Previously on the Best and Worst of WWF Raw Is War: Val Venis finally came, Kane put on a windsuit and a ski mask to get his DNA tested, and Stone Cold Steve Austin got arrested for a few minutes. Don’t worry, it was fine.
If you haven’t seen this episode, you can watch it on WWE Network here. Check out all the episodes 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 Raw was fun to watch, and things happened!
And now, the Best and Worst of WWF Raw Is War for May 25, 1998.
Best: Stone Cold Represents Himself
This week’s Raw follows up on last week’s procedural crime drama by introducing a long-unwritten rule of professional wrestling: if someone at WWE commits assault at work or against a co-worker outside of work, it’s considered “part of the job;” however, if you commit assault and then SAY you committed assault, it’s actual assault and you are going to jail. Stephanie McMahon and the Bella Twins wrote a popular treatise on this subject back in 2014.
Last week’s show ended with Vince McMahon dressing up like Stone Cold Steve Austin and hiding in the crowd (beside Al Snow) to jump Austin and attack him with a chair. In 99 out of 100 other cases of this, the wrestlers would solve their problems with punching. Since McMahon opens the show by declaring I ASSAULTED STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN AND GOT AWAY WITH IT, however, McMahon is subject to arrest. Austin spent most of last week in a cop car, so he skips his regular plan of stomach kicks and sitting down while smushing someone’s face into his shoulder to just have the motherfucker taken away by police.
Another fun rule of WWE police work: if someone is being arrested, the person they’ve committed the crime against can do whatever they want. While Vince is being handcuffed, Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco try to prevent it. Austin declares that it looks like OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE to him, and they get arrested as well. And while this is all going on, Austin kicks Vince in the stomach while his hands are cuffed behind his back and pours beer all over his head.
McMahon and the stooges spend most of Raw in the back of a squad car parked at Raw and are released about mid-way through, because even arrest-worthy pro wrestling crimes carry a maximum allowable sentence of, “okay, you can go play with your friends, but BE NICE THIS TIME.” His announcement of how he got out of custody is peak Vince McMahon hilarious:
“Well, I … I hope you’ve had some fun here tonight, Austin. I hope you’re real proud of yourself for what you’ve accomplished. How dare you have me arrested in public like a common criminal? And pour beer down the back of my neck? And then place conditions on my release, a condition of apology, WHICH I DID NOT MEAN!”
Welp, back to jail with you then, I guess. Vince wastes no time immediately booking Austin into a match with the Undertaker with himself as special guest referee, because his power tip has gone absolutely buck wild this month. And sure, yes, a 7-foot tall undead zombie mortician wizard who just found out the brother he used to think had died in the house fire that killed his entire family is actually only his half brother because the teenage mortician who worked at the house impregnated his mother on the kitchen floor is the perfect person to go along with your schemes right now.
Kane and Undertaker’s paternal issues are this week’s Super Soaker 1500 Rewind Of The Week, because nothing says “cool summer fun” like chokeslamming your Satanic brother onto the dead bones in your mother’s casket.
Earlier in the night Kane ruined a barn-burner Jeff Jarrett vs. Vader match to continue hilariously setting up a “mask vs. mask” match with Vader, because nothing puts butts in seats like the chance to see a masked wrestler who always takes off his mask be forced to take off his mask.
When it’s time for Undertaker vs. Austin, McMahon has let rage and a thirst for revenge turn him into a full-fledged cartoon character, and he flexes his muscles while Undertaker’s walking to the ring. Taker demands complete silence (besides wooing and clapping) and stern reverence for his 15-minute slow burn to the ring, so he kicks Vince’s ass on principal and the match never happens. I think Vince gets more comeuppance in this one episode than Shane and Stephanie have gotten in their entire careers.
Kane wanders back down to drag Undertaker away, leaving McMahon alone in the ring with the Stooges … until Stone Cold’s music hits, and we reach that dangerous final few minutes of Raw where it’s basically The Purge and you’re allowed to pull out a gun and murder someone as long as it’s exciting. Austin’s choice: tie up Vince in the ropes, Andre the Giant-style, and blast him in the face with a steel chair, Kanyon-style. Okay, Tommy Dreamer-style.
