The program opens with repeated showings of the Undertaker's shovel shot on Steve Austin, then it goes through the highlights of the "Embalming" incident from last week. Cut to UT and Paul Bearer with their heads together before the show went on the air. RAW has a new opening montage and comes to us live from the Baltimore Arena.
Head Bangers (w/ICP) vs. Some version of the Oddities - we are treated to video of Luna getting her pigtails shortened then cut to Steve Austin arriving at the arena. He heads straight to the the ring...and, oh yeah...he's carrying a shovel... He desposes of the Headbangers and claims the ring, celebrating with his fans in the corners, shovel held high. "What's he going to do with that shovel..?" whines the King. Indeed... Austin says he can't wait until the PPV - he wants the Undertaker tonight. The HB/Oddities match has melted away... Cut back to the announcers, Lawler's eyes are as big as saucers as he hawks the card. We cut back to Austin being boorish to a young referee then to commercial.
Austin is in the office area accosting an intern as we return.
The New Age Outlaws vs. The Brood - NAO introduce themselves - we see video of them partying with the Suits last week - Gangrel makes his fiery entrance then is joined by the Edge Brothers. Then we go to an extended product advertisement conducted live. Looks like it's Gangrel and Edge for the Brood. The Outlaws start with a double team move but Gangrel outfoxes them and Billy is spit in the face with Gangrels red fluid. Edge dominates the Road Dog after Gangrel softens him up. He gets a Frankensteiner on the Dog of the top rope and continues to dominate. The McMahons show up looking ominous which seems to invigorate the Road Dog. Then Billy gets in and turns the tables only to then collide head-on with Edge - and both go down. The Dog and Gangrel get the tags simultaneously and poor Jesse James holding the dead man's hand (pun untended). Gangrel fights them both to a standstill until Billy catches him in a piledriver set-up. Christian runs in and brains Billy with his own belt. The Brood swarms and then the Corporate Bullies wade in on the side of the Tag Champs. NAO is escorted away as the Brood is left laying in the ring. Cut to Steve Austin being tricked into entering a meat locker wherein he is locked by the Undertaker and Paul Bearer. Cut to commercial.
D-Lo and Mark Henry descend a staircase next to a huge Christmas tree - Henry is in a snit over his date with Chyna. He wants D-Lo to go with them...
The Undertaker makes his entrance...I still prefer the old music. The new theme is too...rad...or something. Part of UT's charm is his squareness... He rants at Kane, sounding more and more like the Warrior. The lights go out and Kane makes his entrance. UT attacks as Kane enters the ring and pretty much devastates him for several moments - then he waves out some loony bin orderlies who try to throw a net over Kane. Kane evades them and splits through the crowd. Outside, Henry is turning the hapless D-Lo into his limo driver! Gives him a coat and a hat to wear! D-Lo agrees but he's fuming as he heads for the cab of the limosine. Cut to commercial.
We return to Henry hanging out in the lobby of a hotel with a bouquet as Vhyna shows up. She clearly just wants to get this over with. Henry is assuring her that they will be having a great time. She won't let him touch her. He herds her out to the limo where she discovers D-Lo in the driver outfit. D-Lo grumbles and then drives them away.
X-Pac makes his entrance as we watch video of Shawn Michaels' perfidy during last weeks show. Waltman stumbles over his self introduction and explains that he doesn't know what to make of NAO's recent action but he wants to call Michaels out. The new commissioner comes out in a suit looking like a football player pretending to be an executive. He lays down the law on X-Pac declining the fight himself but ordering a European Title match with Ken Shamrock as the challenger. He reminds Waltman that he was DX before being DX "was cool". Somewhere around town the limo has pulled up and Henry is trying to get Chyna to take his arm as she debarks. She gives his bouquet the fish eye and complains about the price tag she finds on it. She grumpily takes his arm as he continues to make cow eyes at her. In the back, Austin has escaped. Cut to commercial.
We are in the restaurant, Chyna is looking bored and restless, Henry is babbling...
Goldust vs. Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra) - the Golden one makes his classic entrance on film, in letterbox format under golden light and confetti. Owen Hart has joined the broadcast team for this one and is denying that he is the Blue Blazer and still telling us that he is retired. Goldust attacks Jarrett in the aisle then rolls him inside and gives the advantage away. He lulls Jarrett into a false sense of security then drops the hammer on him. They take the fight to the outside where Debra distracts Dustin, Jarrett turns the tables. Back in the ring they go into see-saw mode for a moment then end up outside briefly before rolling back in and resuming the turn taking until Goldust takes the initiative and sets up the Shattered Deams move. This brings Debra into the ring to get between them. As she lulls him with her charms, Owen Hart gets up from the braodcast table and slips into the ring behind Goldust. He attacks and...here comes th Blue Blazer. He attacks Owen!! Owen is trying to crawl away as Steve Blackman takes off his mask and grins. Split screen technology shows us the Undertaker and Steve Austin eack looking for his own prey. Steve Still has that shovel. Cut to commercial.
