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WWF RAW- February 9, 1998
by Samoa Rowe
Written in May 2021. Follow me on Twitter @SamoaRowe.
Show opens with Sunny dressed up as Marilyn Monroe, singing Happy Birthday to Classy Freddie Blassie. I'm guessing Vince got a kick out of this.
From Evansville, Indiana. Our hosts are Jim Ross, Michael Cole, Kevin Kelly, and Jerry Lawler.
Stone Cold Steve Austin marches to the ring with purpose. He's all fired up from the beating he took at the hands of DX. He's gunning for a piece of Shawn's @ss at No Way Out and demands that he have the guts to confront him now. Shawn Michaels and DX appear on the Titantron. Shawn is taking control of the situation and will only face Austin on his own terms. Austin reveals that he swapped out Shawn's WWF title with a toy belt, and he'll only give it back if HBK asks nicely. This was the best kind of talking segment to open Raw.
Sunny plays guest ring announcer, sadly no longer dressed up like Marilyn Monroe.
The Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal) vs. Barry Windham and NWA North American Champion Jeff Jarrett (with James E. Cornette and the Rock N Roll Express)
Hawk unloads on Windham and hits Thesz Press. Jarrett rescues Windham and kicks Animal in the gut. Animal comes right back with a clothesline. Running tackle by Animal, but Windham's distraction lets Jarrett drop him to ringside. Team NWA work over Animal with quick tags. Per usual, Hawk gets the hot tag and crushes Jarrett with a neckbreaker. The match breaks down, and somehow Jim Ross manages to not complain about the lack of tags. The RnR Express drop Animal onto the ring steps and Cornette blasts his leg with the loaded racket. Jarrett puts Animal into the Figure Four, but Bradshaw runs in to clean house, and the match is thrown out at 5:08. Match wasn't "good" but this got over with the live crowd better than the previous NWA angles.
Winners via DQ: The Legion of Doom
Triple H and Shawn Michaels are outraged about Austin stealing the WWF title and Chyna has to talk them down.
Pierre (with Jacques) vs. Henry Godwinn (with Phineas Godwinn)
Strong start by Pierre and his clubbing offense. Pierre's wild tope results in him landing on his head, but he protects himself enough to save face and continue with a flying leg drop. Pierre misses a somersault senton, and Henry comes back with a back body drop and single leg atomic drop. Henry considers a dive, but Jacques grabs his leg and hits him with the slop bucket. Phineas steals the bucket and clocks Pierre, allowing Henry to win at 4:38. Match was alright, it's hard to get mad about these short matches.
Winner: Henry Godwinn
Chyna interrupts Los Boricuas' friendly dominos game and offers them some dinero to do DX's dirty work.
Brian Christopher and El Pantera vs. WWF Light Heavyweight Champion Taka Michinoku and Aguila
Pantera hits Aguila with a wild suplex. Aguila lands on his feet in a missed springboard corkscrew and monkey flips Pantera over the ropes. Christopher's ambush attempt backfires, and Aguila hits a corkscrew plancha onto him and Pantera, followed by Taka's high crossbody to ringside. Pantera recovers with a back heel kick on Taka. Taka catches Christopher with a spin heel kick as well. Aguila tags in and misses a springboard moonsault, allowing Christophera nd Taka to cut him off. Back from commercials, Aguila is still getting eaten alive. Taka scores the hot tag and dishes out ranas. Christopher goes for a foreign object and eats Taka's back suplex. Pantera puts the foreign object inside his mask and hits Taka with a flying headbutt, allowing the easy win at 5:29 (shown). A rare "workrate" match on these 1998 shows, that finish made me chuckle, **½.
Winners: Brian Christopher and El Pantera
Paul Bearer and Kane come to the ring to talk about Kane's recent dominance. This doesn't go anywhere (this time) but Kane looks totally bad-ass just standing there in the red mood lighting.
