Monday Night Raw
Date: April 13, 1998
Location: CoreStates Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Jim Ross, Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler
Tonight it's Vince vs. Austin. Do you really need anything more than that? Also we find out who the new big bad is as far as Vince's new cronie goes so that should be interesting. I want to get through this round of TV so I can get to some WCW 2000 because I only have 90 PPVs to go. Anyway there isn't much else here but DX is on the rise. Let's get to it.
We open with a recap of the corporate makeover from last week and Vince getting hit in the balls.
Here's Austin to open the show. He wants to straighten things out with Vince so Vince better come out here because if not he'll hold up the whole show. Austin won't beat him up. He just wants to talk this time. Riiiiiiiiight. Vince eventually comes out very slowly, flanked by the Stooges. Two security guards in riot gear come out too.
With Vince in the ring, Austin's first question is who is he fighting for the title at the next PPV. It's in less than two weeks so he kind of needs to know. Austin goes on a long rant about why Vince hates him, saying he uses bad language and drinks beers, which isn't what Vince wants as a champion. Austin thinks Vince wants to be the WWF Champion himself. That wouldn't happen for over a year.
Austin says he's going to put the title on the line tonight and he wants to do it against Mr. Vince McMahon. BIG reaction for that. Austin makes two mistakes, saying Vince can pick the referee and that he can beat Vince with one arm tied behind his back. Vince either is going to do this in the ring or he'll go to the back and beat him up anyway. Vince has 30 minutes to make up his mind. Oh and don't try to leave because Austin already beat up the limo driver and flattened all four tires.
After a break the Stooges tell Vince he needs to stop this tonight. Vince isn't sure.
Los Boricuas vs. Disciplex of Apocalypse
This is a chain match but it's really weird. They're attached to the posts instead of each other. The chains are really long though. DX comes out before the bell and are the main focus of the match. Chainz jumps Billy Gunn but DX destroys him, eventually hitting a Pedigree on a chair on the floor. There's a spike piledriver on the floor also. The match hasn't been looked at at all. DX comes in to beat down the DOA in the ring and the whole thing is thrown out. Not even a match but rather a way to make DX look dominant. Los Boricuas get beaten down post match, presumably for their improper Spanish grammar.
The Stooges are in the back with Vince again and Shane is here too. He offers to fight Austin for Vince but Vince says no. This might have been Shane's on screen debut with him being acknowledged as Vince's son.
Here's Vince again sans security. Vince talks about how the WWF is in his blood and he hopes to pass it on to his children and their children. Austin has no honor though. He doesn't want to do this, but sometimes a man's got to do what a man's got to do. The fight with Austin is on for tonight. The Stooges come out to applaud.
JR goes to the back to try to stop the match from happening.
Too Much vs. Aguila/Pantera
The lights go out as JR is leaving. It's not Kane though. It's the Dead Man himself and he raises the lights quickly. Everyone but Christopher gets a chokeslam and Taylor gets a tombstone. No match of course.
Taker says Kane is now the hunted instead of the hunter. Taker can feel Kane here and the show isn't going anywhere until we see Kane.
After a break Kevin Kelly shows us a clip of JR and Shane trying to argue with the Stooges. Vince says he's doing it and sends for his gym bag. JR is sent back to commentary.
Jeff Jarrett vs. Taka Michinoku
Blackman is doing a split screen interview. A punch of leaflets dropped from the ceiling promoting Sawyer Brown being at Unforgiven. Taka gets a quick crossbody off the top but Jeff hits a superplex to change the momentum. Taka sends him to the floor and Kai En Tai (Club Kamikaze) comes in to beat him down and it's a DQ. Match was really short again.
Austin isn't surprised Vince accpted the match.
The Stooges are teaching Vince how to counter the Stunner.
Ok see here's a major difference between today's product and this product. Look at the previous two events on the show, as in the last two lines of text. Those two things combined to be less than 60 seconds. We hear from Austin and we continue to hear from Vince. Neither segment felt rushed, neither segment was pointless, and we got something out of both. Vince is going to at least try to fight and Austin doesn't care (big news of course). Today, this would have taken five minutes or so. Everything today is so drawn out that it takes away time from other stuff later. Big difference and a noticeable one.
Here's Faarooq to a new rap song instead of the Nation theme. He calls out the Nation and here they are. Rock says he'll bring it right now but Shamrock and Blackman come out before the 3-1 beating can happen.
Terry Funk/2 Cold Scorpio vs. Quebecers
It's a three man commentary team now. Funk comes out to Cactus' old music. Funk gives Scorpio a big entrance, calling him a Funk and a guy that Vince had held back. The Quebecers double team Terry as the ECW chants begin. Remember we're in Philly. Scorpio comes in and cleans house but walks into a belly to belly off the top. Funk comes in and the 450 ends Pierre soon thereafter. Just a quick match and not long enough to grade. This was the last appearance of the Quebecers on Raw.
Here's Luna who wants to talk to Sable. Waiting for Unforgiven is worse than PMS according to Luna. Well that group had Jackie in it so it couldn't be good. After the intro to hour 2, here's Sabledust. Sable comes out after Goldie is stripped for the catfight.
New Midnight Express vs. Steve Blackman/Ken Shamrock’s
The Midnights are the NWA tag champions but this is non-title. Shamrock and Severn stare each other down in the middle of the ring which would be like Lesnar and Mir staring each other down in a Raw ring. Bart vs. Shamrock to start us off. Off to Blackman while Ross makes fun of the names Bombastic and Bodacious.
Bob screws up a rana and the booing begins. Blackman misses a middle rope headbutt and the fans really aren't all that interested in this. Shamrock comes back in as this match is dragging after being in there less than three minutes. And there go the Midnights, apparently due to a double DQ. Was there a point to this?
Rating: D. Stupid little match here that no one was interested in. The botch looked bad and the whole match didn't mean anything. Why the titles weren't on the line is probably due to some very stupid reason that only the NWA understands or cares about in the slightest. Pointless all around.
Vince says he isn't afraid, talking about how he wasn't afraid of the government or Ted Turner.
Here's Undertaker again to interrupt whatever the Headbangers were going to do. He beats both of them up and there go the lights again. It's Kane this time to a surprisingly big pop. Bearer says next week Taker can meet them both in the cemetary.
Val Venis is getting ready for his next film, “Lust in Space.” He sits with two chicks who have parts of them censored. See, this is another difference between today and back then. Take guys in TNA like Gunner and Crimson. We know NOTHING about them. They're intense and that's about it. With this minute of talking from Val, we know almost everything we need to know about the character. It's new, it's fresh, it's interesting, and we know what we're getting. WHY IS THIS SO HARD TO DO ANYMORE???
Here's DX to answer an open challenge from Owen Hart. DX apparently held an essay contest to determine who gets to fight Owen and jokes are made about their characters. Billy is the winner due to including some drawings depicting Owen with farm animals.
Owen Hart vs. Billy Gunn
LOD comes out to second Owen. We get a quick break and come back with Billy in control. DX is on commentary and talking about cheese. Billy gets a suplex and a chinlock The Canadian hits a spinwheel kick for two. Chyna distracts Owen from hooking the Sharpshooter and Billy knocks him to the floor. HHH tries to jump Hart but LOD makes the save.
That takes us to another break. Back with Owen ramming Billy's head into the buckle. There's a missile dropkick for a close two. Fameasser (called the Rocker Dropper) gets two. Billy hits a solid powerslam but gets rolled up out of nowhere for the pin. HHH's reaction is awesome as he loses his mind over the pin.
