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What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw - April 20, 1998

by Logan Scisco

-A video package recaps the Steve Austin-Vince McMahon interaction on last week’s show, where their WWF title match was interrupted by Dude Love.

-Jim Ross and Michael Cole are in the booth and they are taped from Long Island, New York.

-Kevin Kelly gives us a report from the Undertaker and Kane’s parents grave, where they will be facing each other tonight.

-Dude Love hosts the Love Shack and it does not take long for Vince McMahon to crash the party.  McMahon tells Love that is being fined $5,000 and warns him not to interfere with his business again before leaving.  Love says he attacked Steve Austin because he attacked him from behind, but that he may not face him at Unforgiven if Austin grovels at his feet by the end of the show.  It always amazes me how easily Foley can modify his promos for each of his characters.  1 for 1

-Opening Long Island Street Fight:  Faarooq beats Kama Mustafa with a spinebuster at 5:52:

The Nation is nice enough to bring lots of weapons to ringside, the most impressive of which is a beer keg that Mark Henry carries in from the audience.  However, the allies of both men are barred from ringside.  Impressively, Ross holds off until four minutes in to remind us of Faarooq’s All-American roots.  Kama dominates much of the match, which largely ignores the stipulation, and Faarooq blasts Kama with his boot to avoid a Kama hammer attack and pick up the win.  Cole makes so many errors in calling this match, one of which is screaming “DOMINATOR” after Faarooq hits the spinebuster.  Rating:  ¾* (1 for 2)

-D-Generation X is seen admiring footage of them relieving themselves on the Disciples of Apocalypse’s motorcycles weeks ago.  Billy Gunn dares Triple H to expose himself and urinate on tonight’s crowd.

-A video package hypes Jeff Jarrett’s musical performance with Sawyer Brown at Unforgiven.

-D-Generation X comes out and Ross tells us that when Triple H and Owen Hart face off at Unforgiven that Chyna will be suspended above the ring in a cage.  Triple H and the New Age Outlaws comment on their opponents at Unforgiven and Triple H’s urinating prank sees him take a giant squirt gun and blow it into the audience.  LOD 2000, Owen Hart, and Sunny appear on the ramp and start heading toward DX, but Sergeant Slaughter intervenes and books a match between them for later tonight.  I was just not a fan of DX’s juvenile antics in this segment and we’ve really heard everything they have to say against their opponents, although that is more of a fault with repetitive booking than anything else.  1 for 3

-Dan Severn UFC clips are the 10-321 Rewind segment.

-Kelly lets us know that the Undertaker is minutes away from the cemetery!

-Dan Severn (w/Jim Cornette) defeats Mosh (w/Thrasher) via submission to an armbar at 2:40:

I don’t know why the WWE does not bother to use tag team wrestlers in singles competition against non-tag team wrestlers much anymore because it is an easy way to give singles stars victories while not harming the reputation of a tag team, since the announcers can always point out that the losing tag wrestler was not competing with their partner and they were out of their element.  Severn easily squashes Mosh here with a few suplexes and an awkward looking armbar.  This match should’ve been shorter and Mosh should have received no offense, but since Severn is part of this NWA faction the booking team doesn’t care that much about him.

-The Undertaker appears at the cemetery and chokes Kelly, who screams like a little girl.  Kelly says after the commercial break that the Undertaker may be heading back to the arena after not finding Kane.

-Before the next match, Luna Vachon promises to strip Sable of her soul and all of her clothes at Unforgiven.

-Bradshaw defeats The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust (w/Luna Vachon) by disqualification when the Kamikaze Club interferes at 4:50:

After months of wearing weird outfits, Goldust is back to wearing his more traditional attire here.  Both of these guys are in need of some direction and Bradshaw gets something when the Kamikaze Club interferes and lays him out before escaping through the crowd.  This was good when Bradshaw was using his stiff-looking offense, but we did not get enough of that.  Rating:  * (1 for 4)

-Vince McMahon slapping Steve Austin is last week’s M&M Slam of the Week.

-Jerry “the King” Lawler joins Ross for the second hour on commentary.

