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Raw History: Episodes 286 and 287 – The One Where HBK Became Commissioner

May 19, 2019 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
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Raw History: Episodes 286 and 287 – The One Where HBK Became Commissioner  

Survivor Series 1998 Results
WWF Championship Tournament First Round: Mankind def. Duane Gill in 0:30 [NR]
WWF Championship Tournament First Round: Al Snow def. Jeff Jarrett in 3:31 [*½]
WWF Championship Tournament First Round: Steve Austin def. Big Bossman in 3:17 [¼*]
WWF Championship Tournament First Round: Steven Regal vs. X-Pac ended in a double countout in 8:08 [**]
WWF Championship Tournament First Round: Ken Shamrock def. Goldust in 5:56 [*¼]
WWF Championship Tournament First Round: The Rock def. Big Bossman in 0:04 [NR]
WWF Championship Tournament Quarterfinals: The Undertaker def. Kane in 7:16 [½*]
WWF Championship Tournament Quarterfinals: Mankind def. Al Snow in 3:55 [*]
WWF Championship Tournament Quarterfinals: The Rock def. Ken Shamrock in 8:20 [***]
WWF Women’s Championship: Sable def. Jacqueline [c] in 3:14 [½*]
WWF Championship Tournament Semi-Finals: Mankind def. Steve Austin in 10:27 [***¼] 
WWF Championship Tournament Semi-Finals: The Rock def. The Undertaker in 8:23 [*]
WWF Tag Team Championship: The New Age Outlaws [c] def. D-Lo Brown & Mark Henry and The Headbangers in 10:10 [DUD]
WWF Championship Tournament Finals: The Rock def. Mankind in 17:10 [***¼]

Raw History
Episode #286
November 16th, 1998 | Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky | Attendance: 17,610

WWF Champion: The Rock (1) since 11/15/98
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
WWF Women’s Champion: Sable (1) since 11/15/98

LAST NIGHT ~ A recap of Shane McMahon screwing Steve Austin and turning heel on him by flipping him the double bird. Surprisingly, no word on The Rock also turning heel and becoming the “Corporate Champion.”

I believe this was the debut of the famous “Thorn in your Eye” Raw intro that they would keep for three or so years.

RAW! Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler were on commentary.

Vince and Shane McMahon, announced as co-owners, came out flanked by Big Bossman and the Stooges. To rebuff the heat he received, Vince called the fans hypocrites because they kiss up to their bosses every single day. He then introduced the new WWF Champion, The Rock. Vince also added that Rock is his champion, not the “People’s.” Rock ran down the crowd with insults. He said they work each day for minimum wage, while he did what he needed to in order to reach the top. That’s why he can stand here as the WWF Champion. He went as far as to bring up the “Rocky sucks” and “die Rocky die” chants he got a year or so ago. He never forgot that. He owes none of them anything. Rock rechristened his phrases from “People’s” to “Corporate.” When Vince went to show a video on the Titantron, we got a live feed of Austin in the arena. They still got to recap the past few weeks. That brought out Austin. Vince made note of a provision in Steve Austin’s contract that says he can’t touch Vince unless physically provoked. Austin showed footage of Shane granting Austin a title shot for the night after Survivor Series. He even had a contract to prove it. Austin threw to the Titantron where judge Mills Lane confirmed that the contract is binding and Austin gets a title shot tonight! Long segment but one that remained entertaining and set things up for tonight. I would’ve cut some of the recap stuff.

D-Generation X vs. The Oddities w/ ICP and Luna
What a strange six man tag. Obviously, still no Triple H due to injury and Chyna has been gone for storyline purposes. The Oddities started surprisingly hot. Billy Gunn hit the Fameasser but the pin was broken up. Shaggy 2 Dope tried to interfere and hit Kurrgan, allowing Billy to win in 2:52. This kind of just happened. [½*]

Post-match, the Headbangers attacked Road Dogg.

Mankind showed up to the arena and was clearly in a crazed mindset.

In his office, Vince was nervous about Mankind. He sent Pat Patterson to talk to him because Pat knows him best.

Ken Shamrock made his way down to the ring and according to JR, this wasn’t scheduled. Shamrock got on the microphone to say that he was screwed last night by the Big Bossman. He issued a challenge to Bossman and even offered to put his title on the line. Short and to the point was the way to go for Shamrock promos.

Mark Henry w/ D-Lo Brown vs. Val Venis
JR and Lawler paid almost no attention to this match. They instead focused on the Paula Jones scandal and Val’s vasectomy story. As Henry beat on Val, Chyna made her return and stood atop the stage. Henry was ecstatic to see her. Val used the distraction to roll him up in 2:37. [¾*]

Mark Henry got on the microphone to say that he wanted to forget about the lawyer stuff. He just wanted to go on a date with Chyna. No sex involved, just her. Mark read her a poem but Chyna just walked off. D-Lo hugged his buddy.

