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Michaels vs Austin - Tyson joins DX
Austin versus McMahon
HHH and the new DX Army invade WCW
Kane loses the World Title to Steve Austin
Degeneration X vs the Nation
"Choppy choppy your peepee!"
McMahon screws Mankind; makes Rock his Corporate champion
Undertaker "crucifies" Austin
Degeneration X versus Team Corporate
Better late than never! I'm going to have to move if I want to finish the last four by the 10th anniversary! I can't believe how much stuff I'm having to leave out, barely even touching on (or not touching at all) stuff like Sable vs Marc Mero, or the Parade of Human Oddities, or the JOB squad. Ah, well. If I leave out anything you feel is important, it's up to you fill in the blanks. ;0
It's getting much harder to narrow these polls down to 9!
I did leave one thing out from the last week of 1997: the debut of Cactus Jack’s new partner, “Chainsaw Charlie”, or Terry Funk. The Chainsaw Charlie name is sort-of dropped a couple of weeks later, if not the costume. Jack brought Funk in to be a partner against the New Age Outlaws.
Another Jim Cornette-led invasion! Jim Cornette’s all about “tradition”, and this time it’s the NWA, and Cornette kicks it off by having a match to determine the new NWA North American Heavyweight champion... won by Jeff Jarrett over Barry Windham. The Rock and Roll Express joined up also, as did “Blackjack” Barry Windham, who turned on his partner, Blackjack Bradshaw.
Austin goes on a stunner rampage against EVERYONE in the Royal Rumble.
Mark Henry turns on his tag partner, Ken Shamrock, to join the Nation. Shamrock was getting heaving into a fued with Rocky Maivia at the time. Apparently, this was Rocky’s decision, and he hadn’t cleared it with group leader Farooq, causing tension between the two.
Mike Tyson made a live appearance on Raw, and was confronted in the ring by Steve Austin. The two nearly get into it and have to be pulled apart, as Vince McMahon screams, “You ruined it! You ruined it!” At first, it looks like Shawn Michaels is trying to get out of defending his title at Wrestlemania, as he proposes a match between Austin and Tyson, with himself as special referee.
Owen had been going after DX for the demise of the Hart Foundation, but instead of Shawn Michaels was handed HHH. Owen Hart was supposed to get a European title shot at HHH, but his opponent, “Hunterdust”, was obviously not the real deal. Owen beat Hunterdust, and DX came out to mock him for being tricked. But Commisioner Slaughter determined that Hunterdust was the legal substitute for HHH in the match, and therefore, Owen Hart was the new European champion.
February – March 1998
Terry Funk and Cactus Jack had a match to decide who the better man was, but were ambushed by the New Age Outlaws. The Outlaws trapped them in a dumpster and shoved it off of the ramp. The show is “stopped” as medics attend to the hardcore legends, and the Outlaws actually look a little remorseful. Later, they gave an interview where they admit that maybe they went a little to far, but Michaels and Helmsley interrupt and reassure them that they did the right thing; wrestling is all about ratings and raising the bar.
When Mike Tyson returns, this time it’s Shawn Michaels who confronts him in the ring. The two faced off, and were about to hit each other, and Shawn ripped of Tyson’s shirt. Underneath, there was another shirt that said… DX. The special enforcer for the world title match at Wrestlemania was in Shawn’s corner!
Suck it, Don.
Elsewhere, Vince McMahon admitted that Steve Austin would be an embarrassment as champion. I’ve always wondered: more embarrassing than Shawn Michaels?
Jeff Jarrett leaves the NWA and returns to his country music singer gimmick. Jim Cornette introduces the New Midnight Express: Bob Holly and Bart Gunn, and sics them on the Rock and Roll’s.
The day after Wrestlemania, Vince gave Austin his new World title belt, and advised Austin that Austin will have to bend to his will, and that they can either do it the easy way, or the hard way. Austin chose the hard way. A few weeks later, the two tried to settle their differences in the ring, but Dude Love interfered, and in his attempt to create peace, ended up putting the mandible claw on Austin. Vince began using Dude Love as his weapon against Austin.
The Rock assumed leadership of the Nation, kicking Farooq out. Owen Hart joined up with the Nation, turning on Ken Shamrock and going through a “cannibal’ phase where he like to bite all of his opponents. The biting part lasted a matter of weeks.
