Monday Night Raw From 1998 with KB

Discussion in 'Old School PPV/TV Reviews' started by klunderbunker, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

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    As per the voice of the fans, I’m going to start doing some old Raws to go with the other stuff I’m doing. This is widely considered to be one of if not the best years for the company ever and that can mainly be attributed to the rise of Steve Austin from most popular guy on the show to megastar as he wins the world title in about four months. I’ll be alternating back and forth, doing a show from this year and then a show from 01 as it was also requested. Let’s get to it.

    Monday Night Raw
    Date: January 5, 1998
    Location: New Haven Coliseum, New Haven, Connecticut
    Commentators: Jim Ross, Michael Cole, Kevin Kelly, Jerry Lawler

    To recap a few things, this is about a month and a half after Montreal. Shawn is WWF Champion and Austin has said that he’s going to go after the WWF Title after handing the Rock the Intercontinental Title. He’s getting ready for the Rumble and that’s probably what this is going to build to. There isn’t much besides that as I’ll cover the rest as we go. Let’s get to it.

    Right off the bat something comical: the show is rated TV-PG. That’s so ironic it’s almost scary.

    We open with Austin coming into the back of the arena I think. He’s talking about everyone having a pager and saying that when their pager says 3:16 their ass belongs to Stone Cold. I thought the pager bit was before this show.

    DIG THAT WAREHOUSE OPENING SEQUENCE!!!

    There’s an insane energy that you can feel here. The fans are almost rabid.

    Oh damn I picked a GOOD night to start. Tonight: Mike Tyson is here to discuss his role at Wrestlemania. And scratch that as we’re just going to hear about Tyson. He would be there in three weeks I think.

    Farrooq vs. Ken Shamrock

    Shamrock had been in the main event of the last PPV so this should be annihilation. He was kind of running through the Nation on the road to the Rock and the IC Title. Shamrock could MOVE back then. Rock made this match apparently. You need a scorecard to keep track of everything going on here. Farrooq gets a Samoan Drop to break up Ken’s momentum.

    Rollup gets two as Shamrock is getting back in. Both of these two are in the Rumble. Rock saunters, and that’s the only word to describe it, down to the ring as we take a break. Back with a backslide getting two for Shamrock. Rock sends D’Lo and Kama away. Ok no he doesn’t. That was odd.

    Farrooq does an odd move where he gets a gorilla press and drops to his knees to drive the top of his head into the ribs of Shamrock. That was different. Shamrock makes a quick comeback with a rana and that’s about all he’s got. Rock tries to set up some heel shenanigans but the chair Kama holds up is slammed into by Farrooq. Belly to belly and the ankle lock ends it.

    Rating: C-. Total nothing match here but the energy in it was impressive. There was a point to this as it set up Shamrock vs. Rock a bit more and furthered the split in the Nation idea which would result in Farrooq being through out and doing nothing until he teamed up with Bradshaw way down the line.

    Rock and Shamrock stare each other down until Austin comes out and Stuns them both before leaving through the crowd. Expect a lot of random stuff like that this year.

    Kane may have left Paul Bearer! Paul speaks tonight.

    Owen vs. Savio later.

    Exclusive footage of the first Hell in a Cell match later.

    Don King is here to talk about negotiating with Vince. I thought Tyson himself was supposed to be here?

    Jim Cornette brings two guys to the ring as we take a break.

    Back and they are who I thought they were. Cornette has brought with him Howard Brody and Dennis Corraluzzo. If that second name sounds familiar, he’s the NWA President that freaked out on Shane Douglas after Shane threw the NWA Title down to start ECW. This isn’t going to end well.

    Cornette talks about the NWA’s wrestling tradition. He’s going to bring tradition and honor back to professional wrestling. The next match is for the NWA North American Heavyweight Championship, which is more or less the IC Title of the NWA.

    NWA North American Heavyweight Championship: Barry Windham vs. Jeff Jarrett

    This would go on for awhile but I thought it was Bradshaw rather than Windham. Ah apparently that came later on. I knew I remembered Bradshaw being in there somewhere. Cornette sits down for commentary here. I think Jarrett had been in WWF for only a few months at this point so it’s not like he was doing anything. Windham is part of a team with Bradshaw at this point called the New Blackjacks so I guess that’s how Bradshaw would get involved.

    Cornette goes into a big story talking about how you can trace the NWA Title back to 1904 which is still bogus and that if you look back to the Illinois State Wrestling Championship in 1848 which evolved into the NWA Title, it was held by Abraham Lincoln. You think they’re stretching far enough here? The match is more or less just kind of going on in the background while Cornette rambles.

    They’re not sure if we’re using WWF or NWA rules. Windham keeps getting two and keeps confusing me as he looks A LOT like Bradshaw. Big powerslam by Windham gets two again. The two NWA suits keep complaining about various things as Windham gets the lariat. Cornette gets up and cracks Windham in the back as he goes for the Superplex. Jarrett falls on top for the title.

    Rating: D+. Like I said this was just kind of there while Cornette set up the angle. This went on for a few months and went nowhere. The key thing to notice here though is that everyone is doing SOMETHING. There is a point to every single thing you see on TV. It might not be interesting and it might not be good, but there is a point to it. That’s solid writing and it can help a lot.

    Austin comes out and Stuns Jarrett because he can. It’s weird seeing him in long jeans. Ah Kelly fills us in by saying that Austin said he’d get anyone in the Rumble. That helps a lot.

    Back from a break with Shamrock going off about Austin and saying Austin is the marked man there and he wants it to come down to the two of them in the final two.

    Sunny comes down to be the announcer for this next match.

    Sniper/Recon vs. Skull/8-Ball

    This is an interesting pair of teams. Sniper/Recon (Recon is more famous as Bull Buchanan) are part of the Truth Commission led by Jackyl who was going to be a huge part of a major angle but was more or less thrown out of the company after being a jerk in general. He wound up in ECW as Cyrus.

    Skull/8-Ball are the Disciples of Apocalypse, a biker team that was part of a biker faction. This was a very faction heavy time as there was also the Nation and Los Boricuas, the Latino gang. There you have four factions with 16 guys combined. That covers a lot of ground. The DOA here are more famous as the Harris Brothers, Creative Control, and the Blu Brothers in the mid 90s. Why they kept getting hired is beyond me.

    Jackyl gets on commentary here. He goes on one of his rants as Recon beats up Skull. Swinging neckbreaker puts Recon down. Ok Recon is bald. Got it. Hot tags on both ends as the crowd doesn’t seem to care. Here comes Kurrgan, the monster of the Truth Commission, as Skull hits a DDT on Sniper to get the win.

    Rating: D-. Wow this was uneventful. These factions feuded for what felt like ever and nothing ever came of it. They all kind of just went away with nothing to show for it, much like a lot of other stuff during the Attitude Era. Nothing to see here other than more weak build for the Rumble where the winner was never once in doubt.

    Kurrgan beats up the DOA post match.

    Here’s DX, which at this point is HHH, Shawn and Chyna. HHH is in a wheelchair and is the European Champion here. Shawn is WWF Champion as I mentioned earlier. As they come in we see a clip of Owen having Shawn beaten last week in a title match but Chyna broke a crutch over Owen’s head.

    We begin with, of course, boob jokes. HHH runs down Owen, saying that he’s not ready to fight guys like them. And don’t worry about the broken crutch because there’s plenty more wood where that came from. Owen jumped Shawn after the last PPV so there’s your explanation. HHH calls out Owen who appears on the screen.

    Owen says that he had Shawn last week. This is getting personal apparently. Owen talks about being the Black Hart and that he doesn’t want to fight HHH when he’s injured. He wants the right leg to heal so he can break his left leg. I like that line actually. HHH says watch your back.

    There’s going to be a Shawn promo later. Note though that Shawn was there with HHH. He didn’t say anything but it makes HHH look more important.

    With the second hour starting we see Austin coming in and his opening promo again.

    This is officially the start of the War Zone show, meaning this is the more adult oriented show. Lawler also replaces Cole and Kelly on commentary.

    Owen Hart vs. Savio Vega

    Owen starts off all fast and hot as Savio is in trouble. Top rope dropkick and a nip up have Savio reeling. HHH and Chyna pop up on the ramp so Savio can get a shot in. Owen gets a rolling cradle for two but walks into a big spin kick to take him down. Cross body gets two and the Boricuas beat Owen down on the floor. And then the spinwheel kick sets up the Sharpshooter for the….not submission. One of the Boricuas distracts Owen who rolls Savio up easily for the pin a second later. Uh…point to that?

    Rating: D+. This was a squash with Owen being in trouble for maybe 40 seconds. Total dominance for the most part to make Owen look good for HHH later on. Owen looked completely awesome here and that’s all that matters. How was this almost five minutes long?

    Los Boricuas beat down Owen and take him up to HHH who slaps him around a bit. Shawn is there again which is a good point.

    Here’s Paul Bearer who looks like he’s about dead. Last week Kane was surrounded by seven guys that he had beaten up in previous weeks. This was all part of the huge and totally epic build to the first Taker vs. Kane match at Mania. They managed to not have them fight for seven months which made the feud. Taker refused to fight him until a few weeks after this.

    Anyway, Taker showed up to be the 8th guy that was going to fight Kane apparently but wound up helping him out. Kane then left alone and apparently Paul hasn’t seen him since. According to JR he looks horrible, as in more horrible than usual. I was going to use that joke! His tie is all messed up and he has bags under his eyes etc. He bashes Taker and hopes Shawn destroys him as this is all his fault. He begs Kane to come home which somehow takes like two minutes.

    Austin has beaten up Mark Henry.

    We recap Mero being a total jerk to Sable and make himself the star of the team, which was totally dominated by Sable. Tom Brandi, a no name guy, tried to stand up for her, setting up this.

    Tom Brandi vs. Merc Mero

    Brandi is big and Italian. Mero is a boxer dude. Mero hides behind Sable and drills Brandi to start. He pounds on him for a good while until he gets crotched on the top rope like any good heel would. Bulldog gets two. Brandi is very, very bad on offense. If my memory serves me right, Kanye West has said one of his biggest regrets is not being able to see himself perform. Jerry Lawler beat him to that line by about ten years.

    Mero is thrown onto Sable who he yells at. Brandi keeps punching and I could be less interested. Brandi tries to help her and Mero takes over again. TKO ends it seconds later. And never mind no it doesn’t as he sets for another but Austin comes in to Stun Mero and give him the DQ win. The TKO by the way is what Alex Riley uses if you’re unfamiliar with the name. Sable kind of stares at Austin.

    Rating: D+. Wow there are a lot of bad matches tonight. Brandi was very bad out there but he was all the had…somehow. One thing you could NEVER accuse WWE of in this era was being afraid of trying people out. There were constantly new guys being run out there in various spots on the card every five minutes. Often times they failed, such as here, but on occasion you would find someone, like say the Outlaws, that worked.

    More Austin recaps after a break.

    Flash Funk vs. The Artist Formerly Known As Goldust

    Goldust is in a WEIRD phase here. Think Lady Gaga on LSD and portrayed by Goldust. Funk is 2 Cold Scorpio as a pimp complete with Funkettes. Goldust tonight is a blackface pimp. Well of course he is. Lawler and Ross do the famous part from the Shaft theme. That gives me a very good image of Ross with an afro back in the 70s.

    Flash goes Rodney King on him and annihilates him to start. There goes the wig and Dustin does a Flair Flop in the aisle. Back in the ring and the Golden one takes over. Flash gets what we would call Trouble in Paradise for two. Flash goes up for the 450 (Funky Flash Splash) but Luna shoves him off for the DQ.

    Rating: N/A. I wanted to see that 450 but the JR/Lawler Shaft thing had me in stitches.

    Vader destroys Goldust as they’re feuding at the moment for no apparent reason. Vader was so worthless at this point due to horrible booking of him.

    We get a promo video on Steve Blackman, who they were trying to push as a big deal. I think you get how well that went.

    We get a video showing the debut of Chainsaw Charlie, Terry Funk carrying a chainsaw. There’s no way this could go bad is there?

    Headbangers vs. New Age Outlaws

    The Outlaws have the tag titles here but this is non-title. The Headbangers were on Regis and Kathy Lee this morning apparently. This is pre-DX for the Outlaws so they’re nothing here and just some young punks that lucked their way into the titles. They’re in South Park shirts. This is when that show was a show was more or less considered a big joke that would go away in a few weeks, so that was definitely not something everyone would get. Yeah there were seven episodes of the show at this point. That’s amazing.

