate this show if they
never cared for the Austin-Undertaker feud, hated the HBK heel turn, and/or
hated PMS and the JOB Squad.  I really
miss the crowd dynamics of some of these shows as well, as the WWF staged
several of them in college towns and RAW came off as a party and celebration
more than a wrestling show.  We do not
get that anymore outside of NXT (and little wonder that people actually like it).
Monday Night War Rating:  4.9 (vs. 4.5 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – November 16, 1998

by Logan Scisco

A video package
recaps Shane McMahon screwing Steve Austin over in the WWF title tournament
semi-finals last night at the Survivor Series.
We get a new RAW
intro where it was always hard to know the exact lyrics, so I always make up my
own, even if they did not make any sense. 
So my life in the box and soy la vie!!!

Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Lexington,
Kentucky.  I remember really wanting to
go to this show, but my dad refused to get tickets for it since he hated
wrestling.  He would finally cave and get
tickets for Thunder the next year.  At
least that show would feature Hulk Hogan, but it is still a downer to know that
I missed a post-pay-per-view RAW.
Vince McMahon,
Shane McMahon, the Big Bossman, and the stooges come out to massive boos and
Vince rips the crowd for being hypocrites because they kiss up to their bosses on
a regular basis and should do it more. 
He introduces the new WWF champion, the Rock, who gets a ton of heel
heat and the crowd chants “Rocky sucks” to his theme
music.  The Rock justifies his heel turn
by saying that he did what he had to do to get ahead, unlike the trash in the
crowd that get by on minimum wage.  He
also brings up the “Die Rocky die” and “Rocky sucks” chants from his initial
face run, saying he never forgot that and he rechristens the People’s Elbow as
the Corporate Elbow.  Vince goes to
explain the conspiracy and he informs Steve Austin when he walks out that under his new contract he cannot touch Vince
unless provoked.  Austin shows footage of
how Shane promised him a post-Survivor Series title shot two weeks ago on RAW. Vince says that that shot was changed to Survivor
Series, but Austin counters with legalize, saying that he has a contract
promising him a title match tonight and Judge Mills Lane confirms it.  The crowd loses its mind over this news and
McMahon is incensed.  They covered a lot
of bases here, but kept things moving in such a way as to keep you interested
throughout this lengthy segment.  1 for 1
Opening
Contest:  The New Age Outlaws & X-Pac
defeat The Oddities (w/Luna Vachon & The Insane Clown Posse) when Billy
Gunn pins Kurrgan at 2:52:
Remember the Insane Clown Posse’s heel turn on the
Oddities a few weeks ago?  Well, things
appear to be patched up before the match, but tensions continue as Shaggy 2
Dope accidentally delivers a flying elbow smash to Kurrgan instead of Billy
Gunn to cost the Oddities the match.
After the match,
the Headbangers do a hit and run attack on the Road Dogg.
An angry Mankind
arrives at the arena, screaming that he is coming home.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your DX football jersey for $39.99 (plus $9 shipping &
handling).  The sports jersey items were
some of the best the WWF was selling during this period.
Vince directs the
Big Bossman to stay close to him and asks the stooges to go take care of
Mankind.  None of them want to do it, so
Vince assigns Pat Patterson the job since he knows Mankind the best.  He reminds him that Mankind is gullible.
Intercontinental
Champion Ken Shamrock walks out and says that he was screwed at Survivor Series.  He issues a challenge to the Bossman and says
he will put his Intercontinental title on the line.  These shorter promos that cut straight the
point were the way to go with Shamrock.
Val Venis beats
Mark Henry (w/D-Lo Brown) with a schoolboy at 2:37:
Ross and Lawler use this match to take jabs at Paula
Jones and her nose job.  Chyna makes her
return on the ramp after some back and forth action, distracting Henry, who
loses in the WWF trademarked distraction rollup finish that had not yet become
a running joke at this point.
After the match,
Henry says he just wants to have a nice dinner with Chyna “with no sex
involved.”  He reads a poem to her, but
Chyna just walks to the back.
Steve Austin gets
some coffee, with a Pepsi cup placed as a convenient product placement.  Does this mean CM Punk will even the odds
tonight?  TUNE INTO….you get the idea (©
Scott Keith 1998.  All rights reserved.).
Patterson tells
Vince that he could not find Mankind in the arena and Vince hilariously
responds “you could not find your ass.” 
Gerald Brisco volunteers to find Mankind.
Steve Blackman
& Goldust defeat “Double J” Jeff Jarrett & The Blue Blazer (w/Debra
McMichael) when Blackman pins the Blazer after a pump kick at 2:09:
This match is the result of an angle on last week’s show
where both men were attacked by the Blue Blazer.  Ross calls the Blazer outfit something out of
“1960s lucha libre.”  This is an
accelerated tag match, where the Blazer jobs in short order to a pump kick, but
you see, it is not Owen Hart under the mask, as Owen runs in for a beatdown on
Blackman after the bout.
Brisco says there
are some weird noises in the boiler room and he was too scared to go in.  Commissioner Slaughter calls him a wuss and
Vince freaks.  Slaughter is sent after
Mankind.  After the break, Slaughter
comes back and says that Patterson and Brisco are needed to reason with
him.  Vince recommends getting some riot
gear to take care of the Mankind problem and that he expects the problem to be
solved in short order.  Now THIS is good
comedy.
The Godfather
(w/Hos) beats Stephen Regal via forfeit when Regal takes the hos:
Is the Godfather worthy of the Hall of Fame?  I have to think so as he
successfully pulled off two popular gimmicks with Papa Shango and being a
pimp.  Regal’s facial expressions as the
hos flaunt their stuff are great.  He
eventually settles for the hos and the Godfather wins via forfeit.  However, as Regal is leaving, the Godfather
lets him know that “England is just for the fags,” (chalk that up to something
that will be censored on the WWE Network) which leads to a pull apart brawl
between the two.
Backstage, Kane
destroys parts of the production crew. 
Unfortunately, Kevin Dunn is not among the casualties.
Steve Austin being
screwed by Shane McMahon in his match against Mankind at Survivor Series is the
Glover Rewind segment.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  Ken Shamrock
(Champion) wrestles The Big Bossman to a double disqualification at 3:55
Average brawl between these two, which culminates in the
referee getting decked by both of them. 
Eventually WWF officials intervene to stop the fight, but the pull apart
brawl does not come across as well.  Rating: 
*½ (1 for 2)
After officials
separate Shamrock and the Bossman, Vince and Shane McMahon walk out.  Vince tells Shamrock that he can use a man
with his set of skills and that they are a lot alike because they came from
broken homes.  He promises Shamrock a
family if he aligns with him and Shamrock shakes Vince, Shane, and the Bossman’s
hands.  Vince’s manipulation of the roster continues.
Some fans seek
Kane’s autograph outside of the arena and he chokes one of them against the
wall.  A police siren can be heard in the
distance.  He walks off into the mean
streets of Lexington.
Edge &
Gangrel (w/Christian) defeat LOD 2000 via count out at 2:12:
This is the Droz and Animal combination of LOD 2000.  Hawk walks out less than two minutes into the
match and begins walking up the Titantron. 
Droz and Animal go to investigate and get counted out.
After the
commercial break, Animal tries to talk Hawk, who is threatening to go out in a
blaze of glory, off the Titantron.  Paul
Ellering says he cares about Hawk’s life and Droz climbs the Titantron.  He seems to shove Hawk off and we go to
commercial.  I get what they were going
for here, but this was really tasteless and segments like this are a turn off
to viewers who may have struggled with suicide. 
1 for 3
And the fans
quickly forget about that awful segment because Sable, the new WWF Women’s
champion is here for an interview with Michael Cole!  Shane McMahon quickly interrupts her
interview to say that she is a creation of his father, which Sable refutes.  Shane says that real women like Sable work real
hard for their place, but Sable says that she is not for sale.  Like other Sable segments, this has a
punchline and not much else.  1 for 4
The Rock’s attack
on Mankind at the end of Survivor Series is the MediEvil Slam of the Week.
The stooges, wearing
UK Football helmets and pads head into the boiler room of Rupp Arena for
Mankind.  Patterson screams “Mankind we
love you,” which cracks me up. 
Unsurprisingly, Mankind attacks them, much of which we cannot see
because it is so dark.  2 for 5
Before the main
event, Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, the Big Bossman, and Ken Shamrock walk
out.  Vince says he is not happy about
the upcoming WWF title match and ridicules the Southern hospitality he is
receiving due to the “asshole” chants. 
He says that this is Austin’s last title shot.
WWF Championship
Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve Austin defeats
The Rock (Champion w/Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, The Big Bossman & Ken
Shamrock) by disqualification when the Undertaker interferes at 7:59:
This was a great piece of booking because Austin regained
the WWF title after he lost it to Kane at the King of the Ring, so it was not
beyond the realm of possibility that he would regain the title immediately from
the Rock.  Despite not getting much
action throughout the show, the crowd is engaged in this match from bell to
bell, as both men fight into the crowd and all around ringside.  The match is a really abbreviated version of
what Austin and the Rock will do later and is used more as a vehicle to advance
other feuds as Mankind runs out six minutes in to try to get at Vince, but ends
up brawling with the Bossman instead, and the Undertaker does a run-in after
Austin hits a Stunner to cost him the title. 
This bout is a prime example of how a crowd can take an average match
and make it seem like something special. 
Rating:  **½ (3 for 6)
The Final Report Card:  I could have done without the Hawk nonsense,
but this show was really all about the Austin-Rock title match and it was a
ratings coup in that regard, drawing the second-highest rating in the U.S. for
a RAW up to this point and pulling in a big rating on TSN in Canada.  You could hear some of the moans in the crowd
at the prospect of more Undertaker-Austin, but at least we have a pissed off
Mankind to rally behind for a few months before WrestleMania.
Monday Night War Rating:  5.5 (vs. 4.3 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

Can YOU survive backstage WWE?


Dunno if this has been posted, or if you've seen it, but it's really good.  Just like Raw is really good.



​Yeah, it's an interesting concept, but I lost interest after the first couple of iterations.  Although it continues to amaze me that they have writers doing pretty cool and outside-the-box stuff like on the JBL & Cole Show on YouTube, but seemingly none of it filters up to the main show.  ​

What the World Was Watching: Survivor Series 1998

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from St. Louis,
Missouri.  As a side note, this is the
first Survivor Series pay-per-view not to feature an elimination match of any kind.
Vince McMahon is
at ringside with the WWF title and does introductions for the first match.

