Monday Night Raw – March 1, 1999: Does Anyone Remember Steve Austin?

Monday Night Raw
Date: March 1, 1999
Location: Gund Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Attendance: 16,566
Commentators: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler

We’re a week later here in McMahon Land and the saga between Vince and the Undertaker continues. We’re also rolling towards Wrestlemania with Rock vs. Austin firmly in sight. Austin is back at the show tonight after doing media stuff last week. The card should start to fill out a bit more now that we’re only a few weeks away from the big show. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of Bearer giving Vince the teddy last week and Undertaker setting it on fire.

Here’s the entire Corporation to get things going. Vince talks about the end of the show last week and the one moment where he lost control. The fans aren’t pleased with seeing Vince tonight. He talks about how much he loves his family and how the fans don’t get that because they’re amoebas. That kind of embarrassment will never happen to him again, ever. Tonight, Undertaker gets a surprise as well which we’ll find out later. As for Kane, he broke a promise to Vince last week by losing. Therefore, Kane is fired.

The people from the sanitarium come out to get Kane but Chyna goes to the floor with Kane and beats up all the guys in the white coats. Apparently this is a thank you to Kane for saving her last night on Sunday Night Heat. Chyna says Kane can be an asset to Vince because she can control him. She’ll accept responsibility for him and he should get Austin tonight. If he loses, he can be fired. Vince says deal, but Chyna’s job is on the line too.

This brings out Mankind who still wants to be guest referee in the main event of Wrestlemania. He can prove his skills by refereeing the Kane vs. Austin match but Vince doesn’t seem interested. McMahon offers to let Mankind referee tonight’s main event if he can beat Undertaker first. Mankind accepts but there go the lights. Cue Undertaker’s voice which says he’s coming for Vince.

Ryan Shamrock is seen adjusting her short dress while leaving a locker room.

Austin is told he’s facing Kane and he doesn’t seem to care.

Intercontinental Title: Val Venis vs. Ken Shamrock vs. Goldust

Val is defending and this is supposed to have Billy Gunn as well but he’s got a lung condition or something like that. Val charges right in at Shamrock and Goldie jumps Ken from behind for some double teaming. Cue Ryan Shamrock as Ken gets caught in a spinebuster for two by Val.

Goldust takes Val into the corner and rubs his own chest, only to get caught by a low blow from the champion. Now it’s Val getting double teamed down in the corner but as usual Goldust and Ken get in a fight over who gets to cover. Goldie is sent to the floor but as Ken is about to finish off Val, Goldust kisses Ryan. Ken goes after him and both guys are counted out. In a triple threat?

Rating: D. As usual, more matches used to advance angles instead of the other way around for Russo. The idea is that Ryan has had moments with everyone and the question would be who would she side with at Wrestlemania. It’s a decent enough story that would be copied with AJ Lee in the year 2012, but things will get messed up soon.

Post match Billy Gunn runs out and jumps Venis.

Jim Ross is back from his bout with Bell’s Palsy (facial paralysis) and will return tonight.

Here’s JR (nice ovation) to interview Bart Gunn. JR asks him about his Brawl for All at Wrestlemania….before complaining about Bart not looking straight at him. Ross’ mouth is a bit messed up and he goes into a rant about being told he couldn’t be on TV because his face was messed up.

Bart wants to know what this has to do with him and JR rants more about how Bart Gunn knocked out Steve Williams. Steve and JR are friends so it was a big embarrassment to Ross. He shoves Bart and demands respect before slapping Gunn in the face. Gunn shoves him into the corner until Williams shows up to destroy Bart. Yep, they’re turning JIM ROSS heel. This would happen more than once.

D’Lo Brown is talking to Ivory in the back about something.

Tag Titles: HHH/X-Pac vs. Jeff Jarrett/Owen Hart

DX is accepting an open challenge and if they win the titles, Debra will disrobe. HHH and Pac clear the ring to start until we get down to Jarrett vs. Pac. A big heel kick takes Jeff down for no cover and it’s off to HHH. HHH misses a charge into the corner and it’s off to Owen. Things are moving very fast so far here. A facebuster puts Hart down but Jeff breaks up the Pedigree. Back to Jarrett who misses the running crotch attack in 619 position but Owen comes in with a sleeper to keep HHH in trouble.

