/15 June 1998
WWF RAW is WAR
Last week, I promised to include the King of the Ring tournament bracket,
and then I forgot, and didn't. Sorry! There's a pretty nice graphical
version of it linked from the wrestlemaniacs.com main page, but I'll try
to include my clumsy text version at the bottom of THIS week's report.
Stay tuned to see if I remember!
We start by taking you back to last week, as six druids bring out a casket to Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mankind attacks from behind, Kane exits the casket and Vince McMahon directs traffic.
We see the Hell in the Cell cell hanging over the ring - why's it there? We'll find out TONIGHT!
Live from the Freeman Colesium in San Antonio, Tejas (the home of Shawn Michaels), it's Monday Night RAW! 15.6.98 - your hosts are Michael Cole and Jim Ross. Fireworks! Signs! Foam middle fingers! THIS IS THE WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION!
SABLE, in apparent defiance of the clause in her PPV match, makes her way to the ring, wearing a slinky little number that isn't painted on, but is close enough. She's not going to TALK, is she? "Oh, it feels so good to be back..." Deafening "Sable" chant. "Thank you, but now I woud like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the person who's responsible for my return to the World Wrestling Federation - MISTER Vince McMahon!" Oh good, I KNEW we couldn't start the show without seeing VINCENT K. in the first five minutes. "In an effort..." "Austin" chant is loud and strong "That's ok! He got his last week...but in an effort to clear up this alleged conspiracy theory concerning Vince McMahon, Sable I wonder if you'd be so kind as to read this prepared statement from me." And she does: "I, Vince McMahon, the Humanitarian of the Year...resent any and all accusations that I, last week, in my finest hour, would stoop so low as to use legitimate charitable organizations to further my personal agenda against Stone Cold Steve Austin. I hereby publicly disavow any reference or knowledge of the willful and heinous attack perpetrated on the current WWF Champion one week ago. I reamin steadfast in my resolve to be a caring, generous, and even jovial WWF Owner. And to furthermore bring the parties responsible for last week's attack on Stone Cold to justice. Thank you for your kindness and understanding, and I hope you enjoy the rest of the show." Apparently, her diction is so perfect Vince is compelled to buss her on the cheek. "I certainly hope that clears up an alleged conspiracy. So ladies and gentlemen, let's hear it for the return of Sable, thankyouverymuch." Suddenly, I hear glass...and it's STEVE AUSTIN himself. Austin is so kind as to part the ropes so Sable can exit the ring area. "I just want to let you know that while she was reading that bunch of crap that you wrote, I threw up about six times backstage..." Well, ok. "what you're fixing to get right now - 'cause I'm getting tired of all your chickenshit (not censored?) changes...I'm fixing to put this foot in your ass." "For once in your life, listen to reason, and don't react in a physical, violent way." "If you want me to react in a physical, violent way, gimme a hell yeah." Crowd complies, and the chase is on, Vince imploring Austin to listen to reason and Austin...well, not doing so. "The Undertaker! ...the Undertaker...it was the Undertaker...I swear...I swear on my grandmother's kids...(is that like his parents?) I know this sounds preposterous but hear me out just this once. Who was it that challenged you two weeks ago? Who was it that said 'I want YOUR WWF Championship?' It was the Undertaker, that's who it was. Stone Cold, that's YOUR WWF Championship, not the Undertaker's. Last week, the Undertaker knew what he was doing. Undertaker KNEW I was gonna call the cops on him - think about it! When the Undertaker chokeslammed superstar after superstar, he KNEW I'd call the cops ... he SURROUNDED himself with those cops because he knew he wouldn't have to come down for the save ... I couldn't believe it myself - just remember one thing, Undertaker is from the dark side ... in my book, he just might be the Devil himself, and he wants..." BONG... out comes THE UNDERTAKER in full garb while McMahon extricates himself from the proceedings. We have a staredown, then