WWF Championship
Tournament First Round:  Mankind beats
Duane Gill with a double arm DDT in 30 seconds:
Mankind was booked to face a mystery opponent here, who
some thought could be Randy Savage or Shawn Michaels.  Instead, it is just lowly jobber Duane Gill,
who Mankind – wearing a tuxedo – dispatches. 
At least Gill, the “man, the myth, and the legend,” gets a specialized
introduction, saying he had one loss in his prior WWF tenure and then jumped to
WCW.  Ross cracks me up by saying that
Gill “has spent more time on the canvas than Rembrandt.”  Gill also freaks out when pyro goes off around
him, which is a nice touch.  Crowd hated
this mystery opponent, but it fits the storyline.
Footage of
Jacqueline attacking Sable on Sunday Night Heat is shown.  Kevin Kelly interviews Sable, who says she is
pissed off and more determined than ever to become WWF Women’s champion.
WWF Championship
Tournament First Round:  Al Snow (w/Head)
defeats “Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra McMichael) when he nails Jarrett with Head
at 3:31:
The small feud between these two has been built as Head
vs. Jarrett’s guitar and we get a small showdown between the two with Head
coming out on top.  Nothing more than a
rushed match to squeeze everything in on tonight’s card.  Rating:  *¾
WWF Championship
Tournament First Round:  “Stone Cold”
Steve Austin beats The Big Bossman via disqualification when the Bossman hits
Austin with his night stick at 3:17:
This is actually Bossman’s first match since he debuted
more than a month ago in the company as Vince McMahon’s bodyguard.  The match is a battle of wills between Austin’s
trademark offense and the Bossman’s rest holds. 
The Bossman blasts Austin with the night stick outside of the ring,
thereby blowing Tony Schiavone’s theory of how you cannot get disqualified out
there.  The Bossman completes a
thorough beating of Austin with the night stick before heading to the locker
room.  These tournament matches have been
pretty bad so far.  Rating:  ¼*
Michael Cole
interviews Vince McMahon, who is not concerned about Austin winning.  He reminds the audience that the night is
still young.
WWF Championship
Tournament First Round:  X-Pac wrestles
Stephen Regal to a double count out at 8:09:
X-Pac has flawlessly recovered from getting a fireball to
the eyes on RAW.  Clearly, a Z-Pak did the trick!  WWF tournaments usually have a draw of some sort – the 1990 Intercontinental title tournament featured two of them – and it is fitting that one of them takes place in a Regal bout.  Both
men initially fight to a double count out before McMahon orders a five minute
overtime period, but that does not happen as X-Pac seemingly has a serious
injury so Austin gets a bye to the semi-finals. 
That was all sorts of confusing.  This
was Regal’s only WWF pay-per-view appearance under this gimmick, as he would
head to rehab in early 1999 and be released. 
Rating:  **¼
WWF Championship
Tournament First Round:  Ken Shamrock
beats Goldust via submission to the ankle lock at 5:55:
Ross calls Shamrock’s Intercontinental title run dominant, but it is hard to see that when he has lost the majority of his bouts
since becoming champion.  The crowd is
clearly becoming restless by all these matches that have featured tons of
restholds thus far.  Shamrock came into
this as the clear favorite and he does prevail in a RAW-type match after the
referee blocks Shattered Dreams.  We even
get Lucha Shamrock as he pulls out a flying hurricanrana off the
second rope.  Rating:  **
Cole tells us that
Steve Austin is refusing medical attention. 
He says he knows Austin will keep competing!
The next
tournament bout is scheduled to be the Rock against Triple H, who has not been
seen since September.  Well, Triple H is
not here as he is still nursing a knee injury. 
Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco do make a funny walk out to the
D-Generation X theme music and do the crotch chops.  Ross takes another jab at Patterson’s sexual orientation
by saying that he is “still circulating Uranus.”  They announce that the Rock has a new
opponent:  The Big Bossman.  This leads to…
WWF Championship
Tournament First Round:  The Rock pins
The Big Bossman with a small package in four seconds:
The description of the match above says it all.  The Rock navigates himself into the
quarter-finals.  Initially, this came off
as stupid, but it made more sense by the end of the show.
Ross and Lawler
discuss the bracket, but Lawler still cannot figure it out.
WWF Championship
Tournament Quarter-Finals:  The
Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) defeats Kane with a Tombstone at 7:16:
This is the sixth time that the Undertaker and Kane are
squaring off in some capacity on pay-per-view in 1998 and if you do not think
that is enough, well they had a lot more bouts in subsequent years!  The Undertaker wears Kane down with some dull
offense and a Paul Bearer distraction cuts off a Kane comeback, enabling the
Dead Man to advance to the semi-finals.  Just awful.  Rating: 
½*
WWF Championship
Tournament Quarter-Finals:  Mankind beats
Al Snow (w/Head) with the Mandible Claw at 3:57:
Seeing Snow this deep in the tournament is just
weird.  However, we had to have this
match in the quarter-finals because Socko has been missing and is around Head.  McMahon and the stooges joke during the match
that they stole Socko from Mankind and put it there.  Mankind eventually finds Socko and in a part
of the match that is humorous and sad, he beats up the Head.  Seriously, he puts it in a headlock and just pounds away on it.  Another quick tournament match, nothing more
or less.  Rating:  **
WWF Championship
Tournament Quarter-Finals:  The Rock pins
Ken Shamrock after hitting him with the Big Bossman’s night stick at 8:22:
There is some nice symmetry with this match as Shamrock
forced the Rock to tap out at last year’s Survivor Series in Montreal.  This is also the final major battle between
the two, at least on pay-per-view, as they have squared off at four of the five
big pay-per-views of 1998:  the Royal Rumble,
WrestleMania, King of the Ring, and here. 
Shamrock got the King of the Ring nod, but now is just the Rock’s
time.  Shamrock’s look of despair when
the Rock reaches the ropes to break the ankle lock is a nice touch,
communicating that he has given the Rock his best shot and cannot finish
him.  This is the match of the night thus
far and it ends when the Bossman’s night stick toss to Shamrock is intercepted.  Rating:  ***
Cole interviews
Paul Bearer, who promises that the Undertaker will win the WWF title.
WWF Women’s
Championship Match:  Sable beats
Jacqueline (Champion w/Marc Mero) with a Sablebomb to win the title at 3:15:
Jacqueline won the title two months prior to this, but had
never defended it because these two women were the only two competitors in the
division.  They continue booking Sable as
the female version of Hulk Hogan, as she hits Jacqueline with a TKO less than a
minute in and then low blows Mero and powerbombs him on the floor.  Jacqueline never really lands any offense of
significance as Sable wins the title, but now she needs a new rival, so who
will that be?  Rating:  *½
WWF Championship
Tournament Semi-Finals:  Mankind pins “Stone
Cold” Steve Austin after Gerald Brisco hits Austin with a chair at 10:27:
So this semi-final gives us McMahon’s choice versus his
biggest foe and he makes sure to come down to ringside to see it.  These two put on a sloppy brawl for much of
the match, likely due to the tournament conditions, but things pick up when a
chair is introduced into the match for spots. 
Somehow doing a Stone Cold Stunner on a chair hurts your opponent more
than you, though.  The conspiracy really
unfolds after the stooges pull the referee out of the ring and McMahon rises
out of his wheelchair perfectly fine and decks him.  Shane McMahon then runs in and does his
famous two count turned into flipping Austin off and Brisco gives Austin a weak
chair shot to send Mankind into the finals. 
Evidently, the Big Bossman was supposed to do that, but pulled a Papa
Shango.  The crowd is just SHOCKED at the
finish.  In kayfabe terms, this was
probably Mankind’s biggest win since defeating the Undertaker at the 1996 King
of the Ring.  Rating:  **½
After the match,
McMahon and the stooges run to a waiting limo and it speeds away before Austin
can catch up to them.  Austin carjacks a
poor soul to pursue them, though.
WWF Championship
Tournament Semi-Finals:  The Rock defeats
The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) via disqualification when Kane interferes at
8:24:
With Austin out, the Rock now becomes the crowd favorite to
go all the way.  You can tell, though,
that a sizable number of fans are incredibly disappointed that Austin is
out.  These two do not have good
chemistry and the Rock plays the Randy Savage role here.  By the way, why is “playing Ricky Morton” a thing and not “playing Randy Savage”?  The Big Bossman comes out for
another Rock match, but proves ineffective. 
The bigger interference is run by Kane, who storms in and chokeslams the
Rock, thereby sending the Rock to the finals via disqualification.  The Undertaker and Kane brawl into the crowd
after the match because this feud MUST go on! 
Rating:  DUD
Cole interviews
Mankind, who is clearly exhausted.  He
says he only has one more hill to climb to be the WWF champion.
Triple Threat
Match for the WWF Tag Team Championship: 
The New Age Outlaws (Champions) defeat The Headbangers & D-Lo Brown
& Mark Henry when Billy Gunn pins Mosh at 10:10:
To the WWF’s credit, they did a lot of work the last two
months to give the Headbangers a push, but they just never caught on as
evidenced by the fact that they have no heat in this match.  The rules for this bout allow for three men
to be in the ring at one time, an innovation that I prefer over a standard
triangle match where only two teams have men in the ring and a third team is
completely left out.  Of course, what is
good in theory does not always work in practice as this match devolves into a
big mess of miscommunication spots and Tim White mistakes.  You can tell on Billy Gunn’s face that he was
not happy with the quality of this match. 
Rating:  *½
Before the title
match, the McMahons wish the Bossman a goodnight and say that they will take
care of the finals personally.  This
means that the limo that sped away just had the stooges and was meant as a
distraction to get Austin out of the building. 
That is a pretty brilliant piece of writing.
WWF Championship
Tournament Finals:  The Rock defeats
Mankind via submission to the Sharpshooter to win the title at 17:18:
If you had told someone at the beginning of 1998 that
Survivor Series would be headlined by Mankind and the Rock they probably would
have laughed at you.  Maybe not on the Rock,
but definitely on Mankind, who was in between three gimmicks and wrestling with
Chainsaw Charlie.  The crowd really does
not know what to make of these guys in the finals, both of whom are noticeably
exhausted, and they only come alive when the McMahons walk out.  It takes a while for this to get going, but
Mankind sacrifices his body to finally draw the crowd in, diving through the
Spanish announce table and taking some vicious chair shots.  I remember many months prior to this that “The
Informer” section of WWF Magazine predicted another Survivor Series screwjob and guess what?  That is exactly what we get as the Rock
cannot finish Mankind off, so he locks in a Sharpshooter and Vince gets the
bell to ring, making the Rock the new champion. 
I probably overrated this a bit, but Jim Ross did a great job keeping
you engaged in the match.  Without him,
this thing is probably less than two stars. 
Rating:  ***¼
Initially, the
crowd pops for the Rock’s win, but as they realize he is the true “chosen one”
by the McMahons, their positive reactions fizzle.  Vince gets on the mic and gloats about
screwing Austin and the fans, who were as gullible as Mankind.  Poor Mankind does not quite understand what
is happening and Ross does a great job getting him some sympathy.  The Rock runs down the fans and then smashes
Mankind in the back of the head with the title belt, thereby solidifying the
double turn.  At the end of the show,
Steve Austin walks out and runs to the ring, brawling with the new champion as
the McMahons flee.  Austin gives the Rock
a Stunner and tosses him out of the ring, something that I think was best saved
for when the show went off the air.  He
also gives Mankind a Stunner for good measure.
The Final Report Card:  This has been deemed as Vince Russo’s best
work, but honestly, this show has not aged well at all.  If you lived through 1998, you can still feel
some excitement from this show because you remember all of the storylines that
led up to it.  However, if you are a relatively
new fan and just randomly plug this show in, you miss a great deal of the
context.  It is like if you missed all of
the episodes of a certain television series but then watched the series
finale.  The bright spot of this show is
obviously the Rock’s first WWF title win, making him the first wrestler of
African American descent to win the championship (and yes, I know he is really half black), but even
that is not enough for me to give this show a thumbs up.
Attendance: 
21,779
Buyrate: 
1.3 (+0.41 from previous year)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – November 9, 1998

by Logan Scisco


-Not sure if there are any Fantasy Golf players on the Blog, but if you are, feel free to join my Head-to-Head League entering its eighth year.  It is located on Yahoo Fantasy Golf.  Group ID#806, Password:  shark.  Now, on with the review…


Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are taped from Dallas, Texas.  This is the go home show for the Survivor
Series.

Opening Non-Title
Contest:  The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer)
wrestles X-Pac (European Champion) to a no contest at 25 seconds:
This match was setup by an angle on Sunday Night Heat,
where the Undertaker attacked X-Pac. 
This was also a dream match from the New Generation era as neither guy
had faced each other up to this point. 
Of course, I got excited about this and Kane intervenes less than thirty
seconds in.  Kane shoots a fireball at
the Undertaker, but it accidentally hits X-Pac. 
It should be noted that this is X-Pac’s second eye injury in less than
three months.
Vince McMahon and
the stooges, who have seemingly forgiven him for the Big Bossman’s beating on
last week’s show (Commissioner Slaughter is rocking a sling), find Mankind
backstage.  McMahon books Mankind to
defend his Hardcore title against Ken Shamrock. 
He promises that more titles are coming for him and Mankind follows him
to get a makeover.
Val Venis defeats
Steve Blackman via disqualification when Terri Runnels gives Venis a low blow
at 3:22:
Terri Runnels follows Venis to the ring and is summarily
dismissed.  Venis told Kevin Kelly on
Sunday Night Heat that he could not be the father of her child because he had a
vasectomy.  This is just an average bout,
which ends when Terri runs back out and gives Venis a low blow when he does his
hip swivel over a fallen Blackman.  Rating: 
*½ (0 for 1)
After the bell,
the Blue Blazer and Owen Hart run into the ring and attack Blackman.
A hairdresser
backstage works on Mankind’s hair. 
Mankind tells her that he hopes Vince can give him some new teeth.  When she inquires where some of his previous
ones went, he tells her that Steve Austin tossed them into the crowd.  I like little pieces of continuity like that.
Triple Threat
Match:  Mosh (w/Thrasher) defeats The
Road Dogg (w/Billy Gunn) and D-Lo Brown (w/Mark Henry) when he pins D-Lo
following a Stage Dive at 5:40:
Shane McMahon is a referee for this point, having been
demoted to that job on the previous show. 
All three of these teams are facing off in the Survivor Series in a
triple threat tag team match, so this is a small preview of that.  The good thing about this match is that the
action is non-stop, but the problem is that the offense utilized is more of the
battle royal variety, lots of kicks, punches, and minor moves.  Mosh scores a surprising win, thereby continuing
to build some momentum behind the Headbangers. 
Everyone tried here and this match was better than I thought it would
be.  Rating:  **½ (1 for 2)
Michael Cole
interviews JeffJarrett and Debra McMichael. 
Jarrett says he will counter Head at the Survivor Series.  Debra says she will prove that Goldust is
really all man.
As he receives a
pedicure, Mankind talks more about the loss of Socko last week.  He says his new family of McMahon and the
stooges makes up for it, though.
Goldust defeats
“Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra McMichael) via disqualification when Jarrett
nails him with a guitar at 3:32:
Terri Runnels comes out in Marlena attire, with no bra on
mind you, but Goldust tells her to get out of his life.  True to her word, Debra charms and distracts
Goldust several times throughout the bout. 
When Goldust prepares Jarrett for Shattered Dreams, Debra gets in the
way, receiving a big kiss in return.  Of
course, he pays for that with a guitar shot, but most fans out there might
consider that a decent trade off.  Match
was all angle and little action.  Rating: 
* (1 for 3)
The Rock shows up
at the arena, possibly for the last time, as he has to pin or submit Mark Henry
to keep his job tonight.
A video package
recaps the career of Jesse Ventura, who recently won the Minnesota
gubernatorial election in arguably one of the greatest upsets in American
political history.  It was funny how the
WWF quickly attached itself to Ventura’s victory after treating him as a persona
non grata after his lawsuit against them in 1995.
Ken Shamrock’s
chair shot to the Rock on last week’s show is the JVC Kaboom! of the Week.
Cole interviews
the Rock, who gives some generic comments about facing Mark Henry later.  Goldust attacks Jeff Jarrett in the same
vicinity, but before he can deliver a modified version of Shattered Dreams the
Blue Blazer makes the save.
Hardcore
Championship Match:  Mankind (Champion)
pins Ken Shamrock (Intercontinental Champion) when the Big Bossman nails
Shamrock with his night stick at 8:17:
Mankind comes out for the bout wearing a tuxedo and Vince
McMahon comes out to watch the match. 
This is the first Hardcore title match in company history.  These two do their usual “beat the hell out
of each other” match, with Shamrock giving Mankind a belly-to-belly suplex into
the steps and Mankind DDT’ing Shamrock on a chair.  Both men fight near McMahon and the stooges
on the ramp, where the Big Bossman interferes when the referee is not looking
and helps Mankind successfully defend his title.  A fun brawl, but Shamrock has been eating
quite a few losses since he won the Intercontinental title.  No wonder he lost steam around this time
period.  Rating:  ***¼ (2 for 4)
After the match,
the stooges and McMahon celebrate with Mankind, although McMahon is disgusted
by Mankind’s hug and does not like that his hair has been messed up.
Cole screams at us
that the Rock has been attacked in his locker room.
Watch the Home
Shopping Network after Survivor Series to buy some new merchandise!
EMT’s are shown working
on the Rock in his locker room. 
Evidently he suffered a blow to the back of the head from his assailant.
Steve Austin comes
out and says that if Vince Mahon has a plan for him at the Survivor Series that
they will backfire.  The Big Bossman
comes out and pledges to put Austin through hard time this Sunday, prompting
Austin to invite him to the ring to brawl. 
Bossman refuses.  Bossman just did
not have the mic skills to go toe-to-toe with Austin here, creating an awkward
segment.  2 for 5
Cole tells us that
the Rock will be going to a nearby medical facility.  After the commercial break, he interviews
Vince McMahon and the stooges near an ambulance.  McMahon says that he does not care if the
Rock cannot compete tonight because if he cannot that means that his services
will no longer be required.
Tiger Ali Singh
(w/Babu) beats Al Snow (w/Head) with a bulldog at 2:23:
Mr. Socko is wrapped around Head, so that solves some of
the mystery of where it is.  Snow and
Singh faced each other more than a year prior to this at the One Night Only
pay-per-view in Great Britain, where Singh defeated Snow, then packaged as Leif
Cassidy, in an awful match.  This is a
match that makes little sense, as Singh refuses to wrestle, so Snow beats up
Babu for a while until Debra McMichael wanders out and distracts Snow by
shoving Head in her bosom.  That enables
Singh to re-enter the match and win.  The
less said about all of this going forward the better.
A Sable workout
video is shown.
McMahon tells the
Rock in the Rock’s dressing room that he is headed to the unemployment line.
Kane defeats Edge
(w/Gangrel & Christian) via disqualification when the Brood interferes at
4:27:
There is some backstory to this match as Edge turned
against Kane when he seemingly ran in to make the save after Kane annihilated
Gangrel and Christian two weeks ago on RAW. 
Kane brings a can of gasoline and a blowtorch to the ring with him,
thereby continuing to build the “Kane is unstable and cannot tell right from
wrong” storyline that only got more ridiculous from this point forward.  Finding a team was the best thing to happen
to Edge at this stage of his career as he was languishing as a singles.  Kane takes out the entire Brood by himself
and sells very little of Edge’s offense. 
The referee eventually tires of Brood interference and calls for the
bell, after which Kane takes them all out AGAIN with chokeslams and teases
barbecuing them in the center of the ring along with the referee.  If one did not have the benefit of hindsight
you would think that this was a way to write out the Brood and release
them.  WWF officials prevent a homicide
on national television, which the crowd boos. 
The 1990s ladies and gentleman!  Rating: 
* (2 for 6)
After having his
fire plans disrupted, Kane chokeslams a fan from the crowd, who is digging the
idea of Kane as an unstoppable monster.
Vince McMahon
comes out, inviting the Rock to appear. 
He takes a dig at the Dallas Cowboys, who he says half of which are
convicted felons.  Shane McMahon walks to
the ring and begs his father to stop taking out of his frustrations on the rest
of the roster.  Vince just dismisses him,
but Shane refuses, so Vince sends the Bossman after him.  However, before the Bossman can conduct a
beating, Steve Austin runs in and makes the save.  The most entertaining segment of tonight’s
show, once again due to McMahon’s facial expressions and power trip-like
behavior.  3 for 7
The Rock beats
Mark Henry (w/D-Lo Brown) with a People’s Elbow at 7:24:
Vince McMahon is at ringside with this bout.  If the Rock wins via pinfall or submission,
he is back in the Deadly Game Tournament, but if he loses he is out of a
job.  The Rock wrestles in his track suit
gear, angering McMahon by showing up despite the beating he received earlier in
the show.  It would have been nice to
build this match with some kind of segment in the show since these two did have
a backstory, with Henry upsetting the Rock at Judgment Day.  The Rock and Henry put together a pretty fun
match before the overbooking kicks in where the Rock handcuffs the Big Bossman
to the corner, the referee gets pulled out of the ring by the stooges, and
Shane McMahon runs in to count the fall. 
Rating:  **¾ (4 for 8)
After the match,
the Rock pulls Vince out of his wheelchair and tosses him into the ring.  The Rock takes out the stooges line of
defense and after Vince slaps him he eats a Rock Bottom and People’s Elbow.
The Final Report Card:  This show was really hit and miss.  Some things, such as the Debra interactions
with Goldust and Al Snow and Kane’s attempt to set the Brood on fire were
ridiculous, while others such as the main event and the Hardcore title match
were quite entertaining.  As the go home
show for a tournament, I had hoped for a little more build of the Deadly Game
concept, but the WWF really did leave you with the feeling that the Undertaker,
Kane, Steve Austin, the Rock, and Mankind were all viable tournament
winners.  I will default to a neutral
rating for this one, as the good and bad cancel each other out.
Monday Night War Rating:  5.0 (vs. 4.1 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Neutral 

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – November 2, 1998

by Logan Scisco

A video package
recaps Shane McMahon ranting at his father on last week’s show.  Will Vince hand over the company to his son
tonight?
Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from Houston, Texas
.

