WWF Raw Is War (July 20, 1998)

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Fireworks explode and JR and Lawler welcome us to Monday Night Raw. Shawn Michaels is not with them this week, at least not yet. JR gives us a rundown of some of the matches scheduled for tonight and says that before any of that can get underway WWF owner, Mr. McMahon has some shit to say about what happened last week.

Opening Talky Segment…

Vince comes out (still without entrance music) and gets on the mic to talk about what the Undertaker has been up to as of late. We get footage of Taker dressed as Kane winning a match to become number one contender as McMahon wonders if Taker had Kane locked up somewhere or if he just went to, “the Sear’s men’s department and said, ‘Give me one Kane suit,'” in order to pull off that stunt.

We see Taker telling McMahon to go to hell and footage of the tag team match from last week where Taker prevented Austin from making a count when Road Dogg had Kane pinned and the stare down between Taker and Austin at the end of the match.

He calls out Taker who heads down to the ring. Vince says that he’s disappointed in Taker and explains that his feelings were hurt when Taker told him to go to hell last week. He says that if he wants to be more than a flash in the pan champion Taker is going to need him and then gives him one more chance to tell McMahon whether or not he’s in cahoots with Kane.

Taker glares at McMahon who screams, “ANSWER DAMMIT!” but he says nothing so Vince is like, “Fine, you don’t want to answer, I’m booking you in a match against Kane and Mankind tonight in the main event.” Taker gives zero fucks and turns to walk away but Vince is like, “Oh yeah, one more thing…UNDERTAKER?! YOU CAN GO TO HEEEEEELLLLLLL!”

Taker’s eyes pop out of his skull and he goozles McMahon and then chokeslams the fuck out of him. Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco hit the ring and get dispatched by the Taker. Sgt. Slaughter comes out and gets chokeslammed as well. Taker leaves and the Stooges try to help McMahon out of the ring, he falls as he goes down the steps and takes out Pat Patterson. McMahon kicks him and Pat looks legit pissed, whipping his jacket at McMahon. Refs separate them and they leave the ringside area.

Match 1: Triple H (w/ Chyna) vs. D’Lo Brown (The Rock)

Triple H comes down to ring. He’ll be defending his European Championship against someone from the Nation of Domination, though he doesn’t know who. D’Lo and The Rock head out, D’Lo is announced as the challenger. Mystery solved!

The bulk of this match consists of crotch chops, clotheslines, D’Lo Brown telegraphing a back drop and getting hit by Triple H. At one point D’Lo and Chyna have words on the outside. D’Lo takes a swing at her but misses and gets leveled by Chyna.

Some more stuff happens and eventually The Rock trips up Triple H in the corner which causes Chyna to come up from behind and post The Rock. Triple H recovers and powerslams Brown. Mark Henry saunters down toward the ring. Chyna grabs a chair and cuts him off. The ref is like “Oh no! Mark Henry is the world’s strongest man and Chyna has a chair, I must abandon my post and make sure nothing terrible happens on the ramp!” and he heads off to prevent to monsters from wrecking house on one another.

Back in the ring Triple H goes for a Pedigree but The Rock comes in and nails him with the Rock Bottom. D’Lo makes the cover and the ref is like, “Oh right, there’s a wrestling match happening,” and goes back to count the pin. ONE! TWO! THREE! NEW CHAMPION!

Winner: D’Lo Brown

I suppose they could have hyped this match on Livewire or Shotgun Saturday Night or something that doesn’t exist on the Network at present, but without either of those shows the “Who will face Triple H for the European Championship?” mystery was kind of stupid. I had no idea there was any sort of mystery until literally 30 seconds before the mystery was resolved. Couldn’t they have put this match a bit later in the card to milk that angle?

As for the match it’s your standard Attitude Era overbooked TV match. We get a bunch interference and a ref distraction and more crotch chops than actual wrestling holds during the match. For as fondly as we all remember the Attitude Era, a lot of the wrestling was honestly kind of crap. [*⅞]

Meanwhile Backstage…

The Nation of Domination celebrate D’Lo’s victory as we go to commercial break. They should do stuff like this more often when dudes win championships.

Meanwhile Backstage…

We come back from commercial break to see DX screaming in the back. Triple H is pissed. X-Pac tells The Rock that he will not smell what he’s cooking, “beeyatch.” I guess The Rock was also defending his championship against a mystery partner who has now been revealed to be X-Pac. Oh joy!

