WWE / WWF RAW throwback review – 23rd Feb 1998

I am hopping in the time machine and firing up the flux capacitor, heading back a couple of decades to the Attitude Era to review some old episodes.
Here is the episode of RAW from this very day twenty years ago – 23rd Feb, 1998 (Waco, Texas).

wwf raw is war

Opening

The show opens with a montage about the Legion of Doom and the New Age Outlaws, hyping their rivalry.

Match 1

“Oh you didn’t know?”

Yes, it’s the Taaaag Team Chaaaampionsss of the Woooorrrlllldddd vs the LOD.

The Road Warriors come out with kick-ass black and grey spikes, and get to business right away. The match evens itself out as time goes on, and the Outlaws take control.

LOD new age outlaws wwf 1998

The tables turn and LOD go for the finisher which is hit well, the ref gets distracted (oh that old deal!) thanks to Hawk hanging about in the ring, Mr Ass hits Animal with the belt – 1-2-3, the Outlaws retain the titles.

Hawk and Animal scrap after the match, and a shock break up is discussed on commentary. Don’t worry, Gerry Briscoe is out to split it up.

Match 2

The World’s Most Dangerous Man Ken Shamrock vs JJ Jeff Jarrett (the NWA North American Champion, accompanied by Jim Cornette).

This whole NWA in WWF thing was a messy which I’m not going to get into, and it’s a little weird to hear JR hyping the NWA.

Shamrock dominates initially until Jarrett starts to even things up. Jarrett accidently hits Cornette as there are near-falls aplenty. The ref takes a bump, Cornette enters the ring to hit Shamrock with a ‘loaded’ tennis racket but hits JJ. Shamrock puts the ankle lock on, the ref checks on JJ and calls for the bell as he is unconscious. Shamrock wins.

Backstage

There is a backstage pull apart shown with Hawk and Animal. The commentators again talk about their shock at the sight of this iconic tag team falling apart.

Match 3

The DOA ride to the ring on their shiny hogs for a six man match vs the Truth Commission (with the Jackal).

Kurrgan looks mahoosive as he climbs into the ring. The commentators build up his undefeated streak as the match starts.

A pretty predictable back and forth match saw Kurrgan come in at the end to clean house. DOA finally get him off his feet but he no sells, gets up and uses the ‘Paralyser’ to crush a skull and get the three count.

After the match the Truth Commission go back into the ring to give the DOA a beating.

HBK’s House Feature

We are transported to Shawn’s House as he plays pool with HHH, chatting about Austin and Tyson with Chyna in the background.

DX Chyna Shawn Michaels WWF Raw 1998

This is the well-known promo where Hunter says that “discretion is advised, but it will be completely f***ing ignored.”

Nice DX nostalgia.

Match 4

Sunny (roll tide) comes out to the ring as  the guest ring announcer, asking if everything ‘is really bigger in Texas’ (oh god, really?).

sunny wwf raw 1998

She introduces Taka Michinoku vs Barry Wyndham (accompanied by the Rock N Roll Express).

Here we go on the NWA stuff again. Wyndham doesn’t look too bad but Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson look like tragic old mulleted men, in reality they are in their early 40s at this point – around the same age as AJ Styles and Jericho now – mind blown.

JR berates Cornette for screwing Taka by pitching him against the much larger Wyndham (who is wearing a waist coat and chaps).

After a sustained beating by Wyndham, the match is cut short by the lights going out at a two count, and…

ISAAC Yankem!

KANE!

He walks menacingly towards Taka in the ring. Kane gives a huge chokeslam to the light heavyweight champ, followed by a tombstone. Paul Bearer says that they are only interested in getting to Stone Cold (if he has the guts). Kane looks awesome.

Backstage

Another segment promoting the LOD split, and the New Age Outlaws. Road Dizzle carries a camcorder around as they mess around with Michael Cole.

As the Outlaws try to drive away, Chainsaw Charlie (the middle aged and crazy Terry Funk) attacks their car with a chainsaw (sparks fly everywhere) as Cactus Jack smashes the windows with a baseball bat. Fun stuff.

A Dusty Rhodes-style promo then airs, making fun of the American Dream baby (voiced by Bruce Prichard I believe), leading to Goldust walking out in the famous polka dots.

Match Five

Bradshaw vs Goldust. Bradshaw in a full Dusty Rhodes Goldust 1998 rawStan Hansen get-up (sporting an awful moustache), faces Rhodes who sports a cushion to accentuate the belly, if you will.

As Dusty/Dustin dances around, Bradshaw hits the Lariat from hell and gets the 1-2-3.

Match Six

Steve Blackman (with fluorescent nunchucks) vs The Rock (with the Nation of Domination).

Blackman was undefeated and known simultaneously as one of the most dangerous, and most boring men on the roster at this time.

Lots of references are made to difficulties between The Rock and Farooq, which then become obvious during the match. The ending sees the two arguing on the apron which stops a potential three count, D-Lo picks up the neon nunchucks but they are then used by Blackman on The Rock who gets the win!

The commentators heavily push the drama between The Rock and Farooq as some more shenanigans take place between the Nation.

the rock 1998 wwf raw

Backstage

Interview with Luna Vachon, god she’s terrifying.

Match Seven

ROck N ROll Express WWF Raw 1998 NWANWA tag title match (why!) – the Rock N Roll Express (why!) versus The Headbangers. Tommy Younnggggg is the ref! Big fuss at the start at Sgt Slaughter (Commissioner) throws Tommy Younnggggg out of the match, and appointing a WWF ref.

The mullets on the Rock N Roll express are freaking awful.

So dull, The Headbangers won the NWA titles for some reason.

Wrestlemania Feature

Five weeks to Wrestlemania! Great montage about Austin and how he got to this stage, oooohh heeelllll yeeeaaah great job.

Match Seven

Marc Mero (with Sable, roll tide!) vs Owen Hart (European Champion). The increasingly jealous Mero sends a PVC-clad Sable to the back before the match starts, much to the dismay of the audience.

Marc Mero WWF 1998

A decent match takes place until Sable makes a return (much to the crowd’s delight). Mero shoves the ref and low blows Owen right in the nuggets, Mero’s finisher is reversed by Hart but the ref calls for the bell – giving a disqualification victory to Owen for Mero’s shove.

Sable and Mero stand in the ring as Luna Vachon makes her way into the ring. Goldust holds Luna as referees and other officials try to stop a fistfight. Mero hammers blows on Goldust. Various officials grope Sable to prevent her fighting.

Sable WWF Raw 1998

The crowd go wild, Sable is so over!

Verdict

A pretty fun episode overall. The NWA bits haven’t aged that well, I found it pretty dull. The LOD split was also a little forced though you could understand why the commentators were trying to hype it so much.

It’s great to see how over some of these guys and girls are during these glory days (Sable probably more than anyone!), the DX promo and the Rock/Nation dissent is great to look back on.

You can watch all of the old RAW and Nitro episodes on the WWE Network.

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