WWF: Raw is War (01.12.98)

rawiswar

WWF: Raw is War
January 12, 1998
State College, PA
Penn State University

The current WWF champs are as follows:
World Champion: Shawn Michaels (11/9/1997)
Intercontinental Champion: The Rock (12/8/1997)
World Tag Team Champions: The New Age Outlaws (11/24/1997)
European Champion: Triple H (12/22/1997)
Light Heavyweight Champion: TAKA Michinoku (12/7/1997)

On their way to State College, we catch Shawn Michaels and Triple H joking around in their limo. Shawn pulls his pants down and sticks his head out the sunroof. Helmsley thinks that’s pretty funny.

TIME TO GET RAW! Your hosts are Jim Ross, Michael Cole, and Kevin Kelly.

  • The New Age Outlaws vs. The Headbangers vs. The Truth Commission (w/Jackyl) vs. The Godwinns

They don’t waste much time here. Everybody is already in the ring except the tag champs. They come out wearing Florida Gators t-shirts since they beat Penn State in the Citrus Bowl. Probably my least favorite way the heels in the WWF try to get heat. Must be a Kevin Dunn thing. The Outlaws are immediately thrown out, but then Henry Godwinn runs down Thrasher and the action settles down. The Headbangers serve as the team to get beat on by the Godwinns and the Truth Commission. While a hot crowd, the Penn State folks start entertaining themselves since this match isn’t any good. The tag champs are left out of the equation until Recon catches Billy Gunn napping and tags him into the match. Phineas tries for the SLOP DROP, but Road Dogg makes the save. Henry clotheslines Road Dogg out and goes after him. Meanwhile, Gunn lands a *loaded punch* on Phineas and covers him for the win. (4:10) The other two teams just seemed completely caught off guard by the end there. If I were booking though, the LOD would have come out and annihilated everyone out here for the DQ. ¾*

Speaking of the Legion of Doom, they air a return video for them as they will face the New Age Outlaws over the WWF tag belts in six days at the Royal Rumble. The last time they were at a Royal Rumble PPV was back in 1992 and the Road Warriors were the WWF tag champs, but lost to the Natural Disasters by countout.

Stone Cold Steve Austin has arrived in that 1998 Chevy Silverado that fans are supposed to be getting if they win some sort of contest. He’s putting a lot of miles on it. He honks at the camera man to moves and peels away. BUSINESS IS ABOUT TO PICK UP.

During the commercial break, Stone Cold beat up the Godwinns backstage. Now Austin gets back in his pickup and drives up to the stage. Michael Cole introduces him to the ring. Hit those four corners, Steve. Cole asks Austin about picking right up where he left off last week beating everybody up that will be in the Royal Rumble match. Austin says he won the Royal Rumble match last year and had the carpet pulled out from under him. McMahon may have paid for this ring, but Austin owns this ring and he’s going to throw everybody out. Cole calls Austin a marked man. Austin doesn’t care and grabs a pen from Cole. He rips his shirt and draws a bullseye on his chest. COME GET SOME. Austin says he will accept no BS from the WWF office this year. Cole thinks he’s a marked man, but Austin thinks that’s a bunch of crap. That’s the bottom line because Stone Cold said so.

They show a clip of Stone Cold Steve Austin in Madison Square Garden talking up this new show on MTV called Celebrity Death Match: Death Bowl ’98 that will air during the halftime show at Super Bowl 32. For you kids out there, it really was awesome at the time.

In the back, we see that DX has arrived in their limo. WCW much? Some jabroni parked one of the big WWF trucks in their way, so Shawn and Chyna go to find the guy who did this.

  • Kurrgan (w/Jackyl) vs. Jimmy Cicero & Lance Diamond

Jackyl jumps on one of the headsets to say the stuff he normally says about Kurrgan. Typical big man handicap match to get over the fact that Kurrgan will be the guy to eliminate during the Royal Rumble, which just means he will be irrelevant and everyone will gang up on him. He beats them both no problem in 2:28. Afterwards, Jackyl has Kurrgan crush a Penn State football helmet with his bare hands for cheap heat. To get him to calm down and back under his control, Jackyl slaps him across the face.

Outside the building, we catch Owen Hart jumping into the limo through the sunroof to go after the helpless Triple H. HBK and Chyna see what’s happening and jump back in the car as they drive away.

