October 18, 1998
Buy Rate: .89
Announcers: Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler
Sunday Night Heat:
1) Steve Blackman defeats Bradshaw (John Layfield) in 2:58
2) Oddities defeat Los Boricuas when Golga (John Tenta) pins Jesus Castillo (2:31)
3) Godfather (Charles Wright) pins Faarooq (Ron Simmons) (1:54)
4) Scorpio (Charles Skaggs) defeats Jeff Jarrett (3:41)
Pay Per View
1) Al Snow (Sarven) defeats Marc Mero with the Snow Plow at 7:13
Fun Fact: Well, it is time to big farewell to a solid mid-carder who has been with us since April of 1996. Marc Mero provided many interesting feuds and put on some great matches, but he was getting stale and with the influx of new mid-card talent, the writing was on the wall. On the 11/30 Raw, Mero challenged the returning jobber-to-the-stars, Duane Gill. Mero claimed that if he couldn’t beat Gill, then he would retire from wrestling permanently. Of course, Mero lost, and in what started as an angle became permanent, as he was never seen in a WWF ring again. Here is his final PPV record not counting Rumble losses: 9-7 and when counting losses in the Rumbles, he is 9-9. He was 0-2 in Rumble matches, 1-0 at Wrestlemania, 0-1 at KOTR, 0-2 at Summerslam, 2-0 at Survivor Series (he was eliminated both times, but his team won) and 6-4 at other events. He missed all PPV events between Final Four and Survivor Series 1997 due to a serious knee injury that ended up altering his entire gimmick and course of history.
Fun Fact II: This is a rematch from IYH: Final Four. At the time “Wildman” Marc Mero battled the bizarre Leif Cassidy. That match, which, due to the knee injury, ended up being Mero’s last one until November, was reportedly supposed to be the stepping stone to a heel turn and big I-C Title win over Rocky Maivia at Wrestlemania XIII.
Scott: Before I begin, I must make a comment about one superstar. When Jeff Jarrett came back to the WWF exactly one year ago, he made big fanfare and was ready to make a mark for himself. Well, it’s been one year and look where his name is on this PPV: on Sunday Night Heat. He has been part of one job after another. I don’t know if it’s punishment for leaving in 1996, or just because there’s nothing more for him to do, but he has been one big disappointment. He runs in before this match starts as he wants to replace Mero and face Snow, but he gets escorted out. They do find something for him at the start of 1999 with another cast-off mid-carder. More on that in future reviews. Al Snow has one of the biggest underground followings in wrestling in 1998. Here he defeats a fading Marc Mero. This is Mero’s final PPV, a career that started with promise, and ends with a thud. We have his W/L record, but my take is this: Mero was an up-and-coming star with a promising career in 1996, however, a mix of injuries and better mid-carders like Helmsley and Austin passing him by, made for a lot of heartbreak and disappointment. Many say if it wasn’t for his wife Sable, he probably would have been dropped a lot sooner. In any event Snow gets the win in a pretty entertaining match, and his popularity grows. Grade: 2.5
Justin: A sluggish match with a somewhat sluggish crowd. Snow was still honing his gimmick, which was quite over, and was working with an unmotivated Mero. It’s hard to believe that two years earlier Mero was I-C champion and enjoying a great deal of success in the upper-mid-card. But, here, just two years and a major knee surgery later, he is on his way out of wrestling on a national level. Snow was gaining some momentum, but wouldn’t reach the levels he expected to reach until one year later. In the upcoming weeks, though, we would see the recreation of a very popular ECW gimmick. It was one that helped Snow rebuild his character and get called back up to the WWF, but will not end up translating as well as it did in Philly. Mero had a really good year in 1996 and was an entertaining heel for the early part of this year, but as we stated above, he was being rapidly passed on the mid card food chain by younger and hungrier wrestlers. All in all, this is a decent opener that sees Snow get a pretty big win. Grade: 2
2) Legion of Doom 2000 & Darren Drozdov defeat Disciples of Apocalypse & Paul Ellering when Droz pins 8-Ball (Don Harris) after the Doomsday Device at 5:56
Fun Fact: Well, the end is upon us. While they would stick around on TV for a few weeks more, this is the Legion of Doom’s final PPV appearance. And it couldn’t have come at a better time, as the duo was just a complete shell of their former selves, and were being carried in the ring and storylines by a green rookie. Their long time manager, Paul Ellering had turned on them to become “Mr. Dot-Com” and manage the DOA. Vince and Vince added Droz to the LOD mix in order to spice the team up a little bit. At first, Droz wrestled in his regular gear and was just a sort of sidekick for the group. But soon, he began wearing the LOD tights and spikes, and acting like an official member. Throughout all of this controversy, Hawk began to have some serious alcohol and drug problems. He would routinely show up to matches totally sloshed, and would often