Monday Night Raw – March 29, 1999: Did We Miss The Wrestlemania Turn Off?

Monday Night Raw
Date: March 29, 1999
Location: Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey
Attendance: 15,213
Commentators: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler

It’s the night after Wrestlemania and the big story is Rock losing the WWF Title to Steve Austin. This will only serve to continue the war between Vince and Austin but at the same time we’re continuing Vince vs. Undertaker. We’re starting on the road to Backlash now which would be the final In Your House PPV. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of Austin’s road back to the title, including the beer truck attack from last week.

Opening sequence.

Here’s the new champion to open the show to an eruption, wearing black jeans for the only time I ever remember. Austin says he did exactly what he said he would do: head to Philadelphia, go up route 3:16 and burn the Smackdown Hotel to the ground. Now that we’ve got the sentimental crap out of the way, Austin thinks the WWF Title belt isn’t worth all the trouble and aggravation. He wants Vince out here right now so he can relinquish the belt.

Vince cautiously comes to the ring and after taking forever to come down the aisle, Austin hands him the belt like it’s no big deal. Vince goes to leave but Austin says it’s not that easy. Austin has some footage for Vince, which shows McMahon running away with the WWF Title at Breakdown and then taking the Smoking Skull belt with him as a trophy. Vince can have the belt but Austin is the WWF Champion and there’s nothing that can be done about that.

He wants Vince to bring the Smoking Skull belt back because that’s the one he wants. If Vince doesn’t have it back here in two hours, he’ll be getting the beating of his life. McMahon says no because that belt reminds him that he owns a piece of Stone Cold. Austin looks ready for a Stunner but Vince says if Austin attacks him without being provoked, Vince can fire him on the spot. Austin has another clip from last night, showing Vince stomping Austin down in the corner. That sounds like provocation to Austin, so the two hours are ticking away. Vince hits Austin in the back with the belt and runs away.

A lot of people arrive at the show.

Vince sends Stephanie to get the belt.

Sable/Jacqueline vs. Tori/Ivory

Sable is looking GREAT in a half shirt and some tiny shorts. This is a result of Jackie burning Ivory’s face with a cigar last night on Heat. Ivory jumps Jackie to start and there’s a giant swing for good measure. Off to Tori as Ivory chases Terri up the ramp for lighting another cigar. Sable is still holding the belt on the apron which she uses to clock Jackie in the back of the head. Tori gets the worst backslide ever for the pin.

Tori and Sable are about to brawl when the Ministry of Darkness interrupts. Sable can’t escape because there are ropes with huge gaps between them behind her. Taker says he wants to see what she’s got. Sable starts doing the grind so Taker grabs her by the throat. He says he’s got Vince’s meal ticket so he needs to get out here right now to save her.

Vince tells Shane to stay in the back with Stephanie while he takes care of this. Isn’t she supposed to be going to Connecticut? Vince comes out, drops the mic and then heads right back through the curtain. He sprints to the back, screaming for Stephanie but finding no daughter in the dressing room. Vince yells at Shane as we take a break.

Back from a break with Vince telling Shane not to call the cops and saying Stephanie must be in the parking lot. Instead of, you know, going to look for her, he walks around the dressing room. This is very interesting to see when you know what’s coming in the story.

Here’s a sullen X-Pac with something to say. He came back here a year ago because of a phone call from HHH saying DX was falling apart. Then last night HHH turned on him by making a choice. The Outlaws and X-Pac will be out here every week to tell Hunter to suck it until the day they die. HHH’s name may be Hunter, but tonight he’s the hunted. Nice line there.

Vince gets a call from Undertaker saying she really is sugar and spice and everything nice.

Big Show vs. Test

Big Show is freshly face after objecting to Vince yelling at him last night. A boot to the face sets up the chokeslam to end Test in about 30 seconds.

Big Show talks about how Vince is having some personal trauma right now, but Show doesn’t really care. Vince thought that he owned Big Show but no one owns him at all. It was Vince that said when Big Show got to the WWF, everything was going to change. Starting tonight, Vince is going to eat those words.

Vince sends Shamrock to find Stephanie.

Hardcore Title: Steve Williams vs. Hardcore Holly

Holly won the title back last week and is defending here as a result of accidentally breaking JR’s broadcast table a few weeks back. Williams pounds Holly into the corner to start but Holly comes back with kicks of his own. Steve comes back with a quick belly to belly suplex as JR gets on (Spanish) commentary to rant about wanting to go back to work. Williams goes after Holly’s leg, wrapping it around the post for good measure.

Nothing about this has been hardcore so far. A knee crusher has Holly in trouble but he comes back with a DDT before rolling to the outside. Here’s a table but Williams hits a quick powerslam to drive Holly through, only to take out the referee in the process. Cue Al Snow with a frying pan to lay out Williams to keep the title on Holly.

Rating: D. They managed to make a hardcore match boring. That’s really hard to do when you think about how insane some of these matches could be. The JR/Steve Williams stuff needs to wrap up soon as there’s just nothing interesting at all in there. People don’t want to boo JR and these heel turns never work for him.

The Rock vs. Billy Gunn

Shane joins commentary. Rock powers Billy into the corner and fires off right hands as Shane goes nuts. Billy comes back with a drop toehold and a dropkick before working on the arm for a bit. Rock slugs Gunn down as Shane tells everyone to focus. A suplex gets two for the Great One and there’s a Stun Gun to Gunn for two more. They head outside with Billy being sent into the barricade and Rock jumping on commentary, only to have Billy flash him for no apparent reason. Back in and Billy fires off some right hands, only to be caught in the Rock Bottom and the People’s Elbow (BIG ovation) for the pin.

