/6 July 1998
WWF RAW is WAR
One World Leader Attitude - WWF!
Let us take you back to last week, where Mr. McMahon presented the new WWF Champion, Kane - where Steve Austin challenged Kane - where Kane accepted - where they fought and fought - where the Undertaker slowly walked to ringside - where Austin countered a tombstone attempt with a Stone Cold Stunner(tm) for the pin and regained the title - where the Undertaker lunged for Paul Bearer, turning his back to Austin and receiving a Stunner(tm) of his own.
WWF RAW comes to you 6.7.98 (but taped 30.6) closed captioned and rated TV-PG-V, and also en espanol sea disponible, from State College, Pennsylvania. Fireworks!
This week's leadoff wrestling interview slot goes to the UNDERTAKER, who has added some mushroom cloud explosions to his entrance - which can only mean the Sultan has officially been released - but who is left for the Iron Shiek to manage??? 'taker's also walking a little faster now. This makes him look angry, see. "Austin - I want a title shot, and I want it right now!" Crowd seems happy enough, then returns to their "Austin" chant. We cut to Michael Cole, who is backstage looking for Austin to get a response. Man, it's *exciting* watching him walk from door to door. We find Austin walking out of a bathroom - well, maybe not. He ignores Cole and heads for the ring. Austin's walk takes up another minute - this is good for ratings, see - they need to hold you for five minutes. Hey, how long is this taking? Look at all the typing I can squeeze in before the sound of the breaking glass! STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN appears from behind the curtain and keeps his eyes forward as he hits the ringside area. Ross and Lawler are going nuts thinking we're getting a title match. Before they get it on - a familiar voice cries out - "Wait just a damn minute!" That's right, it's VINCENT K. who must appear in every opening interview. "What's wrong with this pitcure? I'll tell you what's wrong with this picture - the inmates are attempting to run the asylum, that's what's wrong with this picture - Undertaker, who named you #1 Contender? And Austin, who the HELL do you think you are? You think you can come out here and defend the title against whomever you want to? Whenever you want to? ... Let me remind you, you defend the title when *I* say you defend the title. You defend the title against an opponenet of MY choice, not yours. However, however, since the two of you are so hellbent to get it on - I'm inclined to let that happen. As a matter of fact, at the next WWF Pay-per-view, entitled Fully Loaded(tm), you can be in the same ring together and you can get it on, and you know what? I don't care if the two of you TEAR each other apart - whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute. Make sure you don't misunderstand me. ... You see, you can get it on, but not the way that you think. We can do this the easy way and let you two go at it like never before, or we can do this the HARD way..." and let them join forces as a tag team. McMahon announces the Fully Loaded main event: Austin & Undertaker will team to take on Kane & Mankind. Vince also says that he'll name a #1 Contender tonight, later in the show. "And Stone Cold, lest anyone misunderstand how I feel, from the bottom of my heart, about you once again being the WWF Champion, allow me to salute you..." - and he salutes Austin as if he were the American flag - but THEN his fingers slowly curl into a gesture more familiar to Stone Cold. (I hope MiCasa captured that one!) Austin runs after McMahon, leaving Undertaker for the moment.
Later tonight, DX has a big surprise for us. Or so Ross would have us believe.
BRAKUS v. SAVIO VEGA in a BRAWLforALL match - oh boy, it's back! The thrills and excitement of wrestlers attempting to fight with gloves on! We review the rules - three minute-long rounds, five points for a takedown, five for most punches in a round, ten for a knockdown - KO ends match. Vega tries a takedown, but Brakus doesn't go. Brakus tries a takedown and appears to be successful. They both trade lots of punches to end Round One - with Savio appearing to do a better job of punching. I give 50-50 odds of (generally positive) crowd noise being dubbed in here. Replays look - not bad, actually. Unofficial score is 5-5 (Savio got the punches, Brakus got one takedown). This is Brakus' in-ring debut, by the way - don't know if that's a good idea or not. Savio is doing well again with the punches. Brakus seems to go down but it's apparently just a slip. Savio's completely dominating here. More replays show Savio's punches finding the mark. In fact, Brakus' nose is bloodied. Unofficial scoring has Savio winning 15-5. Savio starts Round 3 with a takedown and I think he can probably coast through this last minute. Maybe it's me, but these matches seem to get a little better with each one I see. Brakus gets a standing eight count. Savio is almost immediately announced as the winner (points). I guess ol' Savio still has a little TNT left in him after all...