cost the LOD matches. He would trip over the ropes, throw up in his helmet and fall asleep on the apron. While this was going on, Droz began trying to convince Animal to kick Hawk out and let him take his spot. Droz started kicking it up a notch in the ring and making sure to guarantee wins for the team and Animal was starting to listen. On the 11/2 Raw, Droz and a recovering Hawk faced off in the ring to settle their issues one-on-one. The match started off OK but ended up in a no contest. Then, on the 11/16 Raw, Animal and Droz were battling the Brood, when the depressed Hawk suddenly appeared on top of the Titantron, saying that he was going to go out in a blaze of glory. Animal, Droz and even Paul Ellering came out to try and talk Hawk down, but he would have none of it. Finally, Droz climbed the scaffolding to try and help Hawk down, but Hawk suddenly lost his balance and fell of the Titantron. The catch, however, was that from different angles, it looked as if Droz pushed Hawk off the video wall. Reportedly the angle was supposed to lead to an elaborate story where Droz, along with a debuting Vic Grimes, was Hawk’s drug pusher, and that he kept enabling him so that he could take his role in the LOD. It would eventually be discovered, and the LOD would reunite, stronger than ever to battle Grimes and Droz, but alas, contract problems and health issues forced LOD to the sidelines. They would appear a few more times over the weeks, with one being a promo appearance warning of their return in March of 1999. Their final appearance, however, would be in the Tag Team Battle Royal on the Sunday Night Heat the night of Wrestlemania XV. The LOD would make one last appearance as a tag team on May 12, 2003, when they made a surprise appearance on Raw to put over the current Tag Team champions, Rob Van Dam and Kane. Shortly after that appearance on October 19, 2003, Hawk tragically passed away in his sleep at the age of 46. It seemed to be that years of partying hard had finally caught up to Hawk and his heart. In 2005, WWE released a biographical DVD on the Life and Death of the Road Warriors. Shortly after the release, in an attempt to push DVD sales and at the behest of his brother, VP John Laurinatis, Vince McMahon brought back Road Warrior Animal. Animal would team with Jon Heidenreich to reprise the Legion of Doom gimmick. When Heidenreich was released, Animal ended up turning heel when he assaulted Matt Hardy. He began wearing jeans and biker clothing and was dubbed “The Road Warrior.” His run in that gimmick was brief and was eventually let go in 2006.
Fun Fact II: With that said, here is their final PPV record: 13-6 (13-7 counting the one Rumble they both lost). They were 1-1 at the Rumble (1-2 counting Rumbles), 3-0 at Wrestlemania, 0-1 at KOTR, 3-0 at Summerslam, 3-0 at Survivor Series and 3-4 at “other” events.
Fun Fact III: This is also the DOA’s final PPV appearance. Here is their record, including their run as the Blu Brothers: 3-6 (3-8 including the Rumbles they lost). They were 0-2 in Rumbles, 0-2 at Wrestlemania, 0-2 at Summerslam, 0-1 at Survivor Series and 3-1 at “other events.”
Fun Fact IV: With the departure of the DOA, the neck injury Savio Vega suffered over the summer and the break up of the Nation, this PPV officially ended the wretched “Gang Warz” that began in July of 1997.
Scott: Now this is really reaching rock bottom. From Rocco, to jobbing 1000 times to New Age Outlaws, to their longtime manager heeling out on them, it was been a more bad than good WWF career for the Road Warriors. They’ve been WWF Tag Team champs multiple times, but that’s overshadowed by ridiculous storylines, and embarrassing losses. Now, they do win the match, but the end is really stupid. Droz, who’s dressed just like them, goes and makes the pin after the boys lay the Doomsday Device on 8-Ball. Great, a win, but Hawk gets mad about it. Droz got the pin instead of him? You won the match. Does it matter who gets the 3-count? At this point, who cares? The end is almost near. Grade: 2
Justin: Even with the additions of Ellering and Droz, it was hard to believe this feud was still going on. I think the DOA was involved in the two worst long-running feuds ever: first the Boricuas and now the OLD, not a very good run for the twin bikers. This match is the epitome of the entire feud: slow, boring and anticlimactic. Droz and Hawk had an interesting side-story going on; the first such angle for LOD in a while, but it takes a back seat here, which ended up being a mistake. They should have dropped the DOA, and did some other sort of match involving them, but what can you do. So long LOD, and take the increasingly useless DOA with you. Grade: 2
3) Christian (Jay Reso) defeats Taka Michinoku (Takao Yoshida) to win WWF Light-Heavyweight Title with a cradle at 8:33
Fun Fact: After holding the title for 10 months, Taka drops it to another brand new mid-card wrestler, Christian, who was brothers with Edge, but siding with Gangrel in their feud. Christian would only hold the belt until the 11/17 Raw, where he would be upset by the returning uber-jobber and member of the fledgling JOB squad, Dwayne Gill.
