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Raw History: Episode 243 and Reliving Nitro: Episode 123

July 16, 2018 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
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Raw History: Episode 243 and Reliving Nitro: Episode 123  

Royal Rumble 1998 Results
Vader def. TAFKA Goldust in 7:47 [*¾]
Max Mini, Mini Nova and Mosaic def. Battalion, El Torito and Tarantula in 7:49 [**½]
WWF Intercontinental Championship: The Rock [c] def. Ken Shamrock via DQ in 10:53 [**¼]
WWF Tag Team Championship: The Legion of Doom def. The New Age Outlaws [c] via DQ in 7:56 [*½]
Steve Austin won the Royal Rumble match in 55:24 [**¼]
WWF Championship Casket Match: Shawn Michaels [c] def. The Undertaker 20:37 [***¼]

Raw History
Episode #243
January 19th, 1998 | Selland Arena in Fresno, California | Attendance: 7,329

WWF Champion: Shawn Michaels (3) since 11/9/97
WWF Intercontinental Champion: The Rock (2) since 12/8/97
WWF European Champion: Hunter Hearst Helmsley (1) since 12/22/97
WWF Tag Team Champions: Billy Gunn (4) and Road Dogg (1) since 11/24/97
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: TAKA Michinoku (1) since 12/7/97

LAST WEEK/NIGHT ~ Kane and the Undertaker seemed to be joining forces. However, things took a turn for the worse last night, when Undertaker was trapped in a casket last night and Kane set it on fire.

Jim Ross, Kevin Kelly, and Michael Cole hosted Raw.

Paul Bearer opened the show with a huge shit-eating grin. He bragged, at length, about how he tricked the fans and the Undertaker. He recapped what happened last night and literally spent the entire time boasting. Undertaker’s theme hit as druids brought out a casket. However, fire shot out of the turnbuckles and Kane entered. Bearer laughed at all of this.

TONIGHT ~ Mike Tyson’s special announcement!

Backstage, DX got interviewed. HHH ran down Owen Hart and said he proved that Owen didn’t belong in in the main event. Shawn Michaels faked guilt about what happened to the Undertaker and promised to find him in the arena tonight.

D-Lo Brown, Faarooq and Kama vs. The Disciples of Apocalypse
I always get a kick out of commentary selling Kama as a “martial arts expert.” DOA controlled things with their usual brand of dull brawling. Cole tried hyping D-Lo as someone who reached the upper echelon of WWF stars. I mean, he’s improved, but come on. Eventually, the teams all hopped in the ring and stopped paying attention to the ref, causing a DQ in 4:41. A nothing match full of punches and kicks. [½*]

The Rock and Mark Henry hit the ring to help their brothers. Ken Shamrock and Ahmed Johnson also showed up to make the save for the DOA. They sent the NOD packing and celebrated. Cole said Ahmed “never looked better,” which is an absurd statement.

STILL TO COME ~ Mike Tyson! Plus, Royal Rumble winner Steve Austin!

A hearse pulled into the arena.

Marc Mero w/ Sable vs. Tom Brandi
The rivalry continues. Mero wanted Sable to disrobe him, but Brandi interrupted and attacked him to a pop. Since the babyface wasn’t going to control things, Mero hit a DDT and took over. Some guy came out and delivered flowers to Sable. Mero got jealous and threw the flowers, before sending Sable to the back. Brandi fired up on him, but he’s a scrub and still fell to the TKO in 3:29. Inoffensive.[*]

Post-match, Mero attacked Brandi with Sable’s flowers. Ha.

DX attempted to see who or what was in the hearse. They opened the door and a bunch of chicks were in there, ready to party. DX hopped in with them, while Chyna closed the door and guarded outside. Strange.

A limo arrived and out stepped Mike Tyson. Also, a random Shane McMahon.

Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie vs. The Quebecers
OH MY GOD! THE QUEBECERS ARE BACK! They were a highlight in 1994. This got off to a surprising start that saw Cactus throw Pierre into the steel steps. The Quebecers took over and worked on Charlie. Good old Terry Funk sold it great. They hit another and wanted a spike piledriver, but Cactus broke it up. He argued with the referee and put him in the Mandible Claw for the DQ in 3:16. Hey, that was kind of fun, even if it was short. [**]

After the match, Cactus brawled with the Quebecers outside. Chainsaw Charlie delivered a springboard Vader Bomb onto them in a spot that made Cole chuckle. The fight ended when Cactus got his barbed wire baseball bat and the Quebecers hightailed it.

Backstage, DX tried getting answers on the Undertaker from the minis. Chyna even lifted Max Mini so he could be face to face with Shawn. It was mildly amusing.

Elsewhere, Mike Tyson talked with various WWF legends.

NWA North American Championship: Jeff Jarrett [c] w/ Jim Cornette and the Rock n’ Roll Express vs. Blackjack Bradshaw w/ Blackjack Windham
Of course, Cornette joined commentary. He claimed the NWA talent was superior to the WWF one. Cole hyped Bradshaw lasting 40 minutes in the Rumble. Bradshaw had the advantage in this one, until the Rock n’ Roll Express got in some cheap shots outside. Still, he fought through and hit the big clothesline. More interference stopped him, and then Windham failed to help him as he accidentally clocked Bradshaw with a lariat. Jarrett used that to steal this in 3:41. Solid for what it was. [*½]

After the bell, the NWA guys jumped Bradshaw. Windham took a while to help, and then when he did, he laid out Bradshaw with another lariat, joining the NWA.

Backstage, Shawn Michaels complained to HHH and Chyna that he couldn’t find the Undertaker and would let down the fans. Suddenly, HHH and Chyna stared off at something high off camera and the lights dimmed. It looked corny.

WAR ZONE! Jerry Lawler replaced Kelly and Cole.

The lights went out and it was time for the Undertaker. He slowly descended from the rafters like his name was Sting. He’s very still and wearing one of his long coats. When he reached the ring, DX’s music hit and it was revealed to be Michaels dressed as Undertaker. HHH and Chyna joined him in the ring for the infamous DX cookout segment. HHH had a chef hat and a “S*CK THE COOK” apron. He’s so clever. Chyna whipped out a giant salami, because you can never have too many dick jokes with these guys. HHH said that he was giving Owen Hart a shot at his European Title next week. Once that was over, Shawn bragged that he took out the Undertaker by himself. Then, he turned his attention to the Royal Rumble winner, Steve Austin. He noted how he had already done everything Austin did in his career, and come WrestleMania, he lays down for nobody. If you get past the juvenile jokes, this was a good segment to build to future matches.

Backstage, Mike Tyson spoke with the Legion of Doom until Sunny came up to them and flirted with Mike.

The Headbangers, Owen Hart, and WWF Light Heavyweight Champion TAKA Michinoku vs. Los Boricuas
The Honky Tonk Man joined commentary for no reason. This babyface team is an amazing combination of odd. TAKA snapped off the fast paced aerial stuff to start. When Honky and Lawler agreed on something, JR quipped, “You guys are agreeing like cousins.” He does that often. As for the match, it quickly built to a hot tag for Owen, so he could beat Jesus with a Sharpshooter in 3:02. Not long enough to get anything going, but what we got was mostly enjoyable. [*¾]

After the match, Owen assured Kevin Kelly that he was ready for HHH next week.

Backstage, the Nation of Domination attempted to recruit Mike Tyson.

Non-Title Match: Ahmed Johnson vs. WWF Intercontinental Champion The Rock
Ahmed ran to the ring and started with a vengeance, since he’s still on and off with the Nation. This shit began back in 1996. He spent the match throwing Rock around with relative ease. Mark Henry strolled out to ringside after Rock was tossed into the steel steps. Henry used a cheap chair shot to open he Rock up to win with the Rock Bottom in 2:43. [NR]

Ken Shamrock hit the ring to prevent the Nation from attacking Ahmed.

Before and after the break, we got to see Tyson hang out with both Chainsaw Charlie & Cactus, and the DX team.

