WWF RAW – March 23rd, 1998

WWF RAW – March 23rd, 1998 – Tucson Convention Center – Tucson, AZ

On tonight’s WWF Raw, Michael Cole promises a rebuttal from Stone Cold about Vince McMahon’s comments last week. On the previous WWF Raw, Mr. McMahon said “Oh hell no” to Steve Austin being champion. Is that indeed the bottom line? And if so, is it because Vince McMahon said so, or for different reasons entirely?

Too much Scott, and not enough Skiles, it’s time for WWF Raw is War! Tonight’s episode was taped last Tuesday while last week’s episode aired on USA. Stone Cold opens the show telling Kevin Kelly to shut up (Kelly was the one in the ring interviewing him, otherwise this would have been quite a strange thing to say). In response to McMahon’s comments last week, Austin says he can’t be molded. As far as Shawn Michaels, DX, and Mike Tyson, Stone Cold says he’ll have the toughest match of his life Sunday at WrestleMania, but he’ll win despite the odds.

Stone Cold says he has the night off tonight, so he’s going to be drinking Steveweisers all night long. But Commissioner Slaughter marches out to correct him; Austin will wrestle tonight against Rocky Maivia, by orders of Vince McMahon. Stone Cold says he’ll wrestle, but the match quality is up in the air, with Austin suggesting anything from a thirty-minute headlock to a thirty-second squash. Despite Austin’s compliance, Slaughter says that if he doesn’t wrestle The Rock, the match with Shawn Michaels will be non-title. Austin takes exception to this grandstanding and gives Sarge the Stunner, sending Slaughter tumbling and landing on his head somehow.

The WWF continues to advertise WrestleMania as “X-rated” in an apparent attempt to scare off parents. It does big numbers anyway.

Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie, who challenge the New Age Outlaws for the tag titles in a dumpster match on Sunday, face the Quebecers (who enter during a replay of last week’s upside-down antics). Mick Foley, who would retire two years later, starts out with Pierre Carl Ouellet, two years his junior, who would wrestle for another 26 years and counting.

The New Age Outlaws come out on stage in tuxedos and set up a dinner table, drawing Cactus Jack up the ramp until he remembers he’s in a match. The Quebecers isolate Charlie while the Outlaws wine and dine with blow-up dolls. When Mick Foley gets the tag, Billy Gunn runs in and attacks him, ending the match in DQ. Road Dogg garrotes Terry Funk before Gunn smashes their table over Funk’s head. There are so many stipulations this beatdown could lead to—tuxedo match, table match—but they’re going with dumpster match. Gunn then piledrives Foley onto a chair for good measure.

This week’s Bop It Slam of the Week is Shawn Michaels’s Sweet Chin Music to Steve Austin two weeks ago.

In the ring, Tony Chimel introduces Tennessee Lee, who introduces Jeff Jarrett, who rides in on a horse again. Jim Ross says Double J will “no doubt” be in the 30-man tag team battle royal at WrestleMania (even though he has no tag team partner). Jarrett won’t actually wrestle in the match, but his opponent Steve Blackman will (teaming with Flash Funk).

The match is back and forth until Blackman attempts a blind leapfrog and gets caught with a back suplex. “What a maneuver!” says Cole (No, I’m not going to start the counter back up). Blackman makes a comeback after Jarrett telegraphs a back body drop. When he attempts a superplex, however, Tenneessee Lee trips him and holds down his foot, allowing Jarrett to pick up the victory. In doing so, he became the first man since Ray Rougeau in 1987 to pin Steve Blackman in a WWF ring. Referee Jack Dohn runs into the ring to try to convince Jimmy Korderas to reverse his decision, but Lee knocks Double J into Dohn before he can explain himself.

Jim Ross announces a DX public workout this Thursday in Boston. Unfortunately, HBK’s prima donna attitude will ruin it. The guy gets hit with one battery and suddenly he thinks he thinks he can just leave!

All four members of DX, including newest member Mike Tyson, arrive in a limo before WWF Raw heads to commercial.

Next, The Undertaker speaks from his parents’ gravesite. He asks their forgiveness and understanding before he battles his own flesh and blood in the most personal match of his career. But first, here’s a recap of last week’s developments, starting off off with a gorilla in a basketball jersey rappelling from the ceiling.

Back in the arena, we see a sea of Austin 3:16 shirts, except on young man in a shirt reading, “Shut Up Bitch”. Is that a Rock shirt?

Kane enters the ring with Paul Bearer, who says he’s tired of Undertaker whining and drying about his dead mommy and daddy. Backstage at Nitro, Ray Traylor takes notes. Bearer continues, bragging that Kane has the same magic powers as Taker. At Bearer’s insistence, Kane summons lightning to set off pyro in the rafters. Bearer then threatens to do the same to the announce team. “Eeny meeny miny moe,” says Paul. “Which one do you want to go?” Kane picks Michael Cole. Good choice, even if he only hits the monitor.

