Skip to main content

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw - January 19, 1998

-Before I get into this week’s review, I wanted to know if any readers had feedback on the WWE 2k14 game.  I bought WWE 13 and was irritated by the one count glitch.  Worth a buy this year or not?  I just don’t want to get burned again.

-A still image of Juanita McMahon, who recently passed away, is shown.

-Michael Cole narrates a video package about Kane’s turn on his brother at last night’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view.

-Jim Ross, Michael Cole, and Kevin Kelly are in the booth and they are live from Fresno, California.

-Paul Bearer comes out to the Undertaker’s old theme music and gloats about setting the Undertaker up at the Royal Rumble.  He goes through a lengthy narration about last night’s events until the Undertaker’s current theme music hits and druids roll out a casket.  Instead of the Undertaker, Kane pops out of the casket and that ends the segment.  This started with lots of crowd heat, but Bearer’s recap of last night went on way too long and killed the segment.  0 for 1

-Ross interviews D-Generation X and European Champion Triple H says that he proved last night that Owen Hart can’t cut it in the WWF.  WWF Champion Shawn Michaels promises that DX will find the Undertaker and bring him back tonight.

-Opening Six Man Tag Team Contest:  Faarooq, Kama Mustafa & D-Lo Brown wrestle The Disciples of Apocalypse to a double disqualification at 4:40:

Surprisingly, this match features a lot of fast action and the commentary team puts over D-Lo Brown’s potential throughout the match.  When all hell breaks loose, referee Earl Hebner can’t keep things under control and tosses the match out for a lame ending.  After the bell, Mark Henry and the Rock run out to give the Nation five-on-three odds, but Ken Shamrock and Ahmed Johnson run out to even the odds and they run the Nation off.  Kevin Kelly says Ahmed has never look better, but I would disagree.  Ending aside, this was a good brawl and the crowd was hot for the finish.  Rating:  ** (1 for 2)

-Vince Russo, in his Vic Venom days, hypes WWF and RAW Magazine.  Call 8-15-734-1161 to get twelve issues of both for $29.97.  I had a WWF Magazine subscription at this time and it was a pretty good read while Russo was at the helm.  When he left, it went way downhill.

-“Marvelous” Marc Mero (w/Sable) beats Tom Brandi with a TKO at 3:29:

As they come down to the ring, Mero puts Sable in a robe that says “Property of Marc Mero” on the back of it.  During the first minute of the match, Sable gets flowers from a secret admirer and Mero berates Sable over it.  This distractions help Brandi take the edge over Mero and he scores several dramatic near-falls, but as Sable momentarily distracts the referee, Mero hits a low blow and achieves another tainted win.  This match showed that Brandi could go, but awful gimmicks ruined any chance he had to catch on in the company and he was gone shortly after this feud.  Rating:  **½ (2 of 3)

-D-Generation X cautiously approaches a hearse in the arena, but when they open the doors a bunch of young women hop out and Chyna closes Michaels and Triple H in there with them.  Why these women were in the hearse to begin with is never explained.

-The Sony Playstation Slam of the Week is Vader’s Vader Bomb on Goldust at last night’s Royal Rumble.

-Mike Tyson’s limousine is shown pulling into the arena.  Shane McMahon, Tyson, and his entourage get out of the limos.

-The Quebecers defeat Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie by disqualification when Jack puts the referee in the Mandible Claw at 3:03:

The Quebecers return to the company after a three year absence.  They were a temporary acquisition during the Monday Night Wars, as they wrestled in WCW prior to this as the Amazing French Canadians.  Unfortunately, the Quebecers are not wearing their awesome mountie-style uniforms.  You would think that a former three-time tag team championship team would get more billing upon their return, but that’s not the case here.  This is a wild brawl, which goes beyond the bell.  If this is meant to set up a rematch for next week, then it accomplished its purpose.  Rating:  ** (3 of 4)

-D-Generation X come across the mini wrestlers in their search for the Undertaker.  The minis speak Spanish, so they don’t understand DX, but in a funny moment, Chyna lifts Max Mini up so Shawn Michaels can interrogate him.  Is this whole thing a parody of when they had Leslie Nielsen track down the Undertaker at SummerSlam 1994?

