Monday Night Raw
Date: March 2, 1998
Location: Gund Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Commentators: Jerry Lawler, Kevin Kelly, Michael Cole, Jim Ross
The main idea tonight is Austin vs. Kane and the fact that Tyson and DX are both here live tonight. Other than that there isn’t much else going on here but do you really need there to be anything else? Counting this one there are four Raws left before the big show which is what we really need to get to. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of Shawn/Austin/Tyson and how that finally advances tonight.
Cue theme song. Bret is still in the opening.
Here’s DX to open things up. HHH says the Road to Wrestlemania officially begins tonight. Mania is going to be x-rated and discretion will be advised, but ignored. The not yet Game says he’s going to go through Owen like butter. Sexual innuendos are added and it’s time for Shawn to talk about Tyson. DX has an offer for Tyson which he can’t refuse.
Shawn talks about facing Austin at Mania and that Austin isn’t tough enough to beat Shawn. I love lines that are funnier in today’s context. A little chin music is promised for later. Cue Austin who goes nose to nose with Shawn but the lights go out and there’s the organ music. DX clears out and here comes Kane.
Bearer says Austin doesn’t have to worry about Wrestlemania. Austin hits the floor and grabs Cole’s headset (not sure why he didn’t just get the mic that was in the ring) and says he’ll beat up Kane tonight. Apparently he’s going to do some commentary. Ok no he’s not as he just wanted to rant for a bit. Weak opening segment actually.
Tyson gets here with a bunch of bodyguards. I’ve never gotten that: he’s the world boxing champion. Wouldn’t he be able to beat up just about anyone on his own?
Here are the tag champions. The Outlaws are in neck braces and street clothes after the attack from Cactus and Funk last week. There’s a dumpster at ringside also. They’re going to press murder charges against the hardcore dudes. They show a clip from the attack from a camera Road Dogg was holding which is kind of a cool idea. The Outlaws have a doctor’s excuse and can’t wrestle tonight. Slaughter pops up and says they’re wrestling anyway for the titles.
Tag Titles: Disciples of Apocalypse vs. New Age Outlaws
Skull and 8-Ball here. Big brawl to start of course and Billy’s neck brace is ripped off. 8-Ball and Road Dogg in the ring with a spinebuster for the canine. Everyone to the floor now as Billy gets a belt shot in to break the momentum. Cactus and Chainsaw Charlie pop out of the dumpster and the Outlaws run away for the count out after maybe a minute.
Video on Sable, with the idea being that Sable is insanely popular but Marc Mero, the guy she manages, is ticked off about it.
Mania moment is from Mania 11 with Salt N Peppa introducing Lawrence Taylor.
Marc Mero vs. Tom Brandi
Why did Brandi keep getting TV time? Sable looks a lot better with straight hair to say the least. She gets sent to the back almost immediately by Mero so Brandi jumps him to start. Brandi allegedly has momentum. Uh….sure. Bulldog gets no cover as Brandi hammers away. Mero takes over with a powerbomb and here comes Luna. LOUD Sable chant starts up as Brandi counters the TKO. Gordbuster gets two for the big Italian (their words not mine). Some Luna interference and a low blow sets up the TKO to end this. Too short to grade again.
Luna kisses Mero post match. Goldust gets all ticked off and comes down for the beatdown because of course Luna isn’t at fault here. Sable comes out for the save. This set up a weird tag match at Mania as Mero was a face for it after being heel the entire time leading up to it.
European Title: Owen Hart vs. Mark Henry
Slaughter throws the Nation out and Owen starts fast, going after the knees. Chyna strolls out as this has literally been all Owen. Her distraction lets Henry get a shot in and here comes the fat man. Splash in the corner hits as does an elbow for two. Sharpshooter attempt as the power vs. speed match is in full effect. Henry busts out a belly to belly suplex of all things as the crowd is so stunned they’re silent. They’re so stunned that they were silent before the move hit.
Leg drop misses but the Sharpshooter still can’t work. Corner splash misses and Owen fights back with a top rope dropkick to put Henry down. Enziguri hits as we hear about Owen being the most decorated amateur wrestler out of all the Harts. Sharpshooter finally goes on but Chyna distracts him and he lets it go. Up he goes but Chyna shoves him into the bearhug but Chyna hits Henry low to give Owen the win via DQ so that HHH won’t have to face Henry at Mania.
Rating: C-. Just a power vs. speed match here to set up the ending which is fine. There wasn’t much they could do at the time as the match was set in stone and they didn’t want to let the guys go at it before the PPV. This is where the differences shine through between the two shows: back in this era a random match like this was perfectly normal. Today everyone would see it and say it would be a swerve. That’s not good and if it changed things would go way up in value.
Chyna says she did that because she can.
Vince is talking to Mike Tyson.
Rock N Roll Express/Barry Windham vs. Headbangers/Taka Michinoku
The NWA is on its last legs here (the stable that is. The company had been dead for years by this point) as by Mania they would be gone for all intents and purposes. The Headbangers won the NWA tag titles last week remember. The Headbangers say the Express is old. Taka calls Cornette a jackass. Most vs. Gibson to start and Gibson can’t get a backslide.
The Express double teams as only they can. I love how (typically) faces like them can get away with whatever they want but because they’re popular it’s ok. Hogan was notorious for it. Everything breaks down quickly as Taka gets a HUGE dive to take out Windham. Cornette tries to come in with the tennis racket but Thrasher gets it and a shot to Gibson ends this. Too short to grade again.
Cornette wants a rematch for the titles next week. No answer given but I’d assume it happens.
Time for hour #2.
Here’s Vince to bring out Tyson. He asks if Tyson will be the enforcer at Mania and who Tyson picks to win. DX interrupts before he can answer though and we have about 10 referees and suits in there already. Shaw says he respects Tyson but officially calls Tyson out right here and now. Tyson says let’s do it and the ring clears out.
Shawn takes his jacket off and Tyson gets ready as well. GREAT reaction for this. They get in each others’ face but Shawn pulls the shirt off Tyson, revealing a DX shirt. This was the answer for setting drama because there was no way Austin wasn’t winning the title at Mania. In short, IT WORKED. Vince is furious. Shawn says he runs this show and the celebration is on.
Back from a break and the announcers talk about how big of a moment that was and for once they’re right.
DX and company celebrates.
Steve Blackman vs. Kama Mustafa
More Nation vs. Blackman here, who is a martial artist according to his Titantron video. The Nation is thrown out by Slaughter again. Kama is more famous as Godfather. They trade some kicks before Blackman grabs a headlock to start. Some kicks send Kama to the floor as this isn’t very interesting. It’s not bad but I really have a limited desire to watch these two have a match.
Cross body off the top gets two for Steve. It’s a striking contest for a few minutes until Blackman gets his submission on but Rock and Faarooq run in for the DQ. No rating AGAIN. There may be seven matches on a show but they’re all really short which is getting annoying. Shamrock comes out for the save.
Tennessee Lee, the former Colonel Parker, introduces Jeff Jarrett. Oh I forgot about this period for him. He’s a country singer again here. Jeff wishes the NWA good luck but says he was too multi-dimensional for them. Jarrett introduces the aforementioned Tennessee Lee as his promoter.
