Monday Night Raw – June 15, 1998 – Lower The Cell

Monday Night Raw
Date: June 15, 1998
Location: Freeman Coliseum, San Antonio, Texas
Commentators: Michael Cole, Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

We’re just a few weeks away from the King of the Ring and the main event tonight is an unannounced Hell in a Cell with Austin/Taker vs. Kane/Mankind. This is the forgotten Cell match and for the life of me I don’t get what WWF was thinking when they put it on. There’s also a tag team battle royal which will probably be boring. Let’s get to it.

Here’s Sable to open the show, making it about two weeks that she was actually gone. She brings out the person responsible for her being back: Vince. Even kids are flipping him off. He wants to clear up these conspiracy rumors. Vince gives Sable a statement to read which basically says he had nothing to do with Austin getting beaten up last week. And that’s it.

Oh wait never mind as here’s Austin. He has Sable leave and then says he doesn’t buy anything Vince just said. Austin comes after him and Vince says for once in your life, don’t react in a physical and violent way. Austin asks if that’s what the fans want to see and slow motion chases Vince. Vince blames the Undertaker, swearing on his grandmother’s kittens. It was Undertaker that challenged him remember?

Austin loads up the belt to drill Vince but Vince keeps talking about Taker. He says remember that Taker is from the Dark Side. I wonder if he’s neighbors with the Midnight Express. Cue Taker in ring gear, who says he challenged Austin but did it like a man. As for Vince, he’s a manipulator and before Taker kills him, Vince needs to know he’ll never be able to manipulate Undertaker.

Cue Kane as this segment is still going. Actually cue him, Bearer and Mankind. Bearer says that was a great acting job and that Taker knows Vince had nothing to do with it. Bearer claims that he and Taker cooked up the scheme. If that’s the case, aren’t they exposing it a little early? Taker wants Austin in the Cell apparently, so Paul challenges them to a tag team Cell match. Well gee good thing the Cell was already up there isn’t it?

King of the Ring Qualifying Match: Vader vs. The Rock

The Nation is sent to the back before the match starts. Rock pounds him in the corner which just ticks Vader off. Now Vader hammers him in the corner and a splash follows. There’s another splash and a middle rope one gets a two count. Rock comes back with a DDT for two of his own but an authoritative kickout. A slam doesn’t work for Rocky but the second attempt does. The People’s Elbow gets a big reaction but only a two count. It wasn’t quite electrifying yet. Vader comes back with splash #4 for two. Rocky knocks him to the floor and Mark Henry beats Vader down. Rock Bottom ends this.

Rating: D. Pretty boring match here but it was designed to give Rock a win over a guy that was rapidly losing credibility. Vader was on his way out and was putting over everyone that he could, which is exactly what he should have been doing. He wasn’t anything of note anymore, but he was far past his prime so what did you expect? You never see midcard jobbers like this anymore which is a shame.

DX is Droppin Knowledge on us. X-Pac and HHH have a qualifying match tonight so Road Dogg gives both of them pointers.

Edge needs to get here already. Oh ok he debuts next week.

Darren Drozdov vs. Jeff Jarrett

And Jarrett needs to get rid of Colonel Parker already. Jarrett jumps Droz to start and here are Mero and Jackie. He gets Jarrett in the KOTR next week so there’s your explanation. Mero rants about Sable as Droz runs over Jarrett. Powerslam gets two for Droz but he gets caught in a suplex. Jumping back elbow puts Jarrett down and Jackie hits on Tennessee Lee. He gets slapped so Jarrett goes out to save him, resulting in Mero hitting Jeff low. That’s enough for Droz to get the pin. This was more of an angle than a match.

More Dropping Knowledge, this time will Billy explaining why this is going to be match of the year. He asks where Chyna will be in all this. My guess is making porn somewhere.

Val Venis vs. Chainz

Kind of a random pairing. JR brings up the obvious question of why is the Cell here in the first place. Chainz takes over quickly with some elbows as the announcers are ignoring the match. Now to be fair, it’s Val Venis vs. Chainz so it’s a bit less annoying. Val hits a bulldog and takes over as the announcers ask what the other believes.