WWF Tag Team Championship: The New Age Outlaws [c] vs. The Godwinns
The Outlaws wore overalls to mock their challengers. They also made a reference to Southern Justice, which is who the Godwinns would become in a few months. An angry Henry beat up Billy and stripped him of his overalls. Billy took the heat segment, but both teams are heel, so the fans didn’t get behind him. Behind the referee’s back, Billy used a stuffed pig (with a brick inside) on Phineas to win in 4:53. Way too long for these guys. This would worked better if it was shorter. [¾*]

Time for one of the biggest moments in Raw history. Vince McMahon, to a chorus of boos, came out and introduced the “baddest man on the planet,” Mike Tyson. He came out with his entire entourage. Tyson said he was happy to be here because he’s been a fan for a long time. He namedropped Bruno Sammartino and Nikolai Volkoff. Vince prepared to announce what Tyson would do at WrestleMania. GLASS SHATTERED! Steve Austin came out and JR sold the moment like it was a huge deal. Even better, as soon as Austin hit the ring, a bunch of officials and security ran down to prevent anything from happening. Austin took offense to Tyson stepping into “his world.’ While Tyson may be the baddest man on the planet, Austin is the world’s toughest SOB. He wanted Tyson and believed he could beat his ass any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Austin ended the promo with the double bird, right in Tyson’s face. Tyson shoved him and security did their best to keep things apart. “TYSON AND AUSTIN! TYSON AND AUSTIN! TYSON AND AUSTIN!” Austin got his licks in on one of Tyson’s entourage members. Officials pulled Austin out and Vince shouted at him, “YOU RUINED IT DAMMIT!” Austin responded by flipping him off too. An incredible piece of television. Kevin Nash once said that once he saw this segment, he knew WWF had won the war. It was that good. The hottest athlete in the world and the hottest Superstar in the company having a confrontation like this was perfect.

Surprisingly, that wasn’t the end of the show. We returned to see a recap. Then, the cameras went backstage to see Tyson arguing with Vince about what happened. Tyson called him a “coward” and a “faggot” several times.

Reliving Nitro
Episode #123
January 19th, 1998 | Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana | Attendance: N/A

WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Vacant since 1/8/98
WCW United States Champion: Diamond Dallas Page (1) since 12/28/97
WCW World Tag Team Champions: The Outsiders (4) since 1/12/98
WCW Television Champion: Booker T (1) since 12/29/97
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Rey Mysterio Jr. (3) since 1/15/98

HOUR ONE! Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, and Larry Zbyszko hosted.


Eddie Guerrero vs. Rick Martel
Man, what happened to Eddie Guerrero? He was on the cusp of stardom a few months back and seems unimportant now. Martel was very over with the 25,000 plus supposedly in attendance. Eddie drew good heat as he got in his offense. He taunted after a dropkick, but then whiffed on a springboard. Martel hit a spinebuster and took it right into the Quebec Crab for a submission win in 3:19 to a big pop. It was shortly and mostly just there to put Martel over, but it was fine. [*¼]

LAST THURSDAY ~ A recap was shown of the nWo’s troubles on Thunder. Things went awry again, as Kevin Nash and Randy Savage came to blows despite being partners. Hulk Hogan attempted to keep the peace, but it all went downhill. The show ended with WCW guys beating up the nWo guys, turning the tables from the past few years.

That triggered the arrival of Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff. They came out as if nothing was wrong. Bischoff spent the promo putting Hogan over. When Hogan took over, he rambled about prayers, being worshipped, and the nWo being like his children. The promo didn’t do much but stroke Hogan’s ego. He faces the Giant tonight.

Chris Benoit vs. Marty Jannetty
In 1993, this might’ve been a banger. They did still put on a solid little match. Jannetty got to hit a headscissors and fist drop, which are right in his comfort zone. He added a few more of his signature spots in the short run time. Speaking of signature spots, Benoit hit his snap suplex at one point. He used the Crippler Crossface to win in 4:11 as Raven’s Flock showed up. One of the more fun short matches you’ll see from this era. [**¼]

Post-match, the Flock attacked Benoit. In the scuffle, Kidman landed a splash on Marty. Benoit fought them off, but the numbers game was too much. Marty returned to help him and send the Flock packing. Benoit hit the diving headbutt on Lodi to cap it.

