Written by: Kevin Kindelberger
WWF Monday Night RAW 3/2/98
After basically two throw away RAW’s they are supposedly pulling out all the stops for this one. It has been heavily hyped with Tyson there and DX and Austin all there too. Hopefully this will not be a promo heavy show and they can intersperse the wrestling of the last two weeks along with a better pacing and better storytelling. I am surprised there has not been more lately as they are heading into WM. Not that the past two RAW’s have been terrible but after a shitty PPV and their biggest hyped WM in years they would have more of a sense of urgency. Still despite all the issues RAW has had it has been relatively entertaining. The Rock has teased a split with the Nation for some time, and Dustin copying his dad was fairly classic and I have read that they really did not get along at this time. They have teased out a lot of angles for some time and hopefully they rev it up a bit as they enter the home stretch. One thing for sure the ratings certainly showed that fans were interested, and hopefully whatever they did continues as they had a 3.8 off of hours of 3.7 and 3.8. WCW not immune to what the WWF had announced promoted a Sting/Savage v. nWo match. Nitro had a great 4.8 off of hours 4.8, 4.7 and 4.9. For the largest combined rating in history.
We get a recap of DX and Austin feud.
Speaking of DX here they come. HHH states that something tonight officially begins and WM is now X rated. Kids should get their parents permission to watch as discretion is advised but will be ignored. HHH warns Owen that his run as European champ is over and something about getting into his drawers. Shawn loves that stuff, and from Owen to Iron Mike who made it to the Gund Arena (the sad city of Cleveland) and DX will make him an offer he cannot refuse, but warns him that he if makes the wrong decision he will never, ever forget DX and that is a promise. He continues about his WM match with Austin and that gets the crowd riled. He will challenge the number one man in the WWF and now he goes through all his monikers and ends himself being the WWF champ, oh and his name. Austin is not tough enough to take on HBK, and he showed him once how close he would get to the championship and he wants Austin to lace up his boots because tonight he will boogie to Sweet Chin Music courtesy of HBK and he needs to shine his chrome dome and I forgot…..here comes Austin. Austin gets right in his face and jaw at him. The lights go out and cue Kane! I forgot about this promise last week. Paul Bearer basically states that it is all over for Austin. The lights come back on and it is just Austin in the ring and he gets out and shoves Cole off his chair and takes his headset. He declares this is the biggest bunch of BS as HBK runs off when the lights go out. He is going to kick Kane’s ass tonight and needs a hot dog and a beer. He is also going to take it to Tyson. He thinks this is crap, the lights go out and he is supposed to be scared and he is not and tells JR to shut up and calls him a piece of trash and then poses for the crowd and they eat that shit up.
We get a silhouette of the celebrity who will be at WM.
A limo pulls up and Shane comes out with a swagger and Tyson follows.
They recap what Cactus Jack and Charlie did last week to the Outlaws. Here comes the Outlaws with their belts and neckbraces on. Road Dog squeals that they were brutally attacked and have pressed charges for murder. He claims they do have a case. Now the show the handheld footage that Road Dog had last week. They are cursing as Jack and Charlie are annihilating the car. Gunn is giving him a back rub, nothing wrong with that as Road Dog acts distressed. Road Dog has a doctor’s note that claims they do not have to wrestle tonight. Slaughter is on the TitanTron and bellows that they are fine and will defend their titles tonight.
Match 1: New Age Outlaws (c) v. DoA for WWF Tag Titles
Outlaws attack them right away and DoA turn it right around and rip them apart. Gunn is nailed with a spinebuster. But they come right back and use the tag titles as weapons. Now they are on the floor and one of the twins is sent into it. Fuck, I am going to say them by their real name, Foley and Funk leap out of the dumpster and the Outlaws run for their lives and DoA get the win.
** Angle Advancement.
Sable is putting on lipstick.
A WM flashback and I think it was Salt and Pepa at WM XI….I FF’d it.