-WWF Champion Steve Austin comes out and alleges a conspiracy between Vince McMahon and Dude Love to take the WWF title from him and he vows to kick ass tonight.  He teases going after a photographer, a cameraman, and a timekeeper before heading to the locker room.  A simple filler promo and segment to keep the wheels turning toward Unforgiven.  1 for 5

-A hearse is shown arriving at the arena.  Is it the Undertaker?

-Non-Title Match:  Terry Funk & 2 Cold Scorpio beat The New Midnight Express (NWA Tag Team Champions w/Jim Cornette & Dan Severn) when Scorpio pins Bombastic Bob with the 450 splash at 7:07:

Scorpio, having a new lease on creative life by going back to his old name, is the only one that doesn’t phone it in for this match.  You would think that two former tag wrestlers in Bart Gunn and Holly would work well as a team, but they do not show much of it in this match.  Scorpio hits a crazy plancha when the Express beat on Funk on the outside and picks up another victory for his team with the 450.  Severn doesn’t let Scorpio gloat, though, as he walks into the ring and gives him a belly-to-belly suplex.  What’s funny is that Severn starts walking into the ring after the 450, so you think a disqualification is coming, but he walks in so slow that the referee finishes the three count before he can get to Scorpio.  Some stablemate, eh?  Rating:  * (1 for 6)

-The new Val Venis vignette has him in the shower and warning women to get their rest.

-Cole interviews Sable, who says she does not care if Luna Vachon strips her naked at Unforgiven.  That claim is interesting in retrospect because having that booked to happen on RAW a year later is what led Sable to leave the company and sue them.  Whoever arranged this segment was smart because they kept Sable’s talking limited to that one line.

-Paul Bearer and Kane greet the hearse that has shown up to the arena.

-Call 815-734-1161 to get the Steve Austin “Hell Yeah!” t-shirt for $25 (plus $6 shipping & handling)!

-Vince McMahon tells Cole that he is ready to fight Austin if he dares to confront him.

-Triple H & The New Age Outlaws (w/X-Pac & Chyna) beat Owen Hart & LOD 2000 (w/Sunny) when Billy Gunn pins Animal after a piledriver at 8:27 shown:

Ross chooses to talk about his past NWA experiences during this match by mentioning how the Horsemen were no match for the Legion of Doom and that Greensboro, North Carolina, where Unforgiven will be held, is Ric Flair country.  The LOD’s role in this match is limited, but they aren’t showing anything special, which their new gimmick cannot mask.  In fact, this match is a lot like the tag match with Funk and 2 Cold Scorpio earlier in that Owen completely carries his team’s side of the contest.  The Road Dogg gets hit with a Doomsday Device, but Chyna picks up Sunny and that creates enough of a distraction that enables X-Pac to hit Animal with a chair and produce the finish.  At least Owen didn’t eat the pin.  Rating:  ** (2 for 7)

-Paul Bearer and Kane are shown wheeling a dirty casket backstage as Bearer sings about “digging up bones.”  The hearse driver cracks me up as he just watches all of this unfold with a stoic look like all of this is just another day at the office.

-Kane and Paul Bearer come out and there are two caskets on the stage, which Bearer says are the dug up graves of the Undertaker’s parents.  Bearer says that the Undertaker can pay his respects since he didn’t go to their funeral.  He adds that he (Bearer) buried them in the cheapest caskets possible.  The Undertaker appears through the crowd and as he charges ramp, Kane pours gasoline on one of the caskets and Bearer sets it alight.  Kane then chokeslams the Undertaker into the other, which is the casket of his mother.  In a nice attention to detail, they made sure to put bones and worms in the casket the Undertaker was thrown into.  Great segment that was much better than having the men fight at the cemetery.  3 for 8

-Cole tells us that Kane and Paul Bearer have left the arena and the Undertaker is with whatever is left of the remains.

-Vince McMahon walks out to do commentary for the next match.  Lawler welcomes him back “like good old times.”  Storyline continuity is a nice thing.

