Stills from the PPV open the program. RAW is live from Tacoma, WA.
DX comes to the ring masquerading as the Corporate Team, Billy and Road Dog as the McMahons, Maivia as the "Crock" (again) , X-Pac plays Shamrock, Brisco and Patterson are represented by midgets who seem to be attached to Road Dog's rear end. Billy plays Shane in diapers! Chyna portrays the Bossman - twirling her night stick like a baton. The Crock makes an extended speech then Jason Sensation appears on the platform as "HBK". He carries a basketball, which he "drops" at an opportune moment. It all ends with a "Suck It" opportunity for the pre-teeners. Then the real Corporate Team shows up - Shawn takes them to task for unoriginality then schedules a rematch for the Tag Titles against Bossman and Shamrock. The Rock takes the mic and challenges HHH to a match later tonight. Shawn correctly points out that HHH is not a main event wrestler and so declares it to be a non-title match of course. After some jawing back and forth between Maivia and Helmsley, the Rock is goaded into making it a title match after all. Cut to commercial.
McMahon is giving the Corporation a pep talk as we return. They head out and we cut to the arena.
The Godfather (w/garden tools)/Val Venis vs. The Brood - the latter are represented by Edge and Christian. Gangrel is there at ringside of course. Venis and Kama are working well as a tag team and they dominate the early going. Val gets tossed into the enemy corner and the tables are turned for a moment. But Christian is not up to the task and blows the advantage. Christian is isolated and when Gangrel tries to interfere he causes more trouble then it's worth. Venis pins Christian using a bridge. Gangrel announces afterward that the next time we see the Brood tonight there will be a "bloodbath" - ooooh kids - scarey...! Cut to commercial.
Steve Blackman rants at Owen Hart and the Blazer (who he considers to be one in the same despite the evidence of his own eyes apparently).
Blue Blazer vs Goldust - sounds like a good main event for a Cub Scout dinner - The Blazer takes the early advantage moving very much like Owen Hart. He blows an attempt to springboard off the top rope but recovers and gets an insiguri. Dustin comes back with a bulldog then hits a reverse flapjack type move on his opponent. He calls for th Shattered Dream and sets it up but then Jeff Jarrett runs in to break it up - followed by Steve Blackman who unmasks the Blazer and reveals it to be...Owen Hart!
In the back Mark Henry primps with a sh*teating grin on his face. Cut to commercial.
Mark Henry (w/Terri/Jacqueline)/D-Lo Brown vs. The Job Squad - before their opponent's are introduced, Henry announces that he didn't come to fight tonight. Instead he intends to tell us a "bedtime" story - the "details" of his evening with Chyna. He states that he was invited into Chyna's bed and "she done wore me out". He also says that D-Lo got it on videotape. Bob Holly and Scorpio represent the Job Squad and rush the ring to get the match started. Henry take it for a moment, then Henry turns the tables on Holly. Both sides tag and D-Lo goes for a flying legdrop but misses. Henry is back in a subject to a double team by his opponents. The girls get involved, a fight breaks out on the floor, meanwhile Henry powerslams Holly to get the pin.
In the back the NAO are headed for the ring as we cut to commercial.
The New Age Outlaws vs. The Corporate Team (Bossman/Shamrock) - Tag Team Title match - Billy starts with Bossman and handles him, and Shamrock pretty well. Bossman is trapped and Road Dog is tagged in only to give up the advantage immediately. He sidesteps a rush into the corner and tags Billy. Billy is dragged to the corner but then pulls the Bossman face first into the post. Bossman re-enters the ring and reasserts control, then tags in Shamrock. Shamrock works on Billy's left leg and has him limping in no time. Michaels has joined us ringside by now and is taunting Billy who is being isolated and having his leg dismembered. He finally blocks Shamrock's Frankensteiner attempt and botg guys are down. Billy gets the tag as does Shamrock - Billy looks to be out of it and soon so is the Dog as Michaels clocks him with a chair from outside the ring. The Dog manages to tag Billy back in but he is hopping on one leg. He turns aside tha attack of Shamrock then catches Shawn on the apron and threatens him. He turns back to face Shamrock again and gets brained bit the nightstick. Billy is put into an ankle lock submission hold but he is unconscious. Shamrock takes the pin and the Corporate Team are the new Tag Champs. Cut to commercial.