Mero comes out and promptly sends Sable to the back.
Match 2: Tom Brandi v. Marc Mero
Brandi attacks him right off the bat, and then bulldogs him from the top. He gets a two count and Mero makes a comeback and punches him around and after the bodyslam gets two. Luna comes out in some really “sexy” frilly outfit. Mero snaps him over and Brandi fights him off gives him an inverted atomic drop only to run into the TKO but he just drops, essentially Mero let him go. Brandi front suplexes him and gets two and two more after the Russian sweep. Brandi goes into the ropes and Luna grabs him and this allows Mero to nut him and finish him off with the TKO. Luna comes in and wants to celebrate and she kisses him and he is a little frightened. Goldust runs in from behind and clocks him and wails away as Luna chokes him out. Sable runs down and pulls Luna up by her hair and swings her across the ring with it. Luna runs off and now a slew of refs pull them apart. Mero is predictably screaming at Sable and Slaughter comes down and Sable shoves Mero down and finally leaves the ring. Mero demands for her to come back into the ring. She does and yells at him and he flees!
*1/2 This is getting a bit tiresome. Same thing week after week. I guess Sable and Luna were scrapping in the back and it was apparently real. Sunny tried to break it up and got decked!
They show Pete Rose who will be at WM….And yes he deserves to be in the HoF, fucking hackneyed writers who have no life.
Match 3: Owen Hart (c) v. Mark Henry for WWF European Title
Owen goes after his legs and knees, kicks them over and over. He mounts and pounds him in the corner but is tossed off. He is right back up and is relentless. He kicks him over and over and a spinkick sends him to the floor and he slide kicks him back away from the ring. Chyna waltzes down and Owen just has eyes for her and Henry is able to get his big ass in the ring and sneak up on him and he just clobbers him. Owen is whipped into the corner and then squashed; Henry drops the elbow and he gets a near fall. Owen ducks a clothesline off the whip and leaps right into Mark’s waiting arms and is given a backbreaker. He is nearly pinned, but Owen is up and drops him and goes for the Sharpshooter and is kicked off. Mark whips him into the corner and off the rebound gently grabs him and then spikes him with a belly to belly. Why go for a sunset flip? He does so and Henry jumps down and misses. Another Sharpshooter attempt and again it fails. Another whip into the corner by Henry but this time he eats all corner and Owen connects with a missile dropkick and then goes up and drops elbow getting two. Henry is up and grabs his leg and he gets the enzuguri. Owen now is able to turn him over with the Sharpshooter and he has it in for a bit. But Chyna gets up on the apron and Owen walks up to her and then goes up top right beside her! He watched her briefly but stupidly goes up anyway and she pushes him off right into the waiting arms of Henry who squeezes the life out of him with the bearhug. Chyna comes down and nuts Mark Henry and it is DQ time. Cole stupidly asks her why she did that and well duh, she wants HHH to win the title though I missed what she said. Owen is already up too!
**1/2 I may be overrating this but it was a long match but too many slow developing moves and the lame ending. Just give Owen the clean victory as he needs one going into WM and Henry is rarely used.
Vince is conferring with Tyson in the back.
Match 4: Taka Michinoku (c) and Headbangers (c) v. Rock and Express and Barry Windham
Headbangers mock Express for losing their titles and remind them that it is not the 80s (hey the mullet is badass). They ask Taka what he thinks of Cornette and he calls him a jackass!
Gibson and Mosh start off and they go back and forth, Mosh nails him with a monkeyflip. Taka gets the tag and after an initial blow gets slaughtered. He is carried to the corner and the Express hammer him but he escapes and tags in Thrasher and he runs in and powerslams Gibson. Now the match is breaking down with everyone going at it. Taka flies right into Barry with his plancha. They do not show it but Thrasher finished off Gibson and gets the pin. Cornette has the mic and I cannot understand a word he says and he wants something….mic was fucked.
