-A video package recaps the events from Breakdown to last week’s show concerning the WWF title. Jim Ross tells us that Vince McMahon has invited Steve Austin to RAW. What does it all mean?
-Vince McMahon is shown driving a Corvette into the arena, flipping off a security attendant for not leaving the garage door up. The stooges help him get into his wheelchair, although Commissioner Slaughter nearly shuts the Corvette door on McMahon’s leg.
-Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from Uniondale, New York. This is our go home show for Judgment Day.
-Opening Contest for the WWF Tag Team Championships: The New Age Outlaws (Champions) beats LOD 2000 (w/Hawk) by count out at 2:09:
After teasing a turn, Billy Gunn announces before the match that he is down with D-Generation X. This is the new LOD 2000, as Animal and Darren Drozdov compose the team. Hawk does commentary and lets us know that he is the alternate on the team. The match only lasts for ninety seconds before the Disciples of Apocalypse and Paul Ellering attack Hawk at ringside. As the Outlaws watch this take place, the Headbangers run in and blast the Road Dogg with a boombox.
-Ross announces that since Triple H is on the shelf with a knee injury that tonight’s show will feature an eight man tournament to crown a new Intercontinental champion.
-Kane is shown walking into the arena alone.
-Intercontinental Championship Tournament First Round: Ken Shamrock defeats Steve Blackman via submission to a kneebar at 2:28:
This is a small blowoff for an angle that began two months ago where Shamrock and Blackman were uneasy allies. Shamrock is in the process of slowly turning heel, having been positioned as a rival of the Rock over the last month. He targets Blackman’s injured knee throughout this match and advances via submission, but the bigger news is that the Blue Blazer comes into the ring after the bell and attacks both men. When the Blazer runs off, Shamrock snaps and puts Blackman in the ankle lock to continue his heelish behavior.
-The Undertaker is shown arriving to the arena.
-A video package chronicles Goldust’s career. They make it seem as if Goldust completely destroyed Razor Ramon at the 1996 Royal Rumble and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper at WrestleMania XII because both men are in WCW.
-Intercontinental Championship Tournament First Round: Val Venis (w/Terri Runnels) pins “Marvelous” Marc Mero (w/Jacqueline) with a fisherman’s suplex at 2:17:
Mero’s stock has fallen so far that the announcers do not even bother to mention that he won the Intercontinental title in a tournament two years ago. Mero seems to have the match in hand, but Runnels runs interference and Venis advances. After the match, the future PMS gets it on at ringside before WWF officials intervene.
-Paul Bearer is shown arriving to the arena carrying a briefcase. McMahon interrogates the stooges about why Bearer is there. They do not have any answers for him.
-Michael Cole interviews Sable and tells her that she gave a wonderful acting performance on Pacific Blue. He asks her if she is going to depart for Hollywood and she says that she only wants to be the women’s champion. She sees Jacqueline backstage and drags her out to the crowd and a catfight ensues.
-Cole interviews Mankind, who says that Ken Shamrock cannot hurt him by hitting him with a chair because he cannot swing one hard enough. He pulls out Socko at the end of the interview and the crowd works up a loud “Socko” chant.
-Mark Henry recites a poem that he wrote for Chyna, asking for her a chance.
-Intercontinental Championship Tournament First Round: Mankind beats Mark Henry via submission to the Mandible Claw at 3:18:
It takes only a few seconds for Chyna to wander out to ringside and this match, like others in the tournament so far, is really abbreviated. Henry tries to go after the leg, but Mankind hits the double arm DDT and Mr. Socko debuts as a variation of the Mandible Claw to put Mankind into the semi-finals. After the match, Chyna asks Henry why he has sued her and Henry says it is out of his hands. Such drama! Rating: *½ (1 for 1)
-Steve Austin shows up to the arena in a cement truck. After the commercial break, McMahon is incensed at that news and the stooges vow to check it out.
-Intercontinental Championship Tournament First Round: X-Pac defeats “Double J” Jeff Jarrett with a rollup at 3:08:
This one sided feud in the midcard continues as X-Pac and Jarrett put together a quick and entertaining bout that sees Jarrett block the Bronco Buster yet have his guitar interference backfire thanks to Al Snow, who puts Head in Jarrett’s guitar case. Rating: ** (2 for 2)
-Backstage, Steve Austin dumps cement into McMahon’s Corvette as McMahon goes nuts in his suite.