Ken Shamrock is shadowboxing - we'll find out what that's about after the break?
WWF:The Music Volume 2 and Skittles bring you RAW!
KING KEN SHAMROCK v. JEDOUBLEF JADOUBLEREDOUBLET (with Tdeoublenedoublesdoublee Ldoublee) - Ross thanks the fans for making RAW the #1 rated show in all of Cable last week. This match is apparently a big challenege from Jarrett in hopes of getting a small measure of revenge for the King of the Ring semifinals. Commentators are more interested in the #1 Contender being announced than this match. We even cut to a shot of EDGE, hanging out in the expensive seats, right next to the cheap seats. Tennessee Lee helps Jarrett get to the ropes during a submission hold - this gets Shamrock angry and out to chase Lee - forgetting that Jarrett is probably lying in wait just outside the ring, around the next corner. Whip into the STEEL steps after Jarrett takes control. Back into the ring and it's all Jarrett. Ross is now talking about Shamrock being the King of Kings thanks to his match last week. Jarrett's put on a sleeper. Crowd goes mild. Shamrock whips Jarrett out and puts on a sleeper of his own. Jarrett rolls into a waistlock, then a suplex. Back up go both men. Shamrock reverses into a powerslam for 2. Whip, funky spinning elbow by Shamrock. Funky high knee by Shamrock - boy his moves look funky. Shamrock with a suplex for 2. Holy crap! It's KING MABEL come in to cause the DQ (4:21) and give the big splash to Shamrock. He apparently came in through the crowd, and after doing his damage, he leaves through the crowd. Damn, I forgot how huge this guy was. Replay of the clothesline and big splash. I think he's bigger, if that's possible - and his mohawk is back to a nice natural colour instead of that awful bleached blonde look. Shamrock is slowly up now, holding his ribs. The refs quickly exit the ring because they know Shamrock is going to scream soon - and thankfully, he does not disappoint.
Like many of you, I made a Mabel joke last week. I too feel responsible for him coming back. I apologise.
Michael Cole interviews Shamrck - "I don't need your weak-ass sympathy! Mabel, if you're any kind of man, you'll meet me TONIGHT!" Admittedly, Shamrock's best interview. Also his shortest. Not coincidentally.
(the man we call) VADER v. (the man whose last name is) BRADSHAW - Ross tells us that in next week's live RAW, the New Age Outlaws will defend their titles against #1 Contenders Kane & Mankind - proving that no only do they remember things like Kane & Mankind winning that #1 Contenders match, but it also adds intrigue - could the main event at the PPV be a Tag Team title match as well? We see scenes of Bradshaw's BRAWLforALL(tm) last week, to show us how tough he is. I wonder if that means Bradshaw might just win tonight? Ross mentions Vader is a former #1 Contender - further fueling suspicions that poor ol' Vader won't be getting any props tonight. Typical "battle of the bulls" actually isn't too bad - kind of like a BRAWLforALL(tm) match but with no gloves. Lawler reminds us that commentary was taped today by mentioning Roy Rogers' passing. While Bradshaw and Vader slug it out, out come KANE & MANKIND who attack both men and leave both laying. (oh, let's say - no contest - and about 2:00 even) Well, that's a pleasant surprise - Vader didn't lose. Wait, what am I saying? Screwjobs SUCK! Kane does the ringposts shoot fire bit. and the #1 Contenders walk off. We don't get any closeups of Mankind - for a good reason.
D-generation X home video ad. Wow! We get to see Shawn Michaels' bare ass! Where's my piggy bank? The video is rated TV-M - I thought that was TV-MA these days. Oh well.
