/13 April 1998
WWF RAW is WAR
There's a new WWF opening. Who cares? OK, it looks nice. There, I said
Let us take you back to last week, where Steve Austin comes out in a suit, but it's all a ruse. Many camera angles of the Steve Austin nut shot to Vince McMahon.
LIVE from Pennsylvania, PA, closed captioned and TV-PG-V, it's RAW! 13.4.98 from the CoreStates Centre, where EVERYBODY who brings a sign gets a dollar off their ticket price! "¡En español sea disponible!" Jim Ross, who hosts with Michael Cole, announces the attendance at 16,237.
Before JR even gets his sentences out, Stone Cold Steve Austin's music begins, and out he comes, with the belt, with a T-shirt, jeans, and boots, and climbing the four corners to get his accolades. "What I want to do right now is get something straight between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vince McMahon." Calling out Vince, he says that he gives his word that he won't knock his lights out, he just wants a man-to-man talk. Remembering that in the past, Austin has stopped the show with a sit-in, Vince pokes his head out (cue booing). "I promise ya I'm not gonna hit ya." Flanked by Jerry Brisco and Pat Patterson, THEN by two riot gear-clad "security" officers, McMahon enters the ring. Austin first asks Vince who his next opponent will be for the April Pay-per-view. Vince says he hasn't made up his mind yet. Austin doesn't believe it. Anyway, after about five minutes of Austin being Austin, he finally reveals that he's going to give a title defense tonight...against Vince McMahon! "We can do this the easy way...or the hard way." The easy way, says Austin, is to have McMahon hand-pick an official and fight him later in the show. The hard way, on the other hand, is for Austin to take a cameraman back to Vince's office and beat him up back there. Austin says Vince has thirty minutes to make up his mind, and just to ensure that he DOESN'T leave, he's already beaten up the chauffer and put four flat tires in the limo. "If you want to see Austin/McMahon, gimme a hell yeah!" Well, I suppose it'll get big ratings, but man, it's a little long for this kinda segment, isn't it? It's already 2115 and I haven't seen any RASSLIN'! On the other hand...it was a pretty cool interview. I guess I'll pass judgement until the show's over...but I smell screwjob...
Backstage, Brisco and Patterson suck up to McMahon and try to convince him to take the match.
D-Generation X come to ringside as SKULL & 8-BALL take on SAVIO VEGA & JOSE ESTRADA JR. in a chain match - rather than actually show us THIS match, we instead see DX take Chainz (who was on the outside) apart, THEN attack the remaining DOA. Referee "Blind" Mike Ciota calls for the bell (in a no DQ match?) and all seven (DX and the two Boricuas) take out Skull & 8-Ball. We are meant to think that Savio and Jose have been initiated in DX, but I can see Chyna in position for the double Golota - and sure enough, Chyna delivers the two simultaneous low blows, and DX take out the Boricuas, too. I'm so confused. Oh yeah, "match" time is under 2:00.
Shane McMahon has joined the discussion, telling Brisco and Patterson that they're full of crap and to stop puffing up his dad before he gets hurt.
New Stone Cold "Hell Yeah" T-shirt. Buy it!
RAW is brought to you by the US Army and WWF: the Music Volume 2.
Let us take you back to moments ago: Chainz is wheeled out on a gurney - earlier, DX spike piledrove him on a chair, on the STEEL walkway. This is the result.
Vince McMahon comes out, interrupting the next matchup. "For over 50 years, the World Wrestling Federation has been a part of my heritage. From my grandfather, to my father, to me, and I hope to my son and daughter...the WWF has always been about honor and integrity - qualities that are sorely lacking in our current World Wrestling Federation champion. Stone Cold Steve Austin has no honor. Stone Cold Steve Austin has no integrity. I know the decision I make may not sit well with those who have preceded me, but sometimes a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. And so in answer to the question, will I fight Stone Cold Steve Austin in this ring tonight? The answer is, (lowering voice) oh, hell, yeah." JR throws a fit. Cole says he has no chance. Brisco and Patterson come out to slap Vince's back - hmmm, I wonder if they're trying, indirectly, to stab it?
JR says he will do what he can to make sure this doesn't happen, and leaves the booth.
