-Jim Ross and Michael Cole are in the booth and they are taped from Phoenix, Arizona. This is a special Tuesday St. Patrick’s edition of Raw because Raw was pre-empted by USA Network’s Moby Dick. Today, RAW would get cute with this being St. Patrick’s Day, but this is the Attitude Era so we do not have leprechauns or green set themes for this show.
-Kevin Kelly interviews Ken Shamrock and his introduction of Shamrock tries to channel Howard Finkel and fails miserably. Kelly asks Shamrock if he can control his temper at WrestleMania and Shamrock says that the Rock has to worry the most about him losing his temper. Intercontinental Champion the Rock and the Nation of Domination walk out and the Rock busts out the first “Know your role and shut your mouth.” The Rock says that if Shamrock can last two minutes with any member of the Nation that he will defend his title against Shamrock and drafts a reluctant D-Lo Brown to do his bidding. Shamrock’s mic work here was better than normal and the Rock continues to bring the usual entertainment. 1 for 1
-Opening Two Minute Challenge: Ken Shamrock beats D-Lo Brown by disqualification when the Rock interferes at 1:48:
D-Lo attacks Shamrock from behind to kick off this challenge and the crowd busies itself with a “Rocky sucks” chant. D-Lo gets through the first minute without difficulty, but Shamrock turns the tide and puts him in the ankle lock. Before D-Lo can submit with twelve seconds left in the challenge, the Rock nails Shamrock with a chair and then gives him another sick shot to the head. As WWF officials tend to a knocked out Shamrock, Faarooq argues with the Rock about his actions and the Rock jaws with fans on the way back to the locker room. THIS is how to build heel heat.
-Kelly says that Shamrock has suffered a concussion and other elements of his medical condition are uncertain. Shamrock is shown not wanting to go to the hospital and woozy.
-Sable comes out and challenges Luna Vachon to a match tonight.
-The Phoenix Sun gorilla rappels from the rafters, trampolines into the ring, and jumps around before taking up a position at the broadcast booth.
-Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee) defeats Tom Brandi via submission to the figure-four leglock at 1:48:
Jarrett makes his entrance on a horse in electric lights. Jarrett’s rebooted push continues here against the hapless Brandi whose fifteen minutes of fame with Marc Mero and Sable are long game. At least Jarrett does some setup for the figure-four this week.
-Kelly tells us that Shamrock is being sent to the hospital, but the Rock interrupts his report and says that he is now worried about who he is going to face at WrestleMania since Shamrock won’t be able to make it.
-Lawrence Taylor’s victory over Bam Bam Bigelow at WrestleMania XI is the M&M WrestleMania Millennium Moment.
-A video package hypes the Shawn Michaels-Steve Austin WrestleMania main event by providing comprehensive retrospectives on Shawn Michaels career. The good thing about this video package is that it puts over the importance of the main event and the WWF title and puts a focus on the future and not on the past, which is a problem with the product today.
-Handicap Match: The Headbangers (NWA Tag Team Champions) beat The Rock N’ Roll Express & Jim Cornette when Mosh pins Ricky Morton with the Stage Dive at 2:06:
This grew out of a Superstars match where Cornette pinned Mosh after the Headbangers beat the Rock N’ Roll Express in a title defense after the usual NWA shenanigans. The Headbangers hit the Stage Dive out of nowhere to win this without Cornette ever being part of the match. However, when the Headbangers try to beat up Cornette, the repackaged Bart Gunn and Bob Holly come out and attack them. Cornette announces them as the New Midnight Express and they are now named “Bombastic” Bob and “Bodacious” Bart. Cornette has the New Express beat up the Rock N’ Roll Express because the Rock N’ Roll Express has done a poor job protecting him. Since the New Midnight Express did not have the old Midnight Express’s awesome theme music this was a failure out of the gate much like the rest of the NWA angle. (2 for 3)
-Call 1-900-737-4WWF to hear what the plan is for D-Generation X to eliminate Steve Austin before WrestleMania!
-Gennifer Flowers says that Shawn Michaels could be her “boy toy” anytime, that Steve Austin would not be “stone cold” with her, and that she could make the Undertaker rise from the dead. So that’s who we can blame for American badass Undertaker…
-The Phoenix Sun gorilla keeps jumping around in the ring and unveils a “Gorilla 3:16” t-shirt. Kane and Paul Bearer take exception to that as the lights go out and Kane lays the Gorilla to waste. HUGE heel heat for that. 3 for 4
-Jerry Lawler comes out to do commentary for hour two.
-Footage is shown of European Champion Owen Hart breaking his ankle against Barry Windham on last week’s show. He comes out to do commentary for the next match. They clearly edit out a part where Ross tells the fans to quit reaching over the guardrail and messing with the commentators.
