–A video package recaps the Undertaker’s recent threats against Vince McMahon, culminating in the Undertaker burning a teddy bear at the end of last week’s RAW.
–Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from Cleveland, Ohio.
–The Corporation comes out and Vince McMahon discusses how the audience does not understand his capacity to love. He fires Kane for losing the inferno match to the Undertaker last week and has orderlies come down to send Kane to the insane asylum. However, Chyna comes to Kane’s aid and they fight them off. Chyna tells McMahon that she can control Kane and asks for Kane to be booked against Steve Austin, with Kane’s job on the line. McMahon counters by also putting Chyna’s job on the line. Mankind then joins the festivities and volunteers to referee the Steve Austin-Kane match to prove himself worthy of refereeing the title match at WrestleMania XV. McMahon agrees on the condition that Mankind is able to defeat the Undertaker on tonight’s show (this is later clarified in the broadcast to mean that McMahon will consider Mankind for the role at WrestleMania based on how the match goes). The Undertaker’s voice then comes on via the loudspeakers and he says that he has already told McMahon what he is going to take from him.
–Ryan Shamrock is shown straightening her dress after walking out of a locker room.
–Earl Hebner is shown telling Steve Austin, who arrived at the arena during the commercial break, that he is booked to face Kane. Austin says he does not really care since he is going to WrestleMania anyway.
–A doctor is shown telling Billy Gunn that he cannot wrestle tonight in a triple threat match for the Intercontinental title because he has some signs of pneumonia. Gunn cuts a small promo on the doctor, which is pretty funny.
–Video clips are shown of the Blue Meanie helping Goldust beat Intercontinental Champion Val Venis on last week’s RAW in a non-title match.
–Opening Triple Threat Contest for the Intercontinental Championship: Val Venis (Champion) defeats Ken Shamrock and Goldust (w/The Blue Meanie) by count out at 3:29:
Goldust is replacing Billy Gunn in this bout and Ryan Shamrock comes out to play the “what corner is she in?” angle. Goldust puts his tongue down Ryan’s throat to distract Shamrock as he fights with Venis in the ring and both men proceed to be counted out. These days count outs are not possible in triple threat matches (or they do not appear to be) but this was a good way to further this convoluted fight over the Intercontinental title. Rating: *½
–After the match, Billy Gunn briefly attacks Val Venis from behind as he celebrates near the entrance.
–Jim Ross is shown talking to Mankind and Al Snow backstage, but his back is to the camera. Cole says that he is returning to the WWF in the next segment. Were they really trying to lure in viewers by having them wonder what Ross looked like after another bout of Bell’s Palsy?
–Ross returns to the ring after the commercial break, welcoming out Bart Gunn. Ross announces that Gunn will face Butterbean in a Brawl for All match at WrestleMania and then cuts a promo about how the company told him not to appear on television due to his appearance. This segways into Ross ranting about how Bart bragged about knocking out “J.R.’s boy” Steve Williams in the Brawl for All tournament and he slaps Bart. Williams then runs in and attacks Bart, suplexing him several times as Ross looks on approvingly. In many cases this would constitute a heel turn, but the crowd still cheered Ross on his way to the locker room.
–Debra is shown stroking her legs in a mirror backstage.
–D-Lo Brown and Ivory are shown talking backstage.
–WWF Tag Team Champions Jeff Jarrett and Owen Hart, along with Debra, come out to the ring. Owen says he is not a nugget and Jarrett says that they appear to have some takers for their open challenge to the locker room. Debra says that if her team loses the titles that she will take off the robe she is wearing.
–WWF Tag Team Championship Match: Triple H & X-Pac defeat “Double J” Jeff Jarrett & Owen Hart (Champions w/Debra) by disqualification at 5:03:
The Debra stipulation, combined with a D-Generation X appearance, makes the crowd very hot for this match, where Triple H is placed in peril. Triple H and X-Pac appear set to win the titles after X-Pac gives Jarrett an X-Factor, but Debra works her charms on Tim White, who takes advantage of the situation by letting his hands roam all over Debra’s backside. X-Pac then proceeds to be taken out by Shane McMahon and Ivory wanders out to confront Debra. Eventually, White cannot restore control of the heels who are double teaming Triple H and that puts an end to the match, which I assume is a disqualification win for the faces. Couldn’t they just put over the champions here? I guess not since that means that Triple H would have had to eat the pin with X-Pac incapacitated. Rating: **
–As the champions are making their way to the locker room, D-Lo Brown takes them out and Ivory strips Debra’s robe off to reveal red underwear. After the commercial break, Debra issues a challenge to Ivory in an interview with Kevin Kelly.
–Luna Vachon and Tori come out. Vachon says that she is going to bring Sable back down to Earth. As with the Ross situation, the WWF is trying to put over Luna as the face here and Sable as the heel, but the crowd is not buying into it. Sable comes out to answer the challenge, but when she approaches the ring Tori takes out Luna from behind. Sable then hits Luna with a Sable Bomb, dances provocatively, and does not acknowledge Tori, who follows her backstage.
