Previously on the Best and Worst of WWF Raw Is War: The World Wrestling Federation hit Rock Bottom as The Undertaker got buried six-feet deep in a three-foot deep grave, the Corporation screwed Mankind again, and Debra McMichael did burlesque until a Canadian pro wrestling super hero showed up to stop her.
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.
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And now, the Best and Worst of WWF Raw Is War for December 14, 1998.
Worst: D-Generation X Goes To The Parody Well One Too Many Times, Or, ‘Oh My, King, This Is Hilarious!’
Back in July (of 1998), D-Generation X parodied the Nation of Domination by going full blackface in a “hilarious” and memorable segment that aged about as well as that bagged lettuce in your refrigerator. At least it was original, which in 1998 Monday Night Wars speak means the other company did it six months to a year earlier.
This week, they parody The Corporation in the same way. It earns points for only involving one black guy this time, at least. Triple H reprises his role as “The Crock,” with Chyna portraying a nightstick baton-twirling Big Boss Man and the New Age Outlaws playing Vince and Shane McMahon. “Vince” has two little people who hold their faces against his butt the entire segment to represent Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco. “Shane” carries a silver spoon — subtle, guys — wears a diaper, and at one point whips it off and moons everybody because he’s Billy Gunn. Road Dogg’s very Vince McMahon “there it is” hand gesture is pretty funny, though.
The only actually funny bit in the segment is X-Pac as Ken Shamrock, who walks around the ring screaming and punching himself the whole time, and can only keep reiterating that “all this talking about sphincters” has him IN THE ZONE, and that it’s FIVE KNUCKLE SHUFFLE TIME. Meta commentary about how wrestling characters sometimes get stuck with one thing they have to do over and over for the entirety of their careers is funnier than “seeing butts,” unless you’re a little kid, which … I guess most of the people reading this were. So, you know, choose your own adventure. Here’s the segment in full in low quality if you’d like to relive it as it was originally presented.
The thing that really makes it not work is the presence of Michael Cole, who … okay, you know how modern Michael Cole always sounds like he’s saying whatever’s in his ear piece, and he’ll kinda laugh or chuckle at things and it sounds super fake and corny? Imagine that minus 20 years of experience. That’s 1998 Michael Cole. 1998 Michael Cole couldn’t express a sincere emotion if you held a gun to his head, so it’s embarrassing and ruinous when D-X shows up in costume and Cole’s all, “What?? Ha Ha Ha Ha! D-Generation X is the Corporation! D-X is Team Corporate! This … is hilarious! Nearly 20,000 people on their feet, clutching their sides in laughter, at the Tacoma Dome! D-Generation X is masquerading as the corporate team!” Brutal. To paraphrase David Cross, I’d rather hear the death rattle of my only child than listen to 1998 Michael Cole think something’s funny.
Where’s the breakout star from the previous skit, Jason Sensation, you may ask? Oh, don’t worry, he’s here, too:
Jason’s Shawn Michaels impersonation is pretty spot-on, as usual, and having him carrying a basketball under his arm so he can keep “dropping the ball” is pretty funny, but probably a lot more-so in 1998 when “insider” jokes still felt controversial. “H-B-Gay” is the kind of joke some fan in the nosebleeds is gonna come up with for the sign he wants to bring to Raw, though, not the kind of joke people who get paid to write jokes for Raw should be writing. What’s next? Is WCW gonna have Eddie Guerrero mow somebody’s lawn? Are we gonna learn what BRAD 3:16 says?
The Corporation shows up, and Commissioner Shawn Michaels books the Outlaws in a championship rematch against Boss Man and Shamrock to punish them. This lets Shawn and Triple H do their wink wink nudge nudge worked-shoot shit for the second week in a row, and ultimately H is able to goad The Rock into giving him a WWF Championship match in the night’s main event. The fact that Triple H doesn’t even attempt to work around the constant Corporation interference shows that he hasn’t learned much in the past eight months of getting beaten onto the disabled list by everyone around him. I hope he never figures out HE should be on the same side as the corporation in charge of the show. Wouldn’t that be a nightmare?
Rock attempts to save the segment at the very end by going for the “if ya small” catchphrase but accidentally asking “whatcha gonna do,” et. al, instead. He quotes Ric Flair, Macho Man Randy Savage, and then Bret Hart (to a huge pop from Shawn Michaels) before finally hitting the catchphrase proper. It’s extremely not hard to see why he eventually rose above even the other top stars in the promotion, and then rose above the promotion itself.