Shawn Michaels escorts the Big Bossman to the ring for his Hard Core Title shot. Foley comes backed up by the Job Squad. This is a Ladder match. Michaels ejects the Job Squad and distracts Mankind so that the Bossman can get in his only offense of the match before Foley starts pummeling him with the ladder. For several minutes he takes Traylor apart then he erects the ladder right over Bossman's body and starts to climb. Bossman comes back for about 3 seconds then Mankind brains him again. He starts to climb again and gets dragged off. Bossman leans the ladder in the corner and runs Foley head first into it. Now Traylor tries to make the climb and actually touches the belt. Mankind scales the other side and then feeds Mr. Socko to Traylor. The Bossman falls to the mat then the Rock runs in ans attacks Mankind. Traylor climbs again but Mankind crotches the Rock and drags him off again. Eventually the two on one situation overwhelms the Harcore Champ - Bossman gets the belt as Maivia continues to work Foley over. In the parking garage, Paul Bearer is telling UT that he found Kane. Cut to commercial.
Kane and the Undertaker are brawling in a conference room. Kane is subdued and UT sends Paul away as he prepares to put Kane in a body bag. Steve Austin enters the room in the distance and then catches UT on the side of the head as he turns. The shovel appears to disinigrate.
Marc Mero vs. Duane Gill - Mero makes a speech saying he will retire if he can't beat this "jobber". Gill shows up with a hometown football team of grade schoolers. He has no offense in the match. Job Squad members appear on the ramp to distract Mero a bit so that the Blue Meanie can run in and shove Mero off the top rope. Gill gets the pin - Mero has to leave the WWF according to JR. In the back Uncle Paul has found his goons and is showing them where to find Kane. Cut to commercial.
At the restaurant, Henry imagines that the lady is warming up to him (poor sap). He insists that she dance with him. Again she agrees reluctantly.
X-Pac vs. Ken Shamrock (w/Shawn Michaels) - European Championship match - Shamrock's Title is not in contention here. Shamrock goes right on the offensive as Michaels dons the audio headgear again. The Champ finally cuts himself a break but gets cut short again right away. Shamrock grabs a front chancilry then changes to a front facelock. X-Pac escapes again briefly but is recaptured and put back into the chanclry. He finally gets some breathing room and launches an aerial attack to turn the tables. Waltman continues to dominate which brings Michaels out of his chair again. He drags the referee out of the ring to prevent a pinfall of his man. Then they attack Waltman together. Suddenly HHH runs in and saves him, fighting off Shamrock and avoiding Michaels' grasp. In the back, the orderlies are strapping a body bag onto a guerney under Paul Bearer's instruction. "Take him to the Nut House..." he says. Cut to commercial.
Chyna and Markk are in the bar area of the restaurant and Mark is trying to get Chyna to dance. She gets to her feet but begs off and sits back down. He excuses himself to go powder his nose. Some young studs try to harrass Chyna - you can imagine how that one goes... one gets decked, then Henry returns and mops up the floor with them. Chyna rushes him out of the place.
Val Venis (w/The Godfather and his garden impliments) vs. Tiger Ali Singh (w/Babu) - the Godfather's job is to watch Mr. Cheese's back but he spends most of his time with the girls. In the ring the match is a see-saw affair. Now the girls are keeping Babu occupied. As Val makes his move we are treated to the sight of Terri and Jacquie mincing to the ring. Jacquie moves in to distract the Godfather and Val while Terri sneaks up behind Val and delivers the low blow which ends the match. The Godfather gathers up Val and his wares as the Acolytes (Faarooq and Bradshaw) attack Singh and his servent. The Jackel makes an appearance and we go out back to watch over Paul Bearer's shoulder as an ambulance drives away. In their dressing room, Austin and Kane watch all this on the monitor. Cut to commercial.
Young Master McMahon comes out on the platform and says he is going to teach Sable a lesson in humility then introduces the Womens' Champion. He has her modeling fragrances. He tells her to spray it on so he can smell. He gets to close and she sprays him in the mouth then splits. Shane quips that the prefume also makes a tasty mouth wash...