Now let’s talk about DX as Val hits some knees to the ribs. Russian legsweep takes Chainz down and Val grinds a bit. A big boot just ticks Chainz off but a clothesline takes him down. Chainz gets in some offense but walks into a powerslam. Val goes up but gets crotched. He blocks a superplex and the Money Shot ends this clean.

Rating: D+. This was fine all things considered. I don’t think anyone was shooting for a classic here but it worked well enough. Val would get into a story soon enough if I remember right while the DOA would become just a tag team after Chainz left. Actually this was Chainz’ last match in WWF.

Undertaker says he doesn’t trust Austin but Austin can trust him because all he wants is a title shot.

More DX Knowledge. HHH and Pac say nothing of note.

Marc Mero vs. Dustin Runnels

Jarrett and Southern Justice come out almost immediately. Dustin takes over early with a lariat. Out to the floor and Dustin goes into the post. Back in Mero hits a powerbomb. Jarrett is actually doing a decent job at hyping up his match next week. It’s amazing what happens when you actually let the guys talk. Mero snaps off a top rope rana as Jeff gets up on the apron. Here’s Sable and the distraction lets Dustin win with the bulldog.

Rating: D-. Let this sink in for a minute: they managed to overbook a lower midcard match that was there to hype up a match for next week. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE??? We have two people interfering and at least two distinct stories in there aside from just the match itself. That’s either impressive or insane.

Chyna calms Pac and HHH down but it wasn’t exactly firey in the first place.

Dustin thanks Jesus for his win.

King of the Ring Qualifying Match: X-Pac vs. HHH

This is the start of the second hour I believe. Pac grabs a cradle for two while HHH is doing his entrance. This is one of Pac’s first matches back in about 9 months after a bad neck injury. Pac hits a spin kick to take HHH down but walks into a jumping knee to send Pac to the floor. Here comes Chyna who throws Pac back in. Back in an atomic drop and suplex put Pac down.

Pac hits a spin kick to knock HHH to the floor and Chyna throws him right back in too. Very nicely done there. A BIG spin kick gets two. They’re hitting each other in the face here which is a good thing to see rather than them basically hiding from each other. HHH knocks him to the floor again….and here’s the Rock. He’s in the crowd and the distraction allows Owen to crotch Pac on the railing. HHH wins by countout.

Rating: C. Not bad here but this was far more about pushing the feud between the Nation and DX and that’s fine. They were doing some decent stuff too so I don’t have much to complain about here. I’m not particularly sure how to handle that, so let’s just go with it was good. Rock gets HHH in the KOTR.

Here are the KOTR brackets:

Shamrock
Henry

Jarrett
Mero

Rock
HHH

Severn
Owen Hart

Only the final four happened at the PPV.

Here’s Al Snow in the Avatar (old gimmick of his) mask. Post break, Lawler yells at him and Snow pulls the mask off. Snow rants about Vince and Lawler and says Lawler is lewd man for slipping him the sausage and makes a lot of references to gay sex. Lawler blames Head for it. He tries to throw it into the crowd and Snow decks him then hits a Snowplow on the referee. Lawler gets a low blow and a Head shot. Snow runs off after beating up some security.

Austin says he doesn’t trust anyone. Taker can’t trust him either.

Owen Hart/Mark Henry vs. Ken Shamrock/Dan Severn

We get some UFC footage of Shamrock vs. Severn. That’s still bizarre to see on Raw. Owen and Shamrock start off fast and Ken takes him down with a kick to the chest. Owen misses a dropkick and there’s an ankle lock attempt. Enziguri doesn’t quite hit but a low blow stops Shamrock. Off to Henry who hits a powerslam for two. A splash misses and Severn comes in allegedly off a tag. He throws Henry around like a Steiner would. Off to Owen who Severn rides like a pony. The Nation gets Severn into their corner and Owen kicks him low. Shamrock comes in but is easily put in a Sharpshooter. And here’s DX for the DQ.

