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WWF RAW- March 9, 1998
by Samoa Rowe
Written in May 2021. Follow me on Twitter @SamoaRowe.
From the Wheeling Civic Center in Wheeling, West Virginia. Our hosts are Jim Ross, Michael Cole, Kevin Kelly, and Jerry Lawler
The Nation of Domination (Faarooq and Intercontinental Champion The Rock, with Mark Henry, D'Lo Brown, and Kama Mustafa) vs. Steve Blackman and Ken Shamrock
Gee, I wonder if Rock and Faarooq might struggle to get along. Loud "Rocky Sucks" chant at the bell. Faarooq corners Blackman and hits a spin heel kick to the gut. Blackman answers with his own educated feet. Shamrock tags and cuts Faarooq down with stiff kicks. Spinebuster by Faarooq and Rock tags in for a scoop slam and Peoples' Elbow on Shamrock. Blackman fights out of the NoD corner, but Rock cuts him down with a clothesline. The broadcast has been periodically interrupted by fake technical glitches. Shamrock gets a hot tag and power slams Rock for 2. Shamrock hits a rana and seems poised for victory when the Nation swarms the ring for the DQ at 4:35. Average match, which had the potential to be a plodding affair but was protected by the short length, **.
Winners via DQ: Steve Blackman and Ken Shamrock
Rock pulls Faarooq away from Shamrock so he can beat him up instead. Faarooq gives Rock what he wants and orders the Nation away from the ring, which means there's no one there to help him when Shamrock comes back to life with a belly to belly suplex. Faarooq forbids the Nation from helping while Shamrock punishes Rock with an ankle lock.
Triple H and Chyna come to the ring to talk. Triple H is in great spirits after DX revealed their alliance with Mike Tyson. He declares that Chyna has gotten into Owen Hart's head, and that Shawn Michaels has the edge in the feud with Austin after blindsiding him with Sweet Chin Music. HBK cuts a promo from a restaurant on the Titantron, as he's carefully nursing a crippling back injury, er, I mean attending to his busy agenda. HBK cuts a promo as if the Wrestlemania buyrate depends on it. Triple H tells the fans to s*ck it and joins commentary.
WWF European Championship:
Owen Hart © vs. Barry Windham (with James E. Cornette)
Owen escapes the corner and hits an arm drag. Windham nails a vertical suplex and then grabs a wristlock. Windham misses an elbow drop, but recovers, while the match is interrupted by more phony technical glitches. Windham's DDT gets 2, and even with just 3 minutes gone, I'm begging this match to end. Owen comes back with a missile dropkick but Cornette distracts to prevent a Sharpshooter. Owen back drops Windham to the floor and hauls him back, only for Chyna to hit a low blow, causing him to get counted out at 5:16. Longest 5 minute match ever, *.
Winner via count-out: Barry Windham
Bradshaw runs in to clear out Windham and Cornette. Triple H is beyond amused on commentary.
Sable and Marc Mero argue backstage.
Jerry Lawler interviews Paul Bearer and Kane backstage. Paul doesn't want to talk about Undertaker's dramatic return, as Kane's destruction of Vader at No Way Out is a much more pleasing topic. The benches in the locker room start open and closing on their own, which spooks out Paul, though Kane doesn't seem too bothered. This was cute.
Aguila (with Taka Michinoku) vs. Brian Christopher (with Jerry Lawler)
Christopher jumps Aguila from behind, but Aguila lands on his feet in a German suplex and dropkicks the back. Springboard wristlock takedown by Augila and then a plancha. Aguila hits an Asai moonsault right into a reverse DDT onto the ramp. The lights nearly go out, as it's becoming increasingly clear that all the weird things tonight are Undertaker tricks. Meanwhile, Christopher hits a piledriver, and then a suplex into the ring. Neckbreaker by Christopher, and then a really messy sunset flip powerbomb to ringside. Aguila shakes it off (no-sells) and hits a top rope armdrag and then dropkick to the back of the head. Flying rana by Aguila, as the lights flicker. Taka pulls Jerry off the apron and gets thrown into the ring post. Jerry gets caught tripping Aguila on the top rope and the ref throws the match out at 4:56. Match was just random noise to amuse us while J.R. promoted live events, **.
Winner via DQ: Aguila
Christopher hits a Liger Bomb on Aguila for good measure. Taka dropkicks Christopher onto Jerry, who is more concerned about fixing his crown.