The McMahons come to the ring as we return. There is a bingo drum on a table in the ring. Vince says he has a bad taste in his mouth from last night because of Austin's win and Kane's interference. He announces a no-holds barred match between Mankind and Kane for later tonight. They then draw a number from the drum to determine what order Austin will enter the Royal Rumble. Somehow they manage to draw the #1. Shane says, lets give him another chance - Vince reluctantly agrees, so they draw #1 for him again. Vince adds a bounty on Austin of $100,000 for the man who eliminates Austin from the Rumble. They then propose to draw another number for an un-named competitor - who turns out to be Vince McMahon! He draws #30 of course. Mankind addresses McMahon as "dad" from the boiler room and suggests that it should be Vince who faces him tonight instead of Kane. Cut to commercial.
McMahon consults his stooges - he actually seems to be considering taking the match with Foley!
Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra) vs. Steve Blackman - Guitar on a Pole match - sort of a strange version of a "Miner's Glove" match with the "weapon" perched on a pole waiting to be retreived and used. Blackman dominates the first exchange and goes right for the pole but is prevented from ascending. They struggle some and Blackman again breaks away and heads for the pole. Next Blackman is distracted by Debra while Jarrett goes for the guitar - but he is stopped. Some more struggle, then Debra enters the ring and starts stripping for Blackman. Jarrett gets the guitar and comes off the top with it only to be stopped short by a punch to the gut. Blackman gets the guitar but then Owen Hart runs in, knocks him down and uses the guitar on him. Jarrett gets an easy pinfall.
Backstage, Tiger Ali Singh is freaking out because the word "Bloodbath" has been painted on his wall. Meanwhile, Vince decides to take the match with Mankind - but he will do it "his way" he says to Shane. Cut to commercial.
McMahon is changing his clothes as we return. Shane shoos the camera out of the dressing room.
Tiger Ali Singh vs. ? - I hear that Babu has been extradited to Ecuador of all places. The lights turn red and the Brood's music plays as they come down and chase Singh back up the ramp. They attack him en masse on the platform and then the lights go out. When they come back on, the Brood is nowhere to be seen and Singh appears to have been given a "blood bath." Cut to commercial.
Mankind vs. Kane - apparently Foley will be wrestling twice tonight if you believe Vince. Foley attacks as Kane enters the ring but it doesn't gain him much. Kane takes control from the beginning. The fight goes out to the floor where Mankind turns the tables for a moment but then gets clobbered with the ring steps. Back in the ring, Kane attacks as Foley pulls himself to his feet. Mankind is still in this but he is reeling most of the time. He gets a swinging neck breaker but Kane pops right up. Kane is clotheslines to the floor then Vince shows up on the platform. He challenges Mankind to face him in the parking lot!! He ducks back through the entryway followed shortly by Foley as we cut to commercial.
We come back to see Kane being hauled away in a straight jacket. During the break he was attacked by the Corporate Tag Team Champs who helped some loony bin orderlies to subdue him. Cut to the back where Mankind is beating the tar out of Vince!! He smashes him against a cyclone fence then runs him into a garage door. Brisco and Patterson attack and are dispatched then Foley goes back to work on McMahon. He gets Socko into his mouth and tries to put him in the trunk of a car but the Rock suddenly appears and lays waste to the hard-core legend. Cut to commercial.