Flash Funk vs. Jeff Jarrett
Funk is 2 Cold Scorpio as a pimp. They start off fast and Jarrett struts a bit. Given the whole brand new gimmick here, the ending is in very little doubt. Basic stuff so far with Jarrett mostly controlling while Lawler spells the names of the heels over and over. Funk gets a backdrop and that’s about it for his offense at the moment. Trouble in Paradise hits for two. You figure out who used it. Lee shoves him off during the attempt at the 450 and the Figure Four ends this with ease.
Rating: D+. Just a match again here as Jarrett looks dominant. He would use this dead end gimmick for months and added the Godwins as Southern Justice soon and even fewer people would care. The whole thing went nowhere and no one cared in the slightest. He would eventually cut his hair and things got a lot better for him very quickly.
Gennifer Flowers, a woman that had an affair with Bill Clinton back in the early 90s and hasn’t meant anything in 13 years, will be at Wrestlemania.
Tyson doesn’t really say anything about joining DX.
Video on the Road Warriors splitting last week after the changes in WWF caught up with them. They grew up together and we get a video on their career. Animal in an Austin shirt is kind of weird to see.
Here comes Kane for the big showdown with Austin. I guess this is a match.
Kane vs. Steve Austin
Bearer talks about how Austin will be placed next to Taker. Austin is in wrestling gear so yeah we’ll…..and never mind as DX jumps Austin as he comes through the curtain. No Tyson anywhere to be seen. Ok so I guess it wasn’t a match.
Back from a break and Kane is still in the ring with Bearer. Bearer wants the bell but instead Kane grabs a plant and beats the tar out of him. Now he gets the bell and the timekeeper as Bearer wants a ten bell salute to the dead Undertaker. Naturally the timekeeper takes a sick chokeslam and a tombstone on top of that. Bearer says Kane has one tombstone left and wants to know who it should be for.
And then a gong rang. About twelve of them actually. The full music kicks on and there’s a coffin on the stage. A lightning bolt strikes it and after a few seconds (Jerry: SIT UP MARK!) Taker sits up and the ovation is ridiculous. He’s on a wireless mic so the visual looks a lot better. Taker asks if that was the best that Kane could do at the Rumble because it wasn’t enough. Bearer’s face is awesome here as he’s stunned.
Taker says he was in the world of darkness because he wanted to be. This time he was soothing the souls of his parents because he had to explain to them that he had to do the one thing he promised to never do. Paul cuts him off before he can say it. Kane tries to shoot fire at Taker but he walks right through it, saying he’ll walk through the fires of hell to face his brother. The word Wrestlemania is uttered and I think you know where we’re going with this. There won’t be a mother and father to save Kane this time and he will Rest. In. Peace.
Overall Rating: B. Well obviously the whole thing here was about building stories for Mania and not the matches and that’s just fine. This stuff actually made me want to pop in Mania 14 which is the right idea here. The wrestling more or less didn’t exist but the big angles and the stuff that happened here really shifted things into high gear for Mania. With three Raws to go and about 18 months before Smackdown debuted, that’s very important.
Thanks for writing all of these, man...very well-written and a great way to pass the time. I wish I could go back to 1998.
Monday Night Raw
Date: March 9, 1998
Location: Civic Center, Wheeling, West Virginia
Commentators: Jim Ross, Kevin Kelly, Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler
We get even closer to Mania here as we have this plus two other Raws before we finally hit the big night. Last week Taker returned and Tyson joined DX, meaning that we’re officially set on all major matches as we also have Owen vs. HHH ready to go. There really isn’t much to say about these shows as they kind of keep coming and going. Let’s get to it.
We get a recap of last week which is more or less exactly what I just told you. I could so do Michael Cole’s job.
Faarooq/The Rock vs. Steve Blackman/Ken Shamrock
Rock chills behind the Nation to make sure the spotlight is on him. Some people call him Rocky Maivia here and others call Him the Rock so screw the whole figuring what his official name is. Everyone knows him as the Rock so we’ll go with that. Great pop for Shamrock. This feud has gone on for a good while but would end soon as DX would rise up and turn face to fight the Nation.
Blackman vs. Faarooq to start us off and Blackman surprisingly controls so far. Off to Kenny who kicks Simmons’ head off but gets caught in a spinebuster out of nowhere. Off to the Great One who hits the yet unnamed People’s Elbow. It’s The Big Elbow here. It’s an historic moment as Kelly drops the name People’s Elbow for I believe the first time. Ladies and gentlemen, Kelly actually did something noteworthy!
Back to the starters but Rock is in maybe a second later. Small package gets two for Blackman before Rock remembers that he’s the Rock and Steve Blackman is Steve Blackman and beats him down with ease. We get Shamrock vs. Rock which is the whole point of this match and it’s all Shamrock here. Powerslam gets a fast counted two. Hurricanrana hits and everything breaks down. Yep the Nation interferes and it’s thrown out.
Rating: D+. Barely even a match here but it set up Shamrock vs. Rock a bit more. I don’t think anyone thought the match itself was going to go anywhere which is the right idea. Nothing of note here but at least it was quick. I think Blackman kind of fell by the wayside soon after this.
Post match Rock wants Shamrock on his own so Ken is able to beat him down as Farrooq lets the beating continue. Ankle lock goes on and the Nation is being held back by their boss.
Here’s DX to talk about Mike Tyson apparently. We see a clip from last week where Tyson joined DX which was indeed a big moment. HHH says the show is X-Rated and discretion is advised but will be completely ignored. No Shawn here. He threatens Owen with fear of Chyna and says Shawn isn’t here tonight. We do get a pre-taped video from Shawn who brags about last week. He says I told you so and that he beat up Shawn because that’s what he said he’d do. Shawn looks bombed here. He’s going to win at Mania though. Trips and Chyna sit down for commentary on the next match.
European Title: Owen Hart vs. Barry Windham
See, this is what WWE doesn’t have today: random guys they can throw into a match like this to keep the same four people from having the same matches every week. This is more about HHH talking than the match itself which is just a basic power vs. speed match. We keep having technical difficulties which I have a feeling might be Taker related but I’m not sure.
Owen takes over for a bit but gets taken down by a lariat for no cover. He gets thrown to the floor for a bit before coming back and hammering away at the ribs for a bit. HHH implies there’s nothing to worry about as far as Owen losing the title here which implies shenanigans to be sure. Missile dropkick puts Barry (what an awesome name that is) down and looks to set up the Sharpshooter but Cornette interferes, only to cause Windham to hit the floor. And there’s a low blow from Chyna to give Barry the win via countout.
Rating: D+. Match was just there as we knew it would be HHH or Chyna likely interfering to give us a fishy ending. Not much of a match here but it did its job I guess. I really don’t have much to say here at all as we’re just killing time before we get to Owen vs. HHH at Mania where HHH made sure to get rid of Owen and let HHH become a bigger star.
Post match Bradshaw comes in to beat on Windham a bit.
Sable and Mero have some kind of a match later involving handcuffs.
Austin is going to be here soon.
Lawler goes to talk to Kane and Bearer who don’t want to talk about the Undertaker but rather Vader. Vader’s eye is messed up so let’s talk about Taker. Something keeps slamming shut and they’re not sure what it is. All the wooden locker doors open and close a lot so everyone not named Kane runs.
Aguila vs. Brian Christopher
Aguila is Essa Rios in a mask. I was right: the technical problems are just happening. The production people can’t explain them. Most interesting indeed. Christopher and his orange/pink tights of doom attack an apparently sick Aguila. Eagle (what Aguila means) tries to speed things up as he looks exactly like Juventud Guerrera which never occurred to me before.
