WWF: Raw is War (12.28.98)

December 28, 1998
Albany, NY
Pepsi Arena

The current WWF champs are as follows:
WWF Champion: The Rock (11/15/1998)
Intercontinental Champion: Ken Shamrock (10/12/1998)
World Tag Team Champions: The Big Boss Man & Ken Shamrock (12/14/1998)
European Champion: X-Pac (10/18/1998)
Light Heavyweight Champion: Duane Gill (11/23/1998)
Hardcore Champion: Road Dogg (12/21/1998)
Women’s Champion: Sable (11/15/1998)

LAST WEEK: Shane McMahon had complete control of RAW and put himself in a match with Mankind. Naturally, he gets his butt whooped with no problem. He even tasted Mr. Socko! When it looked like DX was in total control over the Corporation, Vince McMahon returns to the show with his Christmas bonus: it’s the return of KANE! Surely he’s here to help the good guys, but no. He runs through DX and gives them all chokeslams. Last night on HeAT, we are told that Vince McMahon has saved Kane from an awful mental institution and must do everything Vince tells him to do – because he’s Vince’s FREAK.

TIME TO GET RAW! Your hosts are Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler.

Backstage, the Corporation shows up to the building and Vince McMahon is waiting for Commissioner Shawn Michaels to appear so he can humiliate him by publicly FIRING him as the WWF commissioner. Vince will stop at NOTHING to get his revenge on everyone responsible for allowing Shane to get his ass kicked last week. In the meantime, they go into the boiler room looking for Mankind. He attacks the Corporation when they walk through a dark part of the boiler room, but the numbers advantage is too much for him. While he’s being held down on his knees and gasping for air, Vince tells him he’s going to give Mankind a shot at the WWF Hardcore title. Happy new year, Mick! Once they let him go and the Corporation walks out of the boiler room leaving Mankind behind, Road Dogg’s music hits and Vince wants to know why. Shane explains that Shawn Michaels scheduled Road Dogg to wrestle Val Venis over the WWF Hardcore title. Vince doesn’t like that idea and has other plans.

  • WWF Hardcore Championship: Road Dogg (c) vs. Val Venis

No Billy Gunn tonight, but he does the whole New Age Outlaws spiel anyway – opting out “tag team” for “hardcore”. Val tells us his legs are Christmas and New Year’s, so the ladies should visit between the holidays. Road Dogg finds the Shake Rattle and Roll early and backdrops Val for the Shaky Knee Drop for two. Lawler is putting over the Shawn Michaels firing like crazy. Venis comes back with a spinebuster. He and Road Dogg slug away on each other as the CORPORATION heads down to surround the ringside area. Val hits the Kobashi knees and the Russian legsweep sets up the Rick Rude pose. TEST jumps over the top rope and gives Val a running bulldog. Ref Earl Hebner calls for the bell to DQ Road Dogg. HUH? (2:03) As the Corporation boys attack Val out on the floor, the rest of D-Generation X heads down to stand beside Road Dogg. Vince is up on the ramp with the microphone to tell Road Dogg the match is officially over. No problem though, because he’ll get to defend the WWF Hardcore championship again later tonight – against Mankind. For giving X-Pac a Bronco Buster to Shane last week, Vince is just getting started with him, and that goes for the rest of DX as well. Vince thinks there must still be a little DX left in Commissioner Shawn Michaels too for not coming to Shane’s aid last week and apparently holding the Corporation back from helping poor Shane. I’m surprised they aren’t making Shane look “roughed up” this week. He looks fine to me. Not a scratch or bruise on him. If Vince has to drag Shawn Michaels down the ramp himself, Vince will be publicly firing his ass tonight – just like he would love to do to each and every person in the audience. WOW. N/A

Backstage, Al Snow rants and raves – he apparently hasn’t washed out any of that blood he received last week. Gross!

When we come back, Vince McMahon talks to Kane while Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco crack each other up making faces behind Kane’s back. Vince catches Patterson, and Brisco shows righteous indignation. Hilarious. McMahon promises that Kane will make sure every member of DX falls one by one, and he’s got another one tonight, right? Kane pauses and then nods.