Shane McMahon
walks out and says that as acting chairman of the WWF, due to his father’s
absence, Steve Austin will get a WWF title shot the night after Survivor
Series.  Austin then comes to the ring as
a limo pulls in backstage, carrying Vince McMahon.  McMahon is quickly wheeled out and chastises the
crowd for thinking he was stepping down, as that will only happens when he dies.  Shoot comments…  He gives an entertaining rant on how he does
not want the crowd to attend his funeral and how he wants to go to
hell when he dies.  He proceeds to relieve Shane of
his corporate responsibilities and reassigns him as a referee.  As far as Austin is concerned, his title shot
is switched to the Survivor Series as he is entered into the WWF title
tournament.  His opponent in the opening
round?  The Big Bossman.  McMahon is simply perfect at trolling the
crowd, which made this opening segment great. 
1 for 1
Footage is shown
of Vince McMahon chewing out the announce crew during the commercial
break.  McMahon guarantees that someone
will be paying “hard time” in the steel cage hanging above the ring later
tonight.
Opening Contest:  X-Pac & The New Age Outlaws wrestle The Brood
to a no contest at 3:37:
X-Pac is announced as being part of the Deadly Game
tournament, so the number of known entrants keeps growing.  Edge and Christian showcase some nice double
team maneuvers before the lights go out and Kane arrives to a huge pop.  You know, they need to go back to this type
of character for Kane where he does not wrestle much but just comes and out and
destroys things.  Kane destroys Edge,
X-Pac, and Christian, and Billy Gunn as Road Dogg and Gangrel brawl in the
crowd.  I will give this a point more for
the clever booking than in-ring action.  Rating: 
* (2 for 2)
McMahon interrogates
Michael Cole backstage about Cole’s questioning of him last week.  The Big Bossman chokes Cole as McMahon asks
him how he feels.
The next match is
supposed to be Droz against Hawk, but Hawk shows up in no condition to
compete.  Ross says that Hawk is “pulling
a Kerry Collins.”  It should be noted
that the Hardy Boys beat LOD 2000 on Sunday Night Heat due to an argument
between both men.  That was the first step in the WWF’s rebuilding of the Hardy’s into something more than enhancement talent.  Droz beats up Hawk as
Animal comes to the ring and does nothing to help his old partner.  He eventually gets into the ring and yells at
Hawk for flushing the team’s history down the toilet.  This storyline is growing on me.  3 for 3
McMahon runs into
Jim Cornette backstage and tells him to stop wearing ridiculous clothes, change
his announcing, and stop “the 1980s wrestling crap.”  Talk about life imitating art.
Cole interviews
Mankind and Al Snow.  Mankind jokes about
the NBC special on revealing wrestling’s greatest secrets and he and Snow
continues arguing over whether Socko or Head is better.
Golga &
Kurrgan (w/The Giant Silva & Luna Vachon) beat Mankind & Al Snow
(w/Head) when Golga pins Snow after a running seated senton at 4:36:
ZZ Top is shown in the crowd before the match.  This is probably the best Oddities tag match
prior to this point, as the action moves quickly.  Well, that is until Mankind cannot find Socko
and leaves Snow to fend for himself.  The
referee loses all control as Snow tries to fight off both men before succumbing.  Rating:  ** (4 for 4)
McMahon finds
Shaquille O’Neal backstage and interrogates about him about whether he has a
backstage pass.  He tells him to get
lost, but Shaq just sits back down as McMahon drives off.
Mankind still
cannot find Socko, so he tries to find McMahon, who he thinks can help him find
it.
Steven Regal wrestles
Goldust to a no contest at 4:50:
Despite the “Real Man’s Man” gimmick being pretty dumb,
the theme music for it was pretty enjoyable. 
Regal is also in the Deadly Game tournament.  In this contest, he issues an open challenge
for anyone willing to fight him like a man so we get a laugh as Goldust walks
out to answer it.  With regards to the
Goldust-Val Venis feud, Terri Runnels announced on the Heat prior to this that
she was pregnant withVenis’s child. 
Runnels comes out to the ring dressed in her Marlena garb in her attempt
to become a gold digger.  Get it?  Anyway, this match is a mess until Goldust
sets up Shattered Dreams and the lights go out and Kane wrecks both men.  When Marlena comes to Goldust’s aid he nearly
chokeslams her until WWF officials intervene. 
Tony Garea takes the bump for her. 
Keep jobbing Tony!  Rating: 
½* (4 for 5)
The Deadly Game
Tournament bracket is revealed.  Instead
of it being a sixteen man tournament, the field is reduced to fourteen
men.  Kane and the Undertaker get a bye
to face each other in the quarter-finals. 
Other matchups include The Rock-Triple H, Goldust-Ken Shamrock,
Mankind-Mystery Opponent, Al Snow-Jeff Jarrett, X-Pac-Steven Regal, and Steve
Austin-Big Bossman.
McMahon gets
Mankind to promise not to interfere in the upcoming Ken Shamrock-Rock match in
return for a present.  Mankind is excited
so he promises to live up to that and receives the Hardcore title in
return.  McMahon tells him that he thinks
he has gained a son and as he wheels himself away Mankind hilariously screams “Thanks,
dad!”  causing McMahon to stop and give a
look of disgust.
The Rock giving
Darren Drozdov a Rock Bottom and People’s Elbow on last week’s RAW is the 989
Studios Slam of the Week.
McMahon is shown
conferencing with Ken Shamrock backstage, but tells the camera crew to get lost.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  The Rock beats Ken
Shamrock (Champion) by disqualification when Shamrock hits him with a chair at
7:57:
Before the match, McMahon comes out and says he has a
problem with him because he’s the “People’s Champion” and he hates the
people.  He says that if the Rock does
not win the Intercontinental title in this match he loses his place in the
Deadly Game Tournament.  This is the
abbreviated version of their previous encounters, just with the heel/face roles
reversed, and the crowd pops like the Rock won the WWF title when he makes the
ropes to escape the ankle lock.  The
referee gets bumped on a Rock clothesline and when he comes to, he sees
Shamrock nail the Rock with a chair. 
That allows the Rock to win, but he does not win the belt and is thereby
eliminated from the Deadly Game Tournament. 
Fun match that the crowd made into a big deal.  Shamrock is eating lots of losses since
winning the Intercontinental title, though. 
Rating:  ***½ (5 for 6)
The Rock is shown
destroying his locker room backstage, irate that he has been removed from the
Deadly Game Tournament.
Val Venis beats Double
J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra McMichael) by disqualification when the Blue Blazer
interferes at 2:29:
The entire Runnels angle has been somewhat damaging for
Venis as he was never clearly made a heel or face and lost the big blowoff to
Goldust.  After a few minutes of
back-and-forth action, the Blue Blazer runs out and crotches Venis on the top
rope and Jarrett gives Venis the Stroke for good measure.  That sounds much more dirty than I meant it.
Police officers
are shown arriving at the arena.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your Rock “Layin’ the Smackdown” t-shirt for $25 (plus $6 shipping &
handling)!
Vince McMahon
tells police officers that the Rock is threatening his life, so he asks them to
arrest him.
#1 Contenders
Match for the WWF Tag Team Championship: 
The Headbangers wrestle D-Lo Brown & Mark Henry to a no contest at
6:00:
The Headbangers come to the ring dressed as the New Age
Outlaws and do a non-humorous mocking of their introduction.  Without their skirts, the Headbangers
actually look like generic jobbers. 
Since this is heel-heel, the crowd really does not know how to cheer
for, but fans in the front row are vocal D-Lo Brown supporters, with several
shouting “You go, dawg!”  When all hell
breaks loose the lights go off and Kane wrecks a match for the third time
tonight.  You know Russo, there can be
too much of a good thing.  And where is
McMahon while all this is going on?  I would like to think this was a subtle reminder that the show gets out of control when
McMahon becomes obsessed with personal grudges backstage.  Rating:  ** (6 for 7)
Police are shown
handcuffing the Rock in his locker room and as he is taken away he lets them
know that he has donuts for all of them. 
As he is put into the police cruiser, McMahon taunts him by saying that
he is now the “People’s Chump.”
Owen Hart comes to
the ring to meet with Dan Severn and reminds us that he is retired.  Severn walks out and says he is not seeking
an apology.  Instead, he wonders why Owen
is running around like the Blue Blazer. 
When he says that he thinks Owen is scum, Owen clotheslines him and
Steve Blackman makes the save before more damage is done.  After the commercial break, medics race
Severn to an ambulance backstage.  When
Owen comes near the ambulance, Blackman gives him a pump kick but then Blackman
is attacked by the Blue Blazer.  7 for 8
The steel cage
above the ring – a hybrid of the blue bar cage and the modern steel top – is
lowered with some musical accompaniment, which reminds me of the old NWA War
Games brawls.  After the break, McMahon
and the stooges come out and establish themselves by the announcers.  McMahon sends the Bossman into the cage with
the stooges – Pat Patterson, Gerald Brisco, and Commissioner Slaughter – to inspect
it and then has the Bossman turn on them for failing to come back from getting
a cup of coffee two weeks ago.  That was
when Austin abducted him.  After McMahon
orders the Bossman to strip the stooges, Austin runs out, comes into the cage
and attacks the Bossman.  Patterson gets
the night stick, but chooses to hit Austin in the knee and that allows the
Bossman to give him a beating.  Shane
McMahon runs in, but Vince calls the Bossman off, which is a nice piece of
storytelling, but Shane does not appreciate it and flips him off.  After all of that, the Undertaker walks to
the ring and into the cage and he and Austin brawl, with the Undertaker
eventually gaining the upperhand. 
However, that’s not all as the lights go out and Kane makes his way into
the cage, parts of which he sets on fire, and he, the Undertaker, and Austin
brawl in a really awesome visual as the show ends.  8 for
9
The Final Report Card:  The wild ending of this RAW was vintage
Russo, but if you watch these RAWs in sequence it is still entertaining
today.  Having Kane interfere in so many matches
did get a little repetitive, but at least it had a payoff at the end of the
show.  The show also continued our
gradual build to Survivor Series and the multiple storylines intersecting with
each other (Vince-Shane, Vince-Austin, Vince-Mankind, Vince-Rock, and
Kane-Undertaker) are helping to keep the show fresh and exciting.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.8 (vs. 4.1 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – October 26, 1998

by Logan Scisco

A video package recaps
Steve Austin taking Vince McMahon hostage on last week’s show.  What was in the letter that Austin gave to
McMahon at the end of last week’s show?
Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are taped from Madison, Wisconsin.