-Mike Tyson is shown chatting with Vince McMahon and his cronies.

-NWA North American Heavyweight Championship Match:  Jeff Jarrett (Champion w/Jim Cornette & The Rock N’ Roll Express) beats Bradshaw (w/Barry Windham) when Windham inadvertently lariats Bradshaw at 3:41:

There is something ironic about Cornette saying that Jarrett will lead the NWA into the year 2000, since Jarrett was on top of WCW in 2000 when it started to fall apart.  Throughout the match, the Express help beat down Bradshaw when it appears that he is getting an advantage in the match and Windham does not help.  Bradshaw appears to have the title won after clearing the Express out of the ring and delivering a powerbomb, but Windham seems to accidentally hit his partner with a lariat to help Jarrett retain the title.  Another short, yet solid match on tonight’s card.  Rating:  ** (4 of 5)

-After the match, Bradshaw continues his fight with the NWA faction and Windham comes into the ring when the NWA faction has the advantage.  He then turns on Bradshaw by hitting him with another lariat and he is the new member of the NWA faction.  If you want living proof that the WWE will not give up on someone, just look at Bradshaw.  The guy went through three different gimmicks before they found something that caught on (the APA faction with Faarooq).

­-The announce crew hypes the house show circuit.

-Shawn Michaels complains in the locker room that he cannot find the Undertaker, when suddenly the lights go out.

-Vince McMahon narrates a quick video package to pay tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.

-As we enter hour two, Jerry “the King” Lawler joins Ross for commentary.

-The Undertaker’s music hits and a figure that appears to be the Undertaker descends from the top of the arena.  However, when the lights hit, the D-Generation X music hits and Shawn Michaels strips off the Undertaker’s ring gear.  Triple H and Chyna bring a grill and cooking supplies to the ring and they proceed to mock the Undertaker being burned alive last night.  Triple H announces that he will grant a European title match to Owen Hart next week and then hilariously rips Ric Flair by saying that Space Mountain is old, broken down, and in need of repair.  Michaels says that his next target is Steve Austin and delivers a nice opening salvo for their feud by saying that he has won the titles that Austin has won in the past, that he is on the top of the mountain, and that he does not lay down for anyone.  This whole segment was great in terms of transitioning DX away from the Undertaker and into other feuds.  It also put over the WWF title and immediately put over Austin-Michaels as a must see event.  5 of 6

-Mike Tyson is shown talking with the Legion of Doom and Sunny.

-Owen Hart, Taka Michinoku & The Headbangers defeat Los Boricuas when Owen makes Jesus submit to the Sharpshooter at 2:59

This is a very random match, but it shows why tag team matches can be ideal ways to fill two hours of television programming.  Honky Tonk Man is doing commentary for some reason, but thankfully he’s not looking for a new project like he was last year.  They should’ve given this more time, but it was just a vehicle to put over Owen for next week’s match with Triple H.

-After the match, Cole interviews Owen, who accepts Triple H’s offer of a European title match on next week’s show.

-Non-Title Match:  The Rock (Intercontinental Champion) pins Ahmed Johnson with the Rock Bottom at 2:43:

Speaking of random matches, it’s surprising that this match is being held without any build since Ahmed is a former Intercontinental champion and might be able to give a rub to the Rock.  Ahmed appears to have the match in hand after he hits a spinebuster, but Mark Henry comes out and nails him with a chair to help the Rock win the bout.  After the match, Ken Shamrock hits the ring and runs off the heels.

-Mike Tyson is shown handling Cactus Jack’s barbed wire baseball bat in the locker room.

