(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)
RAW is WAR
January 4, 1999
(Taped on December 29, 1998)
News & Notes: Austin qualified for the Rumble at Rock Bottom, and Vince wasn’t happy. But he made things hard for Stone Cold. Vince and Shane selected Austin’s entry number from a tumbler. They even chose twice to make it fair, but both times they picked number one. Then Vince announced he would also enter the Rumble to teach Austin a lesson. McMahon wanted number two, but he got number thirty instead. Shane agreed to train Vince for his big moment. Vince ate raw eggs, ran in the snow, and chased chickens. Shane gave him the full Rocky Balboa treatment.
With Vince busy training, Shane handled RAW for one week. Shane booked DX and Mankind in matches with the Corporation. But Shane’s ego got the better of him. He placed himself in a bout with Mankind. It didn’t end well for Shane-O-Mac. Mankind beat the crap out of him. The Corporation sought to help, but Shawn Michaels held them back. He thought Shane had it handled. Michaels was wrong. When Vince returned, he was furious. Vince promised to punish anyone who emotionally scarred his son. Mr. McMahon fired Shawn Michaels for his blunder. So Shawn retaliated by hitting Vince with Sweet Chin Music.
Here are the other happenings. Hawk returned and revealed Droz was his drug pusher. Animal and Hawk beat up Droz and reunited. Then we have Terri and Jackie. They call themselves the Pretty Mean Sisters (PMS). Terri and Jackie vowed to deflate the egos of the men in the WWF. Meanwhile, The Oddities added George the Animal Steele to their entourage. He debuted by popping out of a Christmas present the Oddities gave to The Headbangers. Next, Sable received two surprises. First, the female fan I mentioned before presented her with a rose. Second, a masked wrestler named Spider Lady jumped her. No, it’s not Moolah. It was Luna! In other news, Jarrett & Owen defeated Boss Man & Shamrock in a non-title match. They want a shot at the gold. Finally, The Acolytes jumped Dennis Knight in the parking lot and kidnapped him!
I should also mention WCW’s antics on this night. Since this is a taped episode, WCW spoiled the outcome. A sarcastic Tony Schiavone said it would put butts in seats. This stunt made 600,000 viewers change the channel to watch RAW. To make matters worse, it was the same night WCW did their infamous Finger Poke of Doom. (I’ll discuss that in my Souled Out ’99 review.)
They open with a recap of Vince firing Shawn Michaels. It leads to a retrospective about Shawn’s WWF career. However, Vince has enough of this. He orders the truck to stop the video. McMahon leads The Corporation to the ring. The Stooges tape a Brisco Brothers Body Shop sign to Kane’s back, but he does nothing about it. Then Vince tells the fans not to hold their breaths. Shawn Michaels isn’t brave enough to show up as he promised. If he does, The Corporation will dismember him! Vince promises no one will ever disparage Shane again, or they will pay! As Vince says this, they show Shawn Michaels entering the arena. Vince sees it on the Titantron and tells the Corporation to break his bones.
Shawn says the sheriff is back in town, and he brought the cavalry with him! DX joins Shawn on the stage. Then Shawn says his lawyers informed him his commissioner contract is iron clad. Vince said Shawn would answer to no one, including McMahon. So Vince can’t fire him! The only way Shawn will leave is if he resigns, and that won’t happen. Next, Shawn says he can make dreams come true. He reminds McMahon of his wish to be number two in the Rumble. Shawn fulfills this desire. Austin will enter at number one, and Vince will be number two! This will give Austin all night to open a can of whoop-ass on McMahon. Finally, Shawn says he will leave later and get a surprise for Vince. He guarantees it will drive McMahon stone-cold crazy! Shawn and DX then exit as DX’s music plays.
