WWF: Raw is War (06.15.98)

WWF: Raw is War
June 15, 1998
San Antonio, TX
Freeman Coliseum

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)

Why is the HELL IN A CELL hanging over the WarZone? We’ll find out tonight – LIVE!

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

We begin the show tonight with the return of SABLE. She gets a very warm reception from the people of San Antonio. She then drops a bomb on them by saying that the man responsible for her return is none other than Mr. Vince McMahon. He comes out and gives her a letter to read about how Vince McMahon – the humanitarian of the year – did not and would not use charitable organizations to further his personal agenda against Stone Cold Steve Austin. After McMahon kisses her on the cheek, the glass breaks and Stone Cold Steve Austin comes down clearly in a foul mood. After threatening McMahon, he still shows he’s a babyface first by helping Sable out of the ring before going after Vince. McMahon tries to reason with Austin not to use physical violence against him just this once. He finally gets Austin to stop chasing him around by telling him this conspiracy about how the Undertaker set him up last week by sending Kane and Mankind out to beat him up. Two weeks ago on RAW, the Undertaker himself admitted he wanted Austin’s WWF title. He even says that the Undertaker knew Vince would call the cops on him so they would surround him and he wouldn’t be able to save Austin from receiving his beating. Well now the Undertaker has to respond to these accusations. He comes down and admits he deserves a WWF title shot, but he had nothing to do with Kane and Mankind’s involvement. Just as he threatens McMahon, the lights go out as Paul Bearer appears on the rampway with Kane and Mankind (who debuts the ripped up shirt and tie look). Bearer stirs the pot by saying McMahon had nothing to do with the plan last week and that he and the Undertaker hatched their plan – IN HELL! He pretends to be in alliance with the Undertaker and suggests that the Undertaker wants to entrap Austin in the Hell in a Cell tonight. To take things up a notch, Paul Bearer challenges Steve Austin and the Undertaker on behalf of Kane and Mankind to a tag match – INSIDE HELL IN A CELL! Now set those corners on fire! And there’s your main event. Beat that, Nitro.

  • KOTR Qualifying Match: The Rock vs. Vader

Vader is on borrowed time here in the WWF and it’s pretty sad to see him in 1998. The Nation try to join the Rock at ringside, but the zebra shirts send them back to the locker room. Vader overpowers the Rock to start with his Vader-ness. Avalanches and clotheslines and such. A splash from the second rope gets two. Rock comes back with a DDT and Vader kicks out – with AUTHORITY! Rock can’t slam Vader at first, but hits him on the shoulder and slams him no problem. Alright then. The People’s Elbow gets two. Vader comes back with a Body Attack and a splash for 1-2-NO! Sensing he’s in trouble, Rock clotheslines Vader to the floor as Mark Henry appears and splashes Vader real good. Back inside, Rock hits the ROCK BOTTOM and gets the three-count. (4:40) The Rock advances to the King of the Ring. So much for Vader time. *

DX “Droppin’ Knowledge” video. Triple H meets X-Pac in the final KOTR qualifier. Road Dogg, standing in front of a blackboard with “Match of the Year” written on it, tells both Helmsley and X-Pac that he has faced both men, and it was tough stuff.

Another Edge vignette airs.

  • Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee) vs. Darren Drozdov

Not sure who would be interested in this match. Apparently, the WWF feels the same way as they choose this match for Marc Mero and Jacqueline to come down and ask Jim Ross why Sable is back. Since Ross knows as much as we all do, Mero says maybe he will take matters into his own hands. For some reason, Tennessee Lee and Jacqueline start to argue until Jackie slaps him across the face. Noticing the ruckus, Jarrett comes out to help out his promoter only to get a low blow from Mero. Droz puts Jarrett in the ring and covers him for the really cheap win. (2:14) Mero and Jarrett will meet next week in the KOTR quarterfinals – and now there’s heat! ½*

Over by the personal locker room of Val Venis, we hear zoo noises. Ya’ll come back now, ya hear?

More of the DX “Droppin’ Knowledge” video. Billy Gunn asks Helmsley where Chyna will be during this match.

  • Val Venis vs. Chainz

Venis tells all the moms in the audience that he has a bigger dick than the entire state of Texas. Right? Chainz is on JTTS duty tonight. Ross and Cole go full-on WCW commentary during this match – not really paying attention to the match and talking about all the main event stuff. Besides a few wrestling moves from Venis, this is a total slobberknocker. As he goes up for the Money Shot, he gets crotched which is bad news for Venis. He fights off a superplex and readies himself for his finish, but isn’t able to do his usual gyrating on the top rope because his dick hurts. Nice touch. He’s the next-gen Rick Rude for sure. Anyways, Venis wins with the MONEY SHOT in 4:37.

