The Best And Worst Of WWF Raw Is War 10/19/98: Excellence Of Execution

Previously on the Best and Worst of WWF Raw Is War: Stone Cold Steve Austin ended the pay-per-view in a no contest and got fired for it, which is what should happen. Triple H had to hand over the Intercontinental Championship to Ken Shamrock, X-Pac is once again European Champion, and Paul Bearer is once again on the side of the Undertaker.

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 October 19, 1998.

Welcome To The Black Parade

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Stone Cold Steve Austin is fired, and Vince McMahon is so happy about it he’s ordered the entire World Wrestling Federation roster to stand in the ring while he drops black balloons and confetti on them. McMahon, armed with a new catchphrase — “McMahon 3:16: I have the brass to fire your ass” — formally announces that we’ll definitely definitely have a new WWF Champion at Survivor Series thanks to a one-night, 16-man tournament. We’ll have to keep watching to see what kind of deadly game he’s got planned.

McMahon lets everyone know that the sensation of firing Stone Cold Steve Austin at Judgment Day was “better than sex,” which doesn’t say much for Linda, and we see that Austin is actually sitting outside of the arena in his truck cleaning a scoped assault rifle.

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Austin Gunn

Yes, folks, Stone Cold Steve Austin is a disgruntled former … independent contractor who is going to get back at his boss by returning to work with a gun and killing him. I want to say this worked better in a pre-Columbine High School massacre, pre-mass shootings in the United States every weekend kind of world, but it’s pretty goddamn concerning no matter when it happened. More on this, at length, in a moment.

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Vince, to his credit, tries to get local police involved. Local police, being local police, tell Vince they aren’t gonna put their lives in danger for him and that he can go screw. Some of them go out and get Austin’s autograph and compliment him on his gun-having before bailing. +1 to Vince Russo’s understanding of cops as uptight bullies with power fantasies who don’t see anything wrong with a fun-loving white guy showing up to a public place with weapons and camo to kill somebody who was mean to him. The only thing that stops a good Stone Cold Steve Austin with a gun is a bad Stone Cold Steve Austin with a gun, and he’s not around anymore, so tough shit.

Mankind tries to help out by bringing Vince candy and trying to get him out of his wheelchair for a game of Twister, but Vince McMahon despises actually nice people and almost immediately throws him out. This leaves him open for a clandestine, Scream-style phone call. THE CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE SQUARED CIRCLE.

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McMahon tries to escape out through the back and into a limousine, which will never hurt him, and WHOOPS, Stone Cold’s out there waiting for him. Austin proceeds to shove Vince into things leg-first until they’re back in the dressing room, where Austin spends the remainder of the show threatening Vince with a knife, threatening him with a bow and arrow, falsely imprisoning him (see above), and even trying to Misery him with a block of wood between the ankles. Seems like a lot for the guy who told you to do your job of he’d fire you firing you for not doing your job!

This leads to the pièce de résistance: Austin wheeling Vince McMahon to the ring, making him get on his knees, and threatening to execute him, gang style, in front of 10,000 cheering fans.

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Maybe I’m old or out of touch or whatever, and yeah, maybe there’s a fine line between throwing someone off a steel cage and threatening to shoot them in the head for fun, but this has never sat right with me. I think it has something to do with Austin telling Vince to watch the TitanTron because his eyes are about to pop out of his head, and then asking everyone if they’d like to see Vince’s eyes pop out of his head, and everyone going HELL YEAH! Holy shit, you guys. You could rationalize that everyone assumed Austin was just fucking with him, and that everyone in the arena is smart enough to know that they aren’t going to actually see someone get gang executed in the main event segment of a wrestling show, but there’s some real blood-thirst going on here I’ve never vibed with. Plus, I’m not sure I trust a crowd full of teenagers in SUCK MY DICK t-shirts with the capacity for abstract thought.

Anyway, because Vince McMahon apparently draws the line at actually being murdered on television, he pisses himself while Austin “shoots” him with a BANG! flag gun. That classic joke where you think you’re gonna get shot but you don’t! It’s like a whoopie cushion for mortal terror!

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Don’t worry, Stone Cold Steve Austin only stays fired for this one episode of Raw he’s all over, as Vince McMahon learns that the only thing that can stop a bad McMahon is … well, I was gonna say a “good” McMahon, but that’s not really the case. McMahons can only be stopped by other McMahons, and not even really then, because they’re all secretly in cahoots. Hope you had fun with that toy gun, Stone Cold, you just ushered in 20 years of evil general manager collusion.

