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Raw History: Episodes 284 and 285 – The Debut of the Hardcore Title

April 22, 2019 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
Raw Hardcore Title 1998 Mick Foley Vince McMahon
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Raw History: Episodes 284 and 285 – The Debut of the Hardcore Title  


Raw History
Episode #284
November 2nd, 1998 | Compaq Center in Houston, Texas | Attendance: 12,590

WWF Champion: Vacant since 9/27/98
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Ken Shamrock (1) since 10/12/98
WWF Tag Team Champions: The New Age Outlaws (6 and 3) since 8/30/98
WWF European Champion: X-Pac (2) since 10/18/98
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Christian (1) since 10/18/98

VIDEO PACKAGE ~ Shane broke Vince’s heart last week. Then, last night on Heat, he said he had a new vision for the WWF and it was one that doesn’t involve things like Stooges. Is the McMahon empire set to crumble tonight?

RAW IS WAR! Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler host.

Shane McMahon came out to no music. He’s the acting chairman since Vince hasn’t been seen since last week. Shane promised Steve Austin would get his WWF Title shot the night after Survivor Series. While Austin came down to the ring, Mr. McMahon arrived in a limo. He was wheeled out to the stage with the Stooges and Big Bossman. Vince said the retirement talk is “poppycock.” He will only step down as chairman when he dies. I mean, here we sit over two decades later and that honestly might be the truth. Vince then reassigned Shane as a referee and changed Austin’s title shot, putting him in the Deadly Game Tournament instead. For Austin to win the title, he’ll have to win four matches. And his first round opponent will be Big Bossman. I mean, if Vince just showed up and reverted everything, what was the point of the last week of TV? Vince was great enough here to make this segment work.

DURING THE BREAK ~ Vince spent the break chastising the commentary team for badmouthing him. He pointed out the steel cage above the ring, guaranteeing someone will pay hard time in there tonight.

The Brood vs. WWF Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws and WWF European Champion X-Pac
The Brood barely had a real debut last week and are already in a big match with DX. Gangrel did the fire entrance alone here, with Edge and Christian waiting by the stage to walk behind him. Putting these teams together means we’re probably not in for a clean finish. That’s just what happened. Edge and Christian did get to show off their tandem offense for the first time, but this was cut off by the arrival of Kane. He got a huge pop. Road Dogg and Gangrel fought into the crowd while Kane destroyed everyone else. No contest in around 3:40. Fun while it lasted. [*¾]

I like this Kane stuff because he’s unhinged since he’s alone for the first time. No Paul Bearer or The Undertaker.

DURING THE BREAK ~ Vince scolded Michael Cole for the way he questioned him last week during a time of emotional distress. Big Bossman choked Cole as Vince asked him how he felt.

Droz was scheduled to face Hawk next due to some issues from the past few weeks that got worse on Heat last night. Hawk showed up as drunk as ever, stumbling to the ring. Hawk did a lot of nothing as Droz worked him over. Animal showed up in street clothes to watch. He didn’t help his lifelong friend at all. Officials stopped this and Animal entered the ring to yell at Hawk for flushing their career down the tubes. This storyline sucks.

Backstage, Vince yelled at Jim Cornette to stop dressing weird and keep his 80s wrestling crap to himself. Amazing.

Michael Cole, okay from getting choked earlier, interviewed Al Snow and Mankind. After poking fun at the NBC special revealing wrestling secrets, they argued about Head or Socko being better.

Al Snow and Mankind vs. The Oddities w/ Giant Silva and Luna Vachon
ZZ Top were shown in the crowd. You don’t often get a match where three of the four competitors wear sweatpants. Snow played a bit more of the heel, stopping to mock the dancing of the Oddities. Things went well until Mankind went for Socko and couldn’t find him. Mankind left to search and Snow was left alone. It seemed to take forever, but he finally fell to a Chokeslam and Earthquake Splash in 4:36. Mildly entertaining. [*½]

Backstage, Vince McMahon questioned Shaquille O’Neal if he had a backstage pass. Shaq said he didn’t need one. Vince attempted to kick him out but Shaq simply sat back down. What a strange segment.

Mankind cannot find Socko backstage and was off to find Vince for help.