Vince McMahon
comes out with the stooges and the Big Bossman. 
He lets the audience know that they are all responsible for what
happened to him last week since there was no good Samaritan in his time of
need.  McMahon says Austin gave him a
legal document last week and he pledges to fight him with his crack legal team,
who is with him on the ramp.  Of course,
the WWF’s legal team could not even keep the company’s name, so that’s not a
good thing.  Another funny promo from
McMahon that got the crowd worked up to start the show.  1 for
1
Opening Contest
for the European Championship:  X-Pac
(Champion) beats Steve Blackman by disqualification at 2:49:
Chyna is not with X-Pac because she was arrested last
week for failing to appear for a court date due to Mark Henry’s sexual harassment
lawsuit.  She has reportedly taken a
leave of absence until that issue gets resolved.  By this time the European title had become
the WWF’s version of the WCW Television title, which was fine because it gave
guys in the midcard something to do. 
Blackman dominates much of the bout and when he knocks X-Pac out of the
ring, Steven Regal, repacked as “A Real Man’s Man,” attacks X-Pac until the New
Age Outlaws and WWF officials separate them. 
I still have no idea what they were thinking when they saddled Regal
with that gimmick.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your Rock “Layin’ the Smackdown” t-shirt for $25 (plus $6 shipping &
handling)!
Michael Cole is
outside of Steve Austin’s locker room and he makes a big deal about Austin being
in the building.
The Rock pins Darren
Drozdov (w/LOD 2000) after the People’s Elbow at 4:40:
Thankfully, the Rock has gotten his good entrance music
back and not the awful disco theme he was using last week.  This is a good example of how you can keep a
product fresh by mixing upper midcard and lower midcard talents into
matches.  It gives the upper midcard
wrestler a win, while giving the lower midcard wrestler something of a rub by allowing
them to showcase some of their skills against a more established talent.  You may expect this to be a squash based on
where both men are on the card, but Droz manages a good deal of offense before
he misses a flying shoulderblock off the second rope and succumbs to the People’s
Elbow.  Rating:  ** (2 for 2)
After the match,
Droz pushes Hawk away when Hawk tries to console him after the loss.  Droz convinces Animal that they should head
to the locker room and they leave Hawk behind in the ring.
Cole tries to get
into Steve Austin’s locker room, but Austin says that he and someone else will
make a big announcement later tonight.
McMahon finishes a
conference with his attorneys, with a few leaving the room complaining that he “doesn’t
get it.”  I figure creative meetings
today work the same way.
The New Age
Outlaws and X-Pac come out and introduce Motley Crue, who play some tunes.  This was time to flip over to Nitro for me.  The college kids in the crowd loved it,
though.
Check out MTV
Celebrity Deathmatch this week, where Steve Austin faces Vince McMahon!
McMahon continues
to yell at a few attorneys about why they cannot void the legal document Austin
has.  He does give us a clue that it is a
contractual matter.
Kane defeats
Gangrel (w/Christian) after a chokeslam at 3:01:
Ross informs us that Kane has been placed into the
Survivor Series WWF title tournament.  A
bracket has not been released for said tournament, though.  This is an interesting matchup that could
have been a small feud if creative thought Gangrel was more than a lower
midcard talent.  Kane squashes Gangrel
here, easily rebuffing Christian’s interference along the way.
After the match,
Gangrel and Christian beat on Kane.  Edge
runs in, but instead of making the save, he joins in the beating and all three
men leave together.
Cole says he just
spoke to Shane McMcMahon and he says that after the commercial break the
McMahon family will have something to say about Steve Austin’s situation.
Austin walks out
to the ring and says that he has a new contract with the WWF that guarantees
him at least one title shot, which is all that he needs to reclaim the title.  Vince is wheeled out by the stooges and the
Big Bossman and he books Austin in an “I Quit” match against Intercontinental
Champion Ken Shamrock.  Shane McMahon
comes to the ring against the wishes of his father and says that he hired
Austin back.  He goes off about being ignored
by his father and his father’s ego is too large, while Vince cries on the
ramp.  This was a really nice segment,
but the bad thing is that it foreshadowed the use of other McMahons in an
on-screen capacity as prominent figures of the show.  3 for
3
Shane leaves the
arena, but not before Austin tosses him a cold beer (calling him “kid”).  What was that?  The WWF’s version of the famous Mean Joe
Green commercial?
The Godfather wrestles
Tiger Ali Singh (w/Babu) to a no contest at 4:26:
The Godfather brings no hos tonight because he is not
offering Singh that kind of deal.  This
is Singh’s RAW debut after months of in-ring segments.  The match never establishes much of a rhythm
and just falls apart by the end, where the Godfather and Singh keep brawling,
ignoring the referee’s instructions, and are eventually separated by WWF
officials.  Rating:  ¼* (3 for 4)
Cole asks Vince
McMahon how he feels, but McMahon refuses to say anything as he leaves the
arena.
Kaientai
(w/Yamaguchi-San) beats Kurrgan, Golga & The Insane Clown Posse (w/Luna
Vachon & Giant Silva) by disqualification when Violent J tosses the referee
to the ground at 3:44:
Kaientai get the jobber entrance, but they have a new
look in that they are no longer wearing street clothes.  If you saw the SummerSlam 1998 match between
these two squads this is basically the same match, just shorter and the ICP
getting a shine at Kaientai’s expense. 
The match is only notable because the ICP turn heel by breaking the
rules and they blowoff the Oddities, who complain about losing the match.  Rating:  ** (4 for 5)
A sad Vince gets
into his limo and leaves as the stooges assure him that they will take care of
business.
Cole interviews
Intercontinental Champion Ken Shamrock, who says he is ready to “knuckle up”
with Austin.
“Marvelous” Marc
Mero (w/Jacqueline) defeats Goldust via disqualification when Goldust hits
Shattered Dreams at 2:55:
Both of these guys have fallen down the card since they
had a series of matches in 1996. 
Jacqueline tries to prevent Shattered Dreams, but Goldust just kisses
her to a big pop.  He then unloads
Shattered Dreams, which costs him the match, but the crowd was thoroughly
entertained by this match.
After the match,
Sable walks out and issues the most awkward challenge in company history.  It is like she read it off of cue cards with
no emotion.
Jeff Jarrett
hitting Al Snow with a guitar is the JVC Kaboom! of the Week.
Cole interviews
Mankind and Al Snow, who are facing the New Age Outlaws tonight.  Mankind and Snow argue over whether Socko or
Head is better.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  The New Age Outlaws
(Champions) beat Al Snow & Mankind when the Road Dogg pins Snow with a
schoolboy at 5:28:
Ross announces that Mankind and Al Snow will be in the
Deadly Game tournament.  After some fun
brawling, Snow plants Road Dogg with a Snow Plow, but Snow and Mankind cannot
agree about whether to use Head or Socko to finish the match and that helps the
Outlaws retain.  This would be a nice
pay-per-view encounter and could have been really good if given more time.  Rating:  **¼ (5 for 6)
After the bell,
D-Lo Brown and Mark Henry run in and beatdown the Outlaws, laying the
foundation for a title shot at the Survivor Series.
Non-Title “I Quit”
Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve Austin defeats
Ken Shamrock (Intercontinental Champion) at 6:16:
We are informed that Shamrock will be in the Deadly Game
tournament as well, thereby bringing our total number of official entrants up
to five (The Rock, Shamrock, Kane, Al Snow, and Mankind).  I am still puzzled why the company never felt
the need to run a Austin-Shamrock pay-per-view main event.  A match of this type would have been great,
especially with McMahon trying to stack the deck against Austin.  The stooges come to ringside to watch the
match, which has lots of crowd heat, but they do not play to the stipulation
very much.  The stooges randomly knock
out the referee, causing Austin to beat them down, and more hell breaks loose
as Mankind runs in and applies the Mandible Claw to Shamrock.  Austin then clocks Shamrock with a chair and
they steal the Dungeon Match finish from Fully Loaded, whereby Austin taps
Shamrock’s hand on the canvas and that ends everything.  That does not really fit the exact
stipulation of an “I Quit” match since Shamrock never verbally surrendered, but
whatever.  Rating:  **½ (6 for 7)
The Final Report Card:  This show did a lot to continue the slow
build to Survivor Series.  We learned of
some of the entrants in the tournament, all of whom were protected in their
matches, and we have some build for a Sable-Jacqueline rematch, as well as a
possible Outlaws title defense against Mark Henry and D-Lo Brown.  The McMahon segments were also well done,
thereby logically constructing a story for Austin to come back after being
fired.  Also, this RAW is somewhat
significant because it was the last time that RAW lost in the ratings to
WCW.  That show was headlined by Diamond
Dallas Page trying to win the U.S. title from Bret Hart and the full replay of
Page’s match against Goldberg from Halloween Havoc, which thousands of people
were not able to see because WCW could not time their pay-per-view correctly.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.5 (vs. 5.1 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – October 19, 1998

by Logan Scisco


A video package
recaps Vince McMahon firing Steve Austin last night at Judgment Day.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

All of the WWF
superstars head to the ring for an announcement from Vince McMahon.  McMahon comes out and announces that a one
night, sixteen man tournament will take place at the Survivor Series to
crown a new WWF champion.  McMahon closes
by saying that he hopes all of the superstars in the ring learned not to cross
him last night and that a new saying will be sweeping the country that says “McMahon
3:16:  I have the brass to fire your ass.”  What makes this segment funny is Mankind
eating everything up in the ring as he continues to try to suck up to McMahon.  Before McMahon leaves, though, Austin is
shown with a rifle on the Titantron.  We
go to break after that.  1 for 1
The stooges and
the Big Bossman accompany McMahon to his locker room.  He sends the Bossman to get his family
and get out of town.  Austin is shown in
his truck polishing a rifle.  This has a plot
hole in the sense that McMahon could just call the cops and have Austin removed
for constituting a threat.
Footage of
D-Generation X visiting Motley Crew’s tour bus is shown.
Opening Non-Title
Contest:  X-Pac (European Champion w/Chyna)
pins Ken Shamrock (Intercontinental Champion) after the X-Factor after Mankind
interferes at 4:15:
This is obviously a rematch from last week’s
Intercontinental title tournament final. 
You know that plot hole I talked about above?  Well, they go backstage and close it by
saying that police officers have been called to the arena.  Speaking of police, officers come to
ringside, handcuff Chyna, and take her backstage.  All of that is probably due to Mark Henry’s
sexual harassment lawsuit.  Watching
these 1998 X-Pac matches, he missed the Bronco Buster in nearly each big
match.  Mankind wanders out to ringside and despite putting Shamrock in
the Mandible Claw, the referee does not call for a disqualification and X-Pac
capitalizes to win.  Rating:  ** (1 for 1)
Police put Chyna
in a cruiser and send her away.  Officers
then approach Austin in his truck, but seem more interested in getting his
autograph than investigating him.  One of
the officers kids is named Bret.  Not
sure if that is an intentional reference or not.  McMahon has a meltdown backstage that the
officers did not do anything.  After the
commercial break, McMahon demands that an officer go after Austin, but the
officer refuses to “put their life in danger” and leaves.
The Headbangers
defeat LOD 2000 (w/Hawk) when Thrasher pins Droz with a schoolboy at 1:54:
The Headbangers make fun of the New Age Outlaws
introduction and wear toy tag team title belts. 
You see, they think they are the rightful tag team champions after
beating the Outlaws by disqualification last night at Judgment Day.  This Headbangers push is so random since they
meant very little throughout 1998 up to this point, but the tag division is
pretty light on heel teams.  Somehow,
Droz does not break his neck before the awful D-Lo incident in this match when
the Headbangers drop him right on his head when trying a double inverted
suplex.  This abbreviated match ends when
Droz gets distracted by Hawk and rolled up. 
Did Hawk do it on purpose?
The stooges leave
McMahon alone to get coffee, hilariously falling over themselves with excuses
to leave.  Mankind visits McMahon after
the break and brings him some candy.  For
once, McMahon is happy to see Mankind since he has no protection from Austin.
The Undertaker and
Paul Bearer, newly reunited at Judgment Day, come to the ring.  The Undertaker announces that Bearer will
help him lead his Ministry of Darkness.  Evidently
Bearer has helped refocus the Undertaker on what is important and the
Undertaker promises to unleash a plague on the rest of the WWF.  Bearer proclaims that he has used Kane his
entire life because he is weak and stupid and that the last straw of their
relationship was when Kane refused his help last night.  In response to that, Ross says that Bearer is
a “rotund demon.”  This segment is
important for the Kane-Undertaker storyline because the Undertaker takes
responsibility for setting the fire that killed their parents.  The Undertaker admits to committing homicide
on national television because he wanted to kill his weak brother.  I am glad that all the cops in the arena
tonight have more important things to do! 
Kane walks out and challenges his brother to a casket match tonight.  At least when we got repetitive matches in
the past they put a stipulation on it.  3 for 3
Mankind and
McMahon have a bonding experience, with Mankind saying that McMahon should hire
Austin back so they can form a clique of them, Austin, and Mr. Socko.  Mankind tries to get McMahon to play Twister
and McMahon goes on a tirade and kicks him out. 
Ah, back when the WWF could do good humor.  4 for
4
Steve Blackman
beats “Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra McMichael) via disqualification when the
Blue Blazer interferes at 2:27:
Jarrett promised a surprise for this show and that was welcoming back the “dumb blonde” he ranted about being paired
with in WCW when he came back to the company in the fall of 1997.  This is a complete sellout of Jarrett’s
entire justification for coming back to the company as he criticized the
country music gimmick too, yet reverted to that by the spring.  Criticisms aside, this marked a transition of
the Jarrett character from the Southern Justice era to a more serious commodity.  The crowd works up its crude chant for Debra
to show her assets, which makes me wonder if that is why the WWF created the “puppies”
chant as a tamer version.  Blackman nails
Jarrett with his pump kick, but the Blue Blazer runs in and gives Blackman a
belly-to-belly suplex, thereby causing a disqualification.
After the bell,
Jarrett prepares to hit Blackman with his guitar, but Al Snow steps into the
ring.  However, Debra distracts Snow and
he ends up eating the guitar shot instead.
A phone rings in
McMahon’s locker room and like a horror film he agonizes over whether he should
answer it.  Austin is on the other end
and tells McMahon that his time is up and he is coming to get him.  The stooges are taking a really long coffee
break.  After the commercial break,
McMahon is on the phone with his limo driver and tries to arrange an
escape.  He carefully drives his
wheelchair to the parking lot, but when he gets to his limo Austin is inside
and takes control of McMahon’s wheelchair, directing him back into the arena
with his compound bow in tow.  As Austin
harasses McMahon, intentionally driving him into door and walls, none of the
other WWF employees seem to care and many of them take pictures of the event.  As McMahon screams about his ankle, Austin tells
him he used to work in the hospital and can fix it, but that just makes McMahon
panic more.  Austin directs McMahon back
to his locker room and slams the door in the cameraman’s face.  5 for
5
X-Pac’s X-Factor
to D-Lo Brown at Judgment Day is the WWF Warzone Slam of the Week.
Austin asks
McMahon if he has ever been hunting and McMahon says yes, but he never killed
anything.  McMahon admits that it was
just a safari and he just took pictures. 
In response, Austin pulls out a knife and asks whether he thinks it
would be enough to kill an elephant. 
These segments are awesome.
The Rock beats
D-Lo Brown (w/Mark Henry) with a Rock Bottom at 3:43:
The Rock has some AWFUL theme music here that has a disco
spin on the narrative part of his theme. 
It is one of the worst themes I have ever heard and thank god they
changed it because you just cannot imagine the Rock as a main eventer with it.  D-Lo tries to rally after getting hit with a
People’s Elbow, but jumps into a Rock Bottom for the finish.  D-Lo needs to quit doing that.  Rating:  ** (6 for 6)
After the match,
D-Lo and Henry beat on the Rock and Henry gives him a splash as WWF officials
intervene.
Austin continues
to threaten McMahon with his knife, even motioning to stab him.  Austin tells McMahon not to worry because
when he finishes him off tonight he will go quickly.  Austin then moves to explaining what damage a
compound hunting bow can do.
Tiger Ali Singh is
back after a prolonged absence.  Babu
acts as if he is cooking on a grill and Ali offers $500 to a person to swallow
the cassava he has prepared.  A sketchy
older woman is drawn from the crowd and does it.  The Godfather comes in at the end and says
that the woman who swallowed the cassava used to be one of his hos and as a
result he is entitled to some of her income. 
Tiger Ali Singh takes exception to that, but the guy cannot even brawl
properly.  Effective use of the Godfather
that saved this embarrassing segment.  7 for 7
Austin forces
McMahon to squeal like a pig under threat of getting shot with a bow.  He moves to re-enact the scene from Misery
where Kathy Bates breaks James Caan’s legs. 
Austin places a piece of lumber between McMahon’s legs and goes to find
a sledgehammer.  Chances are he will not
be able to find one because Triple H has the only one in his possession.
Ross and Lawler
recap the Goldust-Val Venis match from Judgment Day.
Val Venis
(w/Terri Runnels) pins Mankind after Ken Shamrock interferes at 3:33:
Venis is still selling the effects of Goldust’s low blow
from the previous evening.  Lawler spends
part of the match wondering if Venis and the Godfather ho in the Tiger Ali
segment have ever gotten together. 
Mankind applies the Mandible Claw, but Ken Shamrock wanders out and
smashes Mankind in the knee with a chair, causing him to lose this boring
match.  Rating:  * (7 for 8)
After the match,
Mankind and Shamrock brawl into the crowd. 
Goldust comes on the Titantron after that and tells Venis that he is
going to keep shattering his dreams.  The
best part of this promo is that Goldust goes back to quoting movie lines, which
was his specialty in 1995 and 1996. 
After the promo, Terri tells Venis something that he is disgusted with
and walks off.  It does not take a genius
to figure out what that was to the astute viewer.
Austin promises
McMahon that he is going to carry out his plans for him tonight and that
McMahon will not feel anything.  They bet
on who will win the casket match and McMahon reluctantly picks Kane.  Austin says if Kane wins they will do things
the easy way, but any other outcome will mean the hard way.
Casket
Match:  Kane wrestles The Undertaker
(w/Paul Bearer) to a no contest at 4:48:
This is the first WWF casket match to ever air on free
television.  The match features a weird
spot where the Undertaker closes the casket on both men and they proceed to
rumble around in there and destroy it. 
After laying Kane out with a chair, the Undertaker and Bearer leave and
that’s that.  Wow, what a complete waste
of time.  Can they not give Kane ONE win
over the Undertaker in a singles match of some sort?  Rating:  DUD (7 for 9)
Austin wheels
McMahon out to the ring and in a tribute to the Running Man, they rehash
McMahon’s bold words from earlier in the evening.  He gives McMahon a letter, which he says
McMahon will not like, and has McMahon face the Titantron.  Austin puts a gun to McMahon’s head and pulls
the trigger, but it’s a toy that says “Bang 3:16.”  Austin calls attention to the fact that
McMahon has wet himself and gives him a Stone Cold Stunner.  One of the better endings in RAW history.   8 for 10
The Final Report Card:  This was not a wrestling-driven RAW, but that
is okay because the segments with McMahon, Mankind, and Austin were
entertaining.  It is sad how much of a
drop off in entertainment value a lot of segments have today because these
showed that if you take two characters that play well off of each other that
you can create compelling television. 
Daniel Bryan got over in part because of his segments with Kane, so the
company can still do this if they want to, but we just do not get enough of
it.  A very fun RAW that is worth checking
out whenever the WWF gets around to putting it up on the Network.
Monday Night War Rating:  5.0 (vs. 4.4 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Judgment Day – In Your House