Rating: C-. Not much of a match here as the majority of it was in commercials. The ending was decent as Billy hit a great powerslam but just celebrated too much. Not a horrible match but we didn't see enough of it to be anything great. Owen would join the Nation soon enough for no apparent reason.
Vince is on his way to the ring and we're out of commercials now. Vince is ripped and we get the Vince Walk which hasn't been seen before I don't think.
WWF World Title: Vince McMahon vs. Steve Austin
This should have headlined Mania 15. Vince slaps Austin while the Stooges and Slaughter are there for backup. Vince grabs the mic and mentions the one arm tied behind your back line that Austin said earlier. He insists it's the right arm, the Stunner arm. After a ton of stalling, heeeeeeeeeeeere's Dude!
Dude Love comes out and says he doesn't feel much love here tonight. He says he has to protect Vince because Vince signs the checks. Vince shoves Dude after he talks nice about Foley so Dude loads up the Claw. Austin comes over out of boredom. Love is the new big bad from Vince and is the opponent at Unforgiven. Again, Foley is used to make the new megastar look good.
Overall Rating: B-. This show was about one thing: Austin vs. Vince. It set up the next two months of PPVs in about 3 minutes which isn't bad. The rest of the show isn't all that great but once DX starts feuding with the Nation it's all gravy baby as a good friend of mine would say. Anyway, not a great show here but the Austin vs. Vince stuff has that unmistakeable energy that only they had.
Monday Night Raw
Date: April 20, 1998
Location: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York
Commentators: Jim Ross, Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler
Wow it's been awhile since I've done one of these. Austin has his #1 contender and Vince has his current heavy in the form of Dude Love. Other than that DX is getting ready for their huge face turn and the feud with DX. These shows have been pretty good lately and we're rapidly approaching Unforgiven. Actually it's this coming Sunday. Let's get to it.
The opening video is about Austin vs. Vince from last week for the title and Dude coming in for the interference. Oh quick correction: Vince hasn't announced his affiliation with Vince yet. I guess that comes tonight.
Kane and Undertaker are going to meet at the cemetery tonight and Kevin Kelly is waiting on them.
Dude Love is here with the Love Shack, which is mainly comprised of inflatable chairs. Vince comes out and isn't thrilled. Vince blames Love for costing him the world title and is fining him $5000. Foley says the fans have been begging for an explanation. Last week he was only trying to create an understanding.
However he was jumped by Austin so now it's his turn to ask some questions. Austin is his soul mate. That's not something you would expect to hear. He says he carried Austin and it was about the chicks. When they were tag champions, the pussy cats (his words) followed them everywhere, Austin was getting the uglier ones. Foley says Austin can have Unforgiven off if he apologizes tonight and dances a lot.
See this is the brilliance of Foley: this is TOTALLY different than his other characters and they never hid that he was the same person performing them. The gimmick was that Foley had all these personalities inside him rather than these personalities being performed by Foley if that makes sense.
Farrooq vs. Kama Mustafa
This is a street fight. The Nation comes through the crowd but after a break they're thrown out. Blackman and Shamrock are kept out of the arena also. Kama, wearing a shirt that looks A LOT like an NWO shirt, hits Farrooq in the ribs with a hammer. Hitting him in the ribs with a hammer (say that enough and you'll get how insane it is) seems to be enough to slow Farrooq down as Kama takes over.
Kama has dominated the majority of this match other than a few seconds at the beginning. Rock is watching from the back of the arena. He keeps hammering on the ribs and Faarooq is in trouble. This is part of the build to a six man on Sunday which has been built up pretty well as a midcard feud. Farrooq does the counter that Arn Anderson always got caught in as Kama is jumping on his back but Farrooq turns around to crotch him. Kama finds a hammer that he used earlier but Farrooq pulls his boot off and cracks Kama in the head with it. A spinebuster ends this.
Rating: C. This was fine I guess as the idea was to have Farrooq come back from behind. Having Kama work him over as long as he did was a nice touch because it plays into the injury this coming Sunday in the PPV match. Nothing great or anything but they did it as well as they could have given what they had to work with.
DX wants HHH to shall we say relieve himself in the arena.
Video on Jarrett singing this weekend.
Here's DX and oh yeah they're over. I mean WAY over. HHH is in a black shirt and has a coat. There's clearly something under the shirt. The crowd loves them and the announcers channel their inner WCW counterparts by trying to ignore it. Road Dogg talks about LOD and how they're going to keep the title. The fans chant for the LOD and HHH runs them into the ground with every word he says.
Chyna is going to be in a cage above the ring for Hart vs. HHH. It doesn't matter though because HHH owns him. Ross hates these guys with all their penis jokes. Gunn says it's time and DX has a huddle. A stream of liquid starts shooting into the crowd and it's a big water gun. That brings out LOD and Owen and it's time to talk. Hawk looks BOMBED. HHH literally says bring it but Slaughter comes out and says stop. Six man tag later.
Vince gets some coffee. Uh....ok then.
DX is still in the ring and sprays some New York Jets at ringside.
Undertaker is almost to the cemetery. Is he in a car? What an odd image.
Dan Severn vs. Mosh
They to to the mat and Severn is like boy please, running Mosh around like a kid. More mat work goes nowhere so Severn hooks a suplex to take over. There's another one and Mosh is reeling. Taker is at the cemetery. I wonder what he drives. More suplexes send Mosh flying and Cornette gets taken down by a right hand from Thrasher. There's a problem at the cemetery and luckily Severn hooks his armbar to end it quickly.
Rating: D+. Just a squash here and a boring one at that. Severn may have been a legit wrestler and all that stuff, but it's not like he was interesting in any way at all. I guess they were trying to draw in UFC fans but it's not like there were all that many of them at this point anyway. Either way, this was dull.
Taker has already left the cemetery but comes back to choke Kelly, shouting WHERE ARE THEY. After a break we're told Taker has left and is on his way back to the arena.
Luna says she'll strip Sable Sunday.
The Artist Formerly Known As Goldust vs. Bradshaw
Bradshaw is still a big Texan here. He hammers away to start and tries to get his chaps off. Austin is on his way here. All Bradshaw so far. He misses an elbow though and Goldust gets a DDT to take over. There's no real point to this match other than getting Luna on screen. She chokes Bradshaw on the ropes a bit and Goldust gets a knee drop for two. Fallaway slam gets no cover for Bradshaw and both guys are down. Bradshaw gets a bunch of clotheslines in the corner and here's Kai En Tai (Club Kamikaze) for the beatdown on Bradshaw and the DQ.
Rating: C-. This is something you don't see anymore: a lower midcard match that gets time to fill in part of the show. In today's product, this would have take up maybe a minute and would be a total waste of time. Not a good match or anything but it pushed the Bradshaw vs. Kai En Tai feud which went somewhere. Not that it was anywhere of note but it was something at least.
Austin is here.
Hour #2 is ready to go.
Here's Austin in the arena and he wants to talk. He recaps the events of last week and says the magic word: conspiracy. He thinks Vince and Dude are working together and have been all along. Austin promises to get his hands on Vince and Dude before the show is over, and that's it. That took three minutes. DO THIS MORE OFTEN WWE.