Finally, PANTERA & AGUILA v. SCOTT TAYLOR & BRIAN CHRISTOPHER - no, wait, the lights go out. Michael Cole bemoans the fact that it's Kane - but, wait! BONG! It's the Undertaker! After bringing the lights back up, HE doublechokeslams Pantera & Aguila, then a chokeslam for Taylor. Well, hell, he's no better than Kane, is he? Tombstone for Scott Taylor. Christopher, meanwhile, has wisely stepped out of the ring. UT takes the mic. "Kane, it's time your big brother shows you what evil is all about! No longer are you the hunter, but now you are the hunted! I can feel your presence in the building, and this night will go on for an eternity until you show your face. It's time, Kane, to come out from the darkness." BONG...let's take an ad break!
The Starbust slam of the week is Stone Cold giving Vince the Stunner - from RAW two weeks ago (wait, wasn't it the slam of the WEEK?)
Kevin Kelly stands outside the "Mr. McMahon" sign and intro's a piece of tape shot during the break - Jim Ross and Shane McMahon try argue with the yes men until Vince breaks it up, asking Shane to go get his (Vince's) gym bag.
JEDOUBLEF JADOUBLEREDOUBLET (without blinking horse but with Tennessee Lee) v. TAKA MICHINOKU - while Jarrett destroys Michinoku, let's hear from the Lethal Weapon Steve Blackman, who vows to get his revenge against Jarrett. Tennessee Lee joins the commentators to push his leaflets, which now paper the arena, having fallen from the ceiling. They hype Jarrett's appearance with Sawyer Brown at the April PPV, Unforgiven. If you're wondering why I'm not calling the match, well, neither are Cole and Ross, talking instead about Vince McMahon. Taka takes Jarrett to the outside, and before he can spring off the top rope, Lee has blocked the way by standing on the steps. Fully distracted, Taka gets taken down by Klub Kamikaze (the three Japanese gents we saw two weeks earlier) who strike with in order, a fishermanplex, something I've already forgotten, and a senton splash, then they leave. Then Jarrett puts on the figure four for good measure, of course he's already lost by disqualification (oh, let's say three minutes).
The Yes Men give Vince McMahon a rasslin' lesson - specifically, how to block the kick to the gut.
Some rap music comes up, and who is it? Whoa, it's FAAROOQ! "I'm gonna make this short, and I'm gonna make it simple. Rocky, I know you're back there, and I know the entire world can see me standing here, broken rib...guess what?...it takes a lot more than that to kick my ass. I gave you the chance of the lifetime! Guess what? I'm gonna give you another chance to finish kickin' my ass, so get out here." You know what's a fun game? To take a pool on how many times Faarooq says "Guess what" during an interview. The Nation of Domination appears on the walkway - the Rock asks Faarooq to smell what he's cooking. "There's two things you can do when I kick your ass - nothing and like it." Faarooq raises his fist - and when we least expect it, Steve Blackman and Ken Shamrock appear behind the Nation, and return the raised fist. The brawl is on! Cue the refs and officials! Let's take a break!
The WWF Rewind is brought to you by 10-321. Cactus Jack lashes out at the fans, and disappears.
TERRY FUNK announces his new partner - oh, he's Terry Funk now, by the way, this is a GOOD thing. After lashing into "the Quitter Cactus Jack," he promises to put some Funk in our faces. His new hardcore partner is - is...FLASH FUNK?!? Good Lord.
LES QUEBECOIS v. TERRY FUNK & 2 COLD FUNK - I guess they ARE related after all. After the Quebecers have their way with Terry, 2 Cold is tagged in. He cleans house until he gets it in the eyes. Oulette with a nice top-rope belly-to-belly superplex, Jacques tagged in, and they continue. Tag, they try the Tower but miss, Terry takes out Jacques while 2 Cold gives the 450 to Pierre for the pin. (2:15) The winners are announced as "Terry Funk & 2 Cold Scorpio" so I guess he's back - and I gotta give it a thumbs up. The sad thing is, this is like the first real match and this hour is apparently over.
We go immediately to the War Zone opening - no wait! It's Luna, dressed as Cap'n Mitch (in a reference only Sacramento area fans will understand). She calls out Sable - she wants to settle it right here, right now. Let's go to the opening credits NOW!
The War Zone is closed captioned for the hearing imparied (what?) and is rated TV-PG (V) and probably also en espanol sea disponible. Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler.