Match 2: Pierre vs. Dr. Death

Time for another Brawl For All match. Pierre is one of the Quebecers. Dr. Death is JR’s second favorite wrestler. I think this might be his WWE debut, and what a debut it is!

As Dr. Death heads out we get an interview with some dude named Barry Switzer who talks about how tough and dangerous Dr. Death is. One time Barry Switzer saw him wrestle and get busted open over his eye. He needed 106 stitches!

Round one sees Dr. Death take down Pierre a few times. Both men are throwing “heavy leather,” according to JR. I think that means haymakers.

It’s more of the same in round two. Dr. Death scores some takedowns and then lays into Pierre with punches. Pierre gets backed into a corner and is staggered with a right, but is saved by the bell.

Doc is up by 30 points in the unofficial score as we begin round three. Unless Pierre suddenly becomes Steve Blackman and spams a billion takedowns I don’t think he’s going to win. Dr. Death unloads on him with punches. Pierre’s basically out. The ref starts a standing eight count. Pierre’s done. Your winner, Dr. Death Steve Williams!

Winner: Dr. Death

As far as Brawl For All matches go, this one was one of the more enjoyable. Both dudes threw a bunch of punches, which made the audience happy and went for takedowns so it wasn’t just a bunch of haymakers. [**½]

Highlights for Children!

We are “treated” to highlights of the bullshit with Val Venis and Yamaguchi-san from last week’s Raw. Val cuckolds Yamaguchi-san and shows him a video of Mrs. Yamaguchi-san sucking him off. Attitude Era, y’all!

Meanwhile at Ringside…

Yamaguchi-san and Kaientai are out with Mrs. Yamaguchi-san. He yells at her for disgracing him and tells her to get in the ring to be punished. He has her hold the ropes open for Kaientai and yells at her to hold them apart wider.

In the ring he has her get on her hands and knees and he removes a paddle from the parcel he’s been carrying since the segment began. Jerry Lawler, Professor of East Asia Studies, declares that Mrs. Yamaguchi-san will have to crawl between Yamaguchi-san’s legs as he paddles her to atone for the shame her actions brought him.

Yamaguchi-san is thrusting his pelvis like a pervert and is about to smack her with the paddle when Val Venis shows up and grabs it out of his hands. He lays out Kaientai with the paddle and chases them off. Val then picks up Mrs. Yamaguchi-san and carries her off An Officer and a Gentleman style.

Skittles Slam of the Week!

The Skittles Slam of the Week is The Undertaker chokeslamming Vince McMahon earlier in the show.

Match 3: Skull (w/ Eight Ball & Paul Ellering) vs. Animal

DoA comes out on motorcycles. Animal comes out alone. The DoA triple team him and then Skull and Eight Ball hold him down on the ramp as Paul Ellering revs up his motorcycle to run Animal over. Hawk comes out to make the save but he gets laid out as well.

Winner: No Contest

Stupid, but short. DoA look tough. The Road Warriors look like geeks. Mission accomplished WWE. [NR]

Match 4: Jeff Jarrett (w/ Tennessee Lee & Southern Justice) vs. Steve Blackman (w/ Ken Shamrock & Dan Severn)

We get some highlights for Jeff Jarrett laying out Steve Blackman with guitar shots from several months ago. This match is apparently returning to that feud. Jeff Jarrett comes out with his posse and is the ring waiting for Blackman.

Blackman comes out solo and sees the mess of dudes in the ring and promptly turns around and goes backstage. Jarrett demands the ref awards him the match but the ref refuses so Jarrett tells him to ring the bell then and count Blackman out, but before that happens Blackman’s music starts back up and he comes out with Shamrock and Severn.

Blackman unloads on Jarrett and hits a backbreaker for two. He hits a shoulder block that’s good for another near fall. On the outside, Shamrock keeps Southern Justice from getting involved.

Back in the ring, Blackman goes for a headbutt off the middle rope but misses, allowing Jarrett to get in control. Jarrett goes for the Figure Four, but Blackman just kicks him off and hits him with flying kick and pins him. ONE! TWO! THREE!

After the match, Owen Hart shows up and whips Shamrock into the steel steps and then bails into the crowd. These two will face each other in a Dungeon Match at Fully Loaded. I have no idea when this match was announced because the announcers are just randomly talking about it, but this is the first I’ve heard of it.

Blackman goes to check on Shamrock, but Severn, who will be officiating the Dungeon Match, just walks off.