by Logan Scisco

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

Opening
Contest:  Al Snow (w/Head) beats “Marvelous”
Marc Mero (w/Jacqueline) with the Snow Plow at 7:14:
This is a curious opener since Snow has a lingering feud
with Jeff Jarrett.  Jarrett does come out
to crickets and tries to convince Mero to let him wrestle Snow instead, but
Mero says refuses.  After all, he has a
job to do for the new hot act in the company. 
Mero puts on a good effort in his last pay-per-view match in the
company, but unless Sable is involved no one really cares about him
anymore.  Snow reverses the TKO into his
finisher and picks up the win.  Rating: 
**¾
LOD 2000 beat The
Disciples of Apocalypse & Paul Ellering when Droz pins Skull after a
Doomsday Device at 5:55:
The awful DOA-LOD feud reaches its climax here, at least on
pay-per-view.  Chainz and Sunny ended up
as casualties of this feud, never reaching the end of the story.  It’s so weird to see the Hawk and Animal with
their hair grown out.  Hawk is not doped
up on pain pills tonight and works with Animal to deliver the Doomsday Device,
but Droz steals the pin and Hawk is not happy. 
Boring bout, but at least they kept this short.  Rating:  ½*
Dok Hendrix talks
with Al Snow and Sable and hypes the Superstar Line.  Call 1-900-737-4WWF to hear from the winners
and losers!  Sable reminds us that “everyone
likes a little Head.”
Light Heavyweight
Championship Match:  Christian
(w/Gangrel) pins Taka Michinoku (Champion w/Yamaguchi-San) with an inside
cradle to win the title at 8:36:
The light heavyweight title is defended for the first
time in ages here and since they pulled it out of mothballs the outcome could
be predicted from a mile away.  This was
Christian’s in-ring WWF debut.  Michinoku
had no heat, but the crowd reacts to the high spots.  Ross makes a subtle dig at the booking by
saying that he wants to see more light heavyweight matches.  Spots happen, but they do not mesh together
and the match fails to tell an adequate story as a result.  Michinoku appears headed to win the match
with a Michinoku Driver, but Christian cradles out of it to win the meaningless
title.  Solid match, but the crowd was
not buying into it.  Rating:  **¾
Kevin Kelly and
Tom Pritchard interview Droz in the WWF.com backstage area.  Droz says he seized an opportunity and that
is why he is on the first string.  Droz
actually cuts a really good heel promo here.
A video package
recaps the Goldust-Val Venis feud.
Goldust pins Val
Venis (w/Terri Runnels) after a low blow at 12:09:
The crowd is happy to see the return of Goldust, but
unfortunately there are not that many mind games that find their way into this
contest.  Venis spends the bulk of the match
working the shoulder, but none of that factors into the closing stretches of
this match.  Venis nearly runs into Terri
on the apron and that allows Goldust to shatter Venis’s dreams and pick up a
win.  This was better than most expected,
but this storyline is still a little confusing as to who the face and heel
really are.  Goldust got a small push
from this win, while Venis was shifted back into the midcard.  Rating:  **½
Michael Cole tells
us that Triple H and Ken Shamrock got into an altercation backstage, where
Shamrock smashes a car door into Triple H’s knee.  X-Pac interrupts to say that he will deal
with Shamrock tomorrow night on RAW.  He
promises to regain the European title.
European
Championship Match:  X-Pac (w/Chyna) defeats
D-Lo Brown (Champion) with an X-Factor to win the title at 14:36:
Since he is the champion, D-Lo is back to selecting a
European hometown and in this match he is from Milan, Italy.  Ross announces that the Nation of Domination
has parted ways, which I always thought was a cop out.  A stable that lasted for nearly two years
deserved a better send off than dissolving off-air.  Looking back at the series of matches between
these two, one forgets how much X-Pac carried them as Brown’s offense aside
from a few signature spots was pretty deficient.  In this match X-Pac bumps all over the place
as his high flying offense fails him.  They
run a false finish off of a ref bump where D-Lo clocks X-Pac with the title and
D-Lo makes the same mistake of jumping into an X-Factor, which is what cost him
the title to X-Pac the first time, to lose. 
Did not care for the finish because Brown should have learned not to do
that again, but the crowd came unglued at the end.  Rating:  ***½
Call 815-734-1161
to purchase your Austin 3:16 baseball jersey for $39.99 (plus $9 shipping &
handling)!
Cole tells us that
Paul Bearer was allegedly seen going into the Undertaker’s locker room
earlier.  The Headbangers interrupt his
report and hurl some insults at the New Age Outlaws.  Mosh insinuates that the Outlaws are doing
each other and says that they will do the j-o-b on the p-p-v.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  The Headbangers beat
The New Age Outlaws (Champions) via disqualification when the Road Dogg blasts
Mosh with a boombox at 14:10:
The Headbangers earned this title shot by busting the
Road Dogg open on the previous RAW with a boombox.  It shows how little depth there is in the tag
division that they are even getting a title shot.  What is funny about the boombox spot from RAW
is that Ross keeps having to say that the boombox that broke over the Road Dogg’s
head is not a JVC boombox.  JVC was a
sponsor at the time so I suppose they got upset that fans might think their
product was cheap.  Both Outlaws end up
in peril in this match and the Headbangers do a good job cutting off comebacks.  In fact, the Headbangers do such a good job
with it that the Road Dogg breaks up the Stage Dive by hitting Mosh with a
boombox, thereby causing a disqualification. 
This was a great booking technique to give the Headbangers another title
match down the road and rebuilding them as threats.  Rating:  ***¼
Michael Cole says
he can confirm that Paul Bearer entered Kane’s locker room backstage.  Mankind comes by and via Socko he
communicates that he is fired up.  He
blasts Shamrock’s promo ability, saying it has to be the second leading cause
of teen suicide.  He then does a weird
routine where he interrogates Mr. Socko about what underwear he is wearing.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  Ken Shamrock
(Champion) defeats Mankind via submission when Mankind applies the Mandible
Claw to himself at 14:36:
The dueling stories of this match are whether Shamrock
can make Mankind submit and whether the Mandible Claw is enough to put Shamrock
down for the count.  Shamrock outmaneuvers
Mankind throughout the bout, but the Mandible Claw is put over as Mankind’s
equalizer.  Mankind takes one too many
risks on the floor near the end and Shamrock powerslams him into the
steps.  This leads to the ankle lock in
the center of the ring, but instead of submitting to the hold, Mankind chooses
to apply the Mandible Claw to himself. 
Nice finish to a true battle of wills. 
Rating:  ***
After the bout,
when Shamrock hears he won by Mandible Claw he beats on the unconscious Mankind
and gives the referee a belly-to-belly suplex. 
WWF officials rush out and Mankind recovers in time to apply the
Mandible Claw to Shamrock and walk out to a decent pop.
The Big Bossman
tells Cole that unauthorized camera crews are not allowed near Vince McMahon.
Mark Henry
(w/D-Lo Brown) pins The Rock after a splash at 5:04:
The Rock is the hottest act in the company at this time,
so you would figure he squashes Henry to move onto bigger and better things
right?  Wrong.  The Rock does dominate a lot of the action,
but in a piece of booking that made no sense at the time Henry gets the win
after D-Lo runs interference.  To the WWF’s
credit, this did factor into the storylines leading up to Survivor Series, but
it was probably the biggest pay-per-view upset of 1998.  Rating:  *
A vignette is
aired for Survivor Series with the Deadly Game song.
A video package
hypes the Undertaker-Kane main event.
WWF Championship
Match with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin as Special Guest Referee:  The Undertaker and Kane wrestle to a no
contest at 17:38:
The crowd is way more into Austin than they are either of
the guys wrestling for the title, so it creates a really strange dynamic.  Austin does not take his job seriously, as he
mixes ridiculously slow counts with ridiculously fast counts.  A funny spot takes place when Kane and the
Undertaker fight on the floor and Austin volunteers to give the Undertaker some
microphone chord to choke his brother.  I
wish I could report that this match broke the mold for the Undertaker-Kane
series, but that’s not the case here as the Undertaker works the leg for five
minutes and puts the crowd into a coma. 
Austin even looks bored doing his job. 
After fifteen minutes of dullness cue the overbooking as Kane chokeslams
Austin and Paul Bearer wanders out with a chair.  However, instead of hitting the Undertaker he
turns and hits Kane, which has zero impact. 
The Undertaker’s chair shot to Kane is another matter, but Austin
refuses to count the pinfall.  When the
Undertaker complains, Austin gives him a Stunner and tees off with a chair and
then counts both men out and declares himself the winner.  I bet Vince Russo was screaming to book this
as “Austin is refusing to follow the script!” until he was shot down by
McMahon, Cornette, and a few other members of the booking team.  Austin’s antics are the only reason
this avoids a DUD.  Rating:  ½*
Austin goes
backstage looking for McMahon but is unsuccessful so he goes back into the ring.  Austin gloats that McMahon will not fire him,
but McMahon has the Titantron raised and appears in a box behind it.  As the crowd pelts him with memorabilia and
garbage, McMahon tells Austin that he is fired. 
Austin closes the show by promising McMahon that he has not seen the
last of him.
The Final Report Card:  I remember not enjoying this show in 1998,
but looking back it had some pretty solid in-ring work.  There are a few clunkers, but outside of the
main event the other matches put the crowd in a good mood and displayed
perfectly acceptable wrestling.  While it
is annoying that we did not get a WWF champion after this show, the selling point
was more about whether Austin would do his job or not and if you thought Austin
was really going to crown a winner here you were a moron.  I will go with a thumbs up on this show, but
save yourself the trouble if you ever watch this thing on the Network and turn
it off after Shamrock-Mankind.
Attendance: 
18,153
Buyrate: 
0.89 (+0.29 from previous year)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – October 12, 1998

by Logan Scisco

A video package
recaps the events from Breakdown to last week’s show concerning the WWF title
Jim
Ross tells us that Vince McMahon has invited Steve Austin to RAW.  What does it all mean?
-Vince McMahon is
shown driving a Corvette into the arena, flipping off a security attendant for
not leaving the garage door up.  The
stooges help him get into his wheelchair, although Commissioner Slaughter
nearly shuts the Corvette door on McMahon’s leg.
Ross and Jerry “The
King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from Uniondale, New York.  This is our go home show for Judgment Day.

