The Best And Worst Of WWF Raw Is War 9/28/98: Stone Cold On Ice

Previously on the Best and Worst of WWF Raw Is War: The World Wrestling Federation had a complete Breakdown as Kane and The Undertaker pinned Stone Cold Steve Austin simultaneously, leaving the state of the WWF Championship unclear. Oh, also, The Rock is suddenly the biggest star in the company. Huh!

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 September 28, 1998.

Best: ‘Boni In The Middle

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this is called foreshadowing

After the controversial finish at Breakdown: In Your House, man of the people Vince McMahon eases the troubled minds of the World Wrestling Federation fans by opening Raw with the Smoking Skull belt on his shoulder and getting his stooges to fasten it around his waist. In case you were still harboring any illusions that McMahon was still trying to do business in good faith and that the Stone Cold Steve Austin beef hadn’t turned him into a complete narcissistic maniac, here you go.

In a great dickhead one-two punch, McMahon announces that there will be no rematch for the WWF Championship, but that he’s decided tonight should be Stone Cold Steve Austin Appreciation Night and hopes Austin will be big enough to accept the gesture. He also confirms that we’re never going to see the Stone Cold variant WWF Championship again — a promise that actually comes true — and that he’ll crown either Kane or Undertaker WWF Champion later in a new belt ceremony later in the night.

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This sets up a red carpet ceremony wherein Vince debuts a “new” WWF Championship belt. The one in the case is actually a shined-up (real nice) “Winged Eagle” belt with the old WWF logo at the top. By Survivor Series they’ll have actually gotten a new championship belt in the scratch logo Big Eagle. “Big Eagle” is a better name than “Winged Eagle,” by the way, because it’s an adjective you might actually use to describe an eagle. Saying “winged eagle” is like saying “legged dog.”

McMahon assures us that the WWF title ceremony is a, solemn one, to be conducted with dignity and respect,” in which he presents either a 7-foot tall undead wizard who makes his own coffins or the wizard’s brother, who is literally the devil, a sparkly gold belt that says they’re best at punch-fighting. But nevermind all that shit, because a BELLIGERENT REDNECK HAS COMMANDEERED A ZAMBONI AND IS DRIVING IT TO THE RING TO MURDER THE CHAIRMAN.

If you’ve never seen this segment, please take 10 minutes and watch it in full. It’s rightfully one of the most famous Raw moments, and I would argue that the panning shot of Austin climbing up to the top of the zamboni and diving through/over a row of cops to clothesline Vince McMahon is the best single shot in the history of the show.

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Just the way the cops initially divide Austin and McMahon, and how the camera follows left to right as he literally breaks through the wall, as though his rage is physically impossible to stop. Irresistible force. They should teach this segment in film school.

Austin gets handcuffed and taken away by police, and you think the segment is over, but oh ho ho, no. An irate McMahon gets up and starts screaming a bunch of misguided rage at Kane and the Undertaker for not protecting him, even though it was never asked of them beyond Breakdown. He declares that NEITHER of them deserves to be WWF Champion, books them in a match against each other for Judgment Day with Austin as the special guest referee, and puts them in a 3-on-2 handicap match in Raw’s main event. In a fit of confident rage, he then declares Kane and Undertaker physically and mentally handicapped, respectively. TO THEIR FACES. Undertaker tells him straight-up to watch his ass, because the next time he disrespects them like that, HE is gonna be the one who’s handicapped.

Before McMahon can even LEAVE THE RING, Undertaker and Kane turn around and he gives them a double bird with a big, mouthed, “fuuuuck yooouu.” And gets caught, like a whole dumbass. In response, as promised, Kane and Undertaker beat the holy living entire shit out of him and smash his ankle to pieces with the ringside steps.

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First of all, I want to know what McMahon thought would happen there. That is some big league hubris in play. Second of all, even the followup where they’re trying to put Vince in an ambulance is hilarious and full of great character work, as Mankind lingers around the crowd of people and keeps trying to give Vince candy and sips of his Big Gulp. Vince is on his way to the hospital, which sets up even MORE classic moments for next week. Man, everything about the main event scene was on FIRE at this point.

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And speaking of the main event, that features a really important moment, too.

It’s supposed to be Ken Shamrock, The Rock, and Mankind teaming up against Kane and The Undertaker, but Ken Shamrock’s still bitter and flipping out about losing the number one contender cage match at Breakdown. He openly says he doesn’t like Detroit, which gets him booed out of the building, and just makes the crowd love Rock and Mankind even more for kicking his ass.

Ultimately, Shamrock and Mankind are able to work together to wrangle Kane on the outside, leaving The Rock to hit the Rock Bottom and pin The Undertaker clean as a sheet in the middle of the ring in the main event of Raw to THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE. Detroit celebrates, Jim Ross nearly has a brain aneurysm, and The Rock is officially positioned as the guy in the World Wrestling Federation. If he wants it. Which … well, we’ll wait and see where that goes. [‘Deadly Game’ intensifies]

Worst: D-Generation Ex

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It was a good night for The Rock and a memorable night for Stone Cold Steve Austin, but a very bad night for D-Generation X.