The Cat vs. Jerry Flynn
Why? The fans chanted “boring” as these two attempted to showcase some MMA style offense. Cat won with the horribly named FELINER, which was a top roundhouse, in 3:23. Yea, this sucked. [¼*]


Scott Hall made his way to the ring. After doing the survey, he turned his attention to Larry Zbyszko. He mentioned having a title shot at SuperBrawl (ha), before calling out Larry for only being AWA Champion because his father-in-law was running the show. Hall said the company did awful business with Larry at the helm and said he wasn’t even the best wrestler/announcer in the company (Dusty). Larry began walking to the ring heading into commercial, but nothing came of it.

Buff Bagwell and Konnan w/ Vincent vs. The Steiner Brothers w/ Ted Dibiase
Konnan? Where the hell is Vicious and Delicious? This is bullshit. Anyway, Scott seemed to be showing off in this one. He refused to tag in his brother and was out to prove a point. Scott threw them around, but his emotions led him to shove the referee a bit. After a rough spill outside, Scott played face in peril for a bit. Instead of a hot tag, he fought off his opponents and beat Konnan with a Screwdriver in 5:28. Though that was just Scott working, it was a good match. It told the story it had to and the action was surprisingly strong. [**½]

Scott walked away on his own and was more interested in posing against Buff than working with his brother and manager.

HOUR NUMBER TWO! Bobby Heenan replaced Zbyszko.

Mean Gene brought out the Giant for an in-ring interview. As he does in all his interviews, Giant promised to Chokeslam Hulk Hogan tonight in the main event. That brought out Hogan and Giant’s opponent for Saturday’s Souled Out PPV, Kevin Nash. Nash got right in Giant’s face to try and provoke him. Giant refrained, but Hogan had to spend his time holding back Randy Savage, who showed up just after them. Savage seemed to listen, but then ran back in and shoved Hogan into Nash, who went into Giant. With Nash hitting Giant, Giant began to go after him. Hogan clocked him from behind, until Sting ran out and made the save. He planted Hogan with a Scorpion Death Drop to a MONSTER pop. The nWo regrouped, while Sting fired up the Giant. That was a good segment to weave together all the existing major angles.


WCW Television Championship: Booker T [c] vs. Mortis w/ James Vandenberg
Tony Schiavone announced that starting next week, Nitro officially goes three hours going forward. Shit. They also note how they’ve run the Georgia Dome, Superdome (tonight), and the Alamodome is coming. Booker started hot and got two on an axe kick. Mortis, always one to impress, countered a sunset flip with a sweet bridging suplex. They fought up top and Booker absolutely MURDERED Mortis with a top rope powerbomb. Like, Mortis lands on his neck and folds. Booker followed that with a flurry capped by the Harlem Hangover to retain in 4:27. Another good match on this episode. It was short and didn’t feature a ton of psychology, but had some explosive offense from both guys. [**¾]

Mortis’ partner, Wrath, ran out and jumped Booker. Rick Martel made the save, still playing the consummate good guy helping the TV Champion. They ran the “I owe you one” angle again, with Martel specifying this Saturday for a title shot. Booker accepted.

Mean “WOO” Gene was back out to get a word with Ric Flair. Flair said some weird stuff about waking the dead and making little girls talk out of their head, before turning his attention to Bret Hart. That brought out Bret, who said he respected Flair and what he’s done in the ring. He’s here to earn respect in WCW as he’s basically starting his career all over again. After Saturday, he won’t have to say he’s the best, because Ric will wake up and feel them. Ric’s response was simply to say that he respected Bret, but didn’t dare want to hear him calling himself the best. This feud has potential but has kind of been a drag.

LAST WEEK ~ Chris Jericho’s attack on Rey Mysterio Jr. was shown.

