Tuesday, May 19, 2015

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw - December 14, 1998

-Pictures and commentary from last night’s Rock Bottom pay-per-view are aired.

-Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from Tacoma, Washington.


-D-Generation X comes out dressed as the Corporation as Cole is so nice to tell us that all of this is supposed to be funny over and over again.  Jason Sensation also makes a return as Commissioner Shawn Michaels.  Aside from Sensation, the only entertaining part of this segment is X-Pac’s imitation of Shamrock where he screams about how he is in the zone and how its “five knuckle shuffle time!”  After this long segment comes to a close, Shawn Michaels, the Big Bossman, Ken Shamrock, and the Rock walk out.  Michaels books a rematch of last night’s tag team title match between the New Age Outlaws and Shamrock and the Bossman.  Michaels takes a dig at Triple H as being a “midcarder for life,” but Triple H goads the Rock into putting the WWF title on the line in the main event.

-Vince McMahon gives a pep talk to the Corporation in the locker room, ending it with a promise to go after Kane since Kane is deemed as one of the primary reasons Steve Austin qualified for the Royal Rumble at Rock Bottom.

-Opening Contest:  Supply & Demand (w/The Hos) defeat Edge & Christian (w/Gangrel) when Val Venis pins Christian with a fisherman’s suplex at 2:34:

The Godfather was beginning to get the “Pimpin’ ain’t easy” line over at this point, adding to the number of catchphrases by the company’s stars.  The Brood is so weird that the Godfather does not bother to give them any hos.  Edge and Christian make one of their first appearances as a tag team as the company was realizing that they could put on better matches than Edge and Gangrel.  Or maybe the company realized that if you are going to bill Edge and Christian as brothers that it was nonsensical to not have them for a tag team.  This is just a quick TV bout, typical of the era, with the ending being messy as Venis enters the ring too late after a blind tag and Edge does not even bother trying to break up the final pin.   With the Brood’s gimmick you would think Russo would find more for these guys to do, but they keep losing to other midcard acts week after week.

-After the match, Gangrel says that there is going to be a bloodbath the next time that the Brood appears.

-Kevin Kelly interviews Steve Blackman who says he will unmask the Blue Blazer tonight.  For a guy who is a legitimate bad ass like Blackman, it is a shame that he cannot cut a convincing promo.

-Goldust beats The Blue Blazer via disqualification when Jeff Jarrett interferes at 2:10:

This is a revenge match from the previous evening as the Blue Blazer kept Debra McMichael from finishing her striptease at Rock Bottom.  As several have commented in my reviews it is tough to watch this Blue Blazer angle when you know how it is going to end in six months.  This match hardly gets going before Jeff Jarrett interferes to break up Shattered Dreams.  Steve Blackman lives up to his promise to also do a run-in and he does unmask the Blazer as Owen.  Why not do the unmasking on pay-per-view?  In a humorous bit, Jarrett tosses a black cloth over Owen’s head as if he is too ugly to be seen after the unmasking.

-Mark Henry gets ready for a match backstage.

-The New Age Outlaws and the Big Bossman and Ken Shamrock are prevented from having a confrontation backstage by WWF officials.

-Mark Henry & D-Lo Brown (w/PMS) beats Scorpio & Bob Holly (w/Al Snow, Duane Gill & The Blue Meanie) when Henry pins Holly after a powerslam at 3:00:

This might be the RAW debut of the “Sexual Chocolate” theme song, although it is not a great tag team entrance theme since it does not work for D-Lo.  Before the match, Henry talks about his date with Chyna and how it got intimate, with D-Lo giving fantastic facial expressions throughout.  The Chyna angle is where Henry started to show the personality that made him an effective superstar as he participated in some ridiculous segments that were meant to discourage him and get him to quit.  The whole point of this match is to keep building D-Lo and Henry, as well as PMS, and the JOB Squad are manhandled and outwitted.  Rating:  *

-Mankind’s attack on the Rock before the Rock Bottom pay-per-view is the Acclaim Sports Slam of the Week.