DISCIPLES OF APOCALYPSE (with Paul Ellering and Those Beautiful Titan Bikes) v. THE HEAD BANGERS (with Hot Candle Wax) - scenes from last week's War Zone show Ellering turning on the LOD 2000. Ellering joins the commentators and reveals that he's here to write the final chapter on the Legion of Doom - their problem is that "they're prisoners of their own memories. They were the horse and I was the rider - now that horse needs to be put out to pasture, or shot...it's the era of the Web! It's the era of the DOA! They're twins! I only have to program one mind..." Apparently, we've all forgotten that Chainz is in the DOA. We also learn that Mabel has accepted the challenge and will take on Shamrock later tonight. Was the outcome of this match in doubt? Finish is a ... well, Ross called it a "double slam" - one guy holds the opponent as if to deliver an atomic drop, but the other guy just pushes him down to the mat instead, powerbomb style. 1, 2, 3, Ellering's teams are 1-0 in 1998. (3:44ish)
Shot of the Undertaker backstage, pacing.
The Skittles Slam of the Week is the Stunner that got Steve Austin the title, from last week's War Zone. Runner up is the one the Undertaker got soon thereafter.
TERRY FUNK v. D-LO BROWN (with the Godfather - but I like call him Kama) - let us take you back to King of the Ring where D-Lo made a surprise appearance and hit the frog splash on Dan Severn, helping the Rock advance to the Finals. D-Lo is still wearing his chest protector (didn't Mantaur used to wear one of those in *his* entrances?), which also seems to accentuate his splashes on Funk. D-Lo with chops (woooo!) - Funk reverses and Brown dares him to chop him in the chest protector - so Funk punches him in the unprotected head instead - no, a thick skull doesn't count. Funk with a piledriver for 2. Funk with a flapjack. Now they're outside the ring and Funk is introducing Brown to the barricade. Now Funk's up - YES! Asai moonsault! Funk's legs also hit the barricade on the way down, so both men are hurt. Back in the ring we go, Funk is in the corner, another moonsault! But only 2. The Godfather is up, but Funk punches him. But the second time Funk runs back to the ropes, the Godfater has wrapped his fist in hig ugly "gold" jewelry and hits a shot on Funk. Funk goes down - Brown hits the Lo-Down frog splash for the pin. (3:48) No sooner is the match over but UNDERTAKER has come out to get a little action. Brown goes down. Kama goes down. Brown gets chokeslammed (Ross actually says, and I can't possibly make this up, "Who's your daddy D-Lo?" ...the hell?) Funk gets up to thank 'Taker and we can all see it coming - yup, Funk also gets a chokeslam for HIS troubles. As the bell tolls, 'Taker walks away. We'll find out NEXT who McMahon's selected as the #1 Contender!
Countdown to SummerSlam - 8 AC/DC weeks away on the Highway to Hell!
"Ladies and gentlemen, the owner of the World Wrestling Federation - MR. McMAHON!" During his entrance, we switch shows (did you catch it?) which makes McMahon the anchor for both RAW and the War Zone. "And now, ladies and gentlemen, the moment you've all been awaiting, and certainly the moment every superstar around the world who can hear my voice is waiting for...before we name the #1 Contender, I would like to invite a number of individuals to step forward in this very ring. First I would like to introduce MANKIND." We still are spared closeups, and judiciously use the lack of lighting to not get a good look at Foley. Ross at least throws some props Foley's way this week for his lifetime performance at King of the Ring. "Thank you for joining us, Mick. And now ladies and gentlemen I would like to introduce - former WWF Champion - KANE!" Ross mentions that Kane is clad in "Satan's Red." Kane comes to the ring alone. McMahon has a nice "spooked" reaction when Kane sets the ringposts on fire once again. "And now I would like to introduce - the Phenom - the UNDERTAKER." I would venture a guess that these introductions have once again eaten up the necessary five minutes that the Nielsens demand you watch in a quarter hour period. We get to see 'Taker's Adam Bomb/Sultan-style mushroom clouds again, too. TV-PG-V box reappears just to signify the top of the hour. "Well, what an eclectic group. Which one of these competitors should be named the #1 Contender for the WWF Championship? Perhaps it should be Mankind - and Mick, with what you did at Hell in the Cell, risking life and limb, I want you to know that I feel your pain - I feel your hurt - and I want to publicly thank you for everything you've ever done for all of us here in the World Wrestling Federation - but is it enough to be named #1 Contender? Kane, last