-Highlights of last night’s casket match between the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels constitute the Western Union Rewind segment.

-Mike Tyson is shown measuring Triple H and Chyna’s muscles.

-WWF Tag Team Championship Match:  The New Age Outlaws (Champions) defeat The Godwinns when Billy Gunn pins Phineas with a loaded pig at 4:53:

This match is the Godwinns long awaited title match that they earned for helping the Outlaws in their feud with the Legion of Doom.  The Outlaws wear overalls for the contest, but the Godwinns don’ take kindly to that and rip them off of Billy Gunn.  Ross notes that it’s the first time we’ve seen Gunn in tights, which reflects a nice attention to detail that is missing from today’s product.  The Godwinns completely dominate Gunn, but he uses a pig toy, loaded with a brick, to help his team retain the titles.  These teams just don’t have a lot of chemistry.  Rating:  *¼ (5 of 7)

-Call 1-900-737-4WWF to find out if it will be a “macho” week for the WWF!

-Vince McMahon comes out and says that he will soon make the biggest announcement in WWF history.  McMahon welcomes Mike Tyson out, who says that he loves Bruno Sammartino.  McMahon announces that Tyson will be at WrestleMania, but before he can finish his sentence, Steve Austin comes out.  A sea of WWF officials immediately race out behind Austin and McMahon is not happy about him ruining Tyson’s time.  Austin says that he is sick of Tyson’s antics tonight, refuses to shake Tyson’s hand, and says that he wants a piece of him in a WWF ring.  He then flips Tyson off, which leads to Tyson pushing Austin and leading to both men being restrained.  During the melee, one of Tyson’s entourage tries to go after Austin, but Austin intelligently takes him down and lays on top of him to avoid having the entire angle and his image compromised.  As Austin is pulled out of the ring, McMahon becomes irate and screams “You’ve ruined it!” at Austin and tries to physically go after him as Austin is escorted to the locker room.  This is one of the greatest RAW segments of all time and I marked out watching it just as much as I did when it originally aired.  6 of 8

-In the locker room, Tyson and his entourage are shown arguing with McMahon, who tries to apologize for Austin’s behavior as we go off the air.

The Final Report Card:  This was a memorable, historic, and fantastic episode of RAW.  The D-Generation X and Tyson-Austin segments carried it, but the in-ring action was also quite good for most of the show.  I remember that everyone at school was talking about Tyson and Austin the next day and it also got the WWF significant mainstream attention from the sports media.  It was one of those angles that was perfectly placed, timed, and executed and no one else on the roster could have made it work except for Austin.  McMahon played a great supporting role as well, especially his nonverbal mannerisms when all hell broke loose in the ring.  This was also the highest rated RAW of all-time to this point and was the first RAW to break the 4.0 mark in the Nielsen ratings.  Compared to the previous week, Tyson was worth about a 0.6 increase.

Monday Night War Rating:  4.0 (vs. 4.5 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up


  1. Yeah, it's absurd how long they tried to give Bradshaw something to do- first as a midcard nobody (Justin "Hawk" Bradshaw), then with The Blackjacks (a half-assed attempt that really didn't go anywhere or get a real push), then with a bit of a solo thing, then he was an Acolyte. Most guys wouldn't get NEARLY that many chances to get something going.

    What's funny is that you can tell he was always the "elite" member of the APA, too. He scored nearly all the falls, took none of them (it was usually Faarooq getting pinned, especially on PPV), and his Lariat & Powerbomb were both considered the match-enders. It was obvious that he was the "Better" member.

  2. "You ruined it Austin! You ruined everything."

    That Tyson segmemt is one of my favorite wrestling moments ever. It just felt SO epic.

    Kellers old stuff claimed that there were talks of Tyson being in a match at WM, most likely vs Austin or a Tyson/Austin vs DX tag match. Is this true at all? Was this setting the stage for Austin/Tyson, and they called an audible? Anyone know the behind the scene rumblings?

