Monday Night Raw – July 20, 1998 – Austin Fights Monsters!
Monday Night Raw
Date: July 20, 1998
Location: Broome County Arena, Binghamton, New York
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
It’s the go home show for Fully Loaded and that means we’re six weeks from Summerslam. That’s really all that matters at the end of the day, because this PPV certainly didn’t. There are two more Brawl For All matches because someone hates me. We also have a title match and a title change which I have a story about. Let’s get to it.
Here’s Vince to open the show. He says he wants to talk about what happened when Taker became #1 contender. We get a clip of Undertaker dressing up as Kane, which makes Vince wonder where Kane was and where Undertaker got that outfit. Last week he asked and was given no answer. Now we get a clip of the ending of last week’s show where Undertaker saves the pinfall on Kane. We also get clips of the brawl to end the show.
Vince calls Taker out and wants to know what’s going on. He blasts the dead man for thinking he can do everything on his own and that he won’t take the disrespect anymore. Undertaker still won’t answer if he’s with Kane or not. Since he won’t answer, Vince makes it him vs. Kane/Mankind tonight. Before Taker leaves, Vince tries to tell Taker where to go but it’s a chokeslam instead. The Stooges come out and are beaten up too.
European Title: D’Lo Brown vs. HHH
Brown takes over early on but HHH takes him down with a quick clothesline. Rock is watching from ringside. Trips ducks his head and takes a kick to the face. Pedigree is countered but HHH clotheslines Brown to the outside. He gets in Chyna’s face and has his blocked knocked off. Back in D’Lo takes over for a few moments but HHH hits the jumping knee to the face to take over. Suplex by the Game looks to set up the knee drop but Rock trips Trips. Chyna takes care of Rock as HHH hits a powerslam. Henry comes out and Chyna meets him with a chair. Rock comes in with a Rock Bottom and D’Lo wins the title.
Rating: C-. Quick story about this match. This show was taped on the 14th. Sometime over the weekend I went to a house show where Brown was already acknowledged as champion. Based on that, I already knew that HHH was going to lose the title when this show aired. That’s probably my first experience with a spoiler. The match was nothing of note at all but it advanced the DX vs. Nation feud.
The Nation celebrates the title win.
Sunday Night Heat is coming.
Brawl For All First Round: Quebecer Pierre vs. Steve Williams
Doc destroys him and the referee calls it with seven seconds to go.
We get a clip from Val’s movie last week with Yamaguchi-san’s wife.
In the arena, Yamaguchi says that his wife is going to be punished. He treats his wife like a slave and she has to crawl through his legs and get paddled. Val runs in to make the save and leaves with Yamaguchi’s wife.
Animal vs. Skull
Oh dear. There’s no Hawk. Animal won’t get in the ring when it’s 3-1 but the DOA comes after him. Animal goes into the steps and beaten down. No match. Ellering tries to run over Animal with the motorcycle but Hawk makes the save. He gets beaten down also and the DOA stand tall as well as bald.
Jeff Jarrett vs. Steve Blackman
Blackman sees that he’s up against four guys so he goes to the back and comes back with Shamrock and Severn. Blackman takes him down quickly and hits a backbreaker for two. Shoulder block gets the same. A middle rope headbutt misses so Jarrett goes for the leg. Blackman kicks it off and the bicycle kick ends this. Basically a squash.
Owen runs out and sends Shamrock into the steps then runs back into the crowd.
Taker has his stuff with him and is walking out.
Cole says Taker has left. He said he’ll see us Sunday.
Here’s Austin for an interview with JR. Austin throws JR out quickly and says he wants to know which side Undertaker is on this Sunday. Vince comes out and talks about screwing, so it’s Austin taking Vince’s place tonight. Austin says there’s no point to it so he’s not fighting. Vince says if Austin doesn’t do it then Taker gets the title without a match. Austin says after he beats the monsters, Vince is next.
We get a clip from last week of Jason Sensation. That Shawn impression is scary good.
Owen Hart vs. Farrooq
Farrooq tries a quick backbreaker but Owen slips down the back and speeds things up to take control. Owen hooks a Boston Crab as this has been much closer to a squash than you would expect. Owen beats him down and grabs a mic to tell the fans he is not a nugget. Enziguri gets two. A powerslam by Farrooq gets two but Owen comes back with a missile dropkick. Farrooq actually goes up but gets crotched, setting up the Sharpshooter for the quick tap.