Terry Funk/2 Cold Scorpio vs. New Midnight Express
This is non-title (NWA tag titles). A hearse pulls up while the Midnights are showing up. Cornette sits in on commentary to make this a bit more entertaining. Bob and Scorpio start us off and 2 Cold gets a powerbomb after a lot of nothing. Off to Terry who doesn't do as well this as his brother from another booker. The Express beat down Terry for awhile because it wouldn't be an Express match without a formula.
Terry Funk, one of the greatest wrestlers ever, finally wakes up and realizes he's Terry Funk and beats up the long haired Bombastic Bob. Off to Scorpio and Bart with Scorpio taking over again. He walks into a gutwrench powerbomb though and the Midnights hit a piledriver for two. Another piledriver takes down Terry and outside we go. Scorpio hits a hue dive to take them out and Cornette freaks. A moonsault eats knees, not that it matters though as he knocks Bob off the top and hits the 450 to end it.
Rating: C-. Scorpio kept it fun but other than that it wasn't much. Terry was there for a placeholder and to give him something to do. The Express wouldn't be around much longer as Severn would be pushed as the star of the group to a grand reaction of nothing. I'm a Scorpio fan though so this was fine.
Severn beats Scorpio down post match until Terry grabs a chair.
Val Venis is still on his way, this time after being in the shower.
Here's Sable to fire up the crowd in a blue evening gown. It's an interview about the evening gown match which Cole says is about humiliation. Sable wants to know if anyone thinks a body like her's could ever humiliate her. She doesn't care what she's wearing as long as she gets her hands on Luna.
Paul Bearer and Kane were in the hearse and are all dirty.
Vince says he's ready for Austin tonight.
D-Generation X vs. Legion of Doom/Owen Hart
HHH/Outlaws here. Animal and HHH get us going. Owen comes in quickly and the Game runs off. Billy comes in instead and the Black Hart takes over. HHH runs some more so it's Hawk vs. Road Dogg. JR name drops a bunch of teams that weren't able to beat LOD but DX could. The Game comes in and hits the jumping knee which gets him nowhere. Animal in shorts isn't a look that works.
Animal works the arm and brings in Owen, sending HHH running and we take a break. Back with Owen hitting a spinwheel kick to Billy and a neckbreaker. Legdrop gets two. Fameasser (called a Rocker Dropper here) gets takes Owen down and now HHH is willing to come in. Owen gets the Sharpshooter but Billy comes in with a DDT to break it up. Off to Roadie who drops some dancing knees. Owen takes out both Outlaws with feet to the chest and it's a hot tag to Animal. DX hits the Doomsday Device but Chyna grabs Sunny. In the ensuing mess, X-Pac cracks Animal with a chair and a Billy piledriver ends him.
Rating: C. This was fine and it advanced both feuds before Sunday. I love matches like these as they're able to get two birds killed with one stone. Who throws rocks at birds anyway? Whatever, as this was a fine six man tag, even though the LOD would mean almost nothing after the PPV and then some stupid angles after that.
Kane and Bearer are bringing the caskets of Taker's parents to the arena.
After a break here they are. Paul talks about the dead bodies and say they're going to light them on fire. Taker pops up and is in the crowd for some reason. He charges up and is immediately chokeslammed into a casket while the other is set on fire. This was a bit uh.....morbid?
Back and Paul and Kane are gone. Taker and the remains are gone too.
Here's Vince to watch the main event I guess.
Dude Love vs. Steve Blackman
Now this is a main event! This says a lot about the differences in years: today you need a huge match but back then you could just have the top heel against anyone and it was fine. Vince is on commentary here and Lawler wants to know how the #1 contender is chosen. Vince: “Why not Dude Love?” That's a very good question. Vince suggests that it's Austin and Dude working together because he saved Austin's title last week.
Vince's commentary is a lot more interesting here and he promises something catastrophic or your money back. Love dominates other than a bit in what is little more than a squash. They head to the floor and Blackman nails some chops. This gets a bit more time than most squashes and they have Blackman get in more time most jobbers would. Love puts on an abdominal stretch...and there's the bell? Blackman doesn't give up and the referee never called for a bell.
Rating: C-. Nothing great here but it did its job. They're showing that you never know what might happen to Austin on Sunday which makes things a lot more interesting. They needed some extra drama and another thing to be added against Austin to make the mountain that much higher. Nice touch and it worked well since the main event was good.
Blackman freaks post match (Fan: “HEY I'M ON TV!”) and here's Austin! He beats Love up a bit and goes for Vince but the Stooges come in for the save. Love gets in some shots but Austin takes over and chases after Vince to end the show.
Overall Rating: B. This was a go home show and with a quick look at the card for the PPV, everything was at least touched on other than the NWA Tag Title match and the champions were in the ring tonight. This was very solid and it kind of makes me want to pop in the PPV to see it one more time. This was good stuff and nothing was really bad. The wrestling wasn't the point though and that's what makes it work as a go home show.
Here's Unforgiven if you're interested (Note that it's over two years old so the quality is likely low):
Monday Night Raw
Date: April 27, 1998
Location: Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, Virginia
Commentators: Jim Ross, Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler
It's the night after Unforgive and we're headed to Over the Edge and the rematch of Foley vs. Austin as Austin retained the title last night. Also this show is REALLY important from an historical perspective which we'll get to here in a bit. The main event is Austin defending the title against Goldust for some reason. Let's get to it.
Vince might be looking to fire Austin. In other news, JR likes cowboy hats. The problem is over Austin accidentally crashing a chair over Vince's head last night.
Now we get to the important part of this show: DX is invading WCW tonight. They shows were something like 17 miles apart so DX got dressed up in military gear and drove to where WCW was having Nitro that night. This is going to be running through the entire show and I can't emphasize how huge this was. It was WWF FINALLY firing back at WCW and doing something shocking. It also signals the official face turn for DX.
Our first skit is HHH giving his troops their marching orders and making dick jokes. They go off to war.
Ken Shamrock/Owen Hart vs. Mark Henry/Rocky Maivia
Owen vs. Rock to start which sounds like a pretty good midcard feud at this time. Rock wants Shamrock though so here we go. And never mind as Owen kicks Shamrock low and has officially joined the Nation. The rest of the guys come in for a beatdown and they Pillmanize Shamrock's leg/ankle. And he's going to do it again. Steve Blackman comes out for the save but gets beaten down as Owen puts Shamrock in the Sharpshooter. There's nothing else to do with him after he lost to HHH so this is all they could do with him. Farrooq comes down and gets beaten also. Owen bites Shamrock's ear and it bleeds.
Here's Dude Love for the Love Shack complete with two chicks in bikinis, one of which is his real wife. He talks about how he understands why people love Steve Austin after last night. Basically he says he's tired and had a hard match last night and couldn't screw his chicks. He has some options: first choice is he can fight Shawn Michaels (what?) for the title shot. Second is we can have a tournament to determine it. Third is Austin is fired and stripped of the title and Dude is the new champion.
Back to earlier today with DX asking the fans outside WCW's arena if they think Eric Bischoff and WCW sucks. It should be noted they're on something resembling a tank or a cannon.
We get another shot after a break and DX asks some chick who rules wrestling and she of course says DX.
Headbangers vs. 2 Cold Scorpio/Terry Funk
The winners get a tag title shot at some unannounced point in the future. Vince arrives. The Funks want a handshake and the Headbangers oblige. The Funks of course blast them because Terry Funk isn't a nice person. It's a big brawl to start (did you expect anything else?) until we get down to Terry vs. Thrasher.
