WWF Raw – February 23rd, 1998

WWF Raw — February 23rd, 1998 — Heart of Texas Coliseum — Waco, TX

WWF Raw opens with the cinematic stock piece “Cold Sweat” accompanying clips of Road Warrior Animal getting stuffed into a dumpster.

Too much strut, and not enough style! It’s time for WWF Raw is War, coming to us from Waco, Texas. This episode was taped before last week’s episode even aired, so that should give you an idea of how consequential either episode is.

The Legion of Doom storm the ring to take on the New Age Outlaws. As they kick thetag team champs’s asses, Kevin Kelly is sure to note that the LOD seem to be “out of sync” and “missing something”. When the action spills to the outside, Billy Gunn turns things around, pushing Hawk from behind into the ring steps.

As Billy wears down Hawk, Jim Ross hypes up WrestleMania announcements regarding D-X and a major sports star, respectively. After an accidental noggin-knocker, Hawk makes the hot tag to Animal. Together, they perform the Doomsday Device on Road Dog, now the legal man, but Earl Hebner ignores Animal’s pin while Hawk remains in the ring. “Hawk for whatever reason a step slow getting out of the ring”, says Kevin Kelly with his latest obligatory bit of ageism. With the referee distracted, Gunn hits Animal with a title belt, allowing Road Dog to score the pin.

After match, the Road Warriors get into a very meaty brawl with each other. A gaggle of officials try in vain to separate the two. Once the fracas dies down, Animal heads up the ramp, then turns around and rushes Hawk again.

After the commercial break, WWF Raw returns with a replay and an update on the LOD “mee-lay” still going on backstage.

Next out is Ken Shamrock to face Jeff Jarrett in a match where the NWA North American Title is not be on the line, per Jarrett’s request. Shamrock is gutted, I’m sure. Jim Ross also mentions that Vince McMahon will be on TSN’s Off The Record tomorrow night in his last chance to slander Bret Hart before Wrestling With Shadows comes out. Kevin Kelly, meanwhile, claims we’re looking at the future of the WWF in this match. Neither man would last to the end of the next year.

Ken Shamrock overwhelms Jarrett in the early going and clotheslines him over the top rope. This not being an NWA title match, Ken doesn’t have to worry about a disqualification for that. He does have to worry about Jim Cornette, who trips him and holds down his leg when Shamrock attempts to suplex Jarrett. Ken kicks out anyway.

Jarrett takes control of the match until the two men collide in a double-down spot. Shamrock fights back but accidentally hits the ref, allowing Cornette to interfere with his tennis racket. This backfires when Corny hits Double J. Shamrock puts an unconscious Jarrett in the ankle lock, and Tim White calls for the bell. Shamrock then grabs referee Tim White by the collar and backs him into the corner even though he’s just won the match.

Michael Cole gets a word with Jarrett on his way up the ramp. Cole insightfully tells Jeff that this couldn’t have been his game plan (getting hit with a tennis racket), and Jarrett says he’s leaving Cornette.

The WrestleMania Millennium Moment is Shawn Michaels’s zipline entrance from 1996. During the commercial, an ad airs for ECW Living Dangerously.

When WWF Raw returns from commercial, Animal refuses to talk with Jerry Lawler. Hawk then barges in to interrupt the non-interview and brawl with Animal some more.

The Disciples of Apocalypse ride to the ring on their “gorgeous Titan motorcycles” for a match against The Truth Commission. Yes, again. Then again, I could say the same for every match of the Gang Warz era. The DOA still have “Kona” on their jackets, even though Crush left the Federation months ago because he’s a wuss (as I recall). Kurrgan is listed separately from the Disciples of Apocalypse in hopes of removing the loser stench from the big man. Jim Ross calls the Jackyl a cult leader as usual, except tonight they’re in Waco, Texas.

The bald guys isolate with the buzz cut guy, occasionally letting Chainz in to the ring. Finally, Kurrgan grabs Recon and tags in. Despite a double body slam by 8-Ball and Skull, Kurrgan catches one of them with the Paralyzer claw hold. DOA Hair breaks up the pin too late, and the Truthers win. After the match, Jackyl berates and slaps DOA French-Canadian for not tagging in; when he tries to defend himself, Kurrgan puts the claw on him. Jackyl then slaps a complaining Bull Buchanan, who backs off. Kurrgan drags sniper up the ramp by the face.