A jawbreaker breaks up the hold and there’s the hot tag to X-Pac. The X-Factor gets two on Jeff as everything breaks down. There’s the Bronco Buster to Jeff followed by another X-Factor but Debra distracts the referee. Debra gets knocked off and Shane McMahon pops in to send Pac into the steps. Owen breaks up a Pedigree as Ivory shows up. The match is finally thrown out due to all the insanity.

Rating: C-. I was digging this until the WAY overdone ending. It’s a four and a half minute tag match and we had two run ins and manager interference. Was there any need to have anything other than a big brawl to end the match via DQ after Debra got on the apron? Shane and Ivory could have easily done their run ins after the match, but why have a match when you can have multiple angles?

Post match D’Lo Brown jumps the tag champions and Ivory strips Debra down to her underwear.

After a break Debra challenges Ivory for later tonight. As in an actual match. I’m shocked too.

Here are Luna and Tori who are apparently friends now after last week. Luna says that now Tori is a fan of hers and Luna is a fan of Tori. They’re standing up for the fans that Sable has scorned to get to the top and tonight, Luna is bringing Sable back down to earth. Sable comes out and Tori turns on Luna about two minutes after joining her. Sable powerbombs Luna for good measure. Tori offers Sable a high five and Sable walks away.

WWF Title: The Rock vs. Road Dogg

I miss these random title matches. They give you a reason to watch because while a title change isn’t likely, you never quite know. Rock pounds away to start but walks into a dropkick out of nowhere. Dogg gets a boot up in the corner but gets caught in a DDT for two. Here’s Paul Wight for no apparent reason as Rock keeps pounding Dogg down. They head over to the announce table and Rock does some commentary. Apparently when you check into the Smackdown Hotel you get a complementary fist in the mouth.

Back in and a Russian legsweep gets two for Rock and Paul Wight adds in a headbutt for good measure. A Samoan Drop stops Roadie’s comeback bid but Rock misses a charge into the corner. Dogg hits his usual stuff like the Juke and Jive followed by the shaky knee drop. Not that it matters though as it’s Rock Bottom and the Elbow for the pin to retain the title.

Rating: D+. Just a squash here but Rock was entertaining as always. I liked the idea here of throwing Road Dogg out there to make Rock look good. It’s not like Road Dogg loses anything from this because Rock is at a far higher level than he is, so why not give us something simple like this?

Post match here’s Al Snow (“A schizophrenic psychopath from Lima, Ohio whose hobbies are Hardcore Title matches and needlepoint!”) with a chair. He complains about Dogg making him job, but Dogg takes the chair away and cracks Snow in the head with it a few times. Hardcore Holly, the Hardcore Champion, comes out but gets a chair to the head as well. Dogg leaves, saying they can meet him in the parking lot if they like.

Chyna gives Kane a pep talk.

Dogg is in the parking lot with a broken broomstick and is waiting for Snow and Holly.

Here’s Public Enemy dressed up as the Brood for some reason. They say they’re not afraid of the blood….and there go the lights. They come back on and Grunge is alone in the ring minus Flyboy.

We go to the back where Dogg and Holly are fighting. After a break they’re still fighting with Holly throwing Dogg into whatever he can find at the moment. This isn’t a match of any kind. You can hear a bell ringing in the arena and apparently a match started while this was going on.

Droz vs. Steve Blackman

This is a kendo stick match, meaning you win by knocking your opponent off your feet. They hit each other a few times and head to the floor before hitting each other again. Droz is knocked down but there’s no referee. Instead Droz knocks Blackman down and wins in maybe 40 seconds. Was there a point to this at all?

Dogg and Holly are on a set of stairs now with Holly in control. They head up the stairs and Dogg is thrown out the door. Cue Al Snow to jump both guys and they brawl into the street (after looking both ways of course).