The other two are fighting on the floor and the Headbangers hit a big Rocket Launcher to take out Scorpio. Funk is like boy let me show you how it's done and takes out everyone with a moonsault. Scorpio dives on the Headbangers as well. This is all on the floor. Everything keeps brawling and the referee is shoved, giving Scorpio and Funk the DQ win.
Rating: B. Yeah that's probably high but for a three minute match with Terry Funk and 2 Cold Scorpio vs. the Headbangers, this blew my mind. They literally do not stop fighting from bell to bell and the high spots are great. Terry's moonsault is pretty good and Scorpio can fly with the best of them. Very fun match and one of the better brawls I can remember in awhile.
Scorpio hits a gorgeous moonsault post match, not realizing it's over. They keep fighting until it's time to rejoin DX.
HHH talks about how WCW gives away free tickets and is booed a bit. They want Hall and Nash to be freed.
Here's Vince and he's booed out of the building. He talks about how Austin meant to hit him last night with the chair and he has a mild concussion. He's not firing Austin.....yet. That's too good for Austin so tonight it's Austin vs. Goldust for the title. Gerald Brisco will be the referee tonight. If Austin touches Brisco, he's fired and stripped of the title. Vince isn't sure what kind of a representative Goldust would be but he'd be a better one than Austin.
Austin isn't happy.
DX goes up to WCW's door and it's shut. The Outlaws bang on it and want to talk to Bischoff. Bischoff would be challenging Vince to a real fight on Nitro. I don't remember where I heard it (it might have been Michael Hayes) but someone said if they were Bischoff he would have let DX come into the arena. If you're flipping between Raw and Nitro, which would you watch: a Raw match or DX on Nitro?
We get a clip of Steve Blackman attacking Jarrett during his performance at the PPV.
Jeff Jarrett vs. Bradshaw
I can't wait for Tennessee Lee to be gone and for Jarrett to be a chauvinist. Bradshaw beats him down to start but here's Kai En Tai after about a minute and a half. They're Club Kamikaze here but they would become known as Kai En Tai soon enough. Taka comes down and is beaten up too.
Dude Love is ranting about something but sounds like Foley instead of Dude. Vince pops up and Foley yells, saying this isn't what we talked about.
Here's DX in an impromptu appearance. JR is still trying to push that they're heels but it's not working at all. Jerry says he likes them. The Outlaws come out separately from the rest of DX on I think mopeds. Ah ok it makes sense now.
Disciples of Apocalypse vs. New Age Outlaws
This is non-title. The DOA brings Hawk and Animal with them to a remixed song. We'll say that's Skull vs. Gunn to get us going. A powerslam gets no cover as JR is getting all ticked off. Off to Roadie who doesn't do that well either. JR and Jerry are in a big argument. I wonder who gets custody of Cole. DOA double teams a bit and Billy's piledriver is broken up. Hot tag to 8-Ball who cleans house as Jerry asks how hot Bischoff is under the collar. That's not something I expected to hear on Raw in 98. Billy gets his piledriver but DOA switches and Gunn is pinned. I really don't like that, given what DX has been doing tonight.
Rating: C-. I don't get that booking at all. DX has clearly been having a face turn tonight and it's not like DOA needs a win or anything. The Outlaws were probably the most popular part of DX so why have them job here? I don't get it at all but they can't do everything right. Actually they do only most of the stuff right but Nitro was getting really stale at this point so it's a combination of both.
Hour 2 starts.
The Undertaker vs. Barry Windham
Well here's a random match. No entrance for Barry and does he really need one? Chokeslam, tombstone, pin. This didn't last 45 seconds.
Taker gets the mic and says last night Kane got burned. Last night was the beginning and Taker wants to finish this right now. He isn't going anywhere until Kane gets here. He's still there after a break but there go the lights. Bearer says this has to stop because that wasn't the plan last night. He talks about how when Kane was three years old, Bearer was in the hospital, not Taker. He was there when they tried to fix the burns every day. There must be a truce. Last night was a flashback for Bearer and it was hard. Bearer says Kane is his son and we cut to a break. This would be the next twist in the story and would add more to the feud.
Goldust (not TAFKAG anymore) says he's a star so this doesn't surprise him. Dude Love jumps him, shouting that it's his shot.
Here's DX in the arena. HHH says he should be happy tonight but no one is going to kill his buzz. He's talking to DOA. He issues an open challenge for the European Title and here's 8-Ball of the DOA. Jim Cornette and Dan Severn runs past him to accept the challenge. HHH is in camouflage pants and Severn is in a suit. Cornette isn't happy with this decision and for some reason slaps Severn, resulting in an armbar. DX already left and we take a break.
Austin says he's been against Vince every day since he won it and he doesn't care what he has to do and he'll defend it every night if he has to.
Buy the Mania 14 VHS and an Austin poster for a total of only 55 bucks!
Val has a new movie coming out. He would actually debut in about three weeks.
Here's Marc Mero sans Sable. He asks the fans if they want Sable and here she is. Mero berates her for humiliating him last night because she lost. She saw what happened and liked it, just like all of the people here. Sable says she's going to do something about Mero and somehow a match is set up.
WWF World Title: Steve Austin vs. Goldust
Brisco is the referee. He's introduced as the Artist but screw that. Austin is so popular it's unreal. Brisco runs down the rules to eat up some time because we know Goldust isn't winning it and we're waiting on Dude. We have to settle for Vince instead as Austin pounds away to start. Vince is timekeeper. Brisco is making very deliberate and slow counts. He counts the same for Goldust though.
It's a pretty basic match so far but Brisco makes a fast count on a botched O'Connor Roll and is like yeah go ahead and hit me Austin. They hit the floor after some more back and forth brawling. Austin goes into the steps and Brisco shoves him. Goldust hits Austin low and Brisco is all cool with it. Back inside for a chinlock and Ken Shamrock has multiple broken bones. A double clothesline puts both guys down. Austin fires back with the Thesz Press but gets caught in a sleeper. Never mind as there's a Stunner but Brisco has something in his eye. And here's Dude for the no contest.
Rating: C. The match wasn't the point but it was ok. Goldust is good in the ring and the match wasn't bad as a result. Who would have thought at Starrcade 93 that this would be happening four and a half years later? The point here was to have Vince mess up again and have Austin foil the plan and that's exactly what happened. Fun stuff but the match wasn't the point.
Post match there's a huge brawl and Vince accidentally knocks Brisco out with the belt.
Overall Rating: B-. Well you certainly can't say it wasn't huge. The main thing here is that DX is now a face team and we have a new development in Kane vs. Taker. Vince's plan was foiled but he'll be back at the PPV with another dastardly scheme which is more or less the same one but a lot bigger in scale. Fun show but as usual don't watch it for the wrestling content.
Monday Night Raw
Date: May 4, 1998
Location: Richmond Coliseum, Richmond, Virginia
Commentators: Michael Cole, Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
We're getting closer to Over the Edge here and this is a good main event. It's Mick Foley as Mick Foley (only time he wrestled under his real name up to this point) against Terry Funk in what would become known as a hardcore match. This is when Foley is trying to figure out who he was or something like that. Either way it's a great match. Other than that I'd expect more DX and Austin stuff, but this is 1998 so that's not much of a stretch. Let's get to it.