WWF Raw, March 23rd, 1998

Finally, Kane strikes a crew member, who fortunately happened to wear a full body suit tonight. It’s not clear whether he catches fire due to the lightning or the pyro exploding under the ramp. The cable runner, who in the confusion forgets “stop, drop, and roll”, runs up and down the ramp until someone puts him out with a fire extinguisher.

After the break, Michael Cole wonders whether or not the Kane’s lightning-induced immolation of a crew member was an accident.

Skull and 8-Ball ride in on their beautiful Titan motorcycles, the ultimate in custom-designed, volume-produced performance motorcycles, a piece of Americana. Or so says Michael Cole, extemporaneously. The Disciples face the New Midnight Express, who come to the ring in wrestling boots, manufacturer unknown.

Within a minute, the Headbangers come to ringside for a closer look, followed by the Rock ’n’ Roll Express, the former Truth Commission, two Boricuas, the Quebecers, and two more Boricuas. Everyone in the battle royal ought to come to ringside so all the singles wrestlers can find partners. I’m looking at you, Bradshaw and Chainz. Before this can happen, violence breaks out at ringside, which spills into the ring and ends the match in a shmozz. Two factions of the Boricuas (Puerto Rican flag jackets vs. flannel) even trade blows.

Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler recap all the shocking events so far tonight, beginning with Kane setting a man on fire and continuing with Jeff Jarrett beating Steve Blackman. “We’re All Together Now” ushers in WWF Raw’s second hour.

D-X enters the ring as Jerry Lawler makes a KFC joke about that extra-crispy crew member. Jim Ross follows this up by saying he and Cole felt like those two Mormon missionaries before the Russians released them: nervous.

Triple H quotes Emerson, Lake & Palmer before declaring WWF Raw “X-rated” and telling the kids to put their parents to bed. D-X is a faction of cool and youth and passionately. Triple H replays his win over Owen Hart last week; he would have replayed some Shawn Michaels footage from last week, but HBK wasn’t there. In Hunter’s match with Owen at WrestleMania, he says he’ll win despite Chyna being handcuffed to Commissioner Slaughter.

Triple H then speaks to the women of Arizona in terms they’ll understand, using both “cactus” and “prairie dog” as metaphors for his penis. While Jim Ross is appalled, Jerry is impressed by a large-breasted D-X fan. Shawn Michaels is, too (impressed, that is, not large-breasted) and asks whether she has “two nipples for a dime”. “She’s the breast-looking fan here”, says Hunter, who wonders whether she’s “Double- or Triple-D X”. You might recognize these exact same jokes from their Chyna promo. Then Shawn calls her a skank and moves on to the topic of WrestleMania, which is six days away, by the way.

Shawn tells Vince McMahon and Steve Austin to quit being girls, which thousands of Austin fans take exception to. As they chant Austin’s name, Jerry Lawler calls them idiots, but Jim Ross defends their freedom of speech. As he says this, four fans hold up letters reading, simply, “HELL”. Shawn says he doesn’t need Vince’s support, comparing him to a jockstrap, then says something that gets edited out of the broadcast version. The wonders of taped television!

Shawn tells Stone Cold to worry about the WWF champion and to forget about Vince McMahon and “Stunning Sergeant Slaughter” (It took me a second to realize he’s using “stunning” as a verb, not an adjective). Michaels is the same age as Austin, but he’s been in the WWF longer and has more experience. Plus, he has Mike Tyson, who says he’s going to knock Austin “the — out” (and who calls Shawn, “Heartbreak”).

Jerry Lawler says he wants to hook up with Gennifer Flowers, who, in a promotional vignette, tells viewers to “come out of the closet” and admit they’re… WWF fans.

A replay airs of last week’s chairshot to Ken Shamrock, who has convinced Commissioner Slaughter to make a stipulation for his Mania match with The Rock: if Maivia gets disqualified, Shamrock wins the title. And you’ve have to be an idiot to get yourself disqualified if it could mean losing the title!

Faarooq tells the Nation of Domination to stand down as he comes to the ring to face Chainz. A shot of the crowd has a lot going on; some fans hold up a Confederate flag, while another holds a sign saying, “Rocky Sucx” [sic]. Faarooq weathers an early flurry of offense by Chainz and has the match well in hand when The Rock comes to ringside with a chair.

It’s rest hold time for the next few minutes until The Rock comes in wielding his chair. Faarooq stops The Rock short, then leans over to lift Chainz, at which point Rocky “accidentally” hits his leader right in the skull. Oh darn! The Rock kicks Faarooq’s arm a bit to make sure he’s conscious as Jerry Lawler says The Rock is like NCAA basketball player Tyson Wheeler, who missed three key free throws yesterday: they both feel bad.