-WWF Tag Team Championship Match:  Ken Shamrock & The Big Bossman (w/Shawn Michaels) defeat The New Age Outlaws (Champions) when Shamrock makes Billy Gunn submit to the ankle lock to win the titles at 6:45:

One fan has a big “Clinton 3:16” sign near the front of the ring that cracks me up since that is not something that you would expect to see at a wrestling show.  Unlike last night’s pay-per-view, the challengers focus on a body part, targeting Billy Gunn’s left knee after Shamrock smashes a chair into it.  The Road Dogg also gets a chair to the back and a Bossman slam, which leads to a second hot tag to Gunn, which is a bad idea since he is fighting on one leg.  Still, it takes a Michaels night stick shot to the back of the head to put the Outlaws down for the count.  So why could we not have just done this finish last night?  Rating:  **

-Vince and Shane McMahon walk out to conduct the drawing of Steve Austin’s number for the Royal Rumble.  Vince says that he will get revenge against Kane and Mankind tonight and he books them to face each other in a no holds barred match.  In the subsequent drawing, Austin is awarded #1, but you see, the drawing is rigged as it appears that all of the numbers in the tumbler are #1.  To make Austin’s job of winning the Rumble even more difficult, Vince also promises to give the superstar that tosses Austin over the top rope $100,000 (which will be taken from one of Shane’s trust funds).  As a final announcement, Vince says that another participant in the Rumble match, someone who is the only person that “could save Ted Turner’s WCW,” will be him.  Shane proceeds to draw a number out of the tumbler for Vince and he gets #30.  Christening his new theme song, Vince says there is “no chance in hell” that Austin will win the Rumble.  Mankind then appears on the Titantron from the boiler room and challenges Vince to a match instead of facing Kane, but Vince does not accept.

-Get your Jesse “the Body” Ventura videotape!  You know, the guy that the WWF tried to purge from its history until he won the Minnesota gubernatorial election!

-Debra McMichael’s striptease at Rock Bottom is the Glover Rewind segment.

-Vince huddles with stooges about what to do with Mankind until deciding that he is better off coming up with his own solution for the problem.  Gerald Brisco is still offering to get him coffee.

-Guitar on a Pole Match:  “Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra McMichael) pins Steve Blackman after Owen Hart hits Blackman with a guitar at 3:33:

Russo’s pole fetish finally finds its way to television here.  It would have made more sense to book this as Jarrett-Goldust since Goldust is the one that got blasted with a guitar last night at Rock Bottom.  Debra starts stripping to distract Blackman and allow Jarrett to get the guitar, but then we also get a ref bump after Blackman avoids getting hit with it.  Then, Owen Hart runs in with a guitar and hits Blackman to give his partner in crime a victory.  This match was like a sick preview of what Russo would do to WCW a couple of years later.  Rating:  *

-Tiger Ali Singh calls the stooges into his locker room where “Bloodbath” has been written on the wall.  He said that he does not want to compete tonight under these conditions.

-Vince tells Shane that he is going to face Mankind tonight, but he will do it his way.

-The next match is booked as Gangrel-Tiger Ali Singh, but it never gets started as Tiger tries to flee but the Broods prevents him from doing so, beat him down, and pour blood on him.  You have to use your imagination for all of this, though, because it takes place in the darkness of the Brood’s entrance.

-No Holds Barred Match:  Mankind and Kane wrestle to a no-contest at 4:28:

In this match, Lawler claims that the steps weigh 150 pounds, but last year’s TLCS pay-per-view told me they were over 500 pounds.  Poor Art Donovan would be so confused.  This match is more about angles as Mankind and Kane brawl for a few minutes before Vince comes out and asks Mankind to come into the parking lot to face him in a street fight.  Then, while we are away at a commercial break, Ken Shamrock and the Big Bossman beatdown Kane so that orderlies can take him to a mental institution.  Meanwhile, Mankind destroys Vince in the parking lot before the Rock shows up and Rock Bottoms Mankind on the hood of a car.  Rating:  *

-WWF Championship Match:  The Rock (Champion w/Shawn Michaels) defeats Triple H (w/Chyna) when Test interferes at 10:49:

Seeing the Rock and Michaels by each other just makes you wish that they would have had a match at some point.  This match shows how wild crowds used to be as people mob Triple H during his entrance when he gets close to the guardrail and some fans even try to prevent the Rock from attacking Triple H near the ringside barrier on the floor.  The Rock is bit too liberal with the chinlocks in this one, but one could say the same for Triple H’s knee attacks in this era.  In true WWE style, they kick out of each other’s big moves, but when the referee is distracted Test makes his in-ring debut by nailing Triple H with a pumphandle slam and helping the Rock retain.  Rating:  ***

The Final Report:  Despite the absence of Steve Austin this show effectively framed some of the big angles heading into the Royal Rumble pay-per-view.  The matches were really abbreviated, something that could be expected of WWF television at the time, but the main event was solid since the Rock and Triple H usually had fantastic chemistry.  On the basis of the main event and the entertaining McMahon segments, this show garners a thumbs up.

Monday Night War Rating:  5.2 (vs. 4.2 for Nitro)


Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

3 comments:

  1. Great review, keep up the good work Matt

    ReplyDelete
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