Previously on the Best and Worst of WWF Raw Is War: New WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin tried to fight Vince McMahon with one arm behind his back and got attacked by his former friend Dude Love, in a segment that brought in enough viewers to push Raw past Nitro for the first time in 83 weeks. Also, Raw learned an important lesson about how not to do a chain match.
If you haven’t seen this episode, you can watch it on WWE Network here. Check out all the episodes you may have missed at the Best and Worst of WWF Raw Is War and Best and Worst of WWF Monday Night Raw tag pages. Follow along with the competition here.
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And now, the Best and Worst of WWF Raw Is War for April 20, 1998.
Best: A Little Old Place Where We Can Get Together
Last week’s show ended with Dude Love executing a Heinous Attack™ on Stone Cold Steve Austin, so of course this week’s show opens with … Dude Love suddenly having a talk show segment called the “Love Shack,” featuring some inflatable chairs, a giant Jesus Christ Superstar bus decal on the set, and a beaded curtain hanging in the entrance.
Before it’s been going on for too long, Vince McMahon shows up and scolds The Dude, fining him $5,000 for what happened last week and warning him to never, ever interfere in his business again. Dude then finishes up the segment by barely referencing McMahon at all, and going on at length about how Stone Cold Steve Austin just hates him now because of, “the root of all evil, children … the chicks.” Austin is jealous of him because nobody besides I guess Eleanor Shellstrop wanted to sleep with him, and Dude gets “an entire caravan of pussycats.”
It seems like a woefully disconnected segment, but that’s why it’s brilliant; between Vince McMahon’s limp threat, Foley’s “ouch, man” reaction to being fined, and the immediate pivot to Austin being an incel, it becomes abundantly clear that Dude Love did what he did last week because he’s already been brainwashed by McMahon and turned into a corporate slave. Vince still feels the need to put up this barrier between the “real” Mr. McMahon and the fans, so he’s giving Dude pay-per-view championship shots and opening the show with a Dude Love talk show segment while simultaneously being like, “I sure don’t like that Dude Love fellow!” To make it clear that they’re actually doing what I just typed and not just writing bullshit we have to justify later like they do today, Austin comes out later in the show and points out the obvious conspiracy between the two.
That’s one thing Vince Russo always did well, bless his heart: letting you know the stuff on the show that doesn’t make sense yet doesn’t make sense on purpose.
This all culminates in the night’s main event of Dude Love vs. Steve Blackman. Vince shows up to do commentary, is greeted by Lawler because it’s “like old times” — show-out to show continuity — and complains loudly about how he and Austin were going to have a “classic” if Dude hadn’t interrupted it. Mr. McMahon wrestles some very fine people, believe me folks, tremendous.
About three minutes in, Dude grabs Blackman in an abdominal stretch and the bell mysteriously rings, giving Dude the win. Vince once again acts like something crazy has happened other than a middle finger to Nitro for having Bret Hart loudly complain about being “screwed” every week for the past six months, and we’ve got the Long Island Screwjob. This (and Survivor Series later in the year) are both fun callbacks to Montreal, and if they’d stopped there instead of doing them regularly for the next 15 years it would’ve been justified.
Austin shows up because he’s not stupid and knows what’s going on, and Gerald Brisco and Pat Patterson eat Stunners while McMahon flees. The crowd loses their minds, we’ve built a rock solid pay-per-view main event in just two weeks, and it’s truly amazing how interested wrestling crowds will get in wrestling stories if you logically progress the story in unexpected ways every week. Who knew?
Best, But Seriously The Worst: Another Pissing Contest
On the Raw after WrestleMania, D-Generation X celebrated their new lax group admission policies by having a literal pissing contest on the Disciples of Apocalypse’s “beautiful Titan bikes.” This week, while watching that footage and laughing at it, Billy Gunn, seen here explaining WCW star Alex Wright to his friends, dares Triple H to pull out his dick on live television and piss all over the crowd.
Since Jake the Snake isn’t a D-X member and this isn’t Heroes of Wrestling, it turns out H’s dong is actually a Super Soaker, and he “shoots his load” on the fans.
Apparently D-X can’t tell the difference between cum and pee. What, are they 10-year olds in the Virginia school system? Anyway, Jim Ross absolutely wins this segment with the call, “I feel like I’m at a Gallagher concert!” I don’t know why that’s so funny to me. The phrase “Gallagher concert” is such a Hank Hill thing to say. I wish I could go back and re-edit every Ross/Lawler Raw with commentary from Hank Hill and Glenn Quagmire.
Sgt. Slaughter doesn’t like this unauthorized shilling of squirt guns on Raw — this is Karate Fighters turf, mister — and signs D-X vs. the L.O.D. 2000 and Owen Hart for tonight’s show. If you’ve been paying attention to any Owen Hart or Legion of Doom match for the past six months, you know how that ends.
The Grand Old Hockey Dads are about to win the match with a Doomsday Device on Road Dogg when Chyna causes a distraction by “gender handling” Sunny. Again, you’d think Chyna had just caused Jim Ross to go into a nervous panic by mentioning his narrow urethra. This causes enough of a distraction for X-Pac to blast Animal with a chair and pin him, which, hey, at least wasn’t Owen Hart. I thought this was going to end with Owen lying on the ground, opening his legs, and letting all five D-X members take turns stomping him in the junk.