Dude Love jogs down with a chair and gets hit in the face with both of them — yo dog, I heard you like chairs — allowing Vince to escape. The stage is set for Over The Edge, as Mr. McMahon’s sanity has gone completely over the edge, and Austin’s going to have a real House of the Undying situation on his hands. I sure hope Vince doesn’t ever figure out how to manipulate Undertaker into doing his bidding, participating in a bunch of kidnappings, and trying to marry his daughter in a fiendish Black Wedding!
Worst: D-Generation X Commit Acts Of Terrorism On American Soil
Remember when D-Generation X took a studio tour of CNN and then pretended to blow it up with rudimentary 1998 computer graphics, and we laughed and laughed about how WWE treats D-X “invading Nitro” like this cool, pivotal moment in the Monday Night Wars but never shows up the increasingly embarrassing MONTH of followup “invasions?” HEY HERE’S THE DUMBEST ONE.
While Raw is happening D-X visits a “clandestine airport” and commandeers a fighter jet so Triple H can use it to sky-write — can fighter jets to that? — about how WCW sucks in the sky above Nitro. Yep, Vince McMahon ordered them to attack the Roberts Munic, Pal, Stadium with DEADLY PRETEND WORDS.
And when he’s done, Triple H blows up an arena full of wrestling fans with a missile.
… cool, super cool.
Anyway, while this is going on, The Rock cuts a promo about how he’s heard of Viagra, but has a rock-hard cock 24/7 and can’t comment because he’s not their target demographic. Fair.
That leads to the week’s actual main event, The Rock vs. Triple H. You’d think “stealing military property and using it to commit a violent act of terrorism on United States soil because you like the wrestling promotion you work for more than the one you don’t” would be enough to take the guy into custody, what with all the police standing around, but I guess terrorism and assault work under the same rules. Surprisingly neither Triple H nor The Rock end up being my talking point for the bout, because the finish sees two very important characters to one another meet for the first time:
Chyna, meet Mark Henry. Over the next couple of years you’ll go out on a date with him and be surprised when he saves you from a bunch of guys doing Austin Powers impersonations, eliminate him from a Royal Rumble, cause him to have a sexual awakening, hook him up with your gender-nonconforming friend just to make fun of him, and then punch him in the balls in front of his mom. You’ll get along great!
The Nation and D-X try to out-cheat the other and accidentally get both men counted out, which is fine, because the world of 1999 and beyond is an exciting place for The Rock and Triple H. (For Chyna and Mark Henry, not so much.)
he’s gonna HE’s GONNA he’s gonna
If you’re like … everyone on the Internet who’d possibly want to read a comedy column on a wrestling blog, you know and probably quote Beyond the Mat on the regular. So you’ll be happy to know that this week marks the debut of the Third Road Warrior, Puke, aka former Denver Broncos nose tackle Darren Drozdov. He’s called “puke” because he can supposedly vomit on command, although we never actually see that on television. All we ever see is a guy standing around looking like a cat about to hurl on your hallway carpet until someone attacks or stops him. Or, as in the case of Beyond the Mat itself, he just spits a little and everyone’s like, “yep, that’s vomit, heh heh.”
Here, Puke attempts to puke on the Disciples of Apocalypse’s BEAUTIFUL TITAN BIKES® and just stands there sucking air like an idiot until someone attacks him. For real, “Puke” as a gimmick wouldn’t have been great if it’d worked. Priscilla Kelly’s currently trying to get that over on the indies, I guess. He gets the win for his team, though, with a sit-out powerbomb. Everyone hold on, as the log flume that is the Legion of Doom’s careers is about to soak everybody.
As a fun aside, anyone who thinks the names “Puke” and “Droz” are lame should hear the names Drozdov went by on the indies before getting signed by WWE, as they might be the three worst wrestler names ever conceived:
- Drozzy King Lake
- Darren “Ripping Yarns” Laxingham
- DD Da Death Dude
I also would’ve accepted Drizozzy “East of Ipswich” Da Bomb.
Sexy Hobo Fighter Is Almost Here
They’ve gone past Nine Inch Nails lyrics and are writing these with books of Mad Libs now.
