WWF RAW 5/24/1999
WWF Monday Night RAW is Owen 5/24/99
My thinking evolved while watching the show and doing some research during it. Like I said in my epilogue I believe the should have been cancelled. I did discuss Vince’s penchant for the bottom line and the havoc that it may have created by ending the show. However, like the PPV back in 1996 when there was a power outage they could have re-scheduled it for later in the week or next week. A hassle? Yes. PPV subscribers would have received the replay free and tickets would have been good along with a refund had they chosen to take that. You could tell the air had been sucked out of the arena. The fans were not into it, the announcers were not and the wrestlers were off. If anything it made for one of the most surreal nights in wrestling history. Vince staying in character was also odd. Change the format, go to the hospital and do your damn job. Vince had a show to run and by God he was going to do it. I see his reasoning but I do not agree with it. Initially I did but after watching the entire show and reflecting it makes him seem even more of the greedy bastard than he is. I wonder had Vince not been so concerned with his on air antics and character that he plays and had been more focused on his surroundings, or for that matter anyone would they have questioned the stunt? Hindsight is 20/20 but Jesus what a stupid idea. They did it once: Sunday Night Heat right before the Survivor Series and that was with a back up harness. Why propel him down faster? What purpose does that serve? Who comes up with dumb ass ideas like this. Some have blamed Vince Russo: It was an attempt to take the product further into the absurd. A way to make the WWF more like a Hollywood movie replete with stunts. This is the consequence. I do not blame Russo. I blame McMahon for allowing it to happen in the first place. But Russo will pull shit like this in WCW, such as having Bret Hart speed away in a car on an icy road….Bret rightfully said he was a wrestler and not a stuntman. There is a lot of talk of backstage politics in WCW but what was happening in the WWF where a talent like Owen Hart feared for his job and did not speak up. All things that I have read and heard states he did not like the stunt. He also did not like the direction of the company and probably did not want to rock the boat even further, seeing as he had already refused to do an angle with Debra, hence the break up of he and Jarrett as a tag-team. With the WWF becoming more Crash TV oriented it was a self-fulfilling prophecy yet a wholly unnecessary one. WCW pulled shenanigans like that with Sting but he was buckled up like a baby in a car seat. What really baffles me is that it seems the stunt was not even going to be show on TV and just for the audience at the arena as they were showing a recap when it happened. One wonders if he had survived would they have done it again for RAW. If anything it shone the spotlight on some of the asinine things that were happening and safety measure were taken. At least in theory. Too bad they continued walloping the shit out of each other in the head with objects exacerbating injuries, shortening careers and ending lives. Like Benoit in 2007 it shown a brief spotlight on the issues facing the wrestling world but attention was quickly diverted elsewhere. I ultimately agree with Martha and her feelings on the WWF/E but part of me agrees with Bret about not wanting Owen’s legacy forgotten. The cynic in me calls this damage control from Vince, doing a Tribute show. Then again no one could be that callous as to try and profit off a death…..I think.
Tonight there will be no angles and people have the option to not work. Undertaker will be visiting Bret. This will be the highest rated head to head show with a 7.2 while Nitro got a 3.8.
Correction, two weeks ago I said RAW got a 8.4: It was an 8.1.
Wrestlers are lining up on the ramp. Vince and Linda and Steph are in the front looking somber. The fans are chanting “Owen.” Finkel has the bell tolled ten time for Owen so we can pay respects. Henry is crying….Jesus Christ this is depressing. The fans all erupt and chant for Owen afterwards. Now to the TitanTron for a video tribute for Owen. Vince is doing the voice over and calls knowing him pure joy and how he loved the business. He was a friend and brother to all. The locker room and everyone’s lives will never be the same. Prayers go out to his family. A big piece of Owen will live in all of us.
JR tells us that the show will be a 2 hour tribute. 10 match ups. As well as sentiments.
Foley first: Foley’s son favorite wrestler was Owen. He is telling a story about it. His daughter thought that chanting Nugget was a good thing. He continues about how great he was and he is loved.
Bradshaw talks about the ribs Owen took because he was so cheap. He wanted to save the money so he could retire early. He talks about how his family will not have a father and he hopes they know how much Owen loved them.
Match 1: Jeff Jarrett v. Test
Jeff has the mic and states that Owen was never a Nugget….
JJ attacks him right off the bat and bulldogs him after a flurry of punches. JJ hangs his neck over the ropes and jumps on him. He works him over for a moment but is grabbed and sideslammed. Test gets two and then goes up top and leaps into a knee. JJ gets in a few blows but he lowers his head and Test gets two after a gutwrench powerbomb. Debra unbuttons her blouse and she slaps him and JJ puts Test in the Sharpshooter and Test taps.