  • Al Snow (w/Head) vs. Edge

They take us back to last week when Al Snow and Head got the bloodbath thanks to the Brood. Head has his head shaved. Needless to say, Snow is VERY MAD at Edge. This is already more hardcore than the last match. Snow runs Edge into the ringpost and chokes him. Back inside, Edge hits a dropkick and Snow starts yelling at him. Edge punches back, but Snow runs him down with a clothesline. Moonsault by Snow, but he won’t cover Edge. He grabs a chair and goes up top again, but Edge puts him on his shoulders for a face-first electric chair drop onto the chair. Edge comes off the top, but misses a flying back senton. Snow delivers the arm trap headbutts and goes CRAZY. He grabs Head and whacks Edge over and over again until ref Teddy Long calls for the bell. Another DQ finish. (2:49) CHRISTIAN and GANGREL come out to take charge. Now the JOB SQUAD is out to help Snow, but Snow nails DUANE GILL with Head and walks out through the crowd. Refs and agents head out to separate the JOB SQUAD and the BROOD, but Edge is able to make it out onto the rampway looking at the ring with a creepy grin on his face.

Backstage, Sable is STRETCHING.

SLAM OF THE WEEK (brought to you by Glover on N64 and PC): Survivor Series, 11/15/98: The SABLE BOMB to Jacqueline secures Sable the WWF Women’s championship. What part of “Slam of the WEEK” did somebody not understand?

Elsewhere in the locker room, we catch Dennis Knight (formerly of Southern Justice) having a conversation with X-Pac. We can’t hear what they’re saying, but a certain “he” told him to be here. Cole and Lawler have no idea who “he” is though.

  • WWF Women’s Championship: Sable (c) vs. Spider Lady

Besides her “Capital Carnage” UK PPV match, this is her first match since winning the WWF women’s title back at Survivor Series. Before the match, a fan gets in the ring and presents Sable with a yellow rose. Neither ref Jimmy Korderas nor Sable seem too concerned. The “fan” is Tori who we will get to know. The head ringside security guy gets in the ring to escort her out to make this seem legit. A masked woman named “Spider Lady” shows up and attacks Sable before the bell sounds.  Lawler reminds us that the last time we saw Spider Lady, it was Moolah – trust me, it ain’t Moolah this time. She gives Sable a good kick in the ribs and takes off her belt to whip Sable. Here comes the ODDITIES for some reason. Oh yeah, Sable did hang out with them for a few moments. Golga gets a hold of Spider Lady, but she unmasks herself almost to tell him, “It’s me, you idiot!” because it’s LUNA VACHON. The Oddities manage to corner Luna to keep her away from Sable. Anyways, Luna walks off, yelling “it’s about me! It’s about what *I* deserve!” as the Oddities check on the Champ. No match.

After the break, they replay what just happened with Luna attacking Sable as “Spider Lady”. Backstage, the Oddities try and console Sable.

  • WWF European Championship: X-Pac (c) vs. The Big Boss Man

X-Pac attempts the “stick, crotch chop, and move” strategy to start. Boss Man catches him in mid-air and delivers a spinebuster to take over. He whips X-Pac from corner to corner and applies a bearhug. X-Pac rakes the eyes to escape, but then gets tossed into the corner for the Bobby Eaton bump and gets splashed for two. X-Pac elbows out of a chinlock, but flies into a backbreaker. Boss Man tells the crowd to suck his ass. He misses a flying splash to start X-Pac’s comeback. A spinning heel kick puts Boss Man down. Make it two! He kicks Boss Man down into the corner for the Bronco Buster. Crowd is going nuts. Here comes TEST. Boss Man boots down X-Pac. Hey wait, here comes Val Venis to help against the Corporation.  Boss Man goes out and for some reason the bell rings to DQ somebody, because we can’t get a single finish on this show. (5:00) X-Pac gets a great pescado on Boss Man and now they’re paired off. More refs and agents head down to try and break things up. **

Classic training footage of Vince and Shane McMahon. This is actually how I think Vince McMahon works out on the daily. Some Hulk Hogan poses in there.

Backstage, the “McMahon Cam” is looking at a door hoping Shawn Michaels will come through it. Is that the only door in the Pepsi Arena?

  • Owen Hart & Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra) vs. Goldust & Steve Blackman

The Blue Blazer is sometimes Owen Hart and sometimes Jeff Jarrett. That part is obvious. Back and forth knockdowns between Goldust and Jarrett. Goldust uses the mat to complete an atomic drop and goes for the Shattered Dreams, but Owen distracts Goldust allowing Jarrett to get free and deliver an armbreaker DDT. Owen and Jarrett make a wish on Goldust. Tag to Blackman, he hits a backbreaker on Owen and misses an elbow drop. There’s the ENZIGURI OF CERTAIN DEMISE. The Spinning Heel Kick connects on Blackman for two. Owen lands a reverse neckbreaker for two. Time for the SHARPSHOOTER on Blackman. Where’s Goldust? Hey look, DAN SEVERN wearing a neck brace walks down to ringside. Owen lets go of the hold and meets Severn to apologize again. It looks like Severn wants to beat his ass though and stalks Owen around ringside. Jarrett and Debra go over and talk to Severn while Owen gets back in the ring and gets rolled up by Blackman for the three-count. (3:42) Well, that’s that. Severn leaves. Jarrett, Owen, and Debra leave. Goldust and Blackman shake hands and move on with their night.

