WWF: Raw is War (03.30.98)
WWF: Raw is War
March 30, 1998
The current WWF champs are as follows:
WWF Champion: Steve Austin (3/29/1998)
Intercontinental Champion: The Rock (12/8/1997)
World Tag Team Champions: Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie (3/29/1998)
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.
Vince McMahon comes down to the ring to a CHORUS of boos carrying with him the *new* WWF title belt to be presented to the *new* WWF champion Stone Cold Steve Austin as he defeated Shawn Michaels last night at WrestleMania 14. In case you are wondering, this is *not* the belt with the scratch WWF logo associated with the Attitude Era. This short-lived belt has the traditional (for a lack of a better word) WWF logo at the top of the belt. The crowd is so loud that Vince checks to make his microphone is working because he can’t hear himself talk. Steve Austin brings out the old “winged eagle” belt he won from Shawn Michaels the night before. He drops the old belt on Vince’s foot and takes the new belt off his shoulder to pose for the crowd in all four corners. VINTAGE AUSTIN! Vince congratulates Austin on his victory and says he would like to clear up any misinterpretations of what he said about Austin winning the WWF championship a week ago on RAW. He says he is proud of Austin’s accomplishments and being the face of the WWF, but together with his vision Austin could one day become the greatest WWF champion of all time. Austin wants him to cut the BS because he knows Vince hates him, but that’s okay because Austin hates Vince as well. There will be no “us”. What you see is what you get. And if Vince doesn’t like that – tough luck. Vince responds saying that he is incapable of hating people and finds Austin to be a “swell guy”. He even tells Austin that he loves him. HA! Gayyyy. Austin laughs and tells Vince he loves him too, but he will not do things the Vince McMahon way. He will continue to raise as much hell and create chaos for every single day of Vince’s life. Nobody – especially Vince McMahon – tells Austin what to do and that’s the bottom line. Vince drops the famous line saying that they can either do this the easy way or the hard way. Austin wants Vince to be more clear as to what that means. The easy way would be for Austin to simply adapt to McMahon’s way and the hard way will be Vince forcing Austin to adapt to his way. Austin wants ten seconds to ponder this decision. When his ten seconds are up, Austin lays out Vince McMahon with a STONE COLD STUNNER. I don’t know which Stone Cold Stunner to McMahon means more: the one in Madison Square Garden or this one? Probably this one as it REALLY kicks the Austin/McMahon feud into high gear. As the refs come out to help the WWF chairman, Austin grabs the mic and tells the world that this is Austin doing things the hard way. If you want Austin to keep doing things the hard way, give him a HELL YEAH.
After the break, we see Commissioner Slaughter and agent Gerald Brisco tending to Vince McMahon’s needs. IT’S NOT LIKE THAT. They are getting him water and stuff.
- LOD 2000 (w/Sunny) vs. Los Boricuas
Jose Estrada Jr. and Jesus Castillo represent Los Boricuas here. Not that it matters much because Estrada gets drilled with the DOOMSDAY DEVICE and pinned in :35 by the reinvented and revived Legion of Doom.
In the back, Kevin Kelly reports that Vince McMahon has called the Albany police department and told them to come to the Pepsi Arena and arrest Stone Cold Steve Austin on battery charges.
When we return, Kevin Kelly follows up telling us that Steve Austin said he ain’t going anywhere and that Vince McMahon doesn’t have the balls to have him arrested.
- Kurrgan (w/Jackyl) vs. Chainz
So Chainz is on JTTS duty now. No entrance for him tonight. Ross and Cole say there is a rift within D-Generation X after what went down at WrestleMania 14. We’ll hear from Triple H a little bit later on that. We would almost rather watch Vince and Sgt. Slaughter stand around waiting for Albany police than watch this match. PARALYZER clawhold pins Chainz in 2:15. Jackyl points the blame at Ross and Cole for what is happening to Chainz for some reason. Kurrgan holds onto Chainz and drags him up the ramp. Who knows what he’ll do to him once he has him backstage. KINKY!
Conveniently, the Albany police arrive at the end of the last segment to meet Vince McMahon.
When we return from break, Vince McMahon and his stooges with a smile on his face lead a bunch of Albany policemen over to Steve Austin’s dressing room.
- Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee) vs. Aguila
Tennessee Lee joins Ross and Cole at the announce table. Another glorified squash as Aguila misses a corkscrew off the top (but not really) allowing Jarrett to put him away with a FIGURE-FOUR at 2:38. Steve Blackman comes out and cleans house on Jarrett, but gets distracted by Tennessee Lee helping Jarrett get the last word. Huh?
We go to the back to see Steve Austin being carted out of his dressing room in handcuffs. As he walks by Vince, he shoulderblocks him into some lockers for laughs. McMahon tells him that he deserves what has come to him tonight. This feels like a piece of COPS footage.
After a break, Vince McMahon comes down to the ring with Gerald Brisco and Commissioner Slaughter by his side. He feels he owes the WWF audience an explanation as to why he had Steve Austin arrested. He figured Austin needed a 24 hour period to cool down. Austin made his choice, Vince made his choice. And with that, Vince drops the mic and walks out. Meltzer says this is McMahon’s way of spoofing his locker room altercation with Bret Hart back in November.
Before we go to the next hour of the show, we see Triple H and Chyna with their heads hanging low in the locker room. Helmsley says that the WWF as we know it comes to an X-rated end – TONIGHT.
Now over to the Nation of Domination, the Rock says he can hardly walk and he’s been spitting up blood all night long, but he’s still standing like the man and a half that he is. He will lay the smackdown on Ken Shamrock later tonight. Rock then turns his attention to Faarooq. Last night, his eyes were opened by Faarooq. He admits that without Faarooq, he wouldn’t be nearly as successful as he is. Rock says he is grateful for what Faarooq has done for him and after tonight, the Nation of Domination will be as strong as it’s ever been. Well, that can’t be good for Faarooq.
ENTER THE WARZONE! Your hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler.
- The Rock & Faarooq (w/the NOD) vs. Ken Shamrock & Steve Blackman
Rock is hobbling around on that bad ankle selling the injury from last night. Pretty awesome. He and Faarooq argue over who will start the match here. Finally, Faarooq starts against Shamrock and powerslams him down. Tag to Blackman, he takes a suplex from Faarooq. He misses an elbow drop and quickly becomes heel in peril for a little bit. When he drops Shamrock with a Spinebuster, he crawls over to Rock for a tag. Rock leans in to reach for Faarooq, but then lifts his hand up in the air as if to say Faarooq wouldn’t tag him. Rock has enough of this and then walks out on the leader of the Nation of Domination. That leaves Faarooq all alone to be taken out with a Belly to Belly Suplex by Shamrock for the win. (4:23) Faarooq gets on the mic and calls the Rock out for a fight. Well, here comes Rocky and they go nose to nose. The rest of the Nation try to keep them separated, but then Faarooq shoots on Rock and takes him down for a schoolyard fight. Eventually, refs and agents and the other NOD boys break them up. Rocky tries to leave again, but Faarooq calls him back. Next thing we see, Kama, D-Lo Brown, and Mark Henry turn on Faarooq. Once he’s beaten down, Rock comes back in the ring to deliver the ROCK BOTTOM. He then declares himself the RULER of the Nation of Domination and tells Faarooq to go back to Haiti where he came from. Haiti? ¾*
Out comes Triple H and Chyna to discuss the changes in DX. We already see there’s some X pyro going off in secession with some crotch chops. You know what I’m talking about. Anyways, that’s new. Helmsley gets on the stick and tells Shawn Michaels that he dropped the ball, but never fear because HHH picked it up and now the ball is in his court. He’ll take care of everything now. Tonight, Helmsley declares this as the genesis of DX (huh?). He will form the DX army to handle business that should have been taken care of right from the start. When you want to start an army, you look to your buddies, your friends, your pals. You look to the KLIQ. A smattering of cheers at the sound of the word – because it’s 1998 and so few people know what that means. Anyways, out comes the 1-2-3 Kid or Syxx as we know him in WCW. Well, he’s not Scott Hall or Kevin Nash, but he is Sean Waltman. Once he reaches the ring, he does some rather vigorous crotch chops. To show his allegiance to the WWF, he tells Hulk Hogan that he sucks and that Bischoff’s head has gone up his backside. Waltman says that he’s here to help his buddy Triple H and that Scott Hall and Kevin Nash would be standing right here beside them if they weren’t being held hostage by Eric Bischoff in WCW. Shoot comments that really aren’t shoot comments. He finishes up saying this is new beginning for D-Generation X and they are here to “rip ass” on the WWF – and it starts tonight. By the way, they got two words for us. Ross – “I’m sure that will be the most quoted interview of the week.”
We get our first vignette for Val Venis. He’s shown sitting on his couch watching his own porn videos using his VCR and television set. THROWBACK~!
