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WWF RAW- January 26, 1998
by Samoa Rowe
Written in May 2021. Follow me on Twitter @SamoaRowe.
Show opens with footage of Mike Tyson watching the Royal Rumble with Shane McMahon in a private box and totally marking out throughout. Cut to the last Raw, Tyson's favorite superstar, Stone Cold Steve Austin, flipped him the bird and started a brawl. This made headlines on news and gossip shows, and now Tyson wants Austin in a match.
From the Davis Fieldhouse in Davis, California. I've never heard of this city, Google Maps informs me that it's basically a Sacramento suburb.
Mark Henry (with the Nation of Domination) vs. Ken Shamrock (with Ahmed Johnson and DOA)
Heroic babyface Shamrock cheap shots Henry from behind. Henry comes roaring back with a power slam for 2. Bear hug by Henry, followed by a scoop slam. Shamrock escapes a second bear hug but runs into Henry's backbreaker. Shamrock escapes a third bear hug and knocks Henry down with a series of kicks. Belly to belly suplex by Shamrock, and the Nation has seen enough and swarm him for the DQ at 2:31! You know, there's a certain comfort in these 1998 shows in knowing that most matches won't pass the three minute mark. It certainly makes all these non-finishes easier to swallow. Anyways, DOA and Johnson clear out the Nation, and Shamrock stands tall.
Winner via DQ: Ken Shamrock
Video recap of the long and twisting Undertaker/Kane rivalry. It's the best kind of cheesy soap opera drama that is mostly lacking in the industry today.
NWA North American Champion Jeff Jarrett and Barry Windham (with James E. Cornette and The Rock N Roll Express) vs. The Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal)
It's 1998 and Cornette already thinks wrestling has become a clownshow. Better strap in, Jim, the next few years are going to be wild. Hawk gets the better of Windham, prompting an early tag to Jarrett. Cornette yells at clouds on commentary while Jarrett gets eaten alive. A distraction from the RnR Express allows Team NWA to isolate Hawk. Jarrett hits a hard Irish whip but runs into Hawk's reverse headbutt. Hot tag to Animal, who crushes Windham with a back suplex. Power slam by Animal gets 2, thanks to Jarrett. The match breaks down, and Cornette tosses the racket to Windham, who smashes it over Animal's back for the win at 5:01. Perfectly acceptable wrestling.
Winners: Barry Windham and Jeff Jarrett
Backstage, Triple H drops his pants, so DX censor him with their title belts. High-larious.
Later, Triple H is lounging in a towel and cuts a promo while Chyna aggressively tapes his knee. He might not be 100% but he's going to flush Mr. Hanky down the drain into the cesspool where he belongs. Shawn Michaels cuts a disingenuous promo about how DX are such good role models for children everywhere, only for a bad apple like Stone Cold to ruin it by acting so rude towards Mike Tyson. Michaels feels it's only right that he let Austin out of their WWF title match at Wrestlemania. Triple H thinks HBK owes it to the children to be a part of Wrestlemania, maybe he could wrestle Sable (no, that would make someone upset) or one of the minis. Michaels thinks he should guest referee a match between Austin and Tyson.
TAFKA Goldust (with Luna Vachon) vs. Vader
Goldust and Luna are both cosplaying as Vader, who doesn't like it one bit and unloads a frenzy of punches. Back body drop by Vader, and then a belly to belly suplex. Goldust sneaks in a low blow to gain the upper hand. Quick comeback by Vader, who hits a tight powerbomb. The Vader Bomb is good, but the lights go out. Kane and Paul Bearer interrupt the match, and Vader meets Kane for a brawl (and presumably a DQ at 4:00). Vader hits a piledriver, but Kane sits up and answers with a Tombstone Piledriver. Message signed, sealed, and delivered.
Winner via DQ: Vader
Earlier today, cameras catch Mick Foley and Terry Funk having a friendly chat as themselves.
WWF Tag Team Championship:
The New Age Outlaws © (Road Dogg and Billy Gunn) vs. Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie
Gunn meets Cactus with a baseball slide dropkick while Charlie and Road Dogg duke it out in the ring. Cactus reverses a suplex onto the ramp. Road Dogg pokes Charlie's eyes, and cuts Cactus off with a DDT. Gunn holds Charlie for Road Dogg's jabs. Charlie is in a daze but reverses a suplex and wanders into a hot tag to Cactus. Charlie throws chairs into the ring, and Cactus kicks one into Road Dogg's face. Cactus removes Road Dogg's cup and hits a blatant low blow. The referee finally seems to notice what's happening when Cactus hits a chair assisted elbow drop to ringside and calls for the DQ at 5:16! Sometimes, five minutes is all you need.
