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What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw - February 9, 1998

by Logan Scisco

-The presidential sex scandal parodies continue, as Sunny is dressed like Marilyn Monroe and sings “Happy Birthday” to Classie Freddie Blassie.  It was Blassie’s eightieth birthday.

-The D-Generation X beatdown of Steve Austin on last week’s show is recapped in a video package.

-Jim Ross, Kevin Kelly, and Michael Cole are in the booth and they are taped from Evansville, Indiana.  I will be really happy when we get rid of this three man commentary team in hour one.  Listening to it is like Ross fighting a verbal handicap match.

-Steve Austin comes out with a white bag and calls out WWF Champion Shawn Michaels, but D-Generation X appears on the Titantron.  Michaels says he calls the shot in the WWF and Austin will face him on his schedule.  Michaels says that Austin needs to give him a reason to come to the ring and Austin says he should because he has the WWF title.  Michaels blows that off, but realizes that a toy belt is in his bag and becomes irate.  Austin says that he will be easy to find if Michaels wants his belt back.  Sometimes the simple stuff is all you need to do to in order to tell a great story and that’s all this did.  1 for 1

-Call 815-734-1161 to get your RAW is War varsity jacket for $199.99 (plus $21 shipping & handling)!  I really want to know how many people bought this thing at that price.

-Sunny comes out to do guest ring announcing duties for our next match.

-Opening Contest:  Jeff Jarrett & Barry Windham (w/The Rock N’ Roll Express & Jim Cornette) beat The Legion of Doom by disqualification when Bradshaw interferes at 4:59:

The announcers barely talk about the Legion of Doom losing to the NWA faction two weeks ago and Cole tries to sell this match as some kind of new attraction.  Of course, Jarrett and Windham lost on last week’s show to Bradshaw and Flash Funk, so they don’t seem in line for a push.  The LOD’s storyline continues to be “are these guys too old?”  When all hell breaks loose, Hawk ends up on the arena floor and the NWA faction works over his knee before tossing him back into the ring.  Jarrett proceeds to apply a figure-four, but Hawk is not going to submit to break character so Bradshaw does the predictable run-in and although he never touches anyone in the NWA faction that costs the LOD the match by disqualification.  That makes no sense to Sunny, who seems confused announcing the result.  With the piped in crowd noise, you would think this was the main event of WrestleMania.  Rating:  *½ (1 for 2)

-D-Generation X is shown talking about a plan to get the WWF title back from Steve Austin.

-Henry Godwinn (w/Phineas Godwinn) pins Pierre (w/Jacques) when Phineas hits Pierre with a slop bucket at 4:24:

The Quebecers and Godwinns began a small feud on the most recent edition of Shotgun Saturday Night and are booked to face each other at No Way Out, so this offers a preview of what is come.  Of course, why these teams are booked against each other makes little sense, since both are heels and are not over.  Pierre nearly kills himself with a plancha and he hits a flying leg drop, which Kelly says he stole from Brian Christopher.  To be fair, Pierre was technically a pirate in 1995, so that’s not a stretch.  This match is decent for a big man match, but the finish is silly as Jacques trips Henry and Henry conveniently puts his head through the ropes to get hit by a slop bucket.  Phineas then hits Pierre with his bucket after Jacques distracts the referee by running from Phineas.  Got that?  Rating:  *¾ (1 for 3)

-Chyna walks in on the Los Boricuas poker game and speaks to them in Spanish about helping out with Steve Austin.  Lost in this translation is how to cheat the paying customer and replace Savio Vega with Shawn Michaels in the eight man tag match main event at No Way Out.

-Shawn Michaels yelling at Steve Austin last week is the Western Union Rewind segment.

