Previously on the Best and Worst of WWF Raw Is War: Stephanie McMahon made her first appearance, signaling the start of the Women’s Revolution. Plus, Mark Henry went on a surprisingly successful date with Chyna, and Stone Cold and Kane foiled Paul Bearer with the ol’ corpse switcheroo.
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 7, 1998.
Worst: Nail Me To Your Symbol And Break Me
This is a universally panned edition of classic Raw, so let’s go ahead and get to the crucifixion. Sorry, the not crucifixion.
The action in the Stone Cold Steve Austin and Undertaker feud is escalating as you’d expect. Paul Bearer tried to orchestrate the live, living embalming of Austin, so Austin got revenge the only way he knew how: by dressing up a guy in a body bag to trick Paul into sending the wrong Brother Of Destruction to a mental institution so he could threaten Paul with a pair of scissors and stuff him down a manhole. Basic cause and effect stuff. This week, we’ve got an Austin and Mankind vs. Rock and Undertaker main event. Presumably Undertaker didn’t get all the way into the mental institution without someone there to sign him in, I don’t think you can just show up to a place like that with an unconscious body … although they do that with marriage not too long from now, so maybe you can? Regardless, the obvious next step in the feud is for The Undertaker to debut a giant, hanging version of his logo and set it on fire with lightning to send Stone Cold a chilling message about how he’s gonna get crucified. You’ve gotta love that the feud is basically ..
Stone Cold: I’m gonna punch you
Undertaker: I WILL BURY YOU ALIVE AND STEAL YOUR SOUL
Stone Cold: what if I punch you twice
Undertaker: THEN I SHALL USE A SATANIC KNIFE TO CUT YOU OPEN WHILE YOU’RE STILL ALIVE, REMOVE YOUR INTERNAL ORGANS, AND PRESERVE YOUR CORPSE WITH FORMALDEHYDE
Stone Cold: might do a kick
Undertaker: MIGHT KILL YOU LIKE THEY KILLED JESUS
Throughout the episode, Mankind tries to prove his loyalties to Austin by leaving a garbage bag full of beer in his locker room, which is a really thoughtful gift for an alcoholic locked in a feud containing an abnormal amount of dead bodies. When it’s time for the match, though, it’s all about going through the motions to get to the Corporation run-in and the … well, the crucifixion, I’m not sure how else to say it.
After a thorough Corporate beatdown, Undertaker instructs his minions to tie Austin to the “symbol.” They make sure to let everyone know that it’s a symbol, NOT a cross, just in case any religious groups want to jump up their asses about it. It’s totally different. A cross is a lowercase T. The Undertaker’s symbol is a capital T, with a cross at the bottom. Bring Vanilla Ice out here, he can explain the difference.
Austin does a good action job here considering how ridiculous it is, but it just doesn’t work. One of the major reasons is the lack of Jim Ross, who missed this week’s show due to the death of his mother and his second go-round with Bell’s Palsy. Instead of JR selling the whole thing with a sense of bewildered and excited Midwestern and southern fear and outrage, it’s Michael Cole reading from a piece of paper. “Oh my!” “What does this mean, King?” You’ve watched Raw at some point over the past 20 years, you know what I’m talking about. You could stab somebody to death in front of him for real and he’d just say whatever they were telling him to say in his earpiece. Zero believable human emotion. And when you’re having your zombie Necromancer perform a sacrilegious ritual on your hero, it’s gonna seem dumb as shit without any human emotions applied. It’s the difference between the first four seasons of Game of Thrones and, like, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. They’re telling human stories in a fantasy world!
Next week, Austin will get revenge for being crucified by putting a bunch of dirt on him as slowly as humanly possible.
By the way, be sure to pick up the latest issue of Rolling Stone, featuring a profile of Stone Cold Steve Austin! There’s also a piece on National Wrestling Alliance owner Billy Corgan, and future Raw guest host Jewel is on the cover! There’s more wrestling in this Rolling Stone than on this Raw.
Worst: D-Generation Ecchs
If anything could be considered the “A-story” for the episode, it’d be the conflict between newly returned Evil Commissioner Shawn Michaels and newly returned, dick-pointing hero of the people Triple H. The rub is that the New Age Outlaws have finally given in to the Corporation’s recruitment pitches and are now the “Corporate Outlaws,” wearing normal clothes instead of South Park t-shirts, pajama pants, and bicycle shorts with asses all over them.
Triple H and Shawn Michaels open the episode by arguing over who was the most important person in D-Generation X, and “shooting” about sure they are about the other not having any balls. Triple H and Shawn Michaels really love shooting on each other’s balls. Shawn says Triple H rode his coattails his entire career. Triple H says he carried Shawn when we was broken down and shouldn’t have been holding the WWF Championship. They’re both right, but Michaels gets mad and ends up booking H and X-Pac against Big Boss Man and Ken Shamrock in an “anything goes match.” If the Corporate Outlaws should happen to interfere, so be it! No, nobody in the Corporation thinks it’s a dumb idea to rely on the guys who left the anarchic anti-authority team five seconds ago to help you win an anything goes match against the two other guys from that team.
Don’t let this surprise you too much, but it turns out the Road Dogg and Billy Gunn are actually still members of D-Generation X and swerve the Corporation by smashing Ken Shamrock’s poor brains with a steel chair again.
