–A video package recaps Shane McMahon screwing Steve Austin in the WWF title tournament semi-finals last night at the Survivor Series.
–We get a new RAW intro where it was always hard to know the exact words, so I always make up my own, even if they did not make any sense. So my life in the box and soy la vie!!!
–Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Lexington, Kentucky. I remember really wanting to go to this show, but my dad refused to get tickets for it since he hated wrestling. He would finally cave and get tickets for Thunder the next year. At least that show would feature Hulk Hogan, but it is still a downer to know that I missed a post-pay-per-view RAW.
–Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, the Big Bossman, and the stooges come out to massive boos and Vince rips the crowd for being hypocrites because they kiss up to their bosses on a regular basis and should do it more. He introduces the new WWF champion, the Rock, who gets a ton of heel heat and the crowd chants “Rocky sucks” to his theme music. The Rock justifies his heel turn by saying that he did what he had to do to get ahead, unlike the trash in the crowd that get by on minimum wage. He also brings up the “Die Rocky die” and “Rocky sucks” chants from his initial face run, saying he never forgot that and he rechristens the People’s Elbow as the Corporate Elbow. Vince goes to explain the conspiracy and he informs Steve Austin when he walks out that under his new contract he cannot touch Vince unless provoked. Austin shows footage of how Shane promised him a post-Survivor Series title shot two weeks ago on RAW. Vince says that that shot was changed to Survivor Series, but Austin counters with legalese, saying that he has a contract promising him a title match tonight and Judge Mills Lane confirms it. The crowd loses its mind over this news and McMahon is incensed. They covered a lot of bases here, but kept things moving in such a way as to keep you interested throughout this lengthy segment. 1 for 1
–Opening Contest: The New Age Outlaws & X-Pac defeat The Oddities (w/Luna Vachon & The Insane Clown Posse) when Billy Gunn pins Kurrgan at 2:52:
Remember the Insane Clown Posse’s heel turn on the Oddities a few weeks ago? Well, things appear to be patched up before the match, but tensions continue as Shaggy 2 Dope accidentally delivers a flying elbow smash to Kurrgan instead of Billy Gunn to cost the Oddities the match.
–After the match, the Headbangers do a hit and run attack on the Road Dogg.
–An angry Mankind arrives at the arena, screaming that he is coming home.
–Call 815-734-1161 to get your DX football jersey for $39.99 (plus $9 shipping & handling). The sports jersey items were some of the best the WWF was selling during this period.
–Vince directs the Big Bossman to stay close to him and asks the stooges to go take care of Mankind. None of them want to do it, so Vince assigns Pat Patterson the job since he knows Mankind the best. He reminds him that Mankind is gullible.
–Intercontinental Champion Ken Shamrock walks out and says that he was screwed at Survivor Series. He issues a challenge to the Bossman and says he will put his Intercontinental title on the line. These shorter promos that cut straight the point were the way to go with Shamrock.
–Val Venis beats Mark Henry (w/D-Lo Brown) with a schoolboy at 2:37:
Ross and Lawler use this match to take jabs at Paula Jones and her nose job. Chyna makes her return on the ramp after some back and forth action, distracting Henry, who loses in the WWF trademarked distraction rollup finish that had not yet become a running joke at this point.
–After the match, Henry says he just wants to have a nice dinner with Chyna “with no sex involved.” He reads a poem to her, but Chyna just walks to the back.
–Steve Austin gets some coffee, with a Pepsi cup placed as a convenient product placement. Does this mean CM Punk will even the odds tonight? TUNE INTO….you get the idea (© Scott Keith 1998. All rights reserved.).
–Patterson tells Vince that he could not find Mankind in the arena and Vince hilariously responds “you could not find your ass.” Gerald Brisco volunteers to find Mankind.
– Steve Blackman & Goldust defeat “Double J” Jeff Jarrett & The Blue Blazer (w/Debra McMichael) when Blackman pins the Blazer after a pump kick at 2:09:
This match is the result of an angle on last week’s show where both men were attacked by the Blue Blazer. Ross calls the Blazer outfit something out of “1960s lucha libre.” This is an accelerated tag match, where the Blazer jobs in short order to a pump kick, but you see, it is not Owen Hart under the mask, as Owen runs in for a beatdown on Blackman after the bout.
–Brisco says there are some weird noises in the boiler room and he was too scared to go in. Commissioner Slaughter calls him a wuss and Vince freaks. Slaughter is sent after Mankind. After the break, Slaughter comes back and says that Patterson and Brisco are needed to reason with him. Vince recommends getting some riot gear to take care of the Mankind problem and that he expects the problem to be solved in short order. Now THIS is good comedy.