Steve Blackman vs. Ken Shamrock
Notes: Blackman continued his quest to expose The Blue Blazer. He removed the mask to reveal Owen, but Jarrett quickly covered Owen’s face. Then Owen claimed they doctored the TV footage. That wasn’t him! Next, Blackman wrestled The Blazer while Owen did commentary. Steve unmasked this one and revealed Jarrett! Dan Severn also helped Blackman. Blackman and Goldust faced Owen and Jarrett. Severn distracted Owen to cost him the match. Meanwhile, Boss Man and Shamrock won the tag titles with HBK’s help. Plus, Shamrock has issues with Billy Gunn. Billy pinned Shamrock, but Shane informed Gunn it was a non-title bout. Now Mr. Ass wants Ken’s IC belt. (The Outlaws are venturing into singles feuds for a while.)
The Match: They exchange punches, kicks, and chops in the corner. Then Dan Severn arrives, but Ken doesn’t notice him. Shamrock continues with a powerslam, a snap suplex, and a knee-lift. Blackman answers with an inside cradle. Ken recovers with a clothesline, but he spots Severn. He asks why he is there. The distraction allows Blackman to reverse a whip and nail a dropkick to the back. Steve hits a backbreaker next. But Shamrock rebounds with a belly-to-belly and yells at Severn. Dan climbs on the apron and gets decked. It distracts the ref, so Billy Gunn runs in and gives Ken the Fameasser. Blackman covers for the three.
Thoughts: The action was fine, but you could tell they were filling time until the finish. I like the storyline advancement. It did a good job furthering the Gunn/Shamrock feud. Plus, they remembered Severn never settled his problems with Shamrock. Their continuity impressed me.
Winner: Steve Blackman (3:26)
Ken glares at Severn and then runs after Billy Gunn. Meanwhile, Cole and Lawler talk about an article in Southwest Airlines Spirit magazine. It features The Rock and Vince McMahon. Lawler compares it to Rolling Stone. Then they go to commercials. After the break, we see the WWF Rewind. It’s a replay of the end of the last match.
Billy Gunn and Ken Shamrock brawl backstage. They throw wild punches until Ken tosses Gunn onto an equipment case. The WWF officials separate them, so Shamrock shoves Tim White.
Next, Mankind makes an unscheduled appearance, so they recap his fight with Shane. The clip shows Mankind putting a testicular claw on Pat Patterson. Cole calls it Mr. Jocko.
Mankind swears it’s the first time he ever grabbed another man’s balls. But he enjoyed it in a rugged way. Mick also says it’s the first time he told someone to suck it without saying please. Then Mick cracks jokes about what he did to Shane. Next, he points out a sign that says, “Mankind is God.” Mick says he isn’t god, but he is good. Mankind needs a favor from Vince, so he tells him to get his ass out there. He wants a WWF Title shot at the Royal Rumble! Vince says Mick’s request stains the WWF’s name! He reminds Mankind he blew his other chances. Then Mick put his hands on Shane. Vince can’t believe Mankind has the guts to ask for more. But the benevolent Vince will give him an opportunity to enter the Rumble. He must defeat Triple H tonight. Shane will referee the bout!
Then we see Chyna backstage with her friend. Cole says it’s the same girlfriend we saw on Heat. She makes Lawler say whoa. This leads to Mark Henry’s entrance after the commercial break. He has his new Sexual Chocolate theme song. It sounds like a knock-off of Barry White. Cole talks about Chyna distracting Henry in recent weeks. Lawler tells him to stop bringing up the past.
Mark Henry vs. Goldust
Notes: Mark Henry lived up to his new nickname. Terri and Jackie seduced Mark. They took him backstage and turned Mark into a human sundae with chocolate and whipped cream. The Pretty Mean Sisters also used whips and chains on him. However, the antics made Mark miss his tag match. D’Lo was furious with his partner. Then Mark realized his mistake. He begged Chyna for forgiveness. But she was strangely okay with the situation. She even protected Henry from PMS.