Aguila gets an Asai Moonsault (actually called that) kills Christopher as the lights flicker again. Christopher hits a Skull Crushing Finale and a falling tombstone (tombstone position, Piledriver execution, meaning he fell backwards) for no cover. Neckbreaker hits as does a kind of weak sunset bomb to the floor (Aguila landed on Christopher’s leg which is probably a good thing) as this has been one sided so far.
The masked dude comes back with a top rope armdrag and a missile dropkick for no cover. Rana hits but there’s no cover again as the lights flicker a bit more. Lawler and Taka (with Aguila here) get into it on the floor and Lawler crotches Aguila on the top rope for the cheap DQ ending. Aguila would fight Taka at Mania for the title.
Rating: C. Better match than I expected here as Aguila was always fun to watch and Christopher knows how to wrestle as a hell which you learn about as fast as you learn how to read in Memphis. Fun match but Too Much/Too Cool was coming soon to end the whole Christopher light heavyweight thing. Anyway, fun little match.
Wrestlemania Moment is the battle royal from Mania 2.
Austin is here and walks straight into the arena sans music. That’s something they could do to make things seem more spontaneous: have people just show up instead of music loaded and all that jazz. He’s seen all the clips tonight and is all ticked off about them. Austin calls for the video of Vince calling Tyson unquestionably the baddest man on the planet. He’s going to sit in the ring until Vince comes out here to get this straight.
Instead he gets Jack Lanza and Gerald Brisco. This isn’t going to go well is it? They leave so here comes Slaughter who Austin says won’t do anything because Mania is right around the corner. Vince is seen in the back scared to death. Austin says Vince has about 30 seconds to get out here before he gets destroyed.
We take a break and come back to see Austin sending Patterson away as well. Austin is still waiting as the second hour (rated TV-PG) begins. Here are Vince, Brisco, Slaughter and Patterson. Hebner is there too as Austin yells at Vince a lot. Vince finally gets in the ring and Austin wants confirmation that he’s the toughest guy in the world. Vince says it was a figure of speech so Austin flips him off.
Austin thinks Vince doesn’t want Austin to be champion so Austin wants to fight. Vince gets berated by Austin who completely humiliates him. He begs Vince to hit him but Vince stands his ground. Austin gives him ten seconds to get out and at ten Vince leaves. Vince promises vengeance as he leaves but Austin is already ranting about HHH, saying he’ll take care of him tonight. This was a sign of things to come with Austin vs. Vince and you can see the awesome building coming.
Quebecers vs. Cactus Jack/Chainsaw Charlie
For the life of me I don’t get why the Quebecers kept being put on TV. It’s a brawl to start us off until we get down to Funk vs. Jacques with Funk getting a neckbreaker for two. The monitors go out for a bit as I guess even the production guys don’t want to watch this show. The Quebecers take over and beat on Funk for a bit. I can’t bring myself to say he’s playing Morton. I just can’t do it.
In something you never hear, the schedule has to be changed because Austin’s rant too up too much time so the NWA tag title match has been moved to Superstars. See, that’s a nice touch because so often you have something run long or something brand new announced (say an impromptu match) and the time fits out perfectly. What did they have originally slotted into the time for that? I love little things like that and it’s what people mean when they say giving their fans credit.
Hot tag to Cactus who cleans house with relative ease. JR gets on Lawler for the whole Brian Christopher is really your son thing which was always good for a laugh. Cactus destroys everyone but Funk misses a moonsault. Pierre gets a rana to Cactus off the top for two. And never mind as Cactus gets a double arm DDT to Jacques for the relatively easy pin.
Rating: D. Match again was just kind of there which really isn’t something that I can stand. Foley was in this tag team for like ever but he would be turned heel quickly after Mania to be dude Love and the big heel to be Austin’s first opponent for the title. Oh and the Quebecers suck. Yeah that’s it.
Road Dogg comes out to yell at the hardcore dudes. His arm is in a sling but he challenges both guys. Cactus goes for him and Billy runs through the crowd with a chair shot for Funk’s back.
Here comes Kane as Lawler panics. Bearer says that Taker shouldn’t have come back. The more he thinks about Taker coming back the hotter he gets. Kane is like an oven apparently but before that can be fully explained there’s the gong and there go the lights. They pop on and Taker is standing behind them but as they turn the lights go out again. He’s gone when they come back up so Bearer rants a bit more.
Raw is on Tuesday next week. I’ll never remember that.
Goldust vs. Marc Mero
The respective chicks are cuffed to posts for this. Goldie is still the artist here but he’s in Goldust attire here but the top is like a t-shirt instead of full sleeves. BIG pop for Sable as Mero is kind of a face here I think but it’s not really clear. Luna keeps licking the cuffs. Mero takes over to start and hits a running knee lift and dominates to start.
They chase each other around the ring and we’re told HHH gets to have security for the thing with Austin later. Luna distracts Mero and Goldie takes over. They do some basic stuff and we get to the ref bump that was the point of the match. Curtain Call to Mero and Goldie drops a leg on the referee. He gets the key for the cuffs and lets Luna loose. Match is thrown out somewhere around here so we’ll say it was too short to rate.
Luna goes to Sable and covers her face with makeup, making it all black and blue and purple. This is the weird psychological stuff you don’t get enough of anymore. Sable screams a lot as Mero wakes up.
Celebrities will be at Mania.
Time for Tyson’s explanation as to why he joined DX. First it’s a flashback, setting up the whole thing. This is set up like a weird short film complete with cast. During this we get one of those annoying sportscasters that make fun of wrestling by calling Ausint and Michaels Tyson’s Wrestlemania pals. I give up. They list off production credits for the footage and now it’s time to talk to Mike.
Naturally it’s pre-recorded but that goes without saying, which is probably why I canlled it natural. Tyson says it was about a lack of respect, namely on Austin’s part. The fact that Tyson might have been insane made the swerve at Mania make all the more sense. We get into a near philosophical discussion between Tyson and Ross about using people and Tyson said no one has ever treated him fair….and that’s it.
Savio Vega vs. HHH
This is just to set up Austin’s run in as there are like 8 people at ringside before HHH gets there. And of course it lasts about 9 seconds before Austin shows up. He beats a few random people up before Shawn unexpectedly pops in and kicks him. He has a chair ready to swing at an out cold Austin as we go off the air ala Nitro.
Overall Rating: C. They were going for more build for the two big matches tonight and that’s fine, but at the same time it doesn’t mean that the matches they had on weren’t boring. None of them meant anything and somehow Brian freaking Christopher had the best match of the night. Let that sink in for a few seconds. Anyway, pretty dull show here but they built up the PPV and anytime Austin gets to get in people’s faces it’s great stuff. Call it right in the middle.
Great review, man.
I've seen that footage of Austin taking the show "hostage." The funniest parts are him wearing a fanny pack, calling JR a "cowboy ass" and making fun of that old guy in such a crude manner (walker jokes and all).
Monday Night Raw
Date: March 16, 1998
Location: America West Arena, Phoenix, Arizona
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Kevin Kelly, Michael Cole
With just two Raws to go before Mania, things have finally gotten going. Taker is back to face Kane, Austin is at war with DX and therefore Mike Tyson, and Sable vs. Luna is somehow a red hot feud all of a sudden. Anyway it’s another Raw tonight as we inch closer and closer to the biggest day of the year. Let’s get to it.