Okay, Thrasher used the tennis racket on Gibson as Cornette came into the ring.
*1/2 for the beginning comic relief.
Vince is in the ring and wants the fans to give a warm welcome and he is booed out of that shitty city, and then asks the Cleveland fans to welcome….and he is booed louder (any person reading this from Cleveland or a fan of the city is excluded of course). Vince acts baffled and then introduces the baddest man on the planet: Mike Tyson and he gets a mixed response. Tyson shakes Vince’s hand and the latter wants to get right down to business. He asks Tyson if he is going to be the enforcer or is Austin going to enforce his own rules. Vince asks for some respect and gets booed even more. Tyson is about to say something and DX comes down with a purpose and are surrounded by refs. Shawn tells Tyson that he is not Stone Cold and they are not here to disrespect him like Austin. That is not how DX rolls, and he is here to call out people and he introduces himself and will treat him like a man and he tells Tyson he is calling him out “boy” and Tyson simply responds let’s do it and Shawn wants everyone out of the ring and they can go at it. Now it is just Tyson and HBK and they jaw and poke at each other. Tyson shoves him and does it again and wants Shawn to hit him and Shawn backs away and then grabs his shirt for an obvious purpose and then rips it off showing off a DX tank top. The fans literally explode, and Tyson does the crotch chop as they all go ape shit in the ring dancing around. They mock Vince who is cursing and walking away. The fans are certainly digging it and it is the biggest DX pop yet. HBK says something and then flexes and Vince looks on and he may have a heart-a-stroke as HHH and HBK crotch chop Tyson!
DX and Tyson are celebrating in the back; I love Tyson’s bodyguards just glaring: Lambda Lambda Lambda baby!
Match 5: Steve Blackman v. Kama
They kick at each other some connecting, some blocked and some missing. Blackman is sent into the ropes and he bounces off Mustafa. Kama picks him up but he floats behind and tries to grab him but is back elbowed. Blackman hits him but Kama returns the favor with some kicks. Against the ropes, Blackman ducks and then kicks Kama to the floor. He leaps out on top of him and rolls him back into the ring. He goes up top and gets two after a crossbody. Blackman runs at him and is caught and spinebusted. They exchange blows and Kama kicks him in the skull, bodyslams him and goes up top but jumps right into a boot. Blackman gives him a side slam as some fans chant boring. Blackman thrust kicks him in the throat and goes for his submission finisher and the Rock and Farooq run in and put an end to that and both use their finisher on him. Shamrock runs down and Kama unwisely stays and gets a belly to belly for his troubles.
** Okay match, any quasi long match gets called boring now in the WWF! The fans did pop for Shamrock but Rock needs to leave the Nation.
Austin is prepping for his match later tonight.
It is Col. Parker! He wants everyone to get to their feet and show some respect for the greatest singer off all time and he calls out Jeff Jarrett. Sweet Lord, his new gimmick was good with his so-called shoots and now he is back to this shitty gimmick after becoming a jobber. He is wearing a cowboy hat with lights on it and JJ on it too. He spells his name for everyone and calls himself the worlds greatest singer, entertainer and wrestler. He wishes Cornette and the NWA good luck as they were not prepared for someone as multi-dimensional as JJ. Only one man can man him shine and he hypes up Tennessee Lee and spells that too. He calls himself great and then Lee hypes him up too.
Match 6: Double J v. Flash Funk
Funk runs into the ring and attacks, but he is whipped sternum first into the corner. JJ dances around and Funk gets up and decks him but the offense is short lived and JJ slams him. But Funk comes back with a two shoulder tackles but then he runs into a clothesline. JJ flexes, stomps a couple of times and chokes him out on the ropes and then leaps on him as he is hung up on them. Funk grabs him and attempts a backslide and JJ fucks up the reverse so Funk saves it by clotheslining him and then kicking him in the head. JJ is back body dropped. JJ pokes the eyes and then punches Funk, sends him into the ropes and gets nailed with a rolling kicks. Funk gets two, squashes him in the corner after the whip, back suplexes him and calls for his finisher and goes up top but Lee is right there and shoves him off and JJ calls for the Figure Four and it is on. JR calls it shades of the Nature Boy but clarifies that it is Buddy Rogers, and it is over.
