by Logan Scisco
-A video package recaps Vince McMahon firing Steve Austin last night at Judgment Day.
-Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
-All of the WWF superstars head to the ring for an announcement from Vince McMahon. McMahon comes out and announces that a one night, sixteen man tournament will take place at the Survivor Series to crown a new WWF champion. McMahon closes by saying that he hopes all of the superstars in the ring learned not to cross him last night and that a new saying will be sweeping the country that says “McMahon 3:16: I have the brass to fire your ass.” What makes this segment funny is Mankind eating everything up in the ring as he continues to try to suck up to McMahon. Before McMahon leaves, though, Austin is shown with a rifle on the Titantron. We go to break after that. 1 for 1
-The stooges and the Big Bossman accompany McMahon to his locker room. He sends the Bossman to get his family and get out of town. Austin is shown in his truck polishing a rifle. This has a plot hole in the sense that McMahon could just call the cops and have Austin removed for constituting a threat.
-Footage of D-Generation X visiting Motley Crew’s tour bus is shown.
-Opening Non-Title Contest: X-Pac (European Champion w/Chyna) pins Ken Shamrock (Intercontinental Champion) after the X-Factor after Mankind interferes at 4:15:
This is obviously a rematch from last week’s Intercontinental title tournament final. You know that plot hole I talked about above? Well, they go backstage and close it by saying that police officers have been called to the arena. Speaking of police, officers come to ringside, handcuff Chyna, and take her backstage. All of that is probably due to Mark Henry’s sexual harassment lawsuit. Watching these 1998 X-Pac matches, he missed the Bronco Buster in nearly each big match. Mankind wanders out to ringside and despite putting Shamrock in the Mandible Claw, the referee does not call for a disqualification and X-Pac capitalizes to win. Rating: ** (1 for 1)
-Police put Chyna in a cruiser and send her away. Officers then approach Austin in his truck, but seem more interested in getting his autograph than investigating him. One of the officers kids is named Bret. Not sure if that is an intentional reference or not. McMahon has a meltdown backstage that the officers did not do anything. After the commercial break, McMahon demands that an officer go after Austin, but the officer refuses to “put their life in danger” and leaves.
-The Headbangers defeat LOD 2000 (w/Hawk) when Thrasher pins Droz with a schoolboy at 1:54:
The Headbangers make fun of the New Age Outlaws introduction and wear toy tag team title belts. You see, they think they are the rightful tag team champions after beating the Outlaws by disqualification last night at Judgment Day. This Headbangers push is so random since they meant very little throughout 1998 up to this point, but the tag division is pretty light on heel teams. Somehow, Droz does not break his neck before the awful D-Lo incident in this match when the Headbangers drop him right on his head when trying a double inverted suplex. This abbreviated match ends when Droz gets distracted by Hawk and rolled up. Did Hawk do it on purpose?
-The stooges leave McMahon alone to get coffee, hilariously falling over themselves with excuses to leave. Mankind visits McMahon after the break and brings him some candy. For once, McMahon is happy to see Mankind since he has no protection from Austin.
-The Undertaker and Paul Bearer, newly reunited at Judgment Day, come to the ring. The Undertaker announces that Bearer will help him lead his Ministry of Darkness. Evidently Bearer has helped refocus the Undertaker on what is important and the Undertaker promises to unleash a plague on the rest of the WWF. Bearer proclaims that he has used Kane his entire life because he is weak and stupid and that the last straw of their relationship was when Kane refused his help last night. In response to that, Ross says that Bearer is a “rotund demon.” This segment is important for the Kane-Undertaker storyline because the Undertaker takes responsibility for setting the fire that killed their parents. The Undertaker admits to committing homicide on national television because he wanted to kill his weak brother. I am glad that all the cops in the arena tonight have more important things to do! Kane walks out and challenges his brother to a casket match tonight. At least when we got repetitive matches in the past they put a stipulation on it. 3 for 3
-Mankind and McMahon have a bonding experience, with Mankind saying that McMahon should hire Austin back so they can form a clique of them, Austin, and Mr. Socko. Mankind tries to get McMahon to play Twister and McMahon goes on a tirade and kicks him out. Ah, back when the WWF could do good humor. 4 for 4
-Steve Blackman beats “Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra McMichael) via disqualification when the Blue Blazer interferes at 2:27:
Jarrett promised a surprise for this show and that was welcoming back the “dumb blonde” he ranted about being paired with in WCW when he came back to the company in the fall of 1997. This is a complete sellout of Jarrett’s entire justification for coming back to the company as he criticized the country music gimmick too, yet reverted to that by the spring. Criticisms aside, this marked a transition of the Jarrett character from the Southern Justice era to a more serious commodity. The crowd works up its crude chant for Debra to show her assets, which makes me wonder if that is why the WWF created the “puppies” chant as a tamer version. Blackman nails Jarrett with his pump kick, but the Blue Blazer runs in and gives Blackman a belly-to-belly suplex, thereby causing a disqualification.
-After the bell, Jarrett prepares to hit Blackman with his guitar, but Al Snow steps into the ring. However, Debra distracts Snow and he ends up eating the guitar shot instead.
