At this point in the “Monday Night Wars” the momentum was entirely in the World Wrestling Federation’s court. NITRO hadn’t won a head-to-head week since the night after Halloween Havoc ’98 on October 26, 1998 (when they re-aired the previous nights PPV main event for free) and would never defeat Monday Night RAW again. By this night the ratings spread was only growing wider, with RAW winning some weeks by a 2-to-1 margin.
On this particular night, however, NITRO was preempted thanks to NBA Playoff coverage on TNT. Unopposed the WWF would throw everything they had at the fans, garnering an 8.1 rating, the highest of the “Monday Night Wars”, and cementing the WWF’s position as the number one wrestling company in the world.
But just how well does this legendary edition of RAW hold up? Let’s hit ‘play’ and find out!
Edits, for those wondering, are few and far between. In respect to context, the Network has ya covered! All previous editions of RAW, SmackDown!, and Sunday Night Heat (added just this past week), as well as all prior PPVs, are currently available on the Network for you to enjoy right now!
WWF Monday Night RAW #311 (WATCH)
Date: May 10, 1999 – Location: Orlando Arena, Orlando, Florida
Attendance: 12, 652 – TV Rating: 8.1 (>10 million viewers)
Commentators: Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler – Interviews: Michael Cole
CHAMPIONS AT THE TIME
WWF Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin
WWF Intercontinental Champion: The Godfather
WWF World Tag Team Champions: Kane & X-Pac
WWF European Champion: Shane McMahon (DEACTIVATED)
WWF Hardcore Champion: Al Snow
WWF Women’s Champion: Sable
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Gillberg
The show opens with a recap of the Corporate Ministry/Union brawl from last week’s RAW as well as The Ministry decimating The Rock and WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin. Next we go “live” to the back of the Orlando Arena where Shane McMahon and the Corporate Ministry are arriving. On the other side of the building Vince McMahon and his Union, two-by-fours in hand, are themselves arriving to the Orlando Arena. Both groups look ready for a fight!
We get the classic RAW is WAR opening next. In the arena the pyro goes off and Jim Ross welcomes us to the show.
— “Grudge Match” (WATCH – 3:06)
WWF Tag Team Champion Kane vs. “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn
Billy Gunn’s doomed singles push was in full swing here. Kane dominates almost this entire match until Gunn goes after Kane’s knee. In the end Kane, his left leg caught in the ropes, is stuck hanging upside down as “Mr. Ass” kicks the stuffing out of “The Big Red Machine” when Road Dogg and X-Pac make the save. Road Dogg and Billy Gunn brawl to the back while X-Pac tries to free Kane. Suddenly D’Lo Brown and Mark Henry, challenging for Kane and X-Pac’s Tag Team titles in two weeks at Over the Edge ’99, run down and start brawling with the Champions.
NO WINNER declared (No Contest, 5:10)
In the back we see both the Union and the Corporate Ministry, in different areas of the building, heading toward ringside.
After a break we see Monica Seles, on the eve of her final Grand Slam final at the 1998 French Open, doing her best seal impression in the crowd.
The Union (Test, Mankind, Ken Shamrock, Big Show, and Mr. McMahon), led to the ring by three “riot police”, come out next. Mr. McMahon calls out Shane, saying Shane’s “turned your back on your entire family” and telling Shane to face the Union.
The Ministry (Undertaker, Shane McMahon, Big Boss Man, Faarooq, Bradshaw, Triple H, Rodney, Pete Gas, Viscera, Paul Bearer, and Chyna) is out next. Shane tells Mr. McMahon he doesn’t “need your family, I’ve got my own family, the Corporate Ministry!” Shane says after the Ministry destroys the Union “it will all be mine!”
As the two factions look to be headed to a brawl WWF Commissioner Shawn Michaels, from San Antonio, appears on the TitanTron and adds Mr. McMahon as a guest referee for the Austin/Undertaker Over the Edge ’99 main event before changing the RAW card as well. HBK announces a “lumberjack” match pitting Faarooq against Bradshaw with The Union as lumberjacks; a “nightstick on a pole” match between Test and Big Boss Man; Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco against Pete Gas and Rodney in a “loser leaves WWF forever” match; Ken Shamrock versus Chyna; Big Show against Paul Bearer, with Undertaker’s Over the Edge ’99 title shot on the line should the Ministry interfere; a 2-on-1 hardcore handicap match pitting Viscera and Mideon against Cactus Jack; Debra challenging Sable for the Women’s title in an “evening gown” match, with Sable stripped of the title if she doesn’t show up; and a 6-man tag team main event pitting The Undertaker, Triple H, and Shane McMahon versus The Rock, WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Mr. McMahon!