    The fans chant LOD as JR talks about them being American Originals. That never went anywhere but they pounded it into our heads enough. We’ll be talking to Don King once this match is over. This is of course another fairly weak match without much going on in it. The evil Godwins come out to look at the Outlaws.

    A member of both teams go for dropkicks but they land on each other’s feet for a double crotch shot. Lukewarm tags both ways and it’s Mosh in now. The Godwins are gone now. Thanks for that appearance there boys. The Headbangers botch the HELL out of a powerbomb/legdrop combo and Billy falls on Thrasher to get the pin.

    Rating: D+. And that’s probably being generous. This again wasn’t much at all as the match was never interesting and the end was never in doubt. It’s ok at its very best but as usual not a lot going on here. This felt like an old Superstars match. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing though.

    Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie run off the champions.

    We get a package on the brief history of Tyson being in negotiations with WWF to be at Mania. This was, in a word, HUGE. Mainstream press came pouring in and the fans freaking loved it, making this a massive success. Less than a month after his Mania appearance, WWF took over Monday Nights again. What does that tell you?

    Don King says how excited he is about Mania. I feel slimy just watching this guy. He says we’re almost to a deal but there are a few more details to get together. He makes this sound HUGE, saying it’s a great moment and it’s affordable. How often do you hear that today? The show is affordable. True or not, it sounds good to hear that no?

    Mania is in 12 weeks.

    We get some clips from HIAC, which was amazing both back then and today.

    Here comes Shawn to close the show. I love this DX intro where they have the rapid fire clips of other things spliced into the regular clips. He calls out Taker and says he’ll win at the Rumble. Well he would but it didn’t go as well as he had planned I don’t think.

    There’s the gong and there go the lights. Some druids bring out a casket and I think I know where this is going. Shawn is laughing a lot and apparently this same one was brought out last week. It’s covered in spray paint and there would be a joke inside the casket apparently. HHH and Chyna come out on the stage after a bit and I think you can fill in the rest yourself. Taker pulls Shawn in to end the show.

    Overall Rating
    : D+. This really wasn’t very good at all. What really happened here? Austin stuns a lot of people, the feuds aren’t really moved anywhere, and Shawn is in trouble for running his mouth off. Contrary to popular belief, the Attitude Era shows weren’t all great.

    Now to be fair I’m not sure the Era had officially started yet although the term Attitude was mentioned earlier. This wasn’t horrible but it wasn’t very good either. It’ll pick up A LOT after Mania when Austin is the champion. Not bad, but not a great start to the year at all.
     
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  2. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

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    Monday Night Raw
    Date: January 12, 1998
    Location: Bryce Jordan Center, State College, Pennsylvania
    Attendance: 8,628
    Commentators: Jim Ross, Kevin Kelly, Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler

    It’s the go home show for the Rumble so I’m not sure what to expect here. I’d assume a lot of Austin shenanigans of course but that’s expected in this era. Allegedly things pick WAY up post Rumble which I’d believe. The card looks shall we say horrible beyond belief on paper but that’s also to be expected in this era. Let’s get to it.

    We open with DX bitching about how awesome they are and that they’re coming to the show tonight as Shawn sticks his ass out of the window.

    Bret is still in the opening.

    Godwins vs. Headbangers vs. Truth Commission vs. New Age Outlaws

    Only the Outlaws get an intro. We’re going to talk to Vince tonight about Mike Tyson being at the Rumble. The Outlaws have the titles here. This is non-title though and they’re not in DX yet. They make fun of Joe Pa on the way to the ring to make them eternal heels in this town. They’re in Florida Gator jerseys since they beat Penn State (where the show is happening tonight) in the Citrus Bowl a few days before this.

    The Godwins are heel here and it’s one fall to a finish. Thrasher and Henry start us off and this isn’t much at all. One fall to a finish here. People tag in and out rather fast so it’s not like you can keep up with them or anything like that. The Truth Commission works over Mosh in the corner but can only get two.

    It’s the fifth anniversary of Raw which should mean the start of 1999 but WWF was never that good with math. The Penn State fans yell at the Outlaws even though they haven’t been in the match yet. Most gets a top rope clothesline to take down Recon for two. Billy is finally brought in and gets run over by the future Mideon.

    Everyone gets in some shots on Billy but the Slop Drop is broken up by Road Dogg. Billy gets a foreign object out of somewhere to clock Phineas for the easy pin. The Jackyl isn’t sure what to do. I’m rather surprised that there was no LOD here even as a run in or anything like that. Oh well, it’s not like anyone is watching the PPV for the tag title match anyway.

    Rating: C-. Nothing special here as it went way too fast to have any kind of flow to it at all. The fans are all riled up now though which is the idea for this match so they certainly succeeded on that front. Not a great match or anything but that probably was due to the combatants in it. Nothing special at all.

    We get a video on the LOD being awesome and the Outlaws destroying them which I guess was a big deal but no one cared about Hawk and Animal at this point. Ah apparently they’re saving the big return for the Rumble. It’s not like they won the belts anyway though.

    We’re still waiting on DX to get here in a limo. As we’re watching the entry way Austin arrives in his truck.

    During the break Austin Stunned the Godwins. I like that as it feels all breakneck paced and not laid out step by step. Austin comes out to a ROAR. He’ll be having an AOL chat about the Rumble on Thursday. That’s an amusing image. Picture Austin at a computer typing back and forth to fans and you’ll get it.

    Austin says that even if Vince owns the ring he’s going to throw everyone out of it. There’s a live Rumble drawing tonight and Austin is apparently a marked man. Austin asks Cole if he has a pen. He draws a big bullseye on his chest and says he’s not a hard man to find so anyone that wants a piece of him can come on. Nice promo.

    We get a clip of Austin at MSG talking about how he’s going to be on Celebrity Deathmatch during the Halftime Show of the Superbowl on MTV. They would up the ante the next year with a world title match during halftime.

    A limo is here that we think has DX in it. A truck is blocking it though. Yep it’s DX and this was pointless.

    Kurrgan vs. Jimmy Cicero/Lance Diamond

    Kurrgan has to pin both guys. If this lasts three minutes I’ll be stunned. Diamond would eventually go to ECW and change his first name to Simon. Jackyl talks about power and all that jazz on commentary. A Claw Hold ends Cicero with ease and they mess up and play his music early. A suplex ends Diamond. This was a total squash. He rips a football helmet apart afterwards.

    Owen Hart breaks into DX’s limo and it drives away with him still in it.

    Vader vs. Marc Mero

    Mero grabs a microphone to introduce Sable but his mic isn’t working. He doesn’t seem to realize it though so I’d assume you can hear it in the arena. Here’s Sable…..performed by Goldust. This is his I WANT ATTENTION phase. Vader is feuding with him here so there’s your connection. Mero tries throwing some punches which get him nowhere at all.

    Vader dominates him with pure power but Goldie trips him up. Mero gets a cross body for no cover but here comes Sable to the biggest non-Austin pop of the night. She goes after Goldust but Mero sends her away. Vader promptly destroys Mero and hits a Vader Bomb but Goldust comes in and pulls a coconut from his bra (I know I know just go with it) and drills Vader for the DQ. No rating since the majority of this was Sable and her hotness.

    DX is back but there’s no Owen with them.

    We get a Royal Rumble moment from 1995 when Lawrence Taylor was shoved by Bam Bam Bigelow.

    Austin gets to Vader in the locker room.

    D’Lo Brown/Rocky Maivia vs. Mark Henry/Ken Shamrock

    Rock is IC Champion here but doesn’t have the belt for some reason. Shamrock saved Henry from a Nation beating few weeks before this to set this up. Rock makes fun of the Steelers and Joe Pa, who is still coaching and recently said he wants to coach until 90. Rock vs. Shamrock, the IC Title match on Sunday, starts us off. Basically Shamrock had flown through the Nation to get to Rock and the IC Title.

    Shamrock destroys D’Lo for a bit after Rock almost runs away. Shoulder breaker to Shamrock as we’re still waiting on Henry to come in. Sweet powerslam has Rock in trouble but still no tag. Hurricanrana gets two for Ken. Henry is in the ring but wasn’t tagged in and, say it with me, he turns on Shamrock. The Nation beats Shamrock down for the DQ. Henry joins the Nation in the salute for the first time ever.

    Rating: C+. Even though it was less than four minutes long and they flew through this it still worked pretty well for the most part. Shamrock vs. Rock was ok if I remember right but at the same time it was a swerve for the sake of having a swerve which is never good. The match itself was pretty decent though.

    Farrooq comes out and is ticked off that Rock got Henry onto the team without consulting him. After a break Rock says this was all for Farrooq.

    War Zone begins.

    Here’s DX and Ross lists off what’s left to come in the next hour. Shawn has an announcement about Undertaker’s family but first we’re going to talk about Owen Hart. For the life of me, how did we not get Shawn vs. Owen at the Rumble? Owen actually could hang in the ring with Shawn and there was a legitimate story there. If I remember right Shawn was afraid of Owen shooting on him which is probably a good point.

    HHH hits on the women and then Shawn talks about Mike Tyson, complete with a solid imitation by HHH. Shawn says he has something to say about Kane, but Owen pops up on screen all bloody and HHH says bring it on. Here he comes, calling out HHH as he comes. HHH has a bad knee at this point so this isn’t very smart. We take a break before anything happens though.

    Disciples of Apocalypse vs. Rock N Roll Express

    Yes, that Rock N Roll Express. It’s the NWA angle still which I still don’t get why Vince thought was a good idea but it didn’t go on that long. Cornette praising and introducing these guys is freaking SURREAL. They come out to the Rockers’ music too which is even weirder. Robert starts vs. one of the other guys. Does it really matter which one of them?

    Ross says that they’re the most watched Sports Entertainment show in the world. They hadn’t topped WCW yet so that’s either a lie or in a certain demographic. The streak would end in about three months. The Rock N Roll Express are the NWA Tag Champions apparently. Cornette pops one of the bald dudes with the racket and gets caught to end this. Totally nothing match. 8-Ball beats up Cornette post match. The Express beat on the DOA until their leader, Chainz, makes the save. No rating of course.

    There are rumors about Hulk Hogan being in the Royal Rumble. That actually wasn’t incredibly too far from the truth as he really was contemplating jumping back. Obviously that didn’t happen though but it was a nice thought. He had to stick around WCW and cut Sting’s legs out from under him.

    Cactus Jack is at Beaver Stadium (Penn State plays there) and talks about how great Terry Funk is and about war. We even get clips from the King of the Deathmatch final and hear about how he’s Chainsaw Charlie. They want the Outlaws too.

    Mankind vs. Goldust

    We’re getting into the really interesting era of Foley here as the personalities are coming out and it’s awesome as can be. Goldust comes out as Dude Love. This is downright weird to put it mildly. Mankind destroys him and gets the Claw but here’s Austin for a pair of Stunners as the match is thrown out immediately.

    Austin grabs a headset and says he’s done being a nice guy until after the Rumble. To say this guy was ready to absolutely explode on the world is the biggest understatement of all time.

    Mania is 11 weeks away!

    Vince says Mike Tyson will be at the Rumble and final negotiations will end there. Also he’ll be on Raw next week for a major announcement. To say that’s a huge moment is an understatement if you’ve never seen or heard of it. In short, it’s the reason WWF is still alive today.

    Sunny is here as a sexy little cheerleader to announce the next match.

    Los Boricuas vs. Taka Michinoku/Scott Taylor

    Taylor is more famous as Scotty Too Hotty. Los Boricuas are the Puerto Rican street gang and one of them is Savio Vega. Taka is Light Heavyweight Champion here as he would be for months on end. This is a pretty fast paced match but it’s nothing all that special. Somehow this is the main event though. Nice victory roll by Taka for two. SICK powerbomb by Savio gets no cover.

    Off to Jesus and I was about to say no one cares about him but the spelling there kind of makes that odd to say. The match is ok but it’s all over the place. Scotty has a moonsault blocked by Jesus and a reverse suplex off the top ends Scotty. Los Boricuas beat down Scotty post match so Owen runs in for the revenge from last week.