Fun Fact II: Jay Reso started pretty much in the same spot as his friend Edge did. Christian started as Christian Cage in the Thug Life faction in 1997 on the Canadian Indy scene, as Edge did with the name Sexton Hardcastle. His name came on the spur of the moment from actors Christian Slater and Nicolas Cage. When he arrived in the WWF at the Breakdown PPV last month, his name was cut to Christian.
Scott: In his first match ever in the WWF, “Captain Charisma”, as he was known when he left the WWE in 2005, wins the Light-Heavyweight Title against Taka, who according to Vince I guess, has outlived his usefulness. The division itself has faded after a strong start at the beginning of the year. Gangrel is seconding Christian to the ring, and Edge is watching from the rafters. They are getting a nice following, and become part of a bigger storyline at the start of the year. Grade: 3
Justin: After being dormant for the second half of the year, the Light Heavyweight division is briefly resuscitated to give a newcomer a solid rub. Christian makes a big splash here by winning the title in his first match, and many hoped he would add some more legitimacy to the division with a solid run and good matches, but the belt would start a trend by becoming a comedy prop just a few weeks later, and then would eventually die off for the next 16 months. It seems that whenever the belt starts to gain legitimacy and prestige, it is shunted back down the card to women and jobbers. Oh well, we get a really good match here that established Christian as a solid performer and title threat right of the bat. Grade: 2.5
4) Goldust (Dustin Runnels) defeats Val Venis (Sean Morley) after a low blow at 12:07
Fun Fact: After fighting a losing battle and proclaiming for months that “He is Coming Back”, to which Val retorted “I Have Come”, “He” made his return on the 10/12 Raw. As Val was in the ring attending to his ankle after he had just lost a match with Ken Shamrock, the familiar music hit, and the gold fell from the ceiling, and, after being dead for 7 months, Goldust made his triumphant return to the WWF. He assaulted Val in the ring and polished him off with the Shattered Dreams. Goldust was back and ready to re-establish himself in the World Title Picture after being humiliated for most of 1998.
Scott: A very entertaining mid-card match with an interesting storyline. Dustin Runnels was preaching morals and values, and getting booed, while his wife is having an affair with a porn star, and he’s getting cheers. That’s wrestling for you. Anyway, Runnels puts the paint and body suit on, and Goldust returns one night on RAW to a big pop, and the Breakdown re-match is here, more entertaining and a better match than before. Both guys are reaching a good peak, and would be strong heading into the New Year. Grade: 2.5
Justin: A fun match here, as the 7 month break was enough to successfully resuscitate what had become a very stale gimmick. Goldust was welcomed back with open arms and the crowd was pretty hot to see him kick Venis’ ass. The fans finally seemed to take Dustin’s side in this battle over his ex-wife. Terri was still banging Val here, but that relationship was coming to an end very quickly, once she became more trouble than she was worth. A solid bout here, and was good to have Goldie back in the mix after enduring the bland Dustin Runnels since May. Grade: 2.5
5) X-Pac (Sean Waltman) defeats D-Lo Brown (AC Connor) to win WWF European Title with the X-Factor at 14:34
Fun Fact: These two men had traded the European Title back and forth a few times over the fall. D-Lo had won it from Triple H on July 14th, and held it until X-Pac beat him on September 15th. D-Lo won it back on September 29th and brought the title in here for X-Pac’s rematch.
Fun Fact II: D-Lo is representing Milan, Italy at this show.