** Hard to rank this. Nice to see JJ get the win. The blouse part was unnecessary….unbuttoning that is.
Mark Henry is reciting a poem. He is struggling to finish….Good God this is depressing. I think I have already said that.
Droz talks about what a great guy Owen was and how he would help people out. He is not sure if it is ironic how he died in the ring…..he knows people will not forget him. He knows that he will not.
Match 2: X Pac and Kane (c) v. the Brood
Edge and Pac start off and fly around the ring. Pac gets the better of him. Kane and Gangrel are in the ring now. Kane is double DDT’d but rises up and unloads on both Edge and Gangrel. Pac runs in and heel kicks him a few times. Pac is tossed to the floor and hammered. Back in the ring Edge whips him into the corner but runs into a boot. Pac comes right back with an enzuguri. Kane gets the tag and he strikes with a top rope lariat and then cleans house. Pac comes in and helps. Bronco Buster on Edge and Kane slams him on top of Gangrel…..Pac gets the pin.
Chyna is talking about Owen’s humor and getting people to laugh. HHH is just sitting there. Of course just over a year ago he refused to do a feud for him. Oh well he is crying now and Chyna looks uncomfortable. Now HHH is trying to speak but cannot. In a business where you see the worst of everyone and they are like a family around when people are at their best and their worst. Owen was always at his best and was never a piece of trash (odd) and he was there for everyone to make them laugh and make them mad. He ribbed people in the ring, making people mad. He backslid him at the Rumble and would not let go. He had the balls to do things like that. He loved his family and always talked about them. He will always have place in his heart for Owen and he loves him…..Shit I am being a douche. Just because you do not do a feud; it may make you a dick but does not mean he hated Owen. Politics happens…it is unfortunate. It does not make it right….but obviously HHH cared about him.
Dave Hebner will always have Owen in his heart.
Match 3: Hardy Boyz v. Taka Michinoku and Funaki
Jeff and Taka have been flying around the ring. Jeff misses a misses a back moonsault. Taka hits his Driver but cannot follow up. Funaki gets the hot tag and unloads with a series of dropkicks. Hayes whips Funaki into a springboard dropkick. Ouch. Taka plancha’s into everyone. Back in the ring Matt finishes him off with a swinging neckbreaker.
**1/2 Short but fun.
Bruce Prichard (WWF Official) He talks about how fun and entertaining Owen was.
Dustin talks about Owen being a prankster. A story about chili and Harley Race. Harley cooked a pot of chili and Owen poured an entire bottle of hot sauce into it. Harley goes after Owen with a stun gun and Owen laughed….it was a fun evening (sounds like a great time!).
Match 4: Hardcore Holly v. Ken Shamrock
Jesus Holly is destroyed. He is forced to tap after maybe a minute from the Ankle Lock.
* Epic Squash.
Farooq talks about him.
Now Test is….Owen played pranks on him. He acted like the head man and canceling shows. He found out this morning that it was Owen…..he was going to tell management that Test wanted the shows canceled.
Match 5: Billy Gunn v. Mankind
Mankind pushes him into the corner and the fans chant “Foley” and they lock up again. Gunn pushes him into the corner and he kicks and punches him down into the canvas. He shows off his thong for some reason and he gets pummeled. He is backdropped and clotheslined to the floor. Mankind goes after him and drives his head into the steps. Gunn fires back and works over the knee. Gunn shows off a chair and the fans cheer but it was for Mankind readying Socko! Gunn slowly makes his way to the ring and he raises the chair only to eat Socko and it is already over.
**1/2 JR is baffled by the sudden ending…..do not question it JR just go with it.
Mankind has the mic and this one is for him and he bellows “Wooooo”
Jeff Jarrett is all choked up. He is talking about wrestling being fantasy and unrealistic. But Owen was real and he talks about his wife and kids and he is crying while doing so. He talks about all the laughs he provided and how he made coming to work entertaining off the camera. He makes a promise as he Owen has two kids and JJ has one of his own. He is going to do his best that his kids know what a great man their father was….he says he is done.
Edge: Owen was a leader of a merry little band called the Canadian Mafia. Owen helped him on the road and helped him with matches. He talks about him some more and how he made him smile.
Match 6: D’Lo Brown and Mark Henry v. Acolytes
Bradshaw takes it to Brown. Brown fires back but he gets tossed to the floor. Farooq hammers him and he is rolled back in. Bradshaw punishes him for a bit and tags in Farooq. Brown fights back but is DDT’d. Bradshaw is back in and he crushes him with a flying shoulder tackle. Farooqis nailed with a thrust kick after he is tagged back in. Henry gets the tag and he unloads on both Farooq and Bradshaw but they doubleteam him and down goes Mark and Brown. They give him a neckbreaker and Mark is just able to make the save. Henry is tossed to the floor. They go to D’Lo but Bradshaw accidentally kicks Farooq in the head and he is rolled up and pinned.
**1/2 Decent brawl.
Pat Patterson: He has been in the business for 40 years and Owen was a great guy. He is going to miss him.
Holly remembers Owen putting him over in Holly’s hometown three years ago (I remember that RAW) and Holly continues that Owen may be aggravating but he made everyone laugh. He may be gone but he is not forgotten. He will always be remembered.
Match 7: Road Dogg v. Godfather (c) for WWF IC Title
Road Dogg does his thing but it is not for him but for Owen tonight. Godfather reminds us that Pimpin’ Made Easy!
JR talks about getting pantsed by Owen in the swimming pool.
Godfather does not want to kick the shit out of each other especially on this day and instead get together and the Ho’s. Road Dogg agrees to burn one with him and tell some Owen stories!
Paul Bearer: He gives an ode to Owen.
X Pac states that Owen is one of the funny guys on the face of the earth. His sense of humor was different but he was funny….okay. He talks about how much he is going to miss him and wants to say a prayer to his wife and family.
Match 8: Al Snow v. HHH
HHH starts strong but is knocked to the floor and Al slide kicks him. He runs him into the post and then rolls him back into the ring. He flips over his back but runs right into a high knee. Al is run into the corner and kicked over and over. HHH is choking him out with the ropes and Chyna decks him. HHH vertically suplexes him. But Al comes back and headbutts him a dozen or so times and HHH topples over. He is backdropped and then bodyslammed. Al gets on the middle rope and stares at the crowd and misses the moonsault. Pedigree time! It is over.
**1/2 Short but fun.
He is about to cry as he tells him that this match is for Owen.
Road Dogg talks about how hard it is. It is too soon. He got to know him real well the past six months. He was just like him and he did it for his family. He is in a better place and will be praying for his family.
Gerald Brisco has always looked up to him. He had a drive in his heart. He tried his best to succeed and accomplished that. He never cut corners and when it came time to go into the ring he made people happy.
Match 9: Big Show v. Goldust
Goldust gets in his face and then pushes Meanie into Show who hits him but it does nothing. Show goozles him only to be uppercutted in the nuts. He breaks through their double clothesline attempt and runs both over. He chokeslams both and gets the win.
Debra is all choked up and calls Owen a great person. She wishes everyone saw how funny and cheery he was. He always messed with her. He kid with her…..The last thing he talked about was her shorts because she did not like them! She saw all the stuff they were supposed to do together the next week. People should not take life for granted and she loves him. Christ this sucks….she is crying and cannot believe he is gone and making her and JJ laugh. She felt honored that she could work with him.
Shane McMahon: Owen was always a prankster. He is telling a story about Bret and he at a bar ten years ago. Owen went to bed early. They decided to wake the Blazer and they tackled him. The next day Bret’s boots were gone and Shane’s was somehow in the shower. He starts to say how far back the McMahon/Hart family goes and gets all choked up and how much he will missed.
Match 10: Val Venis v. the Rock
Tonight everyone is here to celebrate Owen: Val said that.
Jesus the crowd is erupting for the Rock. He wants the mic. Finally the Rock has come back to St. Louis. Owen it is with great pride that the most electrifying man in Sports Entertainment can entertain him. With that said he knows the Rock is going to kick Val’s Roody-Poo candyass. He loved Owen and this night is his. Val goes after him and puts him in a headlock and works the arm with a cast. Rock counters with a Rock Bottom and the Elbow! He connects and it is over!
*** Jesus he is over.
Steve Austin! He comes down and guzzles a beer and toasts a picture of Owen and leaves a beer for him….
Sweet Jesus I will never watch that again. It is something that cannot be rated. I probably should not have rated the matches but oh well. While it is easy to be cynical about Vince and company. They clearly meant the show to be a tribute and will do one for Eddie Guerrero and I believe Benoit (Before they knew he killed his wife and kid I think….I do not remember). Now they made money but I need to brush the cynicism aside and take it for what it was: A heart felt tribute.