Ken Shamrock and Chainz (with DOA and Ahmed Johnson) vs. The Nation of Domination (WWF Intercontinental Champion The Rock and Faarooq, with Mark Henry, D'Lo Brown, and Kama Mustafa)
The Rock cuts an amusing promo about supporting human cloning, except no one from Evansville is worthy. Faarooq tears into Chainz at the bell, but runs into an elbow shot. Quick tag to Shamrock, who hits Faarooq with a hard back elbow. Body shots by Shamrock send Faarooq retreating to a tag. Shamrock hits Rock with a leg lariat and sends him fleeing into the ropes. Crowd chants "Rocky Sucks" but Faarooq feeds Chainz to the NoD members at ringside. Hot tag to Shamrock, who cleans house to a superstar reaction from the fans. The extras brawl at ringside while Shamrock hits Faarooq with a rana and locks on the ankle lock. Rock breaks the hold with a chair shot, and Faarooq gets the easy cover at 4:23. Good enough for TV.
Winners: The Nation of Domination
Shamrock is rightfully upset and continues pummeling Faarooq after the bell, goes into a trance, and suplexes the referee. Shamrock is so far gone that he suplexes Chainz, and DOA and Johnson have to restrain him. This made me chuckle.
Footage from a Wrestlemania 14 press conference. Mr. McMahon announces that Tyson will serve as a special enforcer in the main event. Shawn Michaels feels like he's playing second fiddle in the Austin/Tyson saga, and vows that he lays down for nobody and will win at ‘Mania. Steve Austin and Mike Tyson couldn't handle being in the same room together and had to be held apart again.
Chyna and Los Boricuas storm the locker room area in search of Stone Cold, and have to ruffle a few feathers along the way.
Steve Blackman vs. Recon (with Sniper)
Blackman has a good start, despite the distraction of the Jackyl cutting a kooky promo on a descending platform. Recon takes control while Jackyl complains that his little sister cries herself to sleep after hearing Jim Ross compare him to sociopathic cult leaders. Sniper gets some cheap shots in at ringside while Jackyl claims that more and more Jackylites are appearing in WWF crowds. Blackman rallies and hits a side Russian leg sweep while the fans chant "Shut Up" at Jackyl. Recon misses a flying splash and Blackman puts him into an armbar, or something, and wins via submission at 4:36. This completely died, DUD.
Winner: Steve Blackman
The Jackyl berates Recon for the loss. This angle is going nowhere fast. Recon considers pummeling Jackyl for slapping him, but Jackyl just turns his back and laughs.
WWF Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws come to the stage to gloat about launching Chainsaw Charlie and Cactus Jack off the stage in a dumpster. They recreate the moment by pushing an empty dumpster off the stage, well, that's not exactly true, as two blow-up dolls dressed like Funk and Foley spill out.
Chyna and Los Boricuas split up to continue searching for Stone Cold. Austin was hiding in the shadows and locks Los Boricuas into a room.
TAFKA Goldust (with Luna Vachon, Marc Mero, and Sable) vs. Thrasher (with Mosh)
Goldust is still cosplaying as Marilyn Manson. Sable looks like she'd rather be anywhere else, and Mero orders her to leave. Back from commercials, Goldust catches Thrasher with an armdrag. Thrasher answers with a hip toss. Hard Irish whip by Goldust, but Thrasher clears the ring. Thrasher hits a wonky looking springboard back elbow. Luna's distraction backfires as Mosh cheap shots Goldust. Goldust regains control and slams Thrasher onto the steel rail. Thrasher rallies while the fans chant for Sable. Luna trips Thrasher, prompting Sable to return. She slaps Goldust, and Thrasher wins via roll-up at 4:35. Nothing match, but Sable was ungodly over.
Apparently, it's completely impossible to save Los Boricuas from behind closed doors, so DX march to the ring by themselves. WWF Champion Shawn Michaels runs down his many enemies, none more so than Stone Cold, and demands that the physical championship belt be returned. He politely asks "Get your @ss out here, pleeeeeeease." The Rattlesnake responds on cue, dragging the WWF title, and he clears the ring. The New Age Outlaws flank Austin, who is totally surrounded. There's a chainsaw noise in the arena, and Chyna sneakily retrieves the title. Chainsaw Charlie cuts through the apron and he and Cactus Jack crawl out through the ring! Owen Hart arrives, and the good guys send DX packing. HBK doesn't mind because he's got the WWF title in his grasp again. Super hot angle to end the show on a positive note.
Final Thoughts: My inner 13 year old looooved this show, even though some boring/pointless matches dragged down the middle. If anyone from WWE is reading this (LOL) perhaps you should watch and take notes, because the current product in 2021 has virtually none of this energy. Even when these 1998 Raws are "bad" I still feel happy while watching.
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