Rating: D+. I didn’t exactly expect a squash here. It’s not a terrible match but it being a squash was very surprising. Farrooq wouldn’t do much until forming the Acolytes (called Hell’s Henchmen at the time) with Bradshaw later in the year. Owen looked good here and would have a Dungeon Match on Sunday with Shamrock.
Shamrock runs out post match and chases Owen through the crowd.
Bearer won’t quite say whose side Taker is on. Mankind says kicking Austin in the teeth gives him pleasure.
Here are Mero and Jackie. Jackie trash talks Sable and offers her a chance to come out here and forfeit the bikini contest. Sable comes out in a maternity dress. She takes it off to reveal a bikini. Since she’s been in Playboy, this doesn’t do much. Edge comes in through the crowd and hits Mero with a Downward Spiral.
HBK comes out for commentary again.
They finally come to their senses and just show highlights of 8-Ball and Scorpio’s Brawl For All. Scorpio wins by decision.
The Nations says Rock will keep the title.
Intercontinental Title: The Rock vs. X-Pac
DX runs in and a big brawl starts. We take a break and come back with the bell ringing. Chyna comes out as the only person at ringside. It’s power vs. speed here which isn’t something you often see with Rock. He’s a big guy but he’s never been one to use power to excess. Rock takes X-Pac down but Pac comes back with right hands. He speeds things up but Rock LAUNCHES him in a release hot shot which sends Pac to the floor.
Samoan Drop gets two as does a swinging neckbreaker. A quick chinlock sets up the People’s Elbow which only gets two. Pac grabs an X-Factor out of nowhere but he’s too spent to cover immediately. Bronco Buster hits but Pac charges into a powerslam for two. X-Pac throws him to the floor and grabs his knee to distract the referee. Chyna hits Rock with the title which gets a VERY close two. Rock’s clothesline misses and down goes the referee. A spin kick sends Rock down but here are D-Lo and HHH. HHH Pedigrees Rock after crotching Rock but a second referee runs out to say what he saw and it’s a DQ.
Rating: B-. This was a pretty rocking match before the overbooked ending. These Nation vs. DX brawls happened every week and it was cool to see a feud like this getting time, but I was hoping to see an ending to that match. Rock is a guy that isn’t big enough to make Pac’s offense look ridiculous, which means the match is a lot better. Fun stuff.
DX and the Nation get pulled apart again. The Nation is pulled to the floor and HHH gets a hot girl in the crowd to flash him. In other news, Jerry Lawler has volunteered to serve HHH for the rest of his life.
Kane/Mankind vs. Steve Austin
Austin hits Mankind with the title on the way to the ring. The tag champions don’t have to tag. Vince is watching in the back and is pleased. Austin manages to clothesline Kane to the floor and sends him into the steps. Back in a clothesline gets two on Mankind. He gets caught in the Claw though and they stumble to the floor.
Austin rams Mankind into the post but Kane is back up again. Back in and Austin hits the Thesz Press but Mankind pulls him to the floor. Back in again and a Stunner to Kane is countered. Here comes Undertaker with a chair. Mankind is now on the apron in a corner so maybe they do have to tag? Taker is in Austin’s corner and it’s back to Mankind. Foley hits Austin with a chair on the outside but his running knee in the corner misses. Austin grabs a Stunner to Mankind but Kane makes the save.
Kane tries the chokeslam but Austin kicks him low to escape. Taker pulls the chair up and swings it down but it hits Kane. Taker looks annoyed but it’s hard to say. Austin hits them all with the chair to end the show. If it wasn’t announced already, the match on Sunday is for the titles.
Rating: C+. All things considered, this was pretty entertaining stuff. The idea of Austin having to fight everyone on the planet at once was a good idea because that’s what he was best at: wild brawls that resulted in him being able to hang in there. The ending adds even more questions to the title match on Sunday, which is what the whole thing is built around.
Overall Rating: C+. I liked this one better than last week’s as the idea here was to have the PPV pushed even harder, which they certainly did. If you add that to one of the Brawl for All matches being clipped to highlights, there wasn’t much wrong on this show at all. It’s not great, but it did what it needed to do which is all you can ask for most of the time.
Here’s Fully Loaded if you’re interested: