by Logan Scisco
-A video package replays the lead-in video for last night’s Breakdown pay-per-view.
-Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Detroit, Michigan.
-Steve Austin’s music hits, but Vince McMahon, the stooges, and police officers walk out. McMahon has the WWF title (the smoking skull edition) over his shoulder. McMahon makes clear that Austin will not get a rematch for the championship like last time, but he decrees the evening “Stone Cold Steve Austin Night” and jokes how police are throughout the facility to make him feel welcome. McMahon announces that a new WWF champion will be crowned tonight, although he makes clear that the champion will get the non-smoking skull title because that belt is going above his fireplace. The stooges put the smoking skull belt around McMahon’s waist and McMahon is showered with boos as he mocks Austin by scaling the corner turnbuckles. This was pretty hilarious. 1 for 1
-Opening Contest for the WWF Tag Team Championship: Southern Justice (w/Jeff Jarrett) beat The New Age Outlaws (Champions) via disqualification when the Road Dogg blasts Dennis Knight with Jarrett’s guitar at 3:00:
Ross spends this match putting over Billy Gunn and how he is shouldering the workload for D-Generation X in light of injuries to Triple H and X-Pac. Gunn literally does the hot tag sequence by himself, but when he prepares to give Knight a piledriver, Road Dogg hits Knight with a guitar for no reason and gets the team disqualified. After the match, Gunn and his partner argue and Gunn proceeds to blow off the entire DX crew when they try to place peacemaker. All hail Gunn’s upcoming singles push! Rating: * (1 for 2)
-Michael Cole reports that there is lots of arguing in the DX locker room.
-Submission Match: Owen Hart defeats Dan Severn by referee stoppage at 2:16:
Severn has not appeared on television since SummerSlam and is supposedly a face now as he shakes hands with members of the Detroit Red Wings at ringside. Booking this for RAW is strange because after SummerSlam, where Severn walked out on Owen, you would think they could have run a small feud that culminated at either Breakdown or Judgment Day. Owen escapes a dragon sleeper and delivers an inverted piledriver, the same move that broke Steve Austin’s neck at SummerSlam 1997, and that ends the match. Severn then does a stretcher job. On one hand, I can understand the logic of keeping Severn strong if you are going to have him lose, but this was incredibly tasteless.
-Please buy Stridex so they can get rid of all these Triple H posters!
-Al Snow (w/Head) beats Vader (w/Commissioner Slaughter) after hitting him with Head at 2:36:
Commissioner Slaughter accompanies Vader to the ring since he hates Al Snow. Seeing Vader as a jobber for hire in a match like this is sad. Vader actually dominates the match, but Slaughter accidentally distracts the official too long and Snow hits Vader with Head to win. Vader actually kicks out at two, but a three count was registered anyway. On the bright side, Snow is really over with the Head gimmick.
-Billy Gunn has left the building!
-The 10-10-321 Rewind Segment is Gangrel telling Edge on Sunday Night Heat that “he will come home.”
-Six Man, Four Corner Elimination Match for a European Title Shot: D-Lo Brown beats “Double J” Jeff Jarrett, Edge, “Double J” Jeff Jarrett, Gangrel, “Marvelous” Marc Mero, and Darren Drozdov at 5:10:
Order of Elimination: Edge pins Gangrel with a La Magistral cradle at 1:05; Jeff Jarrett and Droz are counted out at 3:26; Edge pins Mero after D-Lo hits Mero with a Lo Down at 4:36; D-Lo pins Edge with a Sky High at 5:10
Ah, the days when you did not have to beat the champion on television to earn a title match. D-Lo is super over here. The match gets off to a ridiculous start when Edge pins Gangrel in just over a minute, thereby making their feud a little more pointless and confusing. Since this is 1998, the match goes by way too quickly with people hitting their signature spots and being eliminated much too soon. Not as soon as that awful diva’s Survivor Series-style match last year, but it’s way too quick for my tastes. Edge seems to have D-Lo on the ropes, but Gangrel and Christian walk out, distract Edge, and help D-Lo get another crack at the European championship. Rating: *½ (1 for 3)
-In one of the more memorable segments in RAW history, McMahon comes back out to conduct a ceremony for awarding the WWF title to Kane or the Undertaker. Steve Austin rushes past security in a Zamboni and makes a classic dive into the ring to attack McMahon. Austin is eventually arrested by police and McMahon is forced to temporarily cancel the ceremony. This segment is still amazing sixteen years later. 2 for 4
-Call 815-734-1161 to get your “Down Where? Down Here!” DX shirt for $25 (plus $6 shipping & handling)!