Here's the Love Shack to open the show. Foley comes out and asks if anyone knows who he is. He almost beat Austin at the PPV and yells at the fans that haven't taken a beating from Steve Austin. It should be him getting the rematch or being #1 contender. However, Goldust got the title show. Goldust was last seen wearing women's lingerie so it's not exactly in Foley's league.
Tonight he has Terry Funk in a no holds barred No DQ match. The idea is Vince is going to want them to kill each other so he doesn't have to deal with them. He doesn't care about Vince and doesn't care to have his kids see him bumping and grinding with two women in swimsuits. Finally he holds up the Dude Love outfit and says he's not going to wear this ever again. He calls himself Cactus Jack and calls out Vince RIGHT NOW.
Here's Vince and Foley freaks on him, saying he'll never wear it again and he throws it at Vince. Vince says Foley has guts and wants to know who Foley thinks he is. Vince yells about how Foley didn't get the job done at the PPV because Austin still has the title. He says Foley is complaining and that's not what good employees do. The match with Funk is a reward and Foley doesn't look convinced. Vince calls it an opportunity and says if Foley beats Funk within an inch of his life, then it'll mean Foley has made the kind of sacrifice to be #1 contender. Foley likes what he hears so Vince slaps him.
And here's Austin....with a grappling hook? He breaks up the Love Shack and uses the hook to pull down the backdrop of it. Austin goes after Vince so Vince picks up the bell. Austin leaves but will be on commentary for the main event.
Faarooq/Steve Blackman vs. The Rock/Owen Hart
Shamrock is hurt thanks to Owen's heel turn/beatdown last week. Slaughter comes out and ejects the Nation. It's a brawl to start and they're on the floor quickly. It's down to Faarooq vs. Rock and the Dominator hits very quickly for two. Owen is holding his ribs. Blackman vs. Owen now and Blackman shows why he never went anywhere by going after the leg instead of the ribs.
Blackman works on the knee for a bit and brings back in the former WCW Champion. Off to Rock and Faarooq pops him in the face as soon as Rock is in range. Piledriver gets two. Rock hits his floatover hurricane and brings Owen back in. JR talks about the ratings records Raw is setting and Rock hits the People's Elbow for two off a Jericho posing pin. Faarooq grabs a spinebuster and there's the hot tag to Blackman. He beats up every heel in sight but here's Jarrett to hang him on the top rope and a spin kick from Owen pins him. Is Blackman vs. Jarrett going ANYWHERE???
Rating: D+. Again I ask, is there a point to Blackman vs. Jarrett anymore? I don't remember it ever becoming anything interesting yet it's pushed for like three months. The match was nothing of note and is more in the same of these guys being pushed against each other. DX vs. the Nation is coming though and it's going to be AWESOME.
Here's a video on Gerald Brisco. Uh...ok? The point of it is for Brisco to thank Vince at the end of it.
Video on some new guy that hangs around subways a lot and is all crazy eyed. His name is Edge.
Here's DX to a BIG reaction. The Outlaws are defending against the DOA later. JR still hates these guys but their reactions are second only to Austin at this point. HHH makes a penis joke and JR freaks. Roadie has the catchphrase down now. He runs his mouth a bit and here's the LOD because the company needs to get every dime they can out of these guys now. Hawk talks a bit and isn't very funny but wants to make it an 8 man tag. What did DOA do to tick them off? In a funny exchange, Hawk makes fun of Pac and Pac points to his crotch and says talk to this. “I can't see it.” Uh....does he want to?
JR and Cole talk a bit and something interesting is brought up that I didn't catch: X-Pac hasn't wrestled yet since returning.
Dan Severn vs. Savio Vega
Severn is solo now having dumped Cornette. We hear about UFC 17 and it's still surreal to hear that on WWF TV. They do some quick wrestling and then the armbar submission ends this. Just a squash.
We go to an interview with Lawler talking to Bearer. However that's coming up after the break so they say they have a few minutes to chill. They sit down and “chat” but the camera is left on. Jerry wants to know if Bearer really slept with Taker's mother. Bearer tells a story about how he came home one Tuesday night and she took him right there on the kitchen floor. Jerry calls it slipping the salami. It was Bearer's virginity too. Oh and Taker almost walked in on them. I remember this happening when I was a kid. They go to a break here.
Post break Jerry apologizes for that being seen.
We recap last week with Sable turning on Mero and wanting a match with him. We see her training video.
Marc Mero vs. Jeff Jarrett
Gee think there's going to be a run-in? Yep Blackman comes out and beats up Jarrett while the music is still playing. No match.
DOA/Legion of Doom vs. D-Generation X
8 man tag here. The referee throws out Sunny to take away the visual part of this. The Outlaws come out on mopeds. Lawler says he took some Viagra earlier today. Chyna is thrown out also. HHH says not so fast because she's replacing X-Pac in the match. This is actually happening and it's Animal vs. Road Dogg to get us going. A powerbomb is broken up but a powerslam hits for two. You figure out who did it to who.
Off to 8-Ball (how does Ross tell them apart?) but he gets beaten down by the future Game. Jerry tries to call this the first intergender match in company history. Not quite but I guess they're trying to say mixed tag is different than intergender. Billy hits a Fameasser to take over and here's Chyna to a POP. She busts out a hurricanrana for two but Skull shoves her off with ease.
We take a break and come back with HHH stomping away on one of the bikers but he gets caught in a powerslam for two. Hot tag brings in Hawk and Jerry thinks the LOD just wanted to keep the titles off the DOA. Chyna comes in again and goes up but Hawk knocks her to the floor. He gets a shot in the bird eggs for it and everything breaks down with a three on one DX beatdown to Hawk.
Off to Roadie again as this is getting some time. Billy comes in now and JR sings his praises. He charges after Hawk in the corner (Billy, not JR) and they ram heads which lets 8-Ball get the tag. The LOD and DOA get into a fight which was expected and DX watches (smart) from the ring. LOD gets in some chair shots but they're only somewhat successful. The match is thrown out.
Rating: C-. This was just a way to get Chyna out there and set up the tag feud. This wasn't much of note but the popularity of DX is certainly noteworthy. LOD vs. DOA would go on FOREVER and it was boring the entire time. Eventually Paul Ellering was brought in for some reason and it didn't go anywhere else. Not much of a match.
The teams fought more during the break.
Goldust vs. Kane
Kane's hand is still burned from the inferno match. It's not hurt that badly though as Kane hammers away on Goldie with it. And here's Taker to try to kill Bearer but Kane fights him back. The match is thrown out, again.
Video on Funk vs. Foley which shows some of their history. We even get some clips from the home movie with the garage dive. There are some ECW clips in here too. There are clips from the King of the Deathmatch in Japan, which is weird to see on Raw. The video is about how Funk helped to define Foley's character and how they're very close. That brings us to modern times as Foley turned on the fans for cheering for Austin after he and Funk were destroyed by the Outlaws in the cage. The idea is that Foley has sold out to become champion. This runs like 5 minutes and is a really good video that shows us what these two meant to each other. Great stuff.
Val Venis is in the jungle or something. Jenna Jameson is in this video so it made things look a lot more legit which is a nice touch.
Mick Foley vs. Terry Funk
Austin is on commentary. He has some beers before the match as is expected. This is what we would call a hardcore match but that term hasn't been established yet. At the time this is the only match Foley has ever wrestled under his real name. He's in the sweatpants and flannel shirt. There's no referee but we have a special one: it's Pat Patterson. Austin isn't happy but let's go.