Rating: D+. Rock’s face turn is imminent at this point for the same reasons it happened last time: you can’t hold that kind of charisma down. The other thing to remember is that Rock never really turned face in 1998. He just started fighting heels but still talked the same trash and acted arrogant before joining up with Vince and company. Billy Gunn continues to get on my nerves.

Shamrock says he’ll beat the information out of whomever he has to in order to get Vince’s baby girl back.

Austin watches the clock.

Ken Shamrock vs. Gangrel

Shamrock starts fast and wins a quick slugout with a clothesline. Gangrel comes back with a quick powerslam for two and a DDT for the same. Ken fires off a dropkick and demands to know where Stephanie is. He takes Gangrel to the floor and sends him into the steps before shoving the referee for getting in Shamrock’s way.

Gangrel is rammed into various objects but still says he doesn’t know where she is. Some whips into the steps soften Gangrel up a bit more before we head back inside for right hands and more interrogation. The fans get distracted by something so Shamrock stalls for a bit. The belly to belly sets up an ankle lock on Gangrel to end the massacre.

Rating: D+. This was much more of a match than an angle which makes it hard to grade. Gangrel was there as a warm body for Shamrock to beat on which is probably the best idea given his rather limited in ring skills. At least this short match had a purpose, unlike a lot of other stuff you’ll see around here.

Post match Edge and Christian come after Shamrock and the lights go out. Shamrock gets a blood bath but he grabs Christian by the ankle. He cranks on the hold until Christian says Stephanie is in the basement.

Post break Shamrock is in the basement to find the lost princess.

Intercontinental Title: Road Dogg vs. Goldust

Feeling out process to start until Ryan Shamrock heads to the ring, only to be sent to the back by Blue Meanie. Roadie pounds Goldie into the corner before Goldust cranks on the champion’s arm. Road Dogg comes back with a rollup for two and we stop again. Shattered Dreams is blocked by the referee but Road Dogg goes after Blue Meanie for some reason. Meanie accidentally splashes Goldust and Road Dogg bulldogs Meanie into Goldust’s crotch. The juke n jive sets up the shaky knee drop, only to have to escape the Curtain Call. Meanie clocks Dogg with the belt, allowing the Curtain Call to connect for the title.

Rating: D. How in the world do you overbook a match that runs four minutes? Also I don’t get the mentality of having the title change here instead of doing it the night before at WRESTLEMANIA. These guys were the last two in the fourway last night, so why not give Goldie the title there? Nothing match which was WAY overdone.

Post match Goldust says that was a raging climax, which was the tagline of Wrestlemania last night. He says we’ll know something very soon, whatever that means.

Shamrock finds Stephanie crying with the Ministry mark on her forehead.

Stephanie cries on her dad’s shoulder. That’s a relief. It had been a full ten minutes since we saw Vince.

Tag Titles: Owen Hart/Jeff Jarrett vs. Legion of Doom

It’s a brawl to start of course with the LOD (flanked by Paul Ellering) cleaning house to start. Animal slams Jeff down for two and we’re ready to go. The fans call Owen a nugget but an Animal suplex quiets them down. Jarrett’s knee to the back allows Owen to kick Animal’s head off to take over before it’s off to Jeff. Animal comes back with a double clothesline and cleans house as Hawk finally comes in to help out. The Doomsday Device puts Owen down but there’s no referee. Jeff cracks the guitar over Hawk’s head and puts Owen on top to retain the belts.

Vince thanks Shamrock for his services and Shane has the Smoking Skull belt. Vince doesn’t care because this night is over. Shane is tasked with giving the belt back to Austin. They leave but Shane says tonight isn’t over.

X-Pac vs. HHH

Shane is out here with HHH, meaning odds are he didn’t give Austin the belt back yet. It’s a big brawl to start of course with HHH firing off right hands to take over. Pac comes back with some kicks and chops, only to be taken down by the knee to the face. Another kick to the face puts HHH down but he misses the Bronco Buster. The facebuster puts Pac down again but he comes back with a spinwheel kick and the flipping clothesline, but Pac wants to chase Shane. He runs right into a Chyna clothesline, drawing the fast DQ.

Rating: C-. Nothing match again here as it’s barely long enough to rate. The DX split was fine as they had pretty much done all they could have done, but HHH wasn’t ready to go to that next level yet. Feuding with X-Pac didn’t help either as Pac was nothing more than a midcarder, but at least he was over so the fans cared.

Shane, HHH and Chyna beat X-Pac down post match until Kane makes the save. Shane actually goes after him but the distraction doesn’t help HHH all that much. Chyna’s distraction on the other hand lets HHH hit Kane in the head with a chair for not much effect.

Shane stays in the ring for the big closing number with Austin. He says they’re both champions and if Austin wants his belt, all he has to do is look around the waist of the most electrifying man in sports entertainment. Cue Rock with the title over his shoulder, making Shane look like a mean old liar. Rock gives Austin credit before changing his mind because there’s nobody (crowd: “NOBODY!” Rock: “Don’t do that.”) that can take this belt from him. He may have lost last night, but it took TWO Stunners to do it.

Cue Austin for the fight with Rock sending him into the announce table. They head back inside and there’s a Stunner for Shane, only to have Rock take him down again. The Skull belt to the head drops Austin and here’s HHH to help with the beatdown. Shamrock and Test are here as well but Big Show makes the save, allowing Austin to stand back while he cleans house. A chokeslam to HHH ends the show.

Overall Rating: C. If you didn’t know any better, odds are you wouldn’t know this wasn’t the show after Wrestlemania. What happened tonight? Austin vs. Rock and Undertaker vs. Vince continued, a midcard title changed hands, and we had two show long angles, only of which barely had a resolution at all. This could have been any given Raw after any given PPV, which is really hard to get accept the night after Wrestlemania. Not a bad show, but I was expecting something very different.

 

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