WWF RAW – March 17th, 1998

WWF RAW – March 17th, 1998 – America West Arena – Phoenix, AZ

Too much Studd, and not enough Scott! It’s time for WWF Raw is War, coming pre-taped from Phoenix on a Tuesday night.

Ken Shamrock kicks off the show with Kevin Kelly for an interview. Kelly questions Shamrock’s temper, but Ken says it’s nothing to worry about at WrestleMania. Ken says he’ll become not only Intercontinental Champion at WrestleMania, but the People’s Champion as well.

To this, The Rock, who comes out on stage with the Nation, tells him to know his role and shut his mouth. He also calls him a jabroni. Despite Shamrock repeatedly beating individual Nation members over the past weeks, The Rock claims Ken couldn’t last two minutes with any of them. And if he can, he can challenge for the IC title tonight on WWF Raw is War. Rocky then volun-tells an unwilling D’Lo Brown to face Shamrock right now.

As Brown reluctantly heads to the ring, Shamrock tells him to “shut your monkey ass up”, with “monkey” bleeped. Jeez, Ken. He then tells The Rock he doesn’t care about “this little monkey” (again bleeped on the broadcast, yet not on Peacock), but gets blindsided by Brown before he can finish. A newly motivated D’Lo lays into Shamrock. The World’s Most Racist Man launches a short-lived comeback with 1:15 remaining, then gets down to business with 50 seconds left. Shamrock puts the ankle lock on D’Lo with 19 seconds left, but The Rock smacks him in the back with a chair before Brown can tap.

Ken, on his knees, challenges The Rock to hit him again, which he does, right in the forehead. Faarooq, who must not have heard Shamrock’s promo, grabs the chair away from Maivia before he can strike again.

A replay airs of The Rock’s chair shot, this time from a different angle. Hey, if you’re going to give Shamrock CTE, at least get your money’s worth, right? Backstage, Kevin Kelly tells us that a dazed Ken Shamrock has suffered a concussion. Okay, but is he still wrestling tonight?

WWF RawComing up later tonight, Terry Funk faces “BA Billy Gunn”, plus Vince McMahon will address last week’s confrontation with Steve Austin. The fans boo when McMahon’s picture, complete with torn suit jacket, appears on the Titantron.

Sable comes to the ring solo to call Luna a bitch and challenge her to a fight tonight on WWF Raw. She promptly walks back to the locker room to make way for a Tom Brandi match. As Michael Cole and Jim Ross discuss the potential fight, a fan seated behind them mugs for the camera and air-squeezes Sable’s tatas before too-sweeting his friends.

The Phoenix Gorilla rappels sideways from the rafters to a huge gorilla. The Phoenix Suns mascot trampolines into the ring, then sits by Jim Ross at the announce desk. Luckily, Ken Shamrock is not available for comment.

Tennessee Lee then introduces the man who makes Elvis Presley sound like a hound dog, Jeff Jarrett. Double J rides to the ring on a white horse to face the former Salvatore Sincere in a Shotgun rematch. Jarrett leapfrogs Brandi, who responds with a deep, deep neckbreaker that causes the crowd to pop for Tom Brandi. It was that good. Jarrett quickly responds with a Figure Four to score a submission in a minute and a half.

In the parking lot, Kevin Kelly tells us Ken Shamrock is being taken to a hospital with a concussion, but The Rock interrupts him, telling him to both know his role and shut his mouth. Now The Rock wonders whom he’ll face at WrestleMania, now that Shamrock is out of commission.

This week’s WrestleMania Millennium Moment is Lawrence Taylor’s victory over Bam Bam Bigelow.

Texas’s own Michael Cole then introduces a lengthy video package about Steve Austin’s and Shawn Michaels’s respective WWF careers. Well, Shawn’s anyway. Austin only gets a brief mention, though I suppose we’ll get to see his package later tonight.

The Phoenix Gorilla is in the ring launching t-shirts into the crowd as the Rock ’n’ Roll Express come to the ring with Jim Cornette. The three of them (The Express and Cornette, not the Gorilla) take on the Headbangers. This weekend on Superstars (in a match taped for WWF Raw but cut for time), the Headbangers beat the Rock ’n’ Roll Express, meaning Mosh got five minutes in the ring with Jim Cornette. Unfortunately, one of the Rock ’n’ Rollers hit Mosh with a chair, allowing Jim Cornette to pin him (which the referee counted for some reason).

The Bangers start off putting the Rollers on the defensive, but Morton and Gibson regroup and take control with a double-clothesline. Thrasher, however, counters a telegraphed back body drop. The Headbangers hit the Stage Dive for a victory in two minutes, then drag Cornette in.

Coming to Cornette’s rescue are another tag team. Who are the gaucho amigos, and why are they standing in their spangled blue wrestling tights, with the lightning on both sides? They’re Bart Gunn and Bob Holly, whom Cornette introduces as the New Midnight Express, Bodacious Bart and Bombastic Bob. The Rock ’n’ Roll and Midnight Expresses share the ring for only a moment before Cornette sics his new team on his old one. Jim Ross is disgusted; bodacious cowboys such as Bart Gunn will never be welcome here, high in the America West Arena.

Next, we get a word from Gennifer Flowers, who flirts with both men in the WrestleMania main event before telling The Undertaker she could give him an erection.