Funk fires away and we head to the floor quickly. He grabs a chair and Foley does his best thing: takes a big old beating. Foley tries to get fired up but he can't quite do it which is some nice storytelling. A cord comes unplugged and Austin's mic messes up. He blames Vince and steals Jerry's. That one is broken but he gets it to work somehow. Now that one messes up. Nice touch. For some reason Austin drills Lawler and Ross says he didn't have anything to do with it.
Funk is destroying Foley here with a chair and it looks like Austin can talk freely now. The mats have been peeled back and Foley tries a piledriver on it but gets reversed. Austin threatens to put JR's hat somewhere on JR's own body. Is that where the Dr. Vince thing came from? The railing is torn apart and they're into the crowd. Foley beats up a hot dog vendor and then goes through a table. Funk, a spry 53 at this point, goes up to the balcony and moonsaults off to mostly hit Cactus.
He's holding his neck and might be screaming stop it. Foley is like screw that and hits a Texas Piledriver (the kind where he pulls on the tights instead of locking his hands around the waist) through another table. They fight under the stands and we take a break since we don't have a cameraman there yet. Back with clips from the break with Foley throwing Funk into various objects that aren't meant to have people thrown into.
They fight back into the arena with Funk in trouble. Foley hits him with something made of metal and they're up by the ramp. Patterson being a referee hasn't made much of a difference yet. A piledriver on the ramp gets two because Funk has no problem with that kind of a beating. Back in the ring and Funk is still like “DUDE MY NECK IS HURT” but Foley stomps away, really pushing the title run at any cost.
A Cactus Clothesline puts them in front of the announce table. Foley rips up said table with Austin saying do whatever it takes but don't touch his belt. With Funk on the table, Foley gets the chair and runs off the apron to drive it into Terry. Austin and Foley have a staredown and Austin says beat Funk then come after me. Back in the ring now and Austin apologizes for his language. “It's usually worse than this but I have to be nice on TV.”
Double arm DDT gets two. This is AWESOME by the way. Austin is praising Funk the entire match about how great he is and tough he is. He says he doesn't mind fighting Foley but Foley needs to prove something first. A piledriver looks to end this but Foley doesn't cover. Instead it's another piledriver on a chair and that's FINALLY it.
Rating: A-. Now THIS is a brawl. This wasn't about being goofy or about stupid weapon shots. There's a way that a hardcore match can in fact be hardcore and brutal with both guys destroying each other and this was it. The storytelling of Foley reaching levels of evil he didn't want to go to but doing them anyway for the sake of one more shot at the title is great stuff and Foley sells it like the master that he is. This is on Mick Foley's Greatest Hits and Misses which is another reason to get that DVD, which is already awesome.
Foley having no music is a nice touch. Post match he rams Funk's head into the chair a few more times but Austin has had enough. He goes in with a beer and throws it in Foley's face. Foley can't see so he puts the Claw on Patterson. Patterson brings in a chair (dang he was up quick from that Claw) but takes a Stunner. Foley leaves but the Dude Love music plays. Vince comes out with the Dudettes and hands Foley the Dude Love attire and they hug. All four dance as Austin is disgusted to end the show.
Overall Rating: B. With a main event like that the show is automatically rated highly. The rest of it is pretty decent stuff but we're in a transitional period as we're waiting on the DX vs. Nation stuff to start and some of the other stuff to get left behind. Taker would jump back to the main event scene at Over the Edge which is at the end of the month. Good show here and definitely entertaining stuff.
Monday Night Raw
Date: May 11, 1998
Location: Baltimore Arena, Baltimore, Maryland
Commentators: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, Jim Ross
We're still a long way off from Over the Edge but we have our main event set now as Love is full on heel and the new McMahon flunkie. The other main stories are that DX is still going after WCW which is a story that I thought happened on the same show as the more famous invasion. DX is in Atlanta tonight. Let's get to it.
Here's Vince to open the show and he has a major announcement regarding Stone Cold. Before Vince can even say anything the Austin chants have already begun. When Austin gets here he's in a tag match with a partner and opponents to be announced later. First up though, here's Dude Love. Love is in a suit and is Corporate now. He even has a copy of the Wall Street Journal and glasses.
He knows who he is now and that is a well educated man and a speaker of four languages. I don't get why this had to be Dude Love. Couldn't just Mick Foley work better here actually? He says he'll win the title and shakes Vince's hand. Love talks about losing his smile and Vince helped him find it. That calls for a hug. Vince: “I'm proud of you dude.” That sounds so wrong for some reason.
Now we get to the gimmick of the title match at the PPV. Vince introduces Brisco as the guest timekeeper. For your guest ring announcer, here's Pat Patterson. As for the guest referee, I think you can all see it coming. Yes, it's Jack Tunney. That kind of joke doesn't work in print so I'll withdraw it. Vince says the entrance and points to the ramp twice and there's no referee.
He says hit the music and there's no music or referee. Vince goes up the ramp and through the entrance. Patterson does the intro and says that the referee is the best there is, the best there was (Cole/JR in unison: “WHAT?”) before it's revealed as Vince of course, coming out in a referee shirt. This might be the most stacked deck in wrestling history.
Sable is getting ready for her confrontation with Mero later tonight.
Sunday Night Heat is coming.
We get our first clip of DX in Atlanta, which is them in their tank with the big gun on it. They go to the WCW offices and Billy gets in the kind of famous line of “We do have a meeting, with the cops that are coming to arrest us.” They decide to go to the arena where WCW is allegedly giving away free tickets.
Al Snow is here while Kelly is waiting on Austin. I think this is Snow's debut.
Vader vs. Barry Windham
For some reason this feels like it should be in 1993. This is Vader's return after being out three months thanks to Kane I believe. Windham is already in the ring so I think you know where this is going. Yeah it must have been Kane since it's mask vs. mask with Vader vs. Kane. JR says he isn't sure what's going on because they don't have a lot of their stuff here for some reason. The NWA guys get involved and Windham still has his vest on. We hear about a UFC show on Friday which is something you'll never see on WWE again. A splash gets two for Vader. Vader Bomb ends this clean. Vader was never in any real trouble.
Vader beats up the NWA post match.
We get a clip of Austin on Celebrity Deathmatch which debuts later this week.
Austin is here....and he's in a car. That doesn't fit in the slightest.
During the break Austin had the news broken to him about the PPV main event and Austin is ticked off and doesn't seem to be surprised. He takes the mic from Kelly and goes off to find Vince.
Skull vs. Hawk
Animal and 8-Ball are in there anyway and now it's down to the regular match. Hawk goes up but misses a top rope clothesline. 8-Ball interferes a bit and hawk is in trouble. Skull manages a backbreaker without even bending his knee. That takes.....talent? Hawk hits one of the few wrestling moves he knows, the neckbreaker, and doesn't bother to cover. Hawk charges into the post and out to the floor as we hear about the Nation vs. DX at Over the Edge. 8-Ball and Skull switch and 8-Ball gets the pin in a small package. Not enough to grade but this was pretty bad.
More of DX in Atlanta at the CNN Tower. There's not much to see here other than they're there.
Edge is still coming.
Earlier today, Bradshaw taught Taka how to drive. It doesn't go well and as they get back, Kai En Tai jumps them.
