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WWF RAW- March 17, 1998

by Samoa Rowe


Written in May 2021. Follow me on Twitter @SamoaRowe.

Taped from the America West Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. Our hosts are Jim Ross, Michael Cole, and Jerry Lawler.

Kevin Kelly interviews Ken Shamrock in the ring. They talk about Shamrock's issues with The Rock and Nation of Domination. Kelly wonders out loud if Shamrock will be able to keep his temper in check when he challenges The Rock at Wrestlemania. Shamrock says that losing his temper helped save his life when he competed in no holds barred fights across the world and vows to win the Intercontinental Championship. The Rock and NoD appear on the stage and the fans absolutely let them have it. Rock doesn't think Shamrock could last 2 minutes with any member of the NoD, let alone the Peoples' Champ. In fact, if Shamrock can last 2 minutes with D'Lo Brown, he'll get his title match tonight.

Ken Shamrock vs. D'Lo Brown (with the Nation of Domination)

Shamrock isn't interested in fighting D'Lo and turns his back, which allows D'Lo to immediately gain the upper hand. Shamrock fires back with punches, but D'Lo knocks him down with a leg lariat. Shamrock comes back with a spinning back elbow and dropkick. Belly to belly suplex by Shamrock, and the ankle lock is about to end it when Rock interferes with a chair shot to draw the DQ at 1:50. Good little warm-up.
Winner via DQ: Ken Shamrock

Shamrock defiantly tells Rock to hit him again, so Rock swings the chair right into his forehead for a disgusting unprotected shot. Shamrock is busted open and stumbles around with a serious concussion.

Sable comes to the ring to another great ovation and challenges Luna to a match.

The Phoenix Suns gorilla lowers from the rafters and tumbles around for the benefit of the live crowd, and joins commentary. Start placing your bets on who is hiding inside the costume.

Tom Brandi vs. Jeff Jarrett (with Tennessee Lee)

Jarrett rides in on a horse, because in 1998 this made you an obnoxious heel. In 2020, it made Hangman Adam Page an endearing babyface. Jarrett quickly takes control with a swinging neckbreaker. Brandi answers with a spinning elbow and hits a devastating looking neckbreaker. Brandi's sunset flip gets 2. Jarrett recovers and finishes with the Figure Four at 1:51. Dare I say this was just a rapid series of spots? ½*.
Winner: Jeff Jarrett

Kevin Kelly is waiting for an update on Ken Shamrock. The Rock interrupts and says no one cares about Shamrock, so now he needs a new opponent for Wrestlemania.

Lengthy video package recapping the HBK/Austin feud, leading to an extensive video tribute to Michaels' WWF career, foreshadowing his pending retirement.

The Phoenix Suns gorilla is launching t-shirts into the crowd. I mean, they wouldn't be airing this unless someone is hiding in that outfit right?

The Rock N Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson) and James E. Cornette vs. NWA Tag Team Champions The Headbangers (Mosh and Thrasher)

Thrasher knocks Morton down with a shoulder block, and catches Gibson with a hip toss. The Headbangers hit the RnR Express with double wishbones, and they almost panic enough to tag in Cornette. They recover with a double back drop on Mosh. The Headbangers make an instant comeback and finish with the Stage Dive at 2:06. Total dreck, ¼*.
Winners: The Headbangers

Bob Holly and Bart Gunn rush the ring to beat up the Headbangers. Cornette brands Holly and Gunn as the NEW Midnight Express. Cornette is fed up with having men in skirts hold the NWA tag titles and continually beat him up, and lays blame on the Rock N Express. Cornette unleashes Bob and Bart onto the vets.

Gennifer Flowers is coming to Wrestlemania to hit on the stars. Google has informed me that she was famous for having an affair with Bill Clinton, adding yet another piece of absolutely useless trivia into my overstuffed brain.