- TAKA Michinoku vs. Marc Mero (w/Sable)
Why are we putting the light heavyweights up against heavyweights tonight? Before we get started, Luna comes out and introduces the idea of an evening gown match to that slut Sable at Unforgiven: In Your House on April 26. Since Sable wants to beat her up again, she accepts the challenge despite Marc Mero trying to change her mind. Sable nearly gets Mero pinned by getting up on the apron, but Mero kicks out and delivers the TKO for the win in 1:37. After Mero and Sable leave, three Japanese guys come out of the audience and put the boots to TAKA. Could it be YAKUZA?!
- NWA World Tag Team Championship: The Headbangers vs. The New Midnight Express (w/Jim Cornette)
The NWA world champion Dan Severn comes down and stands beside Jim Cornette while he’s being hyped on commentary. The crowd is almost silent for this tag match. The New Midnights work over Thrasher until Bombastic Bob eats a boot as he comes off the middle rope. Tag to Mosh, the match breaks down. During the mayhem, the ROCKET LAUNCHER puts away Mosh. (4:02) Ladies and gentlemen, we have new NWA world tag team champions. While Bombastic Bob and Bodacious Bart celebrate with the belts, Dan Severn lays out the Headbangers with suplexes. Mr. Charisma, folks. *
Stone Cold uses his one phone call to contact Jim Ross instead of calling a lawyer. He calls Vince some bad names and threatens him. Next Monday night won’t be very fun for Vince. And if that doesn’t get the job done, Vince will find out that Austin 3:16 says he just whipped your ass and that’s exactly what will happen.
Paul Bearer brings out Kane with him to talk about the Undertaker while they get the cage set up. He drones on and on about having a dream about the ring being surrounded by fire. In the ring, he saw Kane standing alone. He then challenges the Undertaker to step into the fire to face his brother one more time. To win the match, you must set your opponent on fire. That’s right – an inferno match at Unforgiven: In Your House. Ross is appalled at the very idea.
They show us Terry Funk getting medical attention on a deep bruise on his hip from last night’s dumpster match.
- (Cage Match) WWF Tag Team Championship: Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie vs. The New Age Outlaws
Road Dogg wears a J.O.B. Squad t-shirt to the ring which I had no idea was a thing yet. Since the Outlaws were put into the wrong receptacle, the WWF tag belts are held up. Cactus and Funk suplex Gunn into the blue cage and hang him by his feet. Gunn fights back and gives Cactus a backdrop into the cage. Road Dogg pulls out some handcuffs that are used more as a weapon for now than their main intention. Gunn hits Cactus with the Famouser. The Outlaws use the handcuffs to essentially tie Funk to the cage by his neck. With that bruised hip, it’s not like he could do a whole lot. Cactus takes a nasty flapjack into the cage wall. They try again and fail. Cactus hits them with DDTs and catapults Gunn into the cage. Road Dogg takes a ride into the cage. Gunn tries to stop Cactus from climbing out and gets crotched. As he tries to climb out, the new DX comes down to ringside. Sean Waltman hits Cactus over the head with a chair a few times knocking him back inside the ring. Waltman tosses the chair into the ring to Road Dogg as the Outlaws proceed to give Cactus a SPIKE PILEDRIVER ON THE CHAIR. Road Dogg does the worm and covers Cactus for the win and regains the tag titles. (4:22) Together, they continue their assault on Cactus Jack and Terry Funk complete with a PEDIGREE and a nasty chairshot over Cactus Jack’s cranium. And there you have it, folks. The New Age Outlaws have joined D-Generation X.
Until next time, so long for now.
10-321 presents WWF Unforgiven: In Your House LIVE ON PPV April 26 from the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC
WWF Championship: Stone Cold Steve Austin (c) vs. ???
WWF Tag Team Championship: The New Age Outlaws (c) vs. Legion of Doom 2000 (w/Sunny)
Inferno Match: The Undertaker vs. Kane (w/Paul Bearer)
Evening Gown Match: Sable vs. Luna
Posted on June 21, 2016, in WWE and tagged Aguila, Cactus Jack, Chainsaw Charlie, Chainz, Chyna, Col. Robert Parker, D'Lo Brown, D-Generation X, Dan Severn, Faarooq, Headbangers, Jackyl, Jeff Jarrett, Jim Cornette, Kaientai, Kama, Kane, Ken Shamrock, Kurrgan, Legion of Doom, Los Boricuas, Luna Vachon, Marc Mero, Mark Henry, Midnight Express, Nation of Domination, New Age Outlaws, Paul Bearer, Raw, Sable, Sgt. Slaughter, Steve Austin, Steve Blackman, Sunny, Taka Michinoku, The Rock, Triple H, Val Venis, Vince McMahon, X-Pac. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.
