-Highlights of Steve Austin regaining the WWF championship from Kane on last week’s Raw are shown.
-Jim Ross and Jerry “the King” Lawler are our commentators tonight and they are taped from State College, Pennsylvania.
-The Undertaker comes out, with more pyro blasts that usual, and demands a title shot from Steve Austin. Michael Cole goes looking for Austin backstage, but Austin just blows him off and walks out to the ring. Vince McMahon angrily interrupts the conversation and chides the Undertaker for claiming that he is the number one contender and Austin for thinking he defends the title on his schedule. McMahon says that Austin and the Undertaker can be in the ring together at Fully Loaded, the next pay-per-view, but they will not be facing each other in a singles match. Instead, they will face Kane and Mankind in a tag match. McMahon also promises to name the number one contender for the WWF title tonight. A great, logical segment to open tonight’s show. As an added bonus, McMahon “salutes” Austin at the end of the segment, which devolves into him flipping off the WWF champion. 1 for 1
-Opening Brawl for All First Round Contest: Savio Vega beats Brakus via decision:
Brakus was a German wrestler that was supposed to come to the WWF the previous year. He even got a series of vignettes to hype his arrival in 1997. However, he was so green that he was sent to ECW and USWA after wrestling on a few house shows and dark matches in late 1996. Aside from a match on Shotgun Saturday Night and appearances on a few European shows, this was Brakus’s big moment in the WWF and he does not acquit himself well as Savio staggers him with some hard shots throughout the bout. In a later shoot interview, Savio claimed that Brakus thought the Brawl for All was a worked tournament instead of a shoot, which helped him win this bout. 2 for 2
-Ken Shamrock defeats “Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee) via disqualification when King Mabel interferes at 4:22:
This is a special challenge match as Jarrett wants revenge for losing to Shamrock in the King of the Ring semi-finals. This is basically a repeat of that King of the Ring match, including many of the same spots, but this time there is a run-in by King Mabel, who comes out of the crowd and lays out Shamrock. You see, Shamrock beat two King of the Rings last week, but he did not beat the great King Mabel! Rating: ** (3 for 3)
-Michael Cole interviews Shamrock after the commercial break and Shamrock challenges Mabel to a match later on in the show.
-Vader wrestles Bradshaw to a no-contest after Kane and Mankind interfere at 2:05:
In this face-versus-face encounter both men are in desperate need of some direction as Bradshaw has been spending 1998 feuding with the NWA and Kaientai and Vader has been losing to new attractions like the Rock and Kane. After some stiff shots back and forth, Kane and Mankind crash the match. So basically, Vader and Bradshaw still do not have any momentum!
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-The Disciples of Apocalypse (w/Paul Ellering) beat The Headbangers when 8-Ball pins Mosh after a side suplex-neckbreaker combination at 3:41:
The Headbangers pour hot candle wax on their arms on their way to the ring, which I do not remember being a big cultural thing in 1998, but I was not part of that crowd so who knows. Ellering is being hyped as a stock market wizard and he says that he came back to the WWF to write the final chapter of the Legion of Doom. I think the New Age Outlaws beat Ellering to that task. In other news, Mabel has accepted Shamrock’s challenge for later tonight! In terms of the match, the DOA wrestle with a little more energy than usual, but the match is nothing to write home about. Rating: *½ (3 for 4)
-Steve Austin giving Stone Cold Stunners to Kane and the Undertaker at the close of last week’s show is the Skittles Slam of the Week.
-D-Lo Brown (w/The Godfather) beats Terry Funk with the Lo Down at 3:46:
This is Brown’s first match back from his “pectoral injury” and he is using his chest protector. Funk pulls out another crazy Asai moonsault, which I really wish he would not do since it causes his knee to slam into the guardrail. Funk appears to have the match in hand, but the Godfather nails Funk in the back of the head with a gold chain and D-Lo picks up the first of a series of victories that will put him on the map as a singles star in the company. It’s sad to see Funk reduced to the level of enhancement talent, but to his credit he has really made D-Lo Brown and Mark Henry look good over the last month. A true professional. Rating: **¼ (4 for 5)
-After the match, the Undertaker comes to the ring and chokeslams D-Lo Brown and the Godfather. Terry Funk thinks the Undertaker has come to save him, but the Undertaker chokeslams him as well. Ross’s calls during this segment are great as he screams “Who’s your daddy?!?!?” as D-Lo gets chokeslamed and screams “WHY!?! WHY?!” when he attacks Funk.