Paul Bearer and Kane come to the ring to beat up the Phoenix Suns gorilla. The fans are really upset as the Gorilla takes a chokeslam and Tombstone Piledriver. J.R. doesn't think this is funny, and he's wrong. I think most home viewers would be marking out.

WWF European Champion Owen Hart walks to commentary in an air cast. He recently sprained his ankle, but he's determined to be a part of Wrestlemania.

Chainsaw Charlie vs. Billy Gunn (with Road Dogg)

The Outlaws treat us to the sophisticated comedy of a dumpster labeled "Jack's house." Charlie doesn't like being compared to garbage and attacks Gunn before he can get into the ring. Road Dogg continues yacking on the mic, distracting Charlie long enough for Gunn to gain the upper hand. Gunn's Piledriver leaves Charlie reeling. Gunn hits a second piledriver but chooses not to end the match. Charlie makes a miracle comeback and nails a pair of Cactus DDT's, but Road Dogg breaks the cover and draws a DQ at 2:23.

Charlie fends off Road Dogg and plants Gunn onto the tag title with a DDT. Cactus Jack arrives to help string Road Dogg up by the harness that the Gorilla descended in on earlier. They leave Road Dogg dangling by his ankles about 7 feet in the air. Cactus admits that he doesn't know how to get Dogg back down, so his @ss better call somebody!

J.R. asks Luna about Sable's challenge. Luna refuses to let anyone tell her what to do, including that ignorant $lut, Sable, who is due for another one of her specialty makeovers.

Kevin Kelly interviews Mr. McMahon in the ring. Vince calls Steve Austin "unprofessional" for the way he conducted himself last week when he took Raw hostage. Kelly wants to know why Vince didn't hit Austin, to which Vince argues that he behaves professionally for the sake of the fans, and chose to "save" the Wrestlemania main event by not breaking Austin's jaw. Kelly asks Vince if he wants Austin to become WWF Champion, to which Vince tries to dodge the question by asking what the fans think. Kelly doesn't let it go, so Vince admits that unless Austin changes his behavior, he will be a corporate image nightmare. Kelly keeps nagging until Vince finally snaps with an "Oh, HELL NO!" And that's the bottom line, because Vince McMahon said so. No joke, this was a masterpiece of a talking segment.

Lengthy video package highlighting Steve Austin's ascension and journey to Wrestlemania 14.

Triple H comes out to complain about Owen Hart "hiding" on commentary and questions his manhood. He dismisses Owen's ankle injury and wants to know if he's choosing to be a loser or a coward. Triple H shoves Owen out of his seat, and they begin brawling. Looks like we've got a title match.

WWF European Championship:
Owen Hart © vs. Triple H (with Chyna)

Owen controls the brawl in the ring and clotheslines Triple H to ringside. HHH recovers by shoving Owen into the ring post. Chyna smashes a baseball bat to Owen's walking cast, and Triple H easily wins with a Calf Killer at 0:54. Good angle in that Triple H needled Owen enough so that he doesn't look totally stupid for taking the match. Good screwjob angle.
Winner and new WWF European Champion: Triple H

Luna and TAFKA Goldust come to the ring for a main event confrontation with Sable and Marc Mero. The women have a decent pull apart brawl while the fans chant "Let them fight!" Sable sneaks past Goldust to tackle Luna and smashes her around before they're broken up again. Sable seems to have injured her knee in the chaos and cannot stand up without Mero's help. The ring clears and the lights go out for Kane's entrance. Kane's turnbuckle pyro sends Mero fleeing into the stands, leaving Sable to fend for herself. Kane signals a chokeslam, but the lights go out yet again, this time signalling the Undertaker. The Dead Man appears on top of the Titantron and cuts a zany promo about sending Kane to eternal damnation. Lightning strikes a casket on the stage, and sets a Kane dummy on fire.

Final Thoughts: This was a great episode of Raw. The show hasn't gone off the Russo deep end yet and is telling some really focused stories heading into Wrestlemania.

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