For the first quarter of 1998, it’s clear the tone of the WWF has changed, and the pieces of the puzzle have been added throughout all of 1997, step by step, PPV by PPV, Raw by Raw, and falling into place. The good folks at the New Generation Project Podcast pointed out the seven things this very episode of Raw does for the WWF going forward, which means the New Generation Era is officially dead, and the Attitude Era is in full effect:
1.”Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Vince McMahon:
This feud dominates the first hour of the episode, and there’s barely two minutes that go by without Michael Cole or Jim Ross mentioning one or the other.
It’s mentioned that Stone Cold will be defending the World Title at the upcoming PPV, Unforgiven, in Greensboro; but, with Shawn Michaels absent, it’s not instantly clear who Austin will be defending the gold against. And possibly for the first time, it doesn’t really matter.
While babyface vs. manager & stable has been a staple of the WWF for some time – think Hulk Hogan vs. The Heenan Family in the 1980’s, and even kind of something like Shawn Michaels vs. Camp Cornette in 1996 – it’s clear that the main arc of the promotion going forward will not be Steve Austin vs. a Vince McMahon-represented wrestler, but rather Stone Cold vs. McMahon himself. Yes, various wrestlers will go on to represent Vince over the course of the next two years, but the money is in seeing Austin rebel against the WWF owner (which is both new and fresh), rather than seeing Austin successfully retain his title over a particular in-ring performer.
2.The Reformation of the Nation of Domination:
The rise of Rocky Maivia, now rechristened as The Rock, over the past six months has been nothing short of meteoric, and it’s more than clear he’s one of the promotion’s brightest young stars. It’s absolute night and day to where Rock was the previous year. There’s no need for him to play second fiddle to anyone anymore, and the angle on this episode where he kicks Faarooq out and takes over as leader of the Nation cements Rock’s direction for the next six months or so, and where he’s kind of going in terms of his ascension.
3.The Reformation of D-Generation X:
It’s fair to say that Triple H’s first three years in the WWF have not been easy for him; he’s introduced in a gimmick that clearly isn’t going to repel him to main event status, he pays the price for his friendship with the rest of The Kliq in May 1996, and he struggles to get over in any kind of meaningful way until Chyna shows up as his bodyguard, and he’s Shawn’s pal on screen.
While HHH may be nowhere near as ready to be the focal point of a faction in the same way that The Rock is, but the DX angle on this episode of Raw makes it clear that D-Generation X is now HHH’s faction, and will be molded in HIS image, rather than that of his friend, the former World Champion.
4.The Inferno Match Stipulation:
We’re only a little over two years removed from WWF match stipulations, being things like the Hog Pen Match and the Crybaby Match. Whilst the former was enjoyable, it’s fair to say that it wasn’t a success to the extent that WWF ever, ever, ever tried it again.
Yes, we’ve already seen the introduction of Hell in a Cell in late 1997, but the Inferno Match is really the one that speaks to the character of match types that the promotion will stage over the next few years, because of the extremeness of it.
And it’s kind of symptomatic of the tone of the promotion, perhaps even moreso than Hell in a Cell was six months prior to this, and we end up with some ludicrous stuff like Kennel from Hell, but we’re definitely entering a different era of match types, and this feels like the one that kind of is most representitive of what they want to be.
These are matches that have a much higher risk factor, so your previous gimmick matches were about making your opponent look silly, such as putting them in pigshit, or putting them in a diaper/nappy; these make your opponent look silly. And now, we’re moving on to match types where you get set on fire, or you get eaten by dogs; and these are much more dangerous match types.
5.The Evening Gown Match Challenge:
This is another absolute staple of the WWF during the Attitude Era; whilst we’ve seen the change in portrayal of women within the promotion, dating back as far as early 1996, the challenge here from Luna to Sable is indicative of what role the WWF wants its women to perform, and unfortunately, the kind of language that will accompany their portrayal for the better part of the next 12 years or so.
The WWF unsuccessfully tried to re-launch its women’s division with Alundra Blayze in 1994, but it’s the likes of Sable, Luna, and Jacqueline, and the matches that they will contest throughout 1998, that will rocket the women to being a massive part of the company.
Again, the WWF try with the women’s division by having them wrestle, and it doesn’t give them enough time, doesn’t give them enough to do, doesn’t bring enough people in, it’s under-used, and you don’t know what Vince was expecting, like it’s gonna be a massive overnight success with about three competitors given one match every month or something, and it’s just never gonna happen. So, WWF throw that away, and just work out that people just wanna see breasts, so all they’re gonna do is gonna create more and more bizarre match types for women to take their clothes off, right down to the point where you get matches contested in swimming pools full of either mud, chocolate pudding, chocolate milk, gravy, or eggnog, but the principle is still the same in it.
