WWF RAW 3/17/1998
Written by: Kevin Kindelberger
WWF Tuesday Night RAW 3/17/98
RAW took a step back last week, but the build towards Shawn and Austin has been well done and even with HBK’s injury the match should be fun. Also, the Rock and Shamrock should be winding down their feud as will Mero and Goldust. I feel that there has to be a fundamental shift in RAW programming as they will overtake WCW in a month. Or it could be that WCW makes a misstep between now and then and the fact that the Attitude Era’s new approach to wrestling has finally caught fire and they have managed to get the younger 18-25 demographic. But Nitro got the night to itself as RAW was pre-empted the good news for RAW was that their Tuesday show bounced a full point and allowed people to sample their product with a 4.4 off of hours of 4.2 and 4.6. Nitro gets the same luxury as WWF fans can sample and the ratings shot up to a 5.6 off of hours of 5.6, 4.8 to a an amazing 6.3.
Ken Shamrock comes down. Kevin Kelly mentions the issues that Ken has had with the Nation and they show him getting manhandled by them. But his comeback against the Rock and the Nation allowing that to happen. Kevin wants to know about Shamrock’s self-control and if he will be able to keep his temper in check at WM. Ken responds that he has fought in no holds barred competitions and he has lost his temper a few times but it has saved him a few times. At WM when Rocky steps into his zone there will be a new IC champ. Rocky calls himself the people’s IC champ, well come WM we are going to find out who the real IC champ and people’s champ is. Out comes the Rock with the Nation in tow. Rock tells him to know his role and shut his mouth; he is sick of this little jabrone coming out and running his mouth, and could not last two minutes with the Rock or any member of the Nation. Seeing as the Rock is the champ and in charge, and if Ken can last two minutes with a member of the Nation he gets a title shot tonight. Rock volunteers D’Lo Brown who reluctantly heads down and Ken calls him a name and Brown hits him from behind…..
The clock is winding down as Brown hammers him and continues to pound on him. Shamrock strikes back but is dropkicked. Brown postures with less than a minute left and now Shamrock unloads on him with some big kicks, and Brown is whipped into the ropes and given a belly to belly. He looks up the ramp and it is Ankle Lock time and the Rock was right behind him and comes in and clocks him with a chair and then takes off his fucking head with it! Damn. Farooq is even taken aback and they are now arguing. Rock struts to the back as even Farooq looks a bit worried.
***Not really a match you can rate but for the pure angle advancement it works, and that is what I will rate but the chair to the head, a little much but this is 98.
Kevin Kelly is with a woozy Shamrock who has suffered a concussion.
Sable is not too pleased as she calls Luna a little bitch, and she is challenging her to a fight tonight. If she has any guts she will be here so she can kick her ass.
Holy shit it is the Phoenix Suns Gorilla; he rappelled into the ring and is spasming, running in circles and sits next to JR.
Match 2: Tom Brandi v. Jeff Jarrett
Tennessee Lee is getting booed out of the arena as he introduces Elvis and then laughs and here comes JJ in his new/old dipshit gimmick. JJ comes down on a white horse, a la the Electric Horsemen. JJ attacks him from behind and gives him a swinging neckbreaker. Brandi comes back with a back elbow and then follows up with a jawbreaker. JJ is chopped but he is able to whip Brandi into the corner, but is rolled up and nearly pinned. JJ is sent into the corner and Brandi misses and eats all turnbuckle and it is already Figure Four time! It is already over too.
* This was awful. This gimmick is awful. But the crowd is relatively riled and that is a good thing.
Kelly tells us that Shamrock is heading to the hospital. Rock interrupts and does the know your role thing and does not give a monkeycrap about Kenny. He now needs a new opponent for WM as he laid the smackdown on Ken and he gives it back to JR and Cole.
WM Flashback LT beating Bam Bam. Holy shit it is a ten minute video package of Austin and Shawn; predominantly or actually all of it on Shawn as champ and DX etc. I guess it is Tuesday RAW. It is a recap of his entire career….Fuck that is long.
Match 3: Rock and Roll Express and Jim Cornette v. Headbangers (c) for NWA Tag Titles
Mosh has the mic and calls the Express handicapped because they are stuck with Cornette. Morton and Thrasher start off and some roll arounds and lock ups lead to Morton knocked down and hiptossed. Now both Express are getting worked over and they pull on their hammies and hurting their groins. Cornette gets the tag, nope he yells at Morton and he is in and both Express clothesline Mosh, and double back drop him. Gibson is in and he gets a two count. Morton nails him with a running knee lift and they double back elbow him and then knock Thrasher off the apron. Mosh kicks Morton on the telegraphed back drop and they nail him with the Stage Dive and get the pin. Cornette is tossed into the ring but Bob Holly and Bart Gunn run in and attack the Bangers; one gets a spinebuster from the top rope and just continue to utterly dismantle them. Now Cornette has the mic, and declares that problem has been taken care of, every wrestling has been begging for him to bring back the Midnite Express and Bart and Bob are the new Midnite Express and they are met with boos. There is still a problem, there are two guys with skirts wearing the tag belts and laying their hands on Cornette. Now the Express get utterly dismantled as the New Express just demolish them.
**1/2 Probably will not go anywhere but it was still entertaining.
More Gennifer Flowers.
The Gorilla is prancing about in the ring and here comes Kane. The Gorilla just stood there and gets chokeslammed and now it is Tombstone time! The fans are pissed…..awesome!
Here comes Owen Hart wearing a cast on his ankle. I forgot how fucking painful that looked and he will be at WM. Oh, he is at the announce table.