Backstage, Austin got some coffee while we got some Pepsi cup product placement.

In Vince’s office, Patterson said he couldn’t find the boiler room. Gerald Brisco offered to go instead.

The Blue Blazer and Jeff Jarrett w/ Debra McMichael vs. Goldust and Steve Blackman
Goldust and Blackman make for an odd pairing, but both were attacked by the Blue Blazer last week, so this made sense. Blazer remained in his cape for the whole match. His loud “WOO” sounded a lot like Owen Hart. Goldust and Jarrett randomly began brawling outside while Blackman beat the Blazer with a lame pump kick in 2:09. Not much on the wrestling side of things today, huh? [½*]

Blackman went to unmask the Blue Blazer. JR was sure it was Owen. However, Owen Hart hit the ring to intervene. He, Jarrett, and the Blazer beat on Blackman. Goldust ran them off.

Back to Vince’s office. Brisco said he found the boiler room but heard strange noises and was too scared to check. Sgt. Slaughter called him a wuss and was next to give it a shot. After the break, Slaughter said he couldn’t get him on his own because Mankind is out of his mind. Now, all three were sent.


The Godfather was scheduled to face Stephen Regal next. Godfather offered the hos to Regal, who flashed him some booty. Regal chose the women, but when he went to leave, Godfather said England was full of fags. Regal turned around and they brawled.

Outside, Kane Chokeslammed a crew member.

Backstage, Bossman got pumped up by the McMahons for his upcoming match.

WWF REWIND ~ Shane McMahon screws Austin at Survivor Series.

WWF Intercontinental Championship: Ken Shamrock [c] vs. Big Bossman
JR was already plugging a big Raw at the Skydome in Toronto come February. This match was a brawl, which made sense given who was involved. They fought around the ring and just wailed on each other. Their brawl eventually led to a double DQ in 3:55. [*¼]

Bossman and Shamrock continued to fight and officials struggled to keep them contained. Out came Vince and Shane when things calmed a bit. Vince addressed Shamrock, saying he could use a man with his skills. He said the fans don’t care about him, but he does because he understands him. Vince made a weird reference to them both coming from broken homes and not having families. That part didn’t work for me. He offered him a spot working for him and the Corporation grows.

Outside, Kane attacked a fan asking for an autograph. A police siren went off, so Kane let the guy go and walked off. Uh, why would Kane care about that? And why wouldn’t the cops try and do something?

Edge and Gangrel w/ Christian vs. LOD 2000
Oh. It’s this match. It goes for 2:12 of nothing until LOD gets counted out because Hawk walked out and climbed the Titantron. [NR]

After the break, Animal pleaded with Hawk to come down from atop the Titantron. He apparently threatened to jump. In a classic Vince Russo move, Paul Ellering broke kayfabe to come out and plead with Hawk. Eventually, Droz climbed up to talk with Hawk. As he reached for him, he seemed to have shoved him back and off the Titantron. A tasteless segment that is one of the main things to point to when noting how the Attitude Era was far from perfect.

Almost immediately after that supposedly serious segment, the new WWF Women’s Champion Sable came out for a happy little interview. As if we hadn’t seen enough of him tonight, Shane McMahon interrupted. He said his dad made Sable so she shouldn’t dedicate the title to the fans but to him. Sable said she was a real woman who worked hard to get where she is and that she’s not for sale. This segment accomplished nothing.

SLAM OF THE WEEK ~ Rock beat up Mankind after the main event last night.

Backstage, the Stooges put on University of Kentucky football gear to go after Mankind in the boiler room. They got attacked but it was way too dark to see.

Before the main event, Vince McMahon and the Corporation came out. Vince ran down Austin for using the legal system and the fans for booing him. This is Austin’s last title shot in Vince’s eyes.

WWF Championship: The Rock [c] w/ The Corporation vs. Steve Austin
The first of many WWF Title matches between these two. Talk about a molten hot crowd. They popped hard for everything. With Austin having ended Kane’s first reign in a day, fans believed he could do the same to the Rock. They had some hot back and forth, both in and out of the ring. Austin even went for a piledriver outside. Rock debuted the Corporate Elbow before slowing the pace for a bit. Mankind ran out to get his hands on Vince, but was cut off and beaten up by the Corporation. Austin hit the Stone Cold Stunner to an enormous pop but Shamrock pulled out the referee before he could count three. I remember being furious at Shamrock. Austin took him out but out came The Undertaker. He had a shovel and cracked Austin with it for the DQ in 7:59. Not a mark on what they would go on to do together, but the crowd and action were hot. [***¼]

EXTRA ATTITUDE ~ Austin couldn’t let the fans go home upset. He delivered Stunners to Shane, Bossman, and Shamrock in quick succession.