Chris Jericho vs. Juventud Guerrera
This past Thursday, Thunder went 2 for 2 in Cruiserweight Title changes, as Rey Mysterio Jr. bested Juventud Guerrera for it. These two gave us some fast paced action. Juvi was quicker and it showed, so Jericho had to respond with higher impact stuff. Juvi had a string of offense cut short by running shoulder first into the ring post. Juvi had a counter ready for an ugly tornado DDT and then hit a flying spinning heel kick for two. After Juvi spilled outside, Jericho held the ropes open for him to get back in. When he did, Jericho kicked him in the head. The Liontamer ended this in 3:37. Short, but sweet. It had some fun spots and worked to preview Jericho/Mysterio. [**½]

After the bell, Jericho held the submission for a bit too long. He quickly got on the microphone and apologized as he didn’t hear the referee confirm the submission. He dropped his first, “Never, EEEEEVER” and then got mad when Juvi didn’t accept his apology. Jericho attacked him until Rey Mysterio made the save. He and Juvi worked together, including on an assisted super rana, to send Jericho scrambling. Great segment.

Lex Luger vs. Scott Hall
These two had a shitty match on Pay-Per-View in 1997. Hall threw the toothpick at him, so Luger responded with a slap. Hall tricked him into a fake knuckle lock and got in some cheap shots. Why do babyfaces fall for that every time? From there, Hall worked a hold where he held Luger’s arms back and placed his knee in his back. That’s a fine idea, except they held it there for like, two minutes. Clear time killer. Hall used a wisely set up low blow once Luger got out of it. Following an exchange of sleeper holds, Luger fired up with, you guessed it, SCREAMING CLOTHESLINES! That eventually led to the Torture Rack, but Savage hit the ring for a DQ in 7:46. Why did that go so long? It was insanely boring and only the only real positive was how nicely Hall’s low blow spot was put in play. [½*]

Savage and Hall beat up Luger while the fans chanted for Sting. They got Larry Zbyszko instead. Talk about a disappointment. He quickly got beat up, as well. Luger finally ran them off with a chair.

The Giant vs. Hulk Hogan w/ Eric Bischoff
At last year’s Souled Out, these two had a bad match in the main event. Hogan came out in a neck brace, as Bischoff claimed Sting’s attack earlier would prevent him from competing. Giant shut them up by bringing Hogan in the hard way. Giant spent the first few minutes throwing Hogan around with ease. Kevin Nash strolled to ringside for a closer look. He provided a distraction that helped Hogan turn the tide. Hogan on offense was dull. He did slam Giant and had the win locked up with the Leg Drop. However, Randy Savage showed up (late) and got on the top rope, distracting the referee and stopping the pin. While Hogan and Savage argued, Giant got up and won with the Chokeslam in 6:09. Good way to make Giant look like shit. He should’ve lost. This was dull. [*]

Savage got beat up by Giant, until the numbers were too much for him. Lex Luger also came out, but there were a lot of nWo guys who also showed up and he got beat up, as well. Finally, Sting came down from the rafters of the giant Superdome. He beat up Hogan and then went after nWo guys. WCW was in control as the show ended.

Raw MVP: Steve Austin
Raw LVP: The DOA
Nitro MVP: Chris Jericho
Nitro LVP: Larry Zbyszko

Raw Rating: 4.0
Nitro Rating: 4.5

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Raw: The prototype for the Attitude Era’s success. None of the matches were long, but they all seemed to serve a purpose. Everyone has a direction and that’s commendable. Obviously, the show hinges on the memorable segment between Austin and Tyson. It’s one of the biggest moments in Raw history and was perfectly pulled off. DX’s Undertaker segment was also solid and everything seemed to work in some way. 9.0

Nitro:  While not on the level of the great episode Raw put on, this was still a strong Nitro. They had a string of solid to good matches and a few of the segments were perfect for the rowdy crowd. WCW was actually on pace for an all timer until the last two matches sucked. 7.0


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Monday Night War, Nitro, RAW, WCW, WWE, Kevin Pantoja