by Logan Scisco
-Mankind is shown smashing up the boiler room underneath the arena and ranting about something.
-A video package recaps Mankind getting hit over the head with a chair by the Undertaker on last week’s show and how the Undertaker, dressed as Kane, attacked Mankind on Sunday Night Heat.
-Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Omaha, Nebraska.
-Mankind walks out and demands to hear the truth from Vince McMahon, who has always leveled with him. McMahon tentatively comes into the ring and cuts a Gilded Age promo about how he loathes people who need his help. McMahon tells Mankind that Kane and the Undertaker are working together and do not care about him, which brings out Kane and Paul Bearer. Bearer accuses McMahon of trying to poison his son’s mind, to which McMahon suddenly freaks out and accuses the Undertaker of being underneath Kane’s mask. McMahon goes to rip Kane’s mask off, but the lights suddenly go out. When they come back on the Undertaker has McMahon by the throat, but Mankind sacrifices himself for McMahon and Bearer also gets decked. Today’s creative team needs to watch the way that this story was developed because it had lots of interesting twists and turns. 1 for 1
-The Undertaker is shown walking into Kane’s dressing room backstage.
-Luna Vachon (w/Sable & The Oddities) beats Jacqueline (w/Marc Mero) with a splash off the top rope at 2:25:
Sable continues her on-screen connection to the Oddities by introducing Luna for this match. As expected, Sable interferes by tripping Jacqueline when she climbs to the top rope and that allows Luna to win. After the match, Sable gives Luna the bikini contest trophy that Jacqueline and Mero have carried around the ring. Ross puts over how Sable is making the Oddities feel good about themselves. What segment of the fan base were the Oddities supposed to appeal to?
-Michael Cole tells us that Steve Austin is not happy because he has to worry about what the Undertaker is doing and he isn’t happy about having to defend the tag team titles in a four corners match tonight.
-We get the first showing of the Highway to Hell music video for SummerSlam. I still get excited seeing this video sixteen years later.
-Brawl for All Quarter-Finals: Darren Drozdov beats Savio Vega via decision:
Although Droz and Hawk fought to a draw in the first round, Droz advanced because Hawk was in no condition for a rematch. Droz takes down Savio a few times and nearly knocks Savio out at the end of the third round. He advances to the semi-finals in a dull contest. 1 for 2
-Triple H and Chyna are shown arriving at the arena, but X-Pac isn’t with them. Is D-Generation X falling apart?
-Call 815-734-1161 to get your Steve Austin Bad to the Bone t-shirt for $25 (plus $6 shipping & handling)!
-Cole interviews Chyna, who tells him to suck it and pushes him into a car. That sounds a little more dirty than I meant it.
-Ross and Lawler discuss how Jeff Jarrett and Southern Justice beat up Tennessee Lee on Sunday Night Heat, thereby ending Lee’s brief WWF stint.
-LOD 2000 are scheduled to face Southern Justice, but Hawk’s substance abuse problems rear their ugly head again as Hawk is startled by the fireworks during the LOD’s entrance and falls off the ramp. WWF officials refuse to let Hawk compete, so Southern Justice beat up Animal before Droz makes the save. However, Jeff Jarrett hits the ring, blasts Droz with a guitar, and shaves part of his head. At least this is giving Jarrett an edge to his character. 2 for 3
-X-Pac is shown arriving at the arena alone.
-Get a big poster of Triple H when you buy Stridex pads!
-The members of D-Generation X come out to the ring individually. X-Pac cuts off Triple H’s opening promo by saying that he’s tired of him “and his bitch.” DX members take turns calling each other jack offs and realize that they have things in common. Chyna interrupts them trying to moon the crowd, which they call “the DX split,” before doing it herself. You see, we’ve all been fooled by DX wanting to split up! Triple H tries to get another female fan to take her top off, but she refuses. 2 for 4
-Cole interviews Steve Austin in the locker room, but ends getting tossed into the shower. Be a star, Steve!
-Bart Gunn comes by the announce table and tells Ross that he is tired of getting disrespected for beating Steve Williams in the Brawl for All.
