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What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw - January 12, 1998

by Logan Scisco

-D-Generation X tells Owen Hart not to mess with their business and Triple H says that Shawn Michaels will have a message about the Undertaker’s family later tonight.

-Jim Ross, Michael Cole, and Kevin Kelly are in the booth and they are broadcasting from Penn State University.  This is the fifth anniversary of RAW being on the USA Network.

-Opening Non-Title Four Corner Contest:  The New Age Outlaws (WWF Tag Team Champions) defeat The Godwinns, The Headbangers, and Sniper & Recon when Billy Gunn pins Phineas after hitting him with a foreign object at 4:12:

The Outlaws wear Florida Gators shirts to get under the crowd’s skin, since Florida defeated Penn State in the Citrus Bowl.  This is not under elimination rules, so the first team that gets a fall wins.  In a nice spot, all of the teams pound away on the Outlaws when they get into the ring, so the tag team champions bail.  I never understand why teams bother to tag out in these matches since tagging in another team prohibits you from registering a pin or a submission to win.  The crowd really gets on the Outlaws case, working up a large “We are Penn State!” chant and going wild for the attacks by other teams on them.  The ending makes zero sense as the other two teams see Gunn hit Phineas with a foreign object, but sit on the apron and let the referee count the fall.  Finish aside, I’ll give this a point because of the crowd.  Rating:  *¾ (1 for 1)

-A video package hypes the Legion of Doom, who will face the New Age Outlaws for the tag team titles at the Royal Rumble.  The Legion of Doom have not been on television since the Outlaws attacked them a month ago and shaved Hawk’s mohawk and powerbombed Animal through a table.

-Steve Austin shows up to the arena in his pickup truck as the crowd goes crazy.

-The Godwinns are shown being tended to in the back by WWF officials because Austin attacked them during the commercial break.

-Cole interviews Austin, who complains that he won the Royal Rumble last year “fair and square” and didn’t get credit for it.  He has an awesome line in this interview by saying that Vince McMahon might own the ring, but if a wrestler dares get into it he is going to make sure they get tossed out of it.  Austin takes a pen from Cole and draws a target on his chest to let everyone in the locker room know how to find him.  Great short interview.  2 for 2

-Austin hyping MTV Celebrity Death Match on a house show is shown.

-DX arrives at the arena in their limo, but a WWF production truck is blocking the car entrance, so they have to get out and walk around it.

-Handicap Match:  Kurrgan (w/The Jackyl) defeats Lance Diamond & Joey Cicero at 2:26:

At this time, Diamond was a rising star in the ECWA and was engaged in a lengthy feud with Cheetah Master.  He won the ECWA’s Super 8 Torurnament in 1998 as well.  Kurrgan has to defeat both men to win this handicap match, which he accomplishes with ease.  Kurrgan finishes Diamond off with the Paralyzer and pins Cicero after a suplex.  After the match, Kurrgan tears apart a Penn State football helmet for some cheap heat.  This was a good squash and it effectively disguised Kurrgan’s weaknesses.  If this was the 1980s Kurrgan would have had a token feud with Hulk Hogan.  The Jackyl’s commentary also made it tolerable.  3 for 3

-Backstage, Owen Hart is shown attacking Triple H in DX’s limo, but Shawn Michaels and Chyna jump in and the limo drives off.

-Vader beats “Marvelous” Marc Mero (w/Goldust) by disqualification at 3:10:

Before the match, Mero gets on the house mic to introduce Sable, but the mic is not working and Mero doesn’t know it, so he talks in silence until Sable’s music hits.  However, instead of Sable coming out it is the Artist Formerly Known as Goldust dressed like Sable.  Ross loses his mind about all of this.  In the middle of the match, Sable predictably comes out and kicks Goldust in the thigh.  Mero gets her to leave, but this lets Vader recover from a low blow.  However, after he hits a Vader Bomb, Goldust hits him in the back of the head with a coconut and that draws the disqualification.  There was not a lot of in-ring action in this one, but the extracurriculars made it entertaining.  Rating:  *¾ (4 for 4)

-The announcers hype the house show circuit.