We dispense with the fireworks, so to speak, and bring out Sable - oops, it's Goldust. "Luna, you little bitch! I'm fixin' to kick your ass!" Goldust does a mean Sable voice-alike, in that it's incredibly annoying to me. Luna takes SableDust down and then strips him down to his...er, unmentionables. Meanwhile, the REAL Sable bounces out and they fight for about, oh, 10 seconds until the refs and officials come out to break it up.
We come back to a shot of Austin putting on his boots.
THE NEW MIDNIGHT EXPRESS (with Jim Cornette & Dan Severn) v. KEN SHAMROCK & STEVE BLACKMAN (with Riggs & Murtaugh) in a nontitle match. Referee "Blind" Jack Doan bans Severn from the ring. Shamrock and Bart fight for about thirty seconds before Shamrock tags out - he was limping noticably coming down the walkway. Blackman does pretty well with Bob. Blackman flubs the receiving end of a FrankenHolly and the crowd catches it and boos. Tag to Bart, who punches away, then does a drop toehold while Bob drops the elbow. That, friends, is a CLASSIC Midnight Express double manoeuvre... Tag to Bob, who wails away in the corner. Bob tries a dropkick but Steve holds the ropes. Tag to Shamrock, who cleans house and limps. Powerslam on Bart but Bob makes the save. Now both faces are wailing away. Blackman whips Gunn into Shamrock who does the belly-to-belly. Suddenly, Doan disqualifies both teams for failing to keep it one-on-one (3:46?) - that gets a big fat WHATEVER.
As we look at Vince getting pumped up by the yes men (Kevin Kelly looks on) back in the locker room, we learn that we'll hear from McMahon after the break.
WWF: Unforgiven In Your House is brought to you by 10-321, by the way. I wonder who brought us the War Zone?
Kevin Kelly interviews Vince McMahon. KK: "Are you afraid tonight?" VM: "I'll admit, I've got butterflies. But I've proven that I'm not afraid of the government, I'm not afraid of Ted Turner and Time-Warner, I'm not afraid of the big bad wolf, and I'm sure as hell not afraid of Stone Cold Steve Austin."
As THE HEAD BANGERS slamdance in the ring, the lights go down. BONG... Undertaker walks to the ring AGAIN, brings up the lights. Mosh & Thrasher try to defend themselves, but get a chokeslam and a tombstone for their troubles. The lights go out one more time and we hear Kane's music. JR says "hellfire and brimstone." Paul Bearer, who must have bribed someone to get that mic, gives UT what for. "You wanna fight your own flesh and blood? You're gonna do it on Paul Bearer's terms! This is the way it's gonna be...next week, on Monday Night RAW (crowd boos realising they've been cheated out of a match), you are gonna face your brother, but you're not gonna face him inside that ring! You are gonna meet me and you are gonna meet your little brother in the cemetary! You are so worried about what your dead momma and daddy think about what you're doing - you can fight your brother right on their damn grave! And, we'll just leave you right there, and send you back to hell where you belong. Kane will be there - will you?!" Kane does that neat trick where the ringposts emit flames.
We see Steve Austin walk towards the ring - hey, look! There's Terry Funk back there! Let's take an ad break!
Val Venis vignette - in his new movie, "Lust in Space," something about the rocket in his pocket, Venis envy, at least in THIS one they give me a couple babes to look at. Val's gonna explode inside the World Wrestling Federation, he'll give it his all, inch by inch...really, I'm not making any of this up.
Jim Ross, uncharacteristically, makes no comment following the vignette. Are you ready? I guess you have to think with all the McMahon/Austin ruckus, DX is feeling a little left out. All night they've been mentioning that Owen Hart issued a challenge to any DX member tonight - so I guess we find out which one it is right now. Owen appears on the walkway and asks who it'll be. HHH says that he had everyone write 500 word essays on "Why I want to kick Owen Hart's ass," and, long story short, Mr. Ass won. Billy says "Suck it!" for an encore.
BADD ASS BILLY GUNN (with Jesse James, X-Pac, Chyna, and Triple H) v. OWEN HART - before Owen enters the ring, we find out that *he's* asked for a little backup as well - Ooh, what a rush...out comes LOD Two Thousand (with Sunny). As we look at Vince pumping his biceps (complete with [I hope] fake sweat), let's take an ad break. Like THIS match will go longer than three minutes, after everything else we've seen tonight...
