Previously on the Best and Worst of WWF Raw Is War: Mr. McMahon guaran-damn-teed that he’d defeat Stone Cold Steve Austin and win the Royal Rumble, and sure enough, here we are. Oh, and The Rock turned Mick Foley’s head inside out with a steel chair.
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And now, the Best and Worst of WWF Raw Is War for January 25, 1999.
Best: Be My Valentine
Stone Cold Steve Austin copes with the reality of Vince McMahon’s Royal Rumble win by going to Shawn Michaels’ house, getting as drunk as humanly possible, and setting up a satellite feed so he can get the disgraced Commissioner to drop some WrestleMania booking loophole bombshells. I don’t know if Austin and Michaels are actually drunk here, but if they aren’t, they’re doing the best acting work of their careers. Austin’s eyes are glazed over, and Michaels looks like he’s a good song away from putting a lampshade on his head and doing his little Shawn Michaels dance on the bar. They also look like the blue collar husband and sarcastic wife on every sitcom.
Anyway, Vince McMahon opens the show with a funny bit about how The Rock woke up in a cold sweat not wanting to face him at WrestleMania, so he’s filed paperwork to remove himself as number one contender, reserving the right to choose his replacement. That’s when Austin calls in using the Coors Light satellite, and Michaels explains that the Jack Tunney Memorial World Wrestling Federation Rule Book states that if the winner of the Royal Rumble is unable or unwilling to go to WrestleMania, the runner-up gets to do it instead. That means Mr. McMahon totally just Andre’d himself and figuratively vacated the WWF Championship by selling it to the Million Dollar Man. Austin, knowing all too well how to play Vince’s fragile masculinity like a fiddle, is willing to put his now legally binding WrestleMania spot on the line against McMahon in a steel cage match at St. Valentine’s Day Massacre: In Your House. Vince begrudgingly accepts, which we’ll later find out is due to an absolutely absurd plan and trust in one of the least trustworthy characters in wrestling history.
That’s not the only dramatic challenge in the first hour of this week’s Raw, however. It’s one of THREE.
Best: The Heat Is On
Mr. McMahon also uses the opening segment to decree that his promised $100,000 reward for the Royal Rumble elimination of Stone Cold Steve Austin will go to The Rock, whose valuable “LEAVE THE RING AND FIGHT ME YA PIECE’A MONKEY CRAP” gestures caused the distraction that allowed McMahon to eliminate Austin and win the match. Much like Denny from The Room, Vince promises that he’ll have Rock’s money and it’ll be here in a few minutes.
Mankind, wearing what might as well be a full-sized pillow between his leather mask and his swollen brain, decides to plan an Oceans 11-style heist to steal the money. Read: he walks up to the guards and punches them in the face. With the sack of money in hand, Mankind interrupts a Rock promo to explain how him “quitting” at the Royal Rumble was just someone playing the audio of him screaming “I quit” on Sunday Night Heat. Michael Cole is having an out of body experience realizing an unconscious man who did not give up after 10 chair shots could not excitedly scream “I QUIT” into a microphone multiple times after an 11th while lying motionless, face-down, in a pool of his own blood. Foley wants a rematch, and hopes to get it by throwing small handfuls of the Rumble bounty prize into the crowd.
Not wanting to see $100,000 of his evil boss’ money be redistributed among the people, Rock agrees to the rematch. It’ll be an empty arena match, quarantine-style, during halftime of “The Big Game.” Rock should be fine as long as he avoids any forklifts outfitted with magical floating cameras.
Worst: [Extreme Donald Trump Voice] Chyna
Speaking of The Big Game, the third challenge of the night comes from Triple H. H heard The Rock say he could beat anyone on the roster in an “I Quit” match and calls his bluff, setting up a random “I Quit” main event for the night. I’m not sure why H would want to challenge this dude after watching him turn Mick Foley’s head and a steel chair into a mortar and pestle, but all right.
Before we can get to that, we need to talk about Kane (2011, dir. Lynne Ramsay). If you’ve been following along with the vintage Best and Worst of Raw you’ll remember how Kane doesn’t necessarily want to be a Corporate puppet — presumably he’d rather go hang out with his brother the undead necromancer and play Satanic Murder Cult — but if he gets out of line, they send a bunch of orderlies after him and take him to a mental institution. Earlier in this same episode, Shane McMahon brings out Kane to berate him for going into business for himself at the Royal Rumble. X-Pac showed up to get Kane’s back and offer him a spot in D-Generation X, but Kane, a victim of manipulation and abuse for his entire life, chokeslams him and watches the boss’ dipshit son ride him like a pony in the corner.
By the end of the main event, Triple H is kicking The Rock’s ass. He hits a Pedigree in the ring, rolls Rock out onto the floor, hits a Pedigree on the floor, and then rolls Rock up onto the announce table. This brings out the Corporation with an apparently kidnapped Chyna — better to get kidnapped by a bunch of front office assholes than the goth cult, I guess — and Kane threatens to chokeslam her and “break her back” if H doesn’t give up. H, fooled into having sympathy for the one person who’s been there for him the past two years, quits to save her. Afterward he tries to fight Kane instead, which of course leads to this:
If you’ve ever wondered why Triple H’s character can be so callous and distrusting, or why he went from being a fun-loving dork who sprays boobies with Super Soakers to being the CEREBRAL ASSASSIN AND KING OF KINGS who RULES THE ATTITUDE ERA WITH AN IRON FIST or whatever, here you go. Chyna punches him in the balls, revealing that sometime between the Corporate Rumble and now she’s fully thrown in with The Corporation, and that he lost his best-to-date chance at the WWF Championship because he cared more about HER than winning. NEVER AGAIN.
Two months later this decision would cause Triple H to betray his friends and join The Authority for the first time, signaling that the Connecticut blue blood who’d found fellowship and fan support in joyous juvenility has sold his soul to the company store for an easier, more selfish path to the top. It ends up being a Russian nesting doll of opportunistic career growth. I was going to say it “lasted” 20 years, but honestly we’re still in the middle of it.
Worst: The Blue Age Outlaws
If you’re wondering what D-Generation X stalwarts The Road Dogg and Bill Ass are up to while all this is going on, they’re tasked with introducing the WWE Universe™ to everyone’s new favorite character: Bluedust.
To recap, Goldust stole Al Snow’s mannequin head, Head, and gave it Goldust paint. He lost a match for possession of Head last week, but kept it anyway, because they don’t actually enforce stipulations here. That’d be crazy. This week, Billy defeats Goldust when “Bluedust” appears, reclaims the Head, and hits Goldust with it. Michael Cole, king of the subtle story beat, raises his voice two octaves and yells, “Hey, it’s Bluedust! It’s Bluedust! You know who that is, King? You know who that is? From the JOB Squad! That’s Blue Meanie!” Lawler’s response: “Goldust is wrestling and Bluedust comes down and takes the gold head and hits Goldust … I don’t get it!” Nah man, I think you’ve got it.
Later in the episode, Road Dogg teams up with Al Snow to defend the Hardcore Championship, a singles title, against Edge and Gangrel in what the announcers call a “Hardcore Tag Team Championship match.” Sure. They end up fighting to the back and into the women’s bathroom where the Godfather’s Hoes are loitering, then up onto a stack of production crates positioned suspiciously alongside a bingo hall table. Yeah guys, all four of you should go stand up on one crate and hug each other, that’ll look like a real fight.
Bluedust appears and returns Head to Snow, which Snow uses for a gentle strike that somehow sends all four men plummeting a whopping foot and a half onto the table below. This is one of those ideas that probably sounded great on paper, especially if you’ve done enough cocaine to forget how wrestling works and that human beings have mass.
After the match, Dogg and Snow’s celebratory interview is interrupted by a 4-on-2 attack from The Acolytes, Mideon, and the artist formerly known as Mabel, now wearing an enormous trash bag as clothes. This is followed by the HILARIOUS reveal that The Undertaker has a massive, custom-made “symbol” throne with blue mood lighting and FLAMING BRAZIERS set up right around the corner and nobody noticed while they were brawling by. Real talk, The Ministry would be considered one of the dumbest things that ever happened in wrestling if The Undertaker wasn’t already a tenured star when it started. The difference between The Ministry and the Dungeon of Doom is popularity and about two feet of leader.
Best, Then Worst: No More Corporate Boners Ever
Corporate team members Ken Shamrock and Big Boss Man have a Regularcore Tag Team Championship defense against Owen Hart and Jeff Jarrett. That wouldn’t be a problem, except Shamrock and Boss Man have functional penises, and Hart and Jarrett are managed by Debra, Mistress of the Distraction Boner. To counter this, the champs go to the Corporate authority on not being attracted to women: Pat Patterson. Pat’s solution, with an assist from Gerald Brisco, is saltpeter, aka potassium nitrate, commonly used in in fertilizers, gunpowder, tree stump removal, rocket propellants, processed meats, and fireworks. A real spice of all trades. Patterson makes them drink it based on an old wives tale about how it’s supposed to ease uncontrollable horniness. This should not be confused with saltpepa, which is rumored to cause you to aaaah, push it.