-Our next match is supposed to be The Godfather-Vader, but Vader chooses to take the Godfather’s hos rather than fight. After leaving the ring, Vader tells Bart Gunn that he had better knock the Godfather out next week, to which Gunn knocks Vader out with a left hand and attacks the Godfather. So whenever Vader “wins” he really loses! 2 for 5
-Val Venis and John Wayne Bobbitt are shown arriving to the arena in a limo.
-Dustin Runnels tells us that the next segment contains explicit content. He urges viewers to watch quality, wholesome programming instead, such as a special about reptiles on the Discovery Channel. For those not familiar with this era, Runnels character was a jab at evangelical Christian forces that were criticizing the content of WWF programming during this period.
-Val Venis is wheeled to the ring by John Wayne Bobbitt and Mrs. Yamaguchi-San. For those unfamiliar with 1990s popular culture, Bobbitt became famous for his wife severing his penis while he slept in 1993. Lawler interviews Venis, who has an ice bag on his groin, and Venis says he is now half the man he used to be. However, he’s just fooling us as he rips off his clothes to reveal his ring attire. He says the cold cutting board he was on, some timely “shrinkage,” and Bobbitt turning off the light as Yamaguchi-San came down with his sword helped him avoid problems. Amazing how all of those things came together at once! Sort of like Washington fleeing Brooklyn Heights with the Continental Army during the American Revolution! Lawler makes some puns about the situation and Venis ends the segment by kicking Mrs. Yamaguchi-San to the curb because she brought him too much trouble. Venis tosses her a double AA battery as she leaves. This was ridiculous on so many levels. 2 for 6
-Edge is shown hanging out in the crowd.
-Brawl for All Quarter-Finals: Bradshaw beats “Marvelous” Marc Mero via decision:
In another case of a loser advancing, Mero made it into the quarter-finals after Steve Blackman suffered a knee injury. Mero is able to land a few good punches, but he is still vulnerable to takedowns, which is how Bradshaw keeps the bout even. Bradshaw is clearly gassed by the third round, but Mero cannot land a knockout. Another round is used as a tiebreaker when everything ends up tied after regulation and for all intents and purposes, there should have been a fifth round because the fourth followed the same pattern of Mero landing more punches and Bradshaw landing a takedown. But you know, TV time constraints and all. In retrospect, the WWF should have banned takedowns from this competition because guys going for takedowns all ruined a lot of bouts. 2 for 7
-The Undertaker tells Cole that he will do his explaining in the ring tonight.
-The Undertaker’s beatdown of Mankind on Sunday Night Heat is the Stridex Triple Action segment.
-Four Corners Match for the WWF Tag Team Championship: Kane & Mankind beat Steve Austin & The Undertaker (Champions), The New Age Outlaws, and The Rock & D-Lo Brown to win the titles when Kane pins the Undertaker with a chokeslam at 14:29:
Ross and Lawler make clear that partners cannot pin each other, which is how the Outlaws defended the titles in a multi-team match a few months prior to this. This is the so-called “Outlaws rule.” Owen Hart is supposed to be the Rock’s partner, but Ken Shamrock knocks him out of the match with an ankle lock before the opening bell, so D-Lo Brown takes Owen’s place. In a funny bit, Mankind does not want to stand next to Kane in his team’s corner, so he chooses to stand near the Rock when he tags out o D-Lo. The Rock doesn’t take kindly to this and demands Mankind go back to his proper place. It’s really amazing how organic the “Rocky sucks” chants are too, as the crowd just starts chanting it at random intervals of the match, even when the Rock isn’t in the ring. Kane solemnly stands in the corner when all hell breaks loose, where Mankind tags him, and Kane proceeds to give the Undertaker one chokeslam to regain the titles for his team. After the bell, the Undertaker rises to his feet, not selling the damage Kane just inflicted upon him, and he stares at Austin as we go off the air. This had some good storytelling and action, although things really slowed to a crawl near the end. Rating: ***¼ (3 for 8)
-Tune in next week to see Ken Shamrock, Owen Hart, and Dan Severn collide in a triple threat match!
The Final Report Card: This RAW was Vince Russo’s dream scenario when there are very few matches and segments constitute the entire show. I have nothing against using lots of angles to advance storylines, but this show took it too far. This show ended RAWs four week winning streak, which should have been evidence for Russo’s future employers that his view of wrestling was not always a ratings winner.
Monday Night War Rating: 4.5 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation: Thumbs Down