-“Too Sexy” Brian Christopher & El Pantera beat Taka Michinoku & Aguila when Pantera pins Michinoku after a flying headbutt at 5:28 shown:

Now, you might remember that Pantera beat Christopher two weeks ago and Lawler slapped him, so it would make little sense for them to be partners.  However, on a recent episode of Shotgun Saturday Night, Pantera turned against Michinoku since they are facing each other for the light heavyweight title at No Way Out, so they are teaming up now.  You can tell that all of this is booked on the fly because Pantera debuted two weeks ago, so they should have just made him a heel and avoided these problems.  This has a fast start, but Christopher makes sure he slows that to a crawl when he gets involved.  This has a good finish, as Christopher’s attempt to hit Michinoku with a foreign object fails, but Pantera puts it in his mask, makes a blind tag, and headbutts Michinoku to capture the victory and set himself up as a threat for No Way Out.  This had its moments if you exclude Christopher’s involvement.  Rating:  **¼ (2 for 4)

-Kane and Paul Bearer come out and Bearer complains about Vader using a fire extinguisher on Kane last week.  Bearer gives Kane a Vader clock and Kane uses his magical powers to set it on fire.  Bearer promises that the Undertaker will not be at No Way Out because the Undertaker is gone.  If the clock fire had been more impressive I’d give this a point, but it was pretty weak sauce.  2 for 5

-The Rock hitting the Rock Bottom on Tom Brandi on Shotgun Saturday Night is the Footaction Slam of the Week.

-Jerry Lawler joins Jim Ross in the booth as we enter hour two.

-The Rock & Faarooq (w/The Nation of Domination) beat Ken Shamrock & Chainz (w/The Disciples of Apocalypse & Ahmed Johnson) when Faarooq pins Shamrock after the Rock hits Shamrock with a chair at 4:21:

This is our last exhibition bout before the “war of attrition” ten man tag match at No Way Out.  Before the match, the Rock makes clear that he is in favor of cloning as long as it is done very, very selectively and that means no one in Evansville should be cloned.  In fact, the Rock says only he should be cloned because he’s the “best damn Intercontinental champion there ever was.”  They should have just booked the Rock against the Honky Tonk Man to settle that question once and for all.  Chainz finds himself in peril and when Shamrock gets the tag he cleans house and puts Faarooq in the ankle lock.  However, the referee is busy sorting out a fight between the factions at ringside and the Rock gets a chair and delivers a sick shot to help his team win.  After the match, Shamrock snaps and suplexes the referee and Chainz and his team has to restrain him.  Rating:  ** (3 for 6)

-Footage from the WrestleMania XIV press conference is shown.  Vince McMahon announces that the main event is Shawn Michaels defending the WWF title against Steve Austin and Mike Tyson will serve as the enforcer of the match.  Tyson puts over Bruno Sammartino and how much he loved him as a kid.  Shawn Michaels chews out a reporter who puts down wrestling and Austin and Michaels have a confrontation and Tyson has to get between them.  This looked like a fun press conference.

-Los Boricuas and Chyna are shown looking for Steve Austin in the locker room.  Chyna finds a jobber in a towel and tosses him into a locker.

-Steve Blackman defeats Recon (w/Sniper) via submission to an armbar at 4:33:

This is when they gave Blackman glowing sticks and had him put on a martial arts display before each match.  Amazing how that didn’t catch on.  Seconds into the match, the Jackyl’s music hits and he descends from the rafters on a platform and cuts a promo refuting the idea that he is a sociopath.  The promo makes it impossible to pay attention to the match, which is a shame because it is pretty decent.  Jackyl is upset that Recon loses and slaps him.  Recon is upset, but the Jackyl turns his back and Recon backs off.  I won’t rate the match, but the Jackyl’s promo was not very entertaining and neither were the post-match antics.  3 for 7

-Call 1-900-737-4WWF to hear what former NWA champion is having negotiations with Jim Cornette about coming into the WWF!

-The New Age Outlaws come out in University of Kentucky t-shirts and discuss how they are getting chills near the entrance because of last week’s dumpster incident.  Billy Gunn wants to recreate it so they pull out a dumpster and the Road Dogg narrates last week’s events.  They push the dumpster off the entrance and Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie blow up dolls are inside.  Billy does CPR to the Cactus one and they promise to hurt Cactus and Chainsaw at No Way Out.  This segment effectively put over the Outlaws as cocky, arrogant heels that you wanted to see destroyed by Cactus and Chainsaw.  4 for 8

-Los Boricuas and Chyna continue to look for Steve Austin in the back, but after Los Boricuas go through some double doors, Austin chains them shut.