And Where Was Everybody Else?

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In other police just doing their jarbs news, Chyna gets put into the back of a squad car and driven away, because bad faith sexual harassment accusations in the workplace take precedent over a guy loading up his truck with weapons and driving to the wrestling show to kill a guy.

This leaves X-Pac alone to for his Intercontinental Championship tournament finals rematch against Ken Shamrock. Shamrock’s the IC Champion and Pac’s the European Champion again, so it’s non-title. It’s also apparently “non-rules,” as Mankind randomly shows up and mandibly claws Shamrock without the match ending. I guess putting your fingers in somebody else’s mouth doesn’t count as a disqualification? Foley should’ve started doing that thing awful people do where they wait for you to yawn and then randomly pop their index finger in your mouth. Anyway, with the DQ not called, Shamrock watusis into an X-Factor and loses the match.

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Shamrock returns the favor later in the night by smashing Mankind in the leg with a chair again, costing him a match against Val Venis.

Val has more things to worry about, though, as he’s still selling the dick-related injury from Judgment Day. Goldust pops in to quote Rambo at Val, and Terri tries to whisper something into Val’s ear. Val seems more bothered by what Terri has to say than Goldust, so I’ll allow your imagination to decide the worst news Val Venis could receive from a woman. No, not that. No, but that would be funny. There you go.

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As for Kane and The Undertaker, they’re busy doing their own thing thanks to Undertaker’s admission that it was actually him who burned down their family’s funeral parlor as a child, as he was trying to kill his little brother for being weak. This is the kind of tortured childhood that breeds politicians, by the way. Undertaker is also openly referencing his own, “Ministry of Darkness,” here, so hold on to your butts for a year of black weddings, forced embalming, and teddy bear arson.

Kane shows up and challenges Undertaker to a casket match. In the back (pre-execution), Austin makes Vince bet his life on the winner. Vince really should’ve used his insider information to win that bet, or at least play the percentages and say, “it ends in some kind of lame no contest that lets everybody down, because we aren’t gonna do a casket match for real with an actual finish in the middle of some random, post-pay-per-view Raw.”

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Sure enough, the casket match just sort of ends due to both men getting locked in at the same time and “destroying” the casket to escape. It’s a lot of watching seven-foot tall dudes kick their feet like they’re cats that don’t want their bellies rubbed and the casket breaking a little, but not really “falling apart.” They do manage to expose that WWF caskets are made out of balsa wood, cardboard, and padding, though. Definitely one of those bits that looked a lot better on paper.

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The only other main event player left unaccounted for is The Rock, who shows up to get some revenge on D’Lo Brown. Brown loses by aimlessly jumping into a Rock Bottom, marking Brown’s second “jumping nothing” loss in two nights. You’re doing it to yourself, Lo.

Fun note: Rock’s entrance theme for this match is a weird remix they only ever used once, which sounds a lot like they tried to jam up the Nation of Domination’s theme with Edge’s. Can you imagine him being a huge star with that as his theme?

Also On This Episode

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Tiger Ali Singh offers any American peasant in the crowd $500 if they can “swallow Babu’s kielbasa whole.” He’s literally cooking kielbasa on a grill in the ring, in case you weren’t privy to WWF’s subtle wordplay. Some Tanya Tucker looking lady gets into the ring and graphically deepthroats it, twice, winning the money. In response, the Godfather shows up, reveals that the woman who took Singh’s money used to be one of his hoes, and demands his cut. They brawl. A nice palate cleanser for all the attempted murder.

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Droz loses a match for the LOD 2000 via rollup when Road Warrior Hawk distracts him by clapping. He didn’t know how to respond to it, as it’s the first time anybody’s ever clapped during a Darren Drozdov match.

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Finally, welcome to the gritty reboot of As the Halliburton Turns, as WCW’s own Debra McMichael makes her WWF debut alongside, surprise, Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett loses to Steve Blackman by disqualification when the Blue Blazer interferes, but Debra pays off by distracting The Head — not Al Snow, but the mannequin head itself — long enough for Jarrett to hit Snow with a guitar. They managed to escalate the situation from “country guy is sleeping with the football guy’s wife,” to, “country guy needs the wife’s help to distract a crazy person from attacking country guy with a mannequin head while a karate guy fights a super hero in the background.” The difference between WCW and WWF, I guess.

Next Week:

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Shane McMahon reveals the contents of the lock box (… wait), Mötley Crüe performs, and Stone Cold Steve Austin contributes to Ken Shamrock’s ongoing brain damage. All this and more, next week!