Backstage, we catch Triple H and Chyna heading somewhere with purpose. WHAT.

When we come back, there’s a camera in the parking lot. THE ACOLYTES have just shut Dennis Knight in the trunk of his own car. They take us back to what happened during the commercial break where they jumped Knight, beat him up, threw him up against a dumpster, loaded him into the trunk, and drove away. WHAT.

ENTER THE WAR ZONE! Your hosts are Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler.

  • WWF Intercontinental Championship: Ken Shamrock (w/the Corporation) vs. Triple H (w/D-X)

DON’T FORGET: Triple H forfeited the IC belt over an injury and it was Ken Shamrock who took the title in a one-night tournament that seems like forever ago. We are reminded by Cole that Shamrock lost to Billy Gunn last week, although it was later revealed that the match was actually non-title. Rather sizable “Shamrock sucks” chant to start. Lots of back and forth slugging to start. Triple H finds an inverted atomic drop and a neckbreaker to send Shamrock rolling out to the floor pissed off. Back in, Shamrock takes over. Triple H counters a vertical suplex with a gourdbuster. Test eats a baseball slide which just pisses him off. Shamrock nails Triple H from behind and goes for the bad knee. Lawler is still hyping up Shawn Michaels getting fired. Eventually, Triple H comes back and hits the High Knee which hurts REAL bad. He delivers the Facebuster. Boss Man gets knocked off the apron, but Triple H walks into the ANKLEKLOCK. It gets dramatic as Triple H reaches the ropes, but Shamrock won’t release by the count of five for the DQ. (6:36) Ref Tim White gets shoved away, which then triggers a DX / Corporation brawl. Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco send Kane into the ring, but he doesn’t do anything. DX basically clears out on their own. *½

WWF Rewind (brought to you by 10-10-220 and George Carlin!): RAW, 12/21/98: Billy Gunn beats Ken Shamrock, but Commissioner Shawn Michaels decides it was a non-title victory.

Backstage, Kevin Kelly interviews Billy Gunn, who tells us that Ken Shamrock is walking around with *his* Intercontinental title. Shamrock shows up and they exchange weak insults.

Mark Henry and D’Lo Brown head down to the ring. Mark apologizes to Chyna for what he did last week with those women. IT WAS WRONG! He just wants Chyna back in his life and gets down on his knees begging her to come back. Next thing you know, PMS head down to the ring. Terri wants Henry back down on his knees because that’s how she likes her men. She also says she’s got “big plans” for Mark. D’Lo takes the mic from Mark and calls them “glorified ring rats”. THEY BETTA RECOGNIZE D’LO IS A GENTLEMAN. Uh oh, here comes CHYNA. She takes the mic away from D’Lo and tells PMS to stay away from her man. WHOA. Mark is all smiles. Terri has already hidden out on the apron, but Jacqueline decides to mock Chyna’s physique, and gets a choke into a shove for her troubles. Chyna then tells PMS that next time she won’t be so ladylike and tells Mark he’ll see her later.

Backstage, we catch the McMahons and the Stooges talking about something.

After the break, the Corporation are looking for somebody. Shawn, maybe?

They replay the EPIC 1998 Year in Review video from last night.

We come back to see the Corporation putting the boots to the Godfather while his whores scream. Boss Man gives Kane a tongue-lashing, and then he joins in on the beatdown.

As we check the “McMahon Cam”, we see that Shawn Michaels still has not entered the building. Lawler calls Vince “McMuscles.”

  • Billy Gunn vs. Kane (w/Gerald Brisco & Pat Patterson)

This was supposed to be Billy Gunn versus the Godfather, but Shane McMahon comes out and changes Billy’s opponent to Kane. Even though Kane is in total control, Patterson and Brisco don’t seem pleased with how aggressive he is. Gunn comes back with the Rocker Dropper and they head to the floor. As Kane heads back in the ring, Shamrock has the ANKLELOCK on Gunn. Patterson distracts ref Mike Chioda while Brisco tries to calm Shamrock down. Back in, Kane hits a CHOKESLAM, but Patterson and Brisco want more. Kane delivers another one. Patterson and Brisco still want more. Before a third Chokeslam happens, X-Pac runs down and delivers a missile dropkick to Kane that sends him out of the ring. Chioda DQs Gunn to end this one. (3:58) Gunn is quickly rescued by DX – boy, he went from almost IC champ to Kane’s ragdoll REAL quick, didn’t he? I mean, the Shamrock spot was supposed to show that Kane needed help to beat him, but I guarantee nobody in the building or watching on TV thought that Kane was really needing the help at that point in the match. Oh well, who cares. ¾*

The WWF champ the Rock comes out to join the commentary team for the main event. He calls Road Dogg and Mankind “pieces of trash” and Michael Cole a gay man. Hey, Shawn Michaels just now arrives to the building and seems to feel bad about being an hour and forty minutes late.