he grabs the mic. "Yeah it's true, I came out here and I challenged you for the World Wrestling Federation title. But I did it like a man. I came out here in front of the whole world and I asked what's rightfully mine - a title shot. The way I did it - I did it with respect for you and where you've brought yourself. And maybe it's just old school but I still respect what that world title stands for. So no matter how entertaining or plausible McMahon's conspiracy theory is, you know and I know it's a damn lie." Vince blusters. "McMahon, you make a living on manipulating the minds of those weaker than you. (!) So there's something I want you to know before I remove your head from the rest of your body. YOU will never, ever be able to manipulate the mind of the Undertaker." As if on cue, the lights go out, and the music starts, and you can almost hear Jim Ross think "through hellfire and brimstone" as KANE, MANKIND, and PAUL BEARER walk out. "Well, well, well...congratulations to you, Undertaker. Congratulations for the Academy Award winning performance that you put on last Monday night. For a few minutes there, I think Stone Cold Steve Austin ACTUALLY believed you when you were pointing your accusing finger at Mr. McMahon. But you know and I know that Mr. McMahon didn't have a damn thing to do with the plan last week. As far-fetched as it may sound, the Undertaker and I hatched that plan in hell! And it worked pretty good, didn't it deadman. You want more than the gold that Steve Austin is holding in his hand. You, just like Satan himself, want to take Steve Austin's very soul. You, Undertaker, wanted to entrap Stone Cold in that cell hanging above your head tonight! You wanted that, Undertaker! But I've gone as far as I can go with you. There's going to be entrapment tonight, oh yes there is, but it's not going to be the entrapment that you want. On behalf of my son Kane and on behalf of Mankind, I challenge BOTH of you to a tag team match tonight right in that very ring, right in that cell above your heads! Congratulations, gentlemen, you are standing at the entrace ramp on the highway to hell!" So that sets up tonight's main event, I guess?
OK, what'd I miss? Mankind is wearing a shredded shirt'n'tie combo this week. The ringposts do that fire thing that Kane does. I think that's it. I bet when we come back, Austin and Undertaker are gone...
(the man they call) VADER v. THE ROCK (with the Nation and Commissioner Slaughter) in a King of the Ring Qualifier - whoops, Slaughter isn't with the Rock - he's there to ban the Nation from ringside. Rocky isn't limping - yet. Oh yeah, Vader's wearing his mask again. Lockup, no. Lockup, to the corner, no clean break when the Rock punches away. Vader blocks the last one and delivers a headbutt. Now it's Vader taking it to Maivia. Irish whip to the corner and a splash by Vader. Another whip and another splash. Scoop, slam and Vader with a splash from the second rope. 1, 2, no. Vader with a right. The Rock comes back with a kick to the gut and a DDT (yeah!) for 2. Vader kicks out with authority. The Rock stays on him with a series of rights, and then a fake at referee "Blind" Earl Hebner. Vader falls on the Rock for 2. The Rock again tries the slam and hits it. The People's Elbow(tm) for 2. Punch, whip, reversal, bellringer by Vader, big splash for 2. Whip, Rock ducks the clothesline, hits one of his own and Vader is outside. Hey, there's MARK HENRY snuck out to do some damage behind Hebner's back. Axehandle, splash (!) Maivia comes out and rolls Vader back in. It's time for Rock Bottom - and that's where Vader lands! 1, 2, 3. (4:40) The Rock advances. Replay shows Henry's big splash on the outside, and Henry "sneaking" away. Har, har. We have one more KotR Qualifier in this round - and it's DX vs. DX as Hunter Hearst Helmsley takes on X-Pac - or will they?
DX "Droppin' Knowledge" video. Jesse James, standing in front of a blackboard with "Match of the Year" written on it, tells both Helmsley and X-Pac that he has faced each man's opponent, and it was tough stuff. Let's see...when he was the Roadie, he faced the 1-2-3 Kid at IYH 2 (wow, that's like THREE years ago!) - hmmm, I can't recall when he faced Triple H but he WAS a jobber-to-the-Stars type when he was the singin' face, Double J Jesse Jammes...