Apparently the match started during the break, and apparently, HHH and X-Pac have joined the commentators. X-Pac says "Owen Fart." Owen hits the Enziguiri - the Road Dogg has a Kid'n'Play haircut - I don't know if he's Kid or Play though, I forgot which one was which. Owen with an atomic drop - Gunn steps outside and does a classic Flair flop. Back in, Hart suplex for 2. This almost resembles a REAL match! Hart with a spinebuster into the Sharpshooter, but Chyna's up on the apron, which distracts Owen enough to get hit from behind by Gunn. Helmsley leaves the commetary position to "help" but the Road Warriors appear behind Owen's back. For some staggeringly unknown reason, we're going to take ANOTHER ad break. Oh hell, I give up.
When we come back, Hart is suplexing Gunn back into the ring. Slam. Hart climbs the ropes and hits a missile dropkick for 2. Hart with a neckbreaker. Gunn with a Rocker Dropper (!) Ross "Hey, how about calling a match, huh? How about that?" I'm with you, baby! As you can see, neither Helmsley nor X-Pac have said anything funny enough for me to write down here. Ross goes on to tell us there will be NO MORE COMMERCIAL BREAKS tonight. Thank God and it's about time! Gunn takes control - big powerslam. Owen from behind with a cradle - 1, 2, 3. (8:30 plus whatever before they came back from the first ad break). JR: "Yeah, I got two words for 'em - suck it!" JR is hardcore (I guess).
Back to the back - Vince makes the long walk to ringside, flanked by the Yes Men and Sargeant Slaughter.
JR: "We're not accustomed to having senior citizens as champions" JR fudges a bit by claiming Vince is 52 (well, maybe he IS - I dunno). Bill Dunn: "The challenger - for twenty-five years, the voice of the WWF, hailing from Greenwich Connecticut and weighing 241 pounds, Vince McMahon!" Vince looks ripped enough, I guess. Vince comes out to no theme - I was hoping they'd play the theme to Rocky like they did when he won that big humanitarian award years back.
Shane McMahon comes out and makes one more attempt to get Vince out of this match - after two years, are we finally going to see Shane step up and take that big role we kept hearing about? With so many photographers at ringside, you really FEEL like something big is about to happen.
VINCE McMAHON (with Commissioner Slaughter, Jerry Brisco, Pat Patterson, & Shane McMahon) v. STEVE AUSTIN for the WWF Championship - Vince tries on the belt just for grins. Your referee is Mike Ciota. Vince gives Austin a big slap and a priceless facial expression. Vince takes the mic and says "Oh just one thing. You said you could beat Vince McMahon with one arm tied behind your back. Now let's see if you're a man of YOUR word. Vince produces a rope. Austin eventually offers his left hand, but Vince says "oh no, the STUNNER arm!" Brisco ties the right arm behind his back. "You said you could do it...you got the GUTS?" You really have to hear Vince snarl to appreciate this fully. Crowd is RABID, chanting Austin's name. "Cinch it up Jerry, cinch it up - check him ref. That's not tight enough! Cinch it up!" Crowd: "Vince is gay!" Austin: "If you want me to whip his damn ass with one arm, gimme a hell yeah" McMahon: "If you think Vince McMahon can beat Steve Austin's ass with one arm tied behind his back, give ME a hell yeah!" Mixed reaction. McMahon gets a rubdown. Crowd is in an absolute frenzy. Ciota keeps trying to signal for the bell but Vince keeps stalling him. Brisco provides a mouthpiece for Vince. Just before the match FINALLY starts, out comes...Dude Love? "Can't we all just get along? The Dude does not feel a lot of love here tonight. We all know there's only one cat who can bring peace to the WWF, and that's Dude Love!" Dude does a lot of talking, until Vince has enough of it and pushes Love down. "That's a big mistake!" Dude tries to give Vince...the mandible claw? As Vince tries to fend off Love, Austin comes in from behind, and the next thing we know, AUSTIN is eating a mandible claw. So, ladies and gentlemen, what have we got? Dude Love turns on Austin, turns (apparently) on Vince McMahon (who know is outside, being held back - apparently, he wants a piece of Dude Love for stealing the spotlight). Next thing we know, Austin is trying to fight back, they're outside the ring, they're on the commentary table, they're...fading to black!
Ummm, I find that a letdown. See you next week!