Thursday, November 23, 2017

WWF Monday Night Raw 11/23/1998

WWF Monday Night Raw 11/23/1998

This was after Survivor Series '98 with Vince and Shane recreating the screwjob to get The Rock the belt.

I don't quite remember the storyline here, but Vince was forming the corporation and signed Ken Shamrock.

Austin was then laid out with a shovel by Taker, which will be important to know to tonight's ep.

Austin apparently blacked out at house show after a match, so he was at the hospital.

"For those of you who feel I was behind the brutal attack on Austin from behind with the shovel....I had nothing to do with it. " - Vince
"I categorically deny those accusations and as you know, I don't lie."
Vince said they would name a new commissioner and they said it would be for the fans. He said Commissioner Slaughter would step down and the new guy would not answer to him.

"The new commissioner will have full rights and privileges to trreat each and every WWF superstar with quality and dignity. The only exception to the rule, will be, Stone Cold Steve Austin. He's mine." 

Shawn Michaels was announced as the new commissioner.

"There's a new sheriff in town." - Shawn Michaels
"Well Vin-Man...or is it Mr. Vin-Man?"
HBK said he was glad to be back.
"The Rock will defend against D-Generation X member, X-Pac!

"I don't think that's what the boss had in mind." - Jim Ross

They pitched it as Vince not being thrilled about this but they didn't really go into why.

Kevin Kelly interviewed the ICP and the Oddities about their match with the Headbangers tonight. Violent J said they weren't ready.
"You guys were right. We're not ready...I mean Shaggy's not read." - Violent J

They asked for the Oddities to watch their back tonight.

The Oddities vs The Headbangers

The finish
The Headbangers won with whatever that was in less than 2 minutes. What can you say about a 2 minute match?

ICP turns on The Oddities - The Turn of 1998

They cut Luna's hair, which should have been quite the angle, but instead was a total throwaway.

"Poor Luna" - King
Luna tried to sell it, but they cut away to commercial pretty fast, blowing this entire angle. Then they came back to talking about Kane. again undermining that angle.

Apparently Kane and Paul Bearer had a falling out and Kane went on a rampage, shooting X-Pac with a Roman Candle and trying to light multiple people on fire.

The Blue Blazer vs Steve Blackman

"It's almost like a chokehold or a reverse sleeper." - Jim Ross
"It sounds like him but that nose is average size and Owen's isn't" - JR on whether or not that's really Owen Hart

The Blazer hid his face all match long.

Steve Blackman beat The Blue Blazer with a step kick in another nothing sub 3 minute match. The story of it was Blazer hiding his identity and King trying to push that it was indeed Owen under the mask.

Nice clip by Owen

"Austin suffered from dizziness...he blacked out." - JR
"The son of a gun refused medical attention" - JR | "Serves him right. Why wouldn't he go to a doctor?" - King | "Serves him right? He got with a shovel by the Undertaker." - JR | "Right, go to a doctor." - King
King had a point.

The Brood - Gangrel and Edge vs D'Lo Brown and Mark Henry

Chyna apparently filed a lawsuit to keep Mark Henry away and Henry said he just wanted a date.

"Chyna, if you're listening - Roses are red, violets are blue, Mark just wants a date with you, no sex." - King

"You know what I like about D'Lo Brown? He is such a competitor. He is such a brave man to compete with that injured chest." - King | "That coulda hurt D'Lo's chest." - King | "D'Lo's chest isn't hurt anymore. It can't be." - King | "Why you think he's still wearing the chest protector?" - King | "If he's that terminally ill, he woulda been on 60 minutes last night." - JR
Check the sign in the back there

"You know, I didn't grow up in Oklahoma with a lot of folks with gothic lifestyles that I was aware of." - JR | "I still wanna know what a gothic lifestyle is. Is it anything like an alternative lifestyle?" - King

Gangrel rolled up Mark Henry for the win when he was focused on Chyna at the ramp. Pretty decent match here that went 10 minutes. Nice fast pace to it and D'Lo and Edge had their working shoes on. D'Lo brought his mannerisms and the commentary was entertaining why Gangrel stayed out of it. I really liked the double DDT and D'Lo's missed dive.