DARREN "DROZ" DROZDOV v. JEDOUBLEF JADOUBLEREDOUBLET (with Tedoublenedoublesdoublee Ldoublee and a Red Carpet) - well, they mentioned Southern Justice, but I didn't see 'em. No sooner does this match start, but MARC MERO and JACQUELINE have made their way out to ringside. Mero wants to know why Sable is back. Ross suggests taking his grievance to Mr. McMahon. Mero says that if McMahon can do whatever he wants, then MERO is going to do whatever HE wants, too. Of course, McMahon OWNS the WWF, while Mero...well never mind my logic. The talk turns to Jarrett. Somewhere in here, Tennesee Lee puts a move on Jacqueline - or tries. Jackie slaps Lee. Jarrett is out to separate the two, Mero walks over to hit a Golotta on Jarrett, and he's rolled back in so Puke can get his pin (2:12) and I need a scorecard to figure out what's going on. Somewhere in here I heard Mero call Jackie "my main squeeze." We cut to a shot of a door with "VAL VENIS" written on it, and JR says "Val Venis is coming - NEXT!" which is the closest thing to a dirty joke I'll hear from good ol' JR when his momma is watching. Meanwhile, we hear a woman, presumably having a good time, behind that door.
DX "Droppin' Knowledge" video - Billy Gunn asks where Chyna will be during this match.
VAL VENIS v. CHAINZ (no entrance, no bike?) - "Hello, ladies! Y'know, they say things come a heck of a lot bigger in the state of Texas! But you know, that statement was never entirely true (inhale) until Val Venis came. Heh heh." Lockup, standing switch, elbow by Venis. Chainz fires back. Big boot by Venis. Clothesline by Chainz, lightning like elbow drops (three of 'em!) Chainz is moving fast, yeah! Whip into the corner. Venis with a stun gun, a pancake, lotsa punches, a bunch of other stuff I missed, a suplex, a chop, a whip with a knee to the gut followup. Side Russian leg sweep, Venis is showing all his moves here I guess. Pelvic thrust. Ross says "endowed." Punches, big boots, Chainz has finally had enough and hits a chop. But Venis is back with a whip and a splash. Snapmare, elbow drop, all right, that's enough, I'm convinced. Venis IS the man of a thousand moves. Chainz hits a nice belly-to-back suplex, a back body drop, a kick to the gut, there's a whip and a reversal, scoop slam by Venis and he's climbing the ropes. Whoops, Chainz was able to crotch him before the Money Shot. That's gotta hurt. Chainz with a superplex? No, Venis shoves him to the mat and now it IS the Money Shot. 1, 2, 3 (4:35) and his privates hurt so much he can't do the pelvic thrust. Awww. Replay of the big splash. That match was nice and fast and murder to a blow-by-blow chronicler such as Yours Truly. It STILL won't win my Match of the Week vote though, nope, nope.
Kevin Kelly asks Undertaker if he can trust Steve Austin. "How can you trust anybody who goes by the theory that you can't trust anybody?" Well, can Steve Austin trust you? "Of course!"
DX "Droppin' Knowledge" video - Helmsley and X-Pac chat. Will they really go at it tonight? I wonder.
MARVELOUS MARC MERO (with Jacqueline) v. DUSTIN RUNNELS (no entrance) - Big hugs for Marc and Jackie. Oh boy, it's just like before! Out come Jarrett, Lee AND Southern Justice. Jarrett has words for Mero. "JR what happens when the boxer takes on the wrestler?" "Well, the boxer usually loses." Jarrett goes on to say that he had Puke taken care of until Mero's interference. Meanwhile, Runnels is having his way with Mero. Runnels is thrown out - and we're waiting for Jacqueline's interference. Surprisingly, we didn't see it. Instead, Mero whips Runnels into the STEEL steps. Mero with a powerbomb after they come in. Jarrett promises a figure four when he and Mero have their KotR match next week. Runnels has come back with an uppercut and a clothesline. Whip and an atomic drop. Lariat and down goes Mero. Runnels climbs the corner, but Mero is up. Huracanrana from the top but only 2. Jarrett, meanwhile, has made his way to the apron. A cry comes up from the crowd, and Sable is back, walking down the ramp. Runnels hits his bulldog! 1, 2, 3! (4:03) Well, wait, what's all THAT about? We STILL don't know why Sable is here. Although we now know that Dustin doesn't have any entrance music.