week, when I announced you as the new WWF Champion, I said you were a role model, I said you were a champion for the new millienium. How could I have known that you are one of the *stupidest* men that I have ever seen in my life?" Kane starts to rush McMahon but he stops him. "Giving Stone Cold Steve Austin a title shot last week was nothing short of dumb. That's all right, we forgive a lot of people for a lot of things around here, and I think that any man who would put into writing that he'd set himself on fire if he didn't win the Championship, well that's all right with me. And YOU..." crowd cheers wildly. "You evil, diabolical excuse for a human being...why should you be named the #1 Contender? Because you almost took that man's (pointing to Mankind) life? Why should you be named the #1 Contender? Becuase in an inferno match you set your brother on fire?" Crowd cheers. "Should you be named the #1 Contender because you asked yourself 'am I as good as Stone Cold Steve Austin?' Should you be named the #1 Contender because you want ot be the Champion again...(growling) more than life itself? - Which one of these men truly deserves to be the #1 Contender? Well you know what, gentlemen? We're going to find out right here tonight, in this very ring, when the three of you compete IN A TRIPLE THREAT MATCH!" The lights go out - the bell tolls (why play Undertaker's music again? Well, why not?) - and we take a break.
Skittles brings you WWF: Fully Loaded!
ROAD WARRIOR HAWK v. DARREN DROZDOV in a BRAWLforALL match - Hawk apparently has experience in toughman-style bouts and takes the first round. Droz hits Hawk right on the button to start the second round and Hawk is actually staggered later in the round. Commentators seem to think Droz actually jammed a hand after repeatedly running it into Hawk's face. Replays look good - Hawk's nose has a deep cut on it. It's apparently 5-5 after two rounds, and both men are fighting like they're behind. Hawk loses his mouthpiece for the second time, and Droz says "hell with it" and spits his own mouthpiece out. Hard to say who won that round. I'd give the match to Droz just for the damage he did to Hawk's face (a plus). The announced result: a (draw). Hmmm...either Darren's takedown (supposedly taking place an instant after the end of the first round and not counting) was counted (10-10) or they couldn't figure out who to give the five points to in the third round. It had a good beat and I could dance to it - I give it a 72, Dick. Let's not give up on this concept just yet, folks. It just might fly if Blackman and Mero aren't the two combatants involved.
MARVELOUS MARC MERO and JACQUELINE walk to the ring as we see replays from last week's Mero/Blackman embarrassment (for Mero, or for RAW viewers? ha!) Big "Sable" chant. "Now listen up! I been quiet long enough, now it's time to talk. I take full responsibility for my man losing that fight last week. [Mero is adopting a Hogan-like pose - and mustache!] You see everybody knows my man is the greatest boxer in the world, but unfortunately, the day before that fight was our two-month anniversary - so let's say that me and my man went twelve rounds the night before until his tank was empty. You see, my man, before he met me, been deprived for a very long time. It seems like this woman he HAD wasn't able to fill his needs. Sable wasn't able! You know, she look real good but there was no motor under that hood. She couldn't shift the gear when Marc was ready to steer." What the hell's she talking about? Out bounces SABLE, with a few double entendres of her own. "Oh Jackie - Honey you got the story all wrong. You see, I've always had my pedal to the metal - it's just that Marc's tire was flat. You see back then, they didn't make Viagra to keep his tank full." "Look girlfriend - the difference between you and me is that I'm 100% woman [I doubt that's completely true for either of them, if you catch my drift] I know what a man wants, 'cause baby, I've got tha goods! You see, honey, this body is primo real estate." "Yeah, but the question is, how many times have you rented it out?" "Look, skank [now, you're talking!] I'll tell you what - why don't you prove it? Show it off in a bikini contest!" "Jackie, don't just blow it, show it! 'Cause my bikini will be Fully Loaded(tm) - and ready to drop that bomb on you!" Man, everybody's rhyming tonight. Now to prove that I'm as sexist as the next male wrestling fan, I'll give you a preview of the bikini match. "Well, granted, Sable has bigger breasts, but Jackie doesn't mind letting her nipples poke out from behind whatever she's wearing. This should be a close match. " There, that's enough for this week.