Val Venis vignettes begin, showing scenes of him on the sets of his movies.
Val and Jemma Jameson. Notice Val's purple helmet.
With Shawn Michaels out permanently, HHH announces that Shawn dropped the ball, and that he was picking it up. HHH introduced the first member of his new “DX army”, X-Pac, who gave a scathing interview about Eric Bischoff firing him. The same night, Helmsley, X-Pac, and Chyna help the New Age Outlaws regain the tag titles in their cage match against the hardcore legends; the New Age Outlaws were the final two members. DX did anti-WCW stuff for weeks, but the best one night when both companies where shooting their live Monday night shows only 30 miles from each other! DX went in their army jeeps to "talk to Eric Bischoff" and basically cause a little ruckus and embarrass the non-sold out WCW show.
The only ones man enough to fire the first shot.
May – June 1998
After losing the match to Steve Austin and the #1 contendership going to Goldust, Dude Love starts questioning who he is, and throws the Dude Love costume in Vince’s face. That night, Mick Foley (not Cactus Jack, Dude Love, or Mankind) went out to face Terry Funk. This is one of only two times (in his second WWF run) that Foley wrestled under his real name, for you wrestling trivia fans. Foley beat Funk, and McMahon congratulated him and offered him his Dude Love shirt back.
After losing to Austin, Goldust also has an identity crisis. "The Rhodes name goes way way back...Vince, you took my dignity from me. You took my father from me. You caused me to lose Terri and Dakota. Why? Over a wig? Over being a freak? You put me in the ring with Kane because I couldn't beat Stone Cold Steve Austin?... Goldust dies TONIGHT! Vince McMahon, you will never forget the name of (inhales) Dustin."
Kaietai, a team of three really great Japanese wrestlers debut. I’ve always wondered how WWF could have dropped the ball on this one. The only member of that team still around is Funaki. Al Snow and Head debut, as well as Val Venis. “Edge is coming” vignettes begin.
Edge makes his in-ring debut, hurting many Boricuas.
Kane, one day removed from beating Steve Austin in a First Blood match, accepts a rematch for the title. Kane ends up with one of the shortest world title reigns in wrestling history. But Kane and Undertaker end up making up; seems Kane was taking to many risks trying to come out of the shadow of the Undertaker, and ‘Take felt compelled to protect him.
One Night Only
July - August 1998
DX had been fueding for many months with the Nation, but the real highlight was HHH vs Rocky Maivia, round 2. And DX coming to the ring dressed as the Nation.
"You know, the Crock just came from the bathroom - and - ooh! You should have smelled what the Crock was cookin'! I ain't fakin', the Rock was bakin'!"
Kane and Mankind defeated the New Age Outlaws for the tag titles on Raw… with help from the Nation, of course. They regained the titles again on Raw in a four corners match when Kane chokeslammed the Undertaker. But did Undertaker WANT Kane to win the tag titles?
WWF introduced the “Brawl for All”, an open UFC-type tournament that supposedly started out as a real competition. I think it became scripted when “Dr. Death” Steve Williams, just coming into the WWF, got knocked out by Bart Gunn, killing all of Williams credibility. The competition killed one star, but created another in Bart Gunn. But then, WWF put Bart up against a real fighter, Butterbean at Wrestlemania, who knocked out Bart in seconds. Bart was never seen on WWF TV again.
“I choppy choppy… your peepee!” If that doesn’t bring back memories, you’re not a wrestling fan. The peepee in question belonged to Val Venis, who’d been messing with Yamaguchi-san’s wife. So Val and Taka, also an enemy of Kaientai, were to face off in the ring, where Taka turned on Val and joined Kaientai. Turns out Yamaguchi-san’s wife was Taka’s sister! Kaientai drag Val to the back, stripped him down, Yamaguchi-san raised up the sword, the lights went out, there was a scream, and Raw went off the air. The following week John Wayne Bobbit gave a press conference with Val, where the two gave one of the most contrived explanations I’ve ever heard, but long story short, Val did NOT lose his peepee. The most shocking part of all of this was that the guy who stole the wife and then dumped her was actually the HERO here. Whattaworld.
