WWF: Raw is War (04.13.98)

rawiswar

WWF: Raw is War
April 13, 1998
Philadelphia, PA
CoreStates Center

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: The New Age Outlaws (3/30/1998)
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.

The WWF champion Stone Cold Steve Austin starts the show. He holds the show hostage again and calls out Vince McMahon so they can get something straightened out. He promises to not knock Vince’s lights out. Vince comes down with not just Gerald Brisco and Pat Patterson, but he brings a couple members of Philadelphia’s finest riot squad. Austin wants to know who he will be facing at the next PPV (being Unforgiven: In Your House on April 26!). Vince hasn’t made up his mind yet. Austin thinks Vince just doesn’t want to tell him. Vince says Austin will know who his opponent will be soon enough. Austin can tell by the way Vince looks at him that he can’t stand the fact that he drinks beer, uses colorful language, that he flips people the bird, and doesn’t like the way he dresses. According to Vince, his idea of a WWF champion is not at all Steve Austin. It sounds like to Stone Cold that the only one who fits Vince McMahon’s idea of a WWF champion is Vince McMahon himself. Austin thinks Vince wants to be the WWF champion. He assumes that before Vince presented Austin with the new championship belt that he wore it around the house looking like a jackass. So tonight, Austin says he will put the WWF title on the line against none other than VINCE MCMAHON. When Austin asks Vince if he accepts the challenge, he tells Vince they can do things the easy way or they can do things the hard way. HA! Vince wants to know what the definition of those things are. The easy way is Vince handpicking his own referee and coming down to the ring to fight Austin. He makes the comment that he could beat Vince with one arm tied behind his back. The hard way is taking a cameraman with him backstage and beating up Vince in his office. He gives Vince thirty minutes to decide. If Vince thinks about leaving the building, Austin says he’s already beaten up Vince’s limo driver and his limo has four flat tires, so there. They go nose to nose until the SWAT team get in between them.

After the break, a camera is sneaking around the corner of Vince McMahon’s office. They spy Gerald Brisco and Pat Patterson trying to talk Vince into the match. See, that’s the way you do backstage segments.

  • Chain Match: The Disciples of Apocalypse vs. Los Boricuas

8-Ball and Skull represent the DOA while Savio Vega and Jose Estrada from Los Boricuas. D-Generation X hang out around ringside. Chainz gets into it with Billy Gunn, so the other members of DX whack him with a chair. To top it off, Triple H gives Chainz a PEDIGREE on the chair. To make it EVEN worse, they give him a SPIKE PILEDRIVER on a chair on the rampway! Now that Chainz is DEAD, DX enters the ring and starts beating up 8-Ball and Skull until the ref just throws out the match. (2:17) Nothing match of course. They make Los Boricuas think they are part of the crew. Vega and Estrada do a crotch chop with DX, but then Chyna gives them each a low blow. They use the chains on those Puerto Ricans and Triple H gives them both PEDIGREES. Chainz does a stretcher job out of here. N/R

More sneaking around the corner by the cameraman backstage. Shane McMahon is back there trying to tell his father not to do something stupid like fighting Steve Austin by using a life lesson his own father told him when he was riding his motorcycle too fast. Brisco and Patterson keep telling Vince that he needs to handle business and put Austin in his place.

  • Brian Christopher & Scott Taylor vs. Aguila & Pantera

Match never happens because Vince McMahon comes down to the ring to announce whether he wants to handle Austin the easy way or the hard way. He reminds us that the WWF has been passed down to him from his father and hopes that he can pass the company down to his son and daughter when the time comes. With over fifty years of promoting, the WWF has always been about honor and integrity. HA! These qualities are sorely lacking in the WWF champion Stone Cold Steve Austin. He knows the decision he is about to make will not make his father and grandfather happy, but sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. So the answer to Austin’s challenge is: “Oh hell yeah.” Cole immediately thinks Vince has no chance, but I guess since he’s not the devious Mr. McMahon yet, you might think that. Patterson and Brisco meet Vince on the ramp and pat him on the back for making what they consider to be the right decision. Ross says he is going to do all he can do to make sure this doesn’t happen and leaves the announce table. The decision has already been made though. What does JR think he can do at this point?

  • Brian Christopher & Scott Taylor vs. Aguila & Pantera

Okay, let’s try this again. Oh wait, somebody turned the lights out. Nope, it’s the UNDERTAKER. He comes down and destroys three of these four guys. Christopher is smart enough to get out of the ring. Taker gets on the stick and tells Kane that it’s time his brother shows him what evil is all about. Now Kane has become the hunted. He feels Kane’s presence in the building and calls him out. We’ll be right back!

When we return, we go to Kevin Kelly outside Mr. McMahon’s office. It seems neither Jim Ross nor Shane McMahon can change Vince’s mind – even though they are only talking to Brisco and Patterson. Vince tells them to stop arguing and tells Shane to get his bag from the limo and bring it to him. Shane tells his dad that this is the dumbest decision of his life. Vince gets pissed and tells Ross to go out to the announce table and do his job.

  • Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee) vs. TAKA Michinoku

Looks like the Undertaker has left the ring. Jeff Jarrett pamphlets drop from the ceiling onto the audience. Steve Blackman appears on the split-screen and tells Jarrett that he’s looking for revenge. Ross is back on commentary. Tennessee Lee hypes the Sawyer Brown singing set for Unforgiven: In Your House on April 26. Not much of a match here. When TAKA goes for his signature dive, Tennessee Lee stands up on the ring steps to distract him. While TAKA is standing up in the corner, Club Kamikaze attacks him from behind for the DQ. (2:31) This is the first we’re seeing of Sho Funaki, Dick Togo, and Men’s Teioh. We will know them soon enough as Kaientai. Even though he’s lost the match, Jarrett puts TAKA in the FIGURE-FOUR. Why? Because he can. ½*

More peaking from around the corner at the McMahon office. Brisco and Patterson try to give a sweatshirt clad Vince some pointers to block the Stone Cold Stunner.

Back to the ring, Faarooq comes down to the ring with his ribs taped and some new theme music – because obviously he is out of the Nation of Domination. It doesn’t really fit him since it’s rap music, but it is different. He admits he got a butt whooping, but he calls out the Rock to come out and finish the job. Naturally, the Rock doesn’t come out alone. He talks his smack and starts to bring the Nation with him down to the ring to beat up Faarooq some more when Ken Shamrock and Steve Blackman (who is feuding with Jarrett?) comes down to even the odds a little bit. I mean, it’s still 4-on-3, but that’s better than 4-on-1.

  • Terry Funk & Flash Funk vs. The Quebecers

Funk announces he’s not quitting like Cactus Jack because people were chanting about Stone Cold. He’s not a quitter (doesn’t stop you from having retirement matches though) and wants to put some Funk in everybody’s faces. He says his partner is HARDCORE and has never been given a chance by Vince McMahon, but now Terry Funk is. His new partner is FLASH FUNK. Ross says Flash doesn’t look like Flash Funk anymore. He looks a little “too cold” if you catch his drift. Big ECW chant. The Quebecers beat the crap out of Terry to start, but he punches back on Jacques and tags out. Flash is CLEANING HOUSE. Pierre stops him up top though and brings him down with a superplex. They give him the double hotshot and look for the QUEBEC CRASH, but Flash moves and Pierre crashes and burns. While Terry knocks Jacques to the floor, Flash climbs up and hits the 450 SPLASH on Pierre for the three-count. (2:16) Ross refers to Flash Funk as 2 Cold Scorpio and how he’s been “held down” too long. ¾*

Seven minutes of wrestling bell-to-bell in the first hour. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?

Luna comes down to the ring alone in a nautical themed outfit. The anticipation for Unforgiven is worse than PMS. Wow. The flow of her adrenaline is so severe that she wants to settle this thing with Sable right here – right now.

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

After the WARZONE intro video, TAFKA Goldust comes down dressed in an evening gown pretending to be Sable. They have a fake fight and Luna rips off the gown. Goldust is left in a fat suit. He threatens to take his high heel shoes off and “whoop some butt” when Sable appears to rip on Luna. As Goldust pulls his lady out to safety, refs and agents hurry down and put a stop to the whole she-bang.

  • Ken Shamrock & Steve Blackman vs. The New Midnight Express (w/Jim Cornette)

I’m assuming the NWA tag titles are not on the line since they aren’t mentioned. Dan Severn is out here with Cornette, but he’s told to leave. Blackman plays face in peril as he takes Midnight Express moves. Ross and Lawler talk about Austin and McMahon which is a WCW tactic. Talk about the main event scene no matter what. The match breaks down and the ref calls for the bell disqualifying both teams. (3:46) WHAT? Since when is having all four men in the ring been a problem in wrestling? Odd finish. ¾*

Meanwhile, Brisco and Patterson are backstage with Vince still pumping up his confidence.

When we come back, Kevin Kelly asks Vince if he’s afraid of this match with Stone Cold. He’s got butterflies, but he’s proved he wasn’t afraid of the U.S. government, he’s proved he wasn’t afraid of Ted Turner and Time Warner, he’s not afraid of the big bad wolf, and he’s sure as hell not afraid of Stone Cold Steve Austin. Ross still thinks Vince is getting some bad advice.

The Headbangers are in the ring and the lights go out again. It’s not Kane – it’s the UNDERTAKER. He puts them down with a TOMBSTONE and a Chokeslam. Now the lights go out again and this time it is Kane and Paul Bearer. If Taker wants to fight his own flesh and blood, it will be on Paul Bearer’s terms. Taker will face his brother next week right on their parents’ graves. Kane will be there – will YOU, Deadman? Now set those four corners on fire.

Another Val Venis vignette. Pardon his appearance, but he’s been doing a little casting for his next film entitled “Lust in Space”. Nice. When he explodes inside the WWF, let’s just say that Val Venis will give it his all inch by inch. Creepy!

Next match. Owen is supposed to wrestle someone from DX. They make some dick jokes until we find out it’s Billy Gunn. LOD 2000 and Sunny are a surprise though. They even the score a little bit. Sunny is no threat of course, but anywho.

They show Vince McMahon warming up those biceps backstage when we go to commercial.

  • Billy Gunn (w/DX) vs. Owen Hart (w/LOD 2000 & Sunny)

JIP to a stalling suplex by Gunn. Triple H and X-Pac have joined the commentary table. They make LOD jokes. Owen takes over with a Spinning Heel Kick and the ENZIGURI OF DEATH. He shows a little bit of Billy’s crack as he’s trying to leave the ring. He clotheslines Gunn out in front of the LOD and he freaks out. Back inside, Owen goes for the SHARPSHOOTER when Chyna gets up on the apron. Billy knocks Owen through the ropes in front of DX, but LOD stands by Owen’s side. Commercials! When we come back, Owen lands the missile dropkick for two. Reverse neckbreaker gets a nearfall as well. Billy hits the Rocker Dropper to take back control. He powerslams Owen and decides to pose instead of capitalizing. That’s when Owen strikes on Billy and rolls him up for the win. (6:19 shown) DX is livid! *½

  • WWF Championship: Steve Austin (c) vs. Vince McMahon (w/Pat Patterson, Gerald Brisco, and Commissioner Slaughter)

Shane McMahon comes out to get his dad to change his mind one last time, but there is no changing Vince McMahon’s mind. When Austin and McMahon stand face to face, the stooges stand behind McMahon. Austin looks to his left and then to his right and then turns to look at Vince and gets a slap across the face. The whole audience GASPS. Ross is scared to death for McMahon. Austin doesn’t lay a hand on Vince and instead starts talking trash. As they go to their separate corners, Vince gets on the mic and dares to take Austin up on his claim that he could beat him with one hand tied behind his back. Therefore, Vince has brought with him a rope and demands Austin’s hand be tied behind his back. Not just either arm, but the STONE COLD STUNNER arm. Awesome. Austin lets Brisco tie his hand behind his back and Vince makes sure it’s as tight as he wants it to be. Crowd is going ballistic. Austin and Vince both ask for a HELL YEAH from the crowd. Time to get this going. Vince gets his muscles rubbed down by his stooges and then Brisco puts the icing on the cake by giving Vince a mouth guard. Right before the bell is sounded, Dude Love’s music hits and here he comes to the ring.

CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG? The Dude doesn’t feel all that much love from the Philly crowd tonight. This is a great callback to last July when Dude Love helped out Steve Austin against the Hart Foundation and won the WWF tag titles. He launches into a monologue about how he and Austin are tight, but that McMahon is the one who signs the Dude’s paychecks. Dude calls Austin the toughest SOB who could put Vince down on his butt any- oh wait, Vince shoves down the Dude. Once Dude Love stands up, he tells Vince he’s made a huge mistake and tries to give him the MANDIBLE CLAW. When Austin comes over to them, Dude turns around and applies the MANDIBLE CLAW on Austin instead! The Dude completely puts Austin down on the mat with the hold while Vince and his stooges look puzzled as they head up the ramp. At one point though, Vince looks back at Dude Love and calls out to him for a fight. Now it seems Vince wants to fight everybody! While the Dude keeps on beating up Austin, Vince is trying to get into the ring only to be held back. Austin tries to fight the Dude once they get on the floor, but then the Dude throws him into the barricade. Pretty hard to fight Dude Love with just one arm free. Dude is beating up Austin on the announce table as the show goes off the air.

Final Thoughts: This was terrible as a wrestling show, but fantastic from a storyline perspective and proves that hold for hold wrestling itself does not sell tickets. Interesting characters put into interesting situations is what brings eyeballs onto your product. Although they hyped it up all show, Vince and Austin never even TOUCHED (well, except for the slap) and for the first time directly running against Nitro since June 10 1996, RAW is WAR has won the day all because of this amazing storyline. Raw had a 4.6, Nitro had a 4.2. The last quarter hour for RAW was a record setting 6.0 rating. Incredible.

It also makes you wonder if Vince agreeing to this fight didn’t turn any fans into his favor – at least in the short term. Ya know, not EVERYONE in 1998 wanted to beat up their boss. Had the match went on, it may have actually babyfaced him because he hasn’t exactly reached the nefarious levels of the classic Mr. McMahon character at this stage in the game and the fans may have decided to respect McMahon instead of thinking he’s this controlling, overbearing authority figure. He’s the WWF owner with a company that has completely run amuck with loud-mouthed rednecks and degenerates – trying to hold onto his values that are no longer respected by the wrestlers in his company or his company’s audience. Just like he said, sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. Anyways, just a thought.

Until next time, so long for now.
unforgiven98

10-321 presents WWF Unforgiven: In Your House LIVE ON PPV
April 26 from the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC

MAIN EVENT
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

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