Previously on WWF Raw Is War: Following a controversial Breakdown: In Your House, Stone Cold Steve Austin summoned a zamboni and attacked Vince McMahon for trying to award the WWF Championship to either Kane or The Undertaker. When they failed to protect him, Vince scheduled Kane VERSUS Taker for the next pay-per-view, called them “handicapped,” and then got his ankle broken.
Previously on Sunday Night Heat: Mr. McMahon appeared live via satellite from a Local Medical Facility, and rational adult man Stone Cold Steve Austin got so pissed about it he attacked a bunch of TV wires with an axe.
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 5, 1998.
Best: D-Generation X Continues To Fall Apart
This week we’re opening with a European Championship match and a new European Champion, as life-size catcher bobblehead D’Lo Brown wins back his coveted extracontinental belt back from X-Pac.
Brown fakes an Opposite Worlds-style shattered leg (off a Bronco Buster) to distract the ref, allowing Mark Henry to bait X-Pac into fighting him. Pac is like 6-foot-3 and 45 pounds so you’d think he’d know better than to jump wildly at the world’s strongest man, but he’s got more guts than brains, folks, and gets caught. Henry jogs him into the ring post and rolls him back in for a sky high frog splash to the back — psychology! — and a loss. It’s Pac and D’Lo, so it’s good while it lasts.
Crisis on Infinite Dicks continues later in the episode when “the role of Bad Ass Billy Gunn” is played by X-Pac for a Road Dogg vs. Henry match. We find out here that Henry is suing Chyna for sexual harassment, which I guess is a thing you can do when you get your friends to hold someone down to make them kiss you, but they don’t. If you’re wondering why they had Gunn randomly walk out on The Dogg last week, it’s because Mark Canterbury herniated his C7 vertebra and pinched a spinal nerve and needed spinal fusion surgery, pretty much ending his in-ring career, so they had to pivot away from the Outlaws vs. Southern Justice feud. I say “pretty much” because he actually got re-signed to a developmental contract in the mid-2000s, joined Deep South Wrestling, and formed a new Godwinns with Ray Gordy and Drew Hankinson. He’d get released a little under a year later, and Ray and Drew would get called up as Jesse and Festus.
Anyway, D’Lo interferes in the match, so Road Dogg uses his Chyna assist trophy to help out. This distracts the idiot referee long enough for X-Pac to sneak in, steal a measure of revenge on Henry with an X-Factor, and gives Roadie the win. With Triple H in a wheelchair and Billy Gunn at home eating pints of protein ice cream and watching American Gladiators or whatever, it’s up to beltless Pac, a hapless Road Dogg, and an under litigation Chyna to keep things together.
Best: Send Out The Clowns
One of the most satisfying moments of the episode has to be the Headbangers getting fed up with losing match after match due to interference from a traveling freak show’s randomly occurring rapper clown friends and deciding to kick the shit out of them about it.
The Headbangers call out ICP and, to their credit, ICP answers. This leads to an impromptu “match” of sorts in which Mosh and Thrasher take two or three minutes to murder some local clowns with extreme prejudice, including a deeply awkward powerbomb off the ropes (pictured) — never put your arms back like that when you bump, kids, that’s how you get them broken — and multiple unprotected chair-shots to the head. Shaggy 2 Dope tries to win the Pulitzer Prize in the field of selling by letting a chair turn him into Inside-Out Boy.
That’s masterful. Here it is in motion, in case you’ve ever wanted to see a headbanger with no hair turn a hip-hop clown into flubber. The Oddities eventually make the save, but the beatdown is so much fun it gets the entire crowd behind the Headbangers. Is East Lansing no longer Juggalo territory?
Worst: A Night Of Ball-Shots
Do you like it when a wrestler goes up to the top rope but stumbles, and falls nuts-first onto the buckle? I sure hope so, because this week’s Raw features two match finishing ball-shots in a three-match span.
The worst of the two is Al Snow vs. Jeff Jarrett, which would be a main event in any minor league ballpark around the world. The WWF has no idea what to do with Al, as making people scream “head” and snicker at each other is over, but nothing else he’s doing is really catching. Commissioner Slaughter shows up to attempt an extremely low-rent continuation of their extremely low-rent Austin vs. McMahon beef by crotching him on the top rope, causing a disqualification. This might not be so bad if like 10 minutes earlier they hadn’t done the exact same thing with …
Kane and Ken Shamrock. Kane Shamrock. This one fares a little better, as it contains some actual star power and Ken Shamrock’s really leaning into being the most hated man on the roster for some reason.
Kane looks like he’s about to put the match away with a top rope clothesline when his brother (and upcoming pay-per-view opponent) shows up to provide unclear support on the apron. Shamrock tries to punch him, but Undertaker dodges. Shamrock hits the top rope, though, causing Kane to drop his notoriously burned balls (more on those when the Kane vs. X-Pac feud kicks in) on the top turnbuckle. This leaves him open for a Belly-to-Ken off the top and a rare early TV loss. Did Undertaker do this on purpose, or was he trying to help Kane? IS IT CAHOOTS??
There’s also a third ball-shot finish earlier in the night, when Jacqueline distracts The Man They Call The Man They Call Vader, allowing Johnny B. Wild to punch him in the back of the dick and shooting star press him for the win. Sable makes the save, which is hilarious, and ends up getting her HAIR CUT by Jackie! This would be traumatic if it wasn’t 1998 and Sable didn’t clearly wear gigantic Barbie-quality hair extensions.
