WWF RAW – January 26th, 1998 – UC-Davis Field House – Davis, CA
Tonight’s WWF Raw opens with a memorial screen for Bobo Brazil, then a Mike Tyson video recap narrated by Michael Cole. Cole says the WWF Royal Rumble brought out the child in Mike, in much the same way that the Eugene character brought out the child in Nick Dinsmore. Tyson even held up a “WCW Sucks” sign and tore it up — so does WCW suck or not? But after his confrontation with Stone Cold, Tyson now wants to fight Austin instead of guest-refereeing.
Too much sludge, and not enough grime! It’s time for WWF Raw is War.
The night’s card begins with a match pitting “the world’s most strongest [sic] and the world’s most dangerous men”. That’s Mark Henry vs. Ken Shamrock. While Mark is backed up by the Nation, Ken brings Ahmed Johnson and DOA with him as back-up. These five will take on the Nation at No Way Out of Texas in a “War of Attrition”, although it is not an elimination match. In the crowd, a fan holds a sign reading, “Taz fears Modest”, referring to the similarly-statured Michael Modest.
Henry opens the match manhandling Shamrock with slams and bearhugs. Meanwhile, Jim Ross says he hopes the Nation’s leader isn’t having as many problems as our nation’s leader, Bill Clinton. Oh no. The Lewinsky scandal has hit. I just dread WWF Raw’s second hour, when Jerry Lawler hops on commentary.
Shamrock finally turns the tide with a kick to the face, then a belly-to-belly. Sensing the impending loss, the Nation jumps into the ring to attack Shamrock, leading to a ten-man brawl.
After the break, Kevin Kelly recaps The Undertaker and Kane’s feud over the past six months, complete with the original “That’s gotta be Kane” soundbite. In exclusive footage from the Royal Rumble, Tony Garea opens up the casket with an axe but finds no Undertaker.
This week’s Western Union Rewind is Shawn Michaels’s Undertaker impersonation from last week.
Jeff Jarrett, Barry Windham, and the NWA contingent come to the ring as a canned Michael Cole voiceover takes us to their backstage comments. In fact, this pre-taped episode is replete with canned voiceovers. Windham calls Bradshaw, “Yosemite Sam” and says he got tired of being a clown, while Jeff Jarrett says he’s going to lead the NWA into the 21st century. Actually, that man would be either Naoya Ogawa or, if you count 2001 as the beginning of the century, Mike Rapada.
On commentary, Jim Cornette blasts his team’s opponents, The Legion of Doom, for their new-fangled flashy entrance. He then derisively calls Michael Cole, “Paul Harvey”. He then goes on an angry rant claiming that any wrestling promotion on national TV that claims the NWA lineage (WCW) is lying. You heard it here: if it’s got a TV deal, it can’t be the NWA!
Jarrett’s team has the LOD handled until he whips Hawk to the corner and accidentally knocks noggins. Both men tag out. Hawk hits a flying clothesline — sort of — on Jeff Jarrett, who doesn’t seem to know it’s coming and doesn’t turn around. But Barry Windham hits Animal with the tennis racket and pins him. Animal kicks out at two, but everyone pretends he doesn’t, leading to another victory for the NWA. WWF had six days to edit this finish, and this is the best they came up with.
In the dressing room, Triple H drops trou with only a strategically placed title belt to cover him up.
Clips air of Shawn Michaels’s appearance on Alan Thicke’s Pictionary, where he gave a “powerful performance that both pleased the ladies and amused the men”.
Shawn is there all week, so check your local listings.
It’s time for another replay, this time of Steve Austin’s confrontation with Mike Tyson. This time around, they bleep out “bitch” instead of “tough”. That, and they scramble Austin’s middle fingers. Austin said he could beat Tyson any day of the week, and twice on Sunday; it sounds like Stone Cold was challenging him to two matches at WrestleMania.
Backstage, Triple H is nekkid again, with only a tiny (and I mean tiny) towel covering his manhood. As Chyna wraps Hunter’s knee, the European champion is in visible and audible pain. He continues the poop/toilet metaphor that everyone loves to hear.
Shawn Michaels graciously offers to take the night off at WrestleMania and let Steve Austin wrestle Mike Tyson that night. Triple H urges him to appear at WrestleMania anyway — for the fans — but Shawn Michaels, opening his jacket to reveal a referee’s shirt, “struggles” to think of something to do at the big event.
The Foot Action Slam of the Week is Cactus Jack’s suplex to Chainsaw Charlie onto two chairs at the Royal Rumble.
When WWF Raw returns, The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust comes out dressed as Vader. Or should I say, “The Artist They Call Vader”? Both he and Luna wear painted-on Vader masks. Michael Cole calls Vader a “kodiak bear” twice in a single sentence, as if that’s going to be his new nickname.
Goldust gains the upper hand (or foot) on Vader with a mule kick to the groin, but the kodiak bear turns the momentum right back around with a standing splash. Vader gives Goldust a powerbomb, then a self-titled bomb, before the lights go out. Kane comes to the ring, but Vader ends up powerbombing Kane. or ganso-bombing, as he ends up dropping him on his head. Kane pops back up, though, and tombstones the kodiak bear.