Jeff Jarrett vs. Farrooq
Blackman is here with Farrooq to distract Jarrett. Farrooq uses his power game to take over and Blackman gets in cheap shots every time Jarrett is put on the floor. And here's the Nation for the DQ. This didn't even crack two minutes. Jarrett and the Nation leave Faarooq and Blackman laying.
Here's an ad for the Brisco Brothers Body Shop. I'd rather just listed to the two of them tell stories.
Here's Austin and I'll give you two guesses as to what mood he's in. He doesn't care about the PPV match because he'll do what he has to do to keep the title. Austin demands Vince come out here now but Austin and the Stooges pop up on the screen. They won't tell him who his partner or opponents are and Austin doesn't really care. And that's it.
Val Venis is still coming also.
Sable vs. Marc Mero
They talk a bit before the match and Mero puts her in the TKO position and then puts her down, saying that's what he could have done. She kicks Mero in the balls and gets a decent powerbomb (all things considered) powerbomb to leave Mero laying. Sable leaves after that so I guess that's a win?
As Jerry is talking about Sable, Taker pops up to attempt to kill him after what Jerry was caught saying to Bearer last week. They go into the ring and there's a huge chokeslam for Lawler. Oh and this is the final week of Seinfeld so they mention it multiple times. Well to be fair they're both NBC networks. Jerry gets loaded up for the Tombstone but here's Kane. Bearer says he told Taker Kane was alive and he was telling the truth. Next week he'll have proof that he's Kane's father. Kane leaves and now Lawler gets his Tombstone.
Al Snow of all people is here to replace King on commentary. Head has a headset too. Security comes and takes him off. I had no idea who this guy was back in the day as I didn't watch ECW. He needs to see Vince which he wouldn't do for a long time.
DX is still in Atlanta but now they're heading back to Baltimore.
And now they're in the arena. Pac talks about how WCW tried to have them arrested but they'll never be taken alive. He runs down Bischoff and the Outlaws say nothing out of the ordinary. Well what would become the ordinary for them. HHH starts to talk about the state bird or something and gets cut off by Owen. Owen wants to finish the unfinished business so here's a match.
Owen Hart vs. HHH
HHH is in camouflage pants. The Nation comes out to back up their brother Owen. This is non-title. Cornette popped in on commentary now. Owen finally gets in a low blow to break up HHH's offense. Facebuster puts Owen down for two. The leaping knee to the face and a piledriver get two. A DDT gets two for Owen. This is kind of an awkward match. The Nation gets in some shots and Owen gets a piledriver for two. Enziguri puts HHH down and JR blasts DX for being crude and such. Everything breaks down at ringside and it's thrown out.
Rating: C. Well it wasn't bad but they just weren't clicking. The match was thrown together and the point of it was to set up the six man on Sunday which is something they needed to do. This would become the backdrop for Rock vs. HHH which would go on for the whole summer. Decent stuff but I couldn't get into it.
Dustin Rhodes comes out with a barrel and gasoline. He puts the Goldust attire in it and burns it up. He blames Vince for his career falling apart because of his bad ideas and all that stuff. Also Vince has cost Dustin his wife and daughter. I guess this is supposed to be a shoot. Oh wait Russo was writing at this time. That makes sense. This led to a preacher gimmick I think.
Scorpio/Terry Funk vs. Kai En Tai
Yamaguchi-San, the manager of Kai En Tai brings them out and not many people care. Kai En Tai is Funaki, Togo and Teioh. They pop up behind Scorpio and Funk and the handicap is on. There's no semblance of a match at all here, at least not at the beginning. Scorpio starts us off and has to fight off everyone. A move we would call Trouble in Paradise puts Teioh down. He powerbombs all three foreigners and Funk hasn't been in yet. Funk comes in and he looks like he's fighting a bunch of midgets. And here are Bradshaw and Taka for the run-in. This was barely a match and was short too so no rating. Pretty wild though.
Vince is praising Austin's partner but we can't see who he is.
Snow is still trying to get in but doesn't have a ticket.
Here's the Nation and Rock will be one of Austin's opponents.
Vince is getting ready in the back and it's pretty clear now.
Steve Austin/??? vs. The Rock/D'Lo Brown
Brown isn't really important as Rock had like 5 people to pick from. If you didn't get who the partner was, here's your hint: Vince was looking in a mirror. Austin goes after Rock almost immediately and they start us off. They go to the floor quickly as we're in full Austin mode here. Off to Brown and Austin beats him up for a bit. Vince is chilling on the floor of course. There's no real match here and it's a lot more of a fight.
Rock gets back in after sending Austin into various metal things on the floor. The People's Elbow gets two and Vince is up on the apron now. Austin gets in a right hand and the place EXPLODES. I have never seen anyone as hot as he was at this point. Off to Brown for a few seconds and then here's Rocky again. A double clothesline puts them both down and it's back to Brown since there's no partner for Vince. Low Down misses and Austin gets fired up. Vince comes in and clotheslines Austin down and it all breaks down and is thrown out. Love comes out but DX comes out for the huge brawl to end the show.
Rating: C-. Austin brawls are always fun and you flat out cannot go wrong with Austin vs. Rock, but this didn't do it for me. It was all about the last 15 seconds of the show with the numbers catching up to Austin in the end. It wasn't much of a match but the brawling stuff was fun enough I guess.
Overall Rating: D+. I couldn't get into this show at all. They were trying but everything and everyone not named Austin was pretty lackluster and things still were on the verge of picking up more. Way way way too many interference based endings and all that stuff that would become a major issue in the Attitude Era. This was one of the weakest in this era so far.
Monday Night Raw
Date: May 18, 1998
Location: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee
Commentators: Jim Ross, Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler
We're getting closer to Over the Edge which is on the 31st of May. Until then, it's more Austin vs. Vince craziness. Tonight it's going to be the Rattlesnake vs. the Stooges in what I'm sure will be an athletically based contest. Val Venis finally debuts tonight and we'll probably build up a lot more for the PPV as well. Let's get to it.
We open with a recap of last week where Vince stacked the deck against Austin which sets up the awesome match at the PPV.
Vince and the Stooges open us up. According to Vince, Austin has a concussion which JR disputes. If Austin tries anything, he'll get hurt even worse. For Austin's protection, he's barred from the arena tonight. We see a video of Austin arriving and a guy stopping him. The guy sounds scared to death. Austin says he's going to have some beers and the guy has five minutes to decide about the easy way or the hard way.
Here's Dude who says that as Austin's title reign is dying, the Dude is becoming stronger. Insert your own Lebowski joke here. That movie had already come out so I wonder if that's why Vince picked the name Dude. I can't imagine Vince has seen that movie to this day so we'll go with no there. Dude says all of their dreams will come true on the 31st.
Vince calls out Dustin Runnels, (Goldust) and yells at him for blaming Vince for all of his problems. Vince says he gave Dustin Goldust and Dustin threw it away. Dude vs. Dustin (who recently had knee surgery) is made and the #1 contender spot is up for grabs. If Dustin loses, he has to work for free for thirty days. Dustin says ok and clocks Dude, getting him a 3-1 beating.
Jerry Lawler gets here with someone under a sheet. He tells whoever it is to mingle but the person can't see. Jerry says it's a security precaution and the security guard from earlier says it's ok.