Winner: Steve Blackman

I hate Jeff Jarrett. He was all over the Monday Night Wars but did nothing of note. He feuded with Mongo in WCW and now he’s in WWF getting squashed by Steve Blackman in a match that exists solely to further the feud between two other parties. [*⅓]

Meanwhile Backstage…

Undertaker has his stuff and is leaving the building. Michael Cole is in hot pursuit. TAPE MACHINES ARE ROLLING!

We come back from commercial and get confirmation from Michael Cole that the Undertaker has left the building and said that he’d see us again on Sunday at Fully Loaded.

Meanwhile in the Ring…

JR in in the ring and brings out Stone Cold. JR brings up the fact that Stone Cold doesn’t know where the Undertaker stands for their upcoming tag team match on Sunday. Austin tells JR he has bad breath and says that he wants to know if it’s going to be two on two or if it’s going to be Stone Cold taking on three sons of bitches, but then says it doesn’t really matter.

He says that he doesn’t know if Taker left because he doesn’t want to fight his brother or because he just wanted to screw Vince McMahon, but hopes it was the latter because if there’s anyone that deserves to get screwed it’s Vince McMahon.

This brings out Vince McMahon and his cronies who stand up on the stage and talk at Austin. Vince cannot believe that Austin would say that he deserves to be screwed and says that it’s not he that’s going to get screwed it is he who is going to do the screwing. Tonight instead of Taker taking on Mankind and Kane it’s going to be Austin against Mankind and Kane.

Austin says that he’s not a puppet so he’s not going to do it and then threatens to get in his car and leave just like The Undertaker did. Vince tells him if he does that then he’ll be stripped of the title and Vince will just hand it to the Undertaker.

Steve says that he’ll kick Mankind and Kane’s asses and then when he’s done he’s going to find Vince and beat the shit out of him too.

Commercials!

Steve Austin beats the fuck out of dudes while a voice over guy uses baseball metaphors. Call 815-734-1161 to get your Steve Austin 3:16 baseball jersey today! $39.99 plus $9 shipping & handling!

Highlight for Children!

We get a recap of Jason Sensation doing impressions and then getting beat up by Owen Hart last week. JR updates us and says that he’s recovering from his injuries and wished him the best.

Match 5: Owen Hart (w/ The Nation of Domination) vs. Farooq

Farooq comes out and starts slamming Owen around at the bell. Owen cuts him off by poking him in the eye and then proceeds to choke Farooq in the corner. The crowd is all over Owen, chanting “Nugget,” at him, which is one of the dumbest wrestling chants of all times.

Owen lays Farooq out with a body slam and then goes to the second rope and connects with an elbow drop. He pins but Farooq kicks out and goes on the offensive, taking Owen down and score a near fall as well. Owen kicks him and hits a swinging neckbreaker for yet another two count. He follows up with a backbreaker and then gets Farooq in the Boston Crab, but Farooq powers out.

Farooq whips Owen but pays for it with a bulldog when he telegraphs a backdrop. Owen gets on the house mic and yells at the crowd to shut up and tells them that he’s not a nugget before hitting Farooq with an enziguri and scoring a near fall. The crowd keeps chanting “Nugget!” at him and he’s getting pissed and yells for them to shut up. He whips Farooq into the ropes but Farooq reverses it and hits a massive power slam for a near fall of his own.

Owen comes back with a missile dropkick, but ends up leaping into a spinbuster. Farooq follows up with a body slam and then goes up top for some sort of high risk maneuver but does not succeed. Owen slaps on the Sharpshooter and Farooq has no choice but to tap out since apparently reaching five or six inches to the ropes was a bridge too far…

After the bell Ken Shamrock appears and Owen bails out into the crowd with Shamrock hot on his heels.

Winner: Owen Hart

Farooq is kind of  spinning his wheels right now and will continue doing so until he becomes an Acolyte so it’s not much of a surprise that Owen picks up the win going into his Dungeon match at Fully Loaded. Both guys looked pretty good in the ring and had an enjoyable TV match that surprisingly had a clean finish. [***]

Meanwhile Backstage…

Paul Bearer is standing by with the WWF Tag Team Champions, Mankind and Kane. From the announce location JR asks him whose side Taker is on. Paul Bearer doesn’t really answer but talks about how Austin’s going to be in trouble tonight.

Mankind says that kicking Austin’s teeth in gives him a sense of peace and goes on to predict that tonight will be a very peaceful night.