The Match: Henry shoves Goldust around the ring before they trade strikes. Mark stops this with an eye rake, but Goldust surprises him with a spinebuster. Then Henry answers with a powerslam and an elbow drop. Goldust throws more punches, but Henry presses him into the air and lets him fall. He continues with a leg drop, as Chyna and her friend arrive. It distracts Mark, so Goldust pulls him to the mat. Goldust then sets Mark up for Shattered Dreams and hits it. The ref disqualifies him.
Thoughts: This was another backdrop for storyline progression. The action was decent enough. Mark looked better than usual. He messed nothing up and his moves looked fine. It continued Henry’s story, but poor Goldust is directionless right now. He’s the third wheel in other people’s feuds.
Winner: Mark Henry (by DQ) (3:44)
Chyna and her friend enter the ring and check on Mark. She kisses Mark on the cheek and guides him to his feet. Chyna says she hopes Goldust didn’t hurt him too badly. She has a confession she wants him to hear. The other night was incredible. But Chyna is afraid she isn’t enough woman for Mark. He’s too much man for one woman. Then Chyna introduces her friend, Sammy. Chyna knows Mark likes tall exotic dancers. She has a proposition for him. Chyna thinks the two of them can help Mark take a load off his mind. This makes Mark Henry faint. Chyna and Sammy pick him up. Cole has no clue what Chyna offered. Lawler mocks him for this.
After the break, we see Dennis Knight chained up in a dungeon. He whimpers and calls for help. This freaks out Cole and Lawler. They wonder about his location.
Then The Godfather arrives for his bout. They show a recap of The Corporation jumping him last week. They did this so Kane could take his place against Billy Gunn. The Godfather tells the fans to say pimping ain’t easy if they like what they see. Afterward, Test enters the arena. He doesn’t have his awesome theme yet. They use what sounds like a slowed-down version of Diesel’s blues theme without the big rig horns. We also see footage of Test beating up Val Venis. Test reaches the ring, but The Godfather doesn’t bother offering him the ladies.
The Godfather (w/ The Hoes) vs. Test
Notes: I introduced Test in a previous review. He debuted by joining The Corporation as their hired gun. Test interrupted The Rock vs. Triple H. He gave Hunter a pumphandle powerslam to hand Rocky the win. The Rock then told Triple H he’d have to pass the Test to get another shot. In other news, The Godfather attempted to recruit Debra to work for him. Debra said she was out of his league.
The Match: Test throws punches and knees in the corner. The Godfather answers with a clothesline, a slam, a leg drop, and the Ho Train. Then Val Venis appears on the ramp. Test nails a big boot, so The Godfather regroups. It leads to brawling on the floor. Godfather rams Test into the barricade, the apron, and the steps. But Test reverses him into the post. The ref has enough and disqualifies both men.
Thoughts: It wasn’t much of a match. Test needed more offense. He’s the new guy, so they should make him look strong. Plus, they should have used something more violent for the finish. The usual outside brawling doesn’t justify a double disqualification. They went through the motions.
Winner: Double DQ (1:59)
Val Venis brawls with Test. They trade punches until the refs separate them. But Venis isn’t done. He charges at Test again, so the refs stop him.
Then they show Shawn Michaels laughing with DX backstage before a commercial break. When they return, we get the Glover Slam of the Week. It’s more footage of Mankind beating up Shane. Will Vince punish poor Glover for this?
Speaking of Shane, he’s here to referee Mankind vs. Triple H. They give Shane generic theme music. Cole and Lawler speak about Shane’s emotional scarring. Then Shane assures them he will remain impartial. Cole doesn’t believe him. He says Mankind should paint a bullseye on his chest and let the Corporation shoot arrows at him. Shane grins at Mankind before the bell.
For a spot in the Rumble: Triple H (w/ Chyna) vs. Mankind
Notes: Both men have issues with The Rock. Triple H and DX did a parody of The Corporation. Hunter was once again The Crock. Jason Sensation returned as HBK. It led to the Hunter vs. Rock bout I mentioned earlier. Mankind also got a shot at Rocky. They put him in a Four Corners Match. It was The Rock vs. Mankind vs. Boss Man vs. Shamrock. The contest was a glorified handicap fight. The Corporation beat up Mankind. Then Vince challenged Mankind to face him. Vince lured Mankind to the parking lot. The Rock jumped him and gave Mick a Rock Bottom on a car! Next, Rocky robbed Mankind of his chance to regain the Hardcore belt from Road Dogg.