Chyna said she'd go out with Mark.

Stone Cold was in the hospital. Doc said he had a concussion.
"Mr. Austin, you had a concussion." - Doc | "Well hell yeah I did. I got hit in the head with a shovel. What'd ya think?" - Austin
Doc said he needed a few weeks off.
"Well, how do ya feel, Steve?" - JR | "Well I got hit in the head with a shovel. It don't take a rocket scientist to see that." - Austin
"One of his first actions was to give his old buddy X-Pac a shot at the WWF title." - JR | "Well how convenient!" - King
Goldust vs Marvelous Marc Mero

Mero fired Jacqueline the night before on Sunday Night Heat
"Terri, she ain't dressed for joggin'." -JR
"Take it off! Take it off!" - The crowd| "Might as well at this point." - Me

"Uh-oh. Shattered Dreams!" - King | "He's gonna shatter more than dreams here if given the opportunity." - JR

The ref ended the match after the low blow on Mero. Jacky and Terri high-fived, signalling the debut of PMS - Pretty Mean Sistas. You want to know my thoughts on the match? A low blow and Terri's shirt were the highlights here.

The nurse asked for Austin's autograph as they had Austin get rest. JR raised Austin's BP by asking him questions.

WWF Hardcore Title - Ken Shamrock vs The Big Boss Man vs Mankind

"Triple threat match, my you know what." - JR | "Oh, you think this is gonna be 2 on 1? You think this is gonna be some kind of a set-up?" - King

They showed Ken and Boss man beating up on Mankind 2v1 last week.

"Take a look at this hardcore belt, JR. It's about as mutilated as Mankind's face is going to be after this hardcore match." - King

King said he thought he saw a hearse at the hospital Austin was at.

"Wait a minute, here's the JOB Squad." - JR

The finish

Mankind got the pin on Ken Shamrock after Al Snow used Head on Shamrock. This wasn't technically sound, but it made sense, the crowd was into it, the commentators were good, Vince's reactions were good and it wasn't bad at all. They didn't do anything special here, but you don't really need to. This was a fight that mostly made sense from start to finish and I enjoyed it.

Bossman and Shamrock chased Mankind up the ramp as went to the hospital:

"My god, that's the Undertaker. Undertaker's smotherin' Austin." - JR

"You see, boy, this is where you get off. This is YOUR last ride." - Undertaker
"The Undertaker and Paul Bearer have just loaded Austin into that damn hearse." - JR

WWF Lightheavyweight Title - Christian vs Duane Gill

"It's Christian vs Duane Gill." - Jr | "Who?" - King

Duane Gill came out to contemporary Jazz while video was shown of him losing to Max Moon on the Titantron. Really, I swear!

"I'm trying to see if he had any advertisements on the soles of his shoes. That'd be the only way he'll make some money off of this match." - King

"Duane Gill paid his dues. I'm not sure he's in the upper echelon of Light Heavyweights." - JR
"He's spent more time on the canvas than Rembrandt." - JR

"The Job Squad is back. This match is over. Christian has got Duane Gill beat." - JR

"Scorpio from the sky!" - JR

"Duane, this has gotta be the greatest upset in WWE history." - Cole

"They're throwin' Austin right there in that grave, King."

"He's got ether or somethin'"
"Austin, burying you alive - that's just too good for you." - Taker | "What are we gonna do?" - Paul | "I'll tell you what we're gonna do. We're gonna embalm him." - Taker | "Alive?" - Paul | "We're gonna embalm him alive." - Taker

The Godfather vs Tiger Ali Singh

As we are about to have this match, King and JR are still talking about the potential embalming. Yep, we're just gonna embalm someone alive, and hey, by the way, Tiger Ali Singh is gonna wrestle a pimp. Doesn't get much more wrestling than that.