“In alleys of decay, a promise lies, love dies, Edge sees unrest spawn fury and rage, remnants of chaos, devastation, euphoria, Edge.”
Probably more poetic sounding than, “he’s the best of three wrestling vampires, who will spend the next couple of years getting shown up by a couple of central-Carolina hillbillies with a Gadzooks in their mall.”
Worst: Most People Don’t Like These Oddities
Up next, Canadian cultist healer turned South African military dictator (?) The Jackly brings out Tyrion Lannister and Lord Varys [checks notes] sorry, Howard Stern “wack pack” members Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf and Crackhead Bob. Without getting too deep into the realities of 90s shock jock radio, I’ll just say they’re in a group alongside Gary The Retard and Wendy The Retard.
If you’re wondering what kind of great and not-at-all-dated precedent this sets for Jackyl’s latest angle, behold The Oddities, a “freak show” faction. The original roster includes Luna — now “Princess Luna” for some reason — as well as a returning John Tenta/Earthquake/Shark as “Golga,” a man forced to wear a brown gimp mask because of his “physical deformities.” He’s supposed to have a bunch of knots on his head. Eventually they turn him into Eric Cartman, put him in an Eric Cartman t-shirt, and have him carrying around an Eric Cartman doll, because 1998. Rounding out this group is the Giant Silva, known here only as, The Largest Man in the World. Future members of the group include Kurrgan, George ‘The Animal’ Steele, and the Insane Clown Posse, who turned being poor and white and having bad taste in things into a pseudo-musical religion.
Golga squashes Headbanger Thrasher and wins with a powerslam. This segment marks the last time Hank and Bob would be in a wrestling ring together until Bound For Glory 2012.
Also On This Episode
Owen Hart and Dan Severn wrestle an interesting little match that looks to blend shoot-style fighting with pro wrestling that would be insanely over on the indies today that emulated places like Pancrase and helped domesticate the style of upstart promotions like Fighting Detectives Battlarts. So of course it ends a few minutes in when Owen kicks Severn in the balls.
The crowd doesn’t know what to do with it, the announcers really don’t know what to do with it, and it ends with Mark Henry splashing The Beast a few times. It’s one of those segments and matches that almost did something unique and creative, but chickened out at the last minute for by-the-numbers nWo tomfoolery.
TAKA Michinoku faces Dick Togo in a match that absolutely should’ve been for the Light Heavyweight Championship, but isn’t. It’s one of those bouts they could’ve done early at the pay-per-view with some consequences and something on the line, but punted to the middle of a Raw so it can be meaningless and forgotten forever. As you might know, the Kaientai story doesn’t really kick into gear until a few weeks from now when Yamaguchi-san’s wife debuts and wins the heart of everyone watching. And then wins the penis of the world’s horniest Canadian porn star wrestler.
Finally we have Marc Mero vs. Faarooq, built around the acknowledgment of last week’s contract saying Sable is legally bound to be Marc Mero’s property, because that’s the kind of thing you can do to your wife. When Sable once again causes a distraction and costs Mero the match, he suggests a match for Over The Edge: a trial by combat. She can choose a champion from anyone in the World Wrestling Federation and if they win, Sable earns her “freedom.” If Mero wins, Sable must leave WWF forever! Seems like if he owns her he could just make her leave forever already, but yes, wrestling matches! Those are happening!
Spoiler alert: Mero is playing kinda dumb here because he’s got a much better plan for Over The Edge, his wife The Stinger over there just doesn’t realize it yet.
It’s time for Over The Edge: In Your House, featuring:
- DOA and LOD 2000 settle their differences at The Lobo Lounge
- Lucha House Rules: Kaientai vs. Bradshaw and TAKA Michinoku
- Mero vs. Sable for her literal human freedom
- Jeff Jarrett attempts to avenge Sawyer Brown against Steve Blackman
- a guy who never takes off his mask vs. a guy who always takes off his mask in a mask vs. mask match
- The Nation vs. D-X, loser has to wear blackface match
- Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. a month’s worth of Vince McMahon’s insanity
See you then!