-DX returns to the arena in their limo, but where’s Owen?

-Bam Bam Bigelow pushing Lawrence Taylor at the 1995 Royal Rumble is the 1-800-COLLECT Slam of the Week.

-Vader is shown in pain in his locker room, a victim of Steve Austin’s rampage.

-Ken Shamrock & Mark Henry wrestle The Rock & D-Lo Brown (w/Kama Mustafa) to a no contest at 3:08:

The storyline behind this is that Mark Henry suffered an attack at the hands of the Nation of Domination on Shotgun Saturday Night two weeks ago and Ken Shamrock made the save before too much damage could be done.  Henry is wearing a “Rocky sucks” t-shirt and the Rock pledges to rip it off of him before the end of the match.  Shamrock wrestles the entire match, which gives away where this is going, and sure enough, one Shamrock puts the Rock in an ankle lock, Henry turns on Shamrock and helps the Nation destroy him in the middle of the ring.  The Rock plants Shamrock with a Rock Bottom and Henry does the three count and then rips off the “Rocky Sucks” t-shirt to reveal a Nation of Domination t-shirt.  Great pacing to this match while it lasted and Henry’s beatdown on Shamrock looked devastating.  Rating:  ** (5 for 5)

-Call 815-734-1161 to get all three “Faces of Foley” t-shirts for $49.99 (plus $9 shipping).  If you only want one of them they will cost you $25 each (plus $8 shipping and handling)!

-The announcers recap Mark Henry’s heel turn.  Backstage, the Nation of Domination is interviewed by Cole and the Rock tells Faarooq that he recruited Henry for him and just wants him to be grateful.

-Since we are in hour two, Ross and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in charge of the announcing duties.

-DX comes out and Triple H says that Owen Hart got dumped into a sewer and then makes lewd comments toward sorority girls on Penn State’s campus.  Shawn Michaels warns Mike Tyson to stay out of his business at the Royal Rumble.  Before Michaels can talk about Kane, Owen appears on the Titantron with his face scratched and bloody and he says that he is going to make DX’s life hell.  Triple H dares Owen to come out and Owen does, but WWF officials intercede before he can get to the ring.  This segment was going somewhere, but when Owen got involved it fell apart.  That’s not an indictment of him, but this would have been better served having Michaels get to his bit about Kane.  5 for 6

-Skull & 8-Ball beat The Rock N’ Roll Express (w/Jim Cornette) by disqualification at 2:30:

This is the next step in the NWA angle its sort of surreal seeing Cornette working in tandem with the Rock N’ Roll Express.  The Express get the Rockers old theme music, which does not fit at all.  The crowd doesn’t care because this is the Northeast, so it comes off like the Smokey Mountain tag team title match that was held at the 1993 Survivor Series.  Skull & 8-Ball use their power to dominate the action and Cornette tries to run in and nail 8-Ball with his tennis racket, but gets caught by the referee and that produces a disqualification.  Cornette eats a right hand for Skull, but the Express do a small beatdown on the members of the Disciples of Apocalypse before Chainz makes the save. This was largely forgettable.  5 for 7

-Call 1-900-737-4WWF to hear about the rumors that Hulk Hogan will be in the Royal Rumble.  I never recall hearing this rumor around this time.

-Cactus Jack is shown walking around the grounds of Beaver Stadium and he recaps his death match battles with Terry Funk in Japan.  He says that Funk’s idea to call himself Chainsaw Charlie might be silly, but it was his choice to take on that gimmick and they just want to brutalize the New Age Outlaws.

-Mankind wrestles The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust (w/Luna Vachon) to a no contest at 25 seconds:

For this match, Goldust comes out to Dude Love’s music and is dressed like Dude Love.  Mankind quickly puts Goldust in the Mandible Claw, but Steve Austin runs out and gives both men Stunners before giving a “hell yeah” into Jim Ross’s microphone.

