Written by: Kevin Kindelberger
WWF Saturday Night RAW 2/21/98
So after one of the worst PPV’s of the Monday Night era, RAW is preempted. They are heading into clearly their biggest WM and with ratings rising and attendance and fan involvement increasing, the PPV put a damper on that. Hindsight is 20/20 but damn was it bad. Perhaps I underrated it but I was pissed because it was nearly three hours of my life that I will never get back. It reminds me of WCW in 1997 this time last year, that was supposed to be the big year. Yet the first few months were “meh” at best and it culminated in the crapfest that was Uncensored. Now 1998 is supposed to be the big year for WWF yet last year was far superior at this time. Now I have been assured it improves and does so drastically and I sincerely hope so because this journey could get painful. Now there are positives and hopefully they play off of those in the next couple of weeks. I foresee this show being a tossaway show, building toward WM and recapping but I could be wrong and things could get fresh again because it really needs too. And seeing as it is not competing with Nitro there be some wrestling!
Match 1: LoD v. Quebecers
The fans are chanting “LoD’ and Hawk and Jacques lock up with the latter kneeing him a few times. But he gets knocked down and nailed with a knee. Jacques nips up and clothesline. He dances around and gets clotheslined for his trouble. Hawk follows up with a neckbreaker, and Pierre gets the tag as does Animal. They lock up, Pierre goes across the ropes a few times and knocks Animal down with a shoulder block. They do it again this time the result is a powerslam. Pierre goes over to get some counsel from Jacques who comes in to the ring. Pierre hits Animal from behind and this allows Jacques to toss him to the floor. Pierre leaps on him from the apron and the Outlaws have a dumpster and start to roll it down the ramp. LoD are getting pounded by the Quebecers and now the Outlaws join in and Hawk is tossed into the dumpster! Animal is double suplexed back into the ring. Jacques piledrives him but only gets two. Hawk is trying to get out of the dumpster as Animal is being doubleteamed and the fans are not happy with all these events. Now Animal comes back with a double clothesline. Animal just realizes that he has no partner and that the Outlaws are up to their shenanigans and he chases them off and Hawk is free and they both give chase and LoD is counted out.
** Not really a match. Angle advancement, and it is good to see LoD back in the tag title scene.
Video highlights of Chyna.
Match 2: Ken Shamrock v. Recon or Sniper
I honestly do not know who is who between those two and nor do I care. Jackyl is at the announce table. Shamrock takes him down and after he gets up he goes behind and then pushes him to the floor. He gets back in and it is Sniper and he is in a headlock. He tries to get out by rolling over but cannot; he finally gets to his feet and escapes. Shamrock goes for the belly to belly but it is blocked and he then goes for the Ankle Lock but Sniper gets to the ropes. Recon helps out and Shamrock is clotheslined to the floor. Recon hammers him and then rolls him back in. Sniper drops him with a back elbow, misses the clothesline off the ropes and is hit with a crossbody. Sniper comes right back with a forearm, side slams him and gets a two count. Shamrock is whipped into the corner and sandwiched, Sniper gets another two count after a suplex. Sniper slams him but misses the elbow, and now Shamrock unloads some rights, catches him with a kick and he powerslams him getting a two count. Shamrock blocks a move and the Lock is on and it is over. Recon runs in and he gets powerslammed.
** Match to prep Shamrock for his IC match against the Rock at WM.
Jackyl is not to happy with his protoge and Recon gets an earful too. Sniper is slapped and he retaliates by yelling and wanting to hit him. No one cares….Jackyl is shoved and a grumpy Sniper leaves while Recon is sad and Jackyl is laughing.
Sniper is in the back trying to explain his actions. Recon is screaming about something and says “fuck” and throws a chair, then he leaves. Lame.
Lawler is interviewing Mero and Sable and he calls them the most popular couple. He wonders if they are going to break up. Mero tries to convince everyone that he is not the bad guy. When he woke up from surgery he sees her wearing an Austin shirt. She kind of grins. He does not like her taking his spotlight as she does not wrestle, of course he mentions her lack of dress and how he does not like the fans chanting Sable and that gets them going. He continues that she does what he says. Lawler even disagrees as he reminds Mero that she knocked him on his butt. Mero claims he tripped, Lawler is not buying it but goes along nonetheless. Mero reiterates that she does what she is told. Now some flowers come down and he is not too happy about getting flowers and candy. She grabs them, and she finds it nice that someone is thinking about her and she storms off and he tells her to come back and heads after her.