Goldust vs. Steven Regal
His nameplate read “Stephen” instead of Steven. Regal challenged any real man to a fight and got Goldust. Get it? It’s funny because he’s weird. They went out and did some stuff but it looked awful. Regal looked ridiculously slow. He couldn’t even take a hip toss properly. Last night on Heat, Terri Runnels officially revealed that she was pregnant with Val Venis’ child. Here, she came out dressed as Marlena. Val apparently dumped her so maybe Goldust will raise another child with her. Goldust set up for Shattered Dreams, but out came Kane to put an end to this around 4:50. Thank you, Kane. Regal leaving and getting help was the best thing for him. [DUD]

Marlena came to Goldust’s aid but almost took a Chokeslam. Officials intervened and Tony Garea took the Chokeslam instead.

WAR ZONE!

The Deadly Game bracket was officially revealed for the first time. Kane and Undertaker had first round byes but would face in the quarterfinals. First round matches included Rock/HHH, Goldust/Shamrock, Jarrett/Snow, X-Pac/Regal, Austin/Bossman, and Mankind/mystery opponent.

Backstage, Mankind found Vince. To get Mankind to agree not to interfere in the upcoming Rock/Shamrock match, Vince gave him a present. It was the debut of the Hardcore Title, which was just a busted up version of the old WWF Title. Mankind was overjoyed. Vince said he lost Shane tonight but may have gained a new son. Mankind’s “Thanks, dad” was priceless, as was the look on Vince’s face. Short but great segment.

989 STUDIOS SLAM OF THE WEEK ~ Rock hitting Droz with the Rock Bottom last week.

Before the next match, Vince McMahon came out. He said that he hates the people, so he has a problem with the “People’s Champion.” If Rock couldn’t win the title from Shamrock, he wouldn’t keep his spot in the Deadly Game Tournament. Ouch.

WWF Intercontinental Championship: Ken Shamrock [c] vs. The Rock
Rock came out of the blocks on fire. The crowd erupted as he wailed on Shamrock. These guys have worked a ton together at this point and they click. It’s probably my favorite match of theirs. There’s nothing outwardly special about it, except for the crowd. They popped for everything and especially when Rock reached the ropes to survive an Ankle Lock. As the match neared its peak, we got a ref bump. Classic Attitude Era. Shamrock got a chair and swung, but hit the top rope instead, having it rebound into his face. The People’s Elbow hit but the referee was down. Eventually, Rock won by DQ when Shamrock clocked him with a chair in 7:57. That was a blast thanks to the crowd. So much fun. [***½]

Rock won the match but not the title, so he’s out of the Deadly Game Tournament. Vince told him he was more like the People’s Chump.

Jeff Jarrett w/ Debra McMichael vs. Val Venis
We got footage from Heat where Val said Terri was pregnant and that it wasn’t his problem. He got cheered for this. That’s not a babyface move. This match didn’t have a ton going for it. It was kind of just there to fill time. Blue Blazer ran out and crotched Val up top for a DQ in 2:29. JR just assumed the Blazer was Owen Hart. [NR]

Jarrett and the Blazer jumped Val after the match.

Vince got police officers because he claimed The Rock was threatening his life and he wanted him arrested.

Number One Contender’s Match: D-Lo Brown and Mark Henry vs. The Headbangers
The Headbangers came out dressed like the Outlaws, complete with fake Tag Team Titles. They even mocked their introductions, but it wasn’t funny. The fans seemed unsure who to root for since everyone is a heel. Not much of note happened in this until it broke down and out came Kane again. He is not a fan of the wrestling on this episode. His attack gave us a no contest in about 6:00. Too long. [*]

Backstage, The Rock was arrested. Pitting him against Vince is good, but this angle is redundant from the Austin stuff earlier this year.

Owen Hart made his way to the ring to have a word with Dan Severn for the first time since injuring him. Severn said he wasn’t out looking for some cheap apology for a guy running around as the Blue Blazer. He called Owen scum, so Owen responded by clotheslining him even though he has a neck brace. After the break, Steve Blackman was with Severn as he was loaded into an ambulance. Owen showed up, so Blackman pump kicked the shit out of him! The Blue Blazer made the save for Owen. The Plot thickens!

The Steel Cage was lowered as Vince McMahon, Big Bossman and the Stooges came out. Vince sent Bossman into the cage with the Stooges and said someone would pay hard time. He then got Bossman to beat up the Stooges and embarrass them for bailing on him a few weeks ago. Steve Austin hit the ring to a huge pop and beat on Bossman until Pat Patterson hit him in the leg with the nightstick. Shane McMahon ran in, but this was before he got physical. He had a standoff with Bossman until The Undertaker’s music hit. The ring cleared as Undertaker and Austin brawled to a great response from the crowd. Considering Austin was already beaten on, Undertaker gained the upper hand. That’s when Kane arrived for the fourth time this evening. He went straight for his brother and used his magical powers or whatever to set part of the cage on fire. With that visual, Austin, Kane and Undertaker battled to close the show. Fantastic close.