The Preachers Wife – Yes, more Val Venis. And the preacher, by the way, has been Dustin Runnel’s new gimmick since dumping Goldust back in spring. Dustin also had been carrying signs for quite awhile, warning that “He is coming.” ‘He’ turned out to be the return of Goldust, which made no sense whatsoever, but hey, it was the height of the Vince Russo era, and people missed Goldy anyway.
Jacqueline becomes the first Women’s champion in three years when she defeats Sable. Of course, the only other woman in the WWF at the time was Luna, so it wasn’t exactly a huge division.
Remember when EVERYBODY was bring those laser pointers, so that every time someone gave an interview, they would be covered with red dots? They sure have gotten good at nailing those things early, haven’t they? I noticed someone on Smackdown getting nailed with a laser pointer for the first time in a long time.
Vince’s celebration of finally getting the world title off Austin was crashed by Austin himself… driving a Zamboni to the ring? I never got why this is considered such a memorable moment. I thought the beer truck was much better.
Vince ended up in the hospital, and who should come to cheer him up? Mankind!! Yurple the clown makes balloon animals for Vince, and Mankind introduces Mr. Socko! A little later, Vince gets a visit from Dr. Austin, who delivers an enema to Vince.
Edge joins up with his nemesis, Gangrel, because Gangrel has Edge’s brother Christian under his control. Edge, btw, was supposedly some kind of vampire hunter, and Gangrel, well, you know. I expect Russo was thinking of some ultimate Edge/Gangrel confrontation at Wrestlemania, but “the Brood” ended up joining the Ministry of Darkness, and the whole thing was forgotten.
We suck... but in a good way.
WWF shows they can get away with anything they want now, pulling out another Austin/gun angle. This time, Austin, fired from the WWF, spends the entire show in hunting gear stalking Vince McMahon. At the end of the show, Austin finally gets Vince in the ring, points the gun at him, and fires.
Vince wets his pants. Really.
Steve Regal debuts as a construction worker. He was a real, real man’s man.
Vince McMahon awards Mankind the Hardcore title for Mankind’s loyal service in the most recent weeks. Of course, Vince was just setting up Mankind to get screwed and make Rock his corporate champion. And speaking of Corporate, Mister McMahon’s corporation included Big Bossman and Ken Shamrock, for those keeping score. Big Bossman took the Hardcore title from Mankind weeks later with help from the Corporation.
The Blue Blazer returns! Noone’s seen this guy in like ten years! He runs interference for Jeff Jarrett, giving JJ the win over Val Venis. Owen Hart appeared later in the show to announce his retirement, because, after nearly ending the careers of Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, and most recently, Dan Severn, Owen felt it was too dangerous for him to compete anymore. Blackman confronted Owen later in the show accusing Owen of being the Blazer, when who should come to Owen’s aid? The Blue Blazer!
LOD 2000 has been having a really tough year, with Hawk continually climbing and falling off the wagon. Finally, Hawk had reached his lowest and climbed the Titantron, threatening to jump and end it all. Puke, or Droz, or whatever they were calling him that week, climbed up after Hawk, and, after a struggle, actually pushed Hawk off! Great shot of his silhouette falling behind the Titantron. It was insinuated before the angle was aborted that Droz was actually the one giving Hawk his drugs.
In a move that made no sense, Vince asked Slaughter to step aside and let Shawn Michaels become WWF commissioner. Shawn Michaels actually fit the Corporate roll pretty well for awhile.
Jacqueline turns on Marc Mero, and teams with Terri Runnels as “PMS”, Pretty Mean Sisters.
Gillberg, a short-running joke, wins the Light Heavyweight title from Christian.
Undertaker captures Steve Austin and tries to embalm him but Kane makes the save. Ugh.
The Jackyll, who through 97 and 98 played a cult leader to the Truth Commission (which I probably should’ve given some attention, since that’s where Bling-Bling Buchanan debuted, and the leader of the Parade of Human Oddities. Jackyll made a last stab at doing the cult thing when he debuted the Acolytes. Jackyll, apparently a master of pissing people off backstage, didn’t last.
The newer, darker Undertaker debuts. Undertaker and his druids get the better of Austin, and tie him to the Undertaker’s symbol, which they then raised up in the air. Much fuss was made because it had tones of crucifixion.