  • Marc Mero (w/Goldust as Sable) vs. Vader

Mero tries to sell us that he’s had a change of heart towards the way the people are treating Sable. We never hear the promo though because the mic is dead. Oh well. Nevertheless, Goldust comes out dressed as Sable. JR says Vader considers himself to be a bad man. HA. Sable saunters down to the ring to see what the heck is going on here with Goldust. So far, she’s received the only pop even close to Austin. She kicks Goldust in his ribs. Seems like an odd way to attack, but okay. Mero sends Sable away and she seems to be giving up on him here. Anyways, Vader shoots Mero into the steps and takes him back inside for the finish. Here comes the VADER BOMB. Vader stands up instead of trying to pin Mero and gets whacked with one of Goldust’s implants – a coconut – for the DQ. (2:57) Goldust picks up Mero and helps him back to the locker room. But you better believe there will be HELL TO PAY THIS SUNDAY AT THE ROYAL RUMBLE!!! *

Backstage, the DX limo has arrived. No sign of Owen though. Shawn is shown noticeably limping with a weight lifting belt over his shoulder. Nod to Hogan?

After the break, Steve Austin has taken down Vader in his locker room. When you gonna mess with Kurrgan, Steve?

  • Ken Shamrock & Mark Henry vs. The Rock & D’Lo Brown (w/Kama)

To set up this match, they take us back two weeks ago on Shotgun Saturday Night when the Nation of Domination did a number on Mark Henry until Ken Shamrock made the save. Henry is wearing a “Rocky Sucks” t-shirt. It doesn’t look homemade. Faarooq is conspicuous by his absence. Rock lays down some local sports insults to the Pennsylvania crowd. He tells Henry that he’s going to rip the Rocky Sucks t-shirt right off his fat ugly ass. He even threatens Shamrock a little bit. Well, Shamrock plays face in peril. Rock hits the Shoulderbreaker and lands the People’s Elbow for two. Shamrock fires back with a powerslam and the hurracanrana out of nowhere. He nails D’Lo and Kama. Time for the Belly to Belly Suplex and the ANKLELOCK, but Mark Henry runs Shamrock down for the heel turn. He gives Shamrock a powerslam and a pair of jumping elbow drops to confirm the turn. Now the Nation all put the boots to Shamrock and the Rock delivers the ROCK BOTTOM. Henry gets down and counts the fake pinfall. (3:46) Rocky rips off Henry’s shirt to reveal a “By Any Means Necessary” NOD t-shirt. Henry embraces the Nation and they now have a new member. Well then. Once they get up the ramp, Faarooq is standing there waiting. Rock presents Mark Henry to him and it seems Faarooq wasn’t included on the decision. *½

After the break, Michael Cole is seen getting a word with the Nation of Domination – mainly just the Rock though. He’s brought Intercontinental gold and the World’s Strongest Man to the Nation, and it was all done for Faarooq. Honest!

ENTER THE WARZONE! Your hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler.

D-Generation X makes their way to the ring to kick off the second hour. Helmsley talks about Owen being the final remnant of what used to be in the WWF. He calls him a nugget that DX flushed down the toilet somewhere. Blah blah blah. Shawn shifts gears over to Mike Tyson and dares him to jump on Shawn Michaels at the Royal Rumble. If he decides to do just that, Shawn will dance all over his face. HBK talks about kicking the dead man’s ass like it’s a foregone conclusion and wants to speak about Kane. Before he can do that, Owen appears on the TitanTron with a bloody cheek. He wants some more of DX. Helmsley says Owen is real tough talking trash on a screen. If he wants some, come get some. Well, Owen shows up coming down the aisle and threatens to break Helmsley’s other leg. He swings his crutch at him and they get into a shouting match and fight like two men with only good leg, which is not fighting at all.

  • NWA World Tag Team Champions The Rock N Roll Express (w/Jim Cornette) vs. Disciples of Apocalypse

Cornette tries to bring tradition back to tag team wrestling this week with the RNR Express. He has a “if you can’t beat them, join them” respect for the Express. He joins JR and Lawler at the table. Ross touts how Raw is the #1 rated show on the USA Network. Weird seeing the RNRs sort of work heel here. As one of the DOA boys get the hot tag and go for the pin, Cornette gets in the ring and whacks him with the tennis racket just like old times. In plain sight of the ref though, he sees Cornette put Robert Gibson on top of 8-Ball or Skull for the DQ. (2:29) D’oh! The DOA get their hands on Cornette until the RNRs make the save. While Cornette is hammering down blows on one guy, the RNRs deliver the DOUBLE DROPKICK to the other. Chainz comes out and clears the ring of the heels. *

While walking around Beaver Stadium at Penn State University where many wars have been fought, Cactus Jack puts over how crazy tough Terry Funk (or Chainsaw Charlie) is. He and Chainsaw Charlie will make the lives of the New Age Outlaws a living hell.