-The ceremony resumes after the commercial break, but this time there are no police or stooges, just McMahon, Kane, and the Undertaker. McMahon is furious that Kane and the Undertaker have allowed Austin to attack him for the third time in less than a week. As a result, he books Kane and the Undertaker to face each other at Judgment Day for the title with Austin as the guest referee. The look of “oh really?” that the Undertaker gives McMahon in this segment is hilarious. For tonight, McMahon books Kane and the Undertaker to face Ken Shamrock, Mankind, and the Rock in a handicap match. The crowd pops big for the mere mention of the Rock’s name. McMahon goes a step too far in saying that Kane and the Undertaker have physical and mental handicaps and when he is caught flipping the bird to the Brothers of Destruction they beat him down and break his ankle with the ring steps (Kane lays out the stooges for fun). This was a great way to book McMahon’s commupance after he grew too drunk on his own power and paid the price. Sometimes when you play with fire you end up getting burned. 3 for 5
-Singles Match with Chyna as Special Guest Referee: Faarooq defeats Mark Henry after Chyna hits Henry with a low blow at 1:14:
Part of the reason this match exists is that Mark Henry beat up Triple H on Sunday Night Heat and prevented a match between the two. That was not very smart of Henry since he would have had a great chance of becoming Intercontinental champion. Chyna predictably costs Henry the match, but she is served legal papers at the end of the match. She does not appear happy, but we have no idea why.
-Cole interviews Ken Shamrock, who turns heel by saying he hates Detroit. He promises payback for his partners and opponents in the main event.
-A new vignette for Steven Regal, a “real man’s man,” is shown operating industrial equipment. Who really thought this gimmick belonged in 1998?
-The Insane Clown Posse, who hail from Detroit, do the Oddities theme music live.
-Kurrgan & Golga (w/Giant Silva, Luna Vachon & The Insane Clown Posse) beat The Headbangers when Kurrgan pins Thrasher after a splash at 1:59:
On the previous episode of RAW, the Headbangers turned heel on the Oddities, so this is the immediate blowoff of that angle. This just sort of happens for a while until the ICP trip Thrasher as he runs the ropes and that leads to an Oddities victory. At least it was short.
-Cole interviews the Rock, who gloats about his victory at Breakdown. The Rock’s promos are quickly becoming the best thing about these shows.
-A backstage segment makes it seem that Terri Runnels and Val Venis are having relations. Is Venis the pioneer of the “Meat” gimmick?
-European Championship Match: Val Venis (w/Terri Runnels) beats X-Pac (Champion) via disqualification when Chyna interferes at 3:12:
X-Pac is wrestling with one eye due to Jeff Jarrett’s guitar shot last night at Breakdown. When Terri nearly costs X-Pac the match, Chyna wanders out to a big pop and pushes her. When Venis tries to show off for Chyna, she beats him up with X-Pac’s help. The pop Chyna received her was just amazing. Rating: ** (4 for 6)
-After the match, Venis and Terri kiss in the ring, but Goldust’s theme begins to play. Dustin Runnels announces that he warned Venis that “he was coming back.” This angle just got a million times better.
-Cole interviews Mankind, who reiterates his disdain for the People’s Elbow.
-Handicap Match: The Rock, Ken Shamrock & Mankind beat The Undertaker & Kane when the Rock pins the Undertaker with a Rock Bottom at 12:52:
Shamrock, Mankind, and the Rock beat each other up before their opponents come out, which fits their rivalry and is hilarious at the same time. Unfortunately, the Undertaker and Kane’s plodding offense hinder the audience’s ability to stay engaged in the match. That is definitely not a good sign for the pay-per-view. Eventually, the Rock, Mankind, and Shamrock start functioning like a unit and it eventually leads to the Rock pinning the Undertaker clean in a HUGE upset. The finish was pretty funny as Earl Hebner panicked and literally screamed at everyone “THIRTY-FIVE SECONDS! LET’S GO!!!” and proceeded to run around the ring like the end of the world is coming. Of course, he did the slow three count at the end for no reason too, so that negates the whole concern about time. The end was fun, but the middle dragged. Rating: ** ½ (5 for 7)
The Final Report Card: This was a really entertaining edition of RAW. I would have preferred the six man elimination match get more time, but the main event held its own and the Austin-McMahon segments stole yet another show. The Judgment Day main event is not very interesting based on existing storylines, as it is clear that the crowd wants Austin or the Rock is the top spot, but we will get back to that eventually.
Monday Night War Rating: 4.0 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation: Thumbs Up