-Vince McMahon appears on the Titantron and is booed.  McMahon says that Mike Tyson has been invited to the Royal Rumble and will be on Raw next week where he anticipates a special announcement will be made.

-Sunny comes out in cheerleader garb to do guest ring announcer duties.

-Savio Vega & Jesus beat Taka Michinoku & Scott Taylor when Jesus pins Taylor after a reverse superplex at 4:36:

Lawler makes an awkward quip about how he is not afraid to admit that he likes younger women except when he has to drop them off at school.  Ross is not sure how to play that so he just goes along with calling the match.  After watching a good chunk of Michinoku’s matches from this period, I have to come to the conclusion that he has one of the best bumps off of a powerbomb that I have ever seen.  The light heavyweights go to the air one too many times near the end of this encounter, as Savio catches Michinoku’s moonsault attempt on the floor and slams him and Taylor gets crotched and finished with a reverse superplex.  That ending sequence was awesome and this is why tag team wrestling can easily fill TV time.  Rating:  **½ (6 for 8)

-We get another flashback to Bam Bam Bigelow pushed Lawrence Taylor at the 1995 Royal Rumble.

-The Twix Rewind segment is Shawn Michaels winning the 1995 Royal Rumble.

-DX comes back out to be interviewed by Cole.  Michaels introduces Kane as the next member of DX, but the Undertaker comes out instead and tells Michaels to leave his family out of their feud.  This is the segment where the Undertaker chokes Michaels out of nowhere, which is a clip Botchamania uses a lot.  The Undertaker then goes to chokeslam Chyna, but before he can do that all members of DX beat him down.  The light go out and Kane’s music hits and the crowd goes crazy as Kane gets in the ring and makes the save.  After the Undertaker recovers, Kane and the Undertaker exchange their unique “one knee, hand to the air” salute.  Have I mentioned that the booking of this whole Kane-Undertaker issue is awesome?  7 for 9

-Call 1-900-RUMBLE-98 to register yourself in the Steve Austin pickup truck contest!  It’ll cost you $1.99 or you can send a postcard to Devon, Pennsylvania.

-The drawing for the Royal Rumble is next, but since there is very little time left it is doubtful whether any drawing will take place.  Chaos unfolds when Ken Shamrock comes in and attacks Mark Henry and Goldust and Vader start going at it.  The Honky Tonk Man comes out, signaling that he will be in the Royal Rumble match.  Steve Austin’s music hits and everyone wants a piece of him, but Austin comes out from the crowd and gives Phineas Godwinn a Stone Cold Stunner and then tries to leave.  As most of the superstars brawl in the ring, the Rock, Savio Vega, and D-Lo Brown attack him to play us out.  Not really a great take home segment, but it was important to show Austin with some vulnerability heading into the pay-per-view.  7 for 10

The Final Report Card:  Since we are in the Russo era, we are not going to get long main event matches, but entertaining segments and wild behavior makes up for that.  Goldust’s antics continue to get wilder and the Rock is really coming into his own on the microphone and in the ring.  The winner of the Royal Rumble is pretty clear since they really have not given any other participant much billing, but the casket match for the WWF title has some intriguing scenarios now that Kane’s loyalties appear to be with his brother against D-Generation X.

Monday Night War Rating:  3.4 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up


  1. The audiences do, when he tries to do his "walk off into the sunset" angles.

  2. And chant for people not in the match!

    (Although that one lies on both him and Orton.)

  3. I loved this bit with Austin showing that, after weeks of beating up faces and heels, everyone wanted a piece of him.

  4. Three thoughts:

    1) I don't think a character has ever been introduced as well Kane was. I guess Undertaker had an immediate impact at Survivor Series, but Kane felt like an event. You had six months worth of building drama towards the eventual reveal, and then you had a force of nature that was taking out everything in his path.