EXTRA ATTITUDE ~ Austin dropped Kane with a Stunner and exited the ring. He beat on Bossman with the nightstick as Undertaker put the boots to Kane. Kane got up and kind of chased Undertaker to the back, leaving Vince alone with Austin. He brought Vince into the cage and hit him with a Stunner. Austin added another and seemed to leave, but returned to steal Vince’s wheelchair.

MVP: The Rock
LVP: Steven Regal

Raw History
Episode #285
November 9th, 1998 | Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas | Attendance: 13,684

WWF Champion: Vacant since 9/27/98
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Ken Shamrock (1) since 10/12/98
WWF Tag Team Champions: The New Age Outlaws (6 and 3) since 8/30/98
WWF European Champion: X-Pac (2) since 10/18/98
WWF Hardcore Champion: Mankind (1) since 11/2/98
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Christian (1) since 10/18/98

RAW! Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler host.

Non-Title Match: The Undertaker w/ Paul Bearer vs. WWF European Champion X-Pac
This stemmed from Undertaker attacking X-Pac on Heat. A pissed off X-Pac issued this ballsy challenge. X-Pac came out firing but was thrown into the corner. The lights went out and Kane walked to the ring for a no contest in 0:25. [NR]

Kane shot a fireball at his brother, but it accidentally caught X-Pac instead. I feel like they just ran with an X-Pac eye injury angle.

Backstage, Vince McMahon and the Stooges talked up Mankind for being Hardcore Champion. I guess the Stooges are over what happened last week. Mankind was booked to defend his title against Ken Shamrock tonight and was off to get a makeover.

Steve Blackman vs. Val Venis
Last night, Val revealed that he had a vasectomy so there’s no way Terri’s baby could be his. She strolled out behind him but he ordered her to the back. There wasn’t much to this match. It was just two guys doing basic things waiting for the finish. That part saw Terri return and hit Val with a low blow for the DQ in 3:22. [*]

After the match, Blackman was attacked by Owen Hart and the Blue Blazer. JR couldn’t understand how this happened.

Mankind was getting his hair trimmed by a hairdresser. He praised his love for Vince.

D-Lo Brown w/ Mark Henry vs. Mosh w/ Thrasher vs. WWF Tag Team Champion Road Dogg w/ Billy Gunn
Shane McMahon was the referee here. He marked for the DX intro and did the taunt. These three teams will meet at Survivor Series for the Tag Team Titles, so this worked as a preview. Road Dogg took the brunt of the beating as the two guys challenging at the PPV jumped him. Mosh and Brown both missed top rope moves, giving Dogg an opening. Still, Mosh hit the Stage Dive on D-Lo to pick up the surprising win in 5:40. Better than expected because all three men worked hard. [**]

The Outlaws cleaned house after the match. They stood tall, but the Headbangers celebrated. For some reason, D-Lo also threw his hands in the air as if he won.

Backstage, Jeff Jarrett said he would find a way to counter Head against Al Snow. Meanwhile, Debra promised to prove Goldust was all man. Huh?

Mankind received a pedicure in the back. While it happened, he said gaining McMahon and the Stooges almost made up for losing Socko.

Goldust vs. Jeff Jarrett w/ Debra McMichael
Like she did with Val Venis, Terri came out. She was dressed as a very cold Marlena. IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. Goldust said she had been a bad girl and kicked her out of his life. Two guys on the WWE roster at the time of this writing. What a weird world. Debra spent the match distracting Goldust at several turns. I guess he is all man. It all led to Goldust kissing her and Jarrett hitting him with the guitar to get DQed in 3:32. That’s not a good plan, Jeff. The match was more about the angle. [*¼]

The Rock arrived. He must beat Mark Henry by pinfall or submission to keep his job.

VIDEO PACKAGE ~ Jesse Ventura highlights aired to promote his recent win as Minnesota governor. I remember him being pretty blackballed before this win.

Michael Cole interviewed The Rock, who basically said he would beat Henry tonight. Not one of his stronger promos. As soon as he left, Goldust ran by and jumped Jarrett. He beat him down with various weapons and went for Shattered Dreams, only for Blue Blazer to make the save. The Blazer hilariously running away with his arms out as officials showed up was great.