In a candid conversation captured earlier today in the ring, Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie joke around like actual people instead of homicidal freaks. Tonight, they face the New Age Outlaws.
“We’re All Together Now” opens WWF Raw’s second hour. The New Age Outlaws come out wearing baseball catcher’s gear for protection against their hardcore opponents. In the audience, a fan holds a sign with Chef from South Park and the words, “Oh You Didn’t Know”. Sure, whatever.
The challengers dominate their brawl in the early going until Road Dog no-sells a low blow, allegedly thanks to a cup. Jim Ross wonders how the Outlaws can coexist with DX at No Way Out of Texas. Can you imagine? Chainsaw Charlie begins throwing chairs in the ring, which does not trigger a disqualification. After Cactus Jack steals Road Dog’s cup and hits him in the groin, then hits Billy Gunn with a chair, the referee finally throws the match out and immediately gets put in the mandible claw. “Shades of Mankind!” shouts Jim Ross, as if Mick Foley is doing a tribute to a favorite wrestler or something.
After the match, Cactus and Chainsaw bury Road Dog in chairs, ECW Arena-style. Funk then hits a moonsault onto the Dog (much like John Morrison tried to do in Rustle Madness).
When WWF Raw returns, Michael Cole narrates yet another video package, this time for Taka Michinoku. This one features a brief Star Wars parody text crawl.
For some reason, Honky Tonk Man is the man to introduce the Light Heavyweight match featuring Brian Christopher and Pantera. Pantera, if you’ll recall, plays Rob Van Dam’s theme music.
Christopher drops Pantera on his head with a German suplex, then licks his own biceps. Mr. Kitty Cat surely takes exception at someone else licking himself. Christopher hits a sunset bomb on the leopard in a leotard, dropping him to the arena floor. After another powerbomb in the ring, Christopher misses a flying legdrop, allowing Pantera to cradle Too Sexy for the 1-2-3. Per pre-match promise, Jerry Lawler has to shake the hand of Pantera, who has earned a shot against Taka Michinoku. Pantera doesn’t trust the King, which JR says proves Pantera is smarter than he looks. The two do shake hands briefly, but Lawler kicks Pantera, who is still smarter than he looks, in the gut.
On the WWF Superstar Line, you can hear which former WWF Superstar wants to return to the Federation, and which wrestler will be next to join the NWA faction.
Backstage, Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie celebrate the fun of their DQ loss before D-X make jokes about Foley and Funk being “hardcore legends”. Well, not so much “jokes” as repeating the phrase “hardcore legends” derisively. The Outlaws then push a chain-link fence from the WWF Raw backstage set onto the duo, allowing them and D-X to assault the hardcore freaks.
Jim Ross says that No Way Out of Texas is an appropriate name for the upcoming PPV, given that it’s in Houston. Excellent geographical knowledge, Jim. I suppose if it were in Seattle, it wouldn’t be an appropriate name.
The Quebecers attack the Headbangers before the bell and double-team them for the first minute and a half — half the match. The Bangers fight back with a big double back body drop to Pierre. Jacques attempts an Alabama, or Quebec, slam, but takes too long; Mosh counters with a sunset flip to win the match. The ‘Becers finally hit their Alabama slam/Boston crab/leg drop combo, albeit after the bell.
Owen Hart comes to the ring with his European title match with Triple H. But it’s actually Goldust with a crutch and a big schnozz, backed up by Luna in a black wig. Jerry Lawler plays dumb, just like when someone asks him about Brian Christopher’s father or his girlfriend’s age.
Goldust, despite wrestling a grueling three-minute match against Vader, dominates the early minutes. Unbelievably, the match even continues throughout the commercial break.
Some time during the commercial, Owen goes on the offense. When WWF Raw returns, Luna whacks him with a crutch, allowing Goldust to set up for the Pedigree. Instead, Owen reverses it into the Sharpshooter for the submission victory.
D-X appears on the Titantron to mock Owen for thinking Goldust was really Triple H. No one actually thought that, except Commissioner Slaughter, who declares the impersonation so convincing that he’s awarding Owen the title. But where is Goldust’s reward for wrestling an ungodly total of eleven minutes on a single WWF Raw in 1998?
Another lengthy replay airs of last week’s Mike Tyson segment.
Following another commercial break, Don King says that Mike Tyson can’t fight Stone Cold thanks to his suspension by the Nevada Boxing Commission. But he and Vince McMahon are going to figure something out. Order the pay-per-view anyway, he says.
Next, Steve Austin come out to the ring for the main event segment (the Owen-Goldust match ten minutes ago was the last match). Stone Cold says he’ll fight Mike Tyson in either man’s backyard, or in any fan’s backyard. I’m sure the WWF would like to remind everyone that no one should wrestle in anyone’s backyard. Austin says he’ll see Tyson on next week’s better, live WWF Raw, but for this week, the episode’s over.