-Michael Cole narrates a video package that recaps last night’s Unforgiven pay-per-view. Tonight, Vince McMahon will make a decision about WWF Champion Steve Austin’s future.
-Jim Ross and Michael Cole are in the booth and they are live from Hampton, Virginia.
-Footage of D-Generation X preparing for their “invasion” of WCW Monday Nitro, who are running Nitro in Norfolk tonight, which is about fifteen minutes from where Raw is being hosted, is shown.
-Opening Contest: Ken Shamrock & Owen Hart wrestle The Rock & Mark Henry (w/The Nation of Domination) to a no contest at 1:43:
Shamrock and Owen had teamed for a few weeks on the house show circuit prior to this RAW and they were a ranked tag team in the Apter magazines, so I was excited to see them wrestle here. However, Owen turns on Shamrock and ditches his lackluster four month run as a face. Owen works better as a heel, so I fully approve of this move. Owen Pillmanizes Shamrock’s ankle, which works to write Shamrock out of next month’s pay-per-view. The beatdown, which extends to Steve Blackman and Faarooq when they try to make saves, was excellent. (1 for 1)
-Dude Love hosts the Love Shack and gloats about beating Steve Austin last night. He proposes stripping Austin of the title and having the WWF put him against Shawn Michaels for the title or hosting a tournament or just giving it to him. Very solid promo work for Foley, which included some classic heel cockiness. 2 for 2
-Call 1-900-737-4WWF to find out if a new manager is headed to the WWF!
-D-Generation X declares war against WCW in Norfolk. WCW fans cheer when Triple H asks them if Eric Bischoff sucks.
-#1 Contender’s Match for the WWF Tag Team Championship: Terry Funk & 2 Cold Scorpio beat The Headbangers via disqualification when Thrasher pushes the referee at 3:14:
It seems weird that the winner of this match gets a WWF tag team championship opportunity since neither team has accomplished much of note in recent weeks, but the WWF tag ranks are really thin at this point. This match is non-stop action from the bell, with Funk moonsaulting the other three men as they brawl on the arena floor. The finish is lackluster, but both teams keep fighting after the bell and at least this match made the tag team titles seem important. Rating: ** (3 for 3)
-Triple H asks if any of the WCW fans got free tickets for tonight’s Nitro. X-Pac says high to Scott Hall and Kevin Nash and Triple H demands that they let them go.
-Steve Austin tossing Dude Love off of Sawyer Brown’s stage at Unforgiven last night is the Cinnaburst Rewind segment.
-Vince McMahon walks out and says he knows Austin was trying to hit him with the chair at the end of last night’s Unforgiven pay-per-view, which draws a huge cheer from the crowd. He says he is not going to fire Austin yet and that Austin will defend the WWF title tonight against Goldust with Gerald Brisco as the guest referee. McMahon announces that if Austin lays a finger on Brisco that he will be fired and stripped of the WWF title. Brisco says he will be impartial tonight and is not afraid of Austin. McMahon closes by saying that any wrestler in the company would be a better representative with the title than Austin right now. It’s a McMahon promo, so does it really need a rating? 4 for 4
-WCW closes the gate to the arena to keep D-Generation X from entering the arena with their vehicle. I wish WCW had let them in and then had Scott Norton and Meng and kick their ass.
-Segments of Jeff Jarrett’s “musical performance” and altercation with Steve Blackman at Unforgiven last night are shown.
-Bradshaw beats Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee) via disqualification when Kamikaze interferes at 1:14
Bradshaw doesn’t sell any of Jarrett’s offense and has the upper hand until Kamikaze hits the ring and attacks him. Taka Michinoku tries to make the save, but also gets beaten down. This time a fourth man is with Kamizake, but he is masked and his identity is unknown.
-Jerry Lawler comes out to replace Cole on commentary for hour two.
-Kevin Kelly interviews Dude Love, who is irate that he has not been given the title. Love confronts McMahon, who doesn’t appreciate Kelly and the camera man being around and goes all Ronald Reagan on them by saying that he is paying for the equipment and for them to shut it off.