-Thrasher (w/Mosh) pins The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust (w/Marc Mero, Sable & Luna Vachon) with a schoolboy at 4:28:

Goldust has become partial to the Marilyn Manson persona, as he is doing it again for this show.  This is another preview of a pay-per-view tag team match since the Headbangers will face Goldust and Marc Mero at No Way Out.  When the crowd starts chanting loudly for Sable, Mero, Luna, and Goldust order her to the locker room.  This match drags on until Sable comes back out and gets into a shouting match with Luna.  When Goldust tries to confront Sable she slaps him and Thrasher takes advantage to win.  After the match, Mero has to restrain Luna before she can mix it up with Sable.  The match was not very good, but the angle behind it had some good heat.  Rating:  *¼ (5 for 9)

-D-Generation X comes out and Shawn Michaels demands Steve Austin return what belongs to him.  Austin comes out with the title belt, but DX flees and the New Age Outlaws wander out.  Chyna grabs the belt from the canvas as Austin faces four-on-one odds, but Chainsaw Charlie cuts through the canvas and he and Cactus Jack come from under the ring.  Owen Hart joins in as well and DX and the New Age Outlaws flee.  Nice closing segment that wetted the audience’s appetite for the pay-per-view main event.  6 for 10

The Final Report Card:  A decent “go home” show for No Way Out and I am surprised that the eight man tag team match did not get more build in the weeks leading up to the show.  Tonight was really the first sustained hype of the main event.  Regardless, the last segment did what it was supposed to do and the Austin-Michaels storyline for the evening was well executed.  The Sable-Mero storyline is arguably the second best one that the company is doing right now and its beginning to segway nicely into a mixed tag match for WrestleMania.  The next RAW was held on a Saturday, February 21st, so we will recap No Way Out of Texas and go to that episode.

Monday Night War Rating:  3.2 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up


  1. Keller does an interview every friday...Some are good...I think Austin was either last Friday or this upcoming friday. He's done a pretty good x pac one and he had Paul Bearer on a few times - really liked the Bearer ones

  2. Well, kinda close, and I didn't expect you to actually find someone playing it on a church organ. But, there is a substantial difference between a piano and giant-ass church organ. Picture the middle of In a Gadda Da Vida played on a piano. Ain't the same.

    But, yeah. Kinda close.

  3. Yeah...I started to post about how that type of selling/psychology just isn't seen anymore, but we know it.

  4. Layla is top 2 or 3 for me in any catagory.

  5. I really, really enjoyed that.

  6. Steamboat vs. Triple H circa 2000 is one my top fantasy matches.

  7. Buttshit, Wyoming, sounds like a lovely place to visit but I'm not sure I would want to live there.

  8. I called the wcw hotline when i was like 10 and it would take gene like 8 minutes before he would talk about anything "backstage". what a ripoff lol.

  9. Good point, although going to a live show every few years is fun. I've been to three Manias and I think that's more than enough for one lifetime.

  10. Checked that off my list 26 years ago, when it was still affordable.

  11. hahaha bobby the brain forgetting trips's name.

  12. Yes he was! Funny story, I was at that match although I didn't get to see him say the whore line since they battled into the strip club next door. A bunch of wrestling geeks did try to rush into the club. The doorman outside looked shocked at the flood of overweight geeks trying to get into the strip club.

  13. Did they know Shawn wasn't going to show at this point?

    And finally the long-awaited blow-off to Ahmed vs Farooq.

  14. This must seem like a million years ago for him now, good for him and I hope he gets a good match at Mania. He's one of these guys who likes to get legit emotional in the ring and its awesome to see.

  15. 1-900-909-9900? Is that right? I'm almost positive that was the number.

  16. 89 Flair against 98 Austin? I know 97, 01 or maybe even....93ish were better in-ring years for Austin, but I'd still go with the biggest star ever (peak wise) against the best ever at his peak.

    Or either 09 or early 13 Punk against 98 Austin or 00 Rock.

    13 Bryan against 94 Hart.

  17. I loved Chyna's non-speaking gimmick, to be honest. I thought it was brilliant at the time. Whispers to Triple H, Spanish or other languages but never a word in English until waaaaay down the road. Russo had a lot of bad points but he definitely hit his stride with some of his character work here (if this was him and not Vince or someone else).

  18. Flair-Austin in 2002 is one my all time favorite matches.

  19. Yes because of (at least) two reasons:

    -it was something REAL fresh at the time
    -both guys were having the time of their lives

  20. And guess what I skipped?

    Seriously, watch it on DVR and get it done in like an hour, it's way more fun.

