by Logan Scisco
-A video package recaps how the Undertaker tried to embalm Steve Austin alive on last week’s show. The Undertaker and Paul Bearer are shown talking backstage moments before the show went on the air.
-Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Baltimore, Maryland.
-Steve Austin is shown arriving at the arena with a shovel. The Headbangers and the Insane Clown Posse are already in the ring, so Austin proceeds to give all of them – save Shaggy 2 Dope – a Stunner. Getting on the mic, Austin promises to use his shovel against the Undertaker. A throwaway segment and I am never a fan of one guy taking out tag teams. 0 for 1
-Mark Henry is shown getting ready for his date with Chyna. D-Lo Brown tries to make sure he looks good.
-Ross hypes Austin and the Undertaker being on TV Guide. He reminds viewers that if they cannot find them they will have to settle for the “retired” Hulk Hogan or the “Austin wannabe” Goldberg. Austin is still looking for Vince in the back. He runs into Stephanie McMahon, who is not identified as such, and she says she has not seen Vince around.
-Opening Non-Title Contest: The New Age Outlaws (WWF Tag Team Champions) defeat Gangrel & Edge (w/Christian) by disqualification when Christian hits Billy Gunn with a tag team title belt at 2:56:
The previous night on Sunday Night Heat, the Corporation was attempting to recruit the Outlaws and they appear on the ramp to watch the match. Typical 1998 accelerated tag team match here, although a young Edge shows off by doing a super hurricanrana on the Road Dogg and taking a powerbomb off the second rope from Billy Gunn. After Christian runs interference to prevent a Gunn piledriver, the Big Bossman and Ken Sharmock run in and beatdown the Brood. So are the Brood faces or heels at this point? I am so confused with their booking.
-Steve Austin continues to search for the Undertaker backstage, checking out several freezers. Predictably, he walks into one to investigate, but gets locked in by the Undertaker and Paul Bearer.
-Steve Austin giving Stunners to the Headbangers and Violent J earlier in the show is the Glover Rewind segment.
-Mark Henry is nervously excited for his date and he asks D-Lo to accompany him to give him confidence. D-Lo reluctantly agrees to go.
-The Undertaker comes out and calls out Kane because we definitely need to see more of that. They briefly battle over whether someone will be eternally damned before the Undertaker gives Kane a Tombstone. Paul Bearer brings some orderlies from a mental institution to the ring, but Kane beats up a couple of them before walking through the crowd. Sadly, this ridiculous angle would continue. 0 for 2
-D-Lo complains that he is not dressed right for Mark Henry’s date, but Henry has a jacket for him and a pair of sunglasses. However, he hands him a chauffeur hat next, meaning that D-Lo needs to drive Henry’s limo. That was a good comic twist on that sketch. After the commercial break, Chyna is not happy to see Henry at the hotel and she refuses to accept the flowers Henry offers her. She is puzzled that D-Lo is the chauffer, which is pretty funny.
-X-Pac comes out and calls out Shawn Michaels, angry about Michaels costing him his match against the Rock last week. Michaels threatens to “send him back to that money pit in Atlanta,” but refuses to fight him because he is not an active wrestler. He books X-Pac to face Ken Shamrock, with the European title being on the line. He exits to D-Generation X’s music because “he was DX before DX was cool.” At least this was short, but they did not give X-Pac a lot of mic time here. 0 for 3
-Mark Henry and Chyna arrive at their date location, where Chyna pulls out the price tag for Henry’s flowers (they are $1.99).
-A camera shot of the freezer shows that Austin has escaped.
-On the date, Mark Henry botches the pronunciation of Perrier water.
-Goldust defeats “Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra McMichael) via disqualification when Owen Hart interferes at 3:26:
This bout is a rematch from three weeks ago where Jarrett blasted Goldust with a guitar and the two had a locker room fight. Owen Hart is on guest commentary for the match and he tries hard to keep a straight face when talking about the Henry-Chyna date with Lawler. By itself, this match has very little heat. Goldust dominates, with Jarrett only avoiding defeat when Debra puts his foot on the rope after a Curtain Call. Debra gets in the way of Shattered Dreams and her distraction leads to Owen attacking Goldust from behind. This show is falling into a really bad habit over the last few episodes of having no clean finishes. Rating: *¼ (0 for 4)
-After the bell, the Blue Blazer appears to help attack Goldust, but suddenly the Blazer turns on Owen. The Blazer unmasks to reveal Steve Blackman to arguably the biggest pop Blackman has received up to this point in his career.
-A split screen shows Austin looking for the Undertaker backstage, while Paul Bearer and the orderlies look for Kane.
-Al Snow nailing Ken Shamrock in the head with Head on last week’s show is the Medievil Slam of the Week.