The JVC Kaboom!box presents the Kaboom! of the week - Undertaker's chokeslam of Mankind through the roof of the (Hell in a) Cell, eight days ago at King of the Ring.
DUSTIN RUNNELS (no music, no entrance) v. VAL VENIS (no clothes?) - let us take you back to last week where Venis made a play for Mrs. Yamaguchi-San. "Hello, Ladies! You know, right now, you are looking at the only man who has scored (inhales) more times in (grunt) Beaver Stadium that Joe Paterno, huh huh." We take time out for Dustin's prayer. Dustin offers a handshake and Venis is quick to not do it. Venis with punches in bunches. Chop (woooo!) To the corner, high knee. Ross is amazed with Venis' popularity, which officially means he's a face (or face-ish, anyway). Venis does a Goldust impersation (but since we've all forgotten good old Goldy, it's a "pelvis tilt-a-whirl from the second rope, in your opponent's face") and Dustin gives him an atomic drop. Series of reversals ends with Venis with a punch and a trip to the canvas. Venis with a cool submission hold that I don't recognise. Hey, look, EDGE is still sitting up there! Dustin fights back with some rights and an uppercut. Dustin with some punches, but Venis reverses with a knee. Side Russian legsweep, and before he can finish grinding over him, well, that's why we play the clips before the match - so it will make sense when KAIENTAI are in to attack from behind. (DQ 2:40?) And out walk Mr. & Mrs. Yamaguchi-San (wow, she's a lot taller than him!) while Kaientai demolish Venis. Yamaguchi shows off his English: "Hey! Val Venis! You're just a half man Yamaguchi-San is! OK? No more hello babies...oops, ladies! I'm gonna get you, ok?" And he chops him a good one, then does a bump'n'grind of his own. Funny! We get a shot of the Mrs. with a sudden look of concern on her face. And of course, as the Japanese contigent walks back, she can't help...but look back... (keep in mind, Venis is TOTALLY in the wrong on this whole issue and got what he deserved. But on the other hand, all dem furners are evil....)
The Rock's music plays - but that ain't the NATION, it's D-GENERATION-X dressed as the Nation - and not looking completely unlike them. Helmsley is playing the Rock and has the prerequisite facial motions down. Crowd is going nuts (maybe). "You know the Crock just came from the bathroom - and - ooh! You should have smelled what the Rock was cookin'! I ain't fakin', the Rock was bakin'!" Jesse James, as "B-Lo," repeats what Helmsley said, thus providing a dead on D-Lo Brown impersonation. Helmsley starts to deliver a People's Elbow, complete with all the correct motions - but stops short, so as to not completely reveal that it might all just be fake (the horrors!). Some white guy we've never seen before does a dead-on Owen Hart, complete with fake nose and worn "CAUTION" tape - "what the hell am I, a road sign? ... If anybody can smell what the Rock is cookin', it's me - look at the size of my nose! What am I, an aardvark?" B-Lo: "What is he, an aardvark?" Billy Gunn is Kama, complete with ugly hat and cigar - probably the easiest impersonation to pull off. X-Pac, complete with obvious blackface (unlike Helmsley's gentle insta-tan) and Michelin-man like foam padding, is "Mizark" Henry - "Hey, hey, hey..." a la Fat Albert. Helmsley: "Mizark, how do you get your pecs to go all the way around to your back?" B-Lo: "Did you hear what he said?" All: "Shut up!" Chyna, dressed as Chyna, says "..." and damn this was funny. Apparently, everyone who isn't a Godfather or D-Lo isn't in the arena, and those two didn't feel annoyed enough to come in and lay some smack down. But this bit was almost as good as the first time I saw it - when it was the Wolfpac as the IV Horsemen.