Opening Contest
for the WWF Tag Team Championships:  The
New Age Outlaws (Champions) beats LOD 2000 (w/Hawk) by count out at 2:09:
After teasing a turn, Billy Gunn announces before the
match that he is down with D-Generation X. 
This is the new LOD 2000, as Animal and Darren Drozdov compose the team.  Hawk does commentary and lets us know that he
is the alternate on the team.  The match
only lasts for ninety seconds before the Disciples of Apocalypse and Paul
Ellering attack Hawk at ringside.  As the
Outlaws watch this take place, the Headbangers run in and blast the Road Dogg
with a boombox.
Ross announces
that since Triple H is on the shelf with a knee injury that tonight’s show will
feature an eight man tournament to crown a new Intercontinental champion.
Kane is shown
walking into the arena alone.
Intercontinental
Championship Tournament First Round:  Ken
Shamrock defeats Steve Blackman via submission to a kneebar at 2:28:
This is a small blowoff for an angle that began two
months ago where Shamrock and Blackman were uneasy allies.  Shamrock is in the process of slowly turning
heel, having been positioned as a rival of the Rock over the last month.  He targets Blackman’s injured knee throughout
this match and advances via submission, but the bigger news is that the Blue
Blazer comes into the ring after the bell and attacks both men.  When the Blazer runs off, Shamrock snaps and
puts Blackman in the ankle lock to continue his heelish behavior.
The Undertaker is
shown arriving to the arena.
A video package chronicles
Goldust’s career.  They make it seem as
if Goldust completely destroyed Razor Ramon at the 1996 Royal Rumble and “Rowdy”
Roddy Piper at WrestleMania XII because both men are in WCW.
Intercontinental
Championship Tournament First Round:  Val
Venis (w/Terri Runnels) pins “Marvelous” Marc Mero (w/Jacqueline) with a
fisherman’s suplex at 2:17:
Mero’s stock has fallen so far that the announcers do not
even bother to mention that he won the Intercontinental title in a tournament
two years ago.  Mero seems to have the
match in hand, but Runnels runs interference and Venis advances.  After the match, the future PMS gets it on at
ringside before WWF officials intervene.
Paul Bearer is
shown arriving to the arena carrying a briefcase.  McMahon interrogates the stooges about why
Bearer is there.  They do not have any
answers for him.
Michael Cole
interviews Sable and tells her that she gave a wonderful acting performance on
Pacific Blue.  He asks her if she is
going to depart for Hollywood and she says that she only wants to be the women’s
champion.  She sees Jacqueline backstage
and drags her out to the crowd and a catfight ensues.
Cole interviews
Mankind, who says that Ken Shamrock cannot hurt him by hitting him with a chair
because he cannot swing one hard enough. 
He pulls out Socko at the end of the interview and the crowd works up a
loud “Socko” chant.
Mark Henry recites
a poem that he wrote for Chyna, asking for her a chance.
Intercontinental
Championship Tournament First Round: 
Mankind beats Mark Henry via submission to the Mandible Claw at 3:18:
It takes only a few seconds for Chyna to wander out to
ringside and this match, like others in the tournament so far, is really
abbreviated.  Henry tries to go after the
leg, but Mankind hits the double arm DDT and Mr. Socko debuts as a variation of
the Mandible Claw to put Mankind into the semi-finals.  After the match, Chyna asks Henry why he has
sued her and Henry says it is out of his hands. 
Such drama!  Rating:  *½ (1 for 1)
Steve Austin shows
up to the arena in a cement truck.  After
the commercial break, McMahon is incensed at that news and the stooges vow to
check it out.
Intercontinental
Championship Tournament First Round: 
X-Pac defeats “Double J” Jeff Jarrett with a rollup at 3:08:
This one sided feud in the midcard continues as X-Pac and
Jarrett put together a quick and entertaining bout that sees Jarrett block the
Bronco Buster yet have his guitar interference backfire thanks to Al Snow, who
puts Head in Jarrett’s guitar case.  Rating: 
** (2 for 2)
Backstage, Steve
Austin dumps cement into McMahon’s Corvette as McMahon goes nuts in his suite.
Steve Austin comes
out to the ring and says he plans on making McMahon’s life a living hell.  He says that he looks forward to being the
guest referee at Judgment Day and promises to raise his own hand at the end of
the main event.  McMahon and a large,
masked security guard show up with a couple of K-9 units and he books Austin to
team with the Rock to face Kane and the Undertaker.  He warns Austin to watch his back tonight and
then hilariously rants about how his last two weeks have been hell.  The highlight is him talking about the enema
bag attack and screaming “YOU VIOLATED ME AUSTIN!”  He closes by saying that if Austin refuses to
play ball and crown a new WWF champion at Judgment Day that he will be fired.  This is also where McMahon debuts his “balls
the size of grapefruits” line.  3 for 3
Intercontinental
Championship Tournament Semi-Finals:  Ken
Shamrock beats Val Venis (w/Terri Runnels) via submission to the ankle lock at
4:35:
Shamrock attacks Venis from behind to continue his mean
streak and spends the match working the lower back.  Venis gets a token comeback, but Shamrock
takes out his ankle and it is academic from there.  This was just an extended squash for Shamrock
and I am fine with that because Venis is not on his level.  Rating:  *½ (2 for 3)
After the bout,
Goldust walks out to a loud reaction.  He
begins playing mind games with Venis, who is petrified, and he gives him the
yet to be named Shattered Dreams.
Vince McMahon and
the stooges assess the damages to his Corvette. 
In a great piece of humor, Gerald Brisco tells McMahon that he and the
other stooges can get shovels to dig out the car.  Mankind shows up and tries to fish out the
keys and McMahon’s briefcase, but just ends up irritating the boss.  3 for
4
The Rock starts
cutting a promo for the main event until he is interrupted by D-Lo Brown and
Mark Henry.  The Rock calls off the promo
to talk with them in private.
Intercontinental
Championship Tournament Semi-Finals: 
X-Pac pins Mankind with a schoolboy after Ken Shamrock interferes at
3:16:
Despite their different style these guys have really good
chemistry and you wish they were given more time for this match.  Mankind gives X-Pac a swinging neckbreaker on
the outside, which hurts X-Pac’s neck, and Ken Shamrock, who wanders out,
smashes a chair into Mankind’s knee. 
That distraction helps X-Pac win, but Shamrock then enters the ring and does
a beatdown as WWF officials intervene.  Rating: 
*½ (3 for 5)
Mankind wants to
get vengeance on Shamrock, but the stooges convince him to go backstage because
McMahon wants to see him.
Intercontinental
Championship Tournament Finals:  Ken
Shamrock beats X-Pac via submission to the ankle lock to win the title at 3:56:
Officials try to convince X-Pac to forfeit, but he
refuses to do so and we get the finals of the tournament after all.  Triple H does guest commentary and puts over
X-Pac’s fighting spirit.  X-Pac escapes
the ankle lock once by getting to the ropes, but Shamrock just drags him to the
middle of the ring and finishes him off to win his first title in the
company.  With more time, this could have
told a great story, but it was so abbreviated that it lacked a lasting
impact.  Rating:  *½ (3 for 6)
“Stone Cold”
Steve Austin & The Rock defeat Kane & The Undertaker by
disqualification when the Big Bossman interferes at 11:13:
Paul Bearer waddles out within the first minute of the
match, but it is uncertain about why he is there.  D-Lo Brown and Mark Henry wander out
eventually as well.  The Rock puts
together a great variation of the People’s Elbow where he sets it up and the
Undertaker tries to sit up before it is delivered, so the Rock just kicks him
back down and finishes the move.  The
crowd digs everything that the Rock and Austin put together in this match and
Kane weaves in enough high impact moves to sustain interest.  After the hot tag, Henry and D-Lo take out
the Rock and McMahon’s masked security guard interferes and blasts Austin with
a night stick.  The guard unmasks to
reveal the Big Bossman, which gets a small pop. 
Rating:  *** (4 for 7)
After the bell,
Kane and the Undertaker pound away on Austin and the Undertaker puts Austin in
the same leglock that he used on McMahon the previous week.
The Final Report Card:  As a tournament mark, I liked the concept of
the show, but the problem is that everything ended up too short because they
wanted to put on a big tag team match at the end.  Still, I like that they went with a
tournament instead of a battle royal.  Judgment
Day is being sold as a one match show, with everything revolving around what
Austin will do as a referee, and I cannot say that I am excited about
that.  Still, this show’s exciting main
event was enough to get a thumbs up from me.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.8 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up 

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – October 5, 1998

by Logan Scisco

A video package recaps Steve Austin crashing
Vince McMahon’s championship ceremony last week and Kane and the Undertaker’s
subsequent attack on McMahon.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are taped from East Lansing,
Michigan
.

Opening Contest
for the European Championship:  D-Lo
Brown (w/Mark Henry) beats X-Pac (Champion w/Chyna) with a Lo Down to win the
title at 5:18:
D-Lo earned this title shot by winning the six man, four
corner elimination match on last week’s show. 
A minute into the match, Chyna is served another legal summons and Henry
laughs at her.  This match has a unique
formula, as D-Lo dominates in the early going and X-Pac stages his comeback,
not getting a shine at the beginning. 
D-Lo fakes a knee injury and that enables Henry to catch X-Pac’s pescado
attempt, ram him into the post, and roll him into the ring where D-Lo captures
the European title for the second time.  Rating: 
** (1 for 1)
Vince McMahon is
shown yelling at a nurse at an undisclosed medical facility.
The Oddities are
shown playing touch football with the Insane Clown Posse for some reason.
Please buy Stridex
and get these Triple H posters!  They
have been shilling this since June.
In the new feud no
one cares about, the Headbangers call out the Insane Clown Posse and beat them
down with a chair until the Oddities literally walk out to make the save.  1 for
2
Footage of Steve
Austin cutting off Vince McMahon’s satellite feed on Sunday Night Heat is shown.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your Steve Austin 3:16 baseball jersey for $39 (plus $9 shipping &
handling)!
Ross and Lawler
fill time talking about the outcome of the Breakdown main event and the events
that took place between the main players on last week’s show
.
McMahon grows
irate at the medical facility when Mankind barges in.  He does not care for the balloons or candy that
Mankind brings him or Yurple the Clown. 
The segment is notable because Mankind debuts Mr. Socko here.  McMahon’s disgusted “Mr. Socko” at the end
still cracks me up.
  2 for
3
Check out Pacific
Blue this week as Sable goes to a female prison facility!
Sable comes out to
do commentary for the next match and Tori, her yet to be named obsessed fan, stands
behind her in the crowd.
“Marvelous” Marc
Mero (w/Jacqueline) beats Vader with Marvelocity at 4:12:
Sable lets us know that she wants the women’s title
because she now wants to be a serious wrestler “in this business!”  This is a match that I would have enjoyed in
1996, 1998 not so much.  Vader dominates
the action, but Jacqueline tries to interfere and that distraction leads to a
low blow and a Mero win.  Rating: 
¾* (2 for 4)
Jacqueline calls
out Sable after the match and cheap shots her after Mero causes a
distraction.  Jacqueline cuts a chunk out
of Sable’s hair and carries it off like a trophy.
Steven Regal, a “Real
Man’s Man” is shown making orange juice with his bare hands.
Owen Hart is
scheduled to face Edge, but he walks out in street clothes and apologizes for
hurting Dan Severn last week.  Fighting
off tears, he leaves, so Edge wins by forfeit.
Steve Austin’s
Zamboni attack last week is the 10-0-321 Rewind segment
.
Michael Cole catches
up with Owen Hart who is leaving the arena. 
Owen says “It’s over” and keeps walking. 
I wish it had been.
Ken Shamrock
beats Kane with a super powerslam off the top rope at 7:10:
Shamrock starts with some smart offense by targeting Kane’s
leg, but his hurricanrana is countered into a powerbomb and Kane slows this
down to a crawl.  The Undertaker comes
out for no reason and his interference causes Kane to get crotched when trying
a flying clothesline and Shamrock scores the win.  These two had very little chemistry.  Rating:  ½* (2 for 5)
Val Venis and
Terri Runnels are shown having fun backstage
.
Val Venis
(w/Terri Runnels) defeats Gangrel (w/Christian) by count out at 2:38:
Ross is all over the place calling this match, confusing
Gangrel and Edge and calling Christian “Christopher.”  Two minutes in, Edge confronts Christian at
ringside, but Gangrel attacks him from behind and gives him a DDT.  Gangrel and Christian do a beatdown, but that
causes Gangrel to get counted out.
Venis and Terri
celebrate in the ring when Goldust’s old usher from 1995 shows up and gives
Venis a gold envelope.  Venis is shocked
at the contents and Goldust invites him to his premiere next week on RAW.
Steve Austin
interrogating Shane McMahon on Heat and then having a staredown with the Rock
is shown.
McMahon demands a
new nurse and a painkiller.
Al Snow (w/Head)
beats “Double J” Jeff Jarrett by disqualification when Commissioner Slaughter
interferes at 4:15:
Jarrett appears to be the latest hired gun of
Commissioner Slaughter to go after Snow. 
They put together a decent match, but Slaughter shakes the ropes when
Snow goes to the top rope and the referee calls for the bell.  How can Slaughter not overrule that as
commissioner?  Rating:  *½ (2 for 6)
The Road Dogg
(w/X-Pac) defeats Mark Henry (w/D-Lo Brown) after X-Pac gives Henry an X-Factor
at 3:36:
The Road Dogg takes a 
swipe at Billy Gunn by bringing out a blow up doll dressed as him.   Lawler reveals that Henry is suing Chyna for
sexual harassment, which is why she has been receiving legal summons.  Chyna makes a predictable appearance late in
the match and that distraction allows X-Pac to get revenge for earlier in the
evening.  Rating:  * (2 for 7)
We get yet another
recap of last week’s events
.
Steve Austin,
dressed as a nurse, attacks McMahon at the medical facility.  He beats on his leg, hits him over the head
with a bedpan, shocks him with a defibrillator, and then shoves an enema up his
rectum as the camera fades to black. 
McMahon’s screaming and facial expressions made this segment.  3 for
8
The Undertaker
pins the Rock after a Tombstone on a chair at 13:10:
The Rock hopes that D-Lo Brown and Mark Henry can watch
his back for this match, but they are too intimidated by Kane, who walks out a
few minutes into the bout, and head to the locker room.  The Rock probably gets head with Kevin Dunn
by not doing the People’s Elbow facing the hard camera and Earl Hebner gets
bumped in the corner moments later.  Kane
blasts the Undertaker with a chair, but Hebner isn’t there to count the fall
and the Undertaker does the zombie situp and wins.  This had some slow parts in the beginning,
but it got hot at the end.  Rating: 
**½ (4 for 9)
The Final Report Card:  This was one of those RAW’s that felt like it
took four hours to sit through.  The McMahon
hospital segments were the highlight of the show and the main event was one of
the better Rock-Undertaker matches on record. 
Still, a thumbs down effort this week because it was such a chore to get
to the good stuff.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.55 (vs. 4.5 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

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.
Please buy Stridex
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

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

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – September 12, 1998

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are taped from Lowell,
Massachusetts, which is one of my favorite venues.  It’s sort of amazing how the WWF was able to
do a ton of pyro by the constricted entrance without engulfing the building.

Opening
Contest:  Edge beats “Double J” Jeff
Jarrett (w/Southern Justice) via disqualification when Jarrett hits Edge with a
guitar at 5:14:
It is funny to hear Lawler ask the same questions about Edge that people
asked about the Shield:  Where do they hang
out before shows?  Why do they feel the
need to enter through the crowd and not the traditional way?  Jarrett debuts the Stroke here, but it is
only used as a transitional move.  Edge
busts out an impressive spot where he hits two consecutive suplexes and
transitions a third into a facebuster. 
This is a decent, competitive match with Jarrett giving Edge a few hope
spots before getting desperate and hitting the newcomer with a guitar.  Rating:  **¼ (1 for 1)
Bradshaw defeats
Darren Drozdov with the Flair pin at 4:01:
No one would call this a technical exhibition, but it is
a tolerable brawl that plays to the strengths of both men.  Bradshaw uses the old heel tactic of putting
his feet on the ropes to pin the rookie and then gives him a lariat to put the
finishing touch on this match.  The
crowd’s silence brought this down a notch, but both guys were trying.  Rating:  *¾ (2 for 2)
A video package
hypes the triple threat main event for Breakdown, where WWF Champion Steve
Austin will defend his title against the Undertaker and Kane.  The announcement for that match took place on
Sunday Night Heat.
“Marvelous” Marc
Mero (w/Jacqueline) pins Miguel Perez with the TKO at 3:38:
The anti-Sable element in the crowd tries to work up a
“Jackie” chant but that goes nowhere. 
You can tell that Perez (who has shaved his back) is motivated to make
this work, but Mero’s heel offense slows the pace down so much that it takes
something away from the match.  Mero hits
a TKO out of nowhere to win.  Rating: 
*½ (3 for 3)
Michael Cole
interviews The Oddities and Insane Clown Posse. 
The ICP cut pretty good promo against the DOA and dare I say, it is
better than at least half of the WWF roster at this point.
Cole interviews
DOA and Paul Ellering, who says that the DOA will drop the Oddities like the
DOW Jones Industrial Average.
DOA (w/Paul
Ellering) beats Golga & Kurrgan (w/Giant Silva, Luna Vachon & The
Insane Clown Posse) via disqualification when the Insane Clown Possee interfere
at 1:54:
Within the first minute of the match Golga hits the top
rope with so much force that it breaks. 
Everything goes downhill from there, which is probably why the ICP runs
in and gets beaten down by the DOA.  No
word on whether the outcome of this match was later annulled because of the
broken top rope.
The Undertaker and
Kane destroying the Rock on last week’s show is the Penzoil Rewind segment.
The Rock walks out
and reiterates how he is still the People’s Champion despite losing to Triple H
at SummerSlam.  He promises to get
revenge on Kane for chokeslamming him on last week’s show.  By calling out a main eventer, the Rock
symbolized that he was rising up the card here. 
4 for 4
The Lion’s Den
match from SummerSlam is shown in its entirety.
Southern Justice
defeats Too Much when Mark Canterbury pins Scott Taylor after the Problem
Solver at 4:06:
Southern Justice are getting a small push to appear as a
threat to the New Age Outlaws, who are really devoid of significant challengers
in the tag team division.  Too Much are
positioned as the faces in this bout, which makes no sense at all, but Southern
Justice can’t really play that role either. 
Southern Justice wins this abbreviated match to keep on rolling
along.  Rating:  * (4 for 5)
Vader pins Dustin
Runnels after a Vader Bomb at 3:25:
They might as well bill this match as “two WCW guys who
are struggling to establish their position in the Attitude Era.”  During the match, Val Venis mocks Runnels
Christian advocacy by parading around with a sign that reads “I Have
Come.”  Runnels starts praying when he
sees Venis’s sign and Vader takes advantage to win his first RAW match via
pinfall in what seems like forever.  Rating: 
½* (4 for 6)
A video package
highlights Sable’s in-ring performances.
Al Snow comes out
of the crowd and says that he will not leave the ring until he sees a WWF
official.  Commissioner Slaughter, Pat
Patterson, and Gerald Brisco come out and order Snow to leave the ring.  Since they do not book Snow in a match, Snow
gives Patterson a low blow with Head and flees through the crowd.  This was wasn’t very good until Patterson got
hit below the belt.  4 for 7
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.
Cole interviews
the Headbangers, who are confused about why they are wrestling on RAW since
they rarely appear.  They make some
nonsensical comments about their opponents before heading to the ring.
D-Lo Brown &
Mark Henry beat The Headbangers via disqualification when Chyna interferes at
5:23:
I was always a fan of the D-Lo Brown & Mark Henry tag
team and wish they had been given a run with the tag team titles around this
time.  This is your
paint by the numbers tag match that ends when Chyna runs in and tackles Henry
for the second consecutive week.  WWF
officials get decked by Chyna and D-Generation X has to run in to restrain
her.  Rating:  *¾ (4 for 8)
Get a big poster
of Triple H when you buy Stridex pads!
D-Generation X
(w/Chyna) defeat Kaientai (w/Yamaguchi-San) when X-Pac pins Taka Michinoku with
an assisted X-Factor at 4:33:
These two teams have contrasting gimmicks:  one side tells you to suck it and the other
side wants to chop it off.  This is a fun
squash, with Kaientai mounting very little offense (and what they do get comes
at the expense of the Road Dogg – surprise, surprise), but I do not like how
Michinoku, who is the light heavyweight champion, ate the pin.  Then again, since when does that title mean
anything?  After the bout, Chyna nails
Yamaguchi-San with a forearm.  Rating: 
*½ (5 for 9)
After the bell, DX
gets a female fan to moon the audience.
The Final Report Card:  Well, this RAW was better than last week’s in
terms of in-ring action and I was entertained enough to give it a thumbs up.  If you want to see your usual main event
players, though, then this will not be your kind of show.  Next week’s RAW will be back in its regularly
scheduled time slot, so we are thankfully done with these “Shotgun RAW”
shows.  Who knows, we might even get an
appearance from Steve Austin!