So, it’s a matter of effort and reward to do the women’s wrestling division, and Vince saw very little reward in it, and we know that he’s actually wrong in his management of it. But we see that for very little effort, you get a massive reward, and this all comes off the back of Sable’s huge responses wherever she goes, that he’s just thought, “If she takes more clothes off, I get a bigger reaction, more people buy it.”, and it’s just way more easy for him.
And the thing is as well, and I think this night is quite important from the perspective of… we’ve seen sort of innuendo with Jerry “The King” Lawler, and we had Triple H cutting the kind of really mean-spirited promo on Sunny at the 1997 Slammy Awards, but this is the first night they actively use the word “slut”, and that’s kind of very much how it’s a stigma attached to women’s wrestling in the WWF for the better part of 12+ years, and it’s only in the final 4 or 5 years of that period that they’ve made an effort to fight back against it, and tried to actually present it as something different.
It’s fair to say that absolutely every single match on this episode of Raw – even those that contain some sort of title change – is pretty irrelevant. Bell to bell, there is a grand total of 20 minutes and 8 seconds of wrestling on a 92-minute show. Even the main event played second fiddle to the New Age Outlaws joining D-Generation X, and ultimately the new direction for Mick Foley’s career.
Raw in the Attitude Era is far better remember for its interviews and its moments than for its matches. Rightly or wrongly, that’s the way it is, and it will be for years, if ever, before the in-ring portion of the product is more important than the out-of-ring activities again.
7.The Departure of Shawn Michaels:
I’ve counted all the times the former WWF World Champion was mentioned on this episode of Raw, and the grand total rallies up to 3.
Can you remember a Raw when Shawn Michaels was mentioned so little? Even during his in-ring absence throughout the middle of 1997, he was still a big focal point of the show.
On this episode of Raw, Michaels is mentioned twice by Jim Ross on commentary, and once by Triple H during his promo, so if you’re in the arena on the night and not hearing the announcers, it makes a grand total of one mention.
There’s no real accreditation for HBK’s performance the previous evening, there’s no proposing a return date, or even the idea that he might get his rematch for the WWF World Title; there’s no wishing him well, or wishing him a speedy return. For all intents and purposes, Michaels is gone.
Outside of the likes of Bret “The Hitman” Hart, Diesel, Razor Ramon, Lex Luger, and Yokozuna, it’s clear that Shawn Michaels was probably the performer the most synonymous with the New Generation Era, and he’s certainly the last one remaining. I’m not counting The Undertaker here, as his character in early 1998 is so far removed from what he was in the mid 1990’s, it feels like a different person.
Even though you can say that Michaels spearheaded the change in direction of the company that Vince McMahon, Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H, and company are now capitalising on, Michaels is not going to be a part of the heights the company will reach over the next few years, not counting his sparse appearances as WWF Commissioner. The WWF’s New Generation Era very much dies with the end of this portion of Shawn Michaels’ in-ring career.
On a side note, Mike Tyson is mentioned very little also; it would seem like they’ve had the rub from him, and now they’re done with him, too.
It’s just a case of “We know that Shawn’s out for a long period of time, and we’ve gotta move on, so we don’t even bother mentioning him.” But, you would assume there would be a “get well soon/wish him a speedy recovery/this is the situation” kind of thing, but there just isn’t; the commentators don’t even make any mention of Shawn’s injury either. However, it would certainly downplay HHH if they went on about HBK too much, and it might also downplay Austin to say that he beat a man that’s injured, even though if you see Shawn’s face in the WrestleMania 14 main event, as you can tell he’s in serious physical pain. But, it just seems odd that Michaels is so cut-and-dry gone, and even the past six months when DX had been all over Raw, even when HBK was injured, every week seemed to have a 20-minute DX promo, and a good 90% of that would be Shawn.
I imagine that he was probably quite bitter about the whole situation, since the last thing WWF see from Shawn on the night is storming out of the post-WrestleMania press conference and slamming the door. So, we can only imagine what it would’ve been like for Michaels, and this isn’t defending any of his actions or his behaviour over the next few years, but you can almost see why this guy in his early 30’s has worked for this kind of high level of fame, and all of a sudden, that’s very much taken away from him, and the people that kind of backed him a lot, Vince especially – all of a sudden, from an outward perspective – it looks like they couldn’t care less.
I hope that this list didn’t come off as negative, as it wasn’t intended to be; it was meant to be more of a chronicle of amendments to the WWF that this one particular episode of Raw does, that closes the book on one chapter of the company and open another.