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Raw History: Episodes 290 and 291 – The One Where Vince Put Himelf in the Royal Rumble

May 22, 2019 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
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Raw History: Episodes 290 and 291 – The One Where Vince Put Himelf in the Royal Rumble  

WWF Rock Bottom Results
D-Lo Brown and Mark Henry def. The Godfather and Val Venis in 5:56 [*]
The Headbangers def. The Oddities in 6:52 [DUD]
Steve Blackman def. Owen Hart in 10:28 [**½]
The Brood def. The J.O.B. Squad in 9:08 [**½]
Striptease Match: Goldust def. Jeff Jarrett via DQ in 8:02 [**¼]
WWF Tag Team Championship: The New Age Outlaws [c] def. Big Bossman and Ken Shamrock in 17:04 [*¾]
WWF Championship: The Rock [c] def. Mankind in 13:34 [***]
Buried Alive Match: Steve Austin def. The Undertaker in 21:30 [¾*]


Raw History
Episode #290
December 14th, 1998 | Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington | Attendance: 17,508

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: Big Bossman (1) since 11/30/98
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Duane Gill (1) since 11/23/98
WWF Women’s Champion: Sable (1) since 11/15/98

LAST NIGHT ~ We got still images from Mankind vs. The Rock and Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker.

RAW IS WAR! Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler were on commentary.

To kick off the show, D-Generation X came out dressed like The Corporation. It is similar to their famous Nation parody. Triple H reprised his role as The Crock, Chyna was Big Bossman, X-Pac was Ken Shamrock, Road Dogg and Billy Gunn were Vince and Shane, and some midgets were brought in to play the Stooges who kiss Vince’s ass. The Outlaws stuff wasn’t that funny, but X-Pac as Shamrock killed me. “ALL THIS TALK ABOUT SPHINCTERS IS PUTTING ME IN THE ZONE. IT’S FIVE KNUCKLE SHUFFLE TIME!” Amazing. The other highlight was Jason Sensation returning as Shawn Michaels. He did make an outdated H-B-Gay reference, but other than that, it was amusing. They ended it with a “suck it,” but then the real Corporation showed up. Shawn ran them down for not being original He then booked the Outlaws to face Bossman and Shamrock in a Tag Title match tonight. Rock challenged Triple H, but Shawn made sure it was non-title because HHH is a “midcarder for life.” HHH talked smack and goaded Rock into putting the title on the line. Lengthy segment, but it did what it needed.

Backstage, Vince McMahon hyped up the Corporation.

Edge and Christian w/ Gangrel vs. The Godfather and Val Venis w/ The Hos
No offer of the Hos for the Brood. Maybe he figured they were too weird. This is one o the earliest appearances of the Edge and Christian team. Gangrel had been getting the tag runs with either man. E&C immediately showed off some solid tag work and I was surprised to see some decent tandem stuff from Val and Godfather. Val picked up the win with a Fisherman’s suplex after a blind tag in 2:34. Typical Attitude Era TV stuff, but the guys put in some effort. [*½]

An angry Gangrel promised that the next time we saw the Brood, it would be a bloodbath. About time, because they’ve done a whole lot of nothing.

Kevin Kelly and his goatee interviewed Steve Blackman. He cut a generic promo saying he would unmask the Blue Blazer tonight.

The Blue Blazer vs. Goldust
This Blue Blazer costume looks cheap. He really came across like a jobber. The fans chanted “nugget” at him a bunch. They were surprisingly hot throughout. Jeff Jarrett hit the ring to break up Shattered Dreams, resulting in the DQ finish at 2:10. [½*]

Jarrett and Goldust brawled outside while Steve Blackman ran out. He kicked the Blazer and unmasked him, showing the world that it is Owen Hart!

The New Age Outlaws and their opponents for the evening argued backstage as officials kept them apart.

Bob Holly and Scorpio w/ The JOB Squad vs. D-Lo Brown and Mark Henry w/ PMS
The Raw debut of the “Sexual Chocolate” theme song. Henry cut a promo before the match about his date with Chyna, saying it got intimate. I don’t think that’s a good idea. I forgot PMS joined up with these guys. Anyway, this was another short Attitude Era TV match. Terri flirted with Duane Gill and the Blue Meanie outside for some reason. Henry won with a powerslam after a Jacqueline missile dropkick in 3:00. [*]

SLAM OF THE WEEK ~ Mankind attacked The Rock ahead of their match last night.