-Dude Love beats Steve Blackman via submission to an abdominal stretch at 3:57:

Lawler constantly sucks up to McMahon at the booth and snitches on all the bad thing Ross has said about him over the last couple of weeks.  McMahon laments that he and Austin could have had a “classic” on last week’s show and promises to be close to the ring during the WWF title match at Unforgiven.  I would almost prefer they not call Love the number one contender for Austin’s title since he has not beaten anyone to immediately get a title shot.  Anyway, after some brief action, Love puts Blackman in an abdominal stretch and the bell mysteriously rings, thereby making this the “Long Island Screwjob” I suppose.  Rating:  * (3 for 9)

-After the bell, Blackman interrogates the timekeeper and hiptosses him on the arena floor.  McMahon is outraged at all of this and as he tends to the timekeeper, Steve Austin runs out, grabs McMahon, and hiptosses HIM.  Austin and Love brawl on the floor and Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco get Stone Cold Stunners as McMahon flees.  Really fun closing segment that sent the crowd into a frenzy.  4 for 10

The Final Report Card:  Fun ending aside, this was a very dry episode of RAW relative to the last few weeks.  The second hour was where all of the action was, but very little was entertaining outside of Austin-McMahon and the Undertaker-Kane angle.  The Terry Funk & 2 Cold Scorpio tag team had potential, so I am not sure why they abandoned it so quickly in 1998, but it was good to see Scorpio being used as more than a jobber for a change.

Here is our final Unforgiven card:

WWF Championship Match:  Steve Austin (Champion) vs. Dude Love with Vince McMahon at ringside
WWF Tag Team Championship Match:  The New Age Outlaws (Champions) vs. LOD 2000
European Championship Match:  Triple H (Champion) vs. Owen Hart with Chyna suspended above the ring in a cage
Inferno Match:  The Undertaker vs. Kane
Evening Gown Match:  Sable vs. Luna Vachon
The Nation of Domination vs. Ken Shamrock, Steve Blackman & Faarooq

Monday Night War Rating:  4.4 (vs. 5.1 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down


  1. Meanwhile on Nitro, Goldberg won the US title from Raven and became 75-0 and Hogan beat Savage for the WCW World title with the help of Bret "Hitman" Hart.

  2. I wonder what led to Taker's parents being buried in Long Island of all places.

  3. I believe that was WCW's reply to Raw finally beating them in the ratings the week prior.

    For the record, I still hate the fact that Savage never beat Hogan in a title match. In any company.

  4. It's amazing how much raw energy came roaring through the screen during these shows. From the crowd emotion, to the story beats just pushing forward like a locomotive, to the short, exclamation-point brawls that made you want to see the big PPV payoff. There was a constant sense of forward momentum, snowball rolling down the hill getting bigger and bigger and bigger.

  5. Isn't the Foley/Funk match coming up or did that already pass? Austin was awesome at commentary. I don't think it's recognized how great Austin was at commentary. He still stayed in character but put over what was happening.

    I think 1998 might be my favorite year in WWF history. Austin was must-see every time he was on TV and his feud with Vince throughout the year was great. Add in Foley, Taker before he went south, D-X and the Nation. Damn what a year. The highs in 1997 might have been higher but 1998 had less valleys. I'd go 2000, 1998, and 1997 as my top three.

  6. Loved that. Great brawl and Austin added a ton to that match on commentary. Can't wait.

  7. That's something I guess I knew to be true, but just reading it pisses me off

  8. Hindsight is something. There is nothing to D-X at all. Thank God for the Nation feud.

    Too bad their best heels (Bearer, McMahon) weren't wrestlers so they didn't have to stretch so far to find people to go against Austin.

    Although Owen didn't job this week, I still don't know how he kept showing up for work. Just seems to easy to ask Bischoff to help with a buyout.

  9. STILL wrong!

    He didn't quit! He fulfilled his contract, and opted not to work overtime.

  10. I love their wrestling programs!

  11. Semantics. He did it unprofessionally

  12. What is professionalism if not honoring your obligations?

  13. The thing is, we don't really KNOW how he did it. And further, all things considered, the timing of his leaving was relatively harmless. It was the night after a PPV, so it's not like there were that many lingering issues. Let's face it, people weren't exactly sitting at home saying, "BUT WHAT WILL HAPPEN WITH KANE AND PUNK?!?!?!"

    And as far as WrestleMania build goes.....considering pretty much nothing has actually been built up yet, they had plenty of time to change course with that too.

  14. Vince wouldn't except a buyout, it was basically a huge "FUCK YOU" to Bret that he was willing to let Neidhart and Bulldog out of their contracts, but not Owen.