    Rating: D+. This was the longest match of the night and it lasted 4:33. What does that tell you about this time in wrestling/sports entertainment? The match was barely decent and it was really nothing special overall. It was all over the place and didn’t work that well at all. Also, any point to this at all other than the Owen run in? Whatever.

    We see Lawrence Taylor getting shoved down again as we did earlier.

    DX comes out again and we take a break. Back with them in the ring and abusing Michael Cole which makes my heart flutter with glee. Shawn says that Paul Bearer and Kane have split and Kane is off on his own. DX will offer him a home, so here’s the newest member of the team. Instead it’s the Deadman and Shawn is a bit scared to say the least.

    I love that explosion when the lights come back on. Taker goes after them but Chyna’s distraction allows Sweet Chin Music to take down Taker and the beating is on. The fans want Kane. And in the WWF, ask and ye shall receive. He clears the ring, apparently turning face in the process. Kane chases them up the ramp but then stops and takes a knee to Undertaker, striking his pose. Taker returns it and we have the first real moment between these two. Shit would get real at the Rumble though.

    It’s time for the Rumble drawing although the previous segment really should have closed the show. More or less everyone is here and they all want to kill Austin. Shamrock comes in and starts fighting Mark Henry as Honky Tonk Man is here. Lawler hypes up Honky and JR asks “what are you his cousin?” Funny line because it’s true.

    Cactus and Funk get in and amazingly the fight stops. We’re just waiting on the glass shatter and there it is. Austin, the genius that he is, comes in through the crowd and beats up Phineas Godwin before leaving everyone else to brawl. The Nation and Savio come through the curtain and beat Austin down though to end the show.

    Overall Rating
    : B-. The lack of wrestling hurts this and it hurts it a lot. As far as a go home show, this worked and it worked well. All three of the main matches got pushed tonight, especially the Rumble and the title match. Shamrock vs. Rock got some nice build as well. I want to watch the PPV now which means this did its job. Things will pick up huge on next week’s show which we’ll get to next time. Decent show this week but nothing great.

    Here’s the Rumble review if you’re interested.

    http://forums.wrestlezone.com/showthread.php?p=1728461#post1728461
     
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  3. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

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    Monday Night Raw
    Date: January 19, 1998
    Location: Selland Arena, Fresno, California
    Attendance: 7,329
    Commentators: Jim Ross, Michael Cole, Kevin Kelly, Jerry Lawler

    We’re officially on the Road to Wrestlemania now as this is the night after the Rumble. Austin won of course and will face HBK, the winner of the casket match. Unfortunately the winner of the casket match shattered his back and can barely move let alone wrestle. Things would have to be booked properly to make sure this worked right, which was impressive in its own right.

    That’s not the most important thing tonight though, as we have one of the most famous moments in wrestling history tonight as Mike Tyson is here. This would, for all intents and purposes, launch Austin vs. McMahon. Just saying that name brings a little smile to my face. They had had some run-ins before this but nothing that would compare to this one. Let’s get to it.

    We open with a recap of Kane vs. Taker. Going into the Rumble there was a belief that Kane might help his brother in the casket match. Kane did appear during the match but turned on his brother (yeah I’m stunned too) and threw him in the casket, locked it, and LIT IT ON FIRE. Footage would later reveal the casket was empty after it was clear Kane had thrown him in there. I’m not sure if that had aired yet though.

    Theme song is still awesome. Austin signs all over the place.

    Paul Bearer opens the show properly as he comes out to Taker’s old music. Mad heat on Bearer. He says he got us didn’t he. Bearer talks about how awesome he is for a good while and about how it was all a plan with him and Kane and how Kane never really left him. This is some pretty solid gloating indeed. How exactly does Bearer get his face to curve like that?

    He says that Taker is gone and never to return. Naturally this brings about a gong and a big pop from the crowd. Druids bring out a casket and of course Kane is in it. JR calls him dastardly so you can tell he’s serious. Paul Bearer says he’s Paul Bearer and you’re not. Thanks for clearing that up fat boy.

    Ad for the encore of the Rumble, complete with every single highlight of it.

    We talk to DX in the back where HHH says that Owen might want to head south too because he can’t cut it here. Shawn talks about being guilt ridden over the whole incident with Taker last night. He’s going to bring Taker back tonight though.

    Disciples of Apocalypse vs. Nation of Domination

    The Nation is Farooq, Kama and D’Lo here against the regular three Disciples. One of the twins that we’ll call Skull starts with D’Lo. Never mind as that’s 8-Ball. Brown got a nice run in the Rumble and they were trying to push him as a decent midcard guy around this time which never really got off the ground even with the European Title.

    Skull wasn’t in the Rumble as some people jumped him, thinking he was Austin. That was actually kind of creative. Chainz (Brian Lee to you SMW and ECW fans) takes over for a bit before Kama takes him down. Off to Farrooq now who would soon be thrown out of the Nation. By soon I mean a few weeks/months but close enough. The fans are all over D’Lo here so maybe that’s what they saw in him.

    He takes down one of the twins with an elbow to give the Nation control again. Why did the Harris Brothers keep getting jobs? They weren’t interesting at all but they managed to keep getting signed. We sing Farrooq’s praises for a bit until Brown misses a moonsault so that Skull (I guess) can make the tag to Chainz. Everything breaks down and it’s a DQ. Rock and Henry run down and it’s a big beatdown. Shamrock comes out to get a piece of Rock and Ahmed Johnson comes out because he existed to fight the nation.

    Rating: C-. Pretty boring match here but it was to set up the post match shenanigans. I’m assuming this would set up a big ten man tag somewhere but I don’t remember it off the top of my head. This wasn’t too bad and I’ve long since been a fan of tag matches to start shows so this was fine.

    Vic Venom gives us an ad for Raw Magazine. He would eventually go to WCW and become an onscreen character by his real name: Vince Russo. And so it begins.

    Tom Brandi vs. Marc Mero

    PLEASE let this be their last fight as no one cared about this feud at all. I didn’t realize Chimmel did announcing this early. Ridiculous pop for Sable. Mero puts a robe on Sable that says Property of Marvelous Marc Mero. Brandi is big and Italian. That’s all there is to him really. He jumps Mero to start us off and gets a side slam for two. Big Sable chant starts up as Mero gets a DDT to take over.

    He’s starving for attention apparently. Someone brings a bouquet of flowers for Sable and Mero isn’t pleased at all. He beats up the flowers instead of Brandi and sends Sable to the back to great heat. Brandi’s limited offense is in full swing here including a sitout Gordbuster for two.

    Brandi speeds things up a bit and gets two off a reversal to a suplex. TKO is countered and Brandi is sent to the floor on the kickout. Sunset flip gets two and here’s Sable to distract the referee and the TKO (Fireman’s Carry into a Cutter) ends this. Mero beats him up with the flowers for fun post match.

    Rating: C. This actually wasn’t that bad. It would have been a lot better if anyone actually cared about Brandi but I guess that’s splitting hairs. This wasn’t much of anything but it wasn’t boring which is rather surprising. Decent little match that hopefully ends this feud once and for all.

    DX goes off to inspect the hearse which I might have mentioned earlier but I’m not sure that’s here and open the back door. Inside are….women. The pull the guys inside and Chyna shuts the door. And they were in a hearse why?

    Shane arrives with Mike Tyson. Maybe that should be switched.

    Quebecers vs. Cactus Jack/Chainsaw Charlie

    …the hell? What in the hell are these doing here? Didn’t I suffer enough back in 94? They start on the floor of course and it’s all hardcore dudes in control so far. Jacques, looking about 90 pounds heavier than the last time I saw him, starts with Funk officially. Piledriver by Rougeau can’t keep Terry down for even one.

    Off to Pierre who used to be a pirate I think but I might have my guys backwards. Cactus comes in to save Charlie/Terry and throws a Mandible Claw on the referee because he’s a little nuts. That’s good for a DQ but the beating continues post match. Terry, the fucking crazy man that he is, launches a Vader Bomb off the apron to take out everyone. Cactus clears the ring with a bat despite not really being in trouble. No rating as this was mainly brawling without much of any actual wrestling.

    DX is still looking for the Deadman and asks some Mexican midgets. Shawn doesn’t want to bend down that far so Chyna picks him up instead.

    Tyson is having fun talking to….Sgt. Slaughter?

    NWA North American Title: Bradshaw vs. Jeff Jarrett

    Bradshaw is a Blackjack here so he has more or less no chance here. Jarrett has Cornette and the Rock N Roll Express with him which is an odd combination indeed. Cornette gets on commentary because he’s awesome. Cornette rants about the WWF being worse than the NWA and goes about 20 seconds without taking a breath in one long sentence. Nothing impressive for Cornette but awesome for normal humans.

    Jarrett controls to start but runs into the future New York Millionaire who launches him with a fallaway slam. Bradshaw went 40 minutes in the Rumble last night. The Express interferes to give Jarrett the advantage but he misses a charge. Gibson takes him down again but there’s what would become the Clothesline From Hell for no cover. BIG powerbomb takes Jarrett down again and has to fight the Express some more. Windham is at ringside and does nothing but accidently hit Bradshaw to end it.

    Rating: D+. This was a mess for the most part but had some entertaining value to it. Bradshaw was a guy that they wanted to push for a long time it seemed but it took six years for them to finally pull the trigger on him for some reason. The NWA angle is one of those that I’m still not sure what the point was but it would die off soon.

    The NWA guys beat Bradshaw down post match and Windham turns on him, joining the NWA again. They had a decent little stable going there.

    Ads for house shows.

    Time for Hour #2 which is where the good stuff happened more often than not.

    Shawn rants about not speaking Spanish and not being able to find Taker, and the lights go out. Great you’ve summoned Satan somehow.

    Tyson is still walking around in the back.

    There’s the gong going off and there go the lights again. Do they pay their electric bills or not? Someone is lowered from the ceiling but you can’t see anyone clearly at all. The lights come up….and it’s Shawn in Taker attire. He’s managing to dance here so I guess his back wasn’t completely destroyed until the next day. Chyna and HHH head to the ring with a grill as it’s time for a cookout.

    Let the wiener jokes begin. Chyna has a salami which may or may not be a joke. HHH offers Owen (The Mr. Hanky of WWF, which was the tenth episode of South Park and the most recent at the time so that really was a new idea at the time) a title match next week despite having a bad knee. He also says why would you want to ride Space Mountain (throwing in a WOO here) because it’s old and broken down. I wonder if Flair ever called him out on that later.

    Shawn says he’s still awesome and wanted to give Taker one more shot but he’s gone. He wants to know who’s next for the title shot and says the name Stone Cold, drawing the biggest pop of the night by far. He goes over Austin’s resume and points out that he has done all those things as well, although he leaves out being one of the three people to win a pair of Rumbles. Shawn says that the Heartbreak Kid lays down for absolutely nobody, which seemed like it was taking a lot of effort to say for some reason.

    Tyson is talking to the LOD which is so awesome it’s beyond words. Sunny shows up to hit on him which gives Hawk a rush. Ok then.

    Los Boricuas vs. Owen Hart/Taka Michinoku/Headbangers

    Honky Tonk Man of all people is on commentary here. Has anyone ever explained why Los Boricuas aren’t Las Boricuas as they should be? Miguel (don’t worry about who is who. Only Savio ever meant anything) starts with Taka and actually beats up the champion a bit. Off to Mosh and Jesus now and there are a lot of leapfrogs. JR says Jerry and Honky are talking like cousins, wink wink nudge nudge.

    The Puerto Rican gang beats on Mosh for awhile and Savio WOOs at the crowd which seems to be a theme for the night. Owen comes in to a BIG pop, which means nothing though and he should be fed to HHH of course, and the Sharpshooter ends one of the unimportant guys with relative ease.

    Rating: C-. Just barely long enough to pass here but it wasn’t too bad. These matches aren’t very good but when you have three minutes and eight guys, how much can you get in there? The point was for Owen to look good and he ran through the four guys with ease at the end so it did its job and wasn’t terribly boring so I’ll let it pass.

    Owen accepts HHH’s challenge for next week.

    Tyson is talking to the Nation now.

    Austin is still to come. If you couldn’t figure out the ending already you’re an idiot.

    Rocky Maivia vs. Ahmed Johnson

    They’re alternating between Rocky Maivia and The Rock at this point. Ahmed rushes the ring and Rocky takes him down almost immediately. Ahmed could have been awesome but he couldn’t stay healthy. Rock hits an elbow drop which is just a flashy move here and nothing special at all, not even having a name yet.