Scott: Another exciting match between two young studs. X-Pac really starts a solid PPV run workrate-wise with this win, and he recaptures the European title. D-Lo has been a solid heel throughout the year, and also got himself in excellent shape. One year ago with the Nation, he had man-boobs. Not anymore. One thing about this match that is a good example of what’s missing today is the selling of moves and actions that pumps the crowd up. D-Lo absolutely drove the crowd insane with his head-bobbing and trash talking. Mid-carders today don’t take the time to do that to crowds. This was a solid mid-card match that is making this a much better show than advertised. X-Pac winning the title is the seed that’s planted for a storyline at the beginning of 1999 that changes the landscape of the WWF. Grade: 3.5
Justin: Another fun match in a run of them tonight, as X-Pac regains the European Title, which was rapidly becoming a coveted title, thanks to D-Lo and X-Pac’s feud over it. In what will be the best run of his career, X-Pac had quietly become one of the best in-ring performers, and along with that, became one of the most over stars in the Federation. D-Lo is also gaining steam, and would get the push of his career over the next year. These two men represent what was so great about the WWF in late 1998: two young studs, who worked great matches, had solid characters and were over with the crowd getting a chance to shine on PPV. You really can’t ask for much more out of your mid-card at this point in time. Grade: 3
6) The Headbangers defeated The New Age Outlaws by disqualification after Road Dogg (Brian Armstrong) hits Mosh (Chaz Warrington) with the boom box at 13:58; The Outlaws retain the WWF Tag Team Titles
Fun Fact: The Headbangers had begun a heel turn on the October 5th Raw, when they assaulted the Oddities and Insane Clown Posse, and as is standard with a heel turn, the Bangers were named the #1 Contenders for the tag titles. The following week on Raw, the Bangers interfered in a match between the Outlaws and LOD and bashed Road Dogg in the face with the boom box, causing a no contest, as DOA had also interfered to attack LOD. Finally, on the 10/19 Raw, the Bangers appeared with a pair of foam tag team belts and rattled of the Outlaws’ opening catchphrases with their own spin on it: “Heavy Metal Music is proud to bring to you the NEW World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Champions of the World…Mosh! Thrasher! The Head Bangers!” “And if you’re not down with that, we got two words for ya: YOU SUCK!”
Scott: The workrate carousel continues as these two teams bring it for a solid title match. Billy Gunn, still a workrate sloth, unfortunately looks like the best of the four men in the ring, but for now, that’s OK. His solo push next year, that’s a different story. The ending makes no sense. The Outlaws, as faces, lose by DQ when Road Dogg hits Mosh with their boom box. If you wanted a DQ ending, shouldn’t Mosh have hit Road Dogg? It had occurred a couple of times on RAW going into this match. Then again, it’s the Attitude Era so it didn’t matter which side won cheap. The crowd fizzles a little in the beginning but picks up in the last couple of minutes. The catchphrase is catching on for the Outlaws, but the workrate is slowly slipping. Grade: 3
Justin: A decent tag match with a cheap ending, which sort of made sense. I guess the Outlaws were sick of playing by the rules of the match, and just wanted revenge, so they gave the Bangers some of their own medicine. This would lead to a rematch of sorts the next month, so it kind of works out in the end. The Outlaws are insanely over here, and could do no wrong, and the Bangers made solid heels, so this was a pretty good feud. Grade: 2.5
*** Michael Cole says that Paul Bearer has been in both Kane and Undertaker’s locker room. Then Mankind walks over to Cole and has a conversation with Socko. ***
7) Ken Shamrock defeats Mankind (Mick Foley) to retain WWF Intercontinental Title when Mankind passes out to a combo of a self-applied Mandible Claw & Anklelock at 14:37
Fun Fact: After Triple H was forced to vacate the I-C Title, Mr. McMahon decided it should be placed up for grabs in a one night tournament. That tournament occurred on the 10/12 Raw in Long Island, NY and went as follows: 1st Round: Ken Shamrock defeated Steve Blackman; Val Venis defeated Marc Mero; X-Pac defeated Jeff Jarrett and Mankind beat Mark Henry; 2nd Round: Shamrock beat Venis and X-Pac defeated Mankind; Finals: Shamrock beat X-Pac to capture the title. Also, Shamrock went through a bit of a character change here, as Vince recruited him to be the assassin of his burgeoning Corporation. Shamrock accepted, and really ratcheted up his killer instinct and would being destroying everyone is his path.
Fun Fact II: During this time, Mankind was also going under some character work, as he was being transformed from psychotic weirdo to loveable, gullible goofball. Thus, in one of the most famous nights in WWF history, the 10/5 Raw, after Undertaker and Kane put Vince in the hospital, Mankind decided to pay “Vinnie” a visit in the hospital. A third of the way into the show, we cut live to Vince’s hospital room where he was under constant supervision and hooked up to all sorts of ventilation and heart monitors, for a broken leg, mind you. All of a sudden, a nurse tells Vince that some has come to see him, causing his heart monitor to beep at an alarming rate as he thought it was Austin come to visit; but alas, it was just loveable old Mankind. Mick decided he would pay Vince a visit in order to cheer him up. What followed was comic genius. Foley gives Vince a half-eaten box of chocolates (he got hungry on the way), some smiley-face stickers, balloons and a blown up hospital glove. He also claimed that he wasn’t alone, and that he brought someone who wanted to see Vince as well (cue heart monitor), but Mick tells Vince to cool down, because it isn’t a “he” but a “she.” That is right, good ol’ Mick brought some quality female entertainment, “if you know what I mean…she does a trick with a dog that you wouldn’t believe.” Now, for the first time, Vince cracks a smile and is very excited by the thought of some hot female entertainment. Just as he finally trusts Mick, out walks…Yurple the Clown! Yurple proceeds to make balloon animals for Vince, while Mick blows a party kazoo and begins hiding under the bed. Vince starts looking around, nervously, for the now missing Mankind; but all of a sudden Mick pops up from the bed with a terrible looking sock puppet on his hand. Doing a self-admitted “terrible ventriloquist act,” Mick dubs the sock “Mr. Socko.” Socko even gets to give Vince’s injured leg a kiss before Vince finally snaps and throws everyone out of the room. The scene closed with one of the best deadpan comments of Vince’s career, complete with Adam’s apple bob and evil sneer: “Mister Socko.” Now, the hospital goodness didn’t end there, but we will talk about that later. This, however, was the scene that finally established Foley as one of the most over characters in the WWF, and finally allowed him to showcase his genuinely funny and witty side. This is just one of those Raw Pantheon moments that is a must see and will always stand atop the mountain as one of the funniest things the Federation has ever produced. As an aside, Mick came up with everything on his own except the Socko name, which was Al Snow’s idea and Vince was totally unaware of what was going to happen, as he wanted genuine reactions.