Theme song opens us up.
This is the St. Patrick’s Day show and is on Tuesday apparently. Taped Monday I’d assume.
Here’s Ken Shamrock to open us up in the arena. We hear about last week where Rock got caught in the ankle lock and Faarooq held the Nation back. Shamrock says he can control his temper at Mania, which would turn out to be completely wrong and cost him the title but that’s not important here. Shamrock is REALLY forced on interviews to say the least.
Thankfully Rock comes out to break up the awfulness. The rest of the Nation follows him and Rock says that Shamrock can’t last two minutes with any member of the Nation. If he can though, he gets a shot at the title TONIGHT. D’Lo is somehow volunteered and here we go.
D’Lo Brown vs. Ken Shamrock
Brown takes Shamrock down with a clothesline almost immediately and Shamrock is in trouble. Rocky comes down the aisle and the fans aren’t exactly enamored with him yet. Big spinwheel kick breaks Shamrock’s momentum as we hit one minute. Ken fires back and there’s an elbow.
Leg lariat puts D’Lo down and there’s the belly to belly to set up the ankle lock. Brown doesn’t tap though as Rock kills Shamrock with a chair. In what was a semi-famous shot for awhile, Shamrock gets on his knees and says bring it so Rock ends him with one of the best chair shots you’ll ever see right to the head. Faarooq makes the save, taking the chair from Rocky.
Back and Shamrock doesn’t want to go to the hospital despite having a concussion.
Here’s Sable to a huge pop. No Mero with her but she does get a TAKE IT OFF chant. She wants to fight Luna tonight and that’s about it. Seriously she talked for like 20 seconds and then left.
The Phoenix Gorilla, the mascot of the Phoenix Suns, is here to do some of his Sin Cara-esque tricks. The gorilla actually puts on a headset, JR’s hat and sits down on commentary.
Tom Brandi vs. Jeff Jarrett
Gah it’s Brandi again. And Jeff is on a horse. Ok then. Basic stuff to start as Brandi hits a jumping back elbow to take Jeff down. He still sucks even with that move. Brandi chops away and a sunset flip out of the corner gets two. Figure Four goes on and we’re done quick. This was nothing for the most part.
Shamrock is taken to the hospital but Rock interrupts the announcement about it by Kevin Kelly. Rock implies Shamrock is out of Mania.
Mania moment is Lawrence Taylor beating Bigelow.
Video about wanting to get to Mania and how awesome it is. Oh it’s about Shawn and Austin. Got it. They both had different roads to Wrestlemania it seems. Never would have guessed that one. This is a lot longer than it sounds, including various things of Shawn on some talk shows. Oh and he was in Playgirl. This has taken up like five minutes and is really just about Shawn and how he got where he is. There’s a superkick montage. Ok this is going on too long now. It’s really just showing Shawn highlights now. It’s been running for eight minutes now. Eight and a half total. Yeah…Shawn is awesome. We kind of know that already.
Vince is going to respond to Austin’s comments later.
Jim Cornette/Rock N Roll Express vs. Headbangers
The Gorilla is still in the ring. Cornette got to beat up Mosh on Superstars due to the Express beating on him. Surprisingly nice pop for the Headbangers who are NWA tag champions here. Oh wait they’re just the North American tag champions. Thrasher and Morton start us off. Everything breaks down quickly and the Express is taken out, including the row the boat spot which hasn’t been seen in a decade or so at this point.
Cornette of course won’t tag in but some double teaming takes down Mosh. Off to Gibson and that doesn’t last long. Mosh breaks up the double teaming and the Stage Dive (powerbomb/guillotine leg drop combination) ends Morton in another quick match that is too short to grade. That’s an annoying running theme tonight.
The Headbangers go after Cornette post match but the New Midnight Express debuts and beats up the champs. It’s Bob Holly and Bart Gunn if that tells you anything. We even get a Rocket Launcher. The Headbangers are the world tag champions apparently. Not that it matters but whatever. The Midnights jump the Rock N Roll Express, thankfully ending the weird beyond belief partnership between Cornette and the Rock N Roll dudes.
If you call the Superstar line you can hear about DX’s secret plan to get rid of Austin. Just….wow.
Gennifer Flowers will be at Mania. No one, I mean NO ONE, cares.
The Gorilla is in the ring again and there go the lights. Yep it’s Kane time. The Gorilla chills in the ring and takes a chokeslam and tombstone. I guess Kane just doesn’t like gorillas.
Time for theme song #2.
Here’s Owen in a cast to be on commentary. We get a clip of him hurting his ankle last week and it looks awful.
Terry Funk vs. Billy Gunn
There’s a dumpster with the Outlaws here. Billy’s intro takes forever as Roadie is feeling extra chatty here. He stays on the mic through the match which is a pretty cool idea for a guy like him. Billy hammers away but the more entertaining part is Roadie’s commentary of course. I’m not particularly sure why Owen is on commentary here. Bad looking Piledriver gets no cover for Billy. There’s a second and it doesn’t look much better. Billy pulls him up at two though and here comes the Funker. A pair of DDTs looks to get the pin but Road Dogg runs in for the DQ at like two minutes. GIVE ME SOMETHING TO GRADE!
Funk beats up both Outlaws because he’s Terry Funk and they’re not. Cactus pops up on the stage and has a noose rigged up. They hang Road Dogg by the ankles and hang him upside down at the end of the aisle. Cactus says he’s not quite sure how to get Dogg down, so he better call somebody. That made me laugh back then and it does again 13 years later.
Luna accepts Sable’s challenge.
Now we get some more of the really interesting stuff as Vince is going to address Austin’s show of rebellion last week. This is what you call planting seeds and it was for arguably the biggest feud ever. We get various clips of last week and Vince says he can understand given what Austin was dealing with at the time. He says he didn’t hit Austin last week because he wanted to save the main event of Wrestlemania because if Vince had hit him Austin would have had a broken jaw. This is the first time Vince has shown anything resembling a backbone.
He says he couldn’t take Austin down because that’s not what the fans wanted to see. In regard to whether or not Vince wanted Austin to be champion, he says that’s up to the fans and not him. It’s amazing to see the seeds being planted here. Vince says he’d be ok with it if Austin allowed himself to become a good representative. Austin in his current form would be a public relations disaster as champion. Vince says we can’t handle the truth and Kevin Kelly actually won’t let him leave without an answer. It’s not just a no but an oh hell no he doesn’t want Austin to be champion. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the biggest feud ever.
Pete Rose will be at Mania. We know that already.
Music video about Tyson.
Video on Austin, just like earlier with Shawn. Basically Austin is a working class guy and not about all the glitz and glamour. We get a reference to Bischoff saying Austin wasn’t marketable in his black boots and trunks. Oddly enough he was starting to talk about how he didn’t like respecting old timers and was cursing too at the end of his WCW days. How that company ever made a dime is beyond me.
HHH comes out to call out Owen for hiding at the announcers’ desk. He wants a title shot RIGHT NOW. Owen is finally goaded into it and remember his ankle is in a cast.
European Title: Owen Hart vs. HHH
Owen is sent into the post within seconds and here’s Chyna with a ball bat. A shot to the ankle which allows HHH to put a hold on it and the referee stops it sans submission, making HHH the champion. And that my friends, is what you call a power play.