DX "Droppin' Knowledge" segment - these have all sucked, by the way. Chyna bosses them two around but I couldn't understand her. I BELIEVE this match may be next, and will lead off the War Zone.
Kevin Kelly interviews Dustin Runnells, who thanks our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and walks away. No, REALLY, he did.
Jerry Lawler joins Jim Ross at the commentary table.
The Army and WWF: The Music (Volume 2, available at NRM), AND the Super Soaker CPS 1000 bring you RAW is WAR!
X-PAC v. HUNTER HEARST HELMSLEY in a King of the Ring Qualifier - I STILL don't think this match is going to happen. X-Pac has a modified DX theme carrying him to the ring. Before the bell, X-Pac tries an inside cradle but only gets 2. Hey, they're REALLY wrestling! The Kid with his flippy-flippy move, then a nice enziguiri. Pose. Chops and X-Pac stays on him. Whip, reversal, duck, high knee by Triple H. X-Pac rolls out. CHYNA has made her way out - who's she with? She tosses X-Pac back in. X-Pac eats a lariat. Whip, big atomic drop by Helmsley. Textbook suplex. Helmsley poses. Kneedrop. 1, 2, no. Helmsley takes his head to the top turnbuckle, to another corner, big whip to a THIRD corner and X-Pac goes down hard. But the kid comes back with some quick kicks. Whip, and a spinning martial arts kick. Helmsley falls out, and sure enough, Chyna throws HELMSLEY back in. Big spinning kick by X-Pac for 2. Whip into the ropes, reversal, titl-a-whirl backbreaker by Helmsley for 2. Whip, reversal, X-Pac puts his head down and Helmsley makes him pay. Clothesline over the top rope and X-Pac is outside. Suddenly, THE ROCK is up in the bleachers, talking trash - sorry "laying the smack down." What everybody (including the commentators) missed was OWEN HART crotching X-Pac HARD on the barricade. Helmsley walks out to the ring - but X-Pac ain't goin' anywhere. X-Pac is SCREAMING for Helmsley to get back into the ring to beat the ten count, which he does - just barely. (COR 5:12) Replays better show Owen completing the plan he and the Rock hatched. I don't know why hurting X-Pac does damage to Helmsley, but I guess they'll explain it later.
Out comes AVATAR and THE HEAD AVATAR. Of course, those who are savvy know that Al Snow played the Avatar for about ten minutes in the WWF (I have his botched live RAW match somewhere on tape) so this is hilarious. I guess.
The JVC Kaboom! of the week is Undertaker chokeslamming six different people last week on RAW is WAR.
When we come back, Jerry Lawler is berating Avatar. Avatar takes off the mask and makes fun of the gimmick, and rightfully so. "They were supposed to know it was me under the mask - THAT was the whole gimmick!" Snow says he's here to make two citizen's arrests - one for Vince McMahon for "attempted murder" (his career) and once for Jerry Lawler for "lewd behaviour" (trying to "screw" Snow out of getting his meeting with McMahon). Lawler says the problem is the Head and before he can take care of it for him, Snow waffles him. Referee "Blind" Jack Doane is the victim of a Snowplow. Lawler gets hit with the Head (which leads to Jim Ross joyfully saying "He got head!") and a couple of security guys get hit too, until Snow escapes through the crowd.
This Saturday on LiveWire, Michael Cole gets the Super Soaker, and so does some other guy. Those DX guys are verifiably WACKY, aren't they.