After the commercial break, Jim Ross speaks with Shawn Michaels in his San Antonio home regarding the Chyna lawsuit, the Triple H European title match, and Shawn’s match with Austin. Triple H does most of the talking, promising big ratings for WWF Raw between now and WrestleMania, which he deems “X-Rated”. “Discretion is advised”, says Hunter, “but will be completely [bleep] ignored”.

“Did I hear that right”, asks Kevin Kelly. “X-rated WrestleMania? What’s he talking about?” He’s talking about hardcore p0rnography, Kevin.

The WWF voiceover artist previews next week’s WWF Raw is War featuring Mike Tyson, but more importantly, he pronounces “melee” correctly. I think that’s a first for the Federation.

Sunny comes out dressed as a purse to announce the Taka Michinoku match. Taka, says Ross, has been hornswoggled into accepting this match against the much larger Barry Windham. The big Texan toys with Taka while Cornette chalks up the Jarrett situation to one big misunderstanding. Windham covers Taka, but the lights go out before the three count. The NWA contingent flee the area, leaving Taka alone with Kane, who delivers a chokeslam and Tombstone. Paul Bearer then calls out Steve Austin (Undertaker no longer being a factor due to his murder) and makes a challenge for next week’s WWF Raw.

WWF Raw’s second hour kicks off with “We’re All Together Now”. Stay tuned for great matches like ?, ??, and ???. While we don’t know the evening’s card, we do know that Owen Hart will defend the European title against someone, and that Goldust will dress up like his dad.

In the parking lot, Michael Cole gets a word with Billy Gunn, who gloats over having broken up the Legion of Doom. Road Dog, who sports a camcorder, a fanny pack, and a “degeneration X” t-shirt, declares a new age: “It’s New Age Outlaws in the n— eighties, and nineties, and the — you know, whatever! Hell, imma party half-drunk.” After Cole tries in vain to get the Outlaws to admit their respect for the LOD, Chainsaw Charlie attacks the Outlaws’s car with some kind of rotating toothed cutting tool. Cactus Jack then breaks their windshield with a bat before the Outlaws drive off.

Jim Ross preps the audience for “without a doubt” Goldust’s “most outrageous characterization to date”: The American Dream (Dusty Rhodes). Unless this get-up includes ball gags and blackface, I doubt it. “Dream” (probably Bruce Prichard) appears in silhouette and narrates some Dusty footage that the WWF owns. When Goldust comes out in costume, both announcers have a good yuk before Jim Ross assures viewers that the real Dusty Rhodes thinks it’s funny.

As Bradshaw enters for his match with Dust, JR notes the absence of Luna Vachon. I shudder to think about dressing Luna up as Sapphire. His funky-like-a-monkey offense proving ineffective, Goldust takes a powder and cuts a lispy Dusty promo before returning and getting his ass kicked some more. At last, Goldust tries the bionic elbow but instead gets clotheslined into oblivion and pinned. But the important thing about this imitation is that it’s respectful and in good fun. Speaking with Michael Cole, Goldust says “Stardust doesn’t compare to Goldust”. Cody Rhodes would agree.

Backstage, Kevin Kelly tries in vain to get a word with Hawk, who is in no mood to talk. He has a mobility van to catch, right Kevin?

Steve Blackman practices with glow-in-the-dark nunchaku (Japanese for “nunchucks”) as Jim Ross summarizes the evening’s events thus far. He also reiterates the promised announcement of a “mega sports celebrity” who will appear at WrestleMania.

The Rock faces Blackman in a non-title match, with the Nation at ringside for back-up. Steve kicks out of the People’s Elbow, an unheard-of feat just two years later, to no crowd reaction. D’Lo Brown cheats repeatedly for Rocky, but Faarooq does the opposite, distracting the referee on two occasions while Rocky covers Blackman. Brown tosses Blackman’s nunchaku into the ring for The Rock but overthrows, allowing Blackman to catch the weapon and use them on The Rock. Blackman scores the pin to continue his undefeated streak. The Rock has heated words with D’Lo, who tells him Faarooq told Brown to throw in the nunchaku. Faarooq says fiddlesticks and leaves the ring with the Nation.