Luna vs. Sable
They call this a one on one confrontation. And it never really starts as the referees and Slaughter are in there holding them apart. Sable might have hurt her knee in the brawl. With her down and Luna gone, here’s Kane. Mero runs away, saying he’s going to get help. Sable is down still and is alone with Kane and Bearer.
There’s the gong and there go the lights. Taker pops up on top of the Titantron. I remember this distinctly and thinking it was AWESOME. It’s pretty campy now but then again it was a different time. Taker says that he’s felt Kane’s wrath and at Wrestlemania, Kane will feel his. Taker shoots a lightning bolt at the stage and a casket is lit of fire with an effigy of Kane inside. Kane stares up as the show ends.
Overall Rating: D. We’ve officially reached the problem in this company: when Mania is set in stone as it is here, the shows can be really, really dull. There might have been 8 minutes of wrestling combined here with literally nothing going over three minutes. The problem is that other than HHH getting the title, nothing happened here. Vince wouldn’t mean much for another few weeks but he hit the ground sprinting as a heel. Nothing to see here at all and a rather odd show. Not terrible, but weak.
Another good Review KB. I think most can agree that the Attitude Era was awesome overall but the lack of Wrestling on RAW sometimes really dragged it down at times (not always). That being said not much happend on this RAW going into Wrestlemania other than HHH winning the European Title and the seeds being planted for Mr Mcmahon after Mania.
"You cry and you pout for the Attitude Era but when me and CM Punk give you attitude, you dont like it." -Paul Heyman
WWF/E & Wrestling Fan since 1990!
Monday Night Raw
Date: March 23, 1998
Location: Tucson Convention Center, Tucson, Arizona
Commentators: Jim Ross, Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler
This is the go home show for Mania and was taped the week before. I guess they wanted to try to prevent as many injuries as possible the week of the show which makes sense. Oddly enough though Austin is in the main event against the guy he would headline the big show with the next year: The Rock. Not bad for a TV main event don’t you think? Anyway, let’s get to it.
Here’s Austin for a chat with Kevin Kelly. Austin more or less says move or I’ll kill you. He talks about Vince not wanting him to be champion due to what Vince said last week. Austin knows that it’s going to be the fight of his life on Sunday but he’s going to be champion, period. Kevin says DX will be there soon in full force and Austin doesn’t like that choice of words.
Kelly’s life begins to flash before his eyes as Austin isn’t happy with him. Kelly is going to get a chance to live actually. Austin is going to take the night off tonight. Here’s Sarge, Vince’s stooge commissioner. According to Vince, Austin is going to have to wrestle tonight against the Rock. If he doesn’t do it, then this Sunday’s title match is going to be non-title. Austin says ok and it might be a 30 minute match, a 30 minute headlock or it might last a minute. Austin stuns Sarge to a huge pop.
We get a clip of last week with the Outlaws jumping the old hardcore dudes.
Cactus Jack/Chainsaw Charlie vs. Quebecers
Why the Quebecers are still around is beyond me. Jack vs. Pierre to start us off. And yeah let’s just get to the Outlaws already. They pop up on stage after about a minute of nothing interesting in the slightest. Both of them are in tuxedos and have a table with them. There’s some champagne and what appear to be inflatable women. Jacques uses the distraction to take out both old dudes and we finally get down to normal tagging again with Charlie vs. Jacques. Another minute or so of nothing goes by and there’s the run in. I know I skipped some details there but come on, do they really matter?
Rating: D+. Just a quick tag here that didn’t mean anything at the end of the day. The Quebecers would be around for like three more weeks before finally being thrown out. Why they were brought back in the first place is beyond everyone but no one accused WWF of making sense at this point. This was more of a setup for the post match stuff than anything else and that’s just fine.
Post match the old dudes get the tar beaten out of them with the table and a chair.
We get a clip of Austin getting knocked out by a superkick a few weeks ago.
Jeff Jarrett vs. Steve Blackman
Jarrett is a country singer here and comes out on horseback for some reason. Blackman is undefeated at this point I believe. He hammers away on Jarrett who hits a suplex to take over. By suplex I mean Blackman tried a reverse leapfrog but Jeff caught him in something resembling a belly to back. Swinging neckbreaker gets no cover. Blackman takes over and into the corner we go. Jeff goes up and Steve tries a superplex but Tennessee Lee, Jeff’s manager, hooks his foot and Jeff falls on top for the pin. Short and worthless pretty much.
Another referee comes out to explain things but Blackman beats on Jarrett for a bit and chases Lee off.
There will be a public workout in Boston with Tyson there. That didn’t go well for Shawn as he walked out of it I believe.
DX with Tyson arrives.
We get a recap of last week where Kane beat up the Phoenix Suns mascot and Taker lit a casket on fire while it had a Kane mannequin in it. I wonder if Katie Vick was related to that version of Kane.
We go to the graveyard where Taker talks to his parents’ graves. He talks about how he loves them but has to face Kane at Mania.
Here’s Kane in the arena. He displays his “powers”, as he sends lightning at the stage, the announce table, a spotlight and finally a cameraman, who is lit on fire. Somehow this took nearly five minutes.
Disciples of Apocalypse vs. New Midnight Express
The Express are Bombastic Bob (Holly) and Bodacious Bart (Gunn). We’ll say that’s Skull in there against Bart to start us off. Spinebuster puts Bart down and it’s off to 8-Ball. The Headbangers show up here for no apparent reason. There’s a big tag team battle royal on Sunday so that’s likely your explanation. Here are the Rock N Roll Express too.
Bart suplexes 8-Ball and it’s off to Holly. The Truth Commission wander out and you can smell the big brawl coming. More teams come out as the match is about as going through the motions as you could ask for. Yep there’s the brawl and it’s thrown out. Match meant nothing. The fans chant LOD who would be the mystery and winning team on Sunday.
Time for hour #2 and here’s DX to open it. We get a clip from last week where Chyna cost Owen the European Title against HHH. There’s some girl with DX on her chest so we make boob jokes for awhile. Shawn makes fun of Austin in his final push towards Mania. Oh and Vince doesn’t have to worry about Austin becoming champion. This takes a lot longer than it would seem to and the ending is that Tyson is DX, as we’ve known for like a month now. You wouldn’t think that whole think ate up over 8 minutes would you?
Gennifer Flowers is still coming to Mania and still no one cares.
We get a clip of Rock blasting Shamrock with a chair last week.
Faarooq vs. Chainz
Faarooq tells the troops to chill on the stage. Chainz takes over to start but after a minute or so here’s Rock with a chair for no apparent reason. Powerslam gets two for Farrooq. Jawbreaker gets Chainz a breather for just a second but he misses an elbow. Nothing of note at all here as we’re just waiting for Rocky to mess up something with the chair. Somehow this evolves into a Clinton joke as Chainz gets caught in a spinebuster. Rock runs in with the chair when Faarooq is in control and accidently hits Faarooq for the DQ.
Rating: D. The match was nothing at all and was just there for the sake of the post match stuff. Faarooq had nothing to do with the match at Mania other than a brief run-in at the end. Pretty weak match as no one cared and the whole thing was just there to fill in some time. That would happen a lot over the next few years.
Post match the Nation comes out to carry their boss out.
