Previously on the Best and Worst of WWF Raw Is War: A Saturday night edition of Raw set the stage for St. Valentine’s Day massacre with the debut of Ivory, a Val Venis SkyDome hookup, and 40,000 signs.
If you haven’t seen this episode, you can watch it on WWE Network here. Check out all the episodes of classic Raw 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.
Hey, you! If you want us to keep doing retro reports, share them around! And be sure to drop down into our comments section to let us know what you thought of these shows. Head back to a time long forgotten when WWE TV was fun to watch, and things happened!
And now, the Best and Worst of WWF St. Valentine’s Day Massacre: In Your House, originally aired on February 14, 1999.
Worst: Heat Runs Cold
Before we get to Stone Cold Steve Austin blowing the Horn of Winter and waking giants from the earth, we need to talk about the pay-per-view’s unbelievably bad hour-long Sunday Night Heat Kickoff Show. Close your eyes and imagine a two-match show, the matches are Test vs. Viscera and Billy Gunn vs. Tiger Ali Singh, and they have a combined run-time of about three minutes. Now imagine that Shane McMahon’s trying to call those matches and read an advertisement for Silk Stalkings at the same time.
“OH MAN! BAD MOVE! THEN AT 9 A POOL BOY IS FOUND MURDERED, CAN TOM AND CASSY FIND HIS UNDERWATER KILLER? FIND OUT ON SILK STALKINGS, OH YEAH, THAT’S A BOY TEST! [voice lowers] maybe it’s Aquaman”
Yeah, the best episode of Silk Stalkings is the one where Aquaman got confused, ended up in somebody swimming pool, and murdered the pool boy. He hypnotized a bunch of pool floaties to drift over and kill the guy.
This will really shock you to read, but neither Test vs. Viscera nor has a finish. In 1999 WWF even TEST and TIGER ALI SINGH must be protected; if the fans see them get pinned once, poof, there goes all that good will and momentum for Test and Tiger Ali Singh. Honestly though, my favorite part of the entire show might be the aftermath of Test vs. Viscera, as the Boss Man runs in for a disqualification and the announce team decides to figuratively and LITERALLY “send it to the back.”
Also, here’s Viscera’s pants falling down in the middle of the match. This gimmick’s going places, folks.
The hook to the second match, and there definitely is one, is Intercontinental Championship match special guest referee Bill Ass openly admitting that he wants and is expecting bribes. In response, Val Venis almost immediately pimps out Ryan Shamrock and sends her to the locker room to sit in Billy’s lap. I’m not sure where I heard this, but rumor has it Billy Gunn loves to love asses.
Because Tiger Ali Singh is maybe the worst actual wrestler who ever lived, he starts his match with Gunn by immediately bumping the referee (so fast Kevin Kelly can’t even finish saying “welcome to Sunday Night Heat”) and taking a Fame-asser. Guest color analyst Triple H comments, “Take that, put it in your cab and drive around with it!” One day that guy’s going to stand in the ring introducing NXT India with “ARE, YOU, READ-AYYY,” and everyone will clap and cheer.
But anyway, Val doubles down on his bribery by sliding into the ring and counting three for Billy, which … counts, somehow? (Ken) Shamrock runs in to attack Val for, you know, using his sister’s butthole as a bribe, and Billy makes the save. And then Billy attacks Val and points at his own dick a bunch. Choose your fighter:
- Canadian porn star who won’t stop hooking up with the wives and family members of his co-workers, dumped a woman after he thought he got her pregnant, and sprayed another with a penis-colored Super Soaker filled with “cum” because she liked him too much and it stopped being dangerous
- deranged, boot-licking MMA fighter who is so enraged by the sex life of his 19-year old sister that he screams at and punches everyone he sees
- ass-obsessed man who asked for bribes and then attacked someone for bribing him
Skanks For The Memories
The participants in the Last Man Standing match for the WWF Championship spend Heat reminding us that yes, the muscular Miamian who works here because his dad and grandpa worked here and football didn’t pan out en route to a job as the most beautiful and beloved actor in the world is very different from the dumpy New Yorker who wears a leather jock strap on his head, talks to a sentient sock he carries around in his sweat pants, and once jumped off the roof of his house because he loves wrestling so much.
Mankind’s plotline sees him getting unwanted pre-match advice from his trainer, Dominic DeNucci, as well as former WWF Champions The Iron Sheik and Bob Backlund. Meanwhile, The Rock interviews potential pre-match masseuses and lines them up in the hallway so he can call them, “the largest collection of female two dollar skanks the Rock has ever seen,” and threaten to smack one of them in the face, threatening to send her, quote, “to the Smackdown Hotel for stinking up the place.” I bet The Godfather was waiting around that corner to catch them all in a giant rabbit cage.