WWF Tag Team Championship No Holds Barred Match: The New Age Outlaws [c] vs. WWF Hardcore Champion Big Bossman and WWF Intercontinental Champion Ken Shamrock w/ Shawn Michaels
A rematch from a pretty rough bout a night earlier. This worked better. Surprisingly, it was Billy Gunn who got isolated. The heels focused on his left knee, complete with Shamrock smashing it with a steel chair. I know they’re about to embark on an IC Title feud that involved Billy’s leg as the focal point. Road Dogg also ate a chair shot at one point. Billy eventually became the legal man again and got whacked by Michaels with a night stick. That set up the Shamrock Ankle Lock and we had new champions in 6:45. Better than the night before because it was logical and kept short. [**¼]

WAR ZONE!

The McMahons came out with a tumbler to draw Stone Cold’s Royal Rumble number. As expected, they drew #1. Shane McMahon said they should give him the chance to draw a different number. Shane still pulled out #1. C-O-N-SPIRACY. To add to it, Vince put a $100,000 bounty on Austin at the Rumble as a reward for whoever eliminates him. Then, they announced Vince would be entering the Rumble himself for the first time ever. Vince hoped he’d enter at #2, but Shane drew #30 for him. Vince then uttered “NO CHANCE IN HELL” for the first time, discussing Austin’s chances at the Rumble. Mankind appeared on the Titantron to challenge Vince to a match tonight since he’s a new Superstar. Vince didn’t accept but was thinking about it. Another solid segment, but nothing special. It did set up a lot for the Rumble.

WWF REWIND ~ Debra did the striptease last night but got stopped by the Blue Blazer.

Guitar on a Pole Match: Jeff Jarrett w/ Debra vs. Steve Blackman
Ah, the old Vince Russo special. Pole matches. The match was mostly Blackman beating on Jarrett and having control. Debra entered and flashed her bra to distract Blackman. Jarrett got the guitar, which technically should have ended this. Instead, he swung and missed with it before we got a ref bump. Blackman had it won until Owen ran out and hit him with a guitar. That got Jarrett the win in 3:33. Is this 2000 WCW? [¾*]

Backstage, Tiger Ali Singh complained to the Stooges about the word BLOODBATH being written on the wall of his locker room. He was too scared to compete.

Elsewhere, Vince told Shane he’d face Mankind tonight.

Gangrel vs. Tiger Ali Singh was scheduled next. It never got started as the lights went out and The Brood jumped him on the stage. When the lights came back on, he was drenched in blood. Our first bloodbath.

No Holds Barred Match: Kane vs. Mankind
These guys usually worked well together in a brawl. This wasn’t exactly that. I did get a kick out of commentary claiming the steel steps weighed 150 pounds. That’s too much and it was even worse when they claimed it was much more in 2014. Anyway, this brawl lasted about 4:30 until Vince McMahon showed up to officially accept a Street Fight against Mankind in the parking lot. No contest. [*¼]

DURING THE BREAK ~ Kane beat up officials until Bossman and Shamrock joined the fray. They took down Kane and put him in a straightjacket with some orderlies.

The “Street Fight” between Vince and Mankind didn’t go too long. Mankind kicked his ass and put him in the Mandible Claw, shoving him into the trunk of a car. The Rock made the save and hit him with a Rock Bottom on the hood.

WWF Championship: The Rock [c] w/ Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H w/ Chyna
Talk about a hot crowd. Fans in 1998 believed anything could happen on almost any episode of Raw. They mobbed Triple H during his entrance and were molten throughout everything. The guys brawled for a bit and Rock slowed the pace with some chinlocks on more than one occasion. Things picked up late, with both men kicking out of finishers, ref bumps, and interference spots. Seriously, the reaction for Chyna hitting Rock with a low blow was wild. When all hell broke loose, Test made his debut and hit HHH with a pumphandle slam. Rock covered and retained in 10:49. A good match made better by a hot crowd. The Test debut fell a bit flat because it was rushed and fans barely knew who the hell he was. [***¼]

MVP: X-Pac
LVP: Steve Blackman


Raw History
Episode #291
December 21st, 1998 | Spokane Arena in Spokane, Washington | Attendance: 9,487

WWF Champion: The Rock (1) since 11/15/98
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Ken Shamrock (1) since 10/12/98
WWF Tag Team Champions: Big Bossman (1) and Ken Shamrock (1) since 12/14/98
WWF European Champion: X-Pac (2) since 10/18/98
WWF Hardcore Champion: Big Bossman (1) since 11/30/98
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Duane Gill (1) since 11/23/98
WWF Women’s Champion: Sable (1) since 11/15/98

Outside, Vince McMahon told the Stooges that he was leaving to train for the Royal Rumble and Shane would be in charge. The Stooges mentioned a Christmas bonus. Why couldn’t Vince train earlier and be at work for this show?