-Chainsaw Charlie beats Billy Gunn (w/The Road Dogg) by disqualification at 2:23:
This was setup from last week’s show where Gunn nailed Charlie in the back with a chair. Ross tells the fans that the tag team championship match at WrestleMania will be a dumpster match. The Road Dogg proceeds to commentate the match on the house mic and when things get sour for Billy after he refuses to pin Charlie after two piledrivers, the Road Dogg runs in and creates the disqualification. After the bell, Charlie fights off the heels, gives Gunn a DDT on a tag team title belt, and Cactus Jack comes out to help Charlie tie up Road Dogg by the feet and lift him several feet in the air. Nice segment that allows the faces to get revenge for the attack the Outlaws launched against Cactus and Charlie on last week’s show. (4 for 5)
-Steve Austin’s bullying of Vince McMahon on last week’s show is the Bop It Slam of the Week.
-Luna Vachon tells the announcers from the backstage area that she accepts Sable’s challenge, but it will be at a time that she decides.
-Vince McMahon walks out to a chorus of boos and is interviewed by Kevin Kelly. McMahon considers Austin’s conduct on last week’s show unprofessional, but considers it somewhat justified by Mike Tyson joining D-Generation X. McMahon gets tired of Kelly going back to last week’s footage and says he did not hit Steve Austin last week because he wanted to save the WrestleMania main event since he would have broken Austin’s jaw. When asked if he wants to see Austin win the WWF title at WrestleMania, McMahon says that if Austin would be willing to be molded into the WWF’s corporate image that would be okay for the company, but if he won the title in present form it would be a public relations disaster. McMahon says that Austin and WWF fans cannot handle his answer, but when Kelly presses him for an answer, McMahon relents and says his answer is not only a “no,” but a “hell no.” McMahon hits another segment out of the park here as McMahon gradually morphed into the Mr. McMahon character over the course of the interview and let his disdain of Austin be publicly aired. 5 for 6
-Ross says that Lucky Luke and Prince have been chosen to rap Mike Tyson to the ring at WrestleMania. Owen makes me laugh by saying that he hates rap. A Tyson video package is aired.
-Steve Austin gets a career retrospective video package to hype his participation in the WrestleMania main event. It talks about his WCW firing and Ringmaster gimmick.
-Triple H walks out and questions Owen’s manhood. He challenges Owen to a European title match tonight and when Owen refuses, Triple H tosses water in his face and pushes him down. This leads to a brawl that leads to…
-European Championship Match: Triple H (w/Chyna) beats Owen Hart (Champion) by referee stoppage at 45 seconds to win the title:
Owen pounds on Triple H on the floor and tosses him into the ring, but Triple H distracts the referee, thereby allowing Chyna to smash a baseball bat into Owen’s injured ankle and roll him into the ring. Triple H puts Owen in an ankle lock and the referee stops the match to give Triple H his then-record setting second European title reign. You really want to root for Owen in this feud, but it is becoming increasingly impossible when he’s made to look like a fool each week. You would almost think that is the point of all this…
-Confrontation: Sable (w/Marc Mero) and Luna Vachon (w/Goldust):
Both women come out to confront the other and brawl, but WWF officials will not allow it to take place and the fans are not very happy. Mero and Goldust assist by holding their valets back, leading the crowd to work up a “Let them go!” chant. Sable eventually gets free of Mero and chokes Luna and rips her clothes as the crowd explodes. At the end of the segment, Sable appears to have suffered a knee injury. The booking team went way overboard on the injury angles this week.
-The lights go out and Kane returns and in a really awesome heel move Mero flees the ring to “get help,” thereby leaving Sable alone. Sable begs for her life when the lights go out again and the Undertaker shows up on top of the Titantron and tells Kane that he felt his wrath at the Royal Rumble and now it is time for him to feel his. The Undertaker uses his powers to set a casket that has Kane in effigy alight as we go off the air. Everything from the Sable-Luna brawl through this shows in about five minutes why the Attitude Era was an awesome time to be a fan. 6 for 7
The Final Report Card: Since the WWF was not facing competition from WCW with this show they decided to use it to hype the WrestleMania main event with two long video packages for Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin, which was a good move. The show also played up the “WWF corporate executives do not want Austin to be the WWF champion” and it was the first time that Vince McMahon portrayed a heel character on WWF television (although USWA fans saw an early version of the character in 1993). Good effort this week in exposing the product to new fans and any WCW fans that were starved for wrestling action on a Tuesday night.
Monday Night War Rating: N/A
Show Evaluation: Thumbs Up