Monday Night Raw – December 7, 1998: Austin Gets Crucified

Monday Night Raw
Date: December 7, 1998
Location: New Haven Coliseum, New Haven, Connecticut
Attendance: 9,000
Commentators: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler

It’s the go home show for Rock Bottom and the card is mostly set. If nothing else the two main events are set and when you have Rock vs. Mankind and Austin vs. Undertaker, you really don’t need much else besides that. We’re rapidly approaching the end of the year and it’s only taken me about two years to finish it. Let’s get to it.

Cole is on commentary instead of JR who I think is out with Bell’s Palsy.

Here’s DX to open the show minus the Outlaws. HHH needs to talk about the Outlaws. If they’ve made a business decision then that’s cool, but have the balls to tell him to his face. Here are the Outlaws in suits with bottles of water. Road Dogg does the Corporate version of his schtick and the fans aren’t pleased. The Outlaws get Shawn to come out here and it’s time for the showdown of the DX bosses.

Shawn says he invented DX and says that HHH is infringing on his gimmick. He says HHH rode his coattails for years and that Shawn made HHH into a somebody from a nobody. HHH says he carried Shawn when Shawn had no business as champion anymore. HHH says that once Shawn got hurt, he picked up the ball. Direct quote from Shawn: “I’ve had balls you’ll never get to have.” Shawn says he can break HHH so HHH tells him to suck it. Tonight it’s HHH/Pac vs. Boss Man and Shamrock, anything goes. Shawn says the Outlaws are allowed to get involved. Be careful Shawn. You’re coming up on a pretty sharp swerve.

Tonight it’s Austin/Mankind vs. Rock/Undertaker. Nothing wrong with combining a few feuds like that.

Post break HHH and Pac are asking Chyna to watch their backs.

Jeff Jarrett vs. D’Lo Brown

Jarrett gets Goldust in a striptease match on Sunday. If Jarrett wins, Goldust gets naked and if Jarrett loses, Debra gets naked. Did I mention Russo is booking? Jarrett jumps Brown to start but Brown comes back with a clothesline and a middle rope shoulder block. Debra distracts the referee for no apparent reason and Henry gets a shot in on Jeff. Apparently JR isn’t here because his mom died. That’s always rough.

A swinging neckbreaker puts Brown down and a top rope cross body gets two for Jeff. A Russian legsweep gets the same but Brown hits a kind of Liger Bomb out of nowhere. Here’s Goldust in a trenchcoat to flash Debra. The distraction let’s Brown roll up Jeff for the pin.

Rating: D+. This was all here for the ending and that’s ok….usually. When the payoff to a match is a naked Goldust, there’s not much ok about that at all. I’ve always been a D’Lo fan though so seeing him get a win is always a good thing. Not a terrible match here but the whole stripping thing never was exactly interesting.

Austin doesn’t like the main event.

Vince gave a speech at Oxford University last week.

Headbangers vs. Edge/Gangrel

Mosh and Gangrel get us going here as we’re told the ICP is gone. Thank goodness. Gangrel takes over quickly and it’s off to Edge who gets a quick two off a double middle rope DDT. Double teaming gives the Bangers the advantage and Edge is in trouble off a flapjack which gets two. Here’s Luna to jump Thrasher for the DQ.

For no apparent reason, Tiger Ali Singh and Babu come out to try to calm Luna down but the Oddities come out and clean house.

Mankind is talking to some chairs in the back.

The Corporation is talking to Bearer about getting Undertaker to function with Rock.

Owen Hart vs. Goldust

Owen came out of retirement last night on Heat. Hart takes his time to start due to ring rust. The idea here is that Owen looks WAY too polished to have been out of action for so many months. A suplex gets two on Goldie but he grabs a small package for the same. Owen hits his enziguri for another two and a middle rope elbow for a third two. Goldust gets in a shot but here are Jarrett and Debra with the latter in a trenchcoat. She flashes Goldust but Owen is caught in the stare too, giving Goldust the rollup win.

Rating: D+. This didn’t have a chance to get going at all and the idea was to have Goldust get paid back for earlier, but it got a twist. Not a bad match or anything, but this was more about building an angle than a match. The problem at the end of the day is that you couldn’t actually pay off the idea of nudity (unless you’re the Kat for some reason) so people kind of got tired of waiting.

Austin is walking around.

D’Lo Brown was in Europe recently.

The rest of the company was in Europe too.

Val Venis/Godfather vs. Acolytes

I don’t know if it was ever made official but I’ve heard the name for Godfather and Venis was going to be Supply and Demand. That would have been great if they ever went with it. Godfather offers a fan one of his ho’s but he’s rather short and fat. The guy gets both of them for free because apparently he doesn’t have any experience with them. The Acolytes finally come out and it’s too much of a brawl to even be called a match. It didn’t even last a minute.

Here’s Austin to the arena. Austin talks about surviving everything that Vince and the Undertaker have thrown at him and he’ll have no mercy on Undertaker on Sunday. Cue Undertaker’s music and the Undertaker cross symbol on the stage. Taker’s voice comes through the arena who says Austin is helpless against the Ministry and Taker can take Austin’s soul. The symbol lights on fire.