Video on Shane McMahon being tough.

We see Rocko strung up with blood all over him. As in I thought he was wearing a red shirt until I saw a few spots of white.

Here’s Vince for commentary for the next match. As he sits down, he casually throws out that it’s Undertaker vs. Boss Man inside Hell in a Cell at Wrestlemania.

Undertaker vs. Mankind

Vince still won’t answer what the bear means. They trade right hands in the corner with Undertaker hitting a running clothesline to take over. Mankind avoids an elbow and pounds away but misses a charge into the corner. Taker works on the shoulder which hit the post but as he launches Old School Mankind grabs the Mandible Claw.

They head to the floor with Undertaker being sent into the steps. Mankind hitting a running knee to slam Taker’s head into the steps and Vince sounds like a thirteen year old opening his first Playboy. Vince gets up for some reason, allowing Taker to get in a chair shot to Mankind’s back. We have a double countout apparently.

Rating: C-. This wasn’t bad for a four minute match and this pairing is always worth seeing even in the short form. Again though, this was all about the story going on instead of the match which gets really annoying to see after awhile. On top of that, Boss Man vs. Undertaker did nothing for anyone and the announcement didn’t help anything.

Post match Undertaker goes after Vince but Boss Man comes out with a nightstick shot to break up a chokeslam through the table. The Ministry runs him off so Mankind gets chokeslammed.

The Corporation bails out.

Ivory vs. Debra

Jarrett and Hart are ejected before we get going. Ivory immediately chokes her down but here are Terri and Jackie for the DQ. Jackie lost to Ivory on Heat last night.

Kane vs. Steve Austin

If Kane loses he and Chyna are fired. Austin goes right after him to start and they slug it out in the corner. A backdrop puts Austin down before he can even get out of his vest. Kane charges into a boot in the corner and Austin wraps the knee around the post. Austin stays on the leg and the fans are WAY behind him here. Kane guillotines him on the top rope and gets two off a DDT.

The match slows down a bit as Kane pounds on Austin’s chest on the floor only to be sent into the steps. Chyna hits Austin from behind and Austin goes after her, only to catch a charging Kane in a backdrop over the barricade and into the crowd. Well you knew we were getting some brawling in an Austin match. Back to ringside and Kane rams Austin back first into the post before dropping him face first onto the barricade.

Chyna gets in some shots before Kane slams Austin face first into the steps. We head back inside and a backbreaker gets two for Kane as the crowd has calmed down a good bit. Austin tries a sleeper but Kane is just too tall. Off to a bearhug by Kane but Austin punches out. The Stunner is countered and the referee goes down, but Austin escapes the tombstone bid and hits the second Stunner attempt.

Chyna breaks up the cover at two but Kane breaks up a Stunner on her. A belly to back suplex puts Austin down and here’s Paul Wight. The top rope clothesline hits Austin for two and Kane pounds away in the corner. The crowd is getting back into it again and there’s a low blow to Kane. Austin stomps a mudhole and hits the Thesz Press as Wight slides in a chair. Two chair shots to Kane’s head puts him down but that’s not a DQ. Chyna hits Austin low but that’s not one either. Now Kane holds Austin for Wight but the giant kicks the smaller giant by mistake. Austin walks out to end the show and Kane/Chyna keep their jobs.

Rating: B-. This was a rather fun main event as these two had some decent chemistry together. The problem for them is they never really got a chance to work together all that much as their most famous match is a gimmick match and all about drama instead of action. I likes this a lot more than I thought I would have.

Overall Rating: C+. This is a good example of the adage about Russo being true: when he has the talent to work with and someone to stop him from charging off a cliff, he would put together some very entertaining television. There were a lot of stories going on here and the build for Wrestlemania is starting to come together. The one guy being left out of it though is Austin. He hasn’t interacted with Rock in weeks, he wasn’t here last week and he was thrown into the main event tonight as a warm body for Kane and Chyna’s issues. That’s a really strange use of the top guy in the company.

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