  3. What was the one count glitch in WWE 13?

  4. That was the rumor, but I"m guessing what we watched was the plan all along. God Tyson/Austin segment was fantastic.

  5. Bravo for Tyson for going along with it as well. When you are Mike Freaking Tyson (less than a year removed from biting Holyfield's ear) and you allow yourself to be used in a wrestling angle like this? More power to you.

  6. Oh Christ dude I hadn't heard of lemon party before. I've seen the cup video and the stretched out asshole but yeah, hadn't caught the lemon party till now

  7. Exactly. Why hire some kid with a shit resume who is scared of Vince and the wrestlers when they could get a few vets to do the same thing. I'm sure the reason why is because having a team of "writers" makes Vince feel like he's got a entertainment company as opposed to a rasslin company but at some point they have to call a spade a spade.

  8. I have no idea how people like Ed Koskey or even Michael Hayes can hang on with their sanity for years and years.

    Well, between the drunken tirade at Steph and Hunter's wedding reception, and calling Mark Henry the N-word, it's questionable whether Michael Hayes has ever been sane in the first place.

  9. I just finished listening to that podcast too and it was interesting to hear Waltman admit that he stole the idea of the Bronco Buster from Hakushi, although his description of tearing his asshole open doing the move made me wince more than a few times!

  10. Wow. This guy wrote some AWFUL ideas.

  11. Ha yea. Austin podcasts never disappoint. Heard Waltman on Keller podcsst and hes got some great stories.

  12. He never claimed to have come up with those ideas.

  13. Your_Favourite_LoserNovember 5, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    "In rehearsal"


  14. There was also concern that Tyson wrestling could jeopardize his standing among the Nevada commission whom he still had to reapply to once his suspension was up

  15. His story of putting crap in Sunny's lunch had me laughing even harder.

  16. ARRRRGH THE BARBARIANNovember 5, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    It's easier to control the schmuck who is out of college and lives at home. And they cost less, these guys get paid nothing.

    They had Heyman, he produced good shows, but they had to deal with Heyman. No pimply-faced kid is gonna act out on them like that.

  17. Rough night in the ratings for Raw. Seneca Wallace is a draw, apparently.

  18. During the melee, one of Tyson’s entourage
    tries to go after Austin, but Austin intelligently takes him down and lays on
    top of him to avoid having the entire angle and his image compromised.

    Not sure what you meant by this. Was the guy trying to shoot on him or something?

  19. I guess fans just didn't buy the attraction.

  20. I will never understand wrestlers' fascination with shit.

  21. And this was only months after he called a slew of reporters "faggots that I will rape". And oh yeah, he was imprisoned for actual rape a few years before this. I'm surprised the media still forgives that but for others that simply say stupid things (mel Gibson) are basically ostracized.

  22. Not surprising, I gave up after hour 2. Once it was clear Punk and Bryan were done, so was I.

  23. The whole Mike Tyson angle really was an example of the perfect person, at the perfect time, with the perfect booking.

    Mike Tyson was (and by all indications still is) a living cartoon character. His whole professional persona and the real personality behind it are so detached from normal reality and with that, he brings a sense of danger, unpredictability and a car-crash 'can't look away' mentality where-ever he goes. So it could be argued that Mike Tyson worked so well because he was already on the same exaggerated level as WWE wrestler personas.

    But I'll counter that... or rather expand on it with another theory. Through 1997, with the introduction of Russo's ideas into the booking, everything started feeling a little more real. The personas started more accurately reflecting the people behind them, and the characters were responding to incidents, altercations and challenges in ways that felt more spontaneous and credible than the traditional workings of old-school wrestling.

    Wrestling, essentially, had met Tyson half way. You had a perfect intersection between a real person that felt exaggerated, and exaggerations that felt human, and they fit like a glove. It was completely believable for Tyson to interact in this universe of violence, machismo, competition, dominance and swagger, and that combined with the sense of spontaneity danger and unpredictability made the people who tuned in to see those elements of Tyson, stayed to watch them continue on in the WWE without him.