Mankind has a bag and is talking about Austin.

Steve Blackman vs. Tiget Ali Singh

Singh jumps him to start but Blackman comes back with his kicks to the ribs and a bad dropkick. Total squash after that as Blackman wins with the bicycle kick. This would be Tiger’s last match on Raw for about two years and I don’t think anyone knew he was gone.

Post match the Blue Blazer (falling on his way to the ring) and Owen Hart run out to beat up Blackman.

Mankind is still looking around in the back and finds Austin’s dressing room.

Mark Henry vs. Droz

Is this the night of the filler matches? Henry takes Droz’s head off with a clothesline and a BIG forearm to the chest. A charge misses and Hery goes to the floor where Droz pounds on him a bit more. Droz sends him into the steps and here’s Chyna after the guys have been on the floor for like a minute and a half. Back in and a shoulder block takes Henry down before Chyna gets on the apron. Droz holds Henry for her to hit Henry, but Chyna hits Droz instead. A powerslam and a splash give Henry the pin.

Rating: D. You can barely call this a match as it was there for the surprise ending. Chyna and Henry is a story that was fun back in the day and it still kind of is here. The match seemed to run longer than it was supposed to so maybe Chyna was late coming out. They seemed to be on the floor forever.

Post match Henry is happy.

The Outlaws meet with the Corporation again.

HHH/X-Pac vs. Big Bossman/Ken Shamrock

Anything goes here. Boss Man has the nightstick in his hand to start but throws it down to face X-Pac. Pac takes Boss Man’s head off with a spin kick and it’s off to HHH in his first match back from a knee injury. They head to the floor and Boss Man is sent into the steps as everything breaks down. Shamrock and HHH head up the ramp with HHH hitting a suplex to take over.

The match breaks down as it should given the rules or lack thereof. Back inside there’s a Bronco Buster to Boss Man as we get back to a regular tag match. Boss Man powerbombs Pac for two and it’s off to a chinlock as the Outlaws are here. Off to Shamrock who kicks Pac down for no cover. Off to a front facelock on Pac as the Outlaws may or may not be cheering for his to make a comeback.

X-Pac hits a flipping clothesline to take Ken down and the ankle lock is countered by an enziguri. There’s the hot tag to HHH who cleans house. The facebuster gets two on Shamrock and everything breaks down. Shawn throws a chair to Shamrock but Billy wants to do the honors. He clocks Shamrock with it and the Outlaws are DX. The match is thrown out even though it’s anything goes because…..well just because.

Rating: D+. For a match where anything goes, not much went. The ending wasn’t really shocking or anything if you’re paying attention, but back when I was ten years old this was a big surprise. It’s good that they didn’t do the turn for the Outlaws here as it would have made the Corporation way too strong. The ending makes no sense but I think they were hoping no one noticed. Or maybe the writers didn’t notice.

Mankind leaves Austin’s locker room.

DX celebrates in the back.

Austin goes into his locker room and finds a bag with a note. He finds a beer and the note says that Mankind is going after Rock.

The Rock/The Undertaker vs. Steve Austin/Mankind

Mankind tries to fight them both at once which goes about as well as you would expect it to. Austin comes out soon after and it’s a big brawl on the ramp. Rock and Austin pair off which is always worth a look. All four brawl over to the announce table before Austin goes after Taker. Scratch that as they’re back to the original pairings again. They haven’t all been in the ring yet and we’re a few minutes into this.

Taker and Mankind head into the ring as the other two fight into the crowd. There’s a chokeslam to Mankind but Austin distracts the referee so there’s no count. Mankind takes a beating from both guys for awhile, which is smart as he’s a master at selling like few others are. Austin finally says screw this apron thing and goes after Rock on the floor.

Back in the ring Mankind drops Taker with a swinging neckbreaker but Rock gets tagged in before there’s a hot tag. A spinebuster sets up the Corporate Elbow for two followed by the Rock Bottom but Austin makes the save. Everything breaks down and Shamrock and Boss Man come in for the DQ.

Rating: C-. Star power alone carries this but I’m getting tired of these matches that don’t go anywhere because people run in before we can have a finish. The match was much more of a brawl than a match which is understandable and the ending makes sense as you don’t want anyone to lose. Well you could have Rock get pinned by Mankind to establish that the title is in jeopardy, but why do that when you can have ANOTHER run-in?

Post match the brawl continues and Mankind is cuffed to the post. Austin gets hit with the ring bell and Taker carries him on his shoulder up to the stage towards the symbol. We’ve got druids and Austin is “sacrificed”/crucified to end the show.

Overall Rating: C-. This show depends on the view you look at it from. From one view, they did a great job at setting up the PPV as almost every match got at least a little time. On the other hand, there were practically no good matches and some of the stuff was insane, especially the ending with the crucifixion which I’ve never been comfortable with. It’s not an awful show, but it’s certainly frustrating as Russo can’t just let a match have an ending.

Here’s Rock Bottom if you’re interested:

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