The Match: They trade arm wringers and armbars. Then Mankind lands a facebuster and grabs a headlock. Hunter elbows out of it, but Mick throws him to the floor and nails a baseball slide. It leads to fighting at the apron. Triple H does a slingshot sunset flip. Shane quickly ends the match with a fast count.
Thoughts: I’m fine with it being short. Mick has another match to wrestle. They did what they needed to set up the post-match antics. Plus, this puts good heat on Shane and gets Hunter in the Rumble.
Winner: Triple H (2:57)
Triple H tells Mankind it is nothing personal. This is business, and Hunter will do anything for the WWF title. But Triple H has a New Year’s gift for Mick. He plants Shane with a Pedigree and tells Mick, “He’s all yours!” Mankind says he will show Shane a move Jim McGonagall taught him at Ward Melville. Mick says, “I’m going to break your fucking shoulder.” (They censor the f-bomb.) Mankind puts Shane in a submission hold. Vince arrives and begs him to stop. Mick says he wants his WWF title match tonight! Vince agrees and tells him to release Shane. But Mankind isn’t done. He also wants a No DQ stipulation. McMahon says yes, so Mankind lets Shane go. An angry Rock confronts Vince. He asks why he caved. Vince says, “That’s my son, dammit!”
Up next is Edge vs. D’Lo Brown. During D’Lo’s entrance, they recap his issues with PMS. Brown confronted them about manipulating Mark Henry. He called them glorified ring rats. D’Lo told them to recognize. They’re lucky he’s a gentleman!
Edge vs. D’Lo Brown
Notes: The Brood had enough of people disrespecting them. They found a new way to intimidate their enemies. After one loss, Gangrel promised a bloodbath. He meant this literally. The lights turned out in the arena while The Brood’s music played. During the blackout, they dumped blood on their victims. Their first target was Tiger Ali Singh. Next, they got Val Venis. Then they soaked Al Snow, but I’ll discuss that one later.
The Match: They trade headlocks, shoulder blocks, and leapfrogs. D’Lo blocks a hip toss, so Edge performs a hurricanrana. Then they fight to the floor. D’Lo gives Edge a hotshot on the barricade. Back inside, D’Lo hits the running powerbomb and a slam, but he misses a diving elbow. Edge answers with a flying crossbody as PMS arrives. He only gets two. Edge climbs again, but D’Lo surprises a flying Edge with a Sky High. However, Terri distracts D’Lo. He advances toward her and Terri trips. She falls off the steps and clutches her stomach. It freaks out D’Lo.
Thoughts: This was the best match of the night, but then that finish happened. I hate this storyline. They ruined a good bout for this. I feel bad for everyone involved.
Winner: No Contest (4:57)
Jackie yells at a devastated D’Lo. The paramedics arrive and load Terri on a stretcher. Cole reminds everyone Terri is pregnant. Lawler says the father of the baby is a controversial matter. Terri tells the EMTs to hurry as they go to a commercial break. When they return, Terri is backstage. The doctor uses his stethoscope to listen, but he can’t tell her anything. He doesn’t know if the baby is okay.
Next, Shane and The Stooges lead Kane to the ring. The sign is still on his back. Patterson mocks Kane by twirling his finger beside his temple. Shane grabs a mic and announces a special attraction. Kane will compete in a Handicap Match. His opponents are—The Stooges! Patterson and Brisco freak out, so Shane tells them to get their hands off of him. Vince appears on the ramp. He says everyone responsible for Shane’s scarring will pay. That includes The Stooges.
