WWF: Raw is War (01.04.99)

WWF: Raw is War
January 4, 1999
Worcester, MA
The Centrum

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)

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

We get a sentimental look back at Shawn Michaels dating all the way back to his days as a member of the Rockers up until he “lost his smile” when Vince McMahon and his Corporation interrupt at the stage telling the guys in the truck to turn that crap off. They head to the ring because that’s the best place to talk these days. Vince tells the audience not to hold their breath that Shawn Michaels will show up tonight because Vince thinks he’ll be a no-show. Anybody who had anything to do with Shane McMahon’s emotional scarring two weeks ago on RAW, they will pay and shall be punished by MR. MCMAHON himself. Hey look at the TitanTron, it looks like Shawn Michaels is backstage. Hit his music, because here he comes. The sheriff is back in town and this time he’s bringing the calvary with him. Out comes D-GENERATION X. Wait, I thought they were mad at each other. Anyways, Shawn’s status as WWF commissioner is iron-clad. He’s like a government worker! Vince even said that Shawn would answer to no one – not even Vince himself. So basically, Vince can’t fire him and the only way his time as WWF commissioner would end is if Shawn resigned himself, and there’s no chance in hell of that ever happening, so get used to the tune of Sweet Chin Music for a long, LONG time. Now let’s get down to business. Shawn wants to make Vince’s dreams come true. They roll footage from THREE weeks ago of Shane McMahon drawing his dad’s Royal Rumble entry number at #30. Shawn says he has say-so over everybody in the WWF except Stone Cold Steve Austin. After he says that, he makes McMahon and Austin the #1 and #2 entrants into the Royal Rumble match. This will give Stone Cold Steve Austin all night to open up a can of whoop-ass on him. Before we leave, Shawn has a surprise for Vince tonight that will drive him Stone Cold Crazy. Everybody loses their minds before you have to remember we haven’t seen Steve Austin since the Rock Bottom PPV. Now hit the D-X theme music and let’s get out of here. I guess the recent public issues between HBK and D-X were all just a joke as well just like when D-X looked like they were all going to break up 2-3 months ago. WHO KNOWS.

  • Ken Shamrock vs. Steve Blackman

Blackman looks strong against Shamrock to start when DAN SEVERN shows up still wearing his neck brace. Isn’t he madder at Owen Hart than these two? Shamrock takes over to slow it down. Blackman whips Shamrock chest-first into the corner and dropkicks him from behind. There’s a backbreaker to Shamrock. He ducks the kick however and drops Blackman with a Belly to Belly Suplex. Shamrock slugs Severn off the apron. Severn gets back up on the apron to talk to the ref when BILLY GUNN runs out and drops Shamrock with the Rocker Dropper. Blackman rolls Shamrock over and gets the pinfall victory. (3:26) Shamrock runs after Billy Gunn while Dan Severn walks around ringside. ½*

Mr. McMahon and the Rock are on the front cover of the Southwest Airlines magazine. Do they still *make* in-flight magazines?

WWF REWIND (brought to you by 10-10-220): RAW, 1/4/99 – Billy Gunn sneaking in a Rocker Dropper on Ken Shamrock to cost him a match against Steve Blackman.

Backstage, we see Ken Shamrock has caught up to Billy Gunn and boy are they fighting.