Backstage, Kevin Kelly asks the Undertaker if he can trust Austin. How can you trust the guy who doesn’t trust anybody? Can Austin trust the Undertaker? Of course. He wants Austin to be as healthy as possible because he wants a WWF title shot.

DX “Droppin’ Knowledge” video: Part III! Helmsley and X-Pac talk smack. X-Pac doesn’t lay down for anybody!

  • Dustin Runnels vs. Marc Mero (w/Jacqueline)

Jeff Jarrett and Tennessee Lee bring out Southern Justice with them for protection while Jarrett grabs a headset to put down Mero. They go back and forth until Runnels gets dumped on the floor for a ride into the steps. Back in, Mero delivers a Sablebomb. It doesn’t seem to matter much to Runnels though as he comes back with the low down uppercut and an inverted atomic drop. He gets slugged up top though as Mero brings him down with a headscissors for two. Jarrett gets on the apron and distracts Mero. Sable starts walking down the ramp to also distract Mero. Poor guy! Runnels runs over and hits him with the RUNNING BULLDOG for the win. (4:08) Sable doesn’t stick around as she heads to the back while Mero is left in the ring to seek solace from his main squeeze Jacqueline. *

DX “Droppin’ Knowledge” video: Part IV – A New Hope! Chyna bosses them two around, but I couldn’t understand her. Thankfully, this should be the last of these.

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

  • KOTR Qualifying Match: Triple H vs. X-Pac

This is the in-ring debut of the X-Pac character. It’s also his first match on RAW since 5/20/96 where he was involved in a losing effort to Savio Vega. X-Pac tries to catch Helmsley napping with a rollup for a nearfall before the bell had even sounded. Silly. X-Pac gets a shine sequence with HHH until he’s cut off with a High Knee. After X-Pac rolls out, Chyna strolls down to ringside and puts X-Pac back in the ring. An inverted atomic drop and a suplex leads to a Harley Race knee drop for two. Helmsley whips X-Pac from corner to corner for a NASTY bump. X-Pac kicks back and sends Helmsley stumbling out to ringside where Chyna puts Helmsley back in the ring. Ross thinks she wants to see them settle this like men. Back inside, Triple H cuts off X-Pac with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. A HHH facebuster and a clothesline sends X-Pac crashing on the floor. While the Rock appears up in the mezzanine and keeps Triple H distracted talking about what he’s cooking, Owen Hart is dropping X-Pac on the guardrail crotch-first to do some major damage to the groin. Since X-Pac is too hurt to make it off the floor, he tells Helmsley to stop checking on him and get back in the ring to beat the ten-count and win the match. (5:14) So Helmsley does just that and advances to the KOTR. Afterwards, the rest of DX comes over to check on their fallen comrade. Not even match of the night, but still fine. *½

Out comes Avatar and Head Avatar. Of course, those who are in the know realize that Al Snow played the Avatar for about ten minutes in the WWF. Commercials!

When we return, Jerry Lawler is berating Avatar. Al Snow takes off the mask and makes fun of the gimmick. Snow says he’s here to make two citizen’s arrests – one for Vince McMahon for “attempted murder” (his career) and one for Jerry Lawler for “lewd behavior” (trying to “screw” Snow out of getting his meeting with McMahon). Lawler says the problem is the Head and before he can take care of it for him, Snow pounds him into the corner. Ref Jack Doan is the victim of a Snow Plow. Lawler gets hit with the Head which leads to Jim Ross joyfully saying Lawler got head. A couple of security guys come out and get hit too until Snow escapes through the crowd. Oh boy.

In the back, Michael Cole asks Steve Austin if he can trust the Undertaker. DTA. Can the Undertaker trust Austin? DTA! Duhhh.