Handicap Match: Kane vs. Pat Patterson & Gerald Brisco
Notes: Vince punished Kane for helping Austin win at Rock Bottom. He made Kane face Mankind, but it was a trap. The orderlies caught Kane and took him to the asylum. Vince then gave Kane a choice. They would free him if he did The Corporation’s bidding. But if Kane doesn’t listen, they’ll institutionalize him again. Vince and The Stooges mocked and humiliated Kane. They sent him for coffee. Then they ordered Kane to attack DX. X-Pac and Billy Gunn were his main targets. The Stooges told Kane to give Gunn two chokeslams. Kane’s patience with Patterson and Brisco is growing thin.
The Match: Pat bribes Kane with the contents of his pocket. He offers him a cigarette and a condom! Kane swats both items. Then Brisco gives Kane a forearm to the back. Kane punches Patterson out of the ring and chokeslams Brisco. Patterson returns with a chair, but he sets it down when Kane spots him. Kane punts the chair and chokeslams Patterson. He also pulls Brisco balls-first into the post. But then Kane grabs Shane. Vince tells him no. He’ll return to the asylum if he hurts Shane! Kane lets go, so Vince declares him as the winner.
Thoughts: It was amusing and built the Kane storyline well. The Stooges always make me laugh, so I enjoyed this segment. Plus, I like Kane’s current angle. They’re slowly turning him into a babyface.
Winner: Kane (N/A)
Shane admonishes The Stooges for not taking care of him. He tells them to return to the Brisco Brothers Body Shop. Then Shane asks Kane what he was thinking. Kane hangs his head in shame. When Shane reaches the top of the ramp, he hugs his dad. Lawler calls it a touching moment. Back in the ring, The Stooges argue with each other.
We go back to Dennis Knight. The Acolytes enter the dungeon. Faarooq says it is time. He’s ready for him. They unchain Dennis and lead him out of the room.
Then a bloody Al Snow enters the arena. He carries a clean-shaven Head. (I mean the mannequin head, not his own noggin.) Al places Head on the stage and hides behind the curtain. Road Dogg arrives next. He starts his spiel, but Dogg notices Head. When Road Dogg approaches it, Al Snow jumps him.
Hardcore Title Match: Road Dogg (c) vs. Al Snow (w/ Head)
Notes: Shane booked Road Dogg against Big Boss Man. So Dogg goaded Boss Man into putting the Hardcore Title on the line. Mankind interfered. He threw a net over Boss Man and helped Road Dogg become the new Hardcore Champion. Dogg’s first opponent was Val Venis, but the Corporation jumped Val. They replaced him with Mankind and made him fight Dogg. But Val tried to get revenge on Test. Meanwhile, Al Snow beat Gangrel. The Brood gave him a bloodbath in retaliation. It broke Al Snow. He freaked out. Al continued wearing his bloody shirt and refused to wash off the blood. He then faced Edge, but they disqualified him for attacking Edge with Head.
The Match: The match never enters the ring. They scuffle on the floor and around the stage. Snow and Dogg use chairs, tables, and a cookie sheet. Al crashes through two tables. He lands on the first one with a missed moonsault off the barricade. Then they fight backstage and enter a janitor’s closet. Snow sprays Dogg with a hose and hits him with toilet paper. (Cole hopes it is two-ply.) Next, Snow breaks potted plants over Road Dogg and uses a pole as a bo staff. Dogg answers by whipping Al into beer kegs and an equipment case. Finally, they end up outside in the snow. They use a snow shovel, a rolling cart, and a traffic cone. Road Dogg ends the fight with a piledriver on a pallet.
Thoughts: This was a fun brawl. I love these early hardcore matches. They always took them to unique locations. As I’ve said before, I’m a sucker for aesthetics in wrestling. Seeing them fight in different places is great.
Winner: Road Dogg (8:38)
Road Dogg runs back to the arena and collects his belt. He poses for the fans.
Then The Acolytes lead Dennis Knight to a mysterious room. Bright white light pours out of the open door. Faarooq and Bradshaw throw Dennis inside, despite his protests. We hear people screaming as The Acolytes close the door.