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – September 5, 1998

by Logan Scisco

Since USA Network
was broadcasting the U.S. Open in primetime, Monday Night Raw got bounced out
of its usual slot for the next two weeks. 
USA compensated by giving RAW two late Saturday night slots that ran
from 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. EST, so our next two shows will be those
broadcasts.  Ross and Lawler make sure to
issue sarcastic statements about the “riveting” tennis action that is currently
keeping the WWF off of Monday nights throughout the show.
Some narrated
pictures of last night’s SummerSlam main event are shown.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are taped from New Haven,
Connecticut.

Vince McMahon
walks out and announces at the next pay-per-view, Breakdown, that his plan to take
the WWF title off of Steve Austin will be realized.  He says the Undertaker is a damned fool for
refusing his brother’s help at SummerSlam and makes fun of Steve Austin’s
appearance on Regis and Kathy Lee. 
McMahon calls the Undertaker and Kane two “putrid pussies” and that
leads the Undertaker and Kane to storm the ring, so McMahon has to flee through
the crowd.  The best part of this
segment?  No entrance music for the
Undertaker and Kane before they run out. 
However, it was a rather dull promo from someone of McMahon’s
caliber.  0 for 1
Opening
Contest:  Ken Shamrock & Steve
Blackman fight The Disciples of Apocalypse (w/Paul Ellering) to a no contest
when the Undertaker & Kane interfere at 1:28:
Evidently, Shamrock and Blackman have made up after last
week’s altercation.  The DOA are really
stale at the moment and desperately need some more direction aside from “we
have Paul Ellering as a manager and hate the LOD.”  This match never gets going as Kane and the
Undertaker come out and destroy Blackman’s knee.
Val Venis is shown
having relations with a young woman in a bathroom stall.
Ross and Lawler
recount the beating Mankind received during and after his tag team title match
against the New Age Outlaws at SummerSlam. 
Ross says that Mankind has not been seen since.
Val Venis
wrestles Vader to a no contest at 3:32:
During the match, Dustin Runnels carries a sign through
the crowd urging people to repent.  Vader
dominates Venis with power moves, but the match is interrupted by Bradshaw, who
has a dispute with Vader stemming from an attempted tag team partnership on
Shotgun Saturday Night.  This match, like
our opening bout, is interrupted by the Undertaker and Kane and they proceed to
destroy Venis and Vader.  You would think
Vader would have enough sense at this point to avoid the Undertaker and
Kane.  Rating:  ½* (0 for 2)
Michael Cole
interviews the Rock and Mark Henry, who are facing the New Age Outlaws for the
WWF tag team titles.  The Rock promises
to lay the smackdown on both of the Outlaws.
Cole interviews
WWF Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws, who push Cole aside and cut a
ranting promo.  They let Billy Gunn
handle most of the promo work here and that’s just not a good idea.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  The Rock & Mark
Henry defeat The New Age Outlaws (Champions) via disqualification when Chyna
interferes at 7:01:
Conventional TV tag here, with the Road Dogg being placed
in peril, but avoiding a Henry splash to give the hot tag to Billy Gunn.  When all hell breaks loose, Chyna runs in and
tackles Henry to get revenge for last week and that brings this contest to an
end.  Rating:  **¼ (1 for 3)
Tiger Ali Singh
and Baby come out.  Babu is eating
sardines, which Singh says he has been doing for four days.  Babu picks a woman out of the crowd, who is
not wearing a bra, and she gets $600 for French kissing Babu for five
seconds.  After the woman finishes her
task, the Undertaker and Kane interrupt and chokeslam Singh and Babu.  Is Singh ever going to get in the ring?  1 for
4
Southern Justice
beat The Headbangers when Dennis Knight pins Mosh after the Problem Solver
(a.k.a. The Slop Drop) at 4:42:
The WWF is trying really hard to make the fans forget
that Southern Justice used to be the Godwinns, but it just isn’t working.  This is the Headbangers first RAW match in
quite a while.  The Headbangers don’t get
in much aside from some token offense, as Southern Justice beats them down and
then uses a distraction finish to pick up the win.  These two teams just do not gel at all.  Rating:  ½* (1 for 5)
The Undertaker and
Kane arrive outside of Mr. McMahon’s door and cannot get in.  Kane takes a sledgehammer to the door and
breaks it down, but McMahon is not there.
European
Championship Match:  X-Pac defeats D-Lo
Brown (Champion) via disqualification when Jeff Jarrett interferes at 3:15:
Lawler is pretty funny on commentary talking about how
D-Lo’s chest protector constricts his movements and how he has to overcome a
great deal in the ring by using it.  This
match has an accelerated pace, which usually foreshadows interference, and sure
enough, Jeff Jarrett does a run-in before X-Pac can get a three-count after an
X-Factor.  How many interference finishes
can we have tonight?  Rating: 
* (1 for 6)
After the bell,
Jarrett and X-Pac brawl through the crowd and the Undertaker and Kane hit the
ring to go after D-Lo.  The Rock runs to
the ring to defend his friend and hilariously tells off the Undertaker and
Kane, but ends up getting beaten down. 
D-Lo doesn’t stick around and runs away.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your Steve Austin Bad to the Bone t-shirt for $25 (plus $6 shipping
& handling)!
Edge slamming
Sable on top of Marc Mero to end the mixed tag team match at SummerSlam is the
JVC Kaboom! of the Week.
Edge defeats
“Marvelous” Marc Mero (w/Jacqueline) via disqualification when Gangrel
interferes at 1:38:
Some idiot fan thinks they are at an ECW show and tries
to give Edge their chair as he heads to the ring.  We can ANOTHER screwy finish as Gangrel
attacks Edge after he planchas onto Mero on the floor.  Both men brawl in the ring as Kane and the
Undertaker attack Mero by the entrance.
The first part of
Jim Ross’s interview with Al Snow is shown. 
It recaps his rise in ECW and Snow says that the voices that he hears
are like the voice of God that he has opened his mind to hear.  The reasoning given for Snow talking to Head
is that bad gimmicks drove him insane. 
Good interview in flushing out Snow’s character and his
motivations.  2 for 7
Kane and the
Undertaker are shown walking around backstage and in a nice piece of
logical storytelling, it is deserted since no one else wants to become a victim.
The Insane Clown
Posse comes out with the Oddities and perform the Oddities theme music.  Hawk, who is supposed to be with Animal and
Droz, comes out and in a drugged up state dances with them in his LOD 2000
helmet.  I feel bad for laughing at this,
but can’t help it.
The Oddities
(w/The Insane Clown Posse & Luna Vachon) beat LOD 2000 & Darren Drozdov
when Giant Silva pins Hawk after a powerbomb at 1:33:
When Violent J won’t dance with Hawk, he attacks him
before joining his partners on the apron. 
Hawk tags himself in, but he is in no shape to compete and gets pinned
after all hell breaks loose.  The match
was not very good, but this continued the troubled Hawk storyline.
The Undertaker and
Kane beat up a kid who is working on production in the locker room.
Too Much defeat
Miguel Perez & Jesus when Scott Taylor pins Miguel after Brian Christopher
hits Miguel with a Tennessee Jam at 5:07
Los Boricuas is still a thing at this point?  If you weren’t watching Shotgun Saturday
Night, these guys were as good as gone from the company.  Ross is so bored by this show he starts
ranting about misinformation about wrestling on the Internet.  If anyone had a reason to care about these
teams, this match would come off better. 
Rating:  *¾ (3 for 8)
Get a big poster
of Triple H when you buy Stridex pads!
“Double J” Jeff
Jarrett beats Scorpio via disqualification when X-Pac interferes at 4:55:
Jarrett debuts his new ring look here, no longer wearing
the long pants and top that he was synonymous with.  That new look is all he has, though, as I am
just not feeling this feud he has going with X-Pac.  Scorpio makes this interesting with some
rollups, but he misses a moonsault.  When
Jarrett goes to finish, X-Pac runs in and we get yet another disqualification
finish for a match tonight.  They
couldn’t even give Jarrett a victory to bolster his new character?  Rating:  *½ (3 for 9)
After the bell,
Kane and the Undertaker hit the ring and destroy Scorpio with a spike
Tombstone.  McMahon watches the display
with joy by the entrance, but runs when the Undertaker and Kane see him.
The Final Report Card:  Was this Shotgun Saturday Night or Monday
Night Raw?  I don’t mind that they
decided to showcase some different talents on this show, which was not going to
draw a great rating anyway, but did we have to get so many no contests and
interference finishes?  The Undertaker
and Kane destroying everything in their path made sense, but really ruined the
show by the second hour because you thought they would be coming out and
interfering in every match.  If anyone
EVER tries to tell you that Steve Austin was not important in 1998 WWF, just
let them watch this show.  It’s Exhibit A
for why he made the company so awesome during this time.  Without question, this is the worst RAW of
the year up to this point.

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

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 24, 1998

by Logan Scisco
The Undertaker and
Kane are shown walking out of a backstage locker room and down a dark hallway.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania.  We are six days from
SummerSlam.  The Hell in a Cell is
hanging above the ring.