D-X immediately pays for their SIDE-CLUTCHING ANTICS, too, as The Corporation cheats them out of the Tag Team Championship. The ref gets distracted, so Commissioner Heel Turn gets up on the apron to interfere. Bill Ass grabs Michaels by the collar like he’s Jim Cornette in 1986 or whatever, and Shawn uses a creeping Ken Shamrock as a secondary distraction and bops Gunn in the head with Boss Man’s nightstick. Shamrock grabs him in an ankle lock as he’s falling down, and Billy goes unconscious and loses the match. The real question here is, “Why’d they run a worse match with FAILED interference at the pay-per-view the night before instead of just doing the title change there?”
Things don’t go any better for Triple H, either, as he loses his championship match thanks to interference from the newest member of The Corporate Team: Mötley Crüe’s bodyguard. Remember a couple of months ago when they showed up to perform on Raw, and their bodyguard carried a guy away? That guy’s back, and he’s Wrath now. He hits Triple H with the Meltdown behind the back of [vaguely gestures] everyone, helping Rocky retain.
As you probably know (and will shortly learn if you don’t), this is the official WWE Universe debut of Andrew ‘Test’ Martin, future WWF Tag Team, Intercontinental, European, and Hardcore Champion. Spoiler alert, but yes, Triple H does eventually get revenge on Test for this, and it might be the most overkill retaliation in professional wrestling history. Stay tuned!
Best: The Damn Numbers Game
Mr. McMahon handles the news that Stone Cold Steve Austin qualified for the Royal Rumble at Rock Bottom the only way he knows how: by performing a dramatically rigged “number selection” for the Rumble on behalf of Austin on the one night he’s not in the arena. McMahon draws number one for Austin, of course. In a funny moment, Shane says he doesn’t think it’s fair for Austin to enter the Rumble at number one and asks for a re-draw to pull a new number, only for it to still be number one.
This is followed by two more announcements:
- The person who throws out Austin in the Royal Rumble will receive a $100,000 bonus, straight out of “one of Shane’s trust funds”
- Vince McMahon himself will enter the Royal Rumble, per a grand announcement wherein he described himself as the only Superstar who could “save Ted Tuner’s WCW,” and (of course) draws number 30
It’s such a ridiculous draw and plan that you know for sure it can never work, which means it definitely will. Vince acts like he’s upset that he won’t be the guy who gets to throw out Stone Cold in the Rumble, but makes peace with it pretty quickly. He says Austin will have no chance in Hell of winning the Royal Rumble. Conveniently, ‘No Chance In Hell’ is the theme song for the 1999 Royal Rumble, and would become synonymous with Vince McMahon for the next 20-plus years.
As a bonus, McMahon mentions early in the segment that he’s punishing Kane and Mankind for their roles in last night’s pay-per-view by putting them in a “no holds barred” match against one another. In response, Mankind pops up on the TitanTron and says that if Vince is a wrestler now, he should should be the one facing Mankind with no holds barred. McMahon considers the offer throughout the episode and ultimately says yes, but that, quote, “I’m gonna do it my way, not his way.” “His way” ends up meaning interrupting the scheduled Mankind vs. Kane match a few minutes in to goad Mankind into the parking lot, where a Corporate trap is waiting. Foley gets in a few good shots (and even tries to stuff Vince into the trunk of a car), but The Rock shows up From Outta Nowhere — the front seat of the car — and Rockly Bottoms Mankind on its hood.
Also, because he’s spent the past few months upgrading himself from corporate nemesis to anime nemesis, Vince uses the distraction and the in-ring absence of Mankind and Stone Cold (and The Undertaker and Paul Bearer, just in case) to finally sic the Corporation on Kane and get him committed to a mental institution. Orderlies are finally able to get him into a straight jacket thanks to assists from Boss Man’s nightstick and Ken Shamrock’s ankle lock.
If you think this is going to empower a lonely, lost, and unable-to-communicate Kane to break out of the institution and return next week to destroy the Corporation instead of just meekly falling in line so people will stop hurting him … you haven’t been paying attention.
Best: Tonight There’s Gonna Be A Bloodbath, Somewhere In This Town
Early in the night, Supply and Demand defeats The Brood in a tag team match. This is one of the first pairings of Edge and Christian as a tag team on WWF TV, which is notable, as is the fact that The Godfather thinks The Brood is weird and doesn’t even give them the “take the hoes” option. Part of me wishes they’d done an angle where The Godfather keeps wrestling members of The Brood and offering them one or more of his Finest Hoes only for the hoes to disappear and be found later, murdered, with suspicious bite marks on their necks. Maybe the Big Boss Man can find them and have to investigate, sending him into the underground “Bite Clubs” and sewers of Ybor City. Yes, I want my 1998 crash TV wrestling program to involve full-on Victorian Era morality plays.