MVP: The Rock
LVP: Hawk

Raw History
Episode #287
November 23rd, 1998 | Schottenstein Center in Columbus, Ohio | Attendance: N/A

WWF Champion: The Rock (1) since 11/15/98
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
WWF Women’s Champion: Sable (1) since 11/15/98

LAST WEEK ~ Steve Austin didn’t beat The Rock because The Undertaker hit him with a shovel.

RAW! Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler host. They informed us that Austin suffered a blackout at a live event in San Jose.

Vince McMahon, Shane, and the Stooges came out to start the show. Vince guaranteed he had nothing to do with The Undertaker’s attack on Austin. He claimed everything he does is for the fans. To prove it, he was naming a new Commissioner who wouldn’t have to answer to him on anything except Austin. Austin was his. The new Commissioner? None other than Shawn Michaels. Surprised it came on a taped episode. Shawn immediately let us know he was going to be somewhat of a babyface. He guaranteed things would never be the same again and booked a WWF Title match for tonight between The Rock and X-Pac. Vince and Shane were stunned by the news. Shawn ended by crotch chopping Vince and the Stooges. Good start to the show. Shawn helps change things up and we’ve got a good main event booked.

TONIGHT ~ Mankind defends the Hardcore Title against Ken Shamrock and Big Bossman.

Kevin Kelly interviewed the Insane Clown Posse. They were scheduled to face the Headbangers but said they aren’t ready. They basically forced the Oddities to have their backs and go in instead.

The Headbangers vs. The Oddities w/ Luna, Giant Silva, and ICP
It feels pretty obvious which way this was going. The ICP got involved quickly and sprayed Kurrgan in the eyes with paint. Golga got rolled up for the finish in 1:30. [NR]

ICP joined the Headbangers in jumping the Oddities. They even sprayed Luna and cut her hair. Mosh cut a bad promo about doing things the “Headbanger way.”

RECAP ~ Kane’s out of control antics over the past few weeks.

The Blue Blazer vs. Steve Blackman
Blackman dominated early but survived a Dragon Sleeper and the Sharpshooter. The Blazer randomly celebrated when the Blackman reached the ropes on the Sharpshooter. From out of nowhere, Blackman hit the Pump Kick and won in 2:57. Fine enough for what it was. [¾*]

Before Blackman could unmask the Blazer, Owen Hart ran out and attacked him.

YESTERDAY ~ At a live event in San Jose, Austin was celebrating what seemed to be a win. Suddenly, he fell to the mat and blacked out. After the shovel shot last week, Austin spent the week refusing medical attention.

Backstage, Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon seemed to be having a rocky conversation.

D-Lo Brown and Mark Henry vs. Edge and Gangrel w/ Christian
This was almost the first match I ever saw live. I went to a house show in 1999 and got this, but with Christian instead of Edge. The Brood duo showed off some solid tandem offense. I didn’t expect it considering it was Gangrel and not Christian. Edge took the heat as Henry showcased his size and strength. D-Lo missed an aerial move to set up the Gangrel tag. It wasn’t all that hot. Henry still beat him up until Chyna showed up and he got distracted. Gangrel rolled him up take this in 7:08. The finish was cheap but the action was fine. [**¼]

Post-match, Chyna agreed to the date with Mark Henry. He celebrated like he just won. He hugged D-Lo, who winced due to his “chest injury.”

At a hospital, Steve Austin was an angry patient saying he needed to compete despite his concussion. The doctor said he needed time away. The doctor gave him a sedative so he could get a good night’s sleep.

KABOOM OF THE WEEK ~ Undertaker clocked Austin with a shovel last week. As if we hadn’t seen this enough.

Backstage, Shawn Michaels had a nice little reunion with the DX members who joined after he left.

Goldust vs. Marc Mero
On Heat, Mero fired Jacqueline as he blamed her for his recent losses. Of course, this match couldn’t go on without involvement from women. Terri skipped out in a barely there outfit, followed closely by Jacqueline. Wild to think that both of these men were Intercontinental Champions in 1997. Goldust set up for Shattered Dreams only to get a low blow from Jacqueline. Terri then hit Shattered Dreams on Mero, giving us a no contest in 3:57. Barely a match. [*]

Terri’s tits nearly came out during the Shattered Dreams and her job up the ramp.

At the hospital, Austin signed an autograph for a nurse. Jim Ross asked him about The Undertaker and Paul Bearer, since he’ll be facing him in a Buried Alive match at Rock Bottom. Austin said they both had hell to pay. The lights went out in the room and a hearse was shown outside of the facility.