Stone Cold Steve Austin enters the building and throws his luggage down to head to the ring through the side door. Austin is still steamed up about Mike Tyson joining DX, and is offended by footage of Mr. McMahon pumping Tyson up as the baddest man on the planet. Austin sits himself in the ring until he gets face time with Vince. The fans love this, though I'll be honest, I was the kind of kid who would've been like "But I wanted to see the scheduled matches!" The stooges and Sgt. Slaughter can't reason with him, Austin knows that they can't fire him weeks before Wrestlemania. Back from commercials, Pat Patterson leads security down, but they are too intimidated to do anything either. Mr. McMahon finally shows up and Austin proceeds to whine about Vince insulting him by favoring Tyson. Vince tries to reason with Steve and gets a middle finger stuck in his face. Vince refuses to endorse Steve as the next WWF Champion, so now Austin wants to fight and gives him a free shot. Vince refuses to hit Austin, despite his jacket getting ripped, and leaves. Austin isn't satisfied and talks some trash about Shawn Michaels before finally vacating the ring. The fans loved this, but it dragged near the end, and kind of made Austin look kind of whiny and insecure in the process.
The Quebecers (Jacques and Pierre) vs. Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie
Cactus and Charlie clear the ring while the lights flicker again. Charlie hits Jacques with a neckbreaker for 2. The picture scrambles out for a moment and we return with Jacques slamming Pierre onto Charlie. Jacques slams Charlie onto the announce table, which disgusts J.R. almost as much as an AEW trios match. Pierre goes on to miss a flying elbow and Charlie back drops over him for the hot tag. Cactus goes on a punching spree and clotheslines himself and Pierre to the floor. The match breaks down and Charlie misses a top rope moonsault! Pierre hits Cactus with a super rana for 2! Funk clears Jacque while Cactus finishes Pierre with a DDT at 5:26. This was great fun, ***.
Winners: Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie
Road Dogg, sporting a bandaged arm, interrupts Cactus and Charlie's celebration, and talks enough trash to lure Cactus up the stage, leaving Charlie vulnerable to a chair sneak attack from Billy Gunn. Come on, Cactus and Charlie are supposed to be smarter than this.
Kane and Paul Bearer come to the ring to talk. Paul pretends he's not terrified of The Undertaker and says they did him a favor by sending him back to the dark side. The lights go out and Undertaker appears behind them in the ring, but then it gets dark again and Taker is gone. Kane brushes off the mind games and summons his pyro.
TAFKA Goldust (with Luna) vs. Marc Mero (with Sable)
Luna must be handcuffed to the ring post and Goldust insists on cuffing her himself. Sable would love to attack Luna, but Mero stops her, and she gets cuffed to the opposite post. The men start brawling, and between this being heel vs. heel, and Sable being bound at ringside, the crowd is totally dead. Well, the front row reacts positively to Goldust slamming Mero onto the rail in front of them. Goldust finds time to move in on Sable, and Mero breaks it up. The ref takes a bump, Goldust recovers with a slam, and hits the ref with a leg drop. Goldust retrieves the handcuff key and frees Luna. Sable is helpless and Luna thrashes her and smears makeup all over her face. I think we can assume the match is thrown out around 5:30. The match itself was a DUD, but Luna's assault on Sable was a productive angle.
Goldust and Luna are pleased with themselves and challenge Sable and Mero to a mixed tag match at Wrestlemania.
Extensive video recap of the Mike Tyson/DX/Steve Austin saga. It ends with a Tyson interview with J.R. Tyson keeps it simple: Austin disrespected him and it p!ssed him off. J.R. wants to know how Tyson can be a fair enforcer, Tyson dismisses him. "Fair is winning."
Savio Vega (with Los Boricuas) vs. Triple H (with Chyna)
There's loads of extra security due to the lingering Stone Cold threat against DX. The match barely begins before Austin storms in and starts hitting Stunners left and right. Let's call it a DQ at 0:45. v
Shawn Michaels is here and drops Austin with Sweet Chin Music! Triple H holds AUstin in place for a chair shot but the show goes off the air before we can see what happens.
Final Thoughts: These 1998 shows are deeply flawed, but also tremendously entertaining. I wish the current product had about 25% of the soap opera elements of this era, and the confidence to just put a show together without overthinking every detail. I'm left wanting more and feeling eager to see what happens next. The Russo Crazy Train hasn't kicked into high gear yet, these early 1998 shows are in a good groove.
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