    Crowd HATES Rocky here. Ahmed blocks a suplex and here he comes (To save the day! Save the day!). Big clothesline takes the Great One down and we hit the floor. Rocky into the steps but here’s Mark Henry to run interference. He grabs a chair as Rocky takes a spinebuster. It’s time for the Plunge but there’s the chair to Ahmed’s back and the Rock Bottom (no name either) ends it. Really short so no rating again.

    Shamrock runs down to get a piece of the Rock but he bails.

    We get a clip of last night with Shawn standing over the open casket and Taker grabbing his balls. Odd moment.

    Tyson is chilling with DX.

    Tag Titles: Godwinns vs. New Age Outlaws

    The Outlaws are still fine tuning things here and wouldn’t join DX for over two more months. Road Dogg does the big long intro as he’s coming to the ring. They’re in overalls here to make fun of the hog farmers I guess. And the fight is on almost immediately with the big men taking over early. The Outlaws had a tendency to get destroyed for the vast majority of their matches before somehow escaping with the belts.

    Billy gets his overalls ripped off to be left in blue tights. Ross is pimping the hell out of that replay. As I predicted the Outlaws are getting destroyed here. Phineas goes Japan by launching some kicks at Billy’s ribs. No Road Dogg in yet. We’re talking about Tyson more or less non stop here which is fine for once. This has been completely one sided.

    Road Dogg has to break up a pin while Lawler talks about how everyone in his family is a boxer, except for his aunt who is a Doberman. Funny line. Billy tries to fight back which gets him nowhere. Wheelbarrow slam gets two by Henry. It all breaks down and Road Dogg gets a shot to Henry with a bucket for Billy to get the pin to retain. Road Dogg was never in the match. There was a brick in the bucket, as I guess the METAL BUCKET wasn’t enough to knock Henry out.

    Rating: D. This was just bad. The Outlaws were awful in the ring at this point and the Godwinns were never good in the first place. This didn’t work in the slightest with there being one Outlaw in the match the entire time and the ending being pure Outlaws trash. Boring match overall and a weak main event. Granted that’s not the most important part of the show in the slightest.

    And here it is. Vince brings out Mike Tyson for a major announcement. This was one of the major blows against WCW as this got WWF mainstream media coverage and in turn got fans watching. Tyson and the Attitude Era fit perfectly together and WCW was in trouble and knew it. Tyson lists off some of his favorites: Don Leo Jonathan (never wrestled for WWF) and Nikolai Volkoff (WTF???).

    Vince starts to make the announcement that at Mania, in this very ring….CUE GLASS SHATTER! Security (read as Slaughter and referees) come out to stop him and the ring is completely full now. Austin says that he’s tired of Tyson shaking everyone’s hands and he won’t shake Tyson’s hands. This is an awesome moment if you can’t tell.

    Austin says he wants a piece of Tyson’s ass. Get a room dude. It’s the famous scene of Austin saying that he’s the toughest son of a bitch on the planet and that while he respects what Tyson has done in boxing, he’s in Austin’s world now. Austin says that if his words aren’t working he has some sign language for Tyson and flips him off. Tyson shoves Austin and it’s a big brawl.

    The goons finally get Austin out of the ring and we get the famous shot of Vince shouting down to Austin that he ruined it, morphing into Mr. McMahon for the first time I believe. Austin flips Vince off and apparently hit one of Tyson’s guys. The crowd noise is ridiculously loud. After a quick break, Vince is seen begging Tyson to stay as we go off the air.

    Overall Rating: B-. The wrestling is bad and the matches were pointless, but that’s the key word: pointless. This wasn’t about wrestling as it was clearly about making Austin look like a major deal. It was incredibly clear that Austin was getting the title at Mania. What wasn’t clear was how he was going to do it. Adding Tyson in was a perfect blend of mainstream and wrestling and its importance can’t be overshadowed. This was a fairly decent Raw for the most part but the ending was excellent. Good show overall.
     
    #3
  4. Pay Per Ghost

    Pay Per Ghost squashed Disco Inferno to become

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    That Austin/Tyson moment is beyond words. One of those childhood memories that is etched evr since I saw it for the first time. Also, I think Rocky's heat at this time was ridicilously over the top. And it did help him out in the end. Had he never got it (bad heat), they would've still paraded him as a smiling, 3rd generation duffer with streamers as ring attire.
     
    #4
  5. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

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    Monday Night Raw
    Date: January 26, 1998
    Location: Recreation Hall, Davis, California
    Attendance: 5,926
    Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Kevin Kelly, Michael Cole

    We’re still on the Road to Wrestlemania and the major stories are about to start. There’s no Undertaker still and HBK is probably gone resting his back understandably. Austin vs. Vince is just getting going though and would ultimately be the feud that would carry the company for years to come. That being said, let’s get to it.

    We open with a recap of the whole Tyson thing, starting with the Rumble and then the following night on Raw. To say this was huge is like saying Austin may have had a beer in his life. This got huge mainstream exposure and was probably the final push over the line to bring them even with WCW. We also get it confirmed that Tyson was supposed to be guest referee at the PPV before the Austin thing. That was very rarely mentioned and I wasn’t sure of it for years. Don King will speak tonight.

    That warehouse opening is still awesome.

    Mark Henry vs. Ken Shamrock

    Wow Tony Chimmel was announcer this early? That still blows my mind. Rock stands behind the Nation and doesn’t do the salute. This is the day after the Super Bowl apparently. At the next PPV it’s Shamrock/Johnson/Disciples of Apocalypse vs. the Nation in a War of Attrition. Naturally a War of Attrition, which means survival, was a one fall match.

    The other guys are here with Shamrock so it’s all even. Shamrock jumps him to start but the power of fat stops that with ease. BIG Rocky Sucks chant almost immediately. After some back work it’s a bear hug to Shamrock. That gets him nowhere though so he goes right back to it. Cross body gets Shamrock caught in a backbreaker and we hit the third bear hug of the match. Shamrock fights out and kicks at the leg a bit before hitting a belly to belly. And then all the other guys run in for the big DQ.

    Rating: C-. Short match here but the idea behind it was fine. Shamrock couldn’t do much out there against Henry but once he got any momentum going he was almost unbeatable. That’s what happened here and the Nation ran in when they knew their man was in trouble. Yes there was actual psychology here if you can believe that.

    The announcers run down what we have coming.

    Back and we get exclusive footage from after the Rumble went off the air where Taker wasn’t in the casket after the fire was put out. I marked the hell out when I saw this as a kid.

    Barry Windham/Jeff Jarrett vs. Legion of Doom

    The NWA have some pre-recorded comments that say nothing we didn’t already know. Wait, the LOD returned at Mania in this huge return but they were here two months before that? That kind of cheapens the whole return at the PPV doesn’t it? Cornette is on commentary here. It amuses me to hear Cornette rant about how the LOD isn’t what the NWA is about when the LOD were arguably the top faces in the NWA for a long time.

    Animal and Windham start us off here. Barry gets knocked around a bit and hides on the floor. Cornette ranting on commentary here is great. He goes on a rant against WCW about how their title isn’t dating back to 1905 and all that jazz. Naturally he doesn’t say it by name but you get the idea. Hawk beats up Jarrett for a bit until Robert Gibson interferes to let Windham nail Hawk to take over.

    Off to Jarrett who looks incredibly stupid. Hawk beats him down for a bit but it’s back off to Windham who is a bit better at this brawling stuff. Off to Jarrett again who again fails. What a shock. Animal comes in and gets a powerslam on Jarrett for two. The Express distracts Hawk and a shot to Animal with the tennis racket ends this.

    Rating: D+. This wasn’t much. I wasn’t huge on this story but they tried I guess. It’s certainly a creative angle but at the same time it went nowhere as Austin became the biggest star in about 10 years. The LOD meant nothing at this point and everyone knew it. Decent match but nothing great at all.

    Shawn Michaels was on a game show.

    DX is getting HHH ready for his match later. He says that he’s ready for Owen despite having a very bad leg here. There are more South Park references here which is just weird to hear when they were brand new. Shawn condemns Austin for being a jerk and messing things up. He volunteers to not fight Austin at Mania so it can be Tyson vs. Austin. HHH says no because Shawn is amazing. Shawn says it’s hot in here so he takes off his jacket, revealing a referee shirt.

    Goldust vs. Vader

    This is when Goldust was more insane than usual and trying to get attention. These two fought at the Rumble and there was an awesome spot where Vader set for the Vader Bomb and did it with Luna on his back. Vader hammers away early to start as we hear about Vince Russo. Low blow gets Goldie out of trouble for a bit. Vader nails him with pure size and power. Powerbomb sets up the Vader Bomb and the lights go out.

    It’s Kane and the fight is on. Vader hammers away at him and even manages a Piledriver. Goldust tries to come back in and Vader drills him. While drilling him though Kane sits up and it’s a Tombstone for Vader. This would be a match at the PPV where Vader would begin his decline into obscurity. Match was thrown out so we’ll say no rating due to the shortness. Match was nothing to note anyway.

    Cactus and Funk talked earlier while the arena was being set up. Yep this is pointless.

    Cactus Jack/Chainsaw Charlie vs. New Age Outlaws

    The Outlaws are champions here but it’s non-title. The champions are in baseball gear for no apparent reason. The fight is on early. Roadie vs. Funk in the ring and Gun vs. Foley on the ramp. There’s no semblance of tagging here. Road Dogg is wearing a cup so the low blow means nothing. We get something close to a tag match for awhile with Road Dogg vs. Funk.

    The main event for the PPV is going to be Austin/Owen/Funk/Foley vs. DX/Outlaws. Shawn would be subbed out for Savio Vega due to the back injury. Funk fights back and takes over for a bit but gets caught in a suplex. Ah there’s Foley to bring some sanity into the match. Wow that’s a new one. Double Arm DDT gets two on Billy. It’s amazing how much different Foley was at this point before he had all his injuries.

    Funk throws a bunch of chairs into the ring and everything goes insane. The cup is removed and Foley kills Roadie with a low blow and chair shot. Cactus Elbow with a chair to Billy on the floor causes the match to be thrown out. The referee gets the Claw just for fun. They cover Roadie with chairs so Funk can throw out a moonsault onto them.

    Rating: B-. This was a fun brawl and a great example of the insanity that the old guys could bring when they felt like it. The Outlaws never were much of anything in a match and hadn’t come close to hitting their stride as the members of DX. They would have a match at Mania with the old dudes winning the titles for one night.

    We get a video on Taka Michinoku which has a semi-Star Wars theme to it. He’s the Champion here and is trying to learn English. No match or anything, just a video on him.

    Honky Tonk Man is here to introduce this match for no apparent reason.

    Pantera vs. Brian Christopher

    Christopher is Lawler’s son and Honky’s cousin. Lawler’s comedy here is pretty funny as he tries to hide that he’s Christopher’s father but everyone knows it. The winner gets Taka at the PPV. Basic back and forth stuff to start with no one being able to take the lead. Christopher beats him down a bit but then is sent to the floor.

    Nice tope (suicide dive) takes Christopher down. Back in the ring Christopher takes over again, hitting a sunset bomb to put us right back out on the floor. Back in he jumps into a big boot though and Pantera speeds things up. Modified victory roll gets two. Top rope legdrop by Christopher misses though and Pantera gets a rollup for the pin.

    Rating: C. Just a match between two relatively nondescript light heavyweights that went nowhere as Taka’s reign of terror with the title carried on for like ever. Christopher was the only other person in that division with any kind of character. It was pathetic and never worked in the slightest.

    Post match Lawler wants to respect to Pantera, who only wants to walk. Back to the dressing room that is. Pantera is like, “Are you talking to me?” Since there’s a language barrier he probably says “What did you say? What did you say?” Lawler of course smacks him and leaves him laying.

    Funk and Cactus say their match was fun when DX distracts them. It allows the Outlaws to beat the hell out of the legends and leave them laying. Shawn is clearly in agony here.

    Headbangers vs. Quebecers

    This should be bad. Sweet damn I don’t want to watch this match. The Quebecers take over and put down Thrasher with double teaming. Mosh comes in and beats them down a bit. Everyone in for awhile with the Headbangers being put down. Mosh gets a sunset flip to win. That was three and a half minutes somehow.