    You had an immediate reason to care about him from a character perspective because of the fact that he was directly connected to one of the biggest stars of all time. Moreover, the simple 'monster rips through everything' set-up, while effective, actually belied a lot of meat on the character's bones. Yes, he was a psychotic monster, but there were elements of sympathy based on the fact that he was scarred, elements of mystique because his face was covered and he never talked, plus the sibling rivalry, the thirst for revenge, etc.

    Kane appeared on the scene and the moment he got there, he already had a history worth caring about that people were happy to buy into and see where it would lead.

    2) As Kane was brainstormed and revealed during the time when Vince, Russo and Cornette were all contributing to story duties, it's hard to say who came up with what regarding the character. That said, I can say that whoever came up with the character, it became Russo's. We know Russo got a lot of his ideas from B movies and soap-operas, and Kane is his ultimate B-movie character. Under Russo from 1998 to 1999, Kane seamlessly and convincingly transformed from unfeeling monster in the Undertaker/Kane feud, to sympathetic victim in the corporation, to a monster uncovering his humanity through the whole Xpac/Kane storyline. Hell, Kane single-handedly gave Xpac about an extra year's worth of relevance.

    And you can basically pin-point the time Kane's character went off the rails and directionless to the time Russo left the company. Kreski, for all his strengths, had pretty much no idea how to capitalize and capture on that B-movie operatic character, and most of the intrigue, investment and direction was lost over the course of 2000. By the end, they just turned him back into an unfeeling monster who attacked the Undertaker... and then had them reunite... and short of a few meaningless random tag team stints, that's all he's done ever since.

    3) The DX promos on this show demonstrate one of the things that the Russo/Cornette combination was great at, and that WWE has lost since then. Not only did everybody on the card have something to do, but everything felt interconnected and intertwined.

    The Shawn/Bret feud morphed seamlessly into the DX/Undertaker feud, which was totally intertwined with the Undertaker/Kane feud, and hey, that Austin/Mcmahon feud, that kind of got it's start in the midst of the Bret/HBK feud, Austin/Owen feud and Austin/Rock feuds as well. It felt like a cohesive universe where actions had consequences, not just on the participants of the current feud, but on the people around them, and that created easy and believable segues between the major feuds on the card. You could tune in KNOWING that something you saw that week was going to matter - maybe not directly to the two guys warring at that time, but somehow, whether it was down the road, or in the immediate periphery it would matter and create a consequence, which in turn would create a sense of progression and direction.

    Right now in WWE, the feuds feel like they're in silos. This feud/storyline is separate from that feud/storyline, which is also separate from this feud/storyline, and never will see any interaction. Hell, you'll never even hear somebody MENTION a feud they're not involved with. It's completely unbelievable and artificial.

  5. Undertaker vs. Kane was just awesome at this time. Too bad they ran it another 20 times.

    Yikes, a pedophile joke from Lawler at Penn State.

  6. Yeah. I miss the days when actions in the WWE had a cause-and-effect relationship throughout the card. Right now it feels like if you're involved in a feud, then everything else that happens on the card is happening in an alternate universe where nobody is aware of what anybody else is doing.

  7. I agree, Sir. If you don't mind me respectfully chiming in, I will say that it was refreshing to have the heel/faces lines blurred a bit. Especially in an "Every Man For Himself" format, as the Royal Rumble. I hope I did not offend anyone with this comment, and I hope everybody is happy and having a great week. Thank you all.

  8. The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust was just pure awesome. It's a shame that he eventually ran out of ideas and just came out in the Goldust outfit a few times before becoming "Dustin Runnels" again.

    I seriously hope that it's Goldust that turns on Cody, so we can bring back TAFKAG.

  9. Re: Bound for Glory - I don't know why TNA keeps booking these big shows in the southwest. The hardcore wrestling base is in the northeast and much more willing to travel to Philly or Baltimore or NYC for a show like Bound for Glory than having to fly to San Diego or San Antonio or Phoenix. Even WWE had trouble drawing for Mania when it was in Phoenix a few years back.

