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WWF RAW- April 13, 1998

by Samoa Rowe

Stone Cold Steve Austin

Written in September 2021. Follow me on Twitter Samoa Rowe.

From the Corestates Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I believe this was the first Raw to beat Nitro head-to-head in almost two years. Our hosts are Jim Ross, Michael Cole, and Jerry Lawler.

WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin comes to the ring to a monstrous ovation. He threatens to hijack the show until Mr. McMahon joins him for a friendly conversation. Vince the stooges answer the call, accompanied by police in riot gear. Austin makes it clear that he's not going to obey orders and demands to know who his next challenger is. Vince claims he hasn't made up his mind yet. Austin knows that he doesn't fit the profile Vince wants for WWF Champion (and basically describes John Cena in the process) and accuses the chairman of wanting the championship for himself. Austin wants to put the title on the line against Vince (he could beat him even with an arm tied behind his back). Either Vince accepts, or Austin spends the night beating him up anyway. The fans ate this all up, this was an all-time classic opening segment.

Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco encourage Mr. McMahon to take the match with Austin.

Chain Match: DOA (Skull and 8-Ball) vs. Los Boricuas (Savio Vega and Jose Estrada)

DX are watching at ringside, and quickly get involved with chair shots against DOA. Triple H gives Chainz a Pedigree onto a chair. The camera follows DX as they give Chainz a spike piledriver on the ramp. The fact that men are fighting in the ring is happenstance. DX swarm the ring to beat up Skull and 8-Ball, and the match is thrown out at 2:15. Rules are rules, DUD.
No Contest

Los Boricuas are delighted by what's transpired and join in the celebration, but DX turns on them with low blows and beats them senseless.

Meanwhile, Shane McMcMahon argues against Vince fighting Austin, he doesn't want him to get hurt.

We're supposed to get a light heavyweight division tag match, but Mr. McMahon shoos them away to talk about how much the WWF means to his family. He's basically doing the same thing backstage at NXT these days. Now that Stone Cold has insulted him, a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, so he gives Austin's challenge the old "Oh hell yeah.” Jim Ross is too concerned for Vince's safety and takes off. Next, Undertaker comes out to beat up the light heavyweights, and the crowd doesn't mind. He hijacks the show until Kane comes out, so we take a break.

During the commercial, Jim Ross argued with Patterson and Brisco, Vince tells them all off and orders Shane to get his bag from the car.

Jeff Jarrett (with Tennessee Lee) vs. WWF Light Heavyweight Champion Taka Michinoku

Undertaker is gone, guess he got bored with the filibuster. Jarrett quickly gains control while they're interrupted by a Steve Blackman interview. Taka survives a superplex, and is poised for a comeback when he's ambushed by Kamikaze USA for the DQ at 2:30. Jarrett puts Taka into a Figure Four anyway. Just an absolute nothing match, DUD.
Winner via DQ: Taka Michinoku

J.R. asks Austin if he's surprised by Vince's choice. Austin isn't surprised, but thinks Vince is getting bad advice from his stooges (haha, he's saying that in 1998).

Vince has his sweats on and is haplessly trying to learn holds from Patterson and Brisco.

Faarooq, sporting bandaged ribs, comes to the ring to talk some trash about The Rock. He'll give the
one more chance to kick his @ss and calls them out. Rock arrives and thinks Faarooq must be half-ignorant from his last beating, because he's acting like he's the champion. Faarooq salutes them, which is a cue for Ken Shamrock and Steve Blackman to ambush the Nation for an even brawl.

Terry Funk is upset that Mick Foley waddled away into possible retirement because the fans were chanting for Austin. Funk is no quitter (and if you don't believe him, he's got about a dozen future retirement matches ahead of him) and introduces his new partner, 2 Cold Scorpio, ironically dropping the Flash Funk persona.

Terry Funk and 2 Cold Scorpio vs. The Quebecers (Jaques and Pierre)

The Quebecers have a clear experience advantage and force Funk into their corner with ease. Funk punches his way out and Scorpio runs wild with dropkicks and body slams. Pierre hits Scorpio with an avalanche belly to belly suplex. Scorpio answers with a 450 splash and wins at 2:15. Short match, but it served a purpose and actually got someone over, *.
Winners: Terry Funk and 2 Cold Scorpio

Luna comes to the ring and promptly calls Sable out. Well, that's not quite all, she makes it gross, by making it about her PMS and flowing adrenaline. Instead of Sable, we get Dustin Rhodes as SableDust. J.R. hilarious digs that Dustin is "making everyone around him proud.” Luna strips SableDust of his evening gown, while he protests that she's made him naked. The real Sable rushes in (to a superstar ovation) and for a pull apart brawl.

