Written by: Kevin Kindelberger
WWF Monday Night RAW 4/13/98
I will come back to Thunder as I want to see this show. The juggernaut that is Nitro finally gets slayed this week and it is coming on the heels of the NBA Playoffs so the news just gets worse. Part of me is bittersweet because Bischoff is so tied to ratings that Nitro will supposedly suffer but we will see. I cannot wait to see what RAW has in store, but it is obvious they have no magic elixir or Nitro just got bad but rather Austin came along as champ and the Attitude Era has brought in new fans like the nWo did two years ago. RAW got a great 4.6 off of hours of 4.3 and a huge increase to their biggest head to head rating with a 4.9 while Nitro got a 4.3 after a shockingly low hour one (compared to lately) of a 4.2 and the other two hours were stable with 4.3’s.
They recap Austin in his suit.
Here comes Austin to the roar of the crowd. He has the mic and wants to get something straight and that is between him and Vince. He wants Vince to come out or he will hold up the entire show. He promises not to knock out Vince and just wants to talk to him man to man. He wants a cold beer while he waits or he will take a nap in the middle of the ring. He will not wear a suit or do what he is told. Vince peeks around the WWF curtain and Austin entices him to come out by promising not to hit him. Vince reluctantly starts down but stops and waits for police in riot gear and then head back down towards the ring as Austin chortles and encourages him to come down to the ring. He tells the police not to get to close or it will not be pretty. Austin wants to know who he is facing at the PPV, and Vince has not made up his mind yet. Austin thinks he is holding back on him, and Vince assures him that he is not as it takes great deliberation to figure that out. Austin is not buying it and tells Vince that he knows he cannot stand him because he likes to drink beer and say colorful language or the way he dresses. He is not a proper champ who does not have an Ivy League education or someone who does not say four letter words. Austin states that it sounds like Vince wants to be WWF champion and Vince starts to grin but then shakes his head. Austin asks him again if he wants to be champ and Vince wants to know where he is going with this. Austin wonders if Vince thought he looked good when he brought the new belt down and asked his wife how he looked, and she probably thought he looked like a jack ass. Austin is going to put the title on the line tonight and it will be against Vince McMahon and asks the fans what they think and they respond enthusiastically. Vince says no and now Austin tells him that there is a hard way and an easy way. Vince wants some elaboration of what that means. The easy way is that Vince goes back and picks a ref and Austin claims he can even beat him with one hand tied behind his back. Vince wants to know what the hard way is and mocking calls him Mr. Austin. Well, Austin is excited to inform him of that way, but first proclaims the easy way is better as Vince can become champion then proceeds to explain the hard way: He will take a cameraman back stage and beat his ass in front of the world anyway. This thing needs to end tonight and either way you look at it Vince is getting beat up but if he chooses the easy way then he has a chance at the title. Austin will give him 30 minutes and Vince cannot leave as Austin beat up his limo driver and the car has four flats. Austin asks the crowd for a Hell yeah and they eat it up. The cops force him out of the ring or encourage him to leave….
Vince in the back and Brisco and Patterson are telling him that SCSA is making a fool of him and it is time to set him straight and they believe he can do it but he needs to do so tonight.
Match 1: DoA v. Los Baricuas
This is a chain match and DX has come down to ringside. The bell rings and DoA clobbers the Baricuas with a series of blows. Vega and Skull are on the floor as Eight Ball leaps off the top and clocks a Baricuas with the chain and then hammers him. Out on the floor Chainz and Gunn are going at it and HHH and Pac come over and crack him with chairs and now he is getting pummeled. HHH Pedigrees him into the chair as they are not focusing on the in ring action and Gunn piledrives him into the chair. Back to the ring Vega is working over Ball but now DX come into the ring and they go after DoA and the ref tosses the match. HHH hits Skull with a chair as Pac chokes out Eight Ball. Now DX turns on the Baricuas and unloads on them. Now they get some chairs to the back.
*1/2 Just angle advancement and the match itself was terrible.
Vince is arguing in the back and Shane is trying to talk him out of the match and Vince now is upset and wants to know if they think he cannot take out Austin.