Near the end of the episode, Rock interrupts Mankind’s training to attack him while DeNucci, Backlund, and Sheik stand around and watch. Turns out the payoff to an hour of multiple, concurrent comedy plots is, “the pay-per-view’s up next!”
Worst: Careless Whisper
Mr. McMahon opens Heat by reminding the audience that he’s technically 2-0 against Stone Cold Steve Austin in 1999, having eliminated him from the Royal Rumble and pinned him at the end of Raw Saturday Night’s corporate gauntlet. “Don’t make me have to go 3-0 on you, Austin, tonight. Austin, don’t disgrace yourself.” He’s giving Austin one last chance, Austin, to forfeit the cage match, Austin, and peacefully avoid being taken to the mixed-martial arts woodshed by Ultimate Fighter Vince McMahon. Austin.
Michael Cole, who has never seen a boot he didn’t want to lick, heads back to Austin’s locker room and asks maybe the dumbest question in WWE history: “Stone Cold, Stone Cold, will you comply with Mr. McMahon’s challenge tonight?” Austin, who can’t respond to ANYTHING without a rebel rousing declaration of toughness and a kick to the stomach, just shuts the door in his face.
Cole: “I guess he hasn’t made up his mind!” Your question was so bad it made Stone Cold Steve Austin, the man who turned “what” into a catchphrase and became a meme because he couldn’t resist asking follow-up questions to Cameron about her terrible taste in wrestling, close the door on you without speaking. You are truly the Mike Adamle of Kevin Kellies.
At the end of the episode, when you’re expecting some sort of resolution to the previous 55 minutes of storytelling, McMahon heads back out to the ring to accept Stone Cold’s begrudging acquiescence but is greeted instead by Drunk Shawn Michaels. Shawn doesn’t have much to say, he just wanted to come out here and subtweet World Championship Wrestling because he’s living Scott Steiner’s dream and hooking up with one of the Nitro Girls. “You know Vince, they say if you want to get someone’s attention, you should whisper. And believe me, there’s nothing more that Shawn Michaels would love to do 24 hours a day than Whisper.”
Austin shows up anyway, so Vince spits in his face. With like 15 seconds left in the episode and WWE Network already asking me to skip to next week’s show, Austin formally rejects the offer to forfeit and instead insists that, “you dumb son of a bitch. I’m not gonna wipe that off, because what I’m gonna do is use your damn blood to wash it off after the damn cage match, and that’s all I got to say.” The final segment in the pay-per-view pre-show is Shawn Michaels singing ‘I Just Had Sex’ while Stone Cold Steve Austin plans to use his face as a base to mix two of Vince McMahon’s bodily fluids.
Note: this is the only time Michaels has ever been cooler than Austin.
Worst: St. Valentine’s Day Assacre
We finally move into the pay-per-view proper in time for the thrilling conclusion to Goldust vs. Bluedust, the story of a sexually manipulative Oscar statue who stole a crazy man’s mannequin head, used it for violence, and had it stolen back by the pro wrestling version of an animated Beatles villain who started dressing like him. Nobody’s the good guy here, if you’re wondering, but the match DOES involve bare ass spankings. I’m glad wrestling shows don’t do that anymore.
Goldust wins and then kicks Bluedust in the balls to loud cheers, because identity theft is a bigger crime than misusing your co-worker’s beloved insanity mannequin head.
Best/Worst: Mississippi River Blues
Aside from everything that happens in and around the main event, this show might be remembered most, incredibly, for the Hardcore Championship match where Al Snow and Bob Holly fight their way into the Mississippi River. That’s a fun visual, especially in how it truly opens up the “falls count anywhere, and we mean ANYWHERE,” nature of the Hardcore Championship.
If you go back and watch it, though, it’s … well, it’s a Bob Holly vs. Al Snow match. They’re fighting for the Hardcore Championship that neither of them have, because Road Dogg got injured and the injurer apparently didn’t think to pin him and win a championship in the process. During the entrances, Michael Cole says Bob Holly had a “cup of coffee” with the Intercontinental Championship, which he must have meant literally because Bob Holly was never Intercontinental Champion. The match is a lot of walking and punching and walking and punching, WWF “brawling” style, and beyond the water the action highlight is Bob hitting Al with a big stick he found. If you let two Labrador retrievers fight for the Hardcore Championship, it’d be this match. Just a bunch of splashing and running around with sticks.
Bob eventually wins by wrapping Snow in a section of chain-link fencing that was just lying there rolled up on the banks of a river in the middle of the night, winning the Hardcore Championship and officially beginning his transition into Hardcore Holly. And after typing that, I’m legitimately surprised Val Venis never made an in-universe porno with Molly and called it “Hardcore Holly.” It would also be a pretty good name for a Christmas porn. I am very interested in telling you about this match.