  15. I like how Dude Love suddenly has a talk show, implying right from the start that there's a deal between him and McMahon. Also, the theme music for his talk show should have been Dude Love's theme music, so much better the than Dude Love theme, as cool as it was.

    There's the Love Shack theme.

  16. He was a teacher... he liked his summers off.

  17. Much shorter answer : because they aren't slaves.

  18. If my punishment at work could be Undertaker waking me up at 3am to stand in front of everyone in my underwear while he talks about what I did, and then I go out and get a couple cases of beer... I'd fuck up on purpose.

  19. It sucks to hear that especially knowing what happened just a year later. He became a pawn in a silly feud between grown men. Then everyone is forced to rewrite history and state he meant so much to them.

  20. I actually feel his commentary hurts the the match. Same for the Angke/Benoit cage match

  21. It doesn't sound like they get paid for dates for which they do not show up: at least Steve Austin implied as much on his podcast referencing the eight month period after he refused to do a job on RAW for Brock and walked.

  22. I had no idea so many entertainment lawyers posted here.

  23. How did you infer that interesting statistic?

  24. It's funny that you guys think you have any sort of clue what his contract status is.

  25. You win the blog.

  26. That joke would be funnier if he didn't have everything saved iTunes.

  27. Fun facts about how hot pro wrestling was.

    The Austin/McMahon segment the week prior to this set a cable viewership record for a wrestling quarter-hour. Hogan/Savage set a new mark.

    And the Goldberg/Raven match would have set a new record, if not for those two matches.

    If you want to pinpoint the moment the Monday Night Wars went from wrestling thing to mainstream's April 1998.

  28. That was 13 years ago. The programming heads and television landscape have changed about 100 different ways since then.

  29. Christian? I bet it's Christian.


  30. So you do get disciplined in the shower.

  31. Could add Luger on the WCW side...

  32. I also think things are funny. I wish to follow your blog.

  33. I haven't seen anything with him moving his mouth on YouTube or elsewhere that sounds unprofessional. His ComicCon panel discussion was very measured, supportive of Batista, and spoke of him needing a break to heal and avoid burnout. The only thing he was critical of was lack of long term direction in the WWE's booking and storylines. Maybe I missed something, but everything I heard ranged from totally positive to constructively critical.

  34. Until USA/Spike/whoever says "uh, yeah, no, you're not doing that."

  35. Nathan Jones
    Gail Kim

    off the top of my head

  36. All of my inferences come from the original post and Scott's elaboration, which spells out the terms of a wrestler's contract. No additional interpretation from me was required.

    Now, if you'd like me to add boilerplate to all of my posts such as "all of the citations in this post are pending independent verification, and are subject to further review based on new and improved data" I could probably oblige, but it would make the comments section even more long-winded than it already is.

  37. Doog, the percentage of topics that we discuss around here where we actually have firm, proven, information, is, and has always been, ludicrously low.

    We bullshit. That's what we DO.

  38. His commentary on the Benoit/Angle match was overbearing but I liked anytime he did commentary in his face run.

  39. If the ratings suffered, maybe. But I don't think that would be the case. WWE has taped three weeks of two hour Raws in the past; what's adding one more. Tape four shows in the first week of December and give the crew they whole month off, give NXT a Monday special over x-mas week (when ratings suck anyway) and come back the first week of January to build WrestleMania season.

  40. Has Vince really fucked people when it comes to money? Bret, I guess. But most people have said that he's pretty good when it comes to giving jobs to guys who don't really deserve it.

  41. Are you a slave? If so, stop posting on a message board and contact the police.

  42. As an independent contractor myself, I can tell you that basically everything you just said is technically incorrect. I've seen other contractors disciplined, even suspended without pay. I've almost always been paid in installments, with only one or two exceptions out of dozens of jobs. I've also signed exclusivity deals that run for the duration of or beyond contracts, which is fairly commonplace for any competitive field.

    It seems like you're thinking "independent contractor" only means physical contractors who build your kitchen. It can also mean writers, musicians, computer programmers, graphic designers, etc. And in all of those cases, their role is much more similar to a WWE employee's than it is to a roofer's, but they're still absolutely independent contractors.


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