–WWF Championship Match: The Rock (Champion) pins The Road Dogg after a Corporate Elbow at 4:16:
I am not sure what Road Dogg has done to earn a WWF title match, but this is his return match after suffering an injury in February. Paul Wight comes out shortly after the match starts, ostensibly to monitor how to referee a WWF title match, and he interferes to help the Rock. Both men run through their signature spots, with the Rock countering a Road Dogg fist with a Rock Bottom and Corporate Elbow to continue his winning path into WrestleMania. Rating: **¼
–After the match, Al Snow comes to the ring with a chair and says he wants to renew his best-of-three hardcore match series with the Road Dogg. Road Dogg gets hold of the chair and blasts Snow with it several times. When Hardcore Holly comes out, he also eats a chair, with the Road Dogg saying that he will await the presence of both men in the parking lot.
–Chyna gives Kane a pep talk in the locker room.
–Road Dogg is shown pacing in the parking lot waiting for Snow and Holly, but neither show up.
–The Public Enemy come out to the Brood’s music and are dressed like their rivals. They tell the Brood they are not afraid of them and that they are the “mackdaddies of hardcore.” The lights in the arena go out and when they come back on, Rocco Rock is missing. Johnny Grunge runs to the locker room to try and find him.
–The camera cuts to the back where Hardcore Holly and the Road Dogg are fighting. Cole tells us this is not an official match, so they fight while another match is ongoing…
–Kendo Stick Match: Droz beats Steve Blackman at 1:01:
The rules of this match are that both men are given kendo sticks and that the first man off his feet loses. Droz is knocked down, but referee Teddy Long is also as well. This allows Droz to knock Blackman down and Long sees Blackman in that state, calling for the bell and allowing Droz to win. Predictable result because wrestlers were rarely winning their “special” matches in the WWF during this era. Does anyone care about this feud?
–The camera cuts back to the Holly-Road Dogg fight, with Al Snow joining the action when they go outside of the arena. This prompts WWF officials to intervene, but the fight heads into the street. I wonder what some of those motorists thought.
–Johnny Grunge finds Rocco Rock backstage tied up by his hands and hanging unconscious.
–Vince McMahon comes out to do guest commentary for the next match. He says that the Undertaker and the Big Bossman will face each other in a Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania.
–Mankind wrestles The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) to a double count out at 3:07:
These two run through some of their greatest hits in quick fashion, using the spot where Mankind has a chair and runs into the Undertaker, who proceeds to use a big boot to knock him down. In return, Mankind puts the Undertaker’s head against the steps and uses a high knee. After both men are counted out, the Undertaker goes after McMahon and tries to chokeslam him on the table, but the Big Bossman comes to his aid. Mankind eats a chokeslam as well since we just cannot have the Undertaker looking weak here under any circumstances. Rating: *¾
–McMahon and Big Bossman are shown making a getaway in a limo.
–Ivory beats Debra via disqualification when PMS interferes in seventeen seconds:
The referee sends the comrades of both women to the locker room, but it takes all of seventeen seconds for PMS to hit the ring and attack Ivory. Jacqueline gives Ivory a piledriver before D-Lo Brown can hit the ring to prevent further damage.
–Kane (w/Chyna) wrestles “Stone Cold” Steve Austin to a no contest at 13:43:
This is a classic Attitude Era brawl, with Austin trying some technical work at the beginning on Kane’s legs before abandoning that approach and brawling with him into the crowd. Kane even utilizes some psychology, targeting Austin’s back for much of the bout. A ref bump causes there to be a delayed count after a Stone Cold Stunner and Chyna breaks that pin up when it is counted. Paul Wight comes out and tosses a chair into Kane, but Austin intercepts it and uses it. Somehow that does not trigger a disqualification, although neither does Chyna’s low blow to Austin in full view of the referee. Kane then holds Austin for a Wight kick, but Austin avoids it and he flips off Wight as the show closes. This is a really weak way to keep Kane in the Corporation, but it does protect both guys going forward. This was one of Kane’s best matches in the company to this point and it’s a shame that we did not get this encounter at the 1998 King of the Ring. With a clean finish the rating would have cracked four stars territory. Rating: ***½
The Final Report: This was a very, very fast paced edition of RAW. Lots of angles were used to advance feuds throughout the card. However, the crowd is not cooperating on some of them such as Ross/Williams-Gunn and Sable-Tori. In fact, the entire Williams-Gunn feud is being made far more complicated than it needs to be and did not need Ross’s involvement at all. Aside from that, the main event on this show was much better than expected and that was the type of memorable encounter that makes this RAW worth checking out on the Network.
Monday Night War Rating: 6.3 (vs. 4.3 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation: Thumbs Up