Scorpio vs. Val Venis
This is Val's debut. The first thing said about Venis is from Cole: “Here he comes!” These jokes write themselves. Nothing special to start us off as they trade wristlocks. Val takes over with some clotheslines and a powerslam. Scorpio comes back with a sunset flip and what we would call Trouble in Paradise. Val goes up for a middle rope splash but jumps (mostly) into a boot. Trouble in Paradise hits again and the Tumbleweed gets two. The Canadian (Val) gets a German on the American for two. Scorpio slams him but the moonsault misses, setting up the Money Shot to end this.
Rating: D+. The match wasn't that good as it ran too long for a debut. Venis shows he's resilient but he needed more than that in his debut match. The top rope splash was always cool to see, but Val was in too much trouble here for his debut. Also he looked a little out of sync in there and the match dragged about two minutes too long. Not horrible, but it's a debut so you have to cut him some slack.
Austin goes up to the security guard again and says the guy has picked the hard way. Pain ensues. Then we get the kind of thing that makes characters great. Austin grabs the guy's walkie talkie and says that we have a situation here and that he's coming for Vince. Little things like those made Austin unique because we get a bit of comedy in there with it, just to add his own signature to it. Little things like that add up and helped make Austin the legend that he is.
Here's Austin in the arena and he says he's getting a little madder about all of the strings Vince is pulling every day. He calls out Vince and the Stooges to settle this right now. Either get out here or he'll start breaking expensive stuff. Austin wants to fight them all and Vince panics. Austin wants a street fight and Patterson says sure because Austin said he sucks, which he absolutely does not! Oh there are a million jokes there. Briscoe wants in on this too. Vince says Austin will get two of the three, but he won't say which two. Is this supposed to be a secret?
Edge is coming.
The make-up lady is trying to help the person under King's sheet. I think I know who it is.
Here's Sable who asks Marc Mero to come out here. She offers him an amicable split and Mero chuckles. He has a contract that she signed and says she's his property.
Marc Mero vs. Terry Funk
Mero jumps him coming in and they start in a brawl on the floor. Yeah brawl with Terry Funk. This COULDN'T go bad. Back in and Terry takes over with a piledriver for two. Mero pounds away as JR makes some not very veiled references to WCW and their Seniors' Tour. Funk shoves the referee and suplexes Mero but with the referee down Marc hits him low for two. TKO puts Funk down but Sable is on the apron. Terry no sells the TKO and hits a DDT for the pin.
Rating: C. Eh not bad but the point here was advancing Sable vs. Mero which they did here. This is what wrestling doesn't have today: basic storylines like this with a match being thrown out there where this isn't a shocking upset. Both of these guys have their own thing going on and we didn't have to have a big video about it. We were just told about it and I find that it works better that way.
Cops are here for Austin.
Legion of Doom vs. Disciples of Apocalypse
Gah I hate this feud. No Sunny here who I think was gone for good now. It's Chainz/Skull here so I don't have to play guess which twin. Skull vs. Hawk to start. I don't like Hawk having hair as it gets confusing. The DOA controls early on but Hawk hits a facejam on Skull to take over and he follows it with....my goodness an enziguri. Well not really as that means head kick and this was in the back but still, points for trying.
Off to Animal and everything breaks down. Animal powerbombs Skull for one as this is falling apart quickly. Hawk hits a middle rope splash for two as the tagging is being forgotten. 8-Ball comes in through the crowd and rolls Animal up for the surprise pin. They would have a regular tag at the PPV. This was short and not very good, which I think was intentional to show that the LOD were getting up there in years and couldn't hang with these younger guys.
LOD demands a 6-man next week. That would be Droz's debut.
Steve Austin will be on Celebrity Deathmatch.
Paul Bearer and Kane were at a medical facility earlier for a DNA test. Kane in street clothes with a hood over his head is a different look for him.
Here's King with his bodyguard. And it's Al Snow. I was right earlier.
Dude Love vs. Dustin Rhodes
30 days pay vs. #1 contendership here. Dustin hammers away and this is just Dustin Rhodes. He has a big FU painted on his shirt while Love was in a sportscoat. Out to the floor and Dustin goes into the steps. Austin is watching in the back. Dustin hits the bulldog to booing but walks into the Mandible Claw to end this. This was nothing.
The cops arrest Austin. After a break Vince comes in to run his mouth and provoke Austin some more.
Headbangers vs. Kai En Tai
This is supposed to be 2-2 but it's a 3-2 attack in the aisle. The team is Dick Togo and Men's Teioh. We get down to a regular match as Snow is in the audience now, demanding his meeting with Vince. The heels cheat a lot because that's what heels do. Back in the ring Teioh hits Thrasher low and Dick in a Box hits what we would call a Whisper in the Wind to put Thrasher down again.
Thrasher finally blocks a superplex or a super rana to take over. And never mind that as Teioh interferes to knock him off the top. The heels cheat even more as Funaki comes in to beat on Mosh. Bradshaw and Taka come in for the save from the big beatdown and the match is thrown out.
Rating: D+. Eh whatever here. Kai En Tai wouldn't go anywhere until Taka turned heel and joined them but it's not like this ever amounted to anything. Pretty weak match overall and the ending didn't help as that's how the vast majority of these matches ended: in a relatively predictable DQ.
Austin is put into the police car.
More of Bearer and Kane getting their DNA test.
Tag Titles: New Age Outlaws vs. Owen Hart/Rocky Maivia
DX does their schtick before the match. It's a big brawl once the Nation gets here with no one in the ring at all. After a break we're finally ready to go with Rock vs. Road Dogg. Billy protests something and Rock kicks Roadie low. There's the People's Elbow which has a name now. We hear about how great Owen is and now it's time for Billy to get beaten up. Back to Roadie after about 2 seconds as Rock hits a Samoan Drop and Owen adds a top rope elbow for no cover.
Instead of trying for the pin, he wants to bite Dogg's ear. Well sure why not. Rock Bottom gets two and everything breaks down. Rock is yelling at Chyna when Faarooq runs down and plants him with a piledriver. Road Dogg reaches over to steal a pin and get what would be the biggest fall of his career if he knew what was coming.
Rating: C-. Eh it set up the PPV match with Farrooq vs. Rock and continued the summer long feud between the two groups. The match wasn't the point here and there's nothing wrong with that in this case. It was going to set up Rock vs. HHH at the end of the summer and this is one of those side steps to get us there.
The cops haven't taken Austin away yet. After a break the cops let Austin go after he apologizes to the guard.
Kevin Kelly is in the ring with a doctor who says Paul is Kane's father. There go the lights and here's Kane. Bearer calls Taker's mother a two bit whore and Taker is there in about 4 seconds. Kane takes a chokeslam but Taker goes after Bearer too much and Kane beats him down. Vader, Kane's opponent on Sunday, comes down to beat on Kane as Taker chases Bearer off. Vader stands tall as Kane bails.
Gerald Brisco/Pat Patterson vs. Steve Austin
Commissioner Slaughter is guest referee. He pops Austin on the way in and it's a beatdown. This is a street fight also. Patterson hits him with a foreign object of some kind for two and Austin is all fired up. Stunners for the Stooges as well as Slaughter so I think we'll say this is thrown out. Dude runs out and gets a beating also. A “fan” jumps the railing and pops Austin with a chair but it's Vince in an Austin mask. Austin is left on the floor to end the show.
Overall Rating: C-. The show was energetic enough and the one major angle was well pushed, but it was the main focus of the show which gets a little tiring. This is more of a miss than a hit which is rare in these days. We need to get to the PPV soon because the story and scenario is all set up. Not a terrible show but it was kind of hard to get through.
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