We recap the Blackjacks feud. The idea is that Windham went to the NWA faction and then lost, so he kept Bradshaw from winning the NWA North American Heavyweight Title. This somehow was seen as the need for a feud.
Bradshaw vs. Barry Windham
The Rock N Roll Express is in the front row. Both guys are in leather vests and chaps. Bradshaw’s chaps come off and Windham gets whipped with them. Total brawl for the most part here as we head to the floor. All Bradshaw at the moment. Now Windham whips Bradshaw with his chaps. There’s some weird male stripper fantasy in this somewhere. More of a beating follows until Windham hits a big old lariat to take him down. The Express goes after Cornette and Bradshaw gets a rollup for the win. This was less than nothing.
Mania Moment is Muhammad Ali being at the first show.
Here are Sable and Sunny to receive an award from Raw Magazine, which was the more adult version of the WWF Magazine. There’s a guy named Vince Russo in there with them. You know him better as Vince Russo. He’s actually taller than Mero. Oh wait there’s no Sunny. Ok so what was the point in saying she was about to be here? Russo runs WWF Magazine which I think was actually legit. The award is just for making the magazine “special.” I guess it’s most copies or something but they don’t say it. Luna and Goldust come out and Sable takes a plaque to the head.
Steve Austin vs. The Rock
Rock is IC Champion here of course. No Faarooq of course. This is so weird to see on Raw instead of the main event of Wrestlemania. DX is watching in the back. Rock takes over to start and it turns into one of your regular matches of this era. Austin gets the Thesz Press and tries the Stunner but Rock bails. Down goes Henry and Rock gets sent back in.
And never mind as Rock goes right back to the floor. Austin grabs a chair to defend himself against the Nation but Rock gets a shot in to take over. Big brawl on the floor with the Brahma Bull hammering away on the bald dude. Back in the ring and it turns into your standard match for the most part. We take the ultra rare break in the main event with Rock dominating.
Back with Austin throwing on a sleeper which doesn’t last long. Rock sets for the People’s Elbow which still isn’t named. It’s just a big elbow at this point. We hit the chinlock for a bit and Austin’s comeback is broken quickly. Another elbow misses but Rock keeps hammering on Steve. Austin fires back and gets the Stunner out of nowhere for the most abrupt ending you’ll ever see from these two.
Rating: C+. The match wasn’t great but dude, it’s Steve Austin vs. The Rock on free TV. That’s always worth seeing and this was no exception. Not a great match and by their standards pretty weak, but at the same time there wasn’t much to this at all and it was mostly Rock beating on Austin the entire time before a quick Stunner ended it. Always worth checking out though.
DX comes out post match and Shawn goes after Austin but HHH stops him to end the show. It helps that the match wound up being a near classic.
Overall Rating: D+. Really wasn’t all that into this one as the whole show felt like it was just there to get to the next thing if that makes sense. It’s not a horrible show but I wasn’t really liking it. The whole show was based on two matches though and those got good time to them so that’s not bad I guess. Anyway, things REALLY get going next week.
I have seen the Austin/Rock Main Event from that night before Mania 14 and I remember the DX promo which is on the VHS they released that year. Im sure I watched this RAW but don't remember much from it other than those two things. Good job once again KB.
"You cry and you pout for the Attitude Era but when me and CM Punk give you attitude, you dont like it." -Paul Heyman
WWF/E & Wrestling Fan since 1990!
Monday Night Raw
Date: March 30, 1998
Location: Pepsi Arena, Albany, New York
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole
We’re FINALLY past Mania and Austin of course is champion. Other than that and Taker beating Kane, not a lot really happened last night. Obviously this kicks off a new era in WWF though as for about the next year and a half, everything revolved around Austin vs. McMahon. Now granted this meant some of the most intriguing storylines of all time so it’s not like I’m complaining. Let’s get to it.
There’s a rematch for the tag titles tonight with Foley/Funk vs. the Outlaws in a cage.
Here’s Vince to open the show with a big WWF Championship Belt. As in the big eagle one that is debuting here tonight. Apparently the live crowd can’t hear him but we can hear him on TV. Here’s Austin, old belt in hand and to the best of my knowledge, this is the only time he would come to the ring with that belt. Austin is like cool and takes the new belt from Vince while throwing down the old one.
The heat on Vince is unreal here. He wants to clear up some stuff that might have been misinterpreted a few weeks ago. He’s glad Austin is champion and says that together, they can make Austin the greatest WWF Champion of all time. Austin calls BS on that and says Vince hates him. That’s ok because Austin hates Vince too. There is no we because with Austin, what you see is what you get.
Vince says he’s incapable of hate and he finds Austin to be a genuine human being and a swell guy. Well no one ever accused Vince of having the best perception of people. Vince then makes the biggest mistake of his career, saying he loves Austin. Vince doesn’t want to say it again as Austin isn’t thrilled. Austin loves him too but he’s not doing things Vince’s way. No one tells Austin what to do.
Now it’s time for the famous line of this promo and the line that sets up their entire war. Vince says we can do this the easy way or we can do this the hard way. Austin says that’s an important decision and would like some definitions. The easy way is working within the system and the hard way is Austin being forced into doing it Vince’s way. Austin asks for ten seconds to think about it. If you don’t know what’s coming here, go read something else. Cole: “He got him again!” Austin goes over and hugs JR and says something I can’t make out before leaving.
Video on Mania from last night, more or less just highlights. Oh it’s an ad for the encore.
Vince is being tended to in the back.
Legion of Doom vs. Los Boricuas
The LOD reunited and returned last night with Sunny a their manager and being modernized for lack of a better term. These Boricuas are Jose and Jesus who get no entrances. This lasts 35 seconds. I’ll leave you to fill in the blanks.
Apparently the tag titles have been held up so there are no champions at the moment.
Vince wants Austin arrested and has left.
Video on some old guys that say things have changed but they cheer for the new stars.
The Disciples of Apocalypse warned Austin about the cops coming and he doesn’t care because Vince doesn’t have the balls to arrest him.
Kurrgan vs. Chainz
There’s a rift in DX apparently. Vince is still here but is pacing around in the parking lot. All Kurrgan here to start as he no sells clotheslines. He drills Chainz with a lariat but a shoulder in the corner misses. Big boot doesn’t work for Chainz but one by Kurrgan does. Claw ends this in like two minutes. He doesn’t let go of the hold and drags Chainz to the back with it.
The cops get here and Vince tells them where Austin’s room is.
Jeff Jarrett vs. Aguila
Dang I’m already sick of this promoter and entertainer nonsense. Jeff gets a quick neckbreaker to start as Tennessee Lee gets on commentary. Suplex puts down Aguila as apparently Lee has a surprise next week. I think I remember what that is. Quick comeback by Aguila but most of a moonsault misses. Figure Four ends this squash quickly again. Steve Blackman comes in post match and beats up Jarrett.
Vince actually has him arrested and he charges at Vince anyway because that’s what he does.
After a break Vince is out in the arena. He says he thinks he owes the people an explanation and says that Austin needs a cooling off period. Austin made his choice and now Vince has made his. That’s all there is to say.
HHH has a big announcement about DX tonight.
The Nation with Rock, who has a new IC Title, as in the one still in use today, says he’ll take care of Shamrock tonight. Also Faarooq opened Rocky’s eyes last night and Rocky thanks him for getting him into the Nation.
We recap the night because the second hour has started.