-Non-Title Match: The Disciples of Apocalypse (w/LOD 2000, Chainz & Sunny) beat The New Age Outlaws (WWF Tag Team Champions w/D-Generation X) when 8-Ball pins Billy Gunn after an illegal switch at 3:35:
It’s like night and day having Ross and Lawler back-and-forth in the booth versus the awful Ross-Cole team and it’s amazing that it took so long for the WWF to just ditch Cole off the RAW broadcasts. Even more surprising that they kept him around as Ross’s replacement. The DOA dominate much of the match and when Billy Gunn hits Skull with a piledriver, 8-Ball makes an illegal switch and gives the DOA their first win in ages. To show how much heat the Outlaws generated up to this point, the crowd goes nuts for the victory. Rating: *½ (5 for 5)
-The Undertaker beats Barry Windham with the Tombstone in 59 seconds:
And here I thought that Barry Windham was gone from the company by this point. The sad thing is that THIS would’ve been a RAW main event if this was 1996. It shows you how far the company has come since then. The Undertaker sends Barry off to WCW with this squash.
-After the match, the Undertaker calls out Kane, who comes out after the commercial break with Paul Bearer. Bearer begs the Undertaker for a truce and as he recounts the events of last night he reveals that Kane is his son. Excellent promo work from Bearer here and I always say he doesn’t get the credit he deserves for his part in this feud in 1997-1998. 6 for 6
-The Undertaker’s plancha on Kane and Vader at Unforgiven is the Castrol GTX Slam of the Week.
-Kevin Kelly interviews The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust and Luna Vachon. Goldust says that he is a pure man that would be a great representative of the company. Dude Love ambushes Goldust yelling “That’s my shot!” and WWF officials have to pull him off of Goldust.
-D-Generation X comes back out and Triple H tells DOA that no one steals his buzz. As Scott would say, “I love shoot comments that aren’t supposed to be…” Triple H issues an open challenge to any member of the locker room that wants to face him for the European title. Skull walks out, but Dan Severn walks past him and into the ring as Jim Cornette tries to convince him not to fight Triple H. Cornette makes the mistake slapping Severn, which leads to Cornette being placed in an armbar and choke. Unfortunately, this allows Triple H to get away. This could’ve MADE Severn, but they pulled back. This makes Severn a face now.
-WWF Champion Steve Austin tells Michael Cole that he’ll defend the WWF title and says that Vince McMahon isn’t going to get rid of him.
-Call 815-734-1161 to get your copy of the WrestleMania XIV video tape and a lifesize Steve Austin poster for $44.95 (plus $9 shipping & handling)!
-The new Val Venis vignette says that all men have “Venis envy” when compared to him.
-Marc Mero walks out and calls Sable to the ring. Mero says that Sable humiliated him at Unforgiven last night when Luna took her evening gown off. Sable counters that she enjoyed the experience and she challenges Mero to a match on RAW in two weeks. She leaves before Mero answers her challenge. This was pretty poor considering the past segments between these two, but that’s because they let Sable dominate all the mic time. 6 for 7
-Vince McMahon shakes Gerald Brisco’s hand backstage and says that he will enjoy watching him referee tonight’s main event.
-WWF Championship Match with Gerald Brisco as Guest Referee: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (Champion) and The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust (w/Luna Vachon) wrestle to a no-contest at 8:40:
Before the opening bell, McMahon jogs out and replaces the timekeeper to further stack the deck against Austin. Brisco dares Austin throughout the match to hit him and counts quick falls for Goldust, but Austin resists and proceeds to wrestle one of the faster-paced 1990s Goldust matches you will ever see. Ross actually acknowledges that if Austin loses the title that the crowd will riot, to which Lawler has a funny jab about being there for crowd control. Austin hits a Stunner after a mule kick, but Brisco pulls a Nick Patrick and stops at two because something is allegedly in his eye. Dude Love then runs in and brawls with Austin. McMahon tries to take advantage of the opportunity in a brilliant callback to the previous evening by trying to hit Austin with the WWF title belt, but ends up KO’ing Brisco and that ends the match. This is one of those underappreciated gems from the Attitude Era, but it’s a wild and fun match that foreshadowed the Austin-Dude Love rematch that is to come at Over the Edge. It’s also Goldust’s best match in ages. Rating: *** (7 for 8)
The Final Report Card: This show had a little too much D-Generation X and their “invasion” of WCW has been overhyped by subsequent WWE videos about the Monday Night Wars. However, some of the segments were funny, like having a WCW fan claim that he didn’t pay for his ticket and then asking for the company to free Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. The main event was fantastic as well and Austin really had his working boots on in his first run with the title. The only missed opportunity was sidestepping a Honky Tonk Man moment with Triple H and the European title with Dan Severn, but you can’t always get what you want.
Monday Night War Rating: 5.7 (vs. 1.72 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation: Thumbs Up