  21. Let's start a pettition.

  22. How about Mean Mark Callous vs. Jerry Lawler?

  23. Really really tricky booking situation at the time with Austin here, as for FOUR MONTHS prior to the program with Shawn, he was on a rampage, stunning a new victim and / or doing a crazier stunt each week. For the first time in a long while, perhaps the first time since he took off, Austin has to show vulnerability, and take his lumps.

  24. In response to your first question, almost certainly. I don't think they wanted to mess with the buyrate for No Way Out, or Wrestlemania for that matter.

  25. She had actually spoken on the mic to Mick Foley in the summer of '97. She told him to kiss her ass, to which Foley responded, "well, it's your lucky day, because I'm a good kisser!" It's funny watching her try not to crack up.
    I think after that, they figured it was best to keep her off the mic for a good while longer.

  26. When did the Chyna/Mark Henry stuff start? That seems to be when she really started talking, and she had some good one liners for her date with Henry.

  27. Didn't Austin walk out the next week?

  28. Yes, BUT, in my defense, the last straw of Brock-jobbing was proposed after this match AND getting to wrestle your idol would take your mind off current difficulties.

  29. That's sketch if true. It was an 8 man. He could have just stood on the apron the whole match.

  30. Man...what the fuck did Dustin do with all his money?

    And this shoot sounds rough.

  31. I'm loving these 98 reviews.

  32. I forget the whole backstory. I remember reading in Meltzer or Keller (forget who I was subscribed to at the time) that they did know before hand he wouldn't be there...pretty obvious/shady bait and switch. I'm assuming if this was the go home show they definitely knew he wasn't gonna work it

  33. WCW @ Greensboro

    1. September 1990 @ Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina (United States of America)

    Sting (c) defeated Mark Callous [NWA World Heavyweight Title Match]

    So it DID happen, looking for video evidence, I always dug Takers WCW run. His match against Lex at GAB 90 is a solid ***

  34. It was fucking depressing. And yeah, unless he is getting fucked over completely by Terri in their divorce settlement, how can you go from losing everything after a few months of unemployment?

  35. Pat Patterson Prolapsed!November 27, 2013 at 1:43 AM

    I'd say as soon as the draft was first implemented up until - oh, I don't know - 2006, the brands were treated equally in kayfabe, the talent was somewhat spread evenly and the two shows would act as if they were in their own universe, hence why the inter-promotional matches were a big deal for a while there. At least for a while, each world title was kind of looked at like it was the ultimate achievement.

    Still, in hindsight, I think they would have done themselves a favour by having the lone WWE Champion being the only guy to not be aligned with a brand until he lost it. I know it's easy to say it in hindsight, but now you have two world titles for Orton and Cena to rack up their numbers with and despicable memories such as Miz: world title holder and WrestleMania main event winner.

    Further, they should never have tried brand-exclusive PPVs. Asking your audience for the same price for half the roster is ridiculous, and more than often it didn't work out. (Bad Blood 2003, Judgment Day 2004, etc.)

  36. Pat Patterson Prolapsed!November 27, 2013 at 1:51 AM

    The problem with Angle winning the belt was perhaps more philosophical than it was a problem in logic.

    Angle failed to defeat Cena for the WWE Title, time and time again.
    An opportunity arose in a battle royal on a brand he wasn't on to win a different world title.
    After failing, he took a shortcut and won said belt.

    So, not only was a WORLD TITLE put on the line in a BATTLE ROYAL, but a guy who couldn't win another one just... did. I guess if it was part of a storyline where Angle's a sneaky bastard and he was in on some sort of plan it would have been cool, but he immediately turned face with an empty achievement.

  37. Pat Patterson Prolapsed!November 27, 2013 at 1:59 AM

    With a quick(ish) summation, I'll just say that at the peak of the Attitude Era, the WWE Champion and his opponent would at any given time be the absolute cream of the crop; other main eventers would get involved with guys lower than them *without* titles involved, so that wins and losses could be traded more freely and evenly.

    After the draft, instead of having the best of the best in the main event you usually had the champion going through a meaningless sequence of challengers and a hollow midcard; even if it worked out for a while, the (glass) ceiling would collapse and crush everything.

    I think the idea behind the draft had good intentions, but it destined to fail.