There is going to be a tag match but Vince has come down solo. For over 50 years the WWF has been a part of his heritage from his grandparents to his father and he hopes to pass it on to his kids. The WWF has always been about integrity something the current champ lacks. He is no honor or integrity; his decision will sit well with those you came before but sometimes a man has to do what a man has to do, and so the question is whether or not he will face Austin tonight in this ring and he pauses and then responds “oh hell yeah.” Brisco and Patterson come down and clap and are all excited.
JR is stunned and is going to try and stop this. Now the lights dim and Cole worries it is Kane but it is the Undertaker. The four combatants are baffled and UT grabs two of them by the throat and chokeslams them. He grabs Scott Taylor and chokeslams him and then Tombstones him. He grabs the mic and tells Kane that it is time for his big brother to show him what evil is all about. Kane is no longer the hunter but the hunted and it is time for Kane to come out of the darkness.
Kevin Kelly shows us what happened during the break and JR is arguing with Brisco and Patterson and Shane is on JR’s side. Vince stops the bickering and sends JR back to the announce table and tells Shane to go to his car and bring his bag.
Tennessee Lee announces JJ. Leaflets are falling from the ceiling and apparently JJ is singing at the PPV.
Match 2: Jeff Jarrett v. Taka Michinoku
JJ takes it to Taka right away, knocking him down and then setting him up on the ropes for the leap onto the back of the head. Meanwhile Steve Blackman is in the back and Cole is commiserating with him about being attacked last week and Blackman assures him that he will get at JJ and it may be tonight and revenge is sweet. JJ sends Taka into the corner but he floats over and takes down JJ getting two. He follows up with a bulldog, goes up top but JJ is right there and superplexes him off and he gets two. JJ pulls him up and drops him back down with a short armed clothesline. He stomps on Taka then whips him into the ropes and dropkicks him. But Taka makes a comeback and with a kick of his own and then sends JJ to the floor. Taka wants to do his big Plancha but Lee is right there and blocks it. The ref just stares stupidly and now Club Kamikaze runs out and blindsides Taka and after they run off JJ puts him in the Figure Four and the ref finally breaks it.
** Nice to see Taka get in a little offense. Not sure of the plans for JJ.
Austin in the back knew Vince would accept because he had no choice. It may be bad advice but whatever he stated it would be settled tonight and it will be one way or another.
Patterson is giving advice to Vince on how to take out Austin; Brisco kicks at Patterson who grabs the leg as Vince looks on wide eyed.
Here comes a bandaged Farooq to some generic rap song. Farooq is going to make this short and simple. He knows the Rock is back there and he better listen up. Rock may have broke a rib and messed him up but deep down he knows that he gave Rock and the Nation their opportunity and he is going to give them one more and try and kick his ass. Out comes the Nation. The Rock mocks him for being ignorant from the beating he took, and he needs to sit back and smell what he is cooking tonight in Philly. Rock tells him that he has a big hand and that means he is going to lay the smackdown on Farooq and there are only two things he can do about it: nothing and like it. He continues about the millions watching at home and the fans just boo the hell out of him so the Rock pauses and soaks it in. Rock is willing to have the Nation kick his ass and Farooq does the salute and Rock mocks that too but Shamrock and Blackman show up behind the Nation and do it too and the Rock is baffled by the sudden eruption of cheers and and turns and sees them and the Nation runs to the ring and now the brawl is on. They are pounding on each other and the refs finally restore order.
Funk comes out and is here to announce a new partner and the reason is because Cactus Jack waddled out of the ring and quit because the fans chanted Austin. Funk does not care what the fans think or who the fans chant for so his new partner will be hardcore and the fans erupt, and Funk proclaims he is going to bring some funk to people’s faces and here comes a new and improved Flash Funk!
Match 3: Terry and Flash Funk v. the Quebecers
The brawl starts right away with all four going out at it. Now Terry and Jacques start off with the fans chanting EC-Dub. Pierre gets the tag and slugs away but Terry fires back and drops him. Flash gets the tag and dropkicks both Quebecers, bodyslams them and then goes up top but Pierre is right there and crushes him with a belly to belly suplex. Jacques is tagged and they drop him throat first onto the top rope and now they set up their finisher and Pierre is on top of Jacques shoulders and is slammed onto canvas as Too Cold goes up and finishes him off with a near 450.