The Phoenix Suns mascot is in the ring again, where he reveals a Gorilla 3:16 t-shirt. The lights then go out, and Kane makes his entrance. The Big Red Machine, in a foul mood after hearing Gennifer Flowers mack on his brother, chokeslams and tombstones the gorilla.

We’re All Together Now” ushers in WWF Raw’s second hour, preceded by a recap of the night’s events so far. Jim Ross repeats the names Bodacious Bart and Bombastic Bob with just the slightest tinge of disdain.

Owen Hart, who wears a walking boot cast for his injured ankle, comes to the ring for commentary, supposedly for the entire second hour of WWF Raw. Chainsaw Charlie faces Billy Gunn, who comes to the ring with a spray-painted dumpster. For the record, “Road Dog” is still spelled with one G. Road Dog tells the fans that Gunn is the reason Chippendale’s is out of business. What, was there a lawsuit?

Road Dog stays on the microphone heckling Chainsaw throughout the match, which starts off with a Gunn sneak attack. Billy piledrives Charlie but lets him up rather than pinning him. This backfires when Funk fights back with punches and a DDT. The Dog intervenes with the tag belt when Terry is about to score the 1-2-3, causing a disqualification. Chainsaw then DDTs Billy onto the belt and ties Road Dog’s feet up, rigging him to a pulley in the rafters. Cactus and Chainsaw win a tug of war with Billy Gunn, leaving Road Dog suspended about ten feet in the air.

The Slam of the Week, presented by Bop It, is Steve Austin giving Vince McMahon a count of ten to get out of the ring.

Backstage, Luna Vachon calls Sable an ignorant slut, then tells her she’ll give her another makeover at a time of Luna’s choosing.

Kevin Kelly asks the audience to give Vince McMahon a warm welcome, which they flagrantly disregard. McMahon repeatedly calls Stone Cold’s actions unprofessional and disparages “sign language”. Why does Vince hate the deaf? But, McMahon says, there were extenuating circumstances relating to Mike Tyson joining DX the previous week. McMahon gets increasingly frustrated with the replays of last week, and with Kevin Kelly’s questions: Why didn’t you hit Steve Austin? How did it feel to get bitched out by Steve Austin? Vince says that he would have broken Stone Cold’s jaw if he had “taken Austin down”, and he couldn’t risk jeopardizing the WrestleMania main event. As for whether McMahon wants Austin to be WWF Champion, Vince says it would be a PR nightmare. Kevin Kelly won’t let Vince leave without a yes or no answer. “It’s not just a no”, says Vince. “It’s an Oh Hell No”. And that’s the bottom line.

Pete Rose hypes WrestleMania, including its controversy and sexy women. Will he hook up with Gennifer Flowers?

Jim Ross tells us that “Lucky Luke and Prince” will rap Mike Tyson to the ring at WrestleMania. Of course, The Purple One is neither a rapper nor calling himself “Prince” at this time, leaving the famous “Prince” name up for grabs. A music video airs of Tyson’s DX theme, “Bring It On”.

As WWF Raw heads to commercial, cameras spot a woman with “Austin 3:16” written on her cleavage. Jerry Lawler howls, but audience members’ signs immediately block the view.

Michael Cole presents a video package on the other half of WrestleMania’s main event, focusing on Steve Austin and Victoria, Texas.

Before WWF Raw goes to break again, Jim Ross promises Sable vs. Luna tonight, even though Luna didn’t explicitly accept the challenge.

Triple H comes to the ring, mic in hand, to berate Owen Hart for his alleged cowardice. Hunter challenges Owen to a match right then and there, even though they’re already scheduled to wrestle at Mania. Hunter pie-faces Owen to the floor, so Hart beats up Helmsley. They end up in the ring, which the timekeeper decides makes this an official match. They quickly spill to the outside, where Triple H pulls Owen into the ring post. With the referee distracted, Chyna comes to ringside and hits Hart’s ankle with a baseball bat and rolls him into the ring. Triple H targets the injured ankle until the referee stops the match, awarding the European title to the challenger. Helmsley, in turn, awards Owen Hart the opportunity to suck it.

For WWF Raw’s main event segment, the bell rings for what Tony Chimel calls, “a one-on-one confrontation” between Luna and Sable, and not a match. So why did the bell ring? As the two women lunge at each other, Marc Mero, Goldust, and WWF officials pull them apart for some reason. So not only is this not a match, it’s not even allowed to be a fight? Were they supposed to verbally debate? At last, Sable breaks through and starts ripping off Luna’s clothes. “Yeah!” shouts Jerry Lawler. When the dust settles, Sable, who showed up to the fight wearing three-inch heels, has twisted her ankle.

Then the lights go out. Kane, who already obliterated the Phoenix Suns gorilla, comes for Sable. Mero stands by Sable right until the pyro goes off, at which point he leaps over the top rope to the floor. Don’t worry, he’s going to get help! As Kane approaches Sable, Jim Ross protests. “She sure as hell isn’t Vader, she’s a woman!”

Luckily, the lights go out again; The Undertaker appears atop the Titantron, bravely rescues Sable by cutting a promo. He then sends down a bolt of lightning, which ignites an upright casket with a Kane dummy inside.

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