  38. Pat Patterson Prolapsed!November 27, 2013 at 2:57 AM

    Here's how the interview should have gone:

    Steve Austin: "Tell us a little about yourself."
    Dave Meltzer: "Well, I'm a cunt..."

  39. Naomi's ass is *too* big, to the point where it's almost kinda gross. I'm guessing it would be cellulite city...

    Tessmacher, AJ Lee and Layla would be my picks for the best asses in wrestling..

  40. '99, or late '98 at the earliest. Still a ways away.

  41. Yeah, I get ya. I think that was mostly just a consequence of not having anyone really ready to take the belt when Batista got hurt, and Angle being a stand in guy who had the resume to be a credible champ at any given moment. If Batista doesn't get hurt, God knows how long he holds that belt for.

  42. Porn-Peddling Jef VinsonNovember 27, 2013 at 6:37 AM

    No. It's big, but no cellulite. I've dated women like that and they have to stay in the gym to keep it tight.

  43. How about Jake Roberts around 86 during his first heel run vs Orton during whatever time frame he bacame a vicious heel "viper"?

  44. Just noticed the change in your avatar...nice.

  45. Probably house shows only, so that would be a fan cam at best.

  46. Gotta get that 99 cents per minute as much as they can.

    Hearing Heenan's take on the hotline made me laugh... "Here's some pictures from a recent show. Check out the height on that leap."

  47. It also worked out for a while because of the amount of incredibly talented guys they had - Austin and Rock were there at the very beginning to kick it off, and then you also had Trips, Taker, Shawn, Angle, Benoit, Eddie, Jericho, The Hardys, The Dudleys, E&C, etc. Then throw in great "second tier" guys like RVD, Booker, and others of that ilk, and THEN add in the new guys like Cena, Batista, and Brock (and Orton, I guess), all debuting in 2002 and catching fire just a year or two later... that's just ridiculous. The first three years or so were absolutely INSANE in terms of the roster they had.

    Today, there just isn't that amount of a once-in-a-lifetime, "lightning in a bottle" assortment of talent. No offense to Cena, but he's not Austin. No offense to Punk or Bryan, but they're not Shawn or Angle. And Orton is certainly no Rock.

    Plus, even if the company DID have that level of talent again - and there are certainly numerous bright spots - you can be sure that each and every one of them would be cut off at the knees.

    Again, in THEORY, I love the idea of running the two brands as separate entities with separate champions. It was SUPPOSED to be like having both WWF and WCW, with a WWF Champion and a WCW Champion that you would just love to see face each other at some point. Instead, for the last ten years, it has basically been like having a WWF Champion and and OVW Champion.

  48. While I'm usually a stickler for continuity, I also don't mind throwing in the towel when a story-line isn't working - I'd rather a poor story-line be dropped (or resolved in two seconds) than be dragged on for weeks or months.

    In this case, the audience was NOT buying Cena beating Angle, especially several times in a row. That feud is actually what started the huge wave of Cena Backlash. Angle winning the title, to me, was Vince actually listening to the fans: he said "They want Angle, let's give them Angle."

    Sure, it technically made Angle, the WHC, and "Smackdown" as a whole look weaker in canon, but the audience as a whole was willing to overlook that; the fans said "fuck Cena's push, we want Angle", and they got what they wanted. I thought it was a very good option, actually.

  49. I think brand-exclusive PPVs could have worked if the prices were reduced. I think $20 or $25 would have been fair, especially when you get a blow-away show like "Vengeance, 2003" out of that.

    Hell, they even could have cut them to two hours, and removed some of the crappier matches.

  50. I'm not sure if they knew and you have to keep in mind that this RAW was taped on the Tuesday, the day after the previous week's RAW. Therefore, that was at least a 13 day gap between whether the WWF really knew Shawn was not going to be able to perform and booking this show. I think they announced on the No Way Out preshow that Shawn would not be competing, but there lots of people disappointed about it. Bret wrote in his book that he thought it was Shawn setting himself up to lose his smile again and avoid jobbing to Austin at WrestleMania.

  51. Pat Patterson Prolapsed!November 28, 2013 at 1:23 AM

    The basic sentiment should have been "You buy PPVs for the level of talent, and because we've halved it on these PPVs, you pay less."


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