** But really good to see Flash Funk is no more and is Too Cold Scorpio or 2 Cold I guess.
Luna comes down looking “hot” in an all white outfit and a sailors cap. Her adrenaline is flowing and wants to settle this right now and calls out Sable…..
Sable’s music hits and the crowd erupts. But it is Goldust instead wearing some sort of gown and he lays down in the ring and allows Luna to tear it off and he yells “ow” and claims that he is going to take off his pumps and kick some butt. Now Sable really comes out and she goes after Luna and a slew of officials come out and break it up with Goldust finally carrying Luna to the back.
Match 4: Bodacious Bart v. Ken Shamrock
Dan Severn and Shamrock have a staredown before the bell. After it rings Shamrock whips Bart into the ropes and sends him into the corner and off the rebound clotheslines him and then does it again. Oops it is a tag match with Blackman as Shamrocks partner and going against the New Express. Bob gets the tag and gets in a couple of blows but is nailed with a spinebuster. Blackman keeps up the offense until Bob fucks up a hurracarana and hears about it from the crowd. Blackman slams him and goes up top but misses and Bob tags in Bart who trips him up and Bob is back in and drops an elbow onto the back of his head. Bob pushes him into the corner and wears him down with a series of blows but then misses the dropkick as Steve grabs the ropes. Shamrock gets the hot tag and unloads on both men and now all four are in the ring with the heels getting dismantled. Shamrock powerslams Bob and so the ref calls for the bell and DQ’s both teams.
*1/2 Lame ending.
Vince is still conferring in the back.
After the break Vince admits that he has butterflies in his stomach but is not afraid. He was not afraid of the Feds, or Ted Turner and Time Warner or Stone Cold.
Headbangers are in the ring but the lights go out and out comes the Undertaker. Headbangers look at him but then decide to kick UT and try to fend him off but it is to no avail as Thrasher gets a Tombstone and Mosh is chokeslammed. Now the lights go out again and this time it is Kane! He stands atop the ramp and stares down. Paul unfortunately has the mic and tells UT that he cannot wait for the PPV so if he wants to fight his own flesh and blood then he has to do it on Bearer’s own time. He is not going to face Kane inside that ring but rather meet Paul and Kane at the cemetery. If he is so worried what his parents think then he can fight Kane on their damn graves and be sent back to Hell where he belongs. Kane does his flame thing as Paul cackles.
Austin is walking in the back towards the ring….
Val Venis is doing some more of his lame ass innuendos. He has a rocket in his pocket which will take every woman to new and exciting heights. He sits down next to two women, one with her boob distorted as it is showing! He calls it Venis envy. He is going to explode inside the WWF and he will give it his all and he does some really creepy grunts….fuck this is lame.
Here comes DX….I guess Austin got held up. Here comes Owen Hart and he has a mic and calls them worthless degenerates and one of them is going to get their ass kicked and wants to know who it will be. HHH laughs that they have been tossing and turning all weekend to finally finish Owen off, and had each write a 500 word essay. He claims that they were all really good and then makes fun of each, Pac’s was too adult entertainment and Chyna’s was too violent. Gunn’s won and had depictions of barnyard animals and so the winner is Mr. Ass. Billy tells Owen to “suck it.”
Match 5: Owen Hart v. Billy Gunn
Owen comes down all alone but here comes LoD (2000 but I refuse to call them that).
They pan to Vince working out!
After the break they finally get to the match. Gunn vertically suplexes him and gets two. Gunn works over the head with his fist and then rakes the face. Owen fires back but is grabbed, snapped over and Gunn get two. After that he applies a reverse chinlock. Owen gets to his feet and elbows free, and is whipped into the ropes but strikes with a crossbody and Owen gets two. However, Gunn hops up and clotheslines Owen, and then uses the ropes to choke him out. The ref forces the break and the slight respite allows Owen to take command; he spinkicks Gunn and gets a near fall and then follows up with an enzuguri. After another two count Owen exposes Gunn’s ass by pulling him back into the ring by his tights and then clotheslines him to the floor. Gunn sees LoD there and he flees only to be suplexed back into the ring and Owen takes him down again and puts him in the Sharpshooter but despite having back up he stops and goes over to Chyna who is on the apron and he is knocked to the floor. HHH moves toward him but LoD is right there to put the kabosh on that.