    Rating: F. This may have been the least interesting match I have ever seen. I’ve seen quite a few bad matches in my day, but this is somehow less interesting than all of them.

    The Quebecers beat down the Headbangers post match.

    European Title: Owen Hart vs. HHH

    HHH has a horribly messed up leg. And it’s Goldust and Luna disguised as HHH and Chyna, fooling no one. Hunter-dust (not calling him that again) beats up Owen for awhile and then pulls the wig off to reveal his blue hair. Owen gets a spinning cross body off the top out of nowhere to get two. It’s weird seeing someone else doing HHH’s stuff. We hit the chinlock as this has been mostly one sided. Owen gets a cradle for two. We take a break with Goldie working over the knee.

    Back with Owen making his comeback with spin kicks and kicks/punches in the corner. Enziguri knocks Dustin’s fake nose off which was kind of funny. Owen goes up and hits the dropkick but Luna drills him with the crutch to break the momentum. Pedigree is countered into the Sharpshooter for the tap.

    Rating: C+. Basic match here between two talented guys. The HHH vs. Owen feud would run up to Mania and it still never was fair to Owen in the slightest as he would wind up in the black supremacist stable somehow. That sounds like something off Arrested Development. Anyway, this was fine and not bad all things considered.

    Post match we see DX talking about how smart they are and bragging about the whole thing. Owen is mad about this. Was he fooled or something and this is the big shock? Slaughter comes out to talk to Owen. He grabs a mic and says that Goldust was playing the role of HHH which the future Game agrees with. Slaughter says that Goldust did such a great job that Slaughter is awarding Owen the match, a win against HHH, and the European Title! DX is PISSED of course but Owen gets the last laugh.

    We replay the Tyson thing from earlier.

    Don King says Tyson and Austin want each other, so they’ll be at Wrestlemania together. However, the Nevada State Athletic Commission says that Tyson isn’t allowed to fight. King and McMahon are going to find a way on March 29 (Mania) though. King might be a better promoter than McMahon.

    Here’s Austin to close out the show. He says Tyson isn’t getting away with that so easily. He’ll fight Tyson any place anytime. “I’ll knock that damn gold tooth out of your mouth and make it into a necklace for old Stone Cold.” Austin challenges Tyson to show up in Houston at the PPV and we’re out.

    Overall Rating: B-. This is probably the best of the year so far. They’re letting the matches have some more time and there are more stories going on throughout the show. Mania is in full swing now and I really want to see the show now. No Way Out is a stop on the Road to Wrestlemania and that’s all it’s supposed to be. This should be a good few weeks coming up and this was a good sign for the time to come.
     
    #5
  6. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

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    Monday Night Raw
    Date: February 2, 1998
    Location: Market Square Arena, Indianapolis, Indiana
    Attendance: 12,043
    Commentators: Jim Ross, Kevin Kelly, Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler

    This show is where things start to crank up before No Way Out. We begin with a famous comedy sketch and move on to the Outlaws nearly destroying Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie. WWF was knocking at the door of WCW months before this but soon they would kick it off the hinges. Let’s get to it.

    We open with the Address of the WWF with DX. In short, this is an absolutely filthy interview with them saying the curse words they’ll use in various hours. They also list off the words they won’t say during those hours. Then they list off everything they won’t say with videos and say they’ll stop talking about their balls. This is listed in censored form of course and is basically a string of bleeps. HHH then gets in an argument with Shawn which is almost all censored. Shawn says that here in the Oral Office, he did not sleep with that young intern. In fact, he was up all night! Look up the censored and uncensored versions of this as they’re both great.

    Theme song opens the show.

    After JR’s quick intro, here’s DX again. They come out in Uncle Sam costumes with sexual innuendo signs. Apparently Mania sold out in Boston in less than two minutes. That’s pretty awesome. Here come the balloons as apparently this is about Mike Tyson. And Shawn’s mic doesn’t work. This whole time everyone is popping the balloons so it sounds like they’re being fired at.

    DX talks about how Tyson and Austin have differing opinions, views and all that jazz but most importantly they want to fight. DX and the fans say LET THEM FIGHT! This is part of Shawn’s campaign to not have to defend the title which is rather funny. Cue glass shatter! Austin gets in Shawn’s face and then says he appreciates the support for Austin vs. Tyson because Austin can beat Tyson.

    Tyson doesn’t matter. All that matters is that sometime soon he’s getting his hands on Shawn. It doesn’t matter when because the title is going to Austin no matter what Shawn wants. He says that’s the bottom line “because I say so.” He was still working on the catchphrase.

    Austin vs. Road Dogg later. Why?

    Owen defends against Billy Gunn later.

    Cactus Jack vs. Chainsaw Charlie

    Big pop for Funk for some reason. We get a quick interview from Cactus and Funk earlier in the day with them talking about wanting to leave their legacy. Foley tells a story about the world champion in 1988 (would have been Flair at the time) saying that no one cared about Foley and not wanting to see the high flying stuff. Foley wants to leave a legacy. Funk wants to be seen as a hardcore wrestler since he might not have much time left in the ring.

    Funk brings out some weapons in a shopping cart so Foley brings out a dumpster full of weapons. They start it up with a chair on the top of the ramp. Foley grabs a bag full of what appears to be trash and beats Funk with it. I’ve heard this called garbage wrestling but this is a bit much. DDT on the stage gets two as I guess this is hardcore. Foley grabs a ladder which he just drops on Funk for no cover.

    They go down the ramp a bit and Foley wants a suplex onto the ladder. Funk grabs a freaking inside cradle and they roll down the ramp in a somewhat amusing bit. Into the ring now and we have some garbage cans. Jack bends it over Funk’s head and we go back to the floor one more time. Cactus can’t hit him again so he hands it to Funk and says hit me with it. Funk can’t do it either. Ok never mind he can.

    Cactus puts the trashcan on the head of Funk and stomps away a bit and then gets an incredibly awkward Piledriver into the can which would seem to rip Funk’s shoulders apart. We take a break and come back with them fighting up by the dumpster which is up by the entrance. Funk sets up a table and wants to Piledrive Foley through it. Instead he’s backdropped into the dumpster and Jack throws on the Claw. Then he climbs up the Titantron and walks along the steel structure around it, dropping an elbow into the dumpster and onto Funk for the end of the match but not the pin.

    Rating: B. This was a fun old brawl between two guys that made this more interesting than anyone else could have. These older hardcore matches are definitely the best and this was no exception. Good stuff here between guys that know how to make this stuff entertaining. Note that I said not the pin though, which is the case because of this.

    I say the end of the match because the Outlaws show up and lock the two hardcore guys in the dumpster. They seem to intend to shove it down the ramp but instead push it off the stage, more or less ending both of the guys inside it. The fans, of course, cheer. Wrestlers and agents come out to check on them and we’re going to be here awhile. Vince comes out to yell at the Outlaws as this is taking a LONG time.

    Back from a break and we’re STILL on this. This whole thing has been going about 20 minutes now not counting commercial. The match was entertaining but this is taking WAY too long. Other wrestlers come out to yell at the Outlaws, which was a Russo move to make this seem “real”. Get used to that term as it’s going to come up A LOT in the next few months.

    The brawling continues a bit more. At this point, not counting the commercial, this has been a 20 minute segment as 12 minutes since the dumpster was pushed. The crowd, white hot at first, is now lukewarm or so. We take ANOTHER break, meaning about 32 minutes passed. Oh and now we talk to the Outlaws who say they did it to get over. Shawn and HHH pop up, teasing the future new DX. This takes us to the end of the hour and the THIRD COMMERCIAL, making it roughly FORTY MINUTES of the show for one angle. Let that sink in for a bit.

    Second theme song plays so we’ll call it 41 minutes between ANYTHING ELSE HAPPENING.

    European Title: Billy Gunn vs. Owen Hart

    It’s on quickly with Owen wanting to avenge his future partners at the PPV. Owen sends Billy to the floor where Billy tries to chill with Roadie. A pair of dives takes both of them out This has been totally one sided so far. Back into the ring with Owen hammering away in the corner. Some cheating takes over for Billy who chokes Owen some.

    Slam gets two but Billy misses a dropkick but Owen can’t get the Sharpshooter. Owen does Bret’s chest into the buckle bump and gets suplexed for two. Front facelock goes on and then a sunset flip by Owen doesn’t work. He tries the Sharpshooter and Road Dogg runs in for the CHEAP DQ.

    Rating: D. WAY too long here as Billy was just completely worthless at this point. It’s one of those matches where stuff went on but there wasn’t a thing worth writing down. We’re over halfway through the show and we’ve had two matches. See what happens when a single angle takes up 40 minutes?

    DX comes out for the massive beatdown and shout about ratings. The Outlaws tease throwing Owen off the stage until suits and officials come out for the (booed) save. This of course takes about five minutes as it’s clear they have nothing to air here.

    Hey, let’s SHOW THE DUMPSTER THING AGAIN! After a break Cole files a report from the hospital. I’ve heard of angles running throughout the show but this is ridiculous. Basically he knows nothing other than they’re in the emergency room. Thanks for that GREAT reporting war correspondent dude!

    Marc Mero vs. Mosh

    Great we come back to a squash. Basically this is just to further Sable and Mero having issues. Mero puts the robe on Sable and then has her take his off. Someone gives Sable chocolates and Mero says they’re for him so he throws her out. He brings out some chick named Marilyn to be his new Sable chick. Oh he called her one of the Beautiful People the Beautiful People. Yep it’s Goldust dressed as Marilyn Manson.

    Mero jumps Mosh and I have a feeling this isn’t going to last long. Goldie beats up Mosh some on the floor. Mero gets a sitout powerbomb for no cover and hammers away. Mosh gets a powerslam and a backdrop for his offense. Goldust interferes again and Thrasher FINALLY does something about it. A low blow ends Mosh though. Short and awful.

    Barry Windham and the NWA guys talk to Bradshaw on a split screen. Barry says he’ll team with Jarrett so go find a partner.

    Tiger Ali Singh is coming to the WWF. He was awful and no one cared. Oh he’s already here. See what I mean about not caring?

    Farrooq vs. Chainz

    Ahmed Johnson, Shamrock and the other DOA guys come out with Chainz. Farrooq starts out fast but Chainz gets a powerslam for two. The crowd thinks Rocky sucks. Farrooq hammers away but gets caught in an electric chair drop. The idea here is that Farrooq hammers away and then Chainz gets one power move in and we repeat it.

    Cole is on the phone with an update from the hospital. Vince is there too and Funk has regained consciousness. Foley is slipping in and out of consciousness. Well he’s been doing that for years so there’s no change there. Kama hooks the foot of the wrong man and while the Nation argues Farrooq gets counted out. WEAK. Again, say it with me: TOO SHORT TO GRADE.

    Farrooq keeps saying that he’s the boss and tells everyone to get in line and do the salute. Rock would take over by Mania.

    Bradshaw/Flash Funk vs. Jeff Jarrett/Barry Windham

    Riveting stuff here indeed. Funk and Bradshaw beat on Jarrett a lot. This match needs to just not be happening as I have zero desire to sit through it at all. Funk is sent to the floor and gets dropped on the railing. Flash is taken away so it’s Bradshaw more or less in a handicap match. This is the old Bradshaw too, meaning far less interesting.

    We take a break and come back with Bradshaw hitting a pumphandle slam on Jarrett. The Rock N Roll Express interferes and Bradshaw goes to the floor. Windham comes in for a bit which goes nowhere as he beats on Bradshaw for awhile. Bradshaw fights them off and hits what we would call the Clothesline from Hell on Jarrett to win it.

    Rating: D. This was long (for this show, as in 4 minutes) and no one cared. This angle went on WAY too long and it never got off the ground in the slightest. That and things changed so much that no one bought the old guys as a threat to anyone. Weak match and there’s nothing else to say.

    The NWA beats down Bradshaw post match, focusing on his weak knee.

    For the 89th time we see the dumpster deal. The dumpster has gone from weighing 500lbs earlier to over 2000 now. Cole calls from the hospital again and there’s some kind of a disturbance where cops have been called. And then Cole loses reception.

    There’s a press conference for Mania and it’s going to be on ESPNEWS. See what I mean about Tyson getting mainstream coverage?