Worst: Horrible Bosses
During Sunday Night Heat, The Ministry of Darkness revealed their plans for the evening: kill a cop. Here they are talking about it while standing around a hobo fire, which is what goth kids do when they’re planning murders.
If Test vs. Viscera, Tiger Ali Singh vs. Billy Gunn, a Blue Meanie match, and Bob Holly vs. Al Snow weren’t enough to get you to check out this show, what about THE BIG BOSS MAN VS. MIDEON? ON PAY-PER-VIEW? Somehow it’s even more awful than you’re imagining, as the “boring” chants start about two minutes in and they keep going for another four. Boss Man wins because Mideon’s more of a hype man for an eyeball in a jar than a wrestler at this point, and after the match The Ministry gets their hobo fire heat back by beating The Boss down 8-on-1, Nailz-style, and carrying him to the back. Also probably Nailz-style. The Corporation just hangs out in the back like, “he’ll be fine, what’s the worst they can do? Carve pagan symbols into his chest and make him drink The Undertaker’s blood, thereby transforming him into a soulless creature of the night? He’ll still be better off than Test.”
This of course is all building to a Hell in a Cell match so terrible a disgraced prison guard gets lynched by vampires in the middle of a 20,000-seat arena at WrestleMania on the orders of an undead necromancer and it’s still boring.
Worst: Debra Would Like To Speak To Your Manager
To catch you up to speed, a man who spent the past month being blackmailed for causing the miscarriage of a fake pregnancy is teaming up with his friend, a sex addict who recently vomited in front of his mother after touching a woman’s penis, to challenge for the Tag Team Championship against the champions: a white Canadian man who left a black militant separatist group to pursue his love of dressing up himself and others as a super hero he made up, an angry country music singer who just learned how to curse, and the beauty queen ex-wife of a Super Bowl champion who calls her boobs “puppies” and got so into how they look in a push-up bra that she can’t get through a match without taking off her clothes. To counter the champions’ manager, the challengers brought in a prostitute to keep the sex addict satisfied so he doesn’t get distracted by PG-13 cleavage and get hit with a balsa wood guitar.
In the title match, the managers get into an argument and that causes the same boob distraction everyone was trying to avoid, causing the exact same guitar shattering and loss. Ivory tries to rip off Debra’s clothes as punishment. As a bonus, the referee completely loses track of who’s supposed to be legal. It’s very good.
Best: The Subtlety Of Attitude Era Signs
“Wait a minute … VENIS sounds like PENIS! GUYS, COME QUICK, I’VE HAD A BREAKTHROUGH” — somebody standing in the posterboard section of Michael’s like two hours before the pay-per-view
Worst: SLAP ME
As we talked about earlier, a Canadian porn star challenges the older brother of the 19-year old he’s going to dump tomorrow for the Intercontinental Championship, refereed by a man who hates both of them and wears pink hot pants that say MR. ASS across the ass. It turns out that sex bribes aren’t as effective as on-the-fly macho decision making, as Ryan Shamrock’s butt isn’t enough to make Billy Gunn cheat for Val, but Shamrock shoving him once in the chest is.
Before I talk about that, though, I have to talk about the best part of this match, and one of my favorite audio botches ever. Kenny has Val in the ankle lock and is about to win the match, so Ryan helps Val make it to the ropes. Enraged (as per usual), Ken rolls out of the ring and yells at her about how “blood’s thicker than water.” He then loudly announces “SLAP ME” with the camera like right in his face, so she slaps him. If you’ve never seen it, here you go. I’ve been quoting it for 20 years.
Bill Ass gets between them and is like, “hey now, don’t punch your sister.” Shamrock shoves him, so Billy punches him in the face, rolls him back into the ring, and counts the fastest three you’ve ever seen to cost him the match and give Val Venis the Intercontinental Championship. YOU are the ones who are the penis suckers!
Best: At Last, Some Pretty Good Matches With Bad Finishes!
Hey, it’s a big step up from bad matches with bad finishes.
Chyna and Kane versus Triple H and X-Pac is better than you’d think it’d be. Everyone’s motivated — well, X-Pac and Chyna are motivated … Kane is Kane, and pre-The Game Triple H’s top speed always seemed to be, “bored, but doing his best” — and while it never reaches those inexplicable Sable and Marc Mero levels of intergender tag team magic, it’s the first thing the live crowd reacts to in a positive way since Austin promised to moisturize with Vince McMahon’s juices like two hours earlier.
