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WWF RAW- January 19, 1998
by Samoa Rowe
Written in May 2021. Follow me on Twitter @SamoaRowe.
In loving memory of Juanita McMahon.
Last week, it looked like Undertaker and Kane were on their way to becoming good pals, which was only the setup for a classic Russo SWERVE! Kane chokeslammed Undertaker into the casket at the Royal Rumble and set it ablaze.
Live, from the Selland Arena in Fresno, California. Jim Ross, Michael Cole, and Kevin Kelly are your hosts and mine
Paul Bearer walks in looking like the cat that ate the canary. The fans let him have it with "You suck" chants. Bearer responds perfectly: "If I do, I must be good at it!" He orchestrated the entire plot against Undertaker, and knew he had him when he and Kane saluted each other. He savors every little detail while summarizing Kane's destruction of Undertaker at the Rumble, and now Undertaker will never return. Right on cue, Taker's music hits, and druids wheel out the charred casket. Kane dramatically emerges from the casket and Bearer declares him to be the last surviving member of Undertaker's family. This angle is five star cheese.
Jim Ross interviews DX in their locker room. Triple H is feeling smug after defeating Owen Hart and pumps up Shawn Michaels for surviving The Undertaker. HBK pretends to feel bad about Undertaker getting set on fire and vanishing, and makes a phony promise to find the Dead Man.
DOA (Chainz, Skull, and 8-Ball) vs. The Nation of Domination (Faarooq, Kama Mustafa, and D'Lo Brown)
Time to settle in for biker skinheads vs. faux Black Panthers. 8-Ball catches D'Lo with a back elbow, but Brown comes back with an inverted atomic drop. 8-Ball hits a big boot, and Kama tags in to plow through Chainz with a shoulderblock. Chainz nails a big boot and running elbow drops. Faarooq assists from the apron to allow Kama to hit a roundhouse kick. Faarooq tags in and takes a face plant. Brown rights the ship, and NoD cut off one of the neo-Nazi's. Brown misses a wild moonsault that Harris barely needed to move to dodge. The match breaks down into a brawl, and both teams are disqualified at 4:42. This was boring and icky.
The Rock and Mark Henry run in to help NoD, but Ken Shamrock and Ahmed Johnson have DOA's backs.
Vic Venom (aka Vince Russo) promotes WWF Magazine.
A hearse has arrived at the venue. Could Undertaker be inside? Possibly, my money is that we get Goldust dressed as Undertaker later on.
Tom Brandi vs. Marc Mero (with Sable)
Mero is forcing Sable to wear a "Property of Marc Mero" robe. Brandi gently moves Sable aside so he can jump Mero from behind. Brandi's sidewalk slam gets 2, and he misses a head of steam into the buckles. DDT by Mero, but he's soon distracted when Sable receives a bouquet delivery. Mero goes into a rage, stomps the flowers, and orders Sable to leave. Brandi takes advantage and nails a spear. Power slam by Brandi gets 2. Brandi blocks the TKO and rolls Mero up for a 2.999 count. Brandi's sunset flip also gets a good nearfall, but a low blow and TKO finishes Brandi at 3:30. Good little TV match.
Winner: Marc Mero
DX cautiously investigate the hearse. They open the back door and a flock of women throw themselves at HHH and Shawn. Chyna is unimpressed and leaves them to it.
A limo pulls into the venue and out steps Shane McMahon and Mike Tyson.
The Quebecers (Jacques and Pierre) vs. Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie
The Quebecers want nothing to do with Funk's chainsaw and Foley's barbed wire bat, and retreat. Jack and Charlie follow them to ringside for an aggressive brawl. Jacques brings Charlie into the ring and nails a piledriver. Charlie takes too many shots to the head and collapses. Pierre takes a turn killing Charlie with a piledriver. Cactus rescues Funk from a doomsday piledriver and runs wild through the Quebecers. The ref admonishes him and takes a Mandible Claw for his trouble. The match is thrown out at 3:15 while the Quebecers hang Charlie on the ropes. Cactus clotheslines the Quebecers to ringside, and Funk moonsaults onto all of them. Jacques then back drops Pierre over the ropes onto Cactus, who then grabs his wired bat to clear the ring once and for all. Fun little match, but the post match hijinx brought the real highlights.
Winners via DQ: The Quebecers
DX ask the mini wrestlers if they've seen the Undertaker, but cannot get through the language barrier.
Mike Tyson has a friendly chat with Pat Patterson, Sgt. Slaughter, and other officials backstage.
NWA North American Championship:
Jeff Jarrett © (with James E. Cornette and The Rock N Roll Express) vs. Blackjack Bradshaw
Jarrett cheap shots before the bell, but Bradshaw comes right back with a sidewalk slam. Cornette heads straight to commentary to yell at some clouds. Bradshaw hits a scoop slam but misses an elbow drop. Jarrett flies into Bradshaw's arms for a fallaway slam. The RnR Express drag Bradshaw through the ropes and smash him into the apron. Jarrett misses a splash into the ropes and Bradshaw hits a stiff lariat. Big boot by Bradshaw and a jackknife powerbomb. Cornette distracts the ref while Bradshaw fights off the RnR Express. Blackjack Windham runs in and accidentally (?) clotheslines Bradshaw, allowing Jarrett to retain at 3:45. Good-ish match, and this crowd didn't reject the NWA angle.