-Hardcore Championship Ladder Match: The Big Bossman defeats Mankind (Champion) to win the title at 6:11:
This is the first ladder match to be held on RAW. Shawn Michaels does commentary and scores some of Mankind’s moves since he says Mankind is going to try to outdo him in the match type that made him famous. If you hate the slow climb, you will not like this one as Mankind does it within the first several minutes where it makes no sense to do it. When Mankind appears set to win, the Rock interferes and the Bossman wins. Of all the WWF ladder matches up to this point, this was clearly the worst. Everything was rushed and there was not a lot of wrestling between the climb spots. Rating: * (0 for 5)
-The Undertaker and Paul Bearer think they have found Kane. After the break, the Undertaker and Kane fight in a dark room in the arena. The Undertaker comes out on top and tells Bearer to get the orderlies as he tries to put Kane in a body bag. However, Austin comes out of the darkness and breaks his shovel over the Undertaker’s head. You can see where this is going…
-Non-Title Match: Duane Gill (Light Heavyweight Champion w/The Pasadena Chargers) pins “Marvelous” Marc Mero after the Blue Meanie tosses Mero off the top rope at 2:08:
Before the match, Mero says that if he cannot beat Gill that he will never appear again. The youth football team that Gill coaches comes to the ring, since he is wrestling in his hometown. As expected, Mero manhandles Gill, but the Blue Meanie interferes and Gill wins. This was Mero’s last in-ring appearance on WWF television.
-Bearer directs the orderlies to get Kane.
-Mark Henry reads Chyna a poem and she proceeds to guzzle down lots of alcohol. He says that they need to go dancing after having dinner.
-European Championship Match: Ken Shamrock (Intercontinental Champion) defeats X-Pac (Champion) via disqualification when Triple H interferes at 4:47:
This is our first good bout of the evening, well that is until interference runs its course again. X-Pac hits the X-Factor, but Shawn Michaels distracts the referee and the Big Bossman clocks X-Pac. However, when Shamrock applies the ankle lock, Triple H runs in, which gets a pretty sizable pop. This warrants a point for Triple H alone as I am a mark for surprise returns. Rating: ** (1 for 6)
-The orderlies place the filled body bag on a stretcher and strap it in.
-Mark Henry dances because, well of course, but Chyna does not want to dance. Henry leaves for the restroom, leaving an opportunity for some guys to hit on Chyna. She does not take kindly to that, leading to her clocking one of them and Henry beats up another. This was fun, especially when Henry threw a guy across the bar.
-Val Venis (w/The Godfather & Hos) beats Tiger Ali Singh (w/Babu) via disqualification when Terri Runnels interferes at 2:58
This feud between Tiger Ali Singh and the Godfather is just going nowhere and doing very little for either guy. That still beats today’s product where guys wrestle each other with little backstory, but some Attitude Era feuds never seemed to click and this is one of them. The hos neutralize Babu, while PMS comes out and interferes in the bout. What a mess this was, and this was our fourth disqualification finish of the evening. We are also six-for-six when it comes to run-in finishes.
-After the bout, the Acolytes, who recently debuted elsewhere on WWF programming, destroy Tiger Ali Singh and Babu. Why have these guys beat up Singh and Babu and not a face team, though? The Jackyl was the initial manager of the Acolytes as well, but that did not last long.
-The ambulance that is supposed to take Kane to the mental facility departs, but Steve Austin and Kane are shown watching footage of the whole thing in the back. One guess who was in the body bag and is headed for the mental health facility.
-Shane McMahon comes out to say that Sable is about to learn a lesson in humility. She comes out and models WWF Attitude cologne, which costs $19.99 (plus $4 shipping & handling). Shane asks to smell it and tries to do so all over Sable, but she squirts it in his face. You see, it is all funny! 1 for 7
-Non-Title Match: The Rock (WWF Champion) defeats Al Snow (w/Head) with the Rock Bottom at 4:57:
The Rock is back to using some kind of weird theme music. It is slightly better than the disco theme they tried to give him a month earlier, but the beat for this theme is one of those generic numbers you would get on the No Mercy video game. It just does not add to the atmosphere or fit the Rock at all. Compared to other RAW main events of this period, this has only a fraction of the expected crowd reaction, an indication that tonight’s show has not delivered. The Rock hilariously delivers the Corporate Elbow to Head after a ref bump, which wakes up the crowd, and then beats Snow clean. Snow does get a visual pin on the Rock by hitting him with Head in between all of that. Rating: *½ (1 for 8)
-After the match, the Rock, Ken Shamrock, and the Big Bossman beatdown Al Snow and Mankind. The JOB Squad finally makes a save.
-Paul Bearer runs into Austin backstage when he tries to unlock the freezer Austin was placed in earlier. The freezer opens to reveal Kane and they haul Bearer out to the ring. Austin prevents Kane from immediately beating up Bearer or getting a gas can. Instead, he opts to cut Bearer’s shirt and tie with a pair of scissors and teases stabbing him. Austin aborts that idea too and they take him outside and open a manhole cover. They shove Bearer down into the sewer head-first to close the show. How is that punishment worse than killing someone? 1 for 9
The Final Report Card: Most of these shows have been good for the last few months, but this show is beginning to illustrate how Russo is getting a little too much creative control for his own good. Every match, save for the WWF title match at the end, had a run-in finish and the majority had disqualification finishes. I do not mind DQ endings, but if you use them too much throughout the show it really burns out the crowd and gets irritating. Some of these other angles are also getting really ridiculous. Austin throwing a guy down a sewer? The hos gawking over Babu? Medical orderlies going after Kane? Things are really going off the rail.
Monday Night War Rating: 5.0 (vs. 4.2 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation: Thumbs Down