WWF: Raw is War (03.23.98)

rawiswar

WWF: Raw is War
March 23, 1998
Tucson, AZ
Tucson Convention Center

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 (3/17/1998)
Light Heavyweight Champion: TAKA Michinoku (12/7/1997)

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

Kevin Kelly introduces Stone Cold Steve Austin out to the ring. Looks like Austin is debuting his awesome “Don’t Trust Anybody!” rattlesnake t-shirt. He’s here to respond to Vince McMahon’s comments from last week on RAW when Vince said he didn’t want Austin to be the champion of his WWF. Austin says he can’t be molded into whatever Vince wants him to be and nobody in the WWF can break him. He does whatever he wants inside the ring and can’t nobody stop him. The most important thing in Austin’s life right now is getting Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 14 and beating him 1-2-3. As a professional wrestler, Austin says he has all the respect in the world for Shawn Michaels. It will be the toughest match of his life. The WWF and Vince McMahon can throw as much as horseshit as they want at him and he’ll walk through it all because he wants HBK’s ass. Kelly informs Austin that D-Generation X is on their way in full force. Austin takes that comment to mean that he can’t handle HBK, Triple H, Iron Mike Tyson, and Chyna all at the same time. He thinks Kelly is insulting him and the crowd is hoping he’ll beat up Kelly now. Austin cuts him a break though because he’s got the night off. He says he’ll be in the back drinking Steveweisers throughout the show. Commissioner Slaughter comes down to tell Austin that he does not have the night off and in fact will be wrestling tonight. This turns out to be a roadblock set by Vince McMahon himself who “couldn’t physically be here” to tell Austin this to his face. Austin will meet the IC champ the Rock here tonight. He accepts the match, but then Slaughter says his match against Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 14 will be a non-title match if he doesn’t wrestle tonight. Austin has already agreed to the match, Sarge. Well, Austin takes offense to that comment and drops Slaughter with ANOTHER Stone Cold Stunner. I assume for anybody new to the audience since September, Ross and Cole act like it’s the first time this has happened for added effect.

  • Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie vs. The Quebecers

Rematch from the 3/9 RAW. Things are going just fine for Cactus and Chainsaw until the New Age Outlaws appear on the ramp wearing tuxedos. They wheel out a dumpster and set up a card table where they appear to be drinking champagne and celebrating with blow up dolls dressed like Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie. Alright then. This distracts Cactus and causes Terry Funk to become the face in peril for a short bit. When he comes back on Pierre and makes a hot tag to Cactus, Billy Gunn hits the ring and attacks Cactus for the DQ. (3:51) Road Dogg brings the champagne bucket with him to whack Cactus and Chainsaw. They bring the card table down as well. Gunn comes off the middle rope and breaks it over Chainsaw’s head. So that Cactus gets what’s coming to him as well, the Outlaws deliver a SPIKE PILEDRIVER on a chair! You better believe there will be hell to pay at WrestleMania. ¾*

BOP IT SLAM OF THE WEEK: Shawn Michaels giving Steve Austin some Sweet Chin Music two weeks ago on War Zone. Wait, what?

  • Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee) vs. Steve Blackman

Jarrett makes another classic entrance on a white horse. I wonder what the horse is thinking right now with all those flashing lights around him. Ross reminds us that Blackman has yet to be pinned in the WWF. Blackman tries getting the quick pin on Jarrett to start, but a Jimmy Snuka leapfrog fails and Jarrett drops him with a back suplex to turn the tide. Jarrett struts and gets a swinging neckbreaker, but then Blackman drills Jarrett with a running chop. The crowd is almost silent for his comeback. Blackman attempts a superplex, but Tennessee Lee grabs his foot during the move and Jarrett lands on top. Tennessee Lee holds down Blackman’s leg and we’ve got ourselves a winner in Jeff Jarrett. (2:30) So much for that win streak. Another ref runs down to dispute the decision, but Jarrett decks him. Blackman ends up nailing Jarrett with a bicycle kick and chases Tennessee Lee to the locker room. Once they are gone, Jarrett makes sure the original ref Jimmy Korderas holds up his arm in victory because that’s how it’s done. ¾*

DX PUBLIC WORKOUT: It all goes down this Thursday at noon at the the historic Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston, Mass. Reports say 10,000 people show up for this.

A limousine just pulled into the arena backstage. WHO COULD BE INSIDE? It’s D-Generation X in full force, bruh.

They take us back to last week on RAW to show us everything involving the Undertaker and Kane. Now we go to the gravesite of the Undertaker and Kane’s parents. Taker sits there and talks to their tombstones. He asks forgiveness from his parents for having to do something not even he thought he would ever have to do: fight his brother Kane. He is only doing this so that their family can finally rest in peace. In a moment that you rarely ever hear muttered in wrestling, Taker tells his folks that he loves them.