  24. "Why these women were in the hearse to begin with is never explained."

    I thought it was pretty clear everything they did backstage was just an extension of what they ultimately did in the ring - fuck with the fans for their own entertainment by getting them worked up over the idea that Undertaker was there, and then twisting the knife. And my god were they good at coming off like over-sexed, juvenile, narcissistic, rule-breakers that you could not help but love.

    I kind of feel bad now for how much I enjoyed DX HBK at the time, and how much I still enjoy it today. I mean, we all basically know that Shawn was a self-destructive, nearly-suicidal, drug-addled, damaged human being at this point in his career. But all the narcissism, frustration, and nihilism pent up inside him came out so clear, and fit the time so well, it was magnetic watching this guy who so clearly was ready to burn the old artifice of wrestling to the ground and remake it in his own image.

    And he succeeded, even if he wasn't the one that ultimately took the role of point-man when the benefits of his attitude/mindset came about in the ratings and the paydays.

  25. Since the switch over to 3 hours, the 3rd hour has been weak more often than not. "Big Show works out the details of his lawsuit" probably wasn't compelling TV to anyone at all but it's not like this is new. As backwards as it sounds, the main event angle is a success these days if it holds a steady rating in the 3rd hour.

  26. It's Tyson. I sure as hell wouldn't want to predict what he was going to do in that instance. He's never exactly been of perfectly sound mind or even temper.

  27. Moreover, would it even have been as effective?

    I'd argue no.

    Having him as a guest enforcer allowed him to complement the angle and add more intrigue, but kept the battle between Austin and HBK for the title at the center stage.

    Tyson joining WWE for a celebrity appearance at WM, supposedly joining the bad boys of WWE (which was totally credible because of his real-world bad boy persona), and then ultimately doing the right thing for his favorite wrestler walked that fine line of realism that WWE had been walking for a year or so.

    By comparison, Tyson getting into a match with a wrestler sounds, even now, like a remarkably phony publicity stunt through and through.

  28. Didn't that writer that posted all of his experiences with WWE on here (or wherever it originated from) say he made $11 an hour?

  29. As much as I didn't like X-Pac at the end of his run,Waltman came off as nothing but likable in those two episodes. It's refreshing to see a guy take responsibility for what he did and be so candid. The story about his attempted suicide was just crazy.

  30. I agree with all of that. A celebrity that is "game" is 100 times better than someone with a name. Tyson was a name, but it was made all the better that he was down for whatever they came up with. I always remember him crotch chopping with such glee.

  31. Porn-Peddling Jef VinsonNovember 5, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    "I have no idea how people like Ed Koskey or even Michael Hayes can hang on with their sanity for years and years. "

    Because he's more of a nigga than you are.

  32. "Most guys wouldn't get NEARLY that many chances to get something going."

    I disagree with this. Or rather, I think people getting many chances or more leeway was a product of the time.

    I mean, watching these old episodes have you noticed how long it took the New Age Outlaws to get over at all? If that were today's WWE, they would have been shit-canned before the first sing-along entrance.

    WWE was working with a thinner pool of talent at the time. They had less money to spend on a big roster, so those people who the talent people like Ross and company had flagged as worth investing in were going to get chances to get over.

    Austin had a failed gimmick.

    Rocky had a failed gimmick.

    HHH had a failed gimmick AND a political nuke

    The fact is, they weren't in a position to draw talent from WCW through most of 1997, and by 1998 when things turned around, they were happy to reward the people who had stuck with them through the hard times with a little more patience.

    As far as the Bradshaw/Simmons hierarchy in The Acolytes, yes it was there but it was understandable given that Farooq was getting up there in age, so I think he was happy just to have a solid, over gimmick with a consistent pay-day to save up some cash. I think both guys were THRILLED with the gimmick quite frankly, as it made for pretty easy pay-days, and they got over simply for being stiff workers that drank beer and played poker.