Michael Cole asks Steve Austin if he can trust the Undertaker. Nope. Can Undertaker trust him? Nope.
OWEN HART & MARK HENRY (with the Rock, the Godfather, and the Commissioner) v. KEN SHAMROCK & DAN SEVERN - Slaughter once again prevents the Nation from getting past the entranceway. We are treated to clips of Severn and Shamrock doin' that UFC thing, where head-to-head they are 1 and 1. We also learn that D-Lo Brown had a pectoral muscle separated from his chest cavity as a result of last week's Brown/Severn match (which explains D-Lo's absence THIS week, maybe - if true he's been out almost two weeks already). Shamrock immediately hits the ring and busts up Owen real good. Severn is stoic on the outside. Owen comes back with an enzuigiri. Whip, reverse, up, go behind, Owen with the chickenwing (!), Shamrock turns into it, and Owen hikes up a leg into Shamrock's groinal regions. Tag to Henry, who shows how strong he really IS by easily whipping Shamrock around like a rag doll. Big splash for 2. To the corner, whip, but Henry misses. Tag to Severn who suplexes Henry (wow!) and goes to an armbar. Severn tries another suplex but Henry elbows him and tags Owen. Severn with a takedown and they're doing the mat thing. Owen can't escape the hold - there's a BIG belly-to-back suplex and Severn goes for the armbar but Henry breaks it up. To the corner where Henry hurts Severn while Owen distracts ref "Blind" Tim White. Now the Nation members are taking turns distracting the ref, or Shamrock, who comes in and distracts the ref so they can doubleteam. Anyway, Henry holds Severn for a Hart missile dropkick, and you know what comes next. Right, Severn gets out of the way. Tag to Shamrock, who is a houseafire. Shamrock does pretty well until Owen blocks a 'rana attempt and puts on a Sharpshooter - Severn watches and does nothing to help. And now here's DX, who have an issue with Owen from earlier. (DQ 4:38) We get a pretty cool double suplex by the Outlaws on Mark Henry. Before we know it, VADER is out, the NATION is out, a bevy of officials are out, and I REALLY need that scorecard. Everybody's fighting with somebody.
Be like Stone Cold and Don't Trust Anybody - except the guy you need to pay to BUY this shirt!
The King of the Ring is presented by Super Soaker! Go soak your head!
TAG TEAM ROYAL RUMBLE - LOD 2000 (with dorky helmets and slightly less dorky Sunny) are first, but then we see darkness and hear the music - and apparently KANE & MANKIND are enrolled in this match. Before the match starts, we take an ad break, so I'll ruminate. Supposedly, every thirty seconds another tag team will enter the fray. I would assume that if one team member is thrown over the top and to the floor, BOTH members are eliminated, but I guess we'll all find out together. Also, if this is like the REAL Royal Rumble, the managers will take a hike after the entrance, so bye Sunny, bye Paul.