WWF REWIND ~ Ken Shamrock pulled the referee out of the ring as Austin had the WWF Title won last week.


WWF Hardcore Championship: Mankind [c] vs. Big Bossman vs. WWF Intercontinental Champion Ken Shamrock
JR pushed the idea that this was a glorified handicap match for the Corporation. That was the story of the match as Mankind had to fight off both men, who barely wrestled each other. They brawled around the ring and up the ramp. It did a strong job of adding to the sympathy behind the Mankind character. He fought tooth and nail despite the odds. The McMahons even came out for a closer look. The fans wanted Austin but seemed to forget he was in the hospital. As Mankind fought them off, the JOB Squad showed up. They distracted the referee from a Shamrock finish. Al Snow clocked Shamrock with Head so Mankind could win in 8:26. Another loss for Shamrock. Rough. The match told a good story and was well done, but had some lackluster moments. [***]

Ken Shamrock jumped Mankind after the match. He and Bossman beat him down to the back.

At the hospital, Undertaker attacked a sedated Austin with the help of Paul Bearer. They knocked him out for good with chloroform. Undertaker said it was Austin’s last ride and he dragged him out. They loaded him in the hearse outside following the break.

WWF Light Heavyweight Championship: Christian [c] w/ The Brood vs. Duane Gill
Gill returned at the Survivor Series to job to Mankind. Christian dominated, only to keep pulling Gill up off the mat. That brought out the JOB Squad again, because two matches in a row is somehow a good idea. That helped him win the title in an upset in 2:26. Yawn. [½*]

At a random graveyard, The Undertaker planned to bury Austin alive. When Austin started to regain consciousness, Undertaker put him out with a chokehold again. He decided this was too good and wanted to embalm him alive instead, so they left.

We’re scheduled for The Godfather vs. Tiger Ali Singh. Godfather made him the offer of the hos. Stephen Regal came out to warn Tiger about Godfather’s shady antics. The heels jumped Godfather until Val Venis made the save. Because the porn star and the pimp made sense as a tag team. For helping Godfather, Val got the hos.

Backstage, Shawn argued more with the Corporation. After the break, he was shown talking to Earl Hebner. Maybe they were discussing Montreal.

Non-Title Match: Bob Holly and Scorpio w/ Al Snow & Duane Gill vs. WWF Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws
Ah. More JOB Squad. Lots of energy from the crowd here, but not really for the match. They were more interested in the famous “O-H-I-O” chant and a negative one towards Michigan football. The match itself was technically fine but nothing of note happened. Mankind ran in to return the favor for the JOB Squad. He brought out a damn leaf blower and hit Billy Gunn to give the JOB Squad another win in 5:23. It happened and was inoffensive. [*¾]

Ken Shamrock and Big Bossman showed up to jump Mankind and the JOB Squad. The Outlaws took out their frustrations on the rest of the JOB Squad. As this happened, the Stooges came out and spoke to the Outlaws, seemingly trying to get them to join the Corporation.

At a funeral home, The Undertaker laid Austin on a table. Bearer set him up for the embalming as Undertaker uttered a bunch of nonsense. Before he could finish the job, Kane arrived and made the save. He fought Undertaker and Austin blocked Bearer from embalming him. Why was there a cameraman there who didn’t attempt to call for help? How did Kane find them? I understand nothing. Austin escaped.

WWF Championship: The Rock [c] vs. WWF European Champion X-Pac
Both men brought out their stables for backup for Shawn Michaels ejected everyone. X-Pac and Rock go on to have a solid title match at Capital Carnage in a few weeks, but this was a more condensed version. Parts of it came across as rushed because of that. However, the last few minutes are exciting. X-Pac picked up a handful of near falls where the fans believed he would pull out the upset. JR oversold them a bit, but they still worked. The finish gave the viewers one more twist, as Shawn took a steel chair from The Rock only to clock X-Pac. That gave Rock the win in 8:32. A fine match with a hot crowd. [**¾]

Shawn Michaels celebrated with Vince, Shane, and The Rock to close the show. The Outlaws brawled with Shamrock and Bossman to set up that feud.

MVP: Mankind

The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
Episode #286: This episode felt like a mixed bag. You can feel the Russo really starting to take off. The Austin/Rock stuff was great and I liked the setup for the Corporation. However, the show was dominated by countless backstage segments, a poor Sable promo, and the awful Hawk angle. [5.0] Episode #287: Another middle of the pack episode. There were definitely things to like. The Hardcore and WWF Title matches were good, while many angles were advanced. However, it also suffers from the worst of Russo’s crash TV style. The HBK stuff could’ve been built up and was instead rushed. The JOB Squad was in way too many segments. The Taker/Austin/Kane angle was nonsensical. [5.0]

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Raw History, Kevin Pantoja