    Wink Collins tells us that Mania sold out in 90 seconds. I don’t know who he is either. The lights go out, the organ comes on, the lights go red, I think you can figure the rest out. Wink of course stands there like an IDIOT and Kane grabs him by the throat. Cue Vader for the showdown before their PPV match. Vader talks for a bit and grabs a fire extinguisher which was there I guess just in case Kane came down to beat up some Oliver Humperdink look-a-like?

    Road Dogg vs. Steve Austin

    This should be quick. Billy does the intro here which is weird as hell. Austin beats Billy up on the way because he can. He beats up Road Dogg and Billy comes in for the DQ maybe 15 seconds in. DX comes out for the big beatdown and they tie him up in the ropes so that Shawn can taunt him with the title. Foley with his arm in a sling and an IV in his arm comes down and DX runs. Really? Funk comes back in a hospital gown to end this. Wow that was a stupid ending to a bad show.

    Overall Rating: D. Well this is a fairly significant show from a history perspective, but from a wrestling/entertainment perspective, oh dear. Literally 1/3 of the show not counting replays was dedicated to one segment. There’s no good wrestling on the show and everything is about setting up the main event of No Way Out. Way too long of a segment which killed things dead. Not a good show but if you cut that thing in half it’s a lot better. Given the ending, the segment looks even worse too. Bad show.
     
    #6
  7. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

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    Monday Night Raw
    Date: February 9, 1998
    Location: Roberts Memorial Stadium, Evansville, Indiana
    Attendance: 8,457
    Commentators: Michael Cole, Kevin Kelly, Jerry Lawler, Jim Ross

    This is the go home show for No Way Out (of Texas) so I wouldn’t expect a lot more as far as storyline development goes. Austin is still awesome and the Outlaws are gearing up for their main event debut in the 8 man tag. Everything else is set in stone already and Mania is on the horizon. Let’s get to it.

    We open with Sunny dressed up as Marilyn Monroe and singing Happy Birthday to Freddie Blassie. We do get the Seven Year Itch dress blow up shot so that makes it a lot better.

    We recap the ending to last week’s show with Shawn beating up Austin and taunting him with the belt. Austin will get revenge tonight.

    Here’s Austin and he has a bag with him. The fans LOVE Austin here to put it mildly. He says you don’t rub a belt in Austin’s face on national TV. Austin wants Shawn right now but he gets DX on the Titantron instead. Shawn talks about how he punked Austin out last week and how Shawn calls the shots around here, not Austin. He wants a reason to come face Austin.

    Austin’s reason: he has the belt. In the bag that Austin had is the belt, which he would have for a total of one night before getting the big eagle title as opposed to the little eagle title. Shawn has a toy one in the bag he keeps the title in. Austin says he’ll be out here all night and Shawn just has to come out here and ask for the title real nice. Funny opening segment that Austin looked like a star in.

    Sunny comes out to be ring announcer for the first match. Well she looks good in most of a pink dress.

    Legion of Doom vs. Barry Windham/Jeff Jarrett

    The NWA faction is with the heels here. If you need to know who the heels are, you’re rather stupid. Hawk vs. the rather fat Windham to start us off. Hawk destroys him to start and hits a Thesz Press which Jarrett has to break up. Off to Animal vs. Jarrett with Animal jumping around like a crazy man which isn’t what I was expecting here to say the least.

    Everything breaks down and the LOD are in trouble as the Rock N Roll Express and Cornette cheat a lot. Wow that’s just weird as hell to see those three together. Windham gets a suplex for two on Animal as we hear about how the LOD has lost a step. Jarrett isn’t in there long so Windham takes a powerslam.

    Off to Hawk vs. Jarrett with Hawk hitting a neckbreaker. Everything breaks down again and Kelly says that now with it being 2-1, maybe the LOD can havae the numbers game in their favor. You can’t buy analysis like this people! Hawk goes shoulder first into the post so the NWA works on his knee with the tennis racket and the steps. Figure Four by Jarrett and Bradshaw runs in for the DQ. Well at least they didn’t have the LOD tap.

    Rating: D+. Not much here but the crowd was into the LOD. For the life of me I don’t get what the point was behind the whole NWA angle as it never went anywhere and was dropped more or less immediately after Mania if not before then. Either way, not much here as the LOD really didn’t have it anymore.

    Hawk walks around like nothing happened.

    DX has a plan for Chyna to get the belt back.

    Quebecer Pierre vs. Henry Godwinn

    Oh please dear goodness make it short. This is from an incident off Shotgun Saturday Night. This would be a tag match on the PPV which I think I blocked out for obvious reasons. I almost thought this was a tag again due to it being rare to see these guys in singles matches. Pierre sends him to the floor and dives out at him. We talk about how the Rolling Stones are in Houston and there are tickets left while No Way Out is sold out. Not sure if that’s impressive or petty.

    On second view that dive by Pierre hit Henry in the ankles so it’s a bit less impressive. In the ring a guillotine legdrop by Pierre gets two. Time to hit the chinlock as I think this is heel vs. heel. Pierre tries his finisher which we would call a weak Swanton but it misses and here comes Henry. Oh dear here comes Henry. The referee loses control and after both partners use the slop bucket, Henry gets a cheap pin. As boring as it sounds.

    Rating: D. Do I even need to explain this one? It’s 1998 and Henry Godwinn is facing one of the Quebecers. Hillbilles vs. evil foreigners. Those are some cutting edge ideas they have over there in that there Attitude Era! Neither team ever did anything else and this was total filler before we got to Mania time.

    Chyna talks to the Boricuas (in Spanish) and wants help getting the title back. This would somehow translate into Savio taking Shawn’s place in the main event at the PPV.

    Brian Christopher/Pantera vs. Aguila/Taka Michinoku

    Christopher vs. Taka went on FOREVER and just like the rest of the Light Heavyweight division it sucked. Pantera and Aguila are guys that no one knew and who weren’t very good either. Pantera and Taka had a good match on PPV this coming Sunday so at least there were a few bright spots in there. Pantera, who turned heel on the previous Saturday, starts with Aguila.

    Pantera is monkey flipped to the floor (couldn’t he have walked? See what I did there?) and the faces clean house. Aguila takes everyone out with a massive corkscrew plancha. See, why isn’t THIS what’s more featured instead of guys like Christopher that no one really cared about? Taka adds his big plancha to take everyone down. Off to Taka vs. Pantera in the ring now with them moving very rapidly.

    Christopher comes in now as does Aguila. Was Taka afraid to fight him? Christopher was pretty good at being a dick so I guess he had that going for him. Now we’re randomly talking about Chyna because we can. We take a break and come back with Christopher hammering on Aguila just as we were when we went to the break.

    German suplex takes Aguila down again but Pantera messes up and it’s off to Take who cleans house. Ranas all around but Christopher gets some foreign object out of his tights. Taka knocks it out of his hands though and Pantera gets it. He loads it into his mask and a headbutt kills Taka dead for the pin to end this.

    Rating: C+. Pretty decent match here and it sets up the PPV a bit better. They made this pretty clear that this was about Christopher vs. Taka which is annoying as Christopher never won the title. Pantera wasn’t bad though so that helped a lot. Fun tag match but WCW stomped all over this to say the least on any given night.

    Here are Bearer and Kane. Bearer yells about Vader and we get some clips of Vader vs. Kane to set up their match on Sunday. They burn a Vader clock to signify that IT’S TIME is over.

    To set up the next match we get a clip of Rocky using what would become known as the Rock Bottom perhaps for the first time. Cornette was on commentary and called it a Uranage (pronounced You’re An Oggie by Cornette).

    Farrooq/Rocky Maivia vs. Chainz/Ken Shamrock

    Each team has three people with them which was to set up the War of Attrition match on Sunday which was rather stupid for a name since it was one fall to a finish. Lawler is on commentary here. Rocky is IC Champion and the fans think he sucks. Rock grabs a mic and says the fans want to know his opinion on human genetic cloning.

    This was a thing he was doing around this time: giving his opinion on major issues. For instance, he doesn’t care about global hunger as long as his yard is mowed. Funny as hell of course. Here he’s in favor, but only with people that deserve to be cloned. In other words, just him.

    Farrooq vs. Chainz to start us off here but it’s off to Shamrock very quickly. Rock wants in surprisingly enough and Shamrock kicks his ass with ease. Back to Farrooq again as they’re tagging very quickly here. Rocky and Farrooq switch AGAIN before I finish typing that sentence. Chainz comes in and gets his ass handed to him by the majority of the Nation. Powerslam by Farrooq gets two.

    Rock hammers Chainz down and hits what would become the People’s Elbow. He didn’t have the whole thing down yet. Back to the former Ron Simmons who works on the back for awhile. Shamrock and Rock come in and it’s all the Sham version here. Somehow we get Farrooq in the ankle lock but Rock pops Ken in the head with a chair to end this pretty quickly.

    Rating: D+. Pretty fast match here which wasn’t bad but I’ve seen worse. The problem here was that they went WAY too fast with the tagging and it kept them from getting anything going. The war match was just ok if I remember. Rock vs. Shamrock would happen at Mania which was a Dusty Finish. Not bad here but just filler to get us to the PPV with this angle.

    Shamrock snaps and attacks everyone, including his own team, because of the chair shot.

    We get clips from the Wrestlemania Press Conference which was an actual press conference due to Tyson being there. This was the official announcement for what Tyson would be doing which I think was already known for the most part. He’s guest enforcer if that wasn’t mentioned. Those two cutting promos in front of the media is kind of funny. We get a Latrell Spreewell and PJ Carlisimo reference to REALLY date the show (look them up).

    Tyson lists off some names like the Valiant Brothers as a reason why he joined the company. Good grief indeed and not in a bad way. We get some questions about whether a boxer could beat a wrestler. Where’s Dana White when we need him? Tyson saying that Austin needs to love somebody is hilarious stuff. Shawn and Austin have a pull apart brawl to end it. Shane is here and I think he was unnamed at this point.

    We get some clips of mainstream media talking about Tyson. You can hear the contemp in their voices for the wrestling stuff, because Mike Tyson was SO down to earth and normal right?

    Chyna and Los Boricuas try to find the belt and Austin at the same time.

    Steve Blackman vs. Recon

    Recon is more famous as Bull Buchanan. A few seconds into the match the Jackyl’s music plays and a pulpit comes down from the ceiling with him behind it as he talks about how evil wrestling and this company is. A leg drop from Recon gets two as it’s hard to tell what’s going on in the match as we keep looking at Jackyl. It would be a lot more impressive if he didn’t look at his script every 2 seconds. Sniper, the partner of Recaon, beats on Blackman a bit on the floor and sends him into the steps just because he can.

    Sunset flip gets two for Blackman. HORRIBLE Russian leg sweep gets no cover as no one has gone after Jackyl to yell at him. Ross finally says we have a match going on by the way. Granted the match kind of sucks but who cares? Top rope elbow by Blackman misses but Recon misses a rotating splash and a chest stretch ends this clean. This whole match was one long promo by Jackyl. No rating due to me missing most of the match due to the camera being on Jackyl.

    Jackyl yells at both of this guys post match. Recon gets slapped and Jackyl laughs.

    Here are the Outlaws in Kentucky Wildcat shirts which is a basketball thing at this point. The Cats were on fire and beat the University of Indiana badly that season. They make fun of the old dudes being shoved off the stage. They have a dumpster with them which is at least one of the big blue ones so it doesn’t looks stupid.

    We get a clip of last week with Road Dogg making fun of it and imitating an air traffic controller. Road Dogg has both belts for some reason here. They shove the dumpster off the stage again just because they can. There were crash dummies and a camera in there. It’s as stupid as it sounds.

    Los Boricuas are still looking for Austin but Austin sneaks behind them and locks them inside a stairwell or something. Chyna is all pissed off about it.

    Goldust vs. Thrasher

    Mero and Sable are with Goldie here. Big pop for Sable. It’s the Artist Formerly Known as Goldust who is dressed as Marilyn Manson here. Mero throws Sable out before the match starts and we take a break. Thrasher gets a backdrop to send Goldust to the floor and then a springboard back elbow to take Goldust down again. Goldust takes over and Luna hammers on Thrasher a bit on the floor. Goldie’s wig comes off as Thrasher makes his comeback. And here’s Sable in the leather to beat up Luna. Ok make that yell at her. The distraction lets Thrasher win with a rollup. Total nothing match.