Scott: The title was vacated due to Triple H’s real knee injury suffered in early August, and aggravated in the **** ½ ladder match win over the Rock for the title at Summerslam. So, the storyline has Shamrock, now in heel mode, attack Trips during Heat, and puts him on the shelf even longer. Mankind continues to float aimlessly, although after the match here, where he chooses to knock himself out rather that submit to the Anklelock, things pick up for him. Shamrock still wanted Mankind to submit, so he takes out the ref. Mankind loads up Mr. Socko and takes Kenny out. This was another unusual ending, but not a bad match. Grade: 2.5
Justin: Well, I guess a lot has happened. This match was a rematch of sorts from Breakdown, where these two lost the Triple Threat cage match to the Rock. In the weeks following, they switched allegiances, with Shamrock aligning with Vince and becoming a psycho killer and Mankind turning face and becoming a goofball, albeit, a tough one. This match was meant to re-affirm those two developments, as Shamrock looks unstoppable and evil by keeping Mick in the Anklelock, and Mick is a valiant face, who would rather pass out from his own hold than tap out to Shamrock. The kicker is, Mankind was yet to actually turn face, as he stays aligned with Vince through November. There was just some wicked character development going on, a wonderful trademark of 1997-1999. Grade: 2.5
8) Mark Henry defeats the Rock (Dwayne Johnson) with a Splash at 5:04
Fun Fact: This match signifies the end of the Nation, as Rock was wildly over as a face, Godfather was having his own successes as a pimp, Owen Hart was “retired,” and Henry and D-Lo were split on their own. Also, as a result of the “sexual tension” between him and Chyna, Henry, about to embark on the best run of his career, dubbed himself “Sexual Chocolate” and became some what of a ladies man, even going so far as to read a poem to Chyna before the match.
Scott: Is this a typo? In the second to last match of the night, Mark Henry may have won the biggest match of his pitiful career to this point. The match itself was awful, mostly because as the heel, Henry had to carry the offense, and that is frightening in itself. Rock got monster face pops, and the crowd was absolutely shocked at the loss. However, this was brilliant booking. Losing this match to a bum like Henry makes next month’s events so much more surprising, and sets up a second straight year of an excellent Wrestlemania story arc. Rock carried this match well, as Henry was once again an inflexible mass of crap. Grade: 2
Justin: The Rock is unbelievably over here, as his days as a heel were long behind him. This was that rare opportunity that bookers and promoters always waited for: a heel that was so effective and over that the fans forced him to turn face. While this was a rare occurrence, it now happened for Vince 2 times in 2 years, and 4 times since 1992. In 1992, the fans forced Undertaker into a face turn, in 1995 and they did the same for Shawn Michaels. However, Steve Austin in 1997 and the Rock in 1998 are the two best examples of Vince not even being able to control what was happening, as these two were cheered no matter what they did. Vince now had two very special things in the palm of his hand: 1) a unique performer who was completely selfless and would do whatever he could to get over and 2) a crowd that was eating him up with a spoon and that blindly follow him down whatever path he led them. And, man, would Vinnie Mac ever cash in on this. Big win for Henry, by the way, but the story is all Rock here. Grade: 2
9) Kane (Glen Jacobs) and the Undertaker (Mark Callaway) wrestle to a no-contest at 17:36 when special referee Steve Austin counts both men to 3; The WWF World Title is still vacant
Fun Fact: OK, where to begin. There is no way possible we can give the three segments that occurred on the 9/29 Raw any justice, so with absolute full credit to the unbelievably awesome and fantastic Christopher Robin Zimmerman, I am just going to repost his three write-ups of the events. Also, even though he is on hiatus, check out CRZ’s archives at slashwrestling.com, as it is some of the best stuff on the net. Anyway, here you go, from the 9/29 Raw: “With the sound of breaking glass, out comes the man the people paid to see – no, wait, it’s VINCENT K., flanked by Detroit’s finest, the Musketeers, the Commish, and Stone Cold’s title belt draped over McMahon’s shoulder. LIVE from the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, MI 28.9.98, it’s WWF RAW! Ross wastes no time saying the Vince “screwed” Austin out of the title last night