Rating: D. Just a basic tag match here without anything to it. DX vs. the Nation would go on for months until they finally blew it off. Severn could have been something good if he didn’t have the personality of a road sign. Shamrock would get a solid push soon after this, but of all people, Henry would be the only one to win a major world title out of these four.

It’s a big brawl as Vader comes out to get Henry from earlier and it winds up being about Rock vs. HHH, as it should be.

Tag Team Royal Rumble

It’s a ten team battle royal and the winners get a title shot eventually. I’m assuming that it’s at timed intervals due to the name, but I doubt that’ll be the case. LOD 2000 is in first. In second: Kane/Mankind, who are apparently pulling double time tonight. The match starts during the break in in third is the New Midnight Express. Animal gets chokeslammed as the Midnights chill on the floor. And never mind as they’re in now. The Headbangers are in now. I think the intervals are about 30 seconds.

I don’t know if both guys have to go out or not. Here’s the DOA at 5. They go right for the LOD of course and no one is out yet. The Oddities, as in Golga and Kurrgan, come in next. The Midnights go out and you only have to put one of them out. Too Much (Cool) is out next. They’re number 7 I think. This is a big mess so calling anything is impossible. Farrooq and Blackman come in now. The Oddities work over Kane.

#9 is Taka/Bradshaw for some reason. The DOA is out. The final team is Terry Funk/Scorpio. There are eight left. Terry knocks Kurrgan out and we have seven to go. Taka gets put out as does Too Much. There go the Headbangers. Animal puts Blackman out and there goes the LOD.

So it’s Scorpio/Funk vs. Kane/Mankind. Terry and Mankind fight on the floor for old times’ sake and Scorpio hits what we would call Trouble in Paradise to no effect. Funk grabs a chair and BLASTS Kane but Foley comes in and knocks him down. Tombstone to Scorpio and another chair to Funk wins it for the monsters.

Rating: D-. I really didn’t like this at all. The amount of people being in there got way too high given the amount of time they were flying through the entrances. Having a bunch of people in there at the end really hurt it, although Funk going after Kane would have been awesome to see as he was just crazy enough to somehow pull it off.

Kane and Mankind stay in the ring as the Cell is lowered. Mankind recites a poem about the Cell. This is the debut of Corporate Mankind with the famous shirt and tie also.

Steve Austin/Undertaker vs. Mankind/Kane

In the Cell of course. And there’s no Taker. Austin wants to climb the cage to start instead of walking into the open door to face Kane/Mankind/Paul. Well at least he’s smart. Here comes Taker….and never mind. They hit the music again and still no Taker. Mankind tries to charge at Austin but he slams the door on Foley’s head to knock him down. Kane goes after Austin and they fight on the ramp. Bearer locks himself in the Cell so he’s by himself.

Mankind is back up and Austin is getting double teamed. And then we get to the important part here: Taker comes up from under the ring and has Bearer all to himself in the Cell. Kane and Mankind try to get in but even on top there’s no way. Bearer is busted. Mankind and Austin are between the ramp and the barricade as Taker just kills Paul in the Cell.

Austin pops Mankind with a chair to the back and GOOD NIGHT that was a sick shot to Mankind’s head. Taker crushes Bearer with the steps and Austin goes up to fight Kane on top of the Cell. They slug it out….and we go off the air. Now THAT is a cliffhanger. This wasn’t a match of any sort so I’m not going to bother rating it. I definitely see why no one counts this among the Cell matches.

Overall Rating: C. This was an ok show but it drags a lot at times. It certainly moved stories forward which is the most important thing, but I don’t think anyone can properly diagram the whole Conspiracy angle for you. It becomes one of the most complicated stories in history and either transitions or continues into the Vince is Crazy story next year with the Ministry, the Corporation and then the Corporate Ministry, but we’ll get there soon enough. Decent show, but it wasn’t great.

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