Back to the arena, Kane walks down to the ring with Paul Bearer. Paul says he’s tired of hearing Taker cry and whine about his parents. Taker seems to be all about the truth, but the REAL truth is Kane has the same powers he does. To show off his abilities, Kane starts sending lightning bolts around the arena. He ignites the lighting truss, he shorts out the monitors at the announce table, and nearly sets fire to a lighting operator over on the rampway. Hilarious! DOES KANE HAVE EVERYONE’S ATTENTION NOW? Bearer reminds everybody of the backstory between the brothers. Before they leave, Kane actually sets fire to a ringside TV crew member for laughs. Bearer says the fault of this lies with the Undertaker. They will go to the dark side this Sunday at WrestleMania 14 ONLY ON PPV!

Luckily for anyone concerned, the “TV crew member” gets some medical attention.

  • The Disciples of Apocalypse vs. The New Midnight Express (w/Jim Cornette)

This is the wrestling debut of the New Midnight Express on RAW as they made their first appearance last week. They are Bombastic Bob and Bodacious Bart. Not much of a match as the Rock N Roll Express head down to ringside wearing WWF t-shirts to show they are no longer NWA stablemates. The Headbangers, Sniper and Recon, two sets of Los Boricuas, and the Quebecers join us as well. This is all to hype the 15-team battle royal at WrestleMania. Of course they start fighting and wind up in the ring as the match gets thrown out. (3:36) We now have eight of the fifteen teams involved in the upcoming match. We’re missing two sets of Nation of Domination teams, two random thrown together teams, two teams who have yet to debut, and the Godwinns. At the end of the fight, the crowd starts chanting “LOD”. Awesome. JR says LOD is just wishful thinking because Hawk and Animal still aren’t talking to each other. N/R

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

We have already heard from Steve Austin. Now time to hear from D-Generation X. Helmsley takes us back to last week when he stole the European title back from Owen Hart. He tells us that Commissioner Slaughter will be handcuffed to Chyna during his match with Owen at WrestleMania. Hunter isn’t worried one bit because he OWNS Owen Hart. Just don’t show up, Owen. Milk that leg injury for all he can because Helmsley plans to send him back to Calgary in a wheelchair. As for all the Tucson ladies out there, Helmsley might let you come home with him tonight. After they get pricked by his cactus, he’ll let them play with his prairie dog. Is he talking about taking a dump on somebody? I’m confused. Anyways, now let’s hear what Shawn Michaels has to say. He points out a ringside rat wearing a tank top with DX on her nipples. She’s so possessed with Shawn and Hunter that a security guy has to hold her from jumping the rail. Shawn – “To all you really attractive women out there, *that’s* a skank – and we realize that. But we couldn’t help but to bring the attention of someone having the cojones enough to wear DX on their breasts.” Haha, that’s awesome. Now onto business. Shawn remarks how lame the so-called fight has been between Vince McMahon and Steve Austin. When Vince said he didn’t want Austin as his WWF champion, Michaels took that to mean he has Vince’s support behind him. They wait for the Austin chants to stop. Nevertheless, Shawn tells Vince to leave his opinions at home because neither Austin nor Michaels give a damn what he thinks. As for Austin, he better forget about all the WWF brass because the WWF title is around the waist of the Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels. HBK points out that he’s the same age as Austin and has been doing this for thirteen years and has been the top dog here for years while Austin has yet to even win the WWF title after eight years of being in the business. To be fair, Shawn, it took you ELEVEN years to win the WWF title and TEN years to main event a WrestleMania. Shawn points out that Austin doesn’t only have to beat the greatest WWF champion ever (in his opinion), but he also will have Mike Tyson to deal with at WrestleMania. If Austin gets in his way at WrestleMania, Tyson will knock Austin the *blank* out. COLDER THAN A BLOCK OF ICE. When Michaels asks him rhetorical questions, Tyson refers to Michaels as “Heartbreak”. Shawn finishes this ten-minute tirade telling us that DX will rule the WWF forever.

Gennifer Flowers will be at WrestleMania 14!

  • Faarooq vs. Chainz

Faarooq sends the other members of the NOD to go backstage. He’s got this. Faarooq lands a flying clothesline on Chainz when the Rock comes down carrying a chair with him. He’s the new chairman of the WWF now. The Rock versus La Parka – BOOK IT. As Faarooq continues to rule Chainz, Rocky gets in the ring ready to nail Chainz with the chair, but Faarooq tells him to stop. Rock puts on the brakes for a moment, but then nails Faarooq “by accident” anyways. Whoops. DQ. (3:38) Rocky feigns sympathy for Faarooq and calls for the other members of the Nation to come down and help their fearless leader. I mean, CLEARLY Faarooq is not Rock’s leader at this point. Ross – “It looked like it was on purpose to me unless Rock has some problem with depth perception or something.” ¼*

We get a video package highlighting the feud between Barry Windham and Bradshaw. Man, I hate Michael Cole. Time for the epic blowoff!