Al Snow (w/Head) vs. The Rock - non-title contest - Snow is all over the Rock from the get go. He gets a two count on the Champ. Then goes back to work on him. He is attacking the back. Maivia finally gets in a DDT to turn the tables. He takes Snow out to the floor and tries to run him into the broadcast table - but Snow blocks it and gets in his own blow. He knocks the Rock down but Maivia comes roaring back. Snow is rolled back into the ring and now it is all Maivia. Snow gets one good offensive move but hits the referee by mistake. Maivia disables him them drops the Corporate Elbow on Head! Snow comes back strong and brains Maivia with Head. He goes for the pin but the referee is still out of it. He recovers and throws the match out. Here come the Corporate Goons who attack Snow then turn and defend themselves from Mankind. Maivia ends up using the nightstick on both Snow and Foley. The Job Squad arrives and things go Postal for a while. Cut to the back where Uncle Paul is looking for the Undertaker. He finds Steve Austin outside the meat locker! Austin opens the door and there is Kane!! They take Paul Bearer away. Cut to commercial.
Kane and Austin are escorting a disheveled Paul Bearer to the ring as we return. Austin reveals that it was UT who went off to the looney bin earlier. He says he's been watching the tape of last week's incident and he's pissed off. He calls for a beer from the crowd and gets one then orders Kane to attack. Then he stops him and says, "Wait a minute..." and then advises Kane to go get his gas can. Then he relents and starts cutting Pauls clothes off with a pair of scissors. He threatens to plunge the scissors in to Paul's breast, then drags him to his feet and takes off with him assisted by Kane. They take him out of the building. He is thrown out in the street, then Kane opens a manhole and they stuff him down it headfirst!! Kane drops the manhole cover back in place then the two stalk back into the arena. Fade to black.
The speculation about Bret Hart has arisen quite naturally from the release of the documentary film, "HITMAN HART, Wrestling with Shadows" just a few weeks ago. My personal opinion is that the film shows something pretty close to the reality of this infamous incident. I say pretty close because, with the focus of the film being Bret Hart, it is natural that it would cast things from his point of view, but I am convinced that Hart's point of view is accurate as to the events and the drama leading up to them.
Another popular wrestling newsletter ran a piece last week in which the various arguments for and against it having been a "worked scenerio" were presented in a quite thorough fashion. In all of those arguments it was easy to see why Vince McMahon and the WWF would have put it together as a "work." Indeed, Vince's current "heel promoter" characterization is a direct result of the heat produced by that incident - the question being, was it planned that way or did McMahon simply take advantage of a situation to create a new storyline? Some parts of the argument for the "worked" scenerio include the fact that McMahon was already leaning in the "heel promoter" direction before the incident. The famous Jim Ross "shoot" interview is sited as evidence and also Bret Hart's own blow-ups at McMahon which all took place before the incident. These are good arguments for there being a plan on McMahon's side, and I would concede that it might very well be true - but I don't think a plan on McMahon's part necessarily points to the entire incident having been worked.
What I don't see in any of these arguments is a realistic motive for Bret Hart to be going along with it. The "work plan" if indeed it existed, seemed calculated to destroy Hart's credibility with WWF fans leading up to that final match. Then it went on in a series of character assasination skits well after he left the promotion. The arguments say that this was to "jump start" Hart's new career in WCW, but that seems specious at best. And the reality is that if this was a scenerio spun out by all of the players involved, it didn't have the (supposed) desired results for anyone...except McMahon.
The other question in the forefront of discussion is whether or not the retirement of Hulk Hogan is real or a new angle.
My personal opinion (again) is that it is real, but the answer to that speculation will be forthcoming in short order. It all depends on whether Hogan continues to appear on WCW programming. It is being reported now that he will make one more appearance to make a retirement speech, probably on Nitro. If that is the end of his appearances then we will have our answer. If he continues to make appearances in the coming months then it is a storyline, obviously. If he is really running for president (a proposition that sends shivers up my spine...) then he will have to stop showing up on Nitro, for no other reason then the FCC Fairness doctrine. The FCC would not allow a legitimate presidential candidate to appear repeatedly on TNT without forcing Turner to open his network to other candidates for equal time.
As ridiculous as I would consider a Hogan presidential run (it would also be a sad comment on Terry Bollea's character, to consider the win by Jesse Ventura, an experienced politicion who happens to be a former wrestler, to be a signal that he should throw his hat into the presidential ring), never-the-less, the scenerio that Hogan painted on the Tonight Show of various political groups having contacted him and made the suggestion that he run, is actually quite credible. People who are household names, such as Hogan, are constantly importuned to speak out on issues and run for office. Whether they, in fact, possess any qualifications whatsoever is rarely an issue with these groups.
My personal preference would be to see him attacked by somebody during his retirement speech then have him suspend his retirement long enough to put on the red and yellow let "Hulkamania" run wild for one last time...but if he does that he won't retire and he needs to retire, at least for a while. He would show himself wiser then Ric Flair by retiring before he loses his physique...
So in one instance we may never know the truth...in the other, only time will tell.
At least that's the way I see it...
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
This page is a personal tribute and is in no way connected to any of the wrestling promotions mentioned on it. It is dedicated to the Dean of Wrestling announcers, Gordon Solie. Copyright 1998 - Jump City Productions