Sorry this picture sucks so badly.
Road Dogg beat Big Bossman for the Hardcore title. Road Dogg’s hardcore run was the only time he was ever entertaining as a singles wrestler, IMO.
The Jackyl-less Acolytes kidnap Dennis Knight of Southern Justice (formerly Phineas Godwinn) at the orders of some unknown leader.
Degeneration X fueds with the Corporation, and like with the Nation, DX pulls out another funny impression. Triple H got to be the Crock again, but X-Pac as Ken Shamrock, screaming about being in the Zone, stole the show for me. DX vs Corporation became the focus for Royal Rumble, as well as McMahon putting a bounty on Austin and entering himself in the Rumble. They recently replayed the video of Shane training Vince for the Rumble on Confidential. 99’s Royal Rumble had possibly the best build-up ever.
A Raw Memorial
Raw in Review 97
Raw in Review 96
Raw in Review 95
Raw in Review 94
Raw in Review 93
Last edited by EinBebop; 01-01-2003 at 01:52 AM.
"He lived hard and died stupid."
Why do people do things, why?? Sometimes I just wonder why but I can't figure it out. But I will. And when I do that will be the day.
Ahh, memories. The thing that sticks out most in my mind however, is that this was the year that I actually LIKED The Rock. He was such an awesome heel, far more entertaining than all the kissing of the people's butt (pun intended) that he does now. "This is not sing-a-long with the great one!" And calling the fans "White trash candy asses" always made me laugh until I got the hiccups.
"There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman; some kind of abstraction. But there is no real me; only an entity, something illusory. And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable... I simply... am not... there."
Now this is where I started watching! Late fan, I know, but I bet alot of fans started tuning in durring the Austin era.
Now, being that I was a new fan, most of this stuff was insanely shocking at the time. I missed the whole "wrestling is fake" speach from Vince, so they storylines were very deep in my mind then.
When Kientai did the whole "choppy choppy" thing, my jaw hit the ground. Coming from a guy that watched Samurai Pizza Cats before school, that was nuts.
The Crucifix thing was crazy, more so because of all the press it got the next day. I remember seeing some guy on CNN hollering up a storm about it.
The Gillberg thing was an abomination, mainly because it set the Light Heavyweight division back so long. Can you imagine what it would be like if they let it continue, and a competition feud errupted between WCW and WWF to see who had the better lightweights?
Man, that was a good year, only rivaled by 2000 in my mind. Can't wait for the Raw retrospecive from that year.
This is about the time I was watching more WcW than WWF. The DX spots mocking the Nation and the Corporation were hilarious.
I liked the stepup to that years Royal Rumble were Austin was stunning people. I always thought that the Rumble should've gone everybody's number gets called but no one fights until number 30 gets called and it's Austin. Everyone moves to the front of the ring towards the entrance way when they here his music, but Austin enters through the crowd.
I voted for the DX invasion of WcW. Because I was at that Nitro event were DX started that invasion.
"Always a pleasure to meet a Jedi." - Jango Fett
"Arghh! I'm not beautiful."- Sea Captain
"Everybody loves Butters." "That's me!" - Butters
"We ride together, we die together. Bad Boys for life." - Mike Lowrey
I was at the Raw show for "choppy choppy your peepee", and in addition to being a Kaientai fan, I might be biased in my memory of that particular angle.
I voted for Michaels vs Austin fued, just because Shawn Michaels/ Mike Tyson thing was the coolest thing in the history of wrestling for me up to that point. I had my college graduation ceremony in June of that year (didn't actually finish my senior project and get my diploma until nearly a year later) and coming down from the stand with my diploma, I made an X over my head with my arms to my brother. We were huge DX marks.
"He lived hard and died stupid."
A couple of important points which I feel foolish for not mentioning... Terri Runnels announced that she was pregnant by Val Venis, and thus he dumped her. Jacqueline was having trouble with Mero as well, so the two turned on their men, thus forming PMS.
And also, Motley Crue did a performance on Raw in November, and when a rowdy fan tried to get into the show, a huge bodyguard took him down. For no particular reason, that "bodyguard" decided to stay in the WWF as Test.
"He lived hard and died stupid."
I vote for Austin v. Michaels, but Austin making Vince wet his pants was a close second.