RAW IS WAR! Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler hosted this taped episode.

The Corporation came out to a theme that wasn’t yet their official “No Chance in Hell” we’d all become used to. Shane put over having the keys to the kingdom, but DX quickly interrupted. They had the keys to the boiler room and brought out Mankind. Bless Foley for awkwardly doing DX gestures. It was even funnier than Mike Tyson. Though Shane was in charge, he handed the microphone over to Shawn Michaels to book the show. He set up Billy Gunn to face Ken Shamrock, Road Dogg vs. Big Bossman, and a tag match pitting The Rock and the “corporate insurance policy” (Test) against Triple H and X-Pac. As for Mankind, Shane decided to face him to get vengeance for his dad last week. The Corporation think this is a bad idea. Mankind and DX flat out laughed at him.

Backstage, D-Lo Brown tried to convince Mark Henry to avoid spending time with ladies before their match tonight. It didn’t work.

Al Snow vs. Gangrel
Surprisingly, no Edge and Christian out there. No JOB Squad either, as if there was a stipulation I missed barring them from ringside. Anyway, the match went on with nobody really caring until Snow won clean with the Snow Plow in 3:01. Fine enough. [*¾]

As soon as Snow won, the lights went out and the rest of the Brood arrived to give him a bloodbath. During the break, Snow freaked out about being covered in blood.

WWF Intercontinental Championship: Ken Shamrock [c] vs. Billy Gunn
If you want to punish DX, why make this a title match? Loud “Shamrock sucks” chants. Gunn held up better than expected against Shamrock in his wheelhouse and had the crowd firmly behind him. Shamrock turned the tide by working the knee. It was a great callback to Gunn’s knee being a problem in the Tag Title match last week. Props to Gunn, someone I never thought was anything special, for selling the hell out of it. He scored with a victory roll counter to steal the win in 8:21. Big pop for that and the match was better than expected. [***]

Billy Gunn’s celebration was cut short by the arrival of Shawn Michaels. He never said the title was on the line (it’s true) and Shamrock remained champion. Gunn’s response? He mooned Shawn. And people wonder why he was never a top guy. Shamrock beat him up for that.

SLAM OF THE WEEK ~ On Heat last night, Hawk hit Droz with his cast and cost him a match against Al Snow.

Hawk walked out for the first time since the awful Titantron angle. How did they care so little of this angle that they gave no update on him since then? Anyway, he came out to claim Droz was his dope pusher. Droz did it to take Hawk’s place in LOD. Hawk said he’d get revenge after sobering up, but Droz attacked him from behind. Animal made the save for his old buddy. Cole’s dumbass: “Droz has been his pusher, ALL THESE YEARS.” You idiot.

Backstage, Mark Henry entered a room for some sexual chocolate activity with PMS.

STONE COLD CHRISTMAS ~ Austin hit Santa with a Stunner last year.

The Blue Blazer vs. Steve Blackman
Before the match, Owen Hart came out to say he wasn’t the Blue Blazer. He joined commentary and said it was tampered footage, even though the show was live. Owen wanted the mask to come off tonight and get to the truth. Blackman dominated until Owen attacked for a DQ in 2:22. Barely a match as the focus was on commentary. [NR]

Goldust hit the ring to make the save, hitting Owen with a back suplex. The Blue Blazer snuck off but Goldust chased him down. An unmasking revealed this Blazer to be Jeff Jarrett. I’m not really sure where this angle is heading or what the point is.

PMS offered Mark Henry a seven-course meal and said they’d take a shower together while he watched. He did watch, but it was behind a curtain, so what’s the point?

WAR ZONE!

