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What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw - February 23, 1998

by Logan Scisco

-Jim Ross, Kevin Kelly, and Michael Cole are in the booth and they are live from Waco, Texas.


-Opening Contest for the WWF Tag Team Championship:  The New Age Outlaws (Champions) beat The Legion of Doom when The Road Dogg pins Animal after Billy Gunn blasts Animal with a tag team title belt at 4:57:

By this time the Road Dogg had polished the Outlaws introduction into what most fans remember.  Quick match, with the LOD hitting the Road Dogg with the Doomsday Device, but the referee works to get Hawk out of the ring and the Outlaws use underhanded tactics to win.  After the match, the Legion of Doom argue with each other and start brawling, which is an interesting visual.  WWF officials run out to split it up.  Unfortunately, this didn’t lead to a feud that might be interesting and instead segwayed into the LOD 2000 repackaging, which, as you can guess, led into a new feud with the Outlaws!  Rating:  *¾ (1 for 1)

-Non-Title Match:  Ken Shamrock defeats Jeff Jarrett (NWA North American Champion w/Jim Cornette) via submission to the ankle lock at 5:43:

Due to beating the Rock in the War of Attrition match at No Way Out of Texas, Shamrock gets an Intercontinental title match at WrestleMania XIV.  The crowd loves seeing Shamrock destroy Jarrett in the early going and Shamrock kicks out when Cornette trips him when he suplexes Jarrett in the ring and tries to hold down his leg on the cover.  This is a very proficient match between two guys that can go, with several false finishes mixed in, and the referee gets inadvertently bumped, but Cornette accidentally blasts Jarrett with his tennis racket and that leads to the finish.  Rating:  **½ (2 for 2)

-After the match, Cole interviews Jarrett, who says that it might be time for he and Cornette to go their separate ways.

-Shawn Michaels entrance at WrestleMania XII is the WrestleMania Millennium Moment.

-Jerry Lawler interviews Animal in the locker room and Animal screams a lot before Hawk runs in and they fight some more as Bradshaw and a few jobbers work to separate them.

-The Truth Commission & Kurrgan (w/The Jackyl) beat The Disciples of Apocalypse when Kurrgan pins 8-Ball with the Paralyzer at 3:56:

Since Kurrgan has ditched his Truth Commission ring gear, he is not considered part of the Truth Commission anymore, which is just Sniper and Recon.  The Jackyl doesn’t do commentary for this match as he has done for most Truth Commission matches to this point.  During the match, Ross announces that there will be a fifteen team battle royal at WrestleMania.  This follows a predictable, yet smart, booking pattern whereby DOA tries to keep Kurrgan from entering the ring.  Skull and 8-Ball slam Kurrgan to a huge reaction, but 8-Ball is left alone with Kurrgan and that has a predictable result.  Better than I expected it to be.  Rating:  *½ (3 for 3)

-After the match, the Jackyl yells at Sniper for not tagging in and slaps him, but when Sniper goes after the Jackyl, Kurrgan puts him in a Paralyzer and drags him to the locker room.

-D-Generation X is in Shawn Michaels home in Texas and cuts a promo.  Triple H says that WrestleMania will be X-rated and that the next four weeks will set the Nielsen ratings on fire.  Good promo (4 for 4)

-Sunny comes out to do guest ring announcing duties and asks the crowd if things are really bigger in Texas.

-Taka Michinoku wrestles Barry Windham (w/Jim Cornette & The Rock N’ Roll Express) to a no contest at 2:34:

This is quite a David vs. Goliath battle, as Windham can throw Michinoku around with ease.  The match is happening because Taka could not read his contract.  Michinoku surprises Windham with a few moonsaults and Windham doesn’t bother to take off his ring gear for the match.  Windham hits his trademark suplex and lariat, but the lights go off and Kane walks out.  Michinoku ends up the target as the NWA flee.  Paul Bearer calls out Steve Austin and challenges him to a match next week on RAW.

-We head into hour two so Lawler takes over the commentating duties for Cole and Kelly.

-Cole interviews the New Age Outlaws as they leave the arena and they take credit for splitting the Legion of Doom up.  In a small piece of foreshadowing, the Road Dogg is wearing a D-Generation X t-shirt.  Cole gets tired of the Outlaws antics, but after the Outlaws get into their car it is attacked by Chainsaw Charlie and Cactus Jack.  The Outlaws manage to speed away.  Hard to really see everything going on with the darkness outside and I just can’t stand Cole (4 for 5)

-Goldust gives a funny Dusty Rhodes impression and talks about his career over a video package.  Best line:  “I beat Ric Flair 25,000 times in a row!  I had a legendary feud, but Terry Funk always whooped my ass so I don’t want to talk about that right now!”

-Bradshaw pins The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust with the lariat at 3:35:

Tonight, Goldust is dressed like his father Dusty Rhodes circa 1990 and comes out to the “American Dream” theme song, which is a top five theme song in my books.  A small comedy match here, as Goldust tries to mock Dusty’s moves and injures himself.  He also gets on the mic and talks like Dusty and yells at the crowd.  Bradshaw squashes Goldust and blocks a bionic elbow attempt with a lariat to win.  Match was not much, but Goldust’s comedy made it worth watching.  Rating:  ½* (5 for 6)

-Cole interviews Goldust, who says that nothing compares to Goldust.