  33. ARRRRGH THE BARBARIANNovember 5, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    I don't think it's that bad. I think the $11 an hour job is the one where they transfer the old film to digital. That actually seems like a pretty good putzaround job if you're young and live in the area. That and your boss is Joey Styles and not some psychopath.

    But I don't think they make nearly enough considering the hours.

  34. Hayes drinks, and takes out his frustrations on the blacks. Everyone needs to blow off a little steam sometimes.

  35. Joey Styles isn't a psychopath?

  36. ARRRRGH THE BARBARIANNovember 5, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    Hmmm... maybe megalomaniac? Then again if he actually DOES rule new media with an iron fist

  37. Between that and the JBL push, they sure did put an awful lot of effort into making Bradshaw happen.

  38. As Stephanie has gained more power creatively, she is the one bringing in more "Hollywood" type writers for creative. I don't think Vince was ever a strong propenent of this approach. He may have changed over time, but this more Stephanie and HHH.

    Also, I'm surprised that nobody from creative (past or present) has discussed the fact they all have to work out at least an hour/day, as mandated by Vince. Most of these writers have never touched a weight or treadmill in their lives, but Vince has basically tried to enforce that working out is just as important as writing. The stories I hear about Vince don't really stray far from @crankyvince.

  39. Yeah, plus the "trade secrets" discussion and talking about the guys who are obsessed with "getting all their shit in" and the technical aspects of fighting from behind as a babyface...what great stuff.

    Also, bonus points for Austin enthusiastically reading ads for Cougar Life and whatever other stupid shit they put in front of him. He just can't help being incredibly charismatic no matter what he's doing.

  40. Think youre underestimating the pull Tyson had in those days. He was a legit huge celeb/athlete. Tyson vs Austinni think would have broken all the records up to that point

  41. It might have done good business, but was it more important in the long term than Austin winning the title on the grandest stage? Personally, I think no.

  42. Good points. I agree that Michaels was on fire at this time, despite looking awful. You just knew he was spiraling out of control, but his egocentric promos fit all of his 1997 feuds.

  43. During the melee one of Tyson's entourage seems to go after Austin and ends up getting laid out and then Austin proceeds to lay on him until a bunch of WWF officials intervene to carry him away. It might have been a work, but the behavior looked really odd and make it appear like a shoot.

  44. At the end of this broadcast he actually yells "faggot" really loud at the camera. I didn't include that in the review, since it didn't have a place, but it was really random. I assume he was calling Austin that to the camera.

  45. Well obviously Billy Gunn is like the A-plus #1 example of pushing a guy non-stop until something clicked. But think of how many guys DIDN'T get that second chance. How many guys are jobbing or out of the WWE now who basically had one or two shots?
    I mean, when I say "not many guys", I'm still leaving room for the Rockys, Hunters & Billies of the world. Someone who was super-big and ripped and whatever will probably always get a shot. But plenty don't. And considering how non-ripped and non-over Bradshaw was for years, the only reason I can give for his existence was relationships with others, and the fact that he's A HOSS, BAH GAWD, A HOSS with a football career, so JR loved him.

  46. Well they were publically raking Tyson over the coals repeatedly ANYWAYS, and the pro-gay movement was nowhere near as powerful as it now is. He was the butt of jokes constantly around this time as well.

    And of course, he's an athlete in a sport that involves beating the shit out of people. He's held to a different standard than a celebrity like Mel Gibson, who is often a spokesperson for shit, and expected to sell creative works.

  47. I thought Michaels looked fantastic in 97/98. He was roided to the gills but he still had the prettyboy looks and some actual mass to him.

  48. Just went back and watched it. That dude wasn't moving. Hard to tell but I think Austin might have actually decked him.


Post a Comment