As long as you’re watching the USA Network, why not catch next week’s USA Pictures original movie, “No Laughing Matter” starring Suzanne Somers (but not Hugh Morrus)? And truly, alcoholism is no laughing matter (although it does premiere on April Fools’ Day).

Michael Cole narrates a video package on the former Blackjacks, explaining that Barry Windham had gotten jealous about Bradshaw becoming a star without him (Note: neither of these things happened) (which is why there is no footage shown of Bradshaw winning matches). Windham therefore betrayed Bradshaw to join Jim Cornette’s NWA group. But now, Bradshaw finally goes one-on-one with his former partner in a match too big for WrestleMania, I suppose.

As the Rock ’n’ Roll Express sit at ringside and distract Windham and Cornette, Bradshaw rushes to the ring. Bradshaw, who still wears “BJ” on his tights, roughs Windham up outside the ring. Barry fights back by whipping Bradshaw with his own leather jacket “like a government mule”, even though Bradshaw is, in Jim Ross’s estimation, “a young Brahma bull”.

During the match, Ross expresses his sympathies for Hunter Brown, the WWF crew member set on fire. Jerry Lawler, of course, takes the opportunity to laugh at the young man’s name. If Hunter wasn’t brown already, he says, he certainly was after getting struck by lightning. For the records, this is a burn joke, not a poop joke.

When the Rock ’n’ Rollers try to jump the guardrail, Barry Windham gets distracted again, allowing Bradshaw to roll him up and beat him with a schoolboy. Obviously, a fluke win isn’t enough to end this feud, as much as we might want it to. Instead, the two men brawl after bell until the New Midnight Express make it a three-on-one situation. Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson look to even the sides before the NWA contingent retreats.

This week’s WrestleMania Millennium Moment is Muhammad Ali’s appearance at the first WrestleMania “fourteen years ago” in 1985. The year is 1998.

In the locker room, D-X discuss something or other.

Sable comes to the ring for an award presentation from WWF Raw Magazine, which is supposed to include Sunny as well. First, Marvelous Marc and Sable enter, at which point Marc cuts a promo about Sable riding his coattails… but just this once, he’s going to leave so she can have her moment. Kevin Kelly informs us that Sunny is “under the weather” (ahem) and therefore couldn’t make it, but that Vince Russo will present Sable with a plaque for having the best-selling WWF Raw Magazine cover.

Luna and Goldust crash the party, with Luna smacking Sable with the plaque and tearing off her clothes. Gentleman Vince Russo comes to the rescue, covering Sable up with his jacket as Marc Mero, now in the ring, yells at everybody. Luna, according to Lawler, just made Sable the cover star of Getting Your Butt Kicked magazine (which is for readers 18 and over).

Up next is the main event. With twenty minutes still left in the show? That can’t be right.

As The Rock makes his entrance, a replay airs of The Rock’s supposedly inadvertent chairshot on Faarooq. Jerry Lawler says Rocky clearly hit Faarooq by accident, then said, “Aw, shoot”, neither of which is exactly accurate. While the Nation’s leader is out of commission, the rest of the faction joins The Rock.

A cameraman zooms in on a fan’s sign advertising SportsCenter, perhaps momentarily forgetting that the program airs on ESPN, not USA. Give the guy a break, though. One of his co-workers just got burned alive.

Austin and The Rock start off with collar-and-elbow tie-ups, which is the most physicality Stone Cold has endured since his neck injury. Each man flips off the other before trading punches. Rocky repeatedly ducks out of the ring; whenever Austin follows him, he has to contend with the Nation. Rocky has Stone Cold reeling on the outside as WWF Raw goes to its last commercial.

After the break, Austin locks Rocky in a sleeper hold but gets backed into the corner. The Rock hits the People’s Elbow, but Austin kicks out. This stuns The Rock, who stares dumbfounded into the camera and contemplates his next move for the next several minutes. Kidding! Rocky instead immediately puts Austin in a chin lock like any sensible person. Eventually, he attempts another People’s Elbow, which Austin dodges; Jim Ross states the obvious, blaming Rocky’s showboating before a simple elbow drop. Stone Cold hits the Stunner and pins Rock before fending off D-Lo Brown and repossessing his steel chair.

Shawn Michaels and D-X cut the celebration short, with HBK promises to turn out Austin’s lights one last time at WrestleMania. Jim Ross, going just a smidge overboard with the hyperbole, declares Shawn Michaels to be “no doubt… the greatest WWF champion of all time” before HBK approaches the ring. Triple H restrains him before he can get physical. Next stop, WrestleMania!

Discuss This Crap!