WWF Hardcore Championship: Big Bossman [c] vs. Road Dogg
Unlike earlier, this was billed as a non-title match. However, Road Dogg goaded Bossman into putting the title on the line. Early on, a lot of this match felt convoluted. They found weapons in convenient places and it felt forced. Things moved into the crowd and the action became more entertaining. We’re talking Bossman being covered in powder that looked like cocaine and him choking Road Dogg with a noose. The kind of wild shit this division was famous for. Mankind appeared and threw a net over Bossman, allowing Dogg to hit him with a pipe and win the title in 6:55. Total nonsense, but in a fun way. [**½]

In the back, PMS undressed Henry, put him on a massage table, gagged him, and put whipped cream on him. These are segments. That’s for sure.

VIGNETTE ~ A random vignette ran where Jeff Jarrett spoke about being pissed off. I shit you not.

The Stooges attempted to convince Shane not to face Mankind.

Back to the PMS angle for no real reason. They blindfolded him and tied him to the table. Actual Michael Cole line after this segment: Well, you know, pregnant ladies can be sexy.

The Acolytes vs. Bob Holly and Scorpio
The poor referee had no chance of keeping this together. These four guys just brawled and the Acolytes mostly dominated. Somehow, they got disqualified for no real reason in 3:20. I have no idea what the point of this was. [NR]

Mankind vs. Shane McMahon w/ The Stooges
Shane got the Brawl for All music as his theme. Ha. Surprisingly, Shane got off to a decent start by sticking and moving. The Corporation came out for a look from the stage. Mankind got a chair and handed it to Shane to make his dad proud. He offered Shane a free shot and it didn’t faze him at all. Mankind beat on him and took out the Stooges. The Rock finally hit the ring to cause a DQ in 3:04. Again, this was barely a match. [NR]

As Rock and Mankind brawled outside, DX ran out. X-Pac hit Shane with a Bronco Buster to a big pop. Mankind and DX stood tall as the Corporation regrouped to the back.

VIGNETTE ~ Classy Freddie Blassie played a vulgar Santa in an ad.

Outside, the Stooges were worried Vince would punish them when he returned.

D-Lo Brown couldn’t get Mark Henry to join him.

D-Lo Brown vs. The Headbangers
Footage showed Henry was tied up and getting whipped by PMS. While Brown went at it alone, the camera cut to show Henry getting sexually tortured by PMS. We also heard Lawler pass along rumors of what they were doing with vibrators and hamsters. Oh, Attitude Era. Headbangers won with a double flapjack in 2:42. [NR]

An exhausted Mark Henry stumbled out to the stage. D-Lo scolded him.

Vince arrived back at the show. Why even come back at this point? It’s late. The Stooges greeted him and Brisco immediately apologized, even though Patterson said to keep it quiet. Vince was pissed.

WWF Champion The Rock and Test w/ The Corporation vs. Triple H and WWF European Champion X-Pac w/ DX
Interestingly, Shawn Michaels attempted to eject DX only for Vince to come out and overrule him because it was the holiday season. When the match started, we got our first look at Test. He just did a lot of basic stuff. Think early Diesel. Things improved when Rock and X-Pac went at it. They had a solid series of matches around this time. Rock hit the People’s Elbow but Triple H broke up the pin. He got the hot tag shortly after and hit the Pedigree, only to have that pin broken. The match went to a no contest when Kane arrived around 10:30. Decent little main event tag. [**]

The big twist came when Kane entered the ring and took out DX, rather than the Corporation, who had him committed. You see, Kane was the “Christmas bonus” they barely hyped throughout the show. He chokeslammed every member of DX and finished it with Chyna to close out the show.

MVP: Billy Gunn
LVP: LOD 2000

6.0
The final score: review Average
The 411
#290:  I liked this more than I expected. With no Stone Cold, I wasn’t sure it would mean much. Instead, they managed to build several angles towards the Royal Rumble and give us an entertaining episode. Most of the DX parody segment worked, the main event was a lot of fun and we had a title change. [7.0]   #291:  I felt this show got off to a strong start. I liked the Intercontinental Title match, most of the opening segment, and even the Hardcore Title match. The War Zone got bogged down by way too much BS. The PMS stuff was all over the place, there were meaningless matches/angles, and the Kane turn didn’t mean anything because he had already turned a ton. [5.0]
legend

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RAW, Raw History, WWE, Kevin Pantoja