    Here’s DX to close out the show. Shawn cuts a brief promo, talking about the match Sunday but wanting Austin tonight to get his belt back. Cue glass shatter and DX runs when Austin swings the belt at them. The Outlaws come out and it’s 5-1. All four men get on one side and Chyna steals the belt back. There’s a chainsaw going off somewhere and Chainsaw Charlie cuts through the ring. Cactus runs through the crowd as does Owen. The faces clear the ring and we’ll see you at No Way Out on Sunday! Shawn wouldn’t wrestle due to his back and Savio Vega replaced him.

    Overall Rating: B-. Well the wrestling wasn’t very good at all but this show covered either the majority of the PPV or every bit of it which is everything you need here. I kind of want to see the show so that’s everything they needed to do here. Not a great show in general but a damn good go home show and the final Raw before Mania is in our sights. Good stuff I think.

    Here’s No Way Out if you’re interested.

    http://forums.wrestlezone.com/showthread.php?p=1106936#post1106936
     
    #7
  8. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

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    Monday Night Raw
    Date: February 21, 1998
    Location: Reunion Arena, Dallas, Texas
    Attendance: 13,296
    Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, Kevin Kelly

    We’re finally on the official Road to Wrestlemania with six more Raws to go before the big day. We’re into Texas this week so the dynamic of Austin vs. Shawn could be very interesting. Not a ton happened at No Way Out as Team Good Guys won over Team Bad Guys in the main event. Let’s get to it.

    By the way the date is correct. This show was pre-empted and aired on a Saturday, 12 days after the previous episode. It was taped on Monday though.

    Apparently DX is thinking about suing Austin over what Austin did to Chyna last night. I’m sure that’ll go somewhere.

    Quebecers vs. Legion of Doom

    Please be quick. The fans are all behind LOD here as you would expect. Hawk drills Jacques who nips up and gets a dropkick. We actually hear about him being IC Champion which I figured they would want to forget. Hawk gets his neckbreaker and it’s off to Oulette. Animal moves around very well out there actually and avoids a bunch of offense by Oulette.

    Off to Jacques again who sends Animal to the floor. Pierre (Oulette) gets a dive from the apron to take Animal down as the Outlaws are here. They put a dumpster down in front of the ring and beat down Hawk. Now they throw him inside said dumpster and a double suplex takes down Animal. Piledriver gets two. Animal fights back a bit with a double clothesline but Hawk is in the dumpster. He figures out where Hawk is and grabs a chair to chase the Outlaws off and it’s a count out.

    Rating: D. Boring match here for the most part but this was about setting up Outlaws vs. LOD which I think I remember but it wasn’t anything big. The more important feud around this time was Outlaws vs. Funk/Foley. Nothing special here but the LOD was incredibly popular still so the pop was good. The Quebecers were gone very soon.

    Video on Chyna and how awesome she is. We get lots of clips of her beating up men. She got in Austin’s face and got Stunned at the PPV so she’s going to sue him for emotional distress.

    Ken Shamrock vs. Sniper

    Apparently Mike Tyson will be on Raw on Monday. Jackyl is on commentary here. Rock vs. Shamrock for the IC Title at Mania apparently. Sniper keeps trying rollups but gets caught in a leg lock. That gets Ken nowhere but it was a cool looking counter. Recon interferes to allow a clothesline to put Shamrock on the floor. Back in the ring a cross body by Shamrock gets two. The Jackyl talks about submitting to intellectual intercourse. Draw your own conclusions. Shamrock makes his comeback and hits a leg lariat and powerslam for two. Ankle Lock ends this a few seconds later.

    Rating: C-. Not a terrible match here actually. Recon was the more famous of the two as Bull Buchanan but Sniper wasn’t terrible in the ring. This was all to advance the whole Jackyl is slightly crackers story which went nowhere as he ran his mouth backstage and got thrown out of the company.

    Jackyl slaps Sniper and he leaves. This went nowhere.

    Back from a break and Sniper and Recon argue a bit more. Sniper is done with him apparently.

    We get a clip of Sable getting flowers from a secret admirer and various other things where Sable tried to steal the spotlight. That leads us to Mero and Sable being interviewed in the ring by Lawler. Mero says he’s tired of being called the bad man in this. Sable wasn’t there when Mero woke up after knee surgery.

    He turned on Raw and saw Sable modeling an Austin shirt. She’s trying to become the start apparently so he yells at her. The fans chant for Sable and Mero says she knows her place. During the interview a guy brings in a bouquet of flowers from the secret admirer. She says it’s nice for someone to think about her for once and leaves. Odd as I didn’t think anyone but Mero ever thought of Mero. Could be just me though.

    Now we get to something very fun. Jim Cornette goes on a massive rant against the fans talking about how the fans wanted better wrestlers but when Cornette brought it in the form of the NWA, the fans booed them. They’re going to tell the fans what they like, they’re going to tell the fans what they want to see and they’re going to tell the fans what’s good for them. Tommy Young is refereeing the tag title match tonight. The NWA will bring more than they did in the War of 84. Holy references that most people won’t get.

    NWA Tag Titles: Rock N Roll Express vs. Headbangers

    Mosh and Gibson start us off but it’s off to Thrasher quickly. There’s something funny about the Express coming out to the Rockers theme song. Cornette distracts the referee and Morton can cheat to shift the advantage. It’s so weird to see the Express as heels and with Cornette.

    Mosh gets beaten down for a bit until he gets a double DDT to break the Express’ momentum. Lukewarm tag to Thrasher who cleans house. Stage Dive (powerbomb/guillotine legdrop combination) gets two as Gibson is thrown over the top so it’s a DQ win for the champions. Totally predictable ending.

    Rating: D+. Just a basic match that existed to show that the NWA had different rules. It was pretty clear there was going to be a screwy finish as soon as Kelly talked about there being different rules in the NWA than in the WWF. Not a terrible match but there was nothing of note here at all.

    Austin comes into the ring to do an interview with Ross. He talks about how when Chyna came into the ring, she belonged to Steve Austin. He says he’ll beat up Tyson and make jewelry out of Tyson’s gold tooth. And that’s it. See how much simpler promos were back then? He throws on Ross’ hat and gets on the table before leaving.

    A major sports celebrity is going to be announced on Raw. That would be Pete Rose I think. Also Outlaws vs. LOD for the titles on Monday.

    European Title: Jeff Jarrett vs. Owen Hart

    This should be good based on pure talent. Hebner throws the NWA minus Cornette out. Jarrett tries to jump him and runs into a clothesline. After a good start by Owen, Cornette’s distraction allows Jeff to take over. They kind of botch a cross body and Owen hits the floor so that Cornette can get some more shots in. Cornette runs in and somehow that’s still not a DQ. Various pinning combinations get two as this is a bit of a mess actually. Jarrett’s balls wind up wrapped around the post and a top rope dropkick sets up the enziguri. Sharpshooter goes on and Cornette comes in for the DQ.

    Rating: C-. Surprisingly not much of a match here as you had everything being rushed as we’ve had all night. There are seven matches in a two hour card which is probably too high. Not terrible here but when you have Hart and Jarrett in the same sentence, it should be a good bit more memorable than this.

    Cornette gets put in the Sharpshooter post match.

    We get a video on Michael Hayes who is returning to Dallas tonight. We even get ultra rare Freebirds in WWF footage. Wow indeed. He’s the guest ring announcer for the next match. And never mind as here’s Kane to kill Hayes. Hayes, ever the idiot, takes his boot off and hits Kane in the head with it. Since that gets him nowhere, Kane chokeslams him and a Tombstone kills Hayes dead.

    Aguila/Taka Michinoku vs. Brian Christopher/Piratita Morgan

    Sunny is the guest ring announcer now. Good grief Sunny looks incredible in those tight white clothes. The two that no one care about start us off here. Nice rana by Aguila sends Morgan to the floor so Aguila hits a huge corkscrew dive to the floor. OH! Apparently Aguila would become Essa Rios. I always wondered if he became anything. Christopher comes in and wants Taka.

    Taka comes in and immediately hits a rana to take Christopher over. Spinewheel kick sends Brian to the floor and an Asai Moonsault puts Christopher on the ground. The whole “HE’S NOT MY SON!” thing was great from Lawler. The not son gets a sunset bomb to the floor to take over as this is far better than most light heavyweight matches. Missile dropkick gets no cover on Taka.

    It’s so weird to see Christopher being athletic and playing to his father when his dad would be far more famous. Jerry says Ross’ daughters could grow up to be like Monica Lewinsky. Off to Morgan who gets caught in a top rope rana by Taka. Morgan takes him down with ease but misses a top rope splash. Everything breaks down and the Michinoku Driver ends Morgan.

    Rating: B-. This might have been the best light heavyweight match I can remember in the history of WWF. They were moving out there and the dives and flips were far better than the usual ones they had. Aguila/Rios was looking good out there but soon would be completely overshadowed by the chick he brought with him. Some redhead named Lita.

    Steve Blackman vs. Farrooq

    The Nation comes out with Farrooq and Rocky has a gift. Rock says that there is no problem in the Nation. Actually he has four gifts. He gives Kama, D’Lo and Henry $15,000 Rolexes. The special gift is for Farrooq and it’s a framed picture of the Rock. Farrooq is, needless to say, REALLY FREAKING MAD! Blackman is undefeated at this point and fires off some kicks, only to run into Farrooq’s power game. Dominator hits but Rock holds up the picture of him. Farrooq takes it to blast Blackman in the head but is rolled up for a fast pin. Too short to rate but pure storyline building here which is fine.

    The Nation has a big showdown and Farrooq punches the picture. Everyone not named Rock leaves with Farrooq.

    After a break Cole tries to talk to the Nation but there’s a big fight behind the door. Brown comes out and says the Nation is just packing for a flight.

    Marc Mero/Goldust vs. Cactus Jack/Chainsaw Charlie

    There’s no Sable here with Mero which is a major issue. Goldie and Mero try to run from the chainsaw (the tool, not the person). Goldust and Funk start us off here and Funk gets kissed. Oh this isn’t going to end well. Off to Mero now and it’s time to box. Notice something here: the world title match and feud has absolutely nothing to do with the last match on the show. Austin was there for a two minute promo and that’s it. In other words: other feuds are getting major focus and that’s why this era is better than the modern one.

    Funk and Jack make a bunch of better tags, even one when Funk is tagged in while standing in the ring. Is there a rule against that? I’m not actually sure. Double drop toehold by the hardcore dudes and a Piledriver by Funk gets two. Mero gets a DDT for the same results and it’s off to Goldust. Flip Flop and Fly gets a nice pop but it’s actually due to Sable. She has a big bouquet of flowers which Luna steals. Due to the distraction Foley can hit Goldust with a chair and put Funk on for the pin. Big pull apart brawl ends the show.

    Rating: D+. Just a quick match to end the show here and get Cactus and Funk on TV. It’s really cool to see things like a midcard feud being the final thing you see on the show by comparison to seeing Cena at the end of the show every single week now. Even still though, nothing great here but the wrestling wasn’t the point.

    Overall Rating: B-. I liked this show a lot actually but the weak wrestling and there being a lot of it hurt this a good deal I think. This was far more of a transitional show than anything of note and with six shows to go before Mania, you have to expect that. Soon Taker will be returning and the show gets so campy that it gets awesome. Good show this week.
     
    #8
  9. X

    X RIP Sgt. Michael Paranzino / RIP CM

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    I distinctly remember this show, mainly because it was one of the first episodes of RAW I was able to stay up and watch the last half of, as my bed time at the time was 10PM, which shit, was pretty good for being 10 or 11. But I loved it when they occasionally aired RAW on Saturday night because I got to stay up and watch the whole show for once instead of just the first half. I thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread, though obviously there's nothing really of note here.

    By the way you might want to fix the date KB, it says 1996 instead of 1998 in the beginning of your review bro.
     
    #9
  10. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

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    Monday Night Raw
    Date: February 23, 1998
    Location: Heart of Texas Coliseum, Waco, Texas
    Attendance: 6,944
    Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Kevin Kelly, Michael Cole

    Counting this show we have five more Raws before we get to Wrestlemania and thing really start to take off. Starting very soon, possibly even tonight, we should get the return of the Undertaker and some incredibly over the top stuff with him and Kane. Other than that I’d be looking for more stuff with Austin and Shawn. Oh and Tyson is here tonight. Let’s get to it.