at Break Down. “Well, I thought you might be a little upset with me…but time heals all wounds. However, the next time that I say I *guarantee* you something, I bet you listen to me. And you know what? That’s all I ever wanted from Stone Cold Steve Austin – I simply wanted him to listen to me and take direction. We could have done this the easy way, Austin, oh but no – we had to do it YOUR way – we had to do it the HARD way. However now I’m proud to say we’re doing things the Vince McMahon way. And as such, Austin, unlike the last time that you lost the WWF Championship, let me assure you there WILL BE NO REMATCH. Let me repeat that, THERE WILL BE NO REMATCH. However, in a magnanimous gesture, Stone Cold Steve Austin, to show you that I – I – what are you saying? [“Austin” chant] To show you, Austin, that I don’t carry a grudge, tonight we will celebrate your career, Austin – I will deem – I will DECREE tonight ‘Stone Cold Steve Austin Night.’ Matter of fact, Mr. Austin, we have some choice individuals, that, I believe a professional welcoming committee is here to welcome you [cut to a shot of more cops at the back entrance] to make certain that indeed, you have easy access to and from this facility. However, that’s not the only reason for a celebration tonight. There’s another. Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, in this very ring, we will crown a NEW World Wrestling Federation Champion. And that new WWF Champion will be presented the *official* World Wrestling Federation Championship belt – not this one across my broad shoulder, oh no, you see, this is a Championship belt that Stone Cold Steve Austin had made for himself – look at it, with the skull on it. [Our first REAL good look at the belt] There’s only one place that this Championship belt is going, and that’s above my fireplace, on my mantle, in one of my homes. It’ll be placed there, with all my other awards and trophies. So what about it, Stone Cold? Will you join us tonight, for your own celebration? Will you, Austin, join us as we present the official WWF Championship belt to the NEW World Wrestling Federation Champion? We anxiously await your response, in the meantime, Commissioner, if you would. The Commissioner is placing Stone Cold Steve Austin’s belt around the svelte owner of the WWF himself – the svelte waist of Vince McMahon. I thank you very much; I hope you enjoy the evening. Thank you very much. And he climbs the ropes and raises his arms high. This may also be the first time the belt has actually been snapped around a waist – didn’t Austin always just drape it over his shoulder?” “VINCENT K. is out again and once again with all the Usual Suspects – this is apparently the big belt presentation ceremony. The case containing the WWF Title Belt is back out, along with the red carpeting in the ring. “And now, ladies and gentlemen, the moment we have been awaiting! We are about to present the most coveted prize in the whole game to a worthy WWF Superstar. This ceremony is a solemn one, to be conducted with dignity and respect. As these dignitaries stand before you tonight, it is indeed our honor and our privilege to bestow the World Wrestling Federation title to the worthy superstar. With that in mind, let me firstly introduce to you, THE PHENOM, THE UNDERTAKER!” And out he comes. “And now, ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce to you…KANE!” And out *he* comes. Since I haven’t mentioned it yet, let me note that the ramp appears to be gone for good. Oh yeah, somewhere in here we made the switch to the War Zone. Anything else? Oh yeah, I have a screaming headache. “There’s no question, Undertaker that both you and Kane deserve to be the WWF Champion. The two of you, single-handedly (pun?) covered Stone Cold Steve Austin for the Championship. The two of you, who have had tremendous battles between the two of you – “we cut backstage where STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN is driving a Zamboni of all things. Through a fence, somebody must be swearing because we’re muted – no the sound is OUT. The second audio kicks in as Austin drives into the ring (actually MOVING the entire ring). This Zamboni is brought to you by Miller Lite. Austin with a flying clothesline from the Zamboni, over the cops, to McMahon! Punches aplenty until the cops get him and slap on the cuffs. McMahon manages to lunge at Austin once but the police separate Austin and McMahon. Kane and Undertaker have wisely exited the ring while this is going on. Austin tries to kick down the podium with the belt, but a cop catches it in time. Apparently, Austin took out some cables with