Austin gets ready backstage, apparently the title match can happen at any moment. Better not switch over to Nitro, folks.

Steve Blackman and Ken Shamrock vs. NWA Tag Team Champions The New Midnight Express (Bodacious Bart and Bombastic Bob, with Jim Cornette and Dan Severn)

The ref ejects Severn for staring down Shamrock. Bart gets totally dominated by Shamrock, but manages to lure Blackman into Bob's dropkick. Blackman comes right back and puts Bob in a backslide pin for 2. Bob answers with a hurricanrana, but Blackman chops him down. The Midnight Express clearly calling their spots is super distracting, but they manage to trap Blackman in their corner. Shamrock gets a quick hot tag and runs wild until the match is thrown out at 3:54 because everyone is in the ring. See, the reason why that rule isn't usually enforced is because it's insulting and sucks, ½*.
No Contest

The stooges continue to pump up Mr. McMahon's ego. He has butterflies in his stomach, but he's not scared of Austin, just like he wasn't afraid of the U.S. government or Ted Turner.

The Head Bangers are supposed to have a match, but Undertaker comes out and beats them up. This gets the reaction from Kane that Taker wanted, and out comes the Big Red Machine and Paul Bearer. They challenge Undertaker to meet them at his parents' grave for a cemetery fight. That's awesomely tasteless, can't wait to see it.

Val Venis is enjoying himself on the casting call for his next film, "Lust in Space.” He's got a rocket in his pocket, ready to take all the ladies to new and exciting heights. The bad puns and metaphor continue, his co stars don't seem to mind.

DX come to the ring and are quickly joined by Owen Hart, who is eager to kick one of their @sses. Triple H quips that DX held an essay contest to find out who should kick Owen's @ss. Billy Gunn wrote the winning essay, thanks to the eloquent comparisons he made between Owen and barnyard animals. This was one of the most (intentionally) amusing Triple H promos I've ever seen. The Legion of Doom arrive to back up Owen.

Meanwhile, Mr. McMahon is working out, and it turns out he has some pretty big biceps.

Owen Hart (with LOD 2000) vs. Billy Gunn (with DX)

We join the match in progress, and it looks like Gunn has Owen's number. Billy works a chinlock, which is usually the hold that happens DURING the commercials and not AFTER. Owen escapes and delivers a running crossbody, but Billy pops up for a clothesline. On commentary, Triple H and X-Pac are taking shots at how old and broken down LOD are. Owen nearly pulls off Billy's tights and hits an atomic drop. Chyna interrupts the Sharpshooter, and Billy dumps Owen to ringside. LOD keep DX at bay, and they cut to commercials. They return with Owen building steam with scoop slams. Billy is denied a timeout and eats a missile dropkick. Billy hits a desperation Fame-asser to buy some time. Billy showboats after a power slam, and Owen rolls him up to win at 6:16 (shown). Not bad, but strangely heatless, I guess the fans were confused when it didn't end after 2 minutes, *.
Winner: Owen Hart

There's no more commercial breaks, so they head straight to...

WWF Championship:
Stone Cold Steve Austin © vs. Mr. McMahon (with Pat Patterson, Gerald Brisco, Shane McMahon, and Sgt. Slaughter)

Mr. McMahon unveils his jacked up physique while strutting to the ring. I don't think most fans knew how muscular Vince really was under his business suits. I guess in 1998 Vince wasn't that much older than numerous WWE main eventers in 2021, so he doesn't even look all that out of place in the ring. Vince gives Steve a slap, and reminds him of his proclamation that he could win with one armed tied behind his back, and dares him to prove it. Austin reluctantly allows Brisco to tie up his "Stunner" arm. Austin is eager to get to Vince's destruction, but Mr. McMahon keeps stalling until Mick Foley interrupts as Dude Love. He's the only cat who can bring peace to the Warzone! Vince has heard enough and shoves The Dude down. Dude Love puts Vince in a mandible claw, Austin tries to get involved, but the Dude twists around and puts Stone Cold down with the claw! Mr. McMahon retreats without the bell ever having rung, leaving Austin to suffer an aggressive beatdown from Dude Love. Well, the main event turned out to be a bait and switch, but it doesn't matter, because it was an all-time great Raw angle, and it gave the WWF a historic ratings win over WCW.

Final Thoughts: Highly entertaining from a crash TV, soap opera perspective. Maybe the best wrestling TV show without any good matches that I've ever seen.

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