    The fan report is funny for thinking that Vince has never interfered in Mania main event. Apparently this fan has never seen two of the more famous entries in 2000 and X7.

  10. Man, that was a well thought-out post. I'm not even a Kane fan, but I wouldn't argue with anything you wrote here.

  11. I keep hearing that the burial line was just HHH being a delusional heel. If he was being a delusional heel, then why not throw Austin, Rock, or Cena onto that list, instead of guys that he just happened to get put over constantly?

  12. I agree 100%, especially with the intertwined universe thing. Currently, CM Punk is operating in his own universe. It feels like a different show when he comes out.

  13. January '98 is the only time that Vince would ever think about letting Dustin pull this stuff. The Goldust character was neutered so many times it was nice when they finally let him do whatever with the character.

  14. Yeah, I fucking hate all of their MMA coverage. I think Meltzer feels like covering UFC makes him seem like more of a "legit" journalist.

  15. Yes to number 3 100 times over.

  16. They use the clip of the choke slam at the beginning of "Everyone Talks Too Much"--does Taker Mouth "choke slam" loudly or something?

    Also I like the point system for segments and matches.

    Also also, I would argue Savio Vega has got to be one of the luckiest men in the world: no heat at anytime ever (close but no cigar during the Razor pairing) yet the dude still got a solid 4 year WWF run.

  17. Someone find Maffew!

  18. That was a great read, and a rare informative comment, which thankfully is more common here than on the standard wrestling newz site.

  19. I always thought it was because Shawn Michaels, especially in his DX persona, was known for talking shit, and Taker grabbing him by the throat sure shut him up quickly.

  20. Yeah, between that and Bryan's usual bullshit claims (like a few months ago when he claimed that the fan who attacked Randy Orton at a house show was an angle just because it was mentioned on Apparently it never occurred to Bryan that sometimes posts scoops on real life incidents that were not planned and not expected at all, like Joey Styles kicking JBL's ass for example), they have effectively teamed up with 411mania and Inside Pulse (home of the FBI Moneypak virus that's currently sweeping the nation) to form the trifecta of horrible wrestling sites that are pathetic shells of what they used to be.
    Oh well, at least this blog and Wrestlecrap are still good.

  21. Yeah, Kane's pop on this show was equal, if not greater, than Austin's. It's probably the loudest reaction to Kane that I've ever seen.

  22. HHH was right, Jericho had the chance to be the man and blamed the writing when truth was he didn't rise to the part . Same with RVD.

  23. I find it odd that they jobbed the Light Heavyweight Champion to a pair of losers like Savio & Jesus, who can't have been getting a push around this time.

  24. I was obv wrong about the feelings between the two of them unless it is setting up an angle. Ian is right though; Jericho never did rise up and his post seems rather petulant.

  25. Well, if he had gotten an entourage of 867 people and gone over as a heel at WM and his rival had pinned VINCE to blow off the feud and then gotten a megapush afterwards even though his run was a failure and then he traded up to the boss's daughter, maybe the history of Chris Jericho would have been written a little differently.

    They're really not that far apart between them talent wise. They just decided to protect one a helluva lot more than the other. Trips was protected like an old school "hold the title for 10 years" guy and then grew into the part. Jericho got 3 months, some bad writing and a dog. And got to go on after Hulk Hogan's return to WM.

    At least Trips got buried by Hogan for that stupid decision

  26. Booker T, unlike the others, is still currently under contract.

  27. HHH was booked as a joke in his title reign too, the difference is when he got another shot he worked his ass off and became the companies top heel. Jericho can blame the booking, but he showed no superstar qualities as Unifed Champ.

  28. Not really. I'm not saying Jericho isn't good, I'm just saying he gives his critics ammunition.

  29. He worked his ass off? He was given the belt back in 6 weeks the first time. The second time, he became Triple H, destroyer of the universe, guy who beats Stone Cold before Stone Cold wins at WM. LOL. You don't get it at all.


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