Earlier tonight, Mabel splashed Shamrock. The match will happen - NEXT!
MABEL (no entrance, no cool rap beat) v. KING KEN SHAMROCK - Ross tells us no more ad breaks tonight, good. Shamrock doesn't wait for the intro, punches away - Mabel gets a shot on the ribs. Shoulderblock and Mabel reminds us all what a total heat machine with his trademark "I'm duh KIIIIIING(tm)!" Elbow drop by Mabel. Shamrock leaps at him and is caught for a slam. Mabel misses in the corner, Shamrock with a kick from the top rope. Spinning knee. Spinning kick, Mabel is still up - Shamrock runs - and runs into a clothesline. Mabel with another slam. Man, everything he does looks like it hurts. Mabel to the second rope! Shamrock, amazingly, simply catches the clothesline attempt and converts it into an armbar - then he floats over for the anklelock and Mabel taps out. (2:09) Mabel is screaming in pain and referee "Blind" Earl Hebner is having trouble letting Shamrock know that the match is over. Two more refs come out - now Commissioner Slaughter is out. A full minute after the bell, Shamrock lets go - and then rolls Mabel over and punches away. Well, let's never see him again now. The good news is Mabel worked the entire match without unintentionally injuring Shamrock, ha!
As Shamrock exits, MR. McMAHON (accompanied by PAUL BEARER) make their way to the ring. McMahon takes the third headset. "JR, good to have me out here, and King it's always a..." Glass breaks and out comes STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN. "He's coming out here to steal the spotlight from these three individuals - HE CAN'T HELP HIMSELF! HE JUST CAN'T HELP HIMSELF!" Austin helps himself to yet another seat at the commentators' table. Ross and Lawler are content to sit back and shut up and let McMahon and Austin do commentary for the rest of the show.
MANKIND v. KANE v. UNDERTAKER in a Triple Threat #1 Contender's Match - I have it as six minutes to the hour with two introductions to go, but since it was taped, I'm not too worried about running out of time. Austin admits that MAYBE Kane could have beaten him at King of the Ring but Undertaker made sure we couldn't find out. Ross asks if Austin has a preference of opponent, and Austin says it doesn't matter. While we wait for the final introduction, McMahon asks Austin how he feels about Fully Loaded's main event - and Austin reminds us that he don't trust no one. The Undertaker hasn't shown. A second introduction - and still no Undertaker. McMahon leaves the commentary table and hits the ring. Ring announcer I-forget-his-name-'cause-they-never-say-it says "Ladies and gentlemen - due to the fact that the Undertaker is not here - because he is too chicken - chicken - (looks at McMahon, who urges him on) chicken(bleep) (rhymes with "hit")..." the match has been changed to a no-holds-barred, falls-count-anywhere match between Kane and Mankind." Mankind, who has sat down against the ring steps, doesn't budge. "I've given enough, and I'm not giving you any more, because I will not - under any circumstances - fight my friend Kane." Well, the bell rings and McMahon motions to Kane to take out Mankind. "Dammit, start this match, I said! Get it on! Now! NOW!" Finally, Kane leaves the ring ("Austin" chant), grabs a chair and casts a glare at Austin. Instead of hitting Austin though, he *floors* Mankind. McMahon is wetting himself. "This is what the WWF is all about! Yes! Kane and Mankind! The Undertaker didn't have the guts to show up! Kane! KANE is going to be the #1 Contender! Cover him! Yeah, that's it! Drag him around the ring!" Kane covers Mankind in the funeral pose - 1, 2, 3. (2:17) Well, no match there. Whoa! The mask comes off - and it's THE UNDERTAKER! We get a reaction shot of Steve Austin, and we're OUT, just like that.
So the Undertaker is now the #1 Contender. Where was Kane? Now that the Champion is slated to be in a tag team with the #1 Contender, what does this bode for the big pay-per-view to take place later this month? And will the Tag Team titles come into play as well? Maybe we'll learn more next week - maybe we'll just stall one more week - but I'LL be there!