Hmm this was a tough yet easy choice for me...
I love HHH and the new DX Army invade WCW. I never liked WCW as a collective organization so this was just great stuff.
This was the year Owen Hart really stepped out on his own and I thought that was just great. He was no longer Bret Hart's little brother because Bret's shadow was no longer cast over the WWF. He was a face for the first time in a long time and I thought it really worked for him. The Nation was great too. Even though it would later be his undoing, the entire mystery behind who was the Blue Blazer was great stuff. One time the Blazer was an African American! (I believe it was Mo from Men On a Mission).
The Rock's heel turn was a quite a shock to me, but I loved every minute of it! I always liked Rocky as a heel. He was cool as a face, but it was cool to see him bad again.
This year also featured the big one-night Intercontinetal Title tournament (to replace injured Champ Triple H) which was eventually won by Ken Shamrock. I have to say that belt looked dang good around his waist.
One key thing Ein only touched on was the evolution of Mick Foley during 1998. The week after the Outlaws beat Funk and Cactus Jack for the Tag Titles and joined DX, Cactus Jack made his way to the ring. He talked about when he came to the WWF and he was Mankind people asked him, "Why don't you just be Cactus Jack?" and when was walking around in white boots and tye-dye people asked him, "Why don't you just be Cactus Jack?" And he gave them Cactus Jack and they chanted someone else's name (fans chanted for "Austin" when Cactus and Funk were being beat on by DX hoping that Stone Cold would come save the day, but McMahon had the Rattlesnake arrested earlier in the night.) He said he would accept a group apology right now, but some fans said nothing and others booed. Then he said "I gave you Cactus Jack!! I gave you every (goshdarn) bit of energy I had!! I can say that after 13 years of blood, sweat and tears it's not worth it anymore, it's going to be a long time before you see Cactus Jack in the ring again." JR gave a dedication, expecting we would never see Mrs. Foley's Baby Boy again.
A few weeks later, Dude Love came out during the Austin-McMahon conflict as Ein mentioned. Dude talked about peace and love and then he became Vince's personal soldier against the Rattlesnake and at Over The Edge in May, McMahon stacked the deck against Austin, making himself the special referee. Even with all that the Dudester was unable to wrest the WWF Championship away. The next night, McMahon fired Dude Love at the beginning of RAW.
In the main event that same night, when Kane was facing off with his brother the Undertaker who should come out, but Mankind! He attacked Taker and Vince (who guest commentating) was pleasantly surprised, "I don't know what he's doing here, I fired him." Mankind rejoined his "Uncle" Paul Bearer and Kane. He began wearing a tattered shirt and tie, projecting a shattered version of the corporate imagine he tried and failed to portray.
But my ultimate RAW moment for 1998 was on Oct. 12. Mr. McMahon was accompanied all night by a masked man in riot gear to protect him from Stone Cold Steve Austin. During the main event match pitting The Rock & Austin against The Undertaker & Kane, McMahon's new security guard ran to the ring. He bashed Stone Cold with a nightstick and then removed his hood. JR exclaimed "It's the Big Boss Man!" My favorite wrestler of all time had returned and I walked around the next day at school with a permanent smile on my face.
I'm about 95% sure that Blue Blazer was Mark Henry.
"He lived hard and died stupid."
Well he sure looked a lot smaller then. I was pretty sure the Blazer was a smaller, chubbier dude.Originally posted by EinBebop
I'm about 95% sure that Blue Blazer was Mark Henry.
I admit it is an assumption, but it would make sense, since Henry had turned on D-Lo to help Jarrett, and Jarrett had even rewarded Henry with the European title.
"He lived hard and died stupid."
Blue Blazer was Koko B. Ware. The Rock mentioned it in an interview on Off the Record once and this link lists Koko among 3 guys that played "Fake Blue Blazer."
Also, about the New Age Outlaws/Funk/Jack/dumpster dealy, RD Reynolds from Wrestlecrap was actually at that show and said the whole stadium was bored to tears when that happened! They got thrown into a dumpster full of packing peanuts, basically, and he said it seemed like they were waiting around for what seemed like hours before the whole thing was done. He said that nothing was happening whilst they were in there and it was just a long, boring thing to see. I can imagine so, as they wouldn't have even had J.R. commenting on it!
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