  • Ken Shamrock & Dan Severn vs. Owen Hart & Mark Henry

Once again, the rest of the Nation gets ushered backstage. I don’t know why they even try coming out here anymore. They show us UFC clips of Shamrock and Severn getting it on. Shamrock and Owen meet in the middle of the ring to slug it out to start. He goes for the ANKLELOCK early, but Owen drills Shamrock with the Enziguri of Certain Death. Owen tries a random Chickenwing Crossface. When Shamrock counters out, Owen’s trick knee acts up and low blows Shamrock. Tag to Henry, he overpowers Shamrock only to miss an avalanche. Severn tags in and throws Henry around. Henry elbows Severn back and tags out, but Owen gets owned on the mat and takes a German suplex into the bow and arrow hold. Henry immediately breaks that up. Owen drills Severn with a Spinning Heel Kick and brings Severn over to his corner for some rule-breaking double-teaming. Henry holds up Severn for a missile dropkick, but Severn moves and Henry gets wiped out. Hot tag to Shamrock, he takes care of Henry and powerslams Owen. The Hurracanrana gets blocked and Owen locks in the SHARPSHOOTER as D-Generation X hits the ring for the DQ. (4:40) I would love to see Owen and Shamrock go 15-20 minutes in just a standard match. Not from Stu Hart’s Dungeon. Not in the Lion’s Den. Afterwards, the Nation head out to fight. Vader comes out to fight. Everybody is fighting. **

  • Tag Team Royal Rumble Match

Ross touts this as the first ever tag team Royal Rumble. The winners become the #1 contenders to the WWF tag titles. A new team comes out every thirty seconds. LOD 2000 meet Kane and Mankind to start. Ross doesn’t understand why they would be out here before they meet the Undertaker and Steve Austin later. LOD 2000 almost eliminate Kane as the New Midnight Express head down. I almost forgot they were still here. The Headbangers are fourth. The Disciples of Apocalypse or the Harris twins are next. No eliminations yet, but I’m thinking Kane is going to go nuts on everybody soon enough. Kurrgan and Golga are team #6. Finally, the Midnights go out by Kane. Next up, Brian Christopher and Scott Taylor also known as Too Much enter the Rumble. Steve Blackman and Faarooq are next. Bradshaw and TAKA Michinoku head down to the ring. LOD 2000 eliminate DOA. Our tenth team is Terry Funk and Scorpio. Funk manages to flip Kurrgan over the top rope and send him out. Lawler is quite surprised. Mankind backdrops TAKA out of the ring to eliminate that team. The Headbangers duck and let Too Much eliminate themselves. Kane throws Mosh to the floor to send the Headbangers back to the showers. LOD 2000 takes care of Blackman and Faarooq. Everybody clears out and it comes down to the team of Scorpio and Terry Funk against Kane and Mankind. After Funk sends Mankind into the barricade, he gets in the ring and bashes a chair over the back of Kane. More chairshots to Kane. Regardless, Funk and Scorpio can’t eliminate Kane. Mankind saves the day and hits Funk with a chair. While he’s sitting in the ropes, Kane grabs Scorpio for a TOMBSTONE. While Mankind holds the chair against Funk’s face, Kane runs over and boots the chair at Funk to send him crashing to the floor to eliminate their team to win the match. (8:30 shown) So now Paul Bearer’s cult are the #1 contenders to the WWF tag titles. *½

When we come back, Paul Bearer talks, then Mankind spouts poetry while the cell lowers, then Paul Bearer talks some more. There seems to be some stalling happening here. Maybe to ensure the cell is safe.

  • Hell in a Cell: The Undertaker & Steve Austin vs. Kane & Mankind (w/Paul Bearer)

Austin wisely awaits the Undertaker to come out before he enters the cell with Kane and Mankind. Taker is announced twice and never comes out for his entrance. This leads to Mankind bum rushing Austin only to get the door slammed in the face and thrown into the cell. Austin brawls with Kane in the aisle while padlocks himself in the cell I’m assuming to keep Austin away from him. Mankind eventually saves Kane from Austin, but inside the cell we see the Undertaker come up from under the mat to attack Paul Bearer. AWESOME. Kane and Mankind leave Austin behind to try and break into the cell to save Paul. Austin starts beating up Mankind again while Kane climbs onto the roof of the cell still trying to break inside. Taker is still doing a number on Paul Bearer and makes him eat steel to bust him open from ear to ear. This is amazing. Meanwhile, Austin delivers a very nasty chairshot to the head of Mankind. Good grief. Austin then decides to turn his KOTR match in a real moneymaker by climbing the cell and meeting Kane at the top for a beatdown. So yeah, this is not a match. If RAW didn’t win the final quarter hour, I’d be shocked. There’s no way Randy Savage and DDP in a cage could compete with this.

Until next time, so long for now.

MAIN EVENT:
WWF CHAMPIONSHIP: Steve Austin (c) vs. Kane
1998 King of the Ring Tournament

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