-Vince McMahon walks out to announce the number one contender to the WWF title. Mankind, Kane, and the Undertaker are called to the ring. McMahon lauds Mankind’s sacrifice at Hell in a Cell, calls Kane stupid for giving Steve Austin a title shot last week, and hilariously changes his tone of voice when he gets to the Undertaker and calls him an “evil, diabolical excuse for a human being” for setting his brother on fire in an Inferno match and nearly killing Mankind. McMahon refuses to name a number one contender himself and says that a triple threat match will determine the issue later tonight. 5 for 6
-Brawl for All First Round: Hawk and Darren Drozdov fight to a draw:
The crowd is a more receptive to this week’s Brawl for All bouts than last week. The bout starts okay, but both men are gassed by the third round and things end as more of a whimper than bang. The contest ends as a draw and since we have no bracket established for this tournament, we have no idea what that means for future rounds. And seriously, why would you establish a tournament like this and not have a tiebreaker established? 5 for 7
-Marc Mero and Jacqueline come out and Jacqueline implies that Mero lost the Brawl for All last week because she took all the energy out of him since it was their two month anniversary before the bout. Jacqueline runs down Sable’s inability to meet Mero’s needs and unsurprisingly, this brings Sable out. Sable implies that Mero needs Viagra and she and Jacqueline debate over who is more of a woman. Jacqueline challenges Sable to a bikini contest at Fully Loaded and Sable accepts. Color me silly, but I found the exchange of insults here hilarious, probably because Mero’s facial expressions during the exchange were great. 6 for 8
-The Undertaker chokeslamming Mankind through the Hell in a Cell is the JVC Kaboom! of the Week.
-Val Venis defeats Dustin Runnels via disqualification when Kaientai interfere at 2:35:
Runnels and Venis go back and forth in this lower midcard match until Kainetai run in to get revenge on Venis for Venis dancing in front of Yamiguchi-San’s wife on last week’s show. However, Yamiguchi-San’s wife is not happy at the beating or her husband mocking Venis’s dance in the ring.
-D-Generation X comes out dressed as the Nation in one of the more famous skits of the era. There is no way this segment would fly today as X-Pac is in blackface as “Mizark Henry” and the Road Dogg and Billy Gunn have bad spray tans for their impressions of the Godfather and D-Lo Brown. Road Dogg steals the segment by repeating Triple H’s (playing “The Crock”) lines and climbing the ropes at random intervals to do D-Lo’s head bob. Jason Sensation is playing Owen Hart and sounds exactly like him. The forced laughter from Lawler nearly ruins the segment, though. 7 for 9
-Ken Shamrock defeats King Mabel via submission to the ankle lock at 2:09:
Mabel finds his old king tights for this match, which is his first televised match in the company in more than two years. Shamrock’s path through older kings continues with this match as he weathers Mabel’s power offense, counters a second rope dive, and forces him to submit to the ankle lock. After the bell, Shamrock refuses to release the hold. The old existing king left in the WWF is Steve Austin, which would have set up an interesting WWF title match, but that never happened.
-Vince McMahon walks out to do commentary duties for the triple threat main event and Steve Austin comes out to join him.
-Triple Threat Match to Determine the Number One Contender to the WWF Championship: The Undertaker defeats Kane & Mankind by pinning Mankind after a chair shot at 1:58:
The Undertaker does not arrive when his entrance music plays, so McMahon has Tony Chimmel announce that the Undertaker is “chickenshit” and books a no holds barred, falls count anywhere match between Kane and Mankind instead. Mankind refuses to fight his friend, but Kane takes a chair and gives Mankind a sick shot against the steps to win the bout. However, when the regular lights come on, Kane unmasks to reveal the Undertaker and Steve Austin looks on in disbelief as we are played out.
Tune in next week to see the New Age Outlaws defend the tag team titles against Kane & Mankind!
The Final Report Card: The closing segment to this show was great and as someone commented in the King of the Ring review, the double long sleeved Kane outfit fit this angle well due to the fact that it covered the Undertaker’s tattoos. It furthers the Kane-Undertaker-Austin triangle because one is left wondering how the Undertaker got Kane’s ring attire and how he was able to replace him in the bout. This was a great RAW, but it lost in the ratings because WCW panicked and ran Bill Goldberg’s victory over Hulk Hogan in the Georgia Dome against it. Still, that would end up being a pyrrhic victory for WCW and it did not derail the WWF in the long-term.
Monday Night War Rating: 4.0 (vs. 4.8 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation: Thumbs Up