  • Barry Windham (w/Jim Cornette) vs. Bradshaw

Looks like the Rock N Roll Express will be keeping an eye on Cornette. This feels like another Strike Force breakup as the babyface Bradshaw is still wearing the Blackjacks tights. Bradshaw destroys Windham in a HOSS fight until Windham stops the LARIAT with a DDT, which looked really lame. While Cornette argues with the RNR Express boys, Bradshaw rolls up a distracted Windham for the win. (3:05) Afterwards, the New Midnight Express join Windham to beat up Bradshaw until the RNR Express run them off. I don’t know how good this could have been with more time, but it shouldn’t have been over in three minutes. *

WRESTLEMANIA MILLENNIUM MOMENT (brought to you by M&M’s): WrestleMania 1, Muhammad Ali as special referee for the main event. How apropos.

Time to celebrate the Sable and Sunny double cover January 1998 edition of RAW magazine for being the highest selling edition in the history of the magazine. Where’s Sunny at? Anywho, Marc Mero brings Sable to the ring. She’s wearing a nice blue evening gown while he looks like what you would imagine street clothes for Marc Mero would be during this time period. He lets Sable have her moment tonight and decides to go back to the dressing room. Hey look, Vince Russo – editor and chief of WWF publications and THAT’S ALL – is in the ring to present Sable with a plague. Kevin Kelly says Sunny couldn’t be here tonight since she is under the weather. He looks forward to seeing her at WrestleMania though. I’m sure Russo just wanted to have an excuse to be in the same frame as Sable. He presents her with the plague. Of course here comes Goldust and Luna. In the worst handoff job in wrestling history, Russo essentially GIVES Luna the plague to break over Sable’s face. Luna starts ripping at Sable’s dress before she and Goldust exit. Russo tries to check on Sable. OF COURSE HE DOES. He uses his jacket to cover up her backside, which I’m sure he still sleeps with and sniffs from time to time. Marc Mero reappears and tells Goldust he’s a dead man at WrestleMania.

  • The Rock (w/the NOD) vs. Steve Austin

Now this is a RAW main event. Crazy to think you are seeing next year’s WrestleMania main event right here. Ross calls Austin the most popular WWF superstar of all time, brother. DX is keeping an eye on this match from their locker room. While the rest of DX have their game faces on, Tyson can’t help but having a huge smile on his face. What a mark! Austin forces Rock into a corner out of a tie-up and shows him his two middle fingers. Headlocks and shoulderblocks follow. Austin punches back, but telegraphs a backdrop and gets drilled with a clothesline. They end up having a slugfest, but Austin ends that with a Lou Thesz Press and hits the elbow drop. Rocky avoids a Stone Cold Stunner and retreats out to the comfort and support of his NOD boys. Austin leaps off the apron and clotheslines Mark Henry down. He goes after Rock and slams his face off the steps. Back inside, Rocky cowers into the corner and gets a mudhole stomped in him. Rock bails again and Austin grabs a chair. While Kama and D’Lo Brown distract Austin, Rocky nails him from behind. Some more ringside violence ensues before Rock brings Austin back into the ring to choke him in the corner. Henry gets his hands on Austin behind the ref’s back as we go to commercial. When we come back, Austin fights out of a sleeperhold and returns the favor on Rock, but Rock backs him into the corner to break up the hold. The People’s Elbow gets two. Austin fights out of a chinlock, but runs into a knee. Rock slams Austin again and shows him his middle fingers this time. It gets the blurred treatment. He tries another People’s Elbow, but Austin moves. Austin punches back and lands a couple hard clotheslines. He telegraphs another backdrop, but then Rock charges Austin and takes the STONE COLD STUNNER. Cover, 1-2-3. (8:26 shown) D’Lo Brown runs at Austin with a chair and receives the same fate as the IC champ. DX’s music hits and they all come out onto the ramp. Shawn says he has turned Austin’s lights out twice with some Sweet Chin Music. At WrestleMania, he will turn out Austin’s lights for the last time. Austin and HBK tease a fight, but Helmsley makes sure Michaels waits until WrestleMania. **½

It’s interesting to note that Austin versus Rock helped the WWF win a quarter-hour rating over Nitro for the first time since December when the nWo tried to take over Nitro in a horrible, HORRIBLE episode. For the 10:45 PM to 11 PM quarter hour, RAW received a 4.2 against a 3.9 rating for Nitro. This match went up against a Roddy Piper versus Randy Savage main event, but we’ll have to wait and find out what exactly happened during that match when I head over to WCW this coming week. It’s pretty amazing though considering this was Piper’s first match since Halloween Havoc and considering how hot Savage was during this time to garner the smallest audience Nitro had in weeks.

wm14

M&Ms presents WWF WrestleMania XIV: dX-Raided LIVE ON PPV on March 29 from the Fleet Center in Boston, MA.
MAIN EVENT
WWF Championship (w/Mike Tyson as Special Enforcer): Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin

WWF Intercontinental Championship: The Rock (c) vs. Ken Shamrock
WWF Tag Team Championship: The New Age Outlaws (c) vs. Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie
WWF European Championship: Owen Hart (c) vs. Triple H
WWF Light Heavyweight Championship: TAKA Michinoku (c) vs. Aguila
The Undertaker vs. Kane
Sable & Marc Mero vs. Luna & Goldust
15-Team Battle Royal

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