  • WWF Hardcore Championship: Road Dogg (c) vs. Mankind

These two quickly brawl up the rampway. Mankind delivers a snap suplex on the ramp and pulls a technicians table from just passed the curtain to suplex onto Road Dogg. Classic Foley spot. Speaking of Foley spots, Road Dogg catches Mankind with a backdrop on the ramp and throws the table in Mankind’s face to send him rolling down the ramp to ringside. Mankind gives Road Dogg a hotshot on the apron and pulls a toolbox out from under the ring. Road Dogg punches Mankind in the face to cause the toolbox to fall on top of him. Nails and screws go everywhere. Road Dogg finds a cookie sheet and whacks Mankind until he goes down. Looks like a fan tried to get over the railing. Back in the ring, Road Dogg nails Mankind with a chair across the back. To make it worse, Road Dogg delivers a Russian legsweep on the chair (Ode to Brad?) for two. Mankind comes back with a Pull-Up Piledriver for two. Ohh, Road Dogg got his foot on the bottom rope. They are still trying to figure out this “hardcore title match” thing. Mankind gives Road Dogg a Pull-Up Piledriver on a chair! How’s that not a finish? Mankind puts the cookie sheet on Road Dogg’s face and legdrops him for two. They head back to the floor, over the railing, and down to the penalty box. Mankind throws a TV monitor at Road Dogg, but he moves out of the way. Road Dogg jabs Mankind with a chair and knocks him into a stage hand and a bunch of cardboard boxes. He chokes Mankind with a TV cord, but Mankind manages to snap Road Dogg’s neck off a banister. Out comes Mr. Socko for the MANDIBLE CLAW. With Road Dogg laid out on a table, Mankind comes off a stage to put Road Dogg through the table! The Rock then leaves the announce table and grabs Mankind for a ROCK BOTTOM on the floor! Road Dogg rolls over and covers Mankind for the three-count. (9:12 shown) Road Dogg is in bad shape, but he’s still the Hardcore champ. Road Dogg sees the finish played on the TitanTron and gets a little pissed that he won the match that way. That’s not very hardcore of you, Road Dogg! It is very babyface of you, but whatever. This was a good brawl with an actual finish amongst a sea of DQ finishes. ***

Out comes Vince McMahon to the ring all by himself – like a MAN. He tells Shawn Michaels to come out to the ring – if he’s got the guts. HBK’s theme music plays and here comes Shawn Michaels. Vince cuts his entrance short and gets down to business. McMahon talks about Michaels coming in ten years ago, spending MILLIONS on marketing for Michaels, and Michaels then becoming WWF champion – and how that was the beginning of Shawn’s downfall. McMahon plays some carefully edited excerpts of a Michaels interview from an episode of RAW prior to WrestleMania 14, where he basically runs down McMahon. Vince bemoans his own son, his own flesh and blood, getting the crap kicked out of him while Michaels held the Corporation back. Vince says that Shawn is one of the great WWF superstars of all time, but he sucks as a commissioner. To turn his own words against him, Vince doesn’t lay down for anybody. And from there, as far as being the WWF Commissioner is concerned, Shawn is FIRED. Shawn looks rather sad, but then reaches back and gives Vince SWEET CHIN MUSIC. HBK’s music plays, the shirt and tie comes off, and Vince gets dry humped as the Corporation runs Shawn out of the ring and through the crowd to close the show.

AND THAT’S 1998! WOW, WHAT A YEAR. INCREDIBLE. I feel like I have more to say about WCW’s 1998 which I will expand on the final Nitro of 1998. With the WWF, everything seems to just keep on rolling along. They have turned things almost completely around from 1997.

Until next time, so long for now.

LIVE on January 24 from the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, California! ONLY ON PPV!
MAIN EVENT: The Royal Rumble

And now for my TOP FIVE RAW MATCHES of 1998!
5. The Undertaker & Steve Austin vs. The Rock & Owen Hart (8/3) ***
4. The Rock vs. Triple H (12/14) ***
3. The Rock vs. Steve Austin (11/16) ***
2. Mankind vs. Ken Shamrock (11/9) ***1/4
1. Mick Foley vs. Terry Funk (5/4) ***1/4

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