Meanwhile in the Ring…

Marc Mero and Jackie head out and Jackie gets on the mic. She calls Sable a sow and a skank and tells her to just come down to the ring and raise Jackie’s hand in victory so she doesn’t have to embarrass herself at Fully Loaded.

Sable appears on the stage wearing a muumuu. She calls Jackie a tramp before heading down to the ring. Sable and Jackie jawjack some more before Jackie tears off Sable’s muumuu revealing her bra and panties.

“BRA AND PANTIES! THEY’RE BLACK!” screams Jerry Lawler.

Sable grabs Jackie by the hair and chucks her out of the ring. She then exits and saunters back up the ramp to the stage and Jerry Lawler ejaculates the words, “panties,” “bra,” and “black,” over and over again.

While the camera is focused on Sable’s tits and ass Edge apparently hits the ring and lays out Mero. The camera totally missed it, but we get a replay later that barely catches Edge ruining Mero’s shit with a Downward Spiral.

He’s Just a Sexy Boy…

After the break HBK comes out. He high fives dudes and kisses ladies and flexes in the ring before joining Lawler and JR on commentary. The fans behind him keep fucking with him so he has to slide his chair forward so they can’t reach him.

Highlights for Children!

We get highlights of a Brawl For All match between Eight Ball and Too Cold Scorpio recorded before Raw went on the air. This is a smart move on WWE’s part. As highlights the Brawl For All match looks okay. You show the 2 or 3 punches that connected and the takedowns that don’t look like shit and have JR be like, “He scored several more takedowns as well,” and everyone looks less shitty than they would have if we saw the entire thing.

Scorpio ends up picking up the win to advance in the tournament.

Meanwhile Backstage…

The Rock is standing by with The Nation of Domination. He tells JR that he’s going to beat X-Pac and go into Fully Loaded the Intercontinental Champion. That match is coming up next!

JVC Kaboom! of the Week!

X-Pac pinning The Rock after nailing him with the X-Factor during their tag team match last week picks up the coveted JVC Kaboom! of the Week award.

Match 6: The Rock vs. X-Pac

The Rock’s Intercontinental Championship is on the line here as he comes out with the entire Nation of Domination. X-Pac comes out with DX and before the match can even begin we’ve got a donnybrook! Dudes are brawling all over the ring and ringside area as we head to commercial break to give officials an opportunity to restore order. TAPE MACHINES ARE ROLLING!

We return as the bell rings. The Nation and DX have been removed from ringside, though Chyna is allowed to return to ringside.

X-Pac gets The Rock in a headlock and run over but X-Pac comes back with a hiptoss. He goes for a Bronco Buster but misses and gets his head taken off with a clothesline. The Rock covers and scores a two count. The Rock then gets X-Pac in a headlock and punches him in the head before choking him on the ropes.

The two men exchange chops before X-Pac gets hotshotted into the top rope. X-Pac nearly gets pinned. The Rock then chucks him out to the floor and goes out after him. X-Pac gets dropped throat first onto the guardrail and then rolled back into the ring. The Rock covers him for two. The Rock then gets him in a rear chinlock.

X-Pac gets back to his feet but it promptly Samoan Dropped and pinned for another two count. He’s then whipped into the ropes and punches in the gut. A swinging neckbreaker by The Rock gets another nearfall and he goes back to the chinlock.

The Rock breaks the hold and goes for something but X-Pac ducks and faceplants him. It takes X-Pac a moment to capitalize though so he only gets a two count. Both men are slow to their feet. X-Pac hits a Bronco Buster. The Rock staggers to his feet and reverses an Irish whip only to run into an elbow.

The Rock makes a comeback and powerslams X-Pac for a near fall. The Rock starts jawing with the ref and gets sent out to the floor by X-Pac who then sells the knee. The ref goes to check on him which gives Chyna ten years to sneak up on the Rock and brain him with the Intercontinental Championship belt. He is rolled back into the ring and X-Pac makes the cover.

“WE GOT A NEW CHAMPION…NO!” shouts JR as The Rock kicks out at two and ninety-five hundredths.

The Rock gets back to his feet and he and X-Pac slug it out. A reversed Irish whip leads to a ref bump. X-Pac kicks Rock in the head, but here comes D’Lo. He goes up top but Triple H shows up and crotches him before heading into the ring and hitting The Rock with the Pedigree. X-Pac makes the cover as the ref comes to and begins to count. Before he can count three another ref shows up and stops him.