MANKIND is on the way to the ring. They take us back to two weeks ago when Mankind takes it to Shane and then applies “Mr. Jocko” to Pat Patterson. Mick makes some testicle jokes at Pat’s expense. He also has a new hobby – and that’s kicking the McMahon family’s asses. He then decides to ask for a WWF title shot at the Royal Rumble. He thinks he deserves it – not because he made Vince’s son Shane cry like a two year-old with a poop in his pants. Not because he bounced Vince’s head off the kegs like Ricky Ricardo playing the bongos. There’s a reference for ya. He feels like he deserves the WWF title shot because he DID beat the Rock at Rock Bottom. Mick wonders if he can say “ass” on TV – and then yells to Vince to “get your ass out here…DAD.” Vince McMahon does come out – even though the Corporation is right behind the curtain. He calls Foley a disillusioned, decrepit, disfigured monster and feels Mick has already had his shot at the WWF title, but Mick wouldn’t listen to Vince. Instead, Foley listened to the people, which is just pathetic. Mankind soiled the McMahon name when he put his hands on Shane. Vince flat out says Mick doesn’t deserve to be the #1 contender because he hasn’t paid his dues. Maybe one day Mankind might come back up the ladder and attempt to win back the WWF Hardcore title, but he’s even failed at that as of late. Foley will never ever, again have the accolade of being the #1 contender to the WWF title. However, Vince will put Mick in a Royal Rumble Qualifier match against Triple H (or Hunter Hearst Helmsley, says Vince. There will also be a guest referee in the match – SHANE MCMAHON. Oh boy, poor Mick.

Backstage, we see Chyna and uhh, her friend we saw last night on HeAT talking.

  • Goldust vs. Mark Henry

Henry actually has “SEXUAL CHOCOLATE” shown in his graphic now. Naturally, Henry overpowers Goldust to start. Goldust surprises Henry coming off the ropes with a spinebuster. Henry fires back with a powerslam – WITH AUTHORITY. Scoop slam and an elbow drop connects. More stomps from Mark. Goldust tries to punch back and then comes off the ropes, but Henry launches him into the air and drops a leg on him. Hey look, it’s CHYNA and some dude in a dress. While Henry is distracted, Goldust gives him the Edge-O-Matic and delivers SHATTERED DREAMS. Umm, DQ? (3:44) Goldust’s music plays and he walks off while Chyna and her friend enter the ring. Chyna gives Henry a kiss on the cheek. She then confesses that the other night with Mark was incredible, but she’s afraid she’s not woman enough for Mark because he’s too much man. She introduces him to her friend “Sammy”. She knows Mark likes tall women and exotic dancers. Chyna then proposes if it’s cool with Mark that together they help him take a load off his mind. And Henry faints – well, he falls backward but it’s LIKE fainting. ¾*

Dennis Knight is hanging from the ceiling in chains. WHERE’S PMS AT?

  • Test vs. The Godfather (w/his female companions)

Remember last week when the Corporation beat up the Godfather so Kane could beat up Billy Gunn? Seems like Test’s music would be more like Motley Crue and less blues-y, no? Test delivers some Kevin Nash offense to start. Godfather comes back with a clothesline and slams Test for a jumping legdrop for two. He levels Test with the HO TRAIN. Hey look, it’s VAL VENIS in the aisle because every match needs some extra intervention. WOTSILLA BOOT to Godfather. They go to the floor where Godfather beats on Test. Test reverses a whip into the ringpost. Ref Mike Chioda decides to count both guys out. (1:59) Of course, Val rushes Test and they brawl until refs and agents appear to separate them.

Backstage, we catch Shawn Michaels chumming it up with the rest of D-X.

SLAM OF THE WEEK (brought to you by Glover on N64 and PC): RAW, 12/21/98: Clips from the Mankind/Shane match.