Winners via DQ: The New Age Outlaws
Cactus and Charlie bury Road Dogg under chairs for a moonsault by Charlie! The crowd approves of this vicious beatdown by psychotic babyfaces.
Video package putting over Taka Michinoku's short time in the WWF, Light Heavyweight Championship reign, and highlights reel.
The Honky Tonk Man plays guest ring announcer.
Brian Christopher vs. El Pantera
Hot start by Christopher, who hits a German suplex and guffaws at his own excellence. Christopher hits a clothesline and kisses his own biceps. Pantera comes back with arm drags, a baseball slide dropkick, and tope suicida through the buckles! Christopher recovers and hits a sunset flip powerbomb off of the apron! Back to the ring, Pantera counters into a head scissors takedown. Pantera's victory roll gets 2, and Christopher hits a sitout powerbomb. Christopher misses a flying leg drop, and Pantera steals the victory at 4:39. These guys were killing the business before that was a lazy internet narrative.
Winner: El Pantera
Jerry Lawler offers a handshake to El Pantera only to kick him down. That should stop him from getting over.
Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie are pleased with themselves backstage, and get interrupted by Triple H. The diversion allows the New Age Outlaws to push a metal fence on top of Foley and Funk and dish out a brutal beatdown.
The Headbangers (Mosh and Thrasher) vs. The Quebecers (Jacques and Pierre)
The Quebecers cheap shot from behind. Mosh comes right back with a flying seated senton. Pierre catches Thrasher with a clothesline to regain control. Mosh gets an allegedly hot tag and runs wild. The Quebecers whip the Headbangers into each other and then hit stereo dropkicks. Mosh suddenly pins Pierre, as if they suddenly realized they were out of time, at 3:09. This was clunky and heatless, but not too painful at 3 minutes.
Winners: The Headbangers
The Quebecers are sore losers and leave the Headbangers down and out.
WWF European Championship:
Triple H © (with Chyna) vs. Owen Hart
Owen is disgusted when he gets Goldust dressed as Triple H, accompanied by Luna dressed as Chyna. “Hunterdust” pummels Owen into the buckles. Hunterdust loses his wig, but luckily not his prosthetic nose. Owen hits a springboard crossbody for 2, but Goldust sprints up for a clothesline and knee drop. Owen survives a chinlock, but Goldust hits a bionic elbow and stretches the knee. Back from commercials, Owen is making a heroic comeback. Missile dropkick by Owen, but Luna hits him with a crutch. Goldust can't hit a Pedigree and Owen puts him into the Sharpshooter for the win at 5:08 (shown). Crowd wasn't really thrilled to see Goldust pulling double duty, combined with the bait and switch, this made for a dull affair.
Winner: Owen Hart
DX appear on the Titantron to laugh at Owen's expense. Sgt. Slaughter comes out and compliments DX for tricking us all again. Slaughter is so impressed by Goldust's Triple H impersonation, he awards the European Championship to Owen! Triple H throws a wonderful tantrum while Owen gloats in the ring. This all made me smile.
We get a word from Don King in his office. He wants to bring Mike Tyson and Stone Cold together for a fight, except the Nevada state commission has banned Tyson from fighting. King thinks they can find a way around the rules, and make something happen at Wrestlemania 14. Open your wallets, folks.
Stone Cold Steve Austin comes to the ring for the main event segment. The fans have waited patiently all night to see him and erupt. Austin is still pissed about what happened with Tyson and will beat him up in someone's backyard if needed. Austin would love to rip out Tyson's gold tooth and turn it into a necklace. They don't have to wait until Wrestlemania, Austin will knock Tyson out the next time he sees him. And that's a wrap.
Final Thoughts: Pretty solid maintenance show this week. They gave the Tyson/Austin confrontation plenty of attention, threw some doubt into what the title match at Wrestlemania would be, and heated up a good tag team championship feud. This is what Wrestlemania season is supposed to feel like.
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