by Logan Scisco
-We have a change in the commentary team as Shane McMahon and Jim Cornette are given the responsibilities for tonight’s show, which is taped from Sacramento, California. During this time the company had Shane commentating on Sunday Night Heat. He was not very good at it, though. Ross and Lawler are not here because they were working on Jim Carey’s film Man on the Moon.
-The Rock comes down to the ring, where Vince McMahon is standing with Ken Shamrock and Mankind. Kane and the Undertaker guard the entrance as McMahon announces that WWF Champion Steve Austin and a partner of his choice will face them later in the show. McMahon books the Rock, Shamrock, and Mankind to face each other in a number one contender’s match so that they do not team with Austin later in the evening, which is a nice twist. There’s some great humor here, as McMahon reminds Shamrock that he is the World’s Most Dangerous Man, hypes the Rock as a future “People’s Champion,” and then puts his arm around Mankind and says “nevermind.” The winner of the number one contender’s match will face the winner of the Breakdown main event on next week’s RAW, where McMahon will be the guest ring announcer. Another solid promo by McMahon that saw him play the roster’s top players like a fiddle.
-Jeff Jarrett nailing the Road Dogg with a guitar on last week’s show is the Penzoil Rewind segment.
-Opening Contest: “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn beats “Double J” Jeff Jarrett with a neckbreaker at 7:30:
Since the Road Dogg was hit in the throat last week and cannot speak they have Gunn read the New Age Outlaws introduction off of cue cards. This match goes smoothly until we get a weak referee bump at the seven minute mark. The referee gets his senses quickly enough to prevent Jarrett from using the guitar and that distraction enables Gunn to win. Rating: ** ¼ (2 for 2)
-Michael Cole catches up with Vince McMahon backstage as he is talking with Ed Ferrara. McMahon tells Cole that he has no idea who will be Austin’s tag team partner tonight and doesn’t care.
-WWF Champion Steve Austin comes out and says that he does not expect any help tonight. He figures that since the Breakdown main event is a de facto handicap match he might as well get started early tonight. Just a filler promo. 2 for 3
-Call 815-734-1161 to get your “Down Where? Down Here!” DX shirt for $25 (plus $6 shipping & handling)!
-Buy Stridex! Get a Triple H poster! You know the drill by now since they have been hyping this forever. I guess those Triple H posters were not hot items.
-The Oddities come out and dance with the Headbangers in the ring, but the Headbangers turn heel by spraying Kurrgan in the face with an aerosol can, rip up Golga’s Cartman doll, and beat down the rest of the gang.
-Cole interviews the Undertaker and Kane and the Undertaker promises that he or Kane will win the WWF title at Breakdown.
-WWF Women’s Championship Match: Jacqueline (w/Marc Mero) beats Sable after Mero trips Sable on a suplex attempt at 2:51:
Since these two-thirds of the division (Luna is the other competitor) we do not even need the illusion of a tournament and the winner of this will be the first women’s champion since Alundra Blayze left with the title at the end of 1995. The not yet named Tori is shown in the audience trying to get the crowd behind Sable before the match begins and this is not the squash that took place on last week’s show. Mero bumps off the apron during Sable’s comeback, thereby continuing his depush, but when Sable tries to suplex Jacqueline back into the ring, Mero does the trip and hold trick and Jacqueline becomes the first women’s champion of the Attitude Era.
-Kane & The Undertaker beat Stone Cold” Steve Austin & “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn when the Undertaker pins Gunn after a chokeslam at 8:35:
No Savio Vega? McMahon is incensed that Gunn walks out as Austin’s partner and blames Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco for not taking care of business. Seeing McMahon freak out as if Gunn is the next big superstar is pretty funny in retrospect. Unsurprisingly, Kane and the Undertaker beat the hell out of Gunn and when all hell breaks loose he gets caught by an Undertaker chokeslam to lose the match for his team. After the bell, Austin takes out the Undertaker and Kane with chairs before leaving. Standard tag here that had a lot of energy and you can’t fault the company for trying to get a new guy a rub from these three main eventers. Rating: *** (3 for 4)
-Southern Justice wrestle The Disciples of Apocalypse (w/Paul Ellering) to a no contest at 2:10:
The DOA are back after being absent from RAW for the better part of a month. It only takes two minutes for his match to fall apart and Jarrett clocks Ellering with his guitar. After that the match just ends, so I am just going to consider this a no contest.