Rocky Maivia/Faarooq vs. Steve Blackman/Ken Shamrock
Rocky wants to start with Shamrock and let the stalling begin. Ok never mind let’s make it Faarooq. Basic match here that at least is getting some time. Shamrock and Blackman take turns picking Faarooq apart with Shamrock hitting a nice dropkick and bringing in Steve for a dropkick of his own. Rock reaches for the tag but then says he’s out of here. A Shamrock belly to belly gets the pin before Rock is through the curtain.
Rating: C. This was an angle instead of a match but at least we got something I can grade. Rock would become the leader of the Nation very soon which is probably the right move, especially with DX turning face soon enough so that they could feud throughout the summer. Pretty average match here, but after an hour of squashes this was a nice change of pace.
Faarrooq wants Rock out here now and here he is, with the rest of the Nation. The fight is on and referees come out to break them up. After Rock leaves the rest of the Nation attacks Faarooq. Well I told you it was very soon. Rock declares himself the rules of the Nation.
We see Kane tombstoning Pete Rose last night. That never gets old.
Here are HHH and Chyna who are all that’s left of DX at this point. HHH says he wasn’t sure about Tyson being on the team and last night he was proven correct. HHH says he’s taking over DX and is forming the DX Army. When you start an army, you look to your blood, you look to your buddies, you look to your friends, you look to the Kliq. Cue the returning X-Pac who had been in the NWO as of like the beginning of the year.
This was one of the first big deals for WWF because all of a sudden, someone wanted to leave WCW for WWF. That didn’t happen much prior to this, so it was a sign that things were starting to change. It’s a bigger deal than it appears to be. HHH says that when you’ve been a servant for two years, you build up some bad feelings.
Pac says he heard Hulk Hogan say X-Pac couldn’t cut the mustard. Well Hogan sucks so he has no room to talk. Also don’t stop moving, because Bischoff will be so far in you he’ll be able to see what you had for breakfast. Pac was sitting at home after being fired by Fed-Ex and got a call from HHH who said DX needed help.
Nash and Hall would be there with them if not for contracts. DX is taking over, and it starts tonight. This was a big moment because it implied that WCW may not be as solid as everyone thought they were. The next week would bolster that theory, as the ratings dominance was broken. WCW would win a total of 9 more times, ever.
Val Venis is coming. To the WWF you freaks.
Marc Mero vs. Taka Michinoku
Luna pops up on the stage and says she wants a rematch, which Sable agrees to. Luna wants an evening gown match though. Sable accepts and there’s a huge pop. That would be at Unforgiven. Hey we can actually have our match now. Mero hits a running knee and a powerbomb before hammering away. Sable yells at Mero for cheating so he hits Taka low. TKO ends this squash.
Post match the team known as Kai En Tai debuts and massacres Taka. This is the three man evil version of them that actually dominated for awhile.
NWA Tag Titles: New Midnight Express vs. Headbangers
Pretty sure this is the final appearance of the titles or the NWA on Raw. Cornette sits in on commentary. He has Dan the Beast Severn with him as a bodyguard. The Bangers mash up everyone here and I apologize for that awful joke. We get down to an actual match and the Express takes over. Cornette rants about how awesome Severn is and at the time he’s the NWA Champion. DX is going to introduce another member tonight.
Bob beats on Thrasher for awhile as this needs to end. Like I said this was the last mention of the NWA tag titles but Severn stuck around for awhile. To be fair though there were far too many factions around at this point so they needed to drop a few of them. Hot tag brings in Mosh and everything breaks down. A Rocket Launcher to Mosh gives the Express the titles.
Rating: D+. Total mess here but thankfully this ended it. Not much of a match at all but the point was to make Severn the star which they would do after the match. He would be world champion for like 4 years or something and dropped it like a year from now. He would also be the last champion before TNA got the rights to the belt. Notice that I’m not talking about the match at all. Should tell you something.
Severn destroys the Headbangers post match.
Austin is on the phone and says he’ll get Vince next week.
The cage is assembled. It’s the big blue one.
Here’s Kane before we get to that though. Bearer says that Kane kicked out of two Tombstones last night. Bearer went to bed but had a dream of a ring surrounded by fire. He challenged Taker to the first ever Inferno match.
Tag Titles: Cactus Jack/Chainsaw Charlie vs. New Age Outlaws
Road Dogg is wearing a JOB Squad t-shirt for some reason. The old guys jump them as they get in and the fight is on. Funk has a BAD bruise on his back/hip. Gunn gets suplexed into the cage and is hung upside down from the top of the cage. There are no tags in this. This is a total mess but that’s supposed to be the point so it works.
Funk is tied to the cage with something. Cactus manages to get a double DDT but it’s a handicap match now. Funk gets an arm free but can’t untie himself. He’s tied by his throat. Jack and Gunn go up to the corner and Billy gets crotched. DX comes in and Pac blasts Cactus with a chair and a spike Piledriver onto said chair gives the Outlaws the titles again.
Rating: C. Call this right in the middle because it was a big mess, but that was the idea here. Also the whole point of this was to show that DX had fresh blood in it as the Outlaws are officially part of DX now. This was a perfect fit as they were all about the lack of respect and all that jazz. They worked rather well in that role too.
The new DX destroys Funk and Jack to end the show.
Overall Rating: B. The wrestling wasn’t the point here. This show totally reset everything and to say it was a success is an understatement. DX and the Nation would be on a collision course all summer, culminating in one of my favorite matches of all time at Summerslam. Anyway, everything changed tonight and next week Austin and Vince would get going, resulting in the first ratings win in nearly two years. Good show here though, even with very little interesting wrestling.
Monday Night Raw
Date: April 6, 1998
Location: On Center, Syracuse, New York
Commentators: Jim Ross, Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler
Well here it is. This is the show that FINALLY broke the ratings streak for Nitro and gave Raw a win in the ratings. Oddly enough, this was taped the previous week, so after all the jokes and insults made by Bischoff, his record setting streak of wins was broken by a taped show. There’s something very satisfying about that. Anyway, Vince is going to physically confront Austin tonight and that’s the draw for it. Let’s get to it.
Here’s Vince who wouldn’t have music for another 9 months or so. That still takes some time to get used to. He let Austin out of jail last week and Austin is no longer a beer drinking champion. There will be a new and improved Austin tonight in this very ring and that’s a guarantee, or your money back.
Dan Severn vs. Flash Funk
Severn is a UFC guy that is also NWA World Champion. We get a video on him, including UFC footage. That’s a sign of the times to be sure. Severn dominates of course but can’t quite get a cross armbreaker. Instead he shifts over to strikes which don’t work that well. Flash gets in some jobber offense but he walks into a suplex. Modified Samoan Drop sets up an armbar to end this. Total squash.
Here’s DX. On their way to the ring we hear that Shawn has nothing to say about the new DX. The Outlaws do their thing and X-Pac says this is about youth, not the old guys. Oh and HHH has a bazooka. You can already hear the face pops for them and they would be full on faces very soon.
Back from a break and DX harasses some Mexican stage hand. They spray paint DX on various things.
Steve Blackman vs. Brian Christopher
Christopher freaks because there’s no one to take his jacket. Blackman responds to other jokes about him with a kick in the ribs. Here’s Tennessee Lee to waste some of our time on commentary. He promised us a surprise last week and apparently it’s that at Unforgiven, Jarrett will be singing with Sawyer Brown.