Unfortunately for everyone, Shane McMahon is on commentary, which is a death sentence for even the best matches. Shane could’ve been on commentary for Okada vs. Omega at Dominion and Meltzer would’ve given it **3/4. Shane gets involved, too, as X-Pac eventually goes after him and they brawl to the back. That leaves Triple H alone with Chyna, and he’s able to successfully knee and dick-point his girlfriend to death until Kane grabs him by the neck, throws him at the ground, and pulls her on top of him for the pin. I feel like this could’ve really easily set up Triple H vs. Chyna and Kane vs. X-Pac for WrestleMania, but the stars don’t quite align so we get Triple H vs. Kane and X-Pac vs. Shane.
In the other big preliminary match, The Rock and Mankind break in the Last Man Standing concept with neither of them being able to stand, ending the match in a draw. This is achieved via the rare double chair shot, which The Rock sells by falling into the ropes and bouncing around like a weirdo, and Mankind sells by staying down and being hella grateful there aren’t 10 more coming.
Don’t worry, Rock still wants to make sure Mick Foley’s as miserable, injured, and maybe dead as possible. Instead of hitting him in the head with a chair at full force eleven times, he takes the thinking man’s approach and drops the ring steps directly onto from inside the ring to the floor. I know a solid decade of falling backwards onto concrete is the reason why he has trouble walking these days, but a billed 275 pounds of “unforgiving steel” to the hip probably didn’t help.
More on the title situation on the next night’s Raw, featuring the Mankind vs. Rock mach nobody remembers.
Best: Steve Austin And Vince McMahon Give Us A Big Show
Finally we’ve reached the titular St. Valentine’s Day Massacre of Mr. McMahon at the spit and blood-soaked hands of Stone Cold Steve Austin. This is the moment when Vince McMahon became VINCE MCMAHON in the eyes of a lot of fans, as he completed his transition from dorky NPC to evil boss to legitimate inhuman maniac who is willing to do pretty much any stupid thing he’d ask of a wrestler.
The initial interaction between Vince and Austin is that Vince wants to get Austin into the ring where a trap has been laid, and Austin wants to lure Vince OUT of the cage, presumably to thoroughly stomp wet mudholes into dry ones without fear of consequence for as long as possible. Austin achieves this by faking a knee injury, which lures Vince out and ultimately sets him up for one of the most painful looking table bumps you’ll ever see. Watch closely as Vince goes leaping off the cage wall, doesn’t quite make it to the table, and lands back-first on the edge. That’s the hardest part of the table!
In a nice flip on the structure of the Mankind vs. Undertaker Hell in a Cell match where Mankind took a big fall off the cage, got stretchered away, and got back up to continue the match, McMahon falls off the cage, gets stretchered away, and Austin follows him down to pull him off the stretcher, carry him back to the ring, and continue beating his ass. The great thing here is that McMahon needs Austin to stay inside the cage so he can both win the match and spring his trap, but is getting beaten up so badly he can’t really DO anything but get bludgeoned and resorts to desperation middle fingers every time Austin’s about to leave. This give us the unforgettable image of Vince on his knees, covered in blood, doing those ridiculous McMahon Family middle fingers that nobody else in the world does.
So what’s the trap, you might be asking? ♫ WeeeEEEEEEeeell ♫ …
McMahon guaran-damn-teed that no member of The Corporation would interfere in the match, so he gets help from someone who’s not yet technically IN The Corporation. Or the company, really. Meet Paul Wight, the briefly kayfabe son of Andre the Giant who was summoned from the depths of a haunted mountain to destroy Hulkamania, died by falling off the roof of an arena following a monster truck sumo battle only to be perfectly fine and execute a sexy double bear hug with a mummy, and then forget the whole “destroy Hulkamania” thing for a while to be Hulk Hogan’s nWo crony. Eventaully he becomes professional turncoat The Big Show, but here he’s just Paul, an enormous man with the uncontrollable hair of a lion who hid under the ring for like four hours to climb up through the ring canvas to get the bare minimum of a jump on Steve Austin.
Paulie’s plan is to pick up Austin and throw him at the cage wall over and over, which is a decent plan until you consider how filmy some of these WWE cages are. Wight lobs Austin into the cage, the cage wall swings open like a damn door somehow, Stone Cold wins, and The Big Show completely and utterly fucks the hell up in his debut, setting a dangerous precedent for the next 21 years of his career.
And that ends the show. Stone Cold’s still headed to WrestleMania, Big Show debuted as a heel and is somehow already fumbling his way toward a face turn, and Mr. McMahon looks like this:
Tomorrow night on Raw: The fate of the WWF Championship is decided in a ladder match, a new European Champion is crowned, and we’re officially on the road to WrestleMania XV: THE RAGIN’ CLIMAX, sex joke and apostrophe and all. It’s going to be fun!