HHH (w/Chyna) vs. The Rock (w/Commissioner Michaels)- WWF Title match - Maivia opens up with fisticuffs to take the advantage early. HHH comes back with a series of clotheslines then pounds on Maivia in the corner. HHH is whipped and tossed over the top to the floor. Maivia comes out and gives up the advantage during a struggle near the ring steps. HHH smashes him into the braodcast table then is reversed into the barricade. Maivia grabs a headset and provides commentary as he continues his assault. Back in the ring, HHH reverses the field with a high knee. He gets a two count. HHH wghips his opponent then ducks his head and ends up on the receiving end of a swinging neck breaker. The Rock grabs a reverse chinlock. Chyna is showing a large measure of cleavage at ringside. In the ring, the Rock gets a DDT and almost pins HHH. He grabs the reverse chinlock again. HHH appears to be losing ground but keeps fighting it. He escapes, throws a couple of chops then runs into an elbow. Maivia puts him down again then connects with the Corporate Elbow. Back to the reverse chinlock. HHH is lying on the mat but stryggles to his feet again and escapes using a suplex. Both guys are being counted out. Both recover and HHH has the upper hand. He downs the Champ then pounds on him in the corner. He hauls Maivia up and reverses a whip then smashes Maivia's face on his knee. Maivia rolls out of the ring followed by HHH who rolls him back in. Michaels tries to interfere and distracts the referee so that Chyna can enter the ring and hit the Rock with a low blow. HHH goes for a DDT and the pin but fails. Michaels starts a fight with Chyna as HHH is getting the pedagree. The ref is distracted again and Michaels runs in to prevent the pin by clocking HHH with the Title belt. Maivia rolls over for the pin but fails as well. On the outside Chyna has her hands on Michaels, thus distracting the referee again. In the ring, Motley Crues' bodyguard puts HHH down and out. Fade to black...
There were reports all over the Internet today saying that Ric Flair's "heart attack" last night on Nitro was a work. I notice that almost all of them are basing their assumptions, not on any official word or "inside sources", but on the amount of time Flair spent at the hospital last night. Reports from the hospital are that Flair was "treated and released" - no specification of how much time he spent there except to say that he was released before the program ended, so he might have been there as long as two hours.
I was reminded of my uncle Paul, who suffered a minor cardial infarction a couple of years ago. He was taken to the hospital and diagnosed, then advised to spend the night under a doctor's care. He refused and was out of the hospital in under an hour. So the timetable argument really didn't hold water.
The only reports I saw that purported to offer an inside look was Scoops (who said that the whole thing was designed to give Bischoff an out from the match with Flair at Starrcade) and Dave Scherer at the Lariet who simply said he had heard from two "sources" that it was a work. Scherer also cited the amount of time that Flair spent at the hospital to back up his assertion.
Late this afternoon I read on the Extreme Sports Network Wrestling Guestbook (thanks Charlie!) that Chuck Howard, Sports Director for NBC6 (Channel 36 in Charlotte, NC) reported on the air that he had called Flair up (because of the phone calls flooding their switchboard) and that the Man himself had confirmed that he had suffered a minor shoulder injury, not a heart attack.
Needless to say, as a long time Flair fan (read "Mark") I was immediately delighted to hear this, though after reflection I began to feel some anger towards WCW for putting out such a story. I have to ask the question, "Was this a put up job from the get-go, or did Bischoff simply take advantage of the situation to get himself out of his upcoming match with Flair?"
If it is the former, then I think it showed bad judgement to make people think that a lot of people's favorite wrestler was possibly dying as the program went on.
If it is the latter, then it becomes more understandable, in the heat of the moment and all, but I still have to fault Bischoff for making such an apparently false statement. The next question I then have to ask is, "Assuming the original injury was legitimate and was only announced as a heart attack after the fact, how much input did Flair have in regards to this announcement?"
If Flair has no heart problem, then it makes me wonder how happy he is now to have been declared an invalid. Such a perception by the fans could end his wrestling career for good. Unless Flair now comes back and says that Bischoff was lying (a distinct possibility given the perceived nature of their personal relationship) we may have seen the last of the Nature Boy in the ring.
Such an outcome is not necessarily a bad thing - I and others have been urging Flair to retire now for quite some time - but I think it just might be that he would preferred to have gone out on a higher note, rather then being forever remembered as the old guy who collapsed in the ring after hurting himself.
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