Back at the arena, DX leads Shawn to the back door of the building. Shawn is off to fetch his surprise. Triple H hands him the keys to the rental car, so Shawn says he will see him later. After he leaves, Hunter says, “Maybe. Maybe not.” Shawn goes to unlock the car, but he discovers Hunter gave him the wrong keys. Then he finds the arena door locked. Shawn bangs on the door, but no one answers. However, someone yells Shawn’s name as they cut to the commercials.
We return to see a bloody Shawn Michaels lying on the hood of a car. There is a hole in the windshield. They show a replay of what happened. Boss Man jumped Shawn and knocked over the camera. You hear Vince telling the Corporation to get him. Back in the present, the paramedics load Shawn onto a stretcher. He groans in pain as they turn him over. Lawler says Shawn didn’t deserve this. Cole thinks The Corporation went too far.
Now it is time for the main event. Mankind enters first, and he brings DX with him. So The Corporation backs up The Rock.
No DQ Match for the WWF Title: Mankind (w/ DX) vs. The Rock (c) (w/ The Corporation)
The Match: They brawl outside. The Rock sandwiches Mick under the steps and takes him to the announce table. Rocky dons the headset and says he took Mankind to the Smackdown Hotel. But Mick attacks and steals the headset. He says he is showing testicular fortitude. Next, Rock uses the ring bell and puts Mick through the table with a Rock Bottom! Back in the ring, Rock also lands the Corporate Elbow. Mick rallies, but Boss Man trips him. Rocky clocks Mankind with the belt. But Mankind recovers and hits a Double-Arm DDT on the gold! He continues with a Socko Claw, so Shamrock decks him with a chair. Billy Gunn tackles Ken to the floor. As they scuffle, Stone Cold arrives! He enters the ring and whacks Rocky with a chair. Steve then pulls Mankind on top of him for a three!
Thoughts: I love this. It’s one of my all-time favorite RAW moments. This was a fun brawl with a hot finish. The crowd’s reaction when he won was insane. Austin’s appearance and Mick’s win caused the loudest pop I’ve heard. I miss crowds like this.
Winner: Mankind (New Champion) (8:48)
Austin flips off a furious Vince and throws his hat at him. Cole says Mankind did it. Lawler corrects him. He claims Austin did it. DX lifts Mick and helps him celebrate with the belt. Cole says Mick achieved his dream despite all of the people who told him he couldn’t do it. Lawler responds, “No! You can’t do it!” Vince calls Austin a bastard. Shane says he will pay.
DX then lifts Mankind on their shoulders and they parade him around the ring. Vince says, “Not him! Anybody but him!” Road Dogg even introduces Mankind as the new champion with his usual spiel. Mick takes the mic. He says it may not sound cool, but he dedicates the win to his kids at home. Mankind says, “Big Daddio did it!” Vince claims it makes him want to puke. As the show ends, Mankind does a victory lap.
The storyline work with Mankind and his title win.
The Hardcore Match was fun.
The Shawn Michaels segments were good.
I liked the Kane stuff.
The awful miscarriage angle.
Godfather/Test didn’t do much in their match.
Performer of the Night:
This one is obvious. It’s Mankind. This was his night. The story was perfect, and the reaction was legendary.
The good far outweighed the bad in this episode. It contained some good storyline and character advancement outside of the Terri stuff. But this night showcased both the best and worst of the Attitude Era. It’s a shame such a great show also had the miscarriage crap. If you ignore it, this is one of the most memorable RAWs. Also, I’m fine with the shorter matches. I know it’s an unpopular opinion. But I believe they should use TV time to build stories and characters. Save the longer bouts for the PPVs. It makes them feel special.
Thank you for reading. Do not forget my regular review this Sunday. It’s ECW’s Guilty as Charged ’99.
You can like and follow the Facebook page by clicking here. You can follow me on Twitter by clicking here. If you want merchandise, go here.