-Kelly tries to interview Hawk, who exits the arena without face paint and refuses to talk.

-Non-Title Match:  Steve Blackman pins The Rock (Intercontinental Champion w/The Nation of Domination) after hitting him with nunchucks at 4:14:

In a nice touch, the Rock hangs back during the Nation of Domination’s entrance so that he can get more attention than the other members of the group.  Faarooq gets on the apron after the Rock hits Blackman with a powerslam and that nearly costs the Rock the match when Blackman whips the Rock into Faarooq and schoolboys him for two.  The situation happens again when Faarooq hops on the apron, but D-Lo tosses Blackman’s nunchucks to Blackman instead of the Rock, which costs the Rock the match.  Pure angle development and Blackman’s win meant nothing in the long run.  Rating:  ¼* (5 for 7)

-After the match, D-Lo tells the Rock that Faarooq told him to toss the nunchucks to Blackman and Faarooq does not care that the Rock knows.

-Call 1-900-737-4WWF to hear about WrestleMania, Shawn Michaels, and a national television deal for the WWF!

-Kelly interviews Luna Vachon, who says she is waiting for Sable and cannot wait to rearrange her face.

-NWA Tag Team Championship Match:  The Headbangers beat The Rock N’ Roll Express (Champions w/Jim Cornette) when Thrasher pins Ricky Morton with a shoulder block at 4:22

Before the match, Commissioner Slaughter comes out with referee Earl Hebner and replaces Tommy Young at the referee.  Cornette gives a great rant about this with the commentary team.  Ross does his best to argue that this match matters because the Headbangers loved the Rock N’ Roll Express as kids, so that is why they want to beat them for the NWA tag team titles.  The Express fail to get anything to go their way in the match and since Hebner is refereeing he does not disqualify the Headbangers when Robert Gibson is tossed over the top rope.  Cornette smashes Thrasher in the back with his tennis racket, but Thrasher falls on top of Morton and scores the pin and Cornette throws a tantrum.  Poor contest as these teams just do not have chemistry.  Rating:  ½* (5 for 8)

-Pete Rose is announced as a guest celebrity at WrestleMania.

-A video package hypes Steve Austin’s road to WrestleMania.

-European Championship Match:  Owen Hart (Champion) beats “Marvelous” Marc Mero by disqualification at 4:12:

During his entrance, Mero sends Sable to the locker room.  Owen is set to defend the European title against Triple H at WrestleMania, so he is no longer a part of the main event picture and won’t be for the remainder of his career.  Less than a minute into the match she returns, but Mero kicks out of Owen’s schoolboy to keep the match going.  Mero gets frustrated with the referee as he pounds away in the corner and pushes him down, which draws the disqualification.  What is weird is that they don’t have Mero hit the TKO and getting a phantom pin before the referee called for the bell.  Rating:  *½ (5 for 9)

-After the bell, Luna Vachon runs out and Goldust and WWF officials try to hold her away from Sable.  When Sable sees Luna she tries to engage her as well.  Goldust eventually restrains Sable, but Mero takes exception to that and starts pounding away on him.  Lot of heat for this as we continue moving toward a mixed tag match at WrestleMania.

-Tune in next week to see D-Generation X, Mike Tyson, and Kane’s challenge of Steve Austin!

The Final Report Card:  The first hour was really good, but the second hour lagged.  It was quite surprising not to see Steve Austin and the show really missed his appearance.  It might be surprising to those who never watched the product at the time that the Sable-Luna angle got airtime at the end of the show, but it is really the second hottest act that the WWF has going on aside from Austin.  Solid effort this week to build us to WrestleMania XIV.

Monday Night War Rating:  3.2 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

Comments

  1. It's funny to think about how big a deal Sable was at the time.

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  2. They booked a show with no Austin, no Undertaker, and Michaels wasn't there in person. To top it off the main was Owen vs Marc F'n Mero. It took balls booking this, especially with Nitro stomping them every week.

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  3. Gary The Rock Star's #1 FanDecember 17, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    They had a loaded show for next week, so I see why everyone was off.

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  4. This was not a live show, this was taped. Also same show ahmed Johnson was fired for not putting over kurgan I believe.

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  5. She gets glossed over a lot because she left during the company's peak, and because you could have probably put ANY woman of equivalent attractiveness in that role and gotten the same result (you COULDN'T have found a worse actress!). but she really was a huge component of The Attitude Era, and the emerging success of wrestling at the time. She was almost as big a star as the Main Event men- if not moreso!

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  6. Seems like there was a break-up angle in almost every story.

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  7. Thanks. The one time I don't check History of the WWE to verify.

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  8. Yeah the only reason I remember that, is the next raw was live from Cleveland and I remember this was the first live raw since the raw when foley and funk went over in the dumpster

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