the Zamboni – nice cover, folks. Austin has a smile on his face as the cops escort him out. The second audio channel has the seven second delay removed, which makes it out of sync with the video. Austin says something but I miss it. It’s something about Vince. Austin is put in the car “ok, ok, I’ve done this before.” Vince is screaming assorted obscenities and yelling “YOU GO TO JAIL!” repeatedly. Vince does another bird, not as funny as last night’s, but still amusing. Vince tells the cops to let him go, ’cause it’s go time, but the cops are too smart for that. Vince appears to be limping. Let’s take a break!” “Before we were so rudely interrupted, I was about to present the WWF Championship; however, if you recall, the deal was, Undertaker and Kane, you would get the title shot as long as you kept Stone Cold Steve Austin away from me.” McMahon is shaking. “But three times – three times in less than a week – Austin has brutally attacked me! So let me say this: You didn’t live up to your end of the deal – I’m not gonna LIVE UP TO MIIINE. [Undertaker has “whachoo talkin’bout Willis” look] You’re going to have to fight for it! On our next pay-per-view, October 18, you two are gonna battle it out for the WWF Championship! Whether you like it or not! And by the way, since you can’t seem to keep Stone Cold out of your business and mine, good, I’m gonna put him in it! Austin is gonna be the guest referee! And Stone Cold, Austin I just hope that somewhere your cellmate is telling you all this right about now, because I’m gonna be there to watch him suffer the indignity of having to count one of you two monsters to the WWF Championship. However, so that everyone here in this arena is not cheated, so that everyone at home watching RAW gets their money’s worth, then in this ring tonight, you will see Undertaker and Kane in a handicap tag team match against three individuals: Ken Shamrock, Mankind, and the Rock. [How long’s Undertaker had a pierced eyebrow?] And maybe, just maybe, you can get it right. I’d like to wish you the best of luck, you know why? Because I think the two of you are gonna need it, because as far as I’m concerned, it’s like dealing with the handicapped, one’s physical (looking at Kane) and one’s mental (looking at Undertaker). Good luck to you both.” Undertaker grabs McMahon. “You need to watch your ass, because the next time you get out of line with either one of us, *you’re* gonna be the one handicapped, and that I will promise.” Undertaker turns his back, and Vince flips a double bird, but Undertaker turns and sees it. The punches in bunches follows, as the crowd roars. Then Kane joins in with kicks. Double stomps! Undertaker drops an elbow on the knee. Now there’s a leg bar, while Kane runs outside the ring to fend off the Musketeers, who are trying to come to their boss’ aid. Ross is screaming that Vince’s knee might be destroyed, his leg broken. But it’s NOT OVER. They drag McMahon to the STEEL steps; hold the knee across the steps, Undertaker takes the top of the steps and SLAMS it down on the bottom of the steps. McMahon sells this like a 16 ton weight has hit his shin. Damn, that’s some good stuff. Patterson does some loud overacting as we go to an ad break.”
Fun Fact II: OK. That sure was a long read, yet quite informative, no? The next week was the infamous hospital episode. When we last left off, Vince had throw Mick out of the room for pissing him off. Well, later in the show, Vince was paid a visit by a doctor, who of course was Steve Austin in scrubs. Austin proceeded to pummel Vince in his bed slammed in the head with a bedpan and closed the scene out by violating him with an enema. This may be one of the funniest scenes in Raw history, as the bedpan reverberates off of Vince’s head. The following week, Vince made his triumphant return to the arena, where he drove up in his vintage convertible, but then was loaded into his fantastic “Mr. McMahon” automatic wheelchair. This added so much to the evilness of his character, and it was great. Anyway, later in the evening Austin proceeded to fill the convertible with cement, which ruined the car and blew out all the windows in a great visual. Vince confronted him in the ring and let him know that if he didn’t call the Main Event of the PPV fairly, that he would be fired. Also, Vince was now flanked by a mysterious fellow who was joined by a K-9 protection crew. The Main Event of that Raw ended up being Rock & Austin vs. Kane & Undertaker, and ended with the interference of the masked man, who eventually unmasked to reveal…the returning Big Boss Man, looking to be in the best shape of his career.