The funniest part? It works. Here’s Debra getting up onto the ring apron to distract Shamrock with an open blouse, going so far as to remove her ENTIRE BLAZER, but Kenny’s like [looks down at junk] nah I’m good.
It’s all for naught, however, because even a scrotally focused Corporate Team can’t avoid the ongoing “who is the Blue Blazer” story and they fall victim to a Blazer run-in and guitar shot. Except, uh, there’s something different about the Blazer this time around …
Yes, folks, meet The Black and Blue Blazer (their words, not mine), the short-lived WWE return of Owen Hart’s former High Energy tag team partner Koko B. Ware. Given how he’s covered in feathers and running around flapping his arms like a bird, Koko’s a better natural fit for the Blazer anyway. There’s no herbal remedy for getting hit in the face with a musical instrument, so Owen Hart and Jeff Jarrett are your new WWF Tag Team Champions.
Remember: the only way to truly neutralize a wrestler managed by Debra McMichael is with a loaded Halliburton.
Another Great Decision From Val Venis
Let’s recap Val Venis’ WWF career up until this point:
- he hooked up with the child bride of a Japanese businessman and almost got his penis cut off for it, then dumped her and sprayed her with a Super Soaker “penis” full of “cum” when he realized she liked him and wanted to be his girlfriend
- he hooked up with Goldust’s wife in an attempt to socially and emotionally manipulate him and dumped her when she told him she was pregnant and wanted to be his girlfriend, causing him to be repeatedly attacked and humiliated by a girl gang
So after two instances of fucking with people he shouldn’t be fucking with and getting hurt for it, Val zeroes in on the hot sister of the easily enraged MMA champion who routinely snaps and injures people, a beloved henchman of the evil company owner and best friends with the disgraced prison guard that likes to handcuff people and beat them to death with a stick. GOOD CALL, VALERIE.
This week, Val debuts his new “video flick” entitled Saving Ryan’s Privates. Except I guess you can’t write the word “privates” on a Raw graphic in 1999, so the title on the screen is Sister Act. Ryan, alongside images of hot dogs and drills going in, is helpfully billed as “Ken Shamrock’s Sister.” You’ll be shocked to read this, but Val’s match with Test ends with Ken Shamrock showing up with a chair and brutally attacking Val. Crazy, right? Billy Gunn Assquire makes the save, but the very smart Val assumes BILLY is the one who hit him with the chair, and not the batshit brother of the girl he cast in a porno without learning her name.
Hilarious Worst: Animal Cracker
In a match that only a Saudi Arabian prince could book, a 61-year old WWE Hall of Famer loses to a former football star in 47 seconds.
The Oddities bring hirsute sexagenarian George ‘The Animal’ Steele to the ring — not exactly the king of workrate in his prime — and then totally abandon him when Droz shows up and is like, “I WANNA KICK THIS OLD MAN’S ASS.” Steele, wrestling in sunglasses with blue lenses to keep him from being completely blind, gets in some light, immobile old person offense before getting distracted and doing his signature “eating” of the turnbuckle pad. He can’t actually tear it with his teeth anymore, though, so he just gives up and starts yanking on it. It happens to everybody when they get old.
The part of this I really enjoyed is that after 30 years of wrestling, someone finally “cracked the code” for how to beat George Steele. When he’s eating the turnbuckle pad, just walk up behind him and smash his head into the now exposed turnbuckle. Voilà!
Droz was the Legend Killer before it was cool.
Terri Runnels leverages the fact that D’Lo Brown caused her to have a miscarriage to get him to go into a Walgreens and buy her tampons. It’s not worth mentioning aside from the fact that D’Lo is upset and embarrassed when the Walgreens clerk knows who he is. After a year of telling people to “recognize,” D’Lo has discovered his greatest fear: being recognized.
The WWF Championship is on the line in an empty arena at halftime during The Big Game®, Mr. McMahon goes barhopping in rural Texas trying to find Stone Cold and almost gets shot, and D’Lo Brown learns some concerning information about Terri Runnels’ fake pregnancy. All this and more when Raw rolls on, next week!