WAR ZONE!

WWF Hardcore Championship: Mankind [c] vs. WWF Intercontinental Champion Ken Shamrock
A well-groomed Mankind came out in a tuxedo. Mr. McMahon rolled out for a closer look on the stage with the Stooges. This is historic as it’s the first Hardcore Title match ever. They brawled in and out of the ring, having the kind of match these two had become known for against each other. I appreciated how this didn’t rely on a ton of weapons. We got the steel steps and a steel chair, but not much else. The fight made it to the stage where Mankind took a brutal chair shot. However, Bossman cracked Shamrock with his nightstick to give Mankind the win in 8:17. A fun brawl that was just what I wanted from this division. Poor Shamrock keeps taking L’s since winning the title. [***¼]

EMTs checked on The Rock backstage after getting attacked by an unknown assailant.

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin came out to a thunderous ovation. It’s insane how over he was. He was just out to say that any plan Vince had for him at Survivor Series would fail. He also called Vince a “yellow bastard.” Big Bossman interrupted to say that the plan at Survivor Series is for him to put Austin in a wheelchair. Austin said they should just fight now, but Bossman declined. That left Austin to have a beer bash on his own. This segment didn’t work for me. I don’t take Bossman seriously as a threat. Maybe he should’ve jumped Austin with the nightstick or something.

Michael Cole informed us that The Rock would be taken to a nearby medical facility.

Al Snow vs. Tiger Ali Singh w/ Babu
Mr. Socko is wrapped around Head. Maybe Mankind should watch this to get an answer. But it’s an Al Snow match, so he’ll probably skip it. Hard to judge this match because Singh sent Babu in to get beat up for most of it. Debra McMichael strolled down and took Head, which distracted Snow. Tiger snuck in with a bulldog to win in 2:23. Awful. [DUD]

VIGNETTE ~ Sable works out ahead of her Women’s Title match on Sunday.

In Rock’s dressing room, as he laid in pain, Vince told him to prepare for the unemployment line.

Edge w/ The Brood vs. Kane
Two weeks ago, The Brood formed by attacking Kane and barely causing him harm. The match was pretty decent considering Edge was still pretty green and Kane wasn’t carrying anyone. Kane sold next to nothing and the match ended when the Brood interfered around 4:27. [*]

Kane brought gasoline and a blowtorch with him, so once the match was over, he wanted to set folks on fire. He poured the gas on the Brood after beating them up with ease and Chokeslamming the referee. Officials saved them before they were turned into smores. People rave about this era, but they made The Brood look weak as hell in their first two weeks. Upset with not being able to start a fire, Kane Chokeslammed a random fan.

Vince McMahon was rolled out to berate The Rock on the microphone. He ran down the hometown Dallas Cowboys for having felons on the roster and being on a losing streak. Shane McMahon came out to tell Vince to stop taking out his frustrations on everyone else. Vince dismissed him and sent the Big Bossman after him. Bossman threw Shane in the ring and beat him up until Austin made the save and kicked Bossman’s ass. That earlier segment wasn’t needed and you could’ve just done this.

Mark Henry w/ D-Lo Brown vs. The Rock
A Judgment Day rematch. If that result happens again, Rock is out of a job. Rock came in busted up from the attack earlier. Still, he came out of the blocks hot. This was much better than the Judgment Day match, partially due to how hot the crowd was. Rock was already way over. It worked to have him try and overcome the powerhouse opposition. Of course, then the overbooking kicked in. Bossman tried to get involved, only for Rock to handcuff him to the ropes. The Stooges pulled out the referee, opening the door for Shane McMahon to slide in and count the three following the People’s Elbow in 7:24. Vince’s reactions to everything here was top notch. The match was solid enough. [**¼]

To end things, The Rock put a hurting on Vince that included a Rock Bottom and People’s Elbow.

MVP: Mankind
LVP: Tiger Ali Singh

6.0
The final score: review Average
The 411
#284: This was a good episode that bordered on taking it to that next level. It was held back by Kane’s interference being repetitive and the arrest angle with The Rock. I dug the chaotic ending. (6.5) #285: Honestly, the episode was something of a mixed bag. The main event was solid and the Hardcore Title match was a blast. I like how the tournament feels like it has a few potential winners (Taker, Kane, Rock, Austin, Mankind), though I wish the episode had more build for it. I couldn’t get into the Kane, Brood, Headbangers, Debra, etc. stuff. (5.5)
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Raw History, Kevin Pantoja