The Undertaker and
Kane walk to the ring together, with the crowd showering the pair with loud
boos.  Vince McMahon arrives after their
entrance and gloats about being right all along.  McMahon tells the Undertaker that with Kane
at his side he will be the next WWF champion, but reminds the Undertaker that
he will need him in the future.  McMahon
demands an answer by the end of the night from the Undertaker about whether he
is considered a friend or a foe.  Paul
Bearer waddles down to the ring and pleads with Kane to turn on the
Undertaker.  The Undertaker responds by
beating down Bearer as Kane stands idly by. 
Mankind runs out and offers himself as a sacrifice and the Undertaker
and Kane beat him down, finishing him off with a spike Tombstone.  Steve Austin walks out to a monstrous
ovation, but is stopped from coming to the ring by a wall of fire.  Austin recognizes that he does not have a
good chance to beat Kane and the Undertaker together, but vows to take someone
out tonight to prevent them both from making it to SummerSlam.  This was one of the better opening segments
of the year as it vindicated McMahon’s theory, put over Kane and the Undertaker
as a destructive force, and set up Austin’s urgency to alter the odds in his
favor before SummerSlam.  1 for 1
Get a big poster
of Triple H when you buy Stridex pads!
Mankind is shown
being put into an ambulance backstage. 
He is clutching his neck from the results of the spike Tombstone he
experienced in the opening segment.
-Opening
Contest:  Ken Shamrock beats Dan Severn
via disqualification when Owen Hart interferes at 2:51:
This is billed as “Shamrock-Severn III,” with the first
two taking place in the UFC.  The fact
that the WWF is giving away this bout on free TV is an indication of how they
no longer see much money potential in a match between these two.  Severn dominates Shamrock until Owen Hart
does a run-in and places Shamrock in a dragon sleeper.  Steve Blackman eventually makes the save, but
when he tries to restrain Shamrock, he eats a belly-to-belly suplex.  Blackman quickly recovers and gives Shamrock
a taste of his own medicine, though, and gets one of the bigger pops of his
career.  Severn’s style just does not fit
in a WWF ring and his Irish whips are some of the weakest I have ever seen.
Medical personnel
are shown knocked out backstage and Mankind is shown wheeling a stretcher
toward the ring.  I think Russo got this
idea from Silence of the Lambs
After the break, Mankind hilariously surfs the stretcher down the ramp
and tosses a bag of thumbtacks into the ring. 
Mankind vows to get revenge on Kane tonight, as Vince McMahon has booked
them to face off in the Hell in a Cell. 
He vows to go the top of the Cell and toss Kane through it or off of
it.  He also promises to make Kane the
world’s largest pin cushion.  2 for 2
Highlights of the
Undertaker-Mankind Hell in a Cell match at the King of the Ring are shown.
Kurrgan (w/Sable)
beats “Marvelous” Marc Mero via disqualification when Mero uses a low blow at
1:44:
Mero has been leaking heat since Over the Edge and this
quasi-feud with the Oddities is not doing anything for him.  Kurrgan’s attire is more befitting a role in Pirates of the Caribbean than a
wrestling match.  As Kurrgan beats up
Mero in the ring, Jacqueline comes out from the crowd and assaults Sable.  The referee catches Mero cheating and after
the bell, Mero and Jacqueline escape through the crowd.  Okay, Mero has a big midcard match at
SummerSlam and they still couldn’t give him a token win here?!?
X-Pac guides the
camera crew to the locker room, where he urinates in Jeff Jarrett’s boots.
The New Age
Outlaws defeat Southern Justice when The Road Dogg pins Dennis Knight after a
Billy Gunn piledriver at 3:15:
Before the match, an inebriated Hawk joins the commentary
team.  Shortly after the bell rings, Jeff
Jarrett comes down, rips off Hawk’s headset, and rants about X-Pac’s
prank.  The actions with Hawk and Jarrett
prevent a lot of focus going to the match, which is just an abbreviated tag
team encounter.  After the bell, Jarrett
and Southern Justice shave the head of a camera man that did not follow
Jarrett’s instructions to film him from the waist up since he did not have his
wrestling boots on.  Rating:  ½* (2 for 3)
Hell in a Cell
Match:  Kane (w/The Undertaker) defeats
Mankind via disqualification when Steve Austin interferes at 7:30:
In another twist on the “tag team partners that hate each
other” Russo staple, we have tag team champions fighting in the Cell.  Referees prevent Mankind from climbing to the
top of the Cell, so he takes them out, but then he can’t toss a chair to the
top of the structure.  After that,
Mankind tries to climb again, but the Undertaker pulls him off during his climb
and Mankind goes through the Spanish announce table.  When the bout finally gets in the ring,
Mankind rallies to make a fight of this, but Kane cannot be stopped and gives
his partner a Tombstone on a chair before Steve Austin comes from underneath
the ring and annihilates him with a chair. 
I know that I have said this before, but it is unreal how many sick
bumps Mankind took in the summer of 1998. 
This was a great brawl, even though elements of it came off like a
parody of the King of the Ring match.  Rating: 
***¼ (3 for 4)
After the bell,
the Undertaker tries to get in the Cell to help his brother, but when he climbs
to the top of the Cell and tries to break in, Vince McMahon raises the Cell to
“protect his investment” for SummerSlam. 
The crowd loves all of this, just as they did for Bray Wyatt-Daniel
Bryan earlier this year.
Following the
commercial break, the Undertaker accuses Steve Austin of being a coward.  As the Undertaker speaks, Kane is shown
bleeding through his mask.  The
Undertaker promises to extract revenge on Austin before the end of the show.
Chyna comes out to
confront the Rock and the Rock arrives with the Nation in tow.  The Rock shows Chyna on the Titantron that
D-Generation X has been barricaded in their locker room and proceeds to gloat
about how he is going to beat Triple H at SummerSlam.  The Rock accuses Chyna of having the hots for
him and says she “needs to get some.” 
When Chyna tries to attack him, the Nation restrains her on her knees
and the Rock teases forcibly kissing her before refusing.  He tells Mark Henry to do the deed, but
before Henry can make that happen, Shawn Michaels makes a surprise run in and
smashes Henry with a chair.  This was a
well arranged, albeit uncomfortable segment and it is highly doubtful you will
see something like this on TV again. 
That said, it really made you really hate the Rock and the surprise run
in was icing on the cake.  4 for 5
Shawn Michaels
stays to do guest commentary for the rest of the show.
Val Venis
wrestles Taka Michinoku (w/Yamaguchi-San & Mrs. Yamaguchi-San) to a no
contest when Triple H runs in at 1:01:
This match is designed for Venis to get some of his heat
back from losing to Michinoku in last week’s gauntlet match.  Both men wrestle at about 100 mph and Venis quickly
hits the Money Shot, but an angry Triple H beats both men with a chair.  Triple H vows to make the Rock “his bitch” at
SummerSlam.  The crowd pops big for that.
The complete
“Highway to Hell” music video hyping Steve Austin-The Undertaker at SummerSlam
is shown.
X-Pac beats
Gangrel via disqualification when Jeff Jarrett interferes at 1:34:
This is a good match while it lasts, with Gangrel using
some quick power moves to counter X-Pac’s aerial offense.  X-Pac hits the Bronco Buster in the corner,
but Jarrett runs in and smashes X-Pac over the head with a guitar.
After the match,
Edge runs in and attacks Gangrel to set up a small feud between both men.
The Undertaker is
shown wheeling a casket to the ring.
Bart Gunn’s
knockouts are the Stridex Triple Action segment.
Brawl for All
Championship:  Bart Gunn defeats Bradshaw
via knockout at 41 seconds of the first round:
Bradshaw hasn’t been much of a puncher all tournament and
it finally catches up to him here, as Bart keeps him at a sufficient distance
to prevent a takedown and then catches him with a right hook for the win.  I scream rigged for this bout because on the
first knockdown, Gunn clearly whiffed. 
Shawn Michaels says Bart is going to use this $75,000 victory to reach
new heights in the company, but sadly that was not to be.  5 for
6
Michael Cole
interviews Vince McMahon, who says that he will get his answer from the
Undertaker by the end of the show tonight. 
He threatens to throw Cole around like the rest of the locker room
unless he quickly gets out of his office.
Druids wheel a
casket to ringside and the Undertaker proceeds to walk out and cut a generic
promo about wanting to take the WWF title at SummerSlam.  He calls out Steve Austin, but Vince McMahon
comes out instead and demands an answer to his question.  The Undertaker smiles, so McMahon extends a
hand in friendship, but just ends up getting chokeslammed.  After that, Austin comes out of the casket
and gets ready to throw down with the Undertaker, but the casket opens a second
time to reveal Kane, who attacks Austin from behind.  Austin eventually gets out of the situation
and backs away with a chair.  As Austin
backs up toward the entrance, a line of fire, symbolizing the Highway to Hell, is
created in a great visual to end the show. 
6 for 7
The Final Report Card:  This is one of the better “go home” RAWs that
the WWF has put together in quite a while. 
The intrigue surrounding the main event is at an all-time high and the
Rock-Triple H ladder match has a ton of heat on it as a result of this
show.  Regardless of what the rating
said, this was one of the most entertaining episodes of RAW for 1998.
This is our announced SummerSlam card:
*WWF Championship Match:  Steve Austin (Champion) vs. The Undertaker
*Ladder Match for the Intercontinental
Championship:  The Rock (Champion) vs.
Triple H
*Lion’s Den Match:  Ken Shamrock vs. Owen Hart
*Mixed Tag Team Match:  Sable & Mystery Partner vs. Marc Mero
& Jacqueline
*Hair vs. Hair Match:  X-Pac vs. Jeff Jarrett
Monday Night War Rating:  4.7 (vs. 5.2 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – August 17, 1998

by Logan Scisco

Steve Austin unsuccessful in getting into Vince McMahon’s office in the locker
room area.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are taped from Des Moines,
Iowa.

A hearse backs up
into the arena to the “Highway to Hell” song, but Steve Austin comes out the
driver’s side door, pulls out a casket, and then opens the casket to grab a
beer.  Austin walks to the ring and calls
Vince McMahon out.  After some delay,
McMahon arrives with his stooges.  Austin
pledges to beat the Undertaker in the ring tonight and stuff him in the hearse
he brought to the arena.  He warns
McMahon to get out of his way because otherwise, he is going to end up in the
hearse himself.  A simple segment that
gave some motivation for Austin’s actions later in the show.  1 for
1
Get a big poster
of Triple H when you buy Stridex pads!
Opening Triple
Threat Contest:  Dan Severn defeats Ken
Shamrock and Owen Hart when he makes Shamrock submit to a dragon sleeper at 4:43:
This was the first time that Shamrock and Severn opposed
each other in a WWF ring, but they do not mix it up, as Severn just watches
Shamrock fight Owen during the match. 
After three and a half minutes, Severn finally gets involved by breaking
up a Shamrock pin attempt and then putting him in a dragon sleeper to break up
the ankle lock.  It’s about time someone
used that strategy in a triple threat match. 
Rating:  **½ (2 for 2)
After
the bell, Severn refuses to release the hold until Steve Blackman comes out and
Severn proceeds to put Blackman in a dragon sleeper.  As Severn leaves the ring, he gives Owen a
high five, thereby turning heel.  When
Shamrock comes to, he gets in Commissioner Slaughter’s face about what just
took place.
Brawl for All Semi-Finals:  Bart Gunn defeats The Godfather (w/Hos) via
knockout at 20 seconds of the third round:
“Bill Clinton” calls into the show and makes some Monica
Lewinsky jokes.  The Godfather refuses to
let Bart Gunn choose the ho option since Bart attacked him on last week’s
show.  The Godfather lands a few hard
jabs, but Bart lands some hard shots at the end of the second round and
proceeds to knock him out with a right hand in the third.  Bart gloats to Ross about his victory after
the bout.  3 for 3
Ken Shamrock and
Steve Blackman are shown tossing things around the locker room as they search
for Owen Hart and Dan Severn.
Michael Cole says
that Owen Hart’s special trainer for the Lion’s Den match at SummerSlam will be
Dan Severn.
Gangrel beats
“Too Sexy” Brian Christopher (w/Scott Taylor) with an Implant DDT at 1:03:
This was Gangrel’s RAW debut.  It’s a shame that the character never went
anywhere because it had one of the best entrances in wrestling history.  Edge takes an interest in Gangrel’s entrance,
raising his sunglasses to get a better view from the crowd.  Gangrel makes short work of Christopher in
what is a somewhat sloppy squash.
Ken Shamrock tells
Cole that he is going to break every bone in Owen Hart’s body at
SummerSlam.  Cole runs away as Shamrock
and Steve Blackman continue to break things. 
Blackman breaks things in the most unemotional way possible, which
cracks me up.
D-Generation X and
the Nation of Domination, who are scheduled to face off in a street fight later
tonight, are shown brawling backstage as WWF officials desperately try to break
things up.
The Disciples of
Apocalypse (w/Paul Ellering) beat Scorpio & Faarooq when Skull pins Scorpio
with a small package after an illegal switch at 4:31:
“President Clinton” calls back in and gloats about the
state of the economy.  Scorpio and
Faarooq were undefeated up to this point, but the greatness that is DOA must be
continued at all costs and they lose here. 
In fairness, the loss happens in cheap fashion, as the DX-Nation brawl descends
on the ringside area and distracts the referee, who misses Scorpio pinning
8-Ball after a 450.  Scorpio made this
match better than one might expect, but the wrong team went over.  Rating:  **¼ (3 for 4)
Call 815-734-1161
to get your Steve Austin Bad to the Bone t-shirt for $25 (plus $6 shipping
& handling)!
Street
Fight:  The Nation of Domination wrestle
D-Generation X to a no contest at 6:24:
For this match, the combatants are allowed to bring
whatever weapons they like to the ring, but no one is ingenious enough to
bring the kitchen sink.  This is actually
four-on-three, since the Godfather getting knocked out earlier in the show
precluded him from participating. 
There’s tons of head trauma in this from the weapons shots, and it is
somewhat unsettling to hear Jim Ross casually remark on the possibility of
concussions.  Near the end of the bout,
Jeff Jarrett and Southern Justice attack X-Pac and Jarrett cuts off some of
X-Pac’s hair.  Jarrett and Southern
Justice allow the Nation to isolate Triple H, who beat him down with a ladder,
thereby planting the seeds for the type of match that will take place between
the Rock and Triple H at SummerSlam.  In
a puzzling development, the Nation choose to just walk out after this beatdown
instead of pinning Triple H, so that gives us a no contest.  Then again, the carnage lets us know who the
real winners were.  This was a fun brawl
that advanced two storylines for SummerSlam 
Rating:  *** (4 for 5)
Tiger Ali Singh
gives $500 to a fan for licking between his servant Babu’s toes.  You see, Babu has been working out all day
and is nasty.  The less said about this
segment the better.  4 for 6
Sable interfering
in the Luna Vachon-Jacqueline match on last week’s show is the Stridex Triple
Action segment.
Arm Wrestling
Match:  Sable beats Jacqueline by
disqualification:
This stemmed from a challenge that Jacqueline issued on
Sunday Night Heat.  There are few gimmick
matches in wrestling that I hate more than arm wrestling contests.  This is no exception as Jacqueline pulls her
hand away when Sable is going to win and turns the table over on her.  Jacqueline then breaks the bikini contest
trophy over Sable’s back before the Oddities make the save.  So, we’ve had disqualifications in a bikini
contest AND an arm wrestling match between these two!  4 for
7
Cole interviews
Val Venis, who is facing Kaientai in a gauntlet match tonight.  Venis says he is conditioned to “run all
night long.”
Darren Drozdov
shows us his tattoos on the latest installment of “Droz’s World.”  I’m not sure what the purpose of these
segments happens to be since they aren’t giving Droz a sustained push at the
moment.
Brawl for All
Semi-Finals:  Bradshaw defeats Darren
Drozdov via decision:
Droz’s “tale of the tape” emphasizes his ability to puke
on command.  I wonder if that would be
against the rules of the Brawl for All. 
This is a good slugfest and Bradshaw blocks several of Droz’s takedown
attempts.  Bradshaw lands more punches
and advances to the finals next week against Bart Gunn.  5 for
8
The announcers
tell us that Al Snow is back in the WWF. 
No reason is given as to why that King of the Ring stipulation was not
upheld, but there you have it.  Al Snow
talks with Head at a bar and mocks how he is returning to the WWF to be part of
the “JOB Squad.”
Dustin Runnels
reminds us that our bodies are a temple.
Sable comes out
and demands Jacqueline to come out and fight. 
Jacqueline and Marc Mero appear on the Titantron and Jacqueline responds
by challenging Sable to a mixed tag match at SummerSlam.  Before Sable can issue a response, the
Oddities burst into Mero and Jacqueline’s locker room and attack them.  Won’t heels ever learn that allowing your
opponent to choose a mystery partner never turns out well?
Cole reminds us of
Steve Austin’s promise earlier in the show.
Gauntlet
Match:  Kaientai (w/Yamaguchi-San) beats
Val Venis when Taka Michinoku pins Venis after a Michinoku Driver at 7:55:
Order of
Elimination:  Venis pins Men’s Teioh with
a fisherman’s suplex at 1:12; Venis pins Funaki with a powerslam at 1:26; Venis
pins Dick Togo with the Money Shot at 4:20
The stipulation for this match is that if Venis wins that
he gets five minutes with Yamaguchi-San. 
“President Clinton” calls in for the last time to make more jokes about
Ms. Lewinsky.  This has some good work
rate, especially the Togo and Michinoku portions, but the crowd does not care
because they have been conditioned to see Kaientai as a joke.  Venis runs through three of Kaintenai’s
members, but Michinoku beats him clean.  Rating: 
*** (6 for 9)
-After the bout,
Kaientai pound away on Venis and then Mrs. Yamaguchi-San comes out to slap
him.  However, Venis grabs a squirt gun
shaped like a penis and squirts it all over his adversaries, causing them to flee.  I could have done without all of that.
The Undertaker and
Steve Austin come out for their confrontation, but when the Undertaker throws
his hair back we find out that it is actually Kane.  Kane and Austin brawl back to the hearse,
where Austin tosses Kane into the back. 
However, when Austin goes to drive away, he cannot get in and the
Undertaker is shown in the driver’s seat. 
The Undertaker drives away as “Highway to Hell” is played over the
loudspeakers.  This was a great ending
for the show and I always mark out a little when I see that the Undertaker is
in the front seat.  7 for 10
The Final Report Card:  The rating of the show seemed to be hurt by
the lack of Austin segments, but I was okay with not having the main event
angle dominate the show.  We have had our
fair share of the Undertaker, Kane, Mankind, and Austin in recent months so it
was good to get a break from all of it. 
Despite the rating, this show had two good
Brawl for All matches and gave the audience an entertaining street fight and
gauntlet match.  You cannot ask for much
more than that during this era.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.2 (vs. 4.9 for Nitro)

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