Owen hangs him upside down in the corner and Gunn collapses, and then Owen bodyslams him and gets two after a missile dropkick. He follows up with a neckbreaker and gets another two count. Gunn is whipped into the ropes but Owen telegraphs the back drop and Gunn uses his leg to bulldog him into the canvas. Owen is sent for the ride and powerslammed, Gunn celebrates and Owen uses that moment to roll him up and get the win! DX runs into the ring as Owen celebrates.
**1/2 Not bad. Why they have Owen do the same thing over and over being distracted by Chyna is beyond me.
Vince has a towel draped over his shoulders or some sort of clothing device and his tights are hiked up high and it is clear that the Roids have paid dividends.
Match 6: Vince McMahon v. Steve Austin (c) for WWF Title
Vince swaggers out and looks “naturally” ripped. Here comes Shane and he is still trying to talk Vince out of it. Shane finally leaves as Vince uses Patterson to practice some sweet boxing moves. Here comes Austin and the crowd erupts. Austin goes from corner to corner to pose for the fans and then he and Vince bump chests and an argument ensues. Vince is handed the belt and makes sure it fits around his waist. Austin and Vince are face to face with Vince trying to act tough and he slaps Austin! Austin jaws away as Vince gives him the evil eye. Vince has the mic and reminds Austin what he said about beating him with one hand tied behind his back. Austin looks a bit displeased and Vince has rope and wants the Stunner arm tied. Vince wants to find out if Austin has any guts. Brisco is talking to Austin and he just nods so it seems like they are almost going over the match! Boy this is taking forever. Vince wants to make sure it is cinched up so they waste another minute checking on that. Austin wants a “Hell Yeah” if they think Austin can beat his ass with one arm and they respond enthusiastically. Vince wants to know if he can beat Austin who has only one arm and the crowd bellows “Hell No!” Vince is getting prepped in his corner as Austin looks bored in the other corner. The ref wants to get this going but Vince asks for another moment and he gets a mouthpiece and they are about to start and out comes Dude Love! Dude wants to know if they can’t all just get along. The Dude does not feel a whole lot of love tonight. There is only one Cat who can bring peace to the War Zone and that is the Dude. Vince is the man who writes the checks that allows the Dude to live the life he lives and calls Uncle Vinny his main man. He calls SCSA the world’s toughest SOB and Vince just clocks Dude and the latter declares that a huge mistake and goes for the Claw and Vince tries to fight him off and here comes Austin and Dude turns around and puts the Claw on! Dude lets it go and dances and Vince leaves the ring. Dude mocks Austin and starts to beat him down and the Claw is back on. Vince now wants back in the ring. Meanwhile Austin is getting the tar kicked out of him as Vince goes back after Dude Love but is held back, and the Claw is on again for the third time. Dude has the mic and tells Vince he has plenty left where that came from and waves Vince over who is being held back. Austin is on the floor and tries to fight back but is grabbed and run into the security railing. He is placed on the announce table and the Claw is back on again….and we fade.
***1/2 Now time has made this episode quite legendary. The show that broke the Nitro mystique and little did people know at the time send RAW skyrocketing in the ratings and help make Vince a billionaire. In reality it was just another RAW but it did have a great flow to it. It was a promo heavy show with the Russo style overbooking. There is no doubt that they found lightning in a bottle with Vince and Austin and they did the smart thing in teasing it. Sure it is disappointing but they realized what they had on their hands and decided to build towards and save it for sometime down the road and that was extremely wise. Nitro ratings did not drop; yes there is a contingent of a few hundred thousand that switch back and forth but at the same time RAW was able to tap into that younger audience, something politicians always hope to do. RAW is now seen as hip and edgy while Nitro gets the older audience, and of course the nWo is still big amongst younger fans but the Hogan generation is getting older. Overall there was not much wrestling but still all the promos were top notch and all the main angles were built on and it is