Michaels thinks about who the referee should be when Shane says he’s running the show. HBK then reveals Pat Patterson to be one of the three “riot policemen” and Gerald Brisco as another before revealing himself, Shawn Michaels, as the final “officer”. HBK strips off the riot gear and announces that he, the WWF Commissioner, will act as guest referee for the 6-man tag team main event.
After a break we see a WWF Rewind from last week of Paul Bearer passing Undertaker a baseball bat that “The Dead Man” smashes over the head of Big Show.
— “Grudge Match” – If Corporate Ministry Interferes Undertaker Forfeits WWF Championship Match at Over the Edge ’99 (WATCH – 23:13)
Special Guest Commentator: WWF Commissioner Shawn Michaels
The Big Show vs. Paul Bearer
Bearer takes forever to get to the ring until HBK drags Bearer to the ring. Show hits a big boot and an elbow drop before asking HBK to waive the interference stipulation. HBK agrees and Undertaker comes out but stops short of the ring. Show drops another elbow on Bearer as the rest of the Ministry hit the ring and beat the bejabbers out of Big Show to end the match at 2:51 until Test, Mankind, and Ken Shamrock, trusty two-by-fours in hand, make the save.
NO WINNER declared (No Contest, 2:51)
Backstage we see Debra and Sable getting ready for their forthcoming “evening gown” match.
— WWF Women’s Championship – “Evening Gown Match” (WATCH – 29:40)
Special Guest Commentator: WWF Commissioner Shawn Michaels
Debra vs. Sable(c) w/Nicole Bass
Just as the bell rings Val Venis walks out and begins chatting with Debra when Sable comes up from behind and rips Debra’s dress off to win the match at 51-seconds. Nicole Bass starts to stalk Venis, who ends up walking into a Jeff Jarrett guitar shot. Michael Cole then tries to interview Sable in the ring when HBK interrupts the interview and says the woman who has her dress ripped off should be the winner and awards the Women’s title to Debra, ending Sable’s lone Women’s Championship reign at 176-days. This would be Debra’s first and last Women’s title win in the WWF.
WINNER and NEW WWF Women’s Champion, Debra (0:51)
Next we see The Rock, Mr. McMahon, and Stone Cold getting ready for the main event later tonight.
After a break we see Shane McMahon giving Triple H and The Undertaker a “talk”.
As Test makes his way to the ring we see footage from last week’s RAW of Test defeating Mideon, Boss Man, and Viscera in a four-corners match before being beaten down by the trio.
— “Nightstick on a Pole Match” (WATCH – 37:08)
Test vs. The Big Boss Man
This is a “pole” match, so it’s already got that going against it. We have Vince Russo to thank for this slow, boring match. In the end Test gets the nightstick but Boss Man uses an expandable baton to get the nightstick from Test. When Test goes for a mid-ring sunset flip Boss Man gloms Test in the face with the nightstick and scores the pin at 7:03.
WINNER is The Big Boss Man (Pin, 7:03)
In the back we see Cactus Jack looking for plunder before settling on two basketballs as he makes his way to the ring.
After a break Michael Cole interviews Val Venis who tells Jeff Jarrett that Debra secretly want the “Big Valbowski” and challenges Jarrett to a match to prove that “the guitar shot will never measure up to the money shot!”
— “2-on-1 Hardcore Handicap Match” (WATCH – 47:18)
Viscera & Mideon vs. Cactus Jack
This was the first time many in the WWF had seen “Cactus Jack” since the night after WrestleMania XIV and would be one of the last times fans would see the gimmick until Royal Rumble 2000. Cactus, as usual, takes a few incredible bumps, including a Viscera belly-to-belly on the floor, and a viscous chair shot to the face. In the end Cactus Jack knocks Viscera off the ring apron with a low blow before hitting a Viscera with a diving steel chair shot from the apron for the pin at 4:35.
WINNER is Cactus Jack (Pin, 4:35)
Backstage Michael Cole interviews Chyna about her upcoming bout with Ken Shamrock. Chyna says she gets moody “every 28-days”. “Ya see, Kenny, tonight the balls