Anyway, The Brood loses, and an angry Gangrel (Angrel?) says that the next time we see The Brood, there’s gonna be a bloodbath. Sure enough, we find a depressed Tiger Ali Singh in his dressing room where the word BLOODBATH has been written on the wall in what I assume is some sort of viscous red liquid.
Tiger doesn’t want to compete because, you know, he’s being directly threatened by vampires, but management’s like, “you’re Tiger Ali Singh, nobody cares about you, just go out and wrestle.” Tiger begrudgingly agrees (that nobody cares about him and that he should just die, or whatever), so he goes out to the ring and is immediately attacked 3-on-1 and doused with blood in Fiend lighting.
You know, The Brood weren’t very good vampires if they were always wasting buckets of blood like this. Gangrel would bring out a goblet of blood and drink from it before his matches just to immediately spit it out. Maybe the idea was that they weren’t vampires, they were just LARPing and took it too far? Like, they got to the “killing people and draining them of their blood” part of vampirism, but didn’t have the stomach to actually drink it? Are they vampire posers?
Worst: Guitar On A Pole Matches, Or, ‘What In Blue Blazes?’
Goldust and The Blue Blazer go one-on-one for color wheel dominance, but what should be a really good Dustin Rhodes vs. Owen Hart match is once again slain where it stands by the forever-nonsense of Jeff Jarrett and Debra McMichael. This shit played a lot better when they were only ruining Steve McMichael matches. Jarrett interferes to keep Goldust from hitting Shattered Dreams, and Karate Man Steve Blackman sprints out to do karate, run off Jarrett, and finally unmask the Blazer. It’s Owen Hart. Did you know?
Michael Cole, reading from a series of “excited emotion” note cards: “IT’S OWEN HART! THE BLAZER IS OWEN HART! THERE YOU GO KING, MR. KNOW-IT-ALL! MR. KNOW-IT-ALL KING! IT’S OWEN HART! I’VE BEEN TELLING YOU FOR WEEKS! That’s Owen Hart. The Blue Blazer is Owen Hart. Steve Blackman unmasked the Blue Blazer, and he’s proved his point. Folks, I tell you what, coming up next on Raw …”
This whole thing is followed by Jarrett vs. Blackman in a “guitar on a pole” match. Yes, folks, Vince Russo’s running out of ideas and returning to shit like a “guitar on a pole” match. By the time he ends up in WCW, “evil authority figure played by me who has sex and calls people bitches and wins all the championships” and “on a pole” matches are pretty much all he’s got in the tank. Think of this like a Broadway preview for the one-man show that is the (admittedly continued) ruination of World Championship Wrestling.
Debra McMichael interferes and gives the match its second pole by taking off her clothes to distract Blackman. Because guitar on a pole isn’t enough “ballyhoo,” we also get a ref bump and a run-in to complete the motif. Owen returns in his best ’90s Canadian dad windbreaker and delivers the guitar shot that costs Blackman the match. That’s not the kind of thing you can just do in front of a referee in an “on a pole” match with no disqualifications. I hope next week The Blue Blazer and Jeff Jarrett lose a tag team match when Blackman gets up on the apron, seductively removes his karate pants, and jiggles his balls around while the heels just stand there make surprised faces.
Finally, Meet ‘Sexual Chocolate’
This week, “sexual chocolate” stops being a weird thing Jerry Lawler keeps saying about Mark Henry and becomes his official nickname, complete with an original slow jam entrance theme. Henry christens the nickname with a pre-match promo with all the “details” of his date with Chyna, including the fact that D’Lo Brown apparently videotaped their lovemaking and Chyna’s comment about how she needed to “slip into something a little more comfortable” …
If you don’t remember this time in Henry’s career, the WWF had signed him for way too much money to keep him away from WCW and was basically giving him a series of increasingly embarrassing things to do and say to try to get him to quit. It started with a sexual harassment gimmick, but he went through with it and had fun, so now he’s being managed by a pair of women named after premenstrual syndrome who will force him into extreme, on-camera sexual situations. Pretty soon he’ll be vomiting on-screen because he romantically touched a penis (in another segment that has aged really well) and telling a therapist he had sex with his own sister. A good time will be had by all (read: none)!
Here, Henry and D’Lo Brown defeat Bob Holly and Scorpio thanks to Jacquline’s interference, made possibly by a distraction caused by Terri Runnels comparatively evaluating the bodies of the JOB Squad.
A picture’s really worth a thousand words, isn’t it?
Atitude Era Santa celebrates an “Attitude Era Christmas” by telling moms to suck it (pictured), Kane does what he has to do to stay out of a mental institution, and Mark Henry spends like two straight hours getting sexually tortured by Jacqueline and Terri Runnels:
I TOLD YOU THIS WASN’T GETTING ANY BETTER. See you then!