Scott: For the first time since Austin won the title at Wrestlemania, the main event actually takes the show down. This the third Kane/Taker match on PPV this year, and they’re just getting worse and worse. Austin was instructed by Mr. McMahon to call it down the middle, and if he didn’t do that, he’d be fired. Well, Taker plows Kane with a chair, and Austin won’t count the 3, Taker gets in Austin’s face, and Austin stuns him. The brothers are out, and Austin counts them both to 3, and declares himself the winner. Well, that’s not what McMahon wanted, so, with hesitation, he fires him. Austin throws back a beer, and JR talks likes it’s a eulogy. If anyone thought Austin was gone for good, they were marks who don’t know any better. The next night on RAW, Austin kidnaps McMahon at gunpoint, makes him piss his pants, and shoots a pop-gun. He also gives him a brand new contract, which would be revealed to be signed by Vince’s son Shane. This would be Shane’s first taste of a storyline, and it wouldn’t be the last. This show had a really strong undercard, but the main event is a dud. Grade: 1.5
Justin: This match was very, very boring, as every time these two battled on PPV, it got worse and worse as time went on. Austin as ref was intriguing, but you spend the whole match just waiting for the shoe to drop and him to screw them, which he does, of course. Vince makes good on his promise and fires Austin from the skybox, leaving the title vacant and a void on the face side of the roster. Vince has amped up how big of an asshole he is towards Austin and the whole wheelchair thing just added to it all. We are now seeing the establishment of the Corporation as well. He already has the Stooges by his side and has now added personal security in the Big Boss Man and a in-ring monster in Ken Shamrock. It was really good to see the Boss Man back in the WWF and bumped up to Main Event storylines as well. The Main Event scene is an interesting dichotomy, as the storylines and characters are at an all time high, but the in ring action has slowed down and become very pedestrian. Grade: 1
Scott: This is a pretty solid show, but the balance is the opposite of what most of this year’s PPVs were. All year, the shows’ undercard would be average, sometimes awful, and the main event would be awesome, carrying the show. This time however, the undercard would be very good, and the main event would be below average. Not just because it was Kane/Taker, but without Austin, the crowd isn’t totally crisp. Austin needed to be in everything at this point, and just “refereeing” isn’t good enough right now. Taker got a pretty good pop, but the rest of the match was the crowd chanting for Austin. The firing at the end is no shock, and the World title picture gets cloudier. This is the first time there is world title uncertainty since the beginning of 1997, when Shawn Michaels “lost his smile”. One year removed from the controversial Survivor Series of 1997, this year’s installment is even more uncertain, at least on screen. The prelude to that show is good. Final Grade: B-
Justin: The WWF roster has gone through an amazing 1996-like change, as so many of the stale mid-carders from that era are shoved out. Unlike 1996, instead of bringing in proven names, Vince is using huge crop of developmental and independent stars to revamp his mid-card, which is a great idea. This show, which is often forgotten, is really the crux of the overhaul that began at Summerslam and would complete by early 1999. We see fresh new faces forcing their way into important storylines and title feuds, as the current, and soon to be former, mid-carders are reduced to jobbers, which was a very shrewd move, proving Vince cared more about the product than the feelings of these has-beens. The show itself is quite solid, as everyone brought their working boots and fully entertained the crowd. The Main Event was shaky, but it was really on there because they needed something to fill the spot before they told the real story at Survivor Series. So, taking that into account, it doesn’t foul up the show too badly. Final Grade: B-
Runner Up: X-Pac
Non MVP: Jeff Jarrett & Legion of Doom
Runner Up: Undertaker & Kane
All Time PPV Active-Wrestler Roster
“Special Delivery” Jones
King Kong Bundy
Andre the Giant
Big John Studd
Davey Boy Smith
King Tonga (Haku)
Dory Funk, Jr.
Billy Jack Haynes
Koko B. Ware
Honky Tonk Man
One Man Gang
Bam Bam Bigelow
Big Boss Man
Kerry Von Erich
Irwin R. Schyster
Jimmy Del Ray
Ted DiBiase’s Undertaker
Roadie Jesse Jammes
Squat Team #1
Squat Team #2
Leif Cassidy (Al Snow)
PPV Rest in Peace List
“Playboy” Buddy Rose (Wrestlemania I)
“Special Delivery” Jones (Wrestlemania I)
Uncle Elmer (Wrestlemania II)
Adrian Adonis (Wrestlemania III)
Haiti Kid (Wrestlemania III)
Little Beaver (Wrestlemania III)
Junkyard Dog (Summerslam 1988)
Big John Studd (Wrestlemania V)
Sapphire (Summerslam 1990)
Bad News Brown (Summerslam 1990)
Dino Bravo (Wrestlemania VII)
Andre the Giant (Summerslam 1991)
Texas Tornado (Royal Rumble 1992)
Hercules (Royal Rumble 1992)
Elizabeth (Wrestlemania VIII)
Sensational Sherri (Wrestlemania IX)
Ludvig Borga (Survivor Series 1993)
Captain Lou Albano (Royal Rumble 1995)
Dick Murdoch (Royal Rumble 1995)
Rad Radford (Survivor Series 1995)
Bertha Faye (Survivor Series 1995)
Bam Bam Bigelow (Survivor Series 1995)
Chris “Skip” Candido (Summerslam 1996)
Yokozuna (Survivor Series 1996)
Terry “Executioner” Gordy (IYH: It’s Time)
Brian Pillman (IYH: Ground Zero)
Rick Rude (IYH: Bad Blood)
Hawk (Judgment Day 1998)
Next Review: Survivor Series 1998