It’s a terrible match, too, as they all pretty much are at this point. It’s an “anything goes match” so there aren’t any rules, but everyone still abides by tag rules instead of just doing it tornado style. Plus, Billy Gunn somehow gets D-X disqualified by hitting Shamrock with the chair. In the anything goes match. They probably couldn’t have called it a Some Things Go match, huh?
In other D-Generation X swerve news, it turns out Chyna actually likes her legally and professionally abusive stalker now as she refuses to give him one of those elbow up forearm punches she loves, and instead elbow-up-forearm-punches his opponent, “Road Warrior” “Puke.” Ah, young love.
As a fun side note, this is the first time anyone on Raw has said ANYTHING about the suicide attempt turned attempted murder that happened on the show four weeks ago. They were probably waiting for JR to have a week off so he wouldn’t be out there screaming about how it was “dumbern’a bag fulla scalded mules” or whatever.
Lawler: “It all culminated a couple of weeks ago with uh, with Hawk, either fallen, or some say being pushed off of the top of the TitanTron.”
Cole: “A tragic suicide attempt by Hawk a few weeks ago. We understand Hawk’s at home, he’s recovering after that fall a few weeks ago from the TitanTron. And Droz has uh, replaced Hawk in the Legion of Doom for now, but what a clothesline from Mark Henry.”
A Brief Update On Capital Carnage
By the way, a pay-per-view happened between last week’s Raw and this week’s! Kind of! It was the inaugural and final edition of WWF Capital Carnage, a UK-only pay-per-view where the only notable thing that happened was Jacqueline getting her top ripped off, because I guess you can show full-on boobs if it’s UK exclusive.
The real highlight is the “Superstars enjoyed their time in the United Kingdom” recap video on this Raw, featuring Vince McMahon giving a speech at Oxford University and D’Lo Brown wandering around in the streets trying to get locals to justify him as a legitimate European Champion.
Speaking Of Hardcore Nudity
Here’s Goldust costing Jeff Jarrett a match by showing up in nothing but a trench coat and “flashing” Debra McMichael. This is a woman who voluntarily had sex with Mongo for a number of years, so she sells it realistically by making a bored face and yelling at him for being obnoxious. Jarrett can’t handle the total nonstop action, however, and gets rolled up and pinned by D’Lo.
That’s not the end of the story, however, as apparently Debra sent Jeff out to buy her a ladies trench coat between matches so she can wander out and distract Goldust. While Goldust is wrestling Owen Hart — who is officially back from “retirement” now with no real acknowledgment of the whole Dan Severn thing, and still going through the motions of a Blue Blazer-themed feud with Steve Blackman — Debra and Jeff interrupt for some PG-13 Sexual Situations.
Jerry Lawler horrifically sells this in great detail as though she full-on flashed him (sample dialogue: “THEY WERE PINK!”) despite her clearly being in a bra. To Goldust’s credit, his character is a noted sexual deviant and would not be distracted by boobs, so he no-sells them. Owen is upset about it however, because he’s Canadian I guess, and the distraction ends up HELPING Goldust instead of hurting him. This culminates in a Goldust vs. Jarrett match at Rock Bottom where the stipulation is, “if Jarrett loses Debra has to strip.” Sadly that match is taking place in Canada instead of England, so you’ve got a good idea of how it’s going to end.
In other sexual situations news, The Godfather picks a random guy named “Bob” out of the crowd and bequeaths upon him two of his finest hoes. No idea who Bob actually is, but he looks like like somebody put Vince Russo’s head on Danny DeVito’s body and dressed him like Kevin Smith. This sets up a Godfather and Val Venis vs. the Acolytes match that never actually gets started, and doesn’t have an ending. Pretty sad when “imagining a wrestling fan having sex with prostitutes” is the highlight of your segment.
Also On This Episode
A Headbangers vs. The Brood tag team match ends almost as soon as it begins when The Oddities show up to, as Jim Ross might say, get them some. They’re mad at the Insane Clown Posse betrayed them to be friends with the Headbangers, but are still coming out to ICP’s song because nobody cares about this enough to pay attention. Tiger Ali Singh and Babu also randomly show up, because why not? Might as well throw as much shit into these Everybody Fights segments as possible.
Tiger Ali Singh returns later in the episode to lose clean in two minutes flat to Steve Blackman in what I believe is the only clean finish of the episode. As mentioned earlier, the “Blue Blazer” tries to run down the ring to interfere, but trips and falls. You can tell it’s real and not on purpose because Michael Cole is in full chucklemonster mode calling it. Heh heh, this is so funny, King! Can you believe it? HE TRIPPED! And I hear he has bad breath, pee-you!
Anyway, Owen shows up to attack Blackman to once again prove he’s not the Blue Blazer, something he’s literally already proved like four times.
It’s finally time for ROCK BOTTOM, which would’ve been a better name for Starrcade ’98. We’ve got a Buried Alive match between Stone Cold Steve Austin and serial attempted murderer The Undertaker, a WWF Championship match between The Rock and Mankind to set up January’s way better matches, and payoffs to a bunch of mid-card angles we can finally stop talking about. See you then!