When we come back, apparently the bell just sounded. Mankind is STILL wearing his tie. The Road Warriors are doubleteaming Kane but it ain't happening. The MIDNIGHT EXPRESS is next. No manager with them, and Paul Bearer is still hanging around - it does look like Sunny is gone, however. Easy night's pay for her! No eliminations yet. Out come the HEAD BANGERS, so there's eight men in the ring. Oh by the way, the winner of this match becomes #1 Contender. SKULL & 8-BALL *walk* out after thirty seconds, and of course go straight for the LOD, which means this is probably my last chance to say "Those Beautiful Titan Bikes" even though nobody rode any this week. Maybe they should have made this interval longer. GOLGA & KURRGAN are next - oh man, we had a nice drought of Kurrgan-free RAWs there. Jackyl is NOT with them. Bodacious Bart is tossed and the Midnight Express are the first eliminees. Your next entrants are TOO MUCH, making their RAW debut. Kane destroys Brian Christopher almost immediately. FAAROOQ & STEVE BLACKMAN (with Riggs & Murtaugh) enter the ring. There's a lot of bodies in the ring but not much real action to call. Kane & Kurrgan are toe-to-toe which is neat to watch, I guess. TAKA MICHINOKU & BRADSHAW enter as the DOA get eliminated. TERRY FUNK & SCORPIO are the last entrants - so I guess the Quebecers are gone for good? Funk immediately goes for Kurrgan, showing his senility - but it pays off as Kurrgan gets eliminated. Double feature shows Animal eliminating one of the DOA, which means we can look forward to another 23,745 matches between those two teams. Brian Christopher and Scott Taylor actually manage to eliminate each other, much to Lawler's chagrin. Kane tosses Mosh. Somewhere in here, EVERYBODY else gets eliminated except the Funks and Paul Bearer's team. Terry Funk has a chair and isn't afraid to use it. Scorpio and Funk try to get Kane out but Mankind makes the rescue. The end comes with Mankind holding the chair in front of Funk's face while Kane gives the chair the big boot. (8:30ish) So now Paul Bearer's cult are the #1 Contenders to the Tag Team title - maybe we'll see that next week?
We see Austin tying his shoes. The big main event is NEXT! (But there's only ten minutes left in the show...)
When we come back, Paul Bearer talks, then Mankind spouts poetry, then Paul Bearer talks some more. There sure seems to be a lot of stalling going on - at six to the hour, the glass breaks and out comes STEVE AUSTIN. For some reason, the cage has already been lowered. Austin climbs the cage and poses - oh wait, there's an open door, ok. Austin stands at the door as Undertaker's music DOES play and he DOES come out - or does he? JR says we're going to run a little long tonight, ok. Undertaker doesn't come out and the commentators wonder if maybe McMahon was right after all. Undertaker is announced a second time - the lights dim - and we see nobody. Mankind doesn't wait and rushes Austin, who slams the door on him. Then Kane is out and they're fighting out on the rampway. Bell still hasn't rung. Paul Bearer is locking HIMSELF in the cell and I don't know WHY (I predict UT is under the ring). While Kane & Mankind doubleteam Austin, and Bearer looks on, yep - there's the Undertaker coming up from under the ring. Big boot! Again! Punches in bunches! Kane and Mankind can't get in to save him. Kane is on the roof. Bearer is run into the cage wall. When we see him next, he's busted wide open and bleeding everywhere. Undertaker runs him into the wall again, and does that coleslaw thing with Bearer's face. Ugh....meanwhile, Austin has gotten the better of Mankind and is now bouncing Mankind off the wall of the cage, now into the barricade. Austin's now grabbed a chair and flattens Mankind with it. Kane is still on the roof, doin' nothin'. Austin gets another chair shot on Mankind's face (it's LOUD). I wonder why they don't just raise the cage - holy crap! Undertaker takes the steel steps to Bearer's head! And now Austin is CLIMBING the cage! He's taking it to Kane ON THE ROOF OF THE CAGE! Kane strikes back...
...and we're gone!
Wow. You know, it's an unfair comparison, but both WCW and WWF did cage main events tonight. We got something resembling a match but ultimately an NWO run-in with the WCW, and we got blood and spots and, somehow, MORE action with the WWF. Is it any wonder I show bias?
Oh, and by the way: (no contest).
You know what I REALLY liked? No McMahon at the end. We didn't need it. You know what else I liked? No Patterson! No Brisco! We didn't need THEM.
Here's your up-to-the-nanosecond (as seen on TV) King of the Ring bracket:
Ken Shamrock Shamrock Godfather Kama ________ Mark Henry Henry \ Terry Funk \________ Jeff Jarrett Jarrett / \ Faarooq ________/ \ Steve Blackman Mero \ Marc Mero \________ The Rock Rock / Vader ________ / H. H. Helmsley Helmsley \ / X-Pac \________/ Dan Severn Severn / D-Lo Brown ________/ Owen Hart Hart ScorpioGood night!