"You got your choice of fighting me..and I will kick your ass. Or..."

"Feast your eyes on these buckeyes, buck-o." - Godfather
Godfather offered Tiger the girls or a match with his, as Regal came down.

"You can definitely afford better slappers than this." - Regal

The New Age Outlaws vs The JOB Squad

The leafblower was supposed to be for Vince until he screwed him at the Survivor Series.

Scorpio got the pin on Billy Gunn after Gunn got his with A LEAFBLOWER~! Decent match. They kept it moving, the Outlaws were super over and I def bought into JR telling us how the Job Squad needed to a get win and make a name for themselves.

"How absurd is this JR? He's hitting him with a leafblower!" - King

"If this is a sign of things to come, we're gonna have a new WWF champion tonight." - JR | "If this is a sign of things to come, we're gonna have a clean lawn tonight!" - Me

Vince's cronies seemed to be working with the Outlaws

"Put him on the nice cold hard slab, the stone cold hard slab." - Paul Bearer

"This has gotta be the best idea you've ever had." - Paul

"What you are about to experience is going to be the worst pain and horror you could ever endure." - Undertaker

"KANEEEE" - Paul

The feed then cut out and we went right to our next match LOL God I love wrestling hahahah

WWF Title - The Rock vs X-Pac
1-2-3 Kid was one of my favorite wrestlers when I was younger and I really liked Syxx. I was absolutely stoked when he debuted in the WWF.

HBK kicked out everyone but Pac and Rock.

"Shawn Michaels has sold out!" - JR | "It's a multi-million dollar merger." - King

The Rock beat X-Pac after Commissioner Michaels interfered and hit X-Pac with a chair, turning on DX. After the match, The Corporation and DX brawled in ring. Pretty good match. X-Pac had so much fire and really great comebacks while Rock was fine in his role. Did not see the SWERVE~! coming, but this is Russo booked TV.

Overall thoughts: I thought this was a good episode of Raw. JR was on fire all show bringing fire and passion to everything he touched. There were some decent matches and they really kept the pace moving, though it didn't allow enough time for some things to build. Every match had some angle or some new turn in the storyline which was good, but it also meant a lot of DQ's and dirty finishes. I bought into the whole embalming angle, I really popped for the Leafblower of Death" and the Duane Gill upset win was pretty good. I recommend checking this out.

It's real easy for me to see why wrestling was so hot at this time. Everyone on the show was involved in an angle. From Kane to Duane Gill to Vince. You HAD to watch the full show as something happened in each segment. Almost everyone on the show also had some kind of character to them and that's stuff people like. 

The matches, while short  andnot the most technically sound, looked a lot more legit than they do now. All punches and kicks might not be pretty, but that's how a real fight goes and it's far easier to believe and buy. The matches were also kept short enough that you didn't have a ton of time to get bored and change the channel.

I've said on multiple occasions that the matches really don't mean that much in wrestling. They are a vehicle to play out a story and shouldn't be the focus unless it's the PPV or a big show and this was a good example of that. No one cared that most of the matches here went 5 minutes and had messy finishes. The matches mattered because they added to the various stories.

I think you can learn a lot from this show. It's not the matches nor the moves, it's the personalities interacting to advance their various stories. I had no interest in watching this show on paper. But I feel like I HAVE to tune in for the next one now to see what's going to happen. And because there were so many stories, like a soap opera, even if one of them failed or weren't that interesting, like Regal/Godfather, there were multiple other stories to keep you invested.

This is where wrestling goes wrong right now. There's very few stories. There's few characters and there's not a lot of reason to tune in the next week. You don't miss anything but missing Raw, but you would miss everything by missing Raw during this period.

I also need to stress how essential JR was to pulling all of this off. He was on fire all show. One of the better performances I've ever seen from him and there is no possible way you could fake the interest he had in this product at this time. The current announcers, even at their best would never be able to come close to JR tonight and it really does reflect on the product.