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

  • Shane McMahon as Special Referee: Triple H (w/Chyna) vs. Mankind

Shane tells Cole and Lawler he will call this “right down the middle”. The winner goes to the Royal Rumble, and the loser will not. Mankind goes for the arm to start which seems weird. Triple H punches him down with the other arm and grabs a stepover armbar on Mankind. As Mankind escapes, he whips Triple H into a corner and comes off the ropes for a bulldog. Triple H sends Mankind off into the ropes and delivers a back elbow, but it takes a clothesline to send him down. Out goes Triple H, and here comes Mankind with a baseball slide to knock Triple H into the barricade. Triple H shoots back in with a sunset flip (if you can believe it). Mankind holds onto the ropes, but Shane kicks his arm causing Mankind to fall back for the fastest three count you’ve ever seen in your life. (2:57) Triple H is in the Rumble and Mankind’s been screwed again. He gets on the mic and lets Mankind know that finish was best for business and he’ll do whatever it takes to become the WWF champion. As a way to say “happy new year”, Triple H kicks Shane and delivers the PEDIGREE. He leaves Shane behind for Mankind to do whatever he wants. He then applies a Stu Hart hold and promises to break Shane’s shoulder. Out comes Vince McMahon and his two stooges. Realizing he’s got Vince right where he wants him, Mankind demands a WWF title shot for later tonight. Shane is SCREAMING. Vince agrees, but that’s not good enough for Mankind. He wants the match to be NO DQ. Vince agrees to the stipulation as well. He really needs to get his son off TV. I think he was doing better without him. Mankind lets Shane go as it looks like he’s got exactly what he wanted. Vince and the stooges help Shane up the ramp when THE ROCK appears to express his disapproval. Vince yells at the Rock that he’s a champion, DAMMIT.

After the break, they take us back to moments ago when Mankind forces Vince’s hand.

  • D’Lo Brown vs. Edge

They remind us that D’Lo is mad at PMS, so we’ll see what they have to do with *this* match in a few minutes. Headlocks and shoulderblocks to start. Edge works babyface here.  D’Lo takes a ride out to the floor for a plancha from Edge. Back in, Edge SCREAMS. Is he making fun of Shane from earlier? Hilarious. On the floor, Edge charges D’Lo and gets launched into the barricade. Back in again, D’Lo hits his standing legdrop and takes Edge over to the corner for some chops and slaps. Edge returns the favor, but charges into a boot in the corner for the Running Ligerbomb. YOU BETTA RECOGNIZE. Cover only gets two. Edge gets a babyface comeback and hits the flying bodypress for 1-2-NO! Here comes PMS down to ringside. It’s that time of the month, says Cole. D’Lo counters something off the top with the SKY HIGH in mid-air! That was freaking awesome. Instead of capitalizing, D’Lo gets distracted by the Pregnant Terri Runnels. As D’Lo goes after her, she slips and falls off the ring steps. She’s holding her belly and writhing in pain. She’s crying and screaming. D’Lo doesn’t know what to do here – he didn’t touch her. Here comes the EMTs and Tony Garea. So much for the match. (4:57) Terri is loaded on the gurney and wheeled away. It’s January 4 and we already have our most tasteless angle of the year nominee. N/R

When we come back, they show us footage from during the break. The backstage trainer is looking over Terri while Jacqueline is standing by trying to console her. D’Lo pounds the wall behind them mad at himself.

Out comes Kane and he’s followed by Gerald Brisco, Pat Patterson, and Shane McMahon. Shane basically has a dead left arm right now. Kane is wearing a “Brisco Bros. Body Shop” kick-me sign on his back. Patterson and Brisco are still mocking Kane behind his back. Shane makes the announcement that Kane will wrestle in a handicap match, and his opponents will be PAT PATTERSON & GERALD BRISCO. Out comes Vince to remind the Stooges that EVERYBODY responsible for what happened to Shane will have to pay and orders Kane to make them pay.

  • Kane vs. Gerald Brisco & Pat Patterson

There’s a CHOKESLAM right off the bat to Brisco. Keep in mind Shane is refereeing and commentating this match. Patterson brings a chair in the ring and when Kane sees Patterson with the chair, Pat sits the chair down and acts like he was just bringing Kane a chair to sit down. Kane then PUNTS the chair like Snitsky did with that baby doll and gives Patterson a CHOKESLAM as well. Brisco then gets his balls pulled into the ringpost. Patterson gets an elbow drop to the nuts. Kane GOOZLES Shane, but Vince calls him off and threatens to send him back to the asylum. Yikes. When he lets Shane go, Vince announces Kane as the winner of the match. Shane and Kane walk off. Vince and Shane embrace while Brisco and Patterson take turns blaming each other. Yeah, okay. N/R

We check in with Dennis Knight. He’s still hanging in some strange room. The Acolytes approach to says it’s time and that some man is waiting for him. Seriously, did Vince Russo recently watch “Pulp Fiction”?