* 1/2 Damn. JJ leaves WCW because he could not break through the glass ceiling and now five months later he is back to square one!
The celebrity is talking about her true love and it looks like Ivana Trump as they show her and her cleavage and it is actually fucking Gennifer Flowers! Of course the Lewinsky thing is going down at this time too.
DX and Tyson head to a limo and are all happy. Cole tries to get a word with him but is told to beat it and Tyson threatens to knock out Austin.
A long recap of Hawk and Animal, their career and falling out last week.
Match 7: Kane v. Steve Austin
Paul Bearer screams about Tyson joining DX and then it will be a shock for Austin when he wakes up the next morning next to the Undertaker in the pits of Hell. Austin comes out and makes a hard right towards HHH and grabs him but then turns right into Sweet Chin Music from HBK. I guess Shawn was right about his prediction at the beginning of the show. Austin is out cold. He is slowly getting to his feet and is up and shoves off the refs and he heads into the back.
JR informs us that DX has left the building.
Paul has the mic and there is a weird echo. He is told to grab something. He heads out of the ring and grabs a teen from the audience and tosses him over the railing and beats him….He was wearing an Austin shirt. He grabs the bell and the timekeeper and brings them into the ring. Paul believes we should all pay respect for the Undertaker and wants the bell tolled ten times and demands quiet and respect. He wants him to ring it one more time for himself and Kane goozles him and then chokeslams him. Paul wants a Tombstone and Kane obliges. Paul tells everyone that Kane has done everything he said he would do. His Kane has one more time Tombstone left in his giant body, and Kane is not quite finished yet. Vader is gone and the list goes on and on and they have all gone down at the hands of his Kane. He has one left and wonders who it will be for and he yells at Lawler and JR if they want one. He wants someone to step up and what he gets is the UT’s dong. He assures everyone that it is not the Undertaker as he is gone. Bearer is actually promising Kane that it is not the Undertaker. The bell keeps tolling. Paul has had enough of that damn music and tells JR to stop it and it continues and now the music starts and lightening hits a coffin at the top of the ramp and the Undertaker rises up and JR is shitting his drawers. UT stands up and bellows “Welcome to Hell” and something about eternal damnation. Kane has disappointed him and asks if that is the best effort he had at the Rumble. Kane should know that he cannot destroy that which does not wish to perish (damn that was a mouthful) and now to Paul and he admonishes him. He goes to the darkness of his own accord as it is a time of peace. He was soothing the souls of his parents and why he has to do the one thing he promised he would never do. Paul cries that UT is not the real phenom anymore and Kane is. Kane does his fire thing and it explodes on the ramp and UT walks through and then tells Kane he will walk through the fires of Hell and that he is the Lord of Darkness. He wants Kane to think of something and then mentions the date of WM…..he tells a story of how their parents pulled UT off of Kane as kids and now no one will and he Kane will rest in peace.
*** Okay, not the greatest show but it did what it set out to do and that is advance the storylines going into WM. There were a lot of promos but some wrestling was mixed in. The main event was teased and then no Austin, so WCW is not the only one guilty of that. But fans were appeased as they went nuts for the Undertaker. Tyson joining DX was classic and the Seattle PI had an article back then decrying that he joined the heel team as he was trying to reform his image. Um, it is wrestling and not real, so relax. Some people take it far too seriously and need to take a wait and see attitude. One thing for sure they are going all out for WM and hopefully it pays off. Some of the angles are tired but it seems WM will end a lot and we can move on.