The match is really boring if you didn’t get that part. Christopher hammers away a bit and stalls like a true Memphis man. A really bad Skull Crushing Finale gets no cover for Lawler’s kid. Blackman gets an Alabama Slam but misses a dropkick. Not that it matters as Christopher misses something off the top and an arm/leg/chest hold ends him quickly. Severn would start using it rather soon.
Rating: D. Really boring match here as the whole thing was a backdrop for the announcement of Jarrett’s concert. The match wasn’t interesting in the slightest and Blackman vs. Jarrett wouldn’t be any more interesting in the slightest. And of course Jarrett comes out post match so let’s get to that.
Post match Lee distracts Blackman so Jarrett can debut the guitar smash to leave him laying.
DX relieves themselves on the DOA’s motorcycles. We get the DX censored logo too.
Here’s Cactus Jack and he’s not exactly perky. He’s wearing a neck brace due to last week. Cactus sits down and says everything he’s always done have been worth the pain. His neck is hurting but a bunch of guys like DX aren’t going to put DX away. He hasn’t talked to Terry but he’s clearly in pain if he’s not here tonight. Apparently Terry said that after the match at Mania he was going to retire (that’s hilarious) but they don’t have those titles anymore so it’s not the same.
He talks about the end of the show last week when he and Terry were laying in the ring beaten down, the fans started cheering for Austin. Jack came here two years ago as Mankind and people asked him to be Cactus Jack. He became Dude Love and people asked him to be Cactus Jack. Then he was Cactus Jack and people cheered for Steve Austin. Foley is furious over this and can’t believe that after he gave everything he had the fans cheered for someone not even there. He’ll accept a group apology though, but the fans are silent.
With that, he says it’s not worth it anymore and it’ll be a long time before you see Cactus Jack again. He leaves the ring but picks up the mic one last time and says thanks to anyone that ever got anything off a Cactus Jack match. With that he leaves and in something I didn’t know, Ross says the line of “Cactus goodbye, and thank you.” I remember hearing that when he retired in 2000 but I didn’t know it was from two years before that. This would be his heel turn speech and we’ll get to what that leads to soon.
We recap Rock taking over the Nation from Faarooq and the Nation beating down the former leader.
The Nation beat down Faarooq as he got to the show earlier today and took turns filming it. That’s kind of stupid of them but whatever.
Intercontinental Title: The Rock vs. Owen Hart
Rock uses the FINALLY line here. Owen takes over early and hits an armdrag before Rock slows down a bit. Owen keeps owning Rock and takes him down almost at will. Kama interferes and the whole Nation gets thrown out. Well not Rock but you get the idea. Rock charges at Owen and gets caught in a sleeper. Rock escapes and grabs a DDT for two. There’s the now named People’s Elbow for two. We make fun of WCW as Owen makes his comeback. There’s a spinwheel kick for two. Rock Bottom is countered and an enziguri looks to set up the Sharpshooter but Chyna runs in for the DQ.
Rating: C. Eh not bad but this is a match that could have ROCKED on an In Your House main event card back in the day. Not like they had time but for the level of wrestling we got in 1998, this was pretty awesome. Owen would eventually join the Nation in some weird moment but that wasn’t for a good while. The big war between the factions was coming though.
Here’s Vince, flanked by a pair of cops. He brings out the new and improved Austin who comes out in a suit and the hat. He goes to do the corner thing but Vince says nah. Vince says this is the first step towards Austin becoming the best champion ever. Vince gets in his face and calmly says he’s not thrilled with the wrestling boots being on. He wasn’t a fan of the Gucci shoes apparently. Also he doesn’t like the hat so a fan gets a pretty awesome souvenir.
Vince wants to know what the moment was that made Austin bend. Austin says it was being in jail, and that he had no chance against Vince. Austin talks about how awesome and powerful Vince is and Vince is absolutely beaming. He pulls out a camera and asks one of the cops to take a picture of them. Then he says to make sure to get the film developed because this is the last time you will EVER see Steve Austin in a suit and tie. He rips the suit off and is in an Austin shirt and trunks which is kind of a weird look. Austin hits him in the balls and the place ERUPTS.
Here’s the DOA to call out DX. They want them anytime tonight apparently.
Recap of Luna challenging Sable last week.
Luna vs. Matt Knowles
Knowles is semi-famous for his time as HC Loc from the very old days of ROH. Goldust beats the tiny man up and Luna gets a top rope headbutt for the pin in like 30 seconds.
Val Venis is still coming. That’s rather impressive.
Marc Mero vs. Ken Shamrock
DX has accepted DOA’s challenge. Mero throws Sable out pre match. Mero takes over to start with a lot of punches. You heard him talk about that a lot but I rarely remember seeing him do it. Must be Tarver’s inspiration. Shamrock does the same but adds in some kicks as well. MMA > Boxing I guess. Mero hits his kneelift but Shamrock takes over a bit. The rana is countered into a powerbomb but he won’t cover. TKO is countered into a belly to belly and here’s the Nation. Shamrock grabs a chair to defend himself. The match is thrown out I guess.
Mark Henry finally gets a shot in on Shamrock from behind and the beating is on. Rock says Shamrock is done.
Here’s Undertaker for the first time since Mania. Taker talks about proving to Kane that he’s the lord of darkness. Since his spirit is pure and Kane’s isn’t, Kane can never win. Oh and he’ll win the inferno match even if it means setting Kane on fire. Paul and Kane pop up on the screen in the graveyard. Bearer talks about what Kane will do to Taker and Kane breaks up the headstones with a sledgehammer and lights them on fire.
D-Generation X vs. DOA
No X-Pac in this lineup but he’s on the floor. DOA sprints to the ring and the fight is on fast. Pac jumps on commentary as DX is cleared out of the ring. Billy starts with Chainz but Gunn wants out in a hurry. Roadie gets thrown around a bit so it’s off to a twin and Billy. A neckbreaker by Skull brings in 8 Ball. Total dominance so far. Double teaming finally gives the degenerates the advantage and the leader comes in.
Facebuster puts 8 Ball down and it’s off to Roadie again. Time for the chinlock because more than 8 seconds of action is too much for a New Age Outlaw. We take a break and come back with 8 Ball hitting a sidewalk slam to put HHH down. Pac is off commentary now too. Hot tag to Chainz and everything breaks down. HHH and Chainz are the only ones left and Billy has to break up a pin. The distraction of getting rid of Billy is enough for HHH to get a Pedigree in for the pin.
Rating: C+. This wasn’t much of a wrestling match but it told the story perfectly. DX looks like a juggernaut that can beat a group like DOA using teamwork but at the same time being able to be devastating. That’s hard to do in such a quick amount of time, especially with two comedy guys in there. Very well done.
Post match DX leaves DOA laying with the use of a chair. Chainz gets cuffed to the top rope but LOD comes out for the save before a lot of damage can be done. A big brawl ends the show.
Overall Rating: C+. Pretty good stuff here with DX establishing the way things would be and Austin more or less declaring war against Vince. The LOD thing doesn’t mean much other than their tag title match at the next PPV which is in 20 days. Fun stuff though as you can see the pieces being put into place. It’s pretty easy to see why this was enough to shift the tide as people were starting to look at the WWF and want to see what was next, which was what WCW won everything on, which is a great sign for them.
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