“I am afraid that there was a fair amount of chicanery during this match. This man, X-Pac, did not beat The Rock fairly,” I assume he said and The Rock is declared the winner by disqualification.

Chyna takes this rather hard and punches out the ref that reversed the decision and a brawl breaks out between DX and the Nation. They brawl for awhile before DX ends up running the Nation of Domination off. The DX music plays and some lady in the crowd catches Triple H’s eye. Being the upstanding and virtuous man that he is, he motioned for the woman to show him her tits.

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This man had but an hour earlier been the WWF European Champion, so the woman happily obliged him and showed him her bra before whipping her tits out. I am almost certain that Jerry Lawler jizzed in his pants when this transpired.

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Winner: The Rock / Everyone Who Enjoys Late 90s Tits

Up until the overbooked ending this was a pretty good match. Even this early on the Rock was a great showman, and for as annoying as X-Pac the character was, the man was dynamite in the ring. [***⅓]

Match 8: Kane & Mankind (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. Steve Austin

Kane and Mankind head out with Paul Bearer. The match is announced as being for “TV time remaining,” which in present day is a weird thing to hear on a WWE broadcast. Austin hauls ass down to the ring when his music hits and levels Mankind with his title belt on the outside.

Austin hits the ring and starts unloading on Kane, but he is quickly overwhelmed and ends up on the wrong side of a beating. We get a picture-in-picture shot of Vince McMahon backstage grinning like a jackass as Austin gets mauled.

Kane whips Mankind at Austin in some sort of goofy double team maneuver but Austin takes them both out with clotheslines. Austin sends Kane to the outside and whips him into the steps and then heads back in to clothesline Mankind again. Austin covers and gets a two count, but Mankind gets the Mandible Claw locked on and both men tumble out of the ring to the floor.

Austin rams Mankind’s back into the ringpost a few times. Kane runs up but ends up hitting Mankind more than Austin. Kane and Austin head back into the ring. Austin hits the Thesz Press but Mankind breaks it up and pulls Austin out to the floor.

Austin slams Mankind’s head into the table and both men roll back into the ring. Kane is waiting though and is all up on Austin but Austin fights back nearly stunning him. Kane counters it by shoving Austin into Mankind. Kane and Mankind then proceed to beat on Austin.

Here comes the Undertaker. He strolls down to the ring holding a steel chair, perhaps to get a seat at ringside opines Shawn Michaels. Taker gets up on the apron standing in what the announcers refer to as “Austin’s corner,” even though this is a Texas Tornado match so no one has corners and if if it had been a standard tag team match it’s also a handicap match and Austin has no partner so there’s no “Austin’s corner,” anyway.

Mankind gets hit by Austin a few times before Austin gets sent out to the floor. Paul Bearer is on Austin and whacks him in the head with a shoe. Mankind gets a chair and hits Austin in the ribs with it. Austin gets rolled back into the ring where he is pounded on in the corner.

Mankind goes for running knee but misses. Austin stuns him by Kane makes the save. He goozles Austin and then grapple their way toward “Austin’s corner.” Austin punches Kane in the dick. The Undertaker raises his chair and looks like he’s going to brain Austin, but Austin moves so Taker waffles Kane with the chair causing the match to get tossed out.

Austin gets the chair and lays out Mankind and Kane and then lays out the Undertaker as well. Middle fingers abound as the show goes off the air. We’ll see you at Fully Loaded!

Winners: Kane & Mankind

Lots of wild brawling here. For my money this match would have been better if they’d had fewer run-ins and schmoz endings on the undercard, but it’s the Attitude Era, fuck endings are what they do best! That being said, this was a good match to lead into the pay per view. We still have no idea whose side The Undertaker is on, and I for one fully intend to order Fully Loaded this Sunday to find out…or watch it on the WWE Network the next time I watch a random Attitude Era WWE show…however it works in 2017. [***]

Final Thoughts

This was a pretty solid “go home show” leading into Fully Loaded. There were a few genuinely good wrestling matches, a surprisingly good Brawl For All match, a Brawl For All match that was reduced to clips, attempted vehicular homicide, bras, panties, tits, Stone Cold kicking ass. Probably more than any other episode of Raw from this era that I’ve looked at as of late, this episode encapsulated everything that the Attitude Era stood for and did so in a surprisingly enjoyable fashion.

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