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

Snow walks out, places Head on the stage, and hides behind the curtain. He’s still wearing the same shirt when he got a “bloodbath” from the Brood while his forehead now says “FEARME” inverted. Road Dogg sees Head and gets distracted, so Snow jumps him. Down the ramp he rolls. Road Dogg sends Snow into the steps and pulls out some plunder from under the ring. Meanwhile, Snow tries to jump off the apron into Road Dogg, but gets a face full of steel chair. They fight over setting up a table at ringside. Snow whacks Road Dogg with a chair and uses the chair to launch himself into Road Dogg to send him over the barricade. The One Man Poetry in Motion if you will. As Road Dogg comes back over the barricade, Snow blasts him with a chair and lays him on the table. Snow looks for a moonsault off the barricade, but Road Dogg moves and Snow lands on the table causing the table to explode. Cover by Road Dogg – that gets two. We get some cookie sheet violence. Snow is CHEESIN’ over these cookie sheet shots. They brawl up the aisle over to the staging area. A table gets leaned up against a barricade and Road Dogg hiptosses Snow through the table. They continue to fight backstage. Snow is in control now and mocking Road Dogg as he throws him into a concrete wall. Box of toilet paper? OUCHIES.  Road Dogg takes Snow’s head to a cart of poinsettias. Snow comes back and LAUNCHES a poinsettia at Road Dogg.  Road Dogg gets thrown into some steel poles. Snow reminds us he used to be Shinobi by giving some thrusts with one of the poles after some twirls. Some beer kegs get knocked over. OUCH – FOR REAL. They’re brawling to another section of the backstage area. Snow takes a whip into some barricades. Road Dogg picks up a fire extinguisher. It’s empty, so he just waffles Snow with it. Now they’re out the door and setting off an alarm. SNOW SHOVEL TO SNOW! It’s snowing. Snow is in a cart filled with snow and Road Dogg pushes it into a steel garage door. Snow fights back and whips Road Dogg into some fencing protecting some transformers. He jabs Road Dogg in the gut with a traffic cone. It doesn’t much matter because Road Dogg kicks back and delivers a PILEDRIVER to Snow onto a wooden pallet for the win. (8:38) This was a type of match that was done to DEATH over the next several years in the WWF, but at the time, this definitely feels different and exciting and never-seen-before. Why hasn’t this been added to a WWE DVD somewhere? Road Dogg makes it all the way back to the ring to celebrate with his fans. ***¼

Dennis Knight gets dragged into a room filled with eerie smoke – where he screams. Faarooq and Bradshaw stand outside. Is he about to have sex with PMS?!

Backstage, we see Shawn Michaels ready to go get his surprise. Triple H hands him a key and gives him a hug. Shawn doesn’t know why that was necessary – he’ll be right back. Once he’s gone, Triple H and X-Pac seem pretty much over Shawn. Outside the Centrum, Shawn finds out the key doesn’t work and goes back to the door to find the door is locked. I think Shawn is screwed. A booming voice off camera yells at Shawn before we go to break.

When we come back, Shawn is face down on top of the car and it looks like his head has been put through the windshield. CRAP. We get footage from “during the break” where Ken Shamrock, the Big Boss Man, Test, and Kane took Michaels out of camera range. The camera falls over and all we can do is hear a bunch of VIOLENCE. Back to live action, Shawn is BLEEDING like a stuck pig. He ends up getting put on a gurney and loaded into an ambulance which drives away. We see a shot of the windshield, blood, and snow peacefully falling on both of them. FANTASTIC.