-Steve Austin comes out to the ring and says he plans on making McMahon’s life a living hell. He says that he looks forward to being the guest referee at Judgment Day and promises to raise his own hand at the end of the main event. McMahon and a large, masked security guard show up with a couple of K-9 units and he books Austin to team with the Rock to face Kane and the Undertaker. He warns Austin to watch his back tonight and then hilariously rants about how his last two weeks have been hell. The highlight is him talking about the enema bag attack and screaming “YOU VIOLATED ME AUSTIN!” He closes by saying that if Austin refuses to play ball and crown a new WWF champion at Judgment Day that he will be fired. This is also where McMahon debuts his “balls the size of grapefruits” line. 3 for 3
-Intercontinental Championship Tournament Semi-Finals: Ken Shamrock beats Val Venis (w/Terri Runnels) via submission to the ankle lock at 4:35:
Shamrock attacks Venis from behind to continue his mean streak and spends the match working the lower back. Venis gets a token comeback, but Shamrock takes out his ankle and it is academic from there. This was just an extended squash for Shamrock and I am fine with that because Venis is not on his level. Rating: *½ (2 for 3)
-After the bout, Goldust walks out to a loud reaction. He begins playing mind games with Venis, who is petrified, and he gives him the yet to be named Shattered Dreams.
-Vince McMahon and the stooges assess the damages to his Corvette. In a great piece of humor, Gerald Brisco tells McMahon that he and the other stooges can get shovels to dig out the car. Mankind shows up and tries to fish out the keys and McMahon’s briefcase, but just ends up irritating the boss. 3 for 4
-The Rock starts cutting a promo for the main event until he is interrupted by D-Lo Brown and Mark Henry. The Rock calls off the promo to talk with them in private.
-Intercontinental Championship Tournament Semi-Finals: X-Pac pins Mankind with a schoolboy after Ken Shamrock interferes at 3:16:
Despite their different style these guys have really good chemistry and you wish they were given more time for this match. Mankind gives X-Pac a swinging neckbreaker on the outside, which hurts X-Pac’s neck, and Ken Shamrock, who wanders out, smashes a chair into Mankind’s knee. That distraction helps X-Pac win, but Shamrock then enters the ring and does a beatdown as WWF officials intervene. Rating: *½ (3 for 5)
-Mankind wants to get vengeance on Shamrock, but the stooges convince him to go backstage because McMahon wants to see him.
-Intercontinental Championship Tournament Finals: Ken Shamrock beats X-Pac via submission to the ankle lock to win the title at 3:56:
Officials try to convince X-Pac to forfeit, but he refuses to do so and we get the finals of the tournament after all. Triple H does guest commentary and puts over X-Pac’s fighting spirit. X-Pac escapes the ankle lock once by getting to the ropes, but Shamrock just drags him to the middle of the ring and finishes him off to win his first title in the company. With more time, this could have told a great story, but it was so abbreviated that it lacked a lasting impact. Rating: *½ (3 for 6)
-“Stone Cold” Steve Austin & The Rock defeat Kane & The Undertaker by disqualification when the Big Bossman interferes at 11:13:
Paul Bearer waddles out within the first minute of the match, but it is uncertain about why he is there. D-Lo Brown and Mark Henry wander out eventually as well. The Rock puts together a great variation of the People’s Elbow where he sets it up and the Undertaker tries to sit up before it is delivered, so the Rock just kicks him back down and finishes the move. The crowd digs everything that the Rock and Austin put together in this match and Kane weaves in enough high impact moves to sustain interest. After the hot tag, Henry and D-Lo take out the Rock and McMahon’s masked security guard interferes and blasts Austin with a night stick. The guard unmasks to reveal the Big Bossman, which gets a small pop. Rating: *** (4 for 7)
-After the bell, Kane and the Undertaker pound away on Austin and the Undertaker puts Austin in the same leglock that he used on McMahon the previous week.
The Final Report Card: As a tournament mark, I liked the concept of the show, but the problem is that everything ended up too short because they wanted to put on a big tag team match at the end. Still, I like that they went with a tournament instead of a battle royal. Judgment Day is being sold as a one match show, with everything revolving around what Austin will do as a referee, and I cannot say that I am excited about that. Still, this show’s exciting main event was enough to get a thumbs up from me.
Monday Night War Rating: 4.8 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation: Thumbs Up