I know we’ve lived through a lot of terrible authority figures on Raw, but have there ever been anyone in charge as ineffective as Sgt. Slaughter? Dude makes Constable Corbin look like The Living Tribunal.
Val Venis Is Peeing!
it’ll be like a Super Soaker, we got it
November Alfa Tango India Oscar November
There isn’t much to say about the Kama Mustafa vs. Faarooq street fight (other than Michael Cole not having any idea how to call a match and screaming “DOMINATOR~!” at spinebusters), but it’s pretty funny to watch them do The Shield entrance because they’d look stupid walking out of a hippie love bus through a beaded curtain.
Metal trash cans and chairs and kendo sticks aren’t enough to beat Kama, so Faarooq uses the NWA’s deadliest weapon: a shoe without a foot in it. That’s one of the funniest old wrestling tropes, if you weren’t around back in the day; if you were wearing a shoe and stomped someone with your entire body weight it wouldn’t hurt them very much, but if you take OFF the shoe and hit them with it, it’s a knockout blow. It’s even worse if it’s a women’s shoe.
Anyway, the WWF’s still about six months away from realizing anyone you put into a feud with The Rock that isn’t Stone Cold Steve Austin is going to seem less interesting than The Rock.
Worst: Speaking Of The NWA
The New Midnight Express are already dead in the water, losing a tag team match to Terry and Flash Funk. Flash hits a 450 splash and Severn starts climbing into the ring behind him, and you’re fully expecting a disqualification because every “NWA” match in WWF has ended that way, but nope, he lets his friends get pinned before attacking. Nothing says 1990s-through-2017 NWA like not supporting things with the NWA name!
Severn also gets to squash Mosh on this episode, because the number one way to prove you’re the world’s most dangerous man is to beat up the slightly better Headbanger.
Worst: And Speaking Of Michael Cole
Here’s Cole McMahonsplaining to Sable why she should be embarrassed about being stripped to her bra and panties during a bra and panties match, because it’s actually HUMILIATING. To Sable, whose most famous moments involve her openly stating that she doesn’t want to be told what to do by a man, and showing it by stripping down to swimsuits, her underwear, or painted hand-prints. Maybe she’s fine with it, and it’s YOU GUYS who are weird by parading out the female talent in underwear and then asking them to be embarrassed by being in their underwear?
Later, Luna ups the ante by saying she’s not only going to strip Sable down to her bra and panties, she’s going to remove the bra and panties as well, and strip Sable of her “soul.” At Unforgiven, Sable will rest in peace!
Goldust and Bradshaw have a pretty good match after that, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by listening to commentary. Jim Ross spends the entire match (which he of all people should LOVE) fretting about maybe having to see a naked person on Sunday.
The match ends unexpectedly thanks to another run-in from CLUB KAMIKAZE, the future Kai En Tai, who’d be called TEAM FRIENDLY FIRE if they were white guys. They attack Bradshaw and lay him out with a boss Dick Togo senton, and the announce team wonders why Bradshaw was singled out. Maybe they want their boss to cut Bradshaw’s dick off with a sword, I mean, who’s to say?
Jumbo Elliott No Kachi!
Just to make sure Jeff Jarrett’s not the worst person to appear on this week’s Raw, here are the 97-98 New York Jets.
Best If You’re A 12-Year Old Goth: Dem Bones
Throughout the episode, senior graveyard correspondent Jeffrey Weinerslav reports in from just outside the Undertaker’s parents’ graves — they’re easy to find, just type “Undertaker dead parents” into GPS — to let us know if the cemetery fight between Kane and Undertaker has happened yet. Eventually Undertaker shows up and chokes him before realizing Kane’s already been there and left, and is headed back to the arena. You’ve got admire a “two 7-foot tall occult wizards are going to fight in the dark on their parents’ graves” bait and switch.
Kane and Paul Bearer arrive at the arena with a couple of old-timey caskets, and they’re covered in dirt to show they’ve been digging up graves. Poor Kane had to put on his wrestling gear to go dig up his parents’ dead bodies. You’d think Paw Bear would’ve bought him a WWF sweatshirt or something, he’s going to catch a cold. Or “catch a hot,” I don’t know how Kane works.
This leads to the only promo I’ve ever seen involving two dead people, unless you count Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair on that Australia tour. Bearer points out that they buried Ma and Pa Taker in the cheapest caskets they could — +1 to whoever pointed out nobody gets buried in old west wooden coffins like that anymore and came up with an excuse — and tells Undertaker to come out and pay his respects, since he bailed on their funeral. Taker shows up, of course, which leads to Kane lighting his dad’s casket on fire and chokeslamming his brother onto the bones of their mother.
Incredibly this isn’t the main event segment, and wrestling fans were asked to care about a Steve Blackman match after watching a dead man and dead woman being exhumed and destroyed by their monstrous pro wrestling children. The name on the marquee says “Satanic desecration,” folks!
D-Generation X “makes history when they take the war to WCW’s doorstep,” meaning they dress up in army clothes and drive around in a jeep in the parking lot before Nitro starts. THIS is why WWF won the Monday Night War, guys, not the two-straight years of Steve Austin being the coolest character in wrestling and feuding with Vince McMahon. It was Road Dogg on a jeep yelling smarky shit at confused WCW fans.
Also on the show about how WCW sucks, Jeff Jarrett and Barry Windham matches.