Match 4: Chainsaw Charlie v. Billy Gunn
Here come the Outlaw’s bringing out a dumpster. Road Dog is yapping about being tag champs etc. Road Dog distracts him and taunts him on the mic as Gunn pounds him. He chops him on the chest, shoves him to the floor and continues to chop him. Back in the ring, he goes for a piledriver and connects. Dog is still talking and it is about how old Charlie is and how he wants him to get shorter so Gunn gives him another piledriver and then pulls up the head at two. Now Charlie fires back and off the telegraphed back drop he gives him two DDT’s and Dog was at a loss for words so runs in and whacks him with the belt. But he misses the second attempt and is shoved to the floor and Gunn gets a third DDT and this time on the tag belt. Charlie goes out after Road Dog and decks him. He has a rope and hog ties him. Road Dog is hung upside down by his ankles as Gunn tries to help. Charlie heads down and beats on Gunn some more. Now Cactus taunts a hung Dog, and he tells ass to call somebody!
**1/2 Good for angle advancement. The match was fun and the aftermath was classic.
Luna is doing the Gozer again. I guess she is not coming out, only when she decides.
Here comes Vince McMahon. Kevin Kelly is in the ring with him and Vince is vociferously booed. Vince calls last week, unprofessional and unfortunate. They show what happened last week on the TitanTron. Vince did not like what happened, nonetheless he gives him the benefit of the doubt. Austin was stunned by the mental acumen of Michaels who brought Tyson into DX. More footage of Austin telling Vince to punch him; Vince does not really want this re-shown. Kevin asks why Vince did not hit him, and Vince responds he does what he does from a professional standpoint for WWF fans. Kevin wants elaboration, Vince wanted to save the main event at WM. More elaboration please, and Vince responds that how could Austin compete at WM with a broken jaw!! There is stunned silence. Now more video footage of Vince being forced out of his ring. Kevin asks how that felt, and Vince repeats that he does what he does and it would not have looked good had he taken Austin down. Kevin wants to know what Vince thinks about Austin becoming champ, or if he wants him to. Vince states it is not up to him but the fans and they loudly cheer. Kevin repeats the question, and Vince is fine with him becoming champ but he needs to be controlled and get into line. If he is champ in his current form would be a corporate and public relations disaster. Therefore the fans and Austin do not want to really know. He makes to leave but Kevin is insistent and wants an answer to his question about Vince wanting Austin as champ. Vince looks pained and it is not just a no and the real Mr. McMahon comes out with a “Hell no!” That is the bottom line because Vince McMahon said so and the crowd is really booing him now!
A Tyson DX video.
Now the lifestory of Austin and how he is from a blue collar town. And they are honest straight shooting people. He was fired from WCW over the phone and now after 8 years he has his shot. They recap his WWF career. Damn this is long.
HHH comes down with the mic and accuses Owen of stealing his belt and hiding behind the announce table. HHH tells him that he can see him and wants him to know if he is a man, and that he should not be hiding from him and that he is a coward and to prove it he needs to get in the ring and put the belt on the line. Owen tells him about his ankle but HHH will have none of it and continues to taunt him. Owen tells him to wait for WM. HHH shoves him off his chair and Owen pops up and throws a bottle of water at him and unloads on him. He mounts and pounds him and wails away. He rolls him into the ring and the match is on!
Match 6: HHH v. Owen Hart (c) for WWF European Title
Owen immediately clotheslines him to the floor but is too slow coming out and is shoved headfirst into the steel post. Here comes Chyna and she hits Owen in the cast with the ball bat and rolls him back in. HHH wrenches on the ankle and while Owen never gave up the ref calls for the bell and HHH gets the belt too.
**1/2 This is for the whole angle and it will drop to a DUD if Owen loses at WM. I am not a fan of hotshotting the title but it builds serious heat for HHH and allows Owen to make a comeback.
HHH taunts Owen and tells him to Suck It.
Match 7: Luna v. Sable
Sable goes after her but Goldust is holding Luna down and now the refs are in too. Not sure why they are holding her back as I thought this was a match. They are still trying to get at one another as now the fans are getting pissed. Sable breaks through the cordon and gets at Luna. Luna just dropped Goldust and Sable sticks her and scratches and claws and slaps at Luna as Goldust drags her out of the ring to safety. Sable acts injured as she struggles to get up and cannot put any weight on her knee. Mero tries to help her up but she cannot put any weight on it. The lights go out and it is Kane time again! Just drag her out of the fucking ring. Kane is on the apron and it is flame time and Mero leaps over the top and leaves a screeching Sable. Paul taunts her and motions Kane to chokeslam her as she cries and now here comes the Undertaker or at least his music as the lights go out. He is on top of the TitanTron and warns Kane that he will strike down on Kane anger and vengeance and send him to damnation and know him as the Lord of Darkness. He has felt Kane’s wrath and will now feel his. It is too late to turn back, and the only thing to do now is Rest in Peace and we get a lightening bolt and it sets an effigy of Kane on fire inside a coffin.
***1/2 I may be ranking this too high. But damn was this a fun show. The Rock is finally being unleashed and now I am looking forward to their WM match. Owen got some air time and his feud with HHH heated up. I loved the McMahon promo; they teased Sable and Luna and UT and Kane got some air time. The crowd was rabid and overall the show did its job of setting up WM. There were some slow spots and overlong video packages but with a bigger audience watching on Tuesday they were trying to sell buys and hype up WM as well as get people who normally watch WCW caught up on the feuds. It also refreshed my memory because I watch so much damn wrestling…..