On the WWF Superstar Line, you can hear about a national television deal involving the WWF.


Backstage, Kevin Kelly is with Luna, hoping to get an answer to the question everyone is asking: Aren’t the Road Warriors old? Or better yet, why wasn’t she with Goldust tonight? Luna says she’s “calm, cool, and collective” [sic], suggesting a possible communist gimmick. Vachon says she’s going to re-arrange Sable’s “Estée Lauder face” into an “Andy Warhol original”. She must mean Picasso, as Warhol was most famous for his Marilyn Monroe paintings.

Jim Ross tells us that after Kane’s wrench attack at No Way Out, Vader will have facial surgery. Could this be an elaborate cover story for a Leon White nose job?

The Rock ’n’ Roll Express are in the ring for their rematch against the Headbangers when Commissioner Slaughter comes to the ring with referee Earl Hebner. Slaughter gives NWA official Tommy Young, who last week DQ’ed the ‘Bangers for throwing Robert Gibson over the top rope, the boot. Jim Cornette threatens legal action via NWA lawyers Sacco, Pfefer, and Mondt, though Slaughter could countersue the NWA for impersonating a wrestling promotion.

The Rock ’n’ Rollers keep bumping into and accidentally punching each other until they nearly come to blows (on purpose). After a long, long discussion with Cornette, the two hug it out, temporarily boosting their Spirit meter. However, when Mosh ducks a double dropkick, the Express knock themselves silly landing on the canvas (What would have happened had they connected? Floated to safety?).

Mosh tags in Thrasher and throws Robert (“Hi Bob!”) Gibson over the top rope, which the referee ignores. Cornette then smashes Thrasher with his racket, but the Headbanger lands on Ricky Morton to score the pinfall. This gives the Headbangers the NWA tag team titles, the least prestigious titles of their careers (and this includes the toy Tag Team Championships of the Universe).

Jim Ross introduces the “mega sports celebrity” who, like Mike Tyson, will appear at WrestleMania. It’s Pete Rose. That might sound underwhelming, but recall that Mania is in Boston, and the baseball legend spent his career in Red Sox colors (red, though he never played for that team).

When WWF Raw returns from commercial break, Jerry Lawler claims the Waco crowd is still on their feet after hearing that Pete Rose would be at WrestleMania. This sounds like a joke, but Jim Ross concurs rather than telling him he’s full of s**t.

An extended video package airs about Stone Cold, who isn’t here tonight. But you know who is? Marc Mero, who challenges for Owen Hart’s European title. At least Sable is here, too, though Mero immediately sends her backstage as WWF Raw goes to commercial.

Fans chant for Sable throughout the opening minutes, popping when she walks through the curtain again. While Marc argues with his woman, Owen rolls him up for a two-count. An O’Connor roll and small package follow, again for two-counts. Jim Ross announces an upcoming WWF event at Lowell, MA’s new Paul Tsongas Arena, named for the former politician whose name rhymes with “sexual congress”.

Mero backs Owen into a corner and pie-faces referee Jimmy Korderas. This allows him to hit a “Golota” on Hart. Owen reverses Mero’s TKO into a DDT, then applies the Sharpshooter for the victory. “Nobody applies the Sharpshooter like Owen Hart”, says Ross in a dig at Bret. Despite Mero’s apparent submission, Tony Chimel announces Hart as the winner “by disqualification” for Mero’s assault on the ref. It looks like Goldust isn’t the only one doing a Dusty Rhodes impression tonight.

Luna Vachon then rushes the ring to fight Sable, with Goldust and Mero restraining them, respectively. Sable shoves Marc to the canvas, so Goldust restrains Sable, causing a jealous Mero to turn on him. Sable then grabs the mic and tells Luna, “You get your ass back her you” — and here’s where you’d expect her to say “bitch” —

— “bitch!”

Discuss This Crap!