Kane returns at the end of the night to try to return the favor, smashing Undertaker in the back with a steel chair so he loses another match to The Rock. He doesn’t realize that Undertaker had a special stored up, still had his Instant Recovery payback ready to go, and could just sit up and no-sell the entire thing. Undertaker’s not losing two TV matches in a row in 1998, not even to The Rock, so he powers through it and Tombstones Rocky onto the same chair for the win. Thankfully the referee had been knocked over by a strong gust of wind and was unconscious for most of this.
Not sure why they needed to give Undertaker his win back right away, but I guess they wanted to protect him as much as possible considering that (surprising spoiler alert) Stone Cold Steve Austin’s not going to be a great referee at Judgment Day and they’re doing another No Contest. I guess it also gives The Rock a little vulnerability heading into the (happy to spoil spoiler alert) Deadly Game tournament in November that only works if everyone in the building wants him to win it.
Worst: Val Venis Finds Terri Runnels’ Wedding Ring In Her Vagina
Damn, she had her own ring finger in there? I … I’m sorry, I don’t want to know the logistics.
“Val Venis defeats Gangrel by count-out” is the most Attitude Era sentence you can type, I think. The only things you need to know (besides Val operating the world’s least sanitary pawn shop) is that (1) Goldust is returning next week, which we find out via a letter delivered by an old-timey movie usher, and that (2) the new blonde guy who’s been accompanying Gangrel to the ring recently, “Christian,” is (gasps) Edge’s younger brother! This totally reeks of mystery!
Best: If You Drink Orange Juice From A Carton You’re A Woman
Be a real man’s man like Steven Regal and drink your own orange juice, made from cutting open and hand-squeezing like a dozen oranges. If you don’t take 30 minutes to pour a cup of juice and drink it in the woods with shit all over your hands you’re a pussy ass bitch.
Worst: Owen Hart Is Still Depressed
Owen Hart’s supposed to wrestle Edge, but apologizes and walks out because he’s still so sad about paralyzing Dan Severn. I bet Owen Hart drank orange juice from concentrate like a communist.
Best: Strange Things Are Afoot At The Local Medical Facility
What else happens in this episode? Let’s see, let’s see …
Oh, right, everything.
We rejoin Vince McMahon in the local medical facility, where he’s still under close observation for injuries suffered at the hands of the Brothers of Destruction and being rude to a nurse about bringing him the wrong kind of juice. I swear I’m not still doing the Real Man’s Man bit. McMahon insists on receiving no guests besides his immediate family, but the nurse lets him know a very big man showed up looking for Vince and won’t take no for an answer. Vince assumes it’s Stone Cold come to stomp an intravenous therapy hole in him and walk it dry, but it’s actually Mankind. And he’s brought guests of his own!
Up first is “some female entertainment” who “does a trick with a dog that you won’t believe.” It’s the legendary YURPLE THE CLOWN, who looks like Raggedy Ann hooked up with a Care Bear and has the exact vocal inflection of Sherri Moon’s character in House of 1,000 Corpses. She tries to make Vince a rainbow to “brighten up his day,” but he doesn’t want it. HE DOESN’T WANT IT, DAMMIT. While this is going on, we’re introduced to another of Mankind’s special guests …
Yes, folks, say hello for the first time to Mr. Socko. You never know what’s going to get over with wrestling fans and propel you to the top of the industry, and I assume a guy who’d been doing multiple characters for years and competed in King of the Death Match tournaments didn’t know the thing that’d push him from mid-card to main event was a crudely drawn sock puppet he keeps in his sweatpants.
Vince’s sell in this segment probably had a lot to do with it, too, as he sells Socko’s existence like it’s the most unbelievably asinine thing he’s ever seen. And that’s saying a lot, since Vince used to call every episode of Superstars. Next week a ton of fans show up with socks on their hands, and it’s off to the asininity races. Yurple got her star-making moment played by a sock. God bless professional wrestling.
Oh, and before I forget …
… here’s Stone Cold Steve Austin dressing up like a doctor, infiltrating the local medical facility — he presumably saw a doctor his exact size and measurements leaving the building on his way in, beat him up, stole his clothes, and hid his unconscious naked body in the bushes — sneaking into Vince McMahon’s room, attacking him, and then administering a forced enema so violet he doesn’t even bother to pull down the man’s underpants first.
He also attacks him with a live defibrillator at one point, so I’m pretty sure he was out to out-right murder Vince McMahon on live television. I’d make a bigger deal out of this if two weeks from now Austin wasn’t holding a pistol to Vince’s head in the middle of a wrestling ring while 10,000 people cheer in the hopes they see an execution-style killing.
So here you have it; a terrible episode of Raw that still remains essential because Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mick Foley, and Vince McMahon were on a completely different level and doing some of the most unforgettable, completely stupid, and absolutely amazing television.
No pistol murders (yet), but Vince McMahon decides to drive his Corvette to Raw. I bet nothing bad will happen to it! Also, Goldust is back, Steve Blackman returns to Raw with his fury sticks, and the DRUNK HAWK angle you thought they’d dropped continues! Oh boy! See you then!