    Tag Titles: New Age Outlaws vs. Legion of Doom

    This is non-title apparently. Ok scratch that as the belts are on the line. Animal vs. Road Dogg to start us off. BIG LOD chant as Animal gets a powerbomb for two. Hawk and Animal do the old heel move of faking a tag so that Hawk can come in. Ross points out that the LOD has been doing the same thing for about 15 years now. Way to push the old guys JR.

    Hawk hits an enziguri of all things and his neckbreaker to send Roadie to the floor. The Outlaws take over. It’s so weird to see Billy in long tights like that. Billy is from Austin, Texas apparently. Didn’t know that one actually. Hawk plays Ricky Morton, who I’m sure he destroyed multiple times back in the 80s. Gunn hits the chinlock as Hawk is in even more trouble.

    We get what’s supposed to be a knee to the ribs. That’s hard to mess up but these two managed to do it. Stinger Splash in the corner is called a forearm/right hand by that twerp named Cole. Double tag and it’s Animal vs. Dogg. Big tackle takes down Gunn and the LOD double teams the champions. Doomsday Device puts Roadie down but Hawk is in the ring. Belt shot by Billy is enough for Road Dogg to get the pin on Animal to retain.

    Rating: C-. Not bad here as the LOD’s story of not having it anymore continues. This would lead to the tag team battle royal at Mania where they would become LOD 2000 and debut Sunny of all people as their new manager. Not much here but with six minutes and the LOD as the better in ring workers at the time, what can you ask for here?

    The LOD fights post match and has to be pulled apart. That’s a rarity.

    Ken Shamrock vs. Jeff Jarrett

    Jarrett is part of the NWA of course and is the North American Heavyweight Champion. This is non-title and ironically enough, Shamrock would become NWA World Champion for TNA in about two years. The first major move after some back and forth jockeying for position is a German by Shamrock for two. Jarrett is sent to the apron and we get the classic suplex/foot hold pin attempt, which Shamrock counters by just shoving him off with pure power. Can’t beat the basics at times I guess.

    Back in the ring and Jarrett gets that sweet dropkick of his for two. Shamrock counters with a belly to belly but can’t get a follow up elbow, giving Jarrett control again. Double clothesline puts both guys down and the fans are all over the NWA. Shamrock gets a dropkick and a hurricanrana followed by a powerslam for two. Cornette gets involved but Jarrett rams into him. The referee is bumped a bit and the rather rotund Cornette pops Jarrett in the head with the tennis racket by mistake. Ankle lock goes on but Jarrett is out and we’re done.

    Rating: C-. Just a quick match here to reestablish Shamrock’s dominance. He would get robbed of the IC Title at Mania and wouldn’t win it until very late in the year. The NWA angle would die off soon (thank goodness) as the execution of it never worked at all. That’s a shame too as it could have been a solid idea.

    Jarrett says he and Cornette need to split up.

    Lawler talks to Animal who doesn’t want to talk. Hawk comes in and they go at it again.

    Disciples of Apocalypse vs. Truth Commission

    Well at least it’s not Los Boricuas. That feud would go on FOREVER. The rosters are Skull, 8-Ball and Chainz vs. Kurrgan, Sniper and Recon. Jackyl is the manager of the Truth Commission and would be gone soon. Chainz vs. Recon starts us off. None of these guys are guys that you would want to see wrestling the majority of a match so we’re kind of stuck here.

    The twins get a double back elbow to Recon as the crowd is deader than something that is rather dead. All DOA so far. One of the worst big boots ever by Chainz puts Recon down again. Kurrgan finally comes in and shrugs off Skull and 8-Ball. A big boot and the Paralyzer (Claw) ends 8-Ball via a pin.

    Rating: D-. Boring match on all accounts. These gangs never worked at all but they kept up with it time after time. Kurrgan would be a comedy guy rather soon as this Truth Commission idea (how many people actually got what it was referencing anyway) would go away, as would Jackyl.

    Post match Sniper turns on Jackyl and is easily beaten down by Kurrgan. Kurrgan puts the Claw on and carries him up the ramp.

    We go to Shawn’s house with him at the minibar. Shawn says they’re going to be suing Austin over him Stunning Chyna even though she looks fine. DX says they’re going to raise ratings records starting next week. Apparently Tyson is NEXT week, not this week. HHH promises an X-Rated Wrestlemania. They’ll be on Raw next week.

    Taka Michinoku vs. Barry Windham

    Sunny is ring announcer here due to reasons of SHE’S REALLY HOT. Talk about a clash of styles here. Ross says Michinoku has been hornswoggled here. Cornette gets on commentary and rants about everything that pops into his mind. Windham gets a gutwrench suplex as Cornette rants about flips. This is like Rey vs. Khali if you get the concept. Total dominance other than a few moonsaults here and there. One armed slam by Windham has Taka almost dead. Superplex hits for no cover and the lariat gets two….and there go the lights.

    The organ goes off and it’s time for Kane. Match is thrown out and was short so no rating. The NWA runs off and Taka is left laying. Big delayed and rather weak chokeslam puts Taka down. Tombstone leaves him laying. Bearer says he’s only interested in Austin. I remember panicking back in 98 when he said that. Bearer issues a challenge for Austin next week.

    The Outlaws are really excited about having split up the LOD. Road Dogg is in a DX shirt despite not being in the group yet. The Outlaws say they’re going to celebrate and get into their car. Cole says wrap it up and you hear a chainsaw go off. Cactus pops up with a ball bat and blasts the windshield out. The Outlaws manage to escape and for some reason don’t try to run them over.

    We get Goldust’s imitation of Dusty. That’s uh….different. This goes on for awhile and is rather pointless. I think it’s Dustin at least. The announcer says it’s him but the voice doesn’t sound like him.

    Goldust vs. Bradshaw

    Goldust comes out to American Dream and in the polka dots. No Luna tonight. Comedy match of course with Bradshaw wanting to be serious. Goldust gets knocked to the floor and says that Bradshaw needs to start bumping for him and let Bradshaw beat him up. His words not mine. Dustin gets destroyed of course and tries the Flip Flop and Fly, only for the Clothesline to end him. Barely a match and no rating.

    Dustin says something about Goldust.

    Hawk is leaving and won’t say anything.

    Steve Blackman vs. Rocky Maivia

    This is non-title. Rock takes him into the corner but gets beaten down rather easily. Yes, Blackman, the main source of comedy for Bateman and Bryan, is beating on Rock who is actually selling for him. Brown distracts Blackman which sets up the yet unnamed People’s Elbow. It’s so weird to see that move get zero reaction. We talk about the LOD splitting and Ross says a ton of NWA names which isn’t something you hear every day.

    Rock gets a powerslam for two but Faarooq distracts the referee which is what Rock did last week to cost Faarooq a win. Rock gets a DDT for the same result as D’lo tries to throw Blackman’s knunchucks to Rock. I say try because he throws them too far and Blackman catches them. They wind up going behind Rock’s head and BLACKMAN PINS ROCK!!! BLACKMAN PINS ROCK!!! BLACKMAN PINS ROCK!!!

    Rating: C-. Just a quick match that was all storyline advancement which is fine. This never got the big blowoff that it needed which is kind of a shame but they were pressed with Austin taking over everything completely. Not a bad match here but at the same time it wasn’t supposed to be anything big.

    Rock demands Faarooq come into the ring and he just leaves.

    Luna says she’s a time bomb of insanity who is waiting on Sable to get here.

    NWA Tag Titles: Rock N Roll Express vs. Headbangers

    Commissioner Slaughter comes out and gives us a WWF referee for no apparent reason. Cornette runs his mouth and has the basic argument of “this is an NWA Title match and he’s an NWA referee”. Slaughter just keeps saying he’s the Commissioner so we need to have a WWF referee. That makes zero sense but whatever. Cornette gets on commentary for a bit and rants about a lawsuit before bailing.

    Mosh and Morton start us off. Morton accidently rams into Gibson and then Gibson accidently punches Morton. Lot of heel miscommunication here tonight. Cornette tries to calm things down as the Express is the second NWA team about to come to blows tonight. We hear about Funk/Foley vs. Outlaws at Mania in a match where there will be a stipulation to be announced.

    The Headbangers drill Cornette who trips up Mosh a second later to give the Express the advantage. Mosh plays Ricky Morton against Ricky Morton which sounds like the plot to some weird 80s movie. Double dropkick misses and it’s off to Thrasher who throws Gibson over the top, a DQ in the NWA but not here apparently. Everything breaks down and Cornette pops Morton with the racket by mistake so Thrasher can get the pin and the titles.

    Rating: D. Just a bit mess here that didn’t do anything of note at all. This angle seemed to never end which got really annoying over time. Cornette was the only thing to be interesting about the whole thing and it never worked other than him. The Headbangers could have been any team so it’s not like they mattered. Weak match here too that saw the Express looking like the Three Stooges out there.

    Pete Rose is announced as the next celebrity at Mania. He makes some stupid hitting jokes.

    Video about Austin going to Mania. This includes an interview in which he mentions being told by his former boss that him in black boots and black trunks isn’t that marketable. I laugh very hard every time I hear that. Good video here as it makes Austin look unstoppable.

    European Title: Marc Mero vs. Owen Hart

    This is the match that goes on last rather than the main event if that makes sense. Mero sends Sable to the back before the match starts. Owen is Champion of course. Mero tries a monkey flip but gets kneed in the head for his troubles. Powerbomb gets two for Mero and Sable is back to an ERUPTION. The distraction lets Mero get some rollups for two. Spinwheel kick puts Mero down as this has been all Owen so far. Missile dropkick and an enziguri get two. Mero, ever the idiot, shoves the referee so he can hit Owen low. TKO is countered anyway and there’s the Sharpshooter but it’s a DQ anyway. Odd but whatever.

    Rating: D+. Just a quick match with nothing to it other than the sake of having Sable get on camera. That says a lot all things considered. No Austin but Sable is the final part of the show. But remember, she ticked off Vince so Trish got Diva of the decade in 03. That’s the WWF for you at the end of the day.

    Luna comes out post match and it’s a pull apart brawl. Goldust tries to pull Sable off so Mero drills him too. Big brawl ends the show.

    Overall Rating
    : C-. Not their best show here but it was a transitional show for the most part. They were setting up next week with Tyson and Austin and DX which is fine. The Kane vs. Austin thing would wind up being kind of important for Mania as you would expect. Anyway, not a great show here at all but kind of ok I guess.
     
    #10
  11. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

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    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.
     
    #11
  12. amazing_blue

    amazing_blue Pre-Show Stalwart

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    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.
     
    #12
  13. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

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    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.
     
    #13
  14. amazing_blue

    amazing_blue Pre-Show Stalwart

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    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).
     
    #14
  15. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

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    Monday Night Raw
    Date: March 16, 1998
    Location: America West Arena, Phoenix, Arizona
    Attendance: 13,598
    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.
     
    #15
  16. WWEIsLife2

    WWEIsLife2 Championship Contender

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    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.
     
    #16
  17. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

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    Monday Night Raw
    Date: March 23, 1998
    Location: Tucson Convention Center, Tucson, Arizona
    Attendance: 6,839
    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.

    Here’s Mania.

    http://forums.wrestlezone.com/showthread.php?p=956983#post956983
     
    #17
  18. WWEIsLife2

    WWEIsLife2 Championship Contender

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    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.
     
    #18
  19. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

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    Monday Night Raw
    Date: March 30, 1998
    Location: Pepsi Arena, Albany, New York
    Attendance: 11,202
    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.
     
    #19
  20. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

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    Monday Night Raw
    Date: April 6, 1998
    Location: On Center, Syracuse, New York
    Attendance: 5,599
    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.
     
    #20
  21. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

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    Monday Night Raw
    Date: April 13, 1998
    Location: CoreStates Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Attendance: 14,280
    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.
     
    #21
  22. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

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    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):

    http://forums.wrestlezone.com/showthread.php?p=1109424#post1109424
     
    #22
  23. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

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    Monday Night Raw
    Date: April 27, 1998
    Location: Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, Virginia
    Attendance: 7,512
    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.
     
    #23
  24. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

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    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.
     
    #24
  25. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

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    Monday Night Raw
    Date: May 11, 1998
    Location: Baltimore Arena, Baltimore, Maryland
    Attendance: 8,069
    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.
     
    #25

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