-A phone rings in McMahon’s locker room and like a horror film he agonizes over whether he should answer it. Austin is on the other end and tells McMahon that his time is up and he is coming to get him. The stooges are taking a really long coffee break. After the commercial break, McMahon is on the phone with his limo driver and tries to arrange an escape. He carefully drives his wheelchair to the parking lot, but when he gets to his limo Austin is inside and takes control of McMahon’s wheelchair, directing him back into the arena with his compound bow in tow. As Austin harasses McMahon, intentionally driving him into door and walls, none of the other WWF employees seem to care and many of them take pictures of the event. As McMahon screams about his ankle, Austin tells him he used to work in the hospital and can fix it, but that just makes McMahon panic more. Austin directs McMahon back to his locker room and slams the door in the cameraman’s face. 5 for 5
-X-Pac’s X-Factor to D-Lo Brown at Judgment Day is the WWF Warzone Slam of the Week.
-Austin asks McMahon if he has ever been hunting and McMahon says yes, but he never killed anything. McMahon admits that it was just a safari and he just took pictures. In response, Austin pulls out a knife and asks whether he thinks it would be enough to kill an elephant. These segments are awesome.
-The Rock beats D-Lo Brown (w/Mark Henry) with a Rock Bottom at 3:43:
The Rock has some AWFUL theme music here that has a disco spin on the narrative part of his theme. It is one of the worst themes I have ever heard and thank god they changed it because you just cannot imagine the Rock as a main eventer with it. D-Lo tries to rally after getting hit with a People’s Elbow, but jumps into a Rock Bottom for the finish. D-Lo needs to quit doing that. Rating: ** (6 for 6)
-After the match, D-Lo and Henry beat on the Rock and Henry gives him a splash as WWF officials intervene.
-Austin continues to threaten McMahon with his knife, even motioning to stab him. Austin tells McMahon not to worry because when he finishes him off tonight he will go quickly. Austin then moves to explaining what damage a compound hunting bow can do.
-Tiger Ali Singh is back after a prolonged absence. Babu acts as if he is cooking on a grill and Ali offers $500 to a person to swallow the cassava he has prepared. A sketchy older woman is drawn from the crowd and does it. The Godfather comes in at the end and says that the woman who swallowed the cassava used to be one of his hos and as a result he is entitled to some of her income. Tiger Ali Singh takes exception to that, but the guy cannot even brawl properly. Effective use of the Godfather that saved this embarrassing segment. 7 for 7
-Austin forces McMahon to squeal like a pig under threat of getting shot with a bow. He moves to re-enact the scene from Misery where Kathy Bates breaks James Caan’s legs. Austin places a piece of lumber between McMahon’s legs and goes to find a sledgehammer. Chances are he will not be able to find one because Triple H has the only one in his possession.
-Ross and Lawler recap the Goldust-Val Venis match from Judgment Day.
-Val Venis (w/Terri Runnels) pins Mankind after Ken Shamrock interferes at 3:33:
Venis is still selling the effects of Goldust’s low blow from the previous evening. Lawler spends part of the match wondering if Venis and the Godfather ho in the Tiger Ali segment have ever gotten together. Mankind applies the Mandible Claw, but Ken Shamrock wanders out and smashes Mankind in the knee with a chair, causing him to lose this boring match. Rating: * (7 for 8)
-After the match, Mankind and Shamrock brawl into the crowd. Goldust comes on the Titantron after that and tells Venis that he is going to keep shattering his dreams. The best part of this promo is that Goldust goes back to quoting movie lines, which was his specialty in 1995 and 1996. After the promo, Terri tells Venis something that he is disgusted with and walks off. It does not take a genius to figure out what that was to the astute viewer.
-Austin promises McMahon that he is going to carry out his plans for him tonight and that McMahon will not feel anything. They bet on who will win the casket match and McMahon reluctantly picks Kane. Austin says if Kane wins they will do things the easy way, but any other outcome will mean the hard way.
-Casket Match: Kane wrestles The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) to a no contest at 4:48:
This is the first WWF casket match to ever air on free television. The match features a weird spot where the Undertaker closes the casket on both men and they proceed to rumble around in there and destroy it. After laying Kane out with a chair, the Undertaker and Bearer leave and that’s that. Wow, what a complete waste of time. Can they not give Kane ONE win over the Undertaker in a singles match of some sort? Rating: DUD (7 for 9)
-Austin wheels McMahon out to the ring and in a tribute to the Running Man, they rehash McMahon’s bold words from earlier in the evening. He gives McMahon a letter, which he says McMahon will not like, and has McMahon face the Titantron. Austin puts a gun to McMahon’s head and pulls the trigger, but it’s a toy that says “Bang 3:16.” Austin calls attention to the fact that McMahon has wet himself and gives him a Stone Cold Stunner. One of the better endings in RAW history. 8 for 10
The Final Report Card: This was not a wrestling-driven RAW, but that is okay because the segments with McMahon, Mankind, and Austin were entertaining. It is sad how much of a drop off in entertainment value a lot of segments have today because these showed that if you take two characters that play well off of each other that you can create compelling television. Daniel Bryan got over in part because of his segments with Kane, so the company can still do this if they want to, but we just do not get enough of it. A very fun RAW that is worth checking out whenever the WWF gets around to putting it up on the Network.
Monday Night War Rating: 5.0 (vs. 4.4 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation: Thumbs Up