Winner and still NWA North American Champion: Jeff Jarrett
Yep, Windham has indeed turned on Bradshaw, and helps Corney's goons beat him down.
Shawn Michaels moans to Chyna and Triple H about his inability to find the Undertaker. Suddenly, the lights go out and they all gawk at someone off camera. And that's about it.
The WWF salutes Martin Luther King Jr.
Time for War Zone, which means Jerry Lawler has entered the building!
Mike Tyson and his entourage move through the backstage area.
Undertaker's music hits (again). This time, he appears to descend from the rafters. The punchline is that it's actually Shawn Michaels dressed as Taker and he gleefully dances around the ring. Triple H and Chyna join the party with a grill, and they cook the Taker costume. The guys toss normal hot dogs onto the grill, but Chyna has a large salami stick. Don't you just love subtle humor? Hey, the next time you hear someone complaining that AEW doesn't portray Kenny Omega like a real champion, you can remind them that in 1998 the WWF Champion was cooking on a grill, wearing a chef's hat, making d!ck jokes, and playing second fiddle to the European Champion. Triple H is allowed to cut a somewhat serious promo against Owen Hart while wearing a "S*ck the cook" apron. Michaels amusingly puts himself over for beating Undertaker "all by himself" and stealing the show once again. HBK turns his attention to the Rumble winner, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and dismisses his resume because he's "been there, done that." The Heartbreak Kid lays down for absolutely nobody. This was good once they got down to business.
Sunny hits on Mike Tyson.
Los Boricuas (Savio Vega, Miguel Perez, Jesus Castillo, and Jose Estrada Jr.) vs. Owen Hart, WWF Light Heavyweight Champion Taka Michinoku, and The Headbangers (Mosh and Thrasher)
Honky Tonk Man joins commentary for reasons. Taka gets the best of Miguel with his athletic offense. Mosh leap frogs into a hip toss and dropkick onto Jesus. Mosh dropkicks Jesus into Thrasher's clothesline. Los Boricuas take control of Thrasher. After about 30 seconds of heat, Owen gets the hot tag and runs wild. He puts Estrada into the Sharpshooter and wins at 3:02. The best part about boring matches in this era is that they end in 3 minutes, rather than get dragged on through a commercial break.
Winners: Owen Hart, Taka Michinoku, and The Headbangers
Owen Hart promises to break Triple H's leg.
The Nation of Domination try to recruit an absolutely confused looking Mike Tyson.
WWF Intercontinental Championship:
The Rock © vs. Ahmed Johnson
Ahmed rushes the ring, but Rock has the higher ground. Vertical suplex by Rock and Johnson sells it like death. Scoop slam by Rock sets up the Peoples' Elbow for 2. Ahmed rallies with a vertical suplex and series of punches. Mark Henry waltzes in and grabs a chair. Johnson hits Rock with a spinebuster (the fans are loving this), but he eats a blind chair shot from Henry. Rock plants Johnson to win at 2:48! Basic, short TV match, albeit with a red hot crowd.
Winner and still Intercontinental Champion: The Rock
Ken Shamrock runs in, looking for a piece of Henry, but the NoD escape to fight another day.
Mike Tyson poses with Cactus Jack's wired bat, and Chainsaw Charlie offers up his chainsaw.
Later, Mike Tyson admires Chyna's physique and HBK's championship belt.
WWF Tag Team Championship:
The New Age Outlaws © (Billy Gunn and Road Dogg) vs. The Godwinns (Phineas and Henry)
Road Dogg explains that he and Gunn are wearing overalls tonight because they are loyal to Southern Justice. The Godwinns don't care and take the fight to the Outlaws, removing Billy's overalls by force. Phineas just about kills Billy with a botched power slam. Billy gets worked over by the Godwinns in competent fashion. Strangely, the hot tag to Road Dogg never comes. Instead, Billy hits a shot with a loaded stuffed pig and wins at 4:58. This was solid, if unspectacular.
Winners and still WWF Tag Team Champions: The New Age Outlaws
Mr. McMahon is beaming with pride as he introduces Mike Tyson to the live audience. Tyson has been a fan since he was a boy and names Bruno Sammartino as his favorite. They're suddenly interrupted by Stone Cold Steve Austin. WWF officials can sense trouble and rush into the ring. Austin is sick of watching Mike Tyson shake hands. He respects what Tyson has done in boxing, but he won't shake his hand because he wants a piece of his @ss. Austin says Tyson's beady eyes are locked on the baddest son of a b!tch on Earth and knows he can beat him. The rest is history: Austin flips the double bird, Tyson shoves Austin, and the most legendary pull-apart brawl in WWE history commences. Vince sells it perfectly by scolding Austin with "You ruined it!" What else can I say, this is one of the great moments in Raw history and a key moment in Austin's legacy.
Later, Mike Tyson and his entourage tell off Mr. McMahon for what just happened.
Final Thoughts: This show had absolutely incredible pacing and energy throughout, and hit a great crescendo with the Austin/Tyson confrontation. I can't wait for acts like the Godwinns and DOA to go away, but this was the sort of great Attitude Era Raw that people pine for. Check this one out.
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