Cornette is talking about bringing back wrestling again and he was applauded. He brought back the NWA and he is appalled by the fans for booing them. However, he now does not care what the fans think and he is going to show the fans what real wrestling is like as opposed to sports entertainment. It will be the Express v. Headbangers with an NWA ref who calls it down the middle. He warns Vince there are more NWA stars and it will be different than the war of 84.
Match 3: Rock and Roll Express (c) v. Headbangers for NWA Tag Titles
Gibson misses a blow but grabs the ropes to stop a roll up. But he is double teamed and taken down. Mosh mounts and pounds him in the corner but Morton runs over and pulls him off. Now Gibson is in command. Mosh is double clotheslined. Morton works him over in the corner but it is brief and he gets punched over and over and ends up in the other corner. Mosh runs at him but is grabbed and given and inverted atomic drop. Gibson gets the tag and nails him with a knee lift, and his him in a facelock and pushes him into his corner. Morton comes in and kicks him and Gibson is back in and they got caught and dropped with a double DDT. All three are down, now they slowly get to their feet. Thrasher gets the hot tag and he unleashes the fury. He covers Ricky after a powerslam but only gets two. They double flapjack him and Thrasher gets another two. They strike with the Stagedive, their guillotine legdrop finisher. The ref waits on the count as Mosh tossed Gibson over the top and then he DQ’d them.
** Another two star. Nothing bad here but the muffed ending as the ref had to wait a second for the spot to unfold.
Austin comes down. JR wonders why he gave Chyna the Stunner and he responds that once you step through those ropes your ass is his. He reminds the fans who he is and then tells Chyna that she was lucky he was in a good mood. He is not worried about HBK as he knows he is doing push ups, sit ups etc in order to get ready for their match and no matter what he will get his ass whooped. He tells Tyson to just do his job or he will knock that gold tooth out and make a piece of jewelry out of it. He hypes up WM and gives us the date and that the shit is on because Stone Cold said so.
Match 4: Jeff Jarrett (c) v. Owen Hart (c) for WWF European Title
About time we see Owen and if he wins tonight he defends his title against HHH at WM. This obviously means he wins. Here we go. The NWA is told to leave and Owen is tired of waiting and clothesline JJ twice and after a dropkick sends him over the top with a clothesline. He hammers him outside, rolls him back in and JJ tries to fend him but is nailed with a flying crossbody after being shoved back. Cornette grabs his leg and JJ nails him from behind and Cornette uses the racket on him. JJ snaps him over and follows up with a swinging neckbreaker. He stomps on him, pulls him up but Owen ducks the forearm but he misses the crossbody and tumbles to the floor. Cornette kicks him but Owen is up and chases him into the ring. Owen clothelines JJ and grabs Cornette but JJ is there and Owen conveniently ducks for the DDT. JJ gets a two count and then strikes with a DDT. Off the suplex attempt Owen floats over and rolls him up for two. Owen then runs into him off the whip and both men are slow to get up. Now they are up, JJ strikes first. Off the whip into the corner, Owen slides under and to the floor he grabs JJ and pulls him crotch first into the post. He connects with a missile dropkick, JJ reverses the whip, but is caught and given an atomic drop. JJ still has some fight left and grabs the leg but is nailed with an enzuguri. It is Sharpshooter time and Cornette runs in and the bell is rung for the DQ after Cornette gets clocked and put in the Sharpshooter! JJ has the racket but Owen breaks the hold and chases off Jarrett.
*** Fun match. Owen got some much needed air time and a victory. Also, JJ is clearly getting buried after his brief initial push.
Jesus, I did not know Dok Hendricks was a part of the Freebirds. Fuck I need to do better research but the beauty of this job is learn something new everyday. Dok is the guest ring announcer and he is in Freebird mode and the fans are going ape feces for him. But right after he hypes hte next match out comes Kane! Dok does not back down and he hits him with his cowboy boots but Kane does not budge and chokeslams him and it is Tombstone time…..well, at least he got the initial pop!
Sunny comes out looking, well, really swell.
Match 5: Brian Christopher and Pirata Morgan v. Aguila and Taka Michinoku
Morgan grabs him and powerbombs him. Aguila counters with a hurracarana to the floor. Aguila leaps over the top with a corkscrew plancha nailing both. Brian and Taka are in and the former’s offense is short lived and he gets spinkicked to the floor and nailed with the flying plancha. Brian is rolled back in and as Taka gets on the apron he is murdered with a sunset flip powerbomb. Back in the ring, Taka is snapped over and Brian goes up top and nails him with a missile dropkick to the back of the head. Brian slaps him silly, and follows up with a backbreaker. Pirata gets the tag, and pounds him in the corner and then splashes him in the other corner after the whip. He tries again but misses. Taka hits a hurracarana and gets a near fall, but he goes to the well one too many times and is powerbombed after another attempt, and now he is nearly pinned. Morgan takes an hour to go up top and misses the leap. Brian runs in and Aguila spinkicks him in the head and out he goes. Morgan is finished with the Driver.
**1/2 A decent short match and will probably set something up for WM.
Match 6: Farooq v. Steve Blackman
Rock has a wrapped object in his hand. Rock wants to clear the air as many people saw some things go down at the PPV that made him unhappy. He tells everyone that he is still their champ and that there is no dissension in the Nation. The Rock does not harbor an ill well towards the boys and so he has some gifts for them. From the bottom of his heart he gives them three 15000 grand, solid gold Rolexes for Brown, Kama and Mark Henry. They seem pleased. For Farooq he wants to make something clear and that Farooq is the only person capable to lead the Nation, and it is the greatest thing since egg white omelets. He gives him the wrapped present and Farooq shakes his hand before opening it and it is a picture of the Rock with the IC belt. Rock tells him not to get emotional and Farooq just spikes it.
Blackman backs him up with a kick, Farooq though charges in for the kill and knees him a few times but Blackman counters with some kicks until he gets his leg swept. Blackman is bodyslammed, and he ducks off the whip only to miss a crossbody. Rock is shining up his photo and showing it off to the crowd! Farooq hits his finisher and takes it from the Rock! He wants to use it on Blackman but Rock grabs it back and Farooq is rolled up and beaten. Rock is not happy with what he did with the picture and Farooq just stares in abject disbelief. Henry has the picture and shows it off, and Farooq has had enough and punches it a few times and rips it, finally leaving in a huff with Rock beside himself.
** Overall it was angle advancement, teasing the Rock’s eventual and much needed break with the Nation.
Brown is outside of the Nation lockeroom with Cole and he claims there is nothing but love in that lockeroom as sounds of brawling leak out. He ends the interview and warily enters….
Match 7: Goldust and Marc Mero v. Chainsaw Charlie and Cactus Jack
Funk has the chainsaw and the heels wisely leave. They slowly come back and Mero is bitter with the Sable chants. She was sent to the back. Goldust and Charlie lock up and Goldust pushes him into the corner where the ref breaks it. Charlie knocks him around with some fists. Mero comes in and they dance around with Mero connecting with some shots, bodyslams him, and does so again. He tries for the trifecta but is rolled up and nearly pinned. Cactus Jack gets the tag and he goes around and off the whip takes him down with a shoulder block. He applies a wristlock and he and Chainsaw tag back and forth, they double drop toe hold him, Chainsaw piledrives him. He goes for the cover. Goldust makes the save, now Mero pummels him in the corner and drives him down with a DDT. He tags in Goldust who pops off on him, and of course Sable waltzes down with her flowers and Mero is stunned. Goldust gets two, slams him and drops the elbow getting another two count. Luna destroys the flowers as Charlie gets it too. Jack comes in with a steel chair and cracks Goldust and Charlie pins him. Sable is still going after Luna and Mero tackles her to keep them separated as Luna pitches a fit.
*1/2 Not enough time for the match. It should have been longer, but it did the job and that was advance storylines and prepare for RAW and then WM.
**1/2 I am going to start rating shows. Why not. If it does not work then so be it. I also do not just rate TV matches by wrestling but the purpose of the match, where it has been and where it is going and what precedes and succeeds it. Anyway, the show was what I thought it was, it set the stage for RAW while recapping the PPV and started to build the foundation for WM. There was more wrestling and that was nice. Nothing of real importance happened but neither was anything terrible. A serviceable if relatively bland show but it was nice to see Owen in action and perhaps the LoD get on more title shot down the road but probably after Charlie and Jack unless something happens between now and WM. It did make the PPV a little more palatable, not much, but it did not take step back and that is good. I still do not understand Cornette claiming the NWA is wrestling when it is Sports Entertainment like the WWF; he has not brought anything new to the plate, and I am sure there is a some sort of message or angle here I am not getting but I just do not care enough to dig deeper.