  • No Disqualification Match for the WWF Championship: The Rock (w/the Corporation) vs. Mankind (w/D-X)

Finally, we’ve reached the match that will put butts in seats. We get warmup suit Rock tonight because he hadn’t planned to wrestle tonight. Shane is still in his ref outfit and still selling the arm. He can’t take off the shirt – his shoulder is so banged up! Rock BUM RUSHES THE SHOW on Mankind to start and sends him out in front of the Corporation. Can’t they just beat up Mankind? It’s NO DQ. Rock follows after him, but gets his head bounced off the announce table. Rock reverses a whip into the steps and pounds away. He bounces the top half of the steps off Mankind’s back which looks so incredibly painful. To make matters worse, Rock puts the top half of the steps on Mankind’s head and slams the larger, bottom half of the steps down on the top half of the steps. Rock takes Mankind in front of Cole and Lawler for a suplex. He grabs Cole’s headset to let everybody know he’s just checked Mankind into the Smackdown Hotel on the corner of your Know Your Role Boulevard and Jabroni Drive. When he goes to spit water in Mankind’s face, Mankind punches him right back causing water to go flying. Mankind mounts Rock and lays in a ton of punches. Lawler is crying to the Corporation to come help the champ. Now Mankind puts on Cole’s headset to say he’s showing a lot of testicular fortitude when the Rock whacks him in the face with the ring bell. Rock chokes Mankind with cables and hits him in the head with a battery operated fan. Next thing you know, Rock delivers the ROCK BOTTOM to put Mankind through the announce table. Vince and Shane are wincing at what they’re seeing.

Back in the ring, Rock lays the smackdown on Mankind for two. Even Shane reaches in and chokes Mankind while he’s in the ropes. Russian legsweep by the Rock gets two. Rock runs into an elbow in the corner and Mankind mounts a comeback, but Rock fires back and slams Mankind for the CORPORATE ELBOW. HELL YEAH. Cover, 1-2-NO. Rock telegraphs a backdrop and Mankind delivers a swinging neckbreaker. Boss Man grabs Mankind’s leg from the floor. Since he’s not looking, Test slides the WWF title belt into the ring. Rock WALLOPS Mankind with the belt, but only gets two. He tries again with the belt, but Mankind ducks and delivers a DOUBLE ARM DDT on the belt for 1-2-NO! Out comes Mr. Socko. There’s the MANDIBLE CLAW! Ken Shamrock jumps in the ring and wallops Mankind in the back with a chair. Billy Gunn comes in and rushes Shamrock. Now it’s all breaking loose – D-X and the Corporation. THE GLASS SHATTERS. HERE COMES STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN. HUGE CHAIRSHOT TO THE ROCK! He drags Mankind onto the Rock. Ref Earl Hebner does one of his signature slow counts and MANKIND GETS THE THREE COUNT. (8:48) Austin flips the double bird to McMahon and walks off. The Corporation grabs Rock and helps him off as Vince McMahon reacts accordingly to what just happened. D-X hoists Mankind up on their shoulders for a HUGE ovation from the crowd. Road Dogg announces Mankind as the NEW World Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Champion of the WOOOOORRRLLLDDDDDDD. Mankind gets his moment to tell Vince that this moment feels pretty damn good and lets his two little people at home know that BIG DADDY-O DID IT. Vince wants to puke. Mankind takes a lap around ringside with the WWF title belt. The match is GOOD, but not great. The finish is really what everybody remembers – in fact, it’s unforgettable. ***

Is this the finest moment of the Attitude Era? I would say so. If you put everything in context with the way McMahon has used and abused Mick Foley throughout 1998 to try and destroy Steve Austin, this RAW main event just brought everything full circle and gave us the most feel good moment of the era. It’s really incredible what the WWF was able to accomplish in one year. While I certainly don’t like EVERYTHING the WWF is doing (and we saw an example of what I really don’t like with the Terri miscarriage nonsense), they are on another PLANET entirely when it comes to creative in the main event department. To think what is happening on Monday Nitro at the same time Mick Foley is celebrating the biggest win of his career is just REALLY sad. I’ll leave it at that for now – I’m sure I’ll have more to say later.

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

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