It starts with a New Age Outlaws versus Southern Justice match, wherein Bill Ass is about to win the match, but the Road Dogg wants GUITAR VENGEANCE and swings wood anyway, getting them disqualified. Billy’s upset about the forced loss and Road Dogg’s enthusiastic crotch-chopping about it, as though he’s done something positive, and ends up walking out on the team. Even Chyna and a wheelchair-bound Triple H try to stop him on his way out, but it’s no good. Dude is so upset about this Godwinns In Suits loss that he leaves the building in his biker shorts. Didn’t even put on a mesh tank top!

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The rest of the night is pretty lackluster for them as well, with the highlight being a thrown-together, minute-long Mark Henry vs. Faarooq match where Chyna gets to be the special guest referee for some reason. Not sure when she got her referee’s license, or what WWF officials thought when they booked her to be the referee for a match against the guy who won’t stop harassing her, but … yeah, she punches him in the dick. That’s the entire point. Boom, dick punch, and we’re out.

Later in the night, X-Pac ends up losing a European Championship defense against Val Venis by disqualification when Terri Runnels trips him once, causing D-X to show up en masse and attack them. Those guys have some serious rage issues. Who knew the team of sweaty, muscular white guys who won’t stop pointing at their dicks wouldn’t be able to handle their emotions and would just EXPLODE on the slightest provocation?

Speaking Of Val

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The bigger point of the Val Venis match is that we finally find out who Dustin Runnels has been saying is “coming back,” and surprise, it’s not Jesus Christ! It’s Goldust, prompting Terri to visibly mouth the words, “that’s bullshit.” Hey, be thankful Christ the Redeemer didn’t return to Earth and announce he’s showing up to next week’s Raw to kick Val’s ass for defiling the sanctity of marriage with those corny backstage blowjobs.

And Speaking Of The European Championship

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Thanks to an appearance from Gangrel and that mysterious man who looks like Edge, Edge gets distracted and loses a European Championship number one contender scramble to former Euro champ D’Lo Brown, setting up D’Lo vs. X-Pac for next week. In retrospect, it was funny that they were running a Dustin Runnels “HE is coming back” angle and “who is this mysterious Christian” at the same time.

Best: The Best Talent On Monday Night Since The Great Dean Malenko

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You can’t have a Raw in Detroit in 1998 without the Insane Clown Posse getting involved can you? They accompany The Oddities to ringside, once again completely nerfed by that horrible WWE Network overdub of the already PG version of ‘The Greatest Show’, and trip up the Headbangers to give Golga and Kurrgan a win.

If you’re curious about the other relevant Detroit hip hop icon of the day,

Worst: Paralyzer

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The very worst moment of the episode is Dan Severn (with both a UFC Championship and the NWA World Heavyweight Championship to accent his sweaty grey t-shirt) versus his former MMA protege, Owen Hart, which ends with Severn taking an Owen Driver ’97 and getting “injured.” He gets put in a neck brace and taken off in a stretcher, and Owen feels very sad about it.

If you’re wondering why this is the “very worst moment,” aside from worked serious injuries never being a very good idea in a sport where actual serious injuries sometime happen, it’s because of the story it’s introducing. See, Owen’s going to start feeling bad about being a “black heart,” or whatever, and decide it’d be better for his career to go back to a lighter, more fun in-ring persona … like the Blue Blazer.


Also On This Episode

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Al Snow defeats Vader, missionary style.

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Also this week we get a brief promo from Jerry Lawler, who says he wants to address his “much publicized” attack on Jim Carrey on the set of Man on the Moon, as “what has been reported so far has been far from the truth.” But he’s going to wait until Jim Carrey shows up to Raw, live and in person, to say what he wants to say. This was supposed to be setting up … you know, a Jim Carrey Raw appearance, but he apparently turned it down, since he didn’t like wrestling.

Bruce Pritchard talked about this on an episode of Something To Wrestle With, suggesting that the movie would’ve probably done better if he’d taken the free publicity.

“I believe that the movie would have done a lot better if we were able to do work with us and to promote the movie was a natural … Here you got your commentary duo with Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler who are in the movie and in a vital role in the movie, but yet you don’t want to take them and their real life role now where millions of people are watching them every week and promote your movie, okay fine, fuck you, next.”

The problem seems to be that Jim wasn’t “Jim,” at the time, he was “Andy Kaufman,” and was letting method acting affect his entire life and career. Here’s the clip of the attack from Netflix’s Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond, which centers around Jim not understanding that real Andy knew wrestling was a work and did those famous bits with Jerry, not against him. So Jerry’s out here trying to film a movie playing himself while this random Hollywood guy method acts a guy he never met, but who Jerry actually knew. Super weird.

Not too late for Kane to show up again and get stopped by Fire Marshal Bill, I guess.

Next Week:

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YURPLE THE CLOWN makes her World Wrestling Federation debut. Also The Undertaker goes one-on-one with The Rock, a new European Champion is crowned, and somebody gets hit in the head with a bedpan. All this and more, next week!