–The Godfather (w/Hos) beats Stephen Regal via forfeit when Regal takes the hos:
Is the Godfather worthy of the Hall of Fame? I have to think so as he successfully pulled off two popular gimmicks with Papa Shango and being a pimp. Regal’s facial expressions as the hos flaunt their stuff are great. He eventually settles for the hos and the Godfather wins via forfeit. However, as Regal is leaving, the Godfather lets him know that “England is just for the fags,” (chalk that up to something that will be censored on the WWE Network) which leads to a pull apart brawl between the two.
–Backstage, Kane destroys parts of the production crew. Unfortunately, Kevin Dunn is not among the casualties.
–Steve Austin being screwed by Shane McMahon in his match against Mankind at Survivor Series is the Glover Rewind segment.
–Intercontinental Championship Match: Ken Shamrock (Champion) wrestles The Big Bossman to a double disqualification at 3:55
Average brawl between these two, which culminates in the referee getting decked by both of them. Eventually WWF officials intervene to stop the fight, but the pull apart brawl does not come across as well. Rating: *½ (1 for 2)
–After officials separate Shamrock and the Bossman, Vince and Shane McMahon walk out. Vince tells Shamrock that he can use a man with his set of skills and that they are a lot alike because they came from broken homes. He promises Shamrock a family if he aligns with him and Shamrock shakes Vince, Shane, and the Bossman’s hands. Vince’s manipulation of the roster continues.
–Some fans seek Kane’s autograph outside of the arena and he chokes one of them against the wall. A police siren can be heard in the distance. He walks off into the mean streets of Lexington.
–Edge & Gangrel (w/Christian) defeat LOD 2000 via count out at 2:12:
This is the Droz and Animal combination of LOD 2000. Hawk walks out less than two minutes into the match and begins walking up the Titantron. Droz and Animal go to investigate and get counted out.
–After the commercial break, Animal tries to talk Hawk, who is threatening to go out in a blaze of glory, off the Titantron. Paul Ellering says he cares about Hawk’s life and Droz climbs the Titantron. He seems to shove Hawk off and we go to commercial. I get what they were going for here, but this was really tasteless and segments like this are a turn off to viewers who may have struggled with or know someone who has struggled with suicide. 1 for 3
–And the fans quickly forget about that awful segment because Sable, the new WWF Women’s champion is here for an interview with Michael Cole! Shane McMahon quickly interrupts her interview to say that she is a creation of his father, which Sable refutes. Shane says that real women like Sable work real hard for their place, but Sable says that she is not for sale. Like other Sable segments, this has a punchline and not much else. 1 for 4
–The Rock’s attack on Mankind at the end of Survivor Series is the MediEvil Slam of the Week.
–The stooges, wearing UK Football helmets and pads head into the boiler room of Rupp Arena for Mankind. Patterson screams “Mankind we love you,” which cracks me up. Unsurprisingly, Mankind attacks them, much of which we cannot see because it is so dark. 2 for 5
–Before the main event, Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, the Big Bossman, and Ken Shamrock walk out. Vince says he is not happy about the upcoming WWF title match and ridicules the Southern hospitality he is receiving due to the “asshole” chants. He says that this is Austin’s last title shot.
–WWF Championship Match: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin defeats The Rock (Champion w/Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, The Big Bossman & Ken Shamrock) by disqualification when the Undertaker interferes at 7:59:
This was a great piece of booking because Austin regained the WWF title after he lost it to Kane at the King of the Ring, so it was not beyond the realm of possibility that he would regain the title immediately from the Rock. Despite not getting much action throughout the show, the crowd is engaged in this match from bell to bell, as both men fight into the crowd and all around ringside. The match is a really abbreviated version of what Austin and the Rock will do later and is used more as a vehicle to advance other feuds as Mankind runs out six minutes in to try to get at Vince, but ends up brawling with the Bossman instead, and the Undertaker does a run-in after Austin hits a Stunner to cost him the title. This bout is a prime example of how a crowd can take an average match and make it seem like something special. Rating: **½ (3 for 6)
The Final Report Card: I could have done without the Hawk nonsense, but this show was really all about the Austin-Rock title match and it was a ratings coup in that regard, drawing the second-highest rating in the U.S. for a RAW up to this point and pulling in a big rating on TSN in Canada. You could hear some of the moans in the crowd at the prospect of more Undertaker-Austin, but at least we have a pissed off Mankind to rally behind for a few months before WrestleMania.
Monday Night War Rating: 5.5 (vs. 4.3 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation: Thumbs Up