-McMahon tells Cole backstage that he does not think Bill Gunn made a wise choice by volunteering to be Steve Austin’s partner.
-Steven Regal is shown shaving in the woods.
-No Disqualification, Falls Count Anywhere Match: Al Snow beats Commissioner Slaughter after hitting him with Head at 6:08:
The provision of this match is that if Snow wins he gets a job in the company, which he has been agitating for since June. For his age, Slaughter bumps really well for Snow and the stipulation masks his inability to do a normal match. Head proves to be the key to get out of the Cobra Clutch and a low blow allow Snow avoid a loaded boot attack and go on to win the match. So Snow has a job now, rejoice! Rating: *** (4 for 5)
-After the bout, Patterson and Brisco attack Snow, but Scorpio makes the save.
-The Rock talks about how he will soon be called “the best damn WWF champion there ever was.” He says he plans to lay the smackdown on Mankind and Ken Shamrock. I think this guy is ready for the big time.
-Val Venis beats Owen Hart via disqualification when Dustin Runnels interferes at 2:23:
Dustin Runnels is doing the announcing for this match and he is still distraught over Terri sleeping with Venis. Shane and Cornette point out that he does not need to turn the other cheek in this situation. Owen is in dire need of a new direction after the end of his feud with Ken Shamrock. That won’t happen here, though, as Runnels runs in and attacks Venis. After the bell, Venis ties Runnels in the ropes and makes him watch a new video, where Terri tells him that Venis is a better man. This gimmick for Dustin is terrible, but he did a good acting job here.
-European Championship Match: X-Pac defeats D-Lo Brown (Champion) to win the title after an X-Factor at 5:15:
These two are capable of good matches, but this ends up as a really abbreviated display of what they can do. X-Pac’s offense carries this encounter, which ends when D-Lo tries a nonsensical dive off the top rope that leads into an X-Factor. This is X-Pac’s first singles championship victory in the WWF. Rating: ** (5 for 6)
-Mankind wishes us a nice day after explaining how he will avoid being submitted by Ken Shamrock.
-Triple Threat Number One Contender’s Match for the WWF Championship: Ken Shamrock wrestles Mankind and The Rock to a no contest after Kane and the Undertaker interfere at 10:55:
Two of these men lost the King of the Ring finals in 1997 and 1998, while one of them won it and in terms of WWF history, the two losers became bigger than the winner. The crowd continues to back the Rock, loving the People’s Elbow on Shamrock and his mannerisms in the ring. The Rock had good timing with Shamrock, but has several awkward exchanges with Mankind. That’s understandable because he barely worked with Mankind up to this point. This match does not give us a number one contender, though, as Kane and the Undertaker walk out with McMahon and lay waste to the talent, thereby serving as a classic McMahon double cross. It is a shame that we get this result, but the company will fix that at Breakdown. Rating: *** (6 for 7)
-As Kane and the Undertaker lay waste to the Rock in the ring, McMahon gets attacked by Austin in the aisle. McMahon is not pleased that Kane and the Undertaker did not have his back.
The Final Report Card: Although this card lacked the same emotionally charged crowd and match quality of the previous show, it served as a good go home show for Breakdown. While you have Austin, the Undertaker, and Kane fighting each other at the top of the card, the company is also building the Rock, Ken Shamrock, and Mankind in the upper midcard. The only thing that is a mess is the tag division, as those belts are on the New Age Outlaws and there is a lack of credible teams to face them.
Monday Night War Rating: 4.0 (vs. 3.9 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation: Thumbs Up