  • TAFKA Goldust (w/Luna Vachon) vs. Mankind

Goldust comes down dressed as Dude Love. It’s madness, I tell ya. Before this gets under way, Stone Cold runs out and delivers STONE COLD STUNNERS to both of them. YES. Austin gets on JR’s headset and tells the world he can win the Rumble.

Vince McMahon appears backstage to announce that Mike Tyson is invited to come to the Royal Rumble. Vince gets booed by the live crowd. Next Monday night, Mike Tyson will definitely be here on Raw to make a huge announcement.

  • Los Boricuas vs. TAKA Michinoku & Scott Taylor

Sunny comes out in a Penn State cheerleader outfit to introduce the next match. Savio Vega and Jesus Castillo in action here. Despite being a job guy for the past six years, he gets to showcase a little bit of what he can do. He takes a Pillman chest bump onto the guardrail though. Back inside, he does a flip out to the apron. Tag to TAKA, he gets abused by Los Boricuas. Castillo misses a corner charge allowing TAKA to hot tag Taylor. He tries a moonsault press on Castillo and lands on his feet. The match breaks down as Taylor and TAKA hit the DOUBLE DROPKICK on Vega! As Savio clears out, TAKA tries a moonsault press to the floor only to be caught and slammed hard on the ringside mats. Taylor goes up top and gets crotched thanks to Savio. Castillo gives Taylor the Reverse Superplex for the win. (4:33) Kind of an odd match, but still match of the night. We’ll have to see if this Taylor/TAKA combination is heading somewhere since Brian Christopher’s name was constantly brought up during this match when King and JR weren’t discussing Mike Tyson and we obviously know the connection between Taylor and Christopher. Los Boricuas do a number on TAKA and Taylor until Owen Hart runs out and clears the ring of the Puerto Ricans with his crutch. **

For the second time, they replay Bam Bam Bigelow’s interaction with Lawrence Taylor back at the Royal Rumble in 1995.

DX is back out again. Michael Cole wants to hear what HBK’s big announcement is. He wants to welcome a wandering Kane into his D-Generation X. When he calls out Kane, he gets the Undertaker instead. Taker tells Shawn to stay out of family business and focus on the Royal Rumble. He goozles Shawn and turns around to stop Chyna. She wants to whack him with the WWF title and gets picked up in the air by her throat – thus becoming the first person to be any threat to Chyna. I mean, the crowd erupted hoping she would get what’s coming to her. Helmsley hits Taker in the back with his crutch to get Taker to let her go. As Taker backs Hunter into a corner, he doesn’t see Shawn coming at him with Sweet Chin Music. Shawn takes the weight lifting belt we saw him carrying earlier and wraps it around his fist to pound on Taker. He breaks the crutch over Taker’s back. This continues until the lights go out and here comes Kane to save his brother. Kane scares DX out of the ring and back to the locker room. As Taker stands back up and Kane is on the rampway, Kane points towards his brother. Taker does the Phenom stance as the corners are set on fire. OH WHAT A MOMENT. Lawler proclaims that there will be a new WWF champion at the Royal Rumble.

There’s supposed to be a public drawing for the Royal Rumble entrance numbers with all thirty men in the ring, but Stone Cold Steve Austin comes out and creates more chaos than the CIA in a foreign land. Once Austin leaves, it appears Los Boricuas and the Nation of Domination are joining together to take him out. They will have to put a bullet in his brain to stop him though. And that is how we close the show.

TOTAL BELL-TO-BELL TIME: 20:37.

Royal_Rumble_1998

1-800-COLLECT presents the Royal Rumble LIVE ON PPV on January 18 from San Jose, California.

DOUBLE MAIN EVENT – WWF CHAMPIONSHIP: Shawn Michaels (c) vs. The Undertaker in a Casket Match
DOUBLE MAIN EVENT – The Rumble Match

WWF Intercontinental Championship: Rocky Maivia (c) vs. Ken Shamrock
WWF Tag Team Championship: The New Age Outlaws (c) vs. The Legion of Doom
Vader vs. TAFKA Goldust

 

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