/22 June 1998
WWF RAW is WAR
I GET LETTERS:
I don't make too many mistakes, but I get called on when I
do, and I thank you for the notices. Last week I misquoted Vince McMahon.
I said he said "I swear on my grandmother's kiddies" when what he REALLY
said was "I swear on my grandmother's kittens," not that that particularly
makes any MORE sense. I've also been getting more and more requests from
other newsletter writers and webmasters asking if they can use my columns.
The answer is a firm but polite "no." The ONLY place you can find old CRZ
is wrestlemaniacs.com (well, you can catch reruns in my personal archives,
follow the link below - but for first-run reports, this is the place!) and
I think that's the way we ALL like it.
One world leader attitude - WWF!
Let us take you back to last week, where Paul Bearer issues the challenge - Kane & Mankind against Undertaker and Steve Austin in the (Hell in the) Cell, and what we get instead of that match, which was pretty hot. Tonight we'll hear from Paul Bearer's home (via satellite) and also from Kane. Also tonight, Kane takes on the Road Dogg. Let's run those credits!
From the Frank Erwen Center in beautiful Austin, Tejas, it's WWF RAW! Airing 22.6.98 (but taped 16.6) on the USA Network and TSN and maybe some other places, it's rated TV-PG-V. FIREWORKS!
Your hosts are Jim Ross and Michael Cole, who provide commentary. We once again see the (Hell in the) Cell ominously hanging above the ring.
It wouldn't be RAW if we didn't start out with VINCENT K. walking to ringside to share a few words with us. The crowd is quick to chant "Austin." "Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the next World Wresling Federation Champion - I give you KANE!" Ross dutifully says "through hellfire and brimstone" as, Bearer-less, he makes his way to join Mr. McMahon in the ring. Crowd brings up the "Austin" chant again. "This Sunday, Kane, when you face Stone Cold Steve Austin for the WWF Championship - this, Kane, will be the greatest day of your life! Gone - gone forever will be all those days of torment, a childhood that was nothing short of a living hell, the excess baggage you've carried with you into manhood; the excess baggage of rejection, of ridicule, of scorn and abuse - those days, Kane, will be gone. Gone, forever! Because this Sunday, you'll take your place in that rarified air. You'll take your place - those few great people who've overcome all odds to become Champion. This Sunday, Kane, when you become WWF Champion - this, Kane, is your DESTINY! No force upon earth can stop destiny. No man can stop destiny. Not even Stone Cold Steve Austin. And Austin - Austin, as Kane stands before you here tonight - HE dedicates this title match to his father, Paul Bearer; and furthermore, Austin, challenges you like you've never been challenged in your life, Austin! Because Kane, this Sunday, challenges you, Austin, to a match that's NEVER been held before in the World Wrestling Federation; no, never in history. A match in which there's no such thing as a pinfall...a submission...a countout...a disqualification...no, Kane challenges you, Austin, to a match in which, clearly, the winner will be the man who draws *first blood* on his opponent. That's right, Austin, a *first blood* match. And Austin, how confident are you... ("Austin" chant)...how confident is Austin? I'll tell you how confident Kane is. He's so confident that he will offer in writing a special provision in the contract that states the following: If you will speak publicly for the first time, Kane...what does the contract further state?" Kane takes out one of them "Smoked too many cigarettes" voicebox stimulators and monotones: "If I do not win the title...I will set myself on fire..." Vince: "If Kane does not win Sunday, he will set himself on fire AND BREATHE HIS LAST BREATH!" Cue Kane's music. Paul Bearer, watching from his home, looks unhappy about that last stipulation - apparently, this is the first he's heard of it.
Tonight, Kane takes on the Road Dogg, Mankind takes on the Badd Ass, and the Quarterfinal King of the Ring matchups - speaking of which...
KEN SHAMROCK v. MARK HENRY (with the Nation) in a first round King of the Ring and "Most <x> Man Alive" Match - sure enough, out come COMMISSIONER SLAUGHTER and a bevy of referees to keep the Nation from staying ringside. Those guys have just GOTTA get some manager's licenses or something. Let's take an ad break!
Oh boy! An UNCENSORED D-generation-X video! And only $14.95! Wotta deal! (Pass.) The words "Shawn Michaels" aren't uttered during this ad, but he IS on the box...
When we come back, Shamrock IMMEDIATELY runs for Henry and falls down. Ha! This match is your basic "big man takes control when he hits a move and keeps it until he misses a move." The big man in this case being Henry. I will say that Henry's Stinger splash really looks like it would take the wind out of you. While the commentators continue to react to Kane's earlier "statement," and hype the later appearance of the Undertaker (geez, don't you think these guys could be on time? They KNOW when the show starts!) Henry is moving through his breathtaking array of bearhugs. Shamrock tries to come back with a sunset flip, which of course, doesn't WORK - Henry sits on him and then goes back to the bearhug. Shamrock is trying to punch out - now a headbutt to the nose, which DOES break the hold. Shamrock is repeatedly throwing shoulderblocks but he's still up. Shamrock with ... a huracanrana?!? No way. Henry leaves the ring, where coincidentally VADER has appeared, clocking Henry with a bellclap. Fortunately for us, referee "Blind" Earl Hebner is busy discussing politics with Shamrock and missed all of it. Henry staggers back in, where Shamrock delivers a nice belly-to-belly suplex for the pin. (4:37) Shamrock gives an "intense" post-match interview walking back. Replay shows Vader blatanly cheating for Shamrock - no, sorry, that's "getting a measure of revenge against Mark Henry." Okay.
We cut to a shot of EDGE, sitting up in the balcony - sitting up in the balcony...hmmm....this sounds familiar...
DX do that Super Soaker thing - best line is Billy's "Super Soaker 3000 - DeFreshMekker!"
Another shot of Edge. He looks bored.
DUSTIN RUNNELS (no theme, no entrance, kneeling in prayer, wearing Sting's gloves) v. X-PAC (with Chyna) - Runnels wants a handshake but gets a crotch-chop instead. X-Pac gains the early advantage and looks good. Dustin ends up on the outside, so X-Pac delivers a sliding savat kick. Back in, whip into the corner and the 1- 2-3 Kicks. Runnels picks up X-Pac and crotches him on the top rope, following with a clothesline. Ross says both men have been Intercontinental champions - huh? Did I miss the Kid winning the IC title? Maybe he was champ same time Bob Holly was, ha! Another clothesline by Runnels. Dustin misses one of those flying body attacks and ends up on the outside. While X-Pac distracts referee "Blind" Mike Ciota, Chyna delivers a BIG elbow on Dustin. Back in we go - X-Pac with two lightning guillotines. Chinlock. Commentators speculate that the only way Austin can draw first blood on Kane is to remove Kane's mask - I guess you can only bleed from the head in this match. X-Pac for 2. Elbow to the head, and back to the chinlock. Crowd isn't exactly cheering on their hometown hero, but he manages to Hulk up, punch out, and drop X-Pac's face to the canvas. Crossbody after ducking a lariat, 2 count. To the corner, Dustin is in control. Nice one-armed suplex for 2. Dustin signals for the bulldog and the crowd, kinda reacts. As Dustin runs the ropes, Chyna grabs Dustin's foot. Dustin thinks of smackin' Chyna, but "turns the other cheek" - and runs into the spinning heel kick for the pin. (5:31) Helmsley comes out to celebrate. Dustin AGAIN offers a handshake and gets a crotch-chop for his troubles. So he kneels in prayer instead as DX leaves.
From his home, via satellite, Bearer promises that Kane is just the kinda guy who WOULD set himself on fire if he were to lose. Paul promises to get up off his sickbed and be in his son's corner on Sunday.
We see shots of the first "Hell in a Cell" matchup by way of advertising Undertaker v. Mankind - Hell in a Cell, which will take place this Sunday at the King of the Ring. Has it REALLY been eight months since Badd Blood?
Let's take another shot of Edge while we wait.
Let's ALSO take another shot of the (Hell in the) Cell!
JERRY THE KING LAWLER stands in the ring and invites AL SNOW (and the Head) into the ring. Sure enough, Snow IS dressed as the cleaning lady (the Head wearing the King's crown). Lawler offers a piece of paper in exchange for the crown. "Hey, this isn't an appointment - it's a contract!" Anyway, the contract says that Al & Head must meet Too Much (Brian Christopher & Scott Taylor) in a tag team match at King of the Ring - if Snow wins, he'll get his meeting with McMahon - if he "does the J.O.B. at the P.P.V.," he'll have to leave the WWF (again?). Snow says he'll lay down right now - Lawler calls out Christopher and Taylor, but Snow gets up and whacks both men with the Head, then runs out of the ring, stopping at the commentary table to tell JR that "the Head lays down for nobody" (nee Shawn Michaels?) and then flees through the crowd.
Kevin Kelly stands in front of a door. We'll hear from Stone Cold TONIGHT!
Edge has moved to the edge of the staging area. Stay tuned - he'll eventually make it to the ring!
RAW is brought to you by Castrol GTX and WWF: The Music, Volume 2 AND the Super Soaker CPS 1000!
MARVELOUS MARC MERO (with Jacqueline and her breasts) v. JEDOUBLEF JADOUBLEREDOUBLET (with Tedoublenedoublesdoublee Ldoublee and a Red Carpet) in a King of the Ring First Round Match - the winner in THIS match, of course, is the fans! Actually, the fans are bored enough to get a good "Sable" chant going. We learn that Sable is now being employed by TitanSports and not the WWF, so that's how she circumvented the loser-leaves-the-WWF clause. We pick up the action after a Merosault for 2. Jarrett comes back by attempting to crotch Mero on the top rope but botching it, but they play up a possible knee injury instead. Jarrett works on the knee. Mero pulls out a quick 2, but Jarrett is back with a clothesline. Whip into the ropes, knee but Mero grabs him again for 2. Jarrett is getting annoyed that while he has all the offense, Mero is hanging on for all the near falls. Choke on the middle rope by Jarrett. Bossman straddle. Jarrett struts. Coming off the ropes, Jacqueline grabs the foot. This gets Tennessee Lee over to Jacqueline, which gets referee "Blind" Jack Doane outside to separate the managers. Mero hits a Golotta and the TKO, but there's no ref. And now, who should come out but SABLE. Do we all know what's happening now? Yup, pin for Jarrett after a kick to the gut and DDT combo (4:31). Jarrett promises that the King of Country Music will become King of the Ring. The first semifinal is set - Shamrock vs. Jarrett. Meanwhile, Sable has cost Mero another match.
The Cinn-a-Burst Rewind is Steve Austin and Kane fighting on top of the (Hell in a) Cell - from last week's War Zone.
Jerrly Lawler has joined Jim Ross for commentary. We take another look at that (Hell in the) Cell.
ROAD DOG (with B. A. Billy Gunn) v. KANE (with, in spirit and via satellite, Paul Bearer) - interestingly, the WWF seems to have settled on spelling Dog with only one "G" (or they just made a mistake this week). Referee "Blind" Jim Korderas is quick to ban the Badd Ass from ringside. The TV-PG-V box makes it's appearance. Ross says "James will have to take every shortcut he knows" and he certainly tries, but Kane quickly gets the advantage and pretty much has his way. Finish is a chokeslam attempt, James with a Golotta, Kane with a hairpull to keep James from escaping, a bonafide chokeslam, a Tombstone, and a pin (4:02). Lawler says "titanium testicles." Paul Bearer, on the Titantron, says that he'e healing, and he's damn well gonna be at the King of the Ring. Ross: "Why did Undertaker do what he did?" Bearer: "I knew his part in the collusion to destroy Stone Cold Steve Austin - he wanted to shut me up! He didn't, did he? He didn't..." the lights start doing that "eerie" flickering thing...next thing we know, the UNDERTAKER is in Paul Bearer's home! Hey, that's not legal! He takes out Paul Bearer again, then destroys everything in Paul's house. The camera cuts out - STATIC - and we are in a break.
Let us take you back to moments ago. Undertaker: "Did you think I'd forgotten where you live?" Who's that woman screaming anyway? She must be running the camera.
EDGE v. JOSE ESTRADA - Jose attacks before the bell, but Edge takes control.. Nice dropkick and Jose is outside. Edge screams. Edge with a somersault plancha. And that's...it? Some debut. (COR 1:07) The replay shows WHY it was cut short - Edge compacted Estrada's neck on the plancha attempt and Jose didn't get up. Quick thinking by referee "Not Blind this time" Tim White to count him out before Edge could get his hands on him again.
Backstage, Kane is turning a locker room upside down and ... well, "screaming" (with the help of his voicebox massager). This is a little surreal (read: stupid), folks. Mankind tries to calm down his stablemate.
Let us take you back to moments ago - Jose is strapped to a gurney - another grisly replay.
The Super Soaker presents King of the Ring!
DAN THE BEAST SEVERN v. WHINY BITCH OWEN HART in a King of the Ring First Round match - I guess the Nation has given up - they're not even TRYING to come out anymore. Jim Ross announces some rescheduling of events - all much later - a testament to all the injuries you've read about on wrestlemaniacs.com. Another matfest. Severn with a Goldberg-esque spear and a nice belly-to-back suplex. Hart with the enziguiri and the Perfectplex, but only 2. Hart with a backbreaker across his knee. Chinlock. Into the corner, head to the gut twice, whip, reverse, Severn with a suplex. Severn with a - Owen slides out - swinging neckbreaker by Hart. Owen goes outside and takes JR's chair. Unfortunately, when he throws it in, Severn grabs it. So Owen waits outside while referee "Back to being Blind" Tim White tries to convince Severn to give up the chair. Unfortunately, Owen's got his back to the entranceramp - and out comes X-PAC with a chair of his own. Whack! And back in goes Hart to take his submission hold. (2:56) The NATION runs out to help Owen, but Severn's off and X- Pac is LONG gone. This is all *Slaughter's* fault - if the Nation were out, these heinous sneak attacks would NEVER happen!
The JVC Kaboom Box presents the JVC Kaboom! of the week. From Moments Ago, X-Pac gains retribution on Owen Hart with a chairshot.
THE ROCK has the mic - he wants DX to tangle with the Nation, right now! Owen is bleeding good, by the way. The music plays - but a phalanx of officials prevents anything from getting on.
When we come back, Maivia is STILL in the Ring. Which must mean it's time to finish drawing the brackets:
THE ROCK v. HUNTER HEARST HELMSLEY (with Chyna) in a King of the Ring First Round match - the Rock attacks before the bell, wisely. Big right. To the corner, more punches. Whip, elbow. 1, 2, no. Back into a corner, punch, whip, lariat, and another 2 count for the Rock. Head to the turnbuckle. Right. The ROCK with a crotch chop. Chyna, standing at ringside, says "..." . Helmsley finally gets some offense with a swinging neckbreaker. Now it's the Rock in the corner eating punches. Snap suplex isn't too snappy. Helmsley with the kneedrop for 2. Chyna is still silent. Elbow. Whip, duck, Rock with a gutshot and a DDT and some motions for Chyna. 1, 2, no. Suplex by the Rock for 2. Scoop slam and it's time for the People's Elbow (which, this week, takes about two minutes - well, maybe not). 1, 2, no. "Rocky sucks" chant fires up. Whip into the ropes, Rock puts his head down and gets leveled. Rock blocks a followup punch and takes Triple H down again. Choke on the middle rope. Back to the corner and Rock stays on him. Major beatdown by the Rock. Hunter finally starts fighting back, culminating in the high knee. Helmsley with a knee to the nose. Big clothesline and the Rock rolls out. Helmsley follows and tries to take Maivia's head to the STEEL steps, but the Rock blocks and takes Helmsley to the steps. Back in we go - but of course, we've wanted to see Chyna do something, and she obliges, DDT'ing Rocky. Hunter staggers back in - but only 2. Helmsley has shaken the cobwebs and now there's a sleeper on. Chyna has Triple H's European title, just in case. The Rock turns in, pushes Helmsley out, and into a sleep of his own. "Rocky sucks" chant starts up again and Helmsley manages to elbow his way out of the sleeper. Rock is whipped into the ropes, where Chyna is waiting with the belt - but Maivia pulls up short. Unfortunately, when he turns around, it's time for the Pedigree - NO! Rocky with a Golotta, and a Perfectplex! 1, 2, 3!!! (8:06) The rest of DX is out to congratulate Rocky on his win - no, wait, they're fighting him instead. Out come a bevy of officials - out comes the NATION - and it's a Pier Six brawl.
Your King of the Ring semifinals are Ken Shamrock vs. Jeff Jarrett and Rocky Maivia vs. Dan Severn. Hmmm, I wonder who will meet in the finals...and if they'll use No Holds Barred rules...
Backstage, Kane is still - well - buzzing. Mankind promises that Uncle Paul will be all right, and be good while he takes care of his match with Billy Gunn.
"Hell in a Cell" II takes place - SUNDAY - at King of the Ring!
MANKIND v. BADD ASS BILLY GUNN (with Chyna) - As Mankind talks about history, the (Hell in a) Cell is slowly lowering. "...Undertaker, when I think about our history, I couldn't help but believe...gathering together, years later, in the same hallowed halls where we did battle, in the boiler room of Cleveland, in Madison Square Garden, and then you went and attacked my Uncle Paul, and I got a new vision! One of me, urinating on your grave, you cowardly sonofabitch! ... Uncle Paul is many things ... but he is not a wrestler! ... He was defenseless, and you attacked him! We have every right in the world to arrest you, and put you behind bars, but oh no! You see, this is a family matter, and I'm going to put you behind these bars, because blood is thicker than water, and if that's not enough, I can guarantee that Mankind will have a surprise for everyone that you will not soon forget! So Kane, I ask you to listen close, because all is not lost! And when it's all said and done, Kane, you will have Steve Austin's Championship, I will have my vengence, and Uncle Paul will have the Undertaker's soul! Have a nice day!" The (Hell in a) Cell raises back up. The attack starts before the bell. It's all Mankind - geez, not a good night for the tag champs - each demolished in singles matches tonight. Mankind, by the way, is STILL wearing that shirt and tie. Gunn is firing back with lefts now. Mankind with a kick to the gut and a headbuut. Another headbutt. Clothesline and both men are on the outside. Chyna jumps on Mankind's back and punches away - and is relatively successful. That's referee "Blind" Mike Ciota's cue to bar Chyna from the ringside area. Gunn tastes the STEEL ringsteps. Trying to whip Gunn into the steps, Gunn reverses and Mankind not only hits the steps, but the steel barricade with his legs after flying over. Gunn picks up Mankind and drops him throat first on the barricade. He rolls in and out to break the count and takes Mankind to a post. To the other steps we go - Mankind blocks and hits Gunn's head on the steps. Back in the ring (for a change). Mankind drops an elbow for 2. Whip into the ropes, duck, sleeper by Billy. Mankind backs into the corner but Gunn holds on. Backs into the corner again, runs at Bill but eats a foot. Mankind with a clothesline. Mankind throws Mr. Ass out - runs the apron and drops an elbow to the floor. Mankind back in to break the count and they're both out again. Mankind grabs the top half of the steel steps - but Gunn dropkicks the steps! Mankind falls and the steps fall on HIM. Back in the ring. Rocker Dropper by Billy. Crotch chop for good measure. Piledriver attempt doesn't work. Slingshot by Mankind, and when Gunn staggers back, it's Mandible Claw time. Mr. Ass is out. (5:40) Mankind IMMEDIATELY takes off to the back. Hunter is quickly out to help Billy but we follow Mankind, who is apparently running back to Kane. But Kane is gone...
SABLE'S BREASTS reappear. Ten seconds later, SABLE reappears. "Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, now I would like to introduce to you the World Wrestling Federation champion - STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN!" And out he comes, in a new shirt (we can probably buy, no doubt) - a pinstripe jersey. "I know you're not out here by yourself just for no reason. I want you to go back there and give Vince McMahon a message..." and he teaches Sable how to use her middle finger (well, to make the bird signal, yeah). Austin checks under the ring but there's nobody there. Sable's walking off while Austin tells Kane he's accepting the challenge. "I've bled before, I'm ready to bleed again...you say if you don't win the title, you'll set yourself on fire. If you're dumb enough to set your ass on fire...you can bet your ass Stone Cold Steve Austin is gonna bring all the marshmallows, all the hotdogs, all the beer..." Anyway, KANE walks out with cool fire special effects and stands at the entranceway. With a wave of his hands - Lots of ... red paint? falls from the ceiling. "Austin...this Sunday the blood on you will be for real..." The ringposts catch fire and Kane's music plays - and we're out.
Hey, didn't we see this in "Carrie?" It didn't work THEN either. Ha! I guess now we know why Austin wasn't wearing black - you can't SEE red on black!
Let me take this opportunity to give Mad Props to Jerry Brisco, Pat Patterson, the LOD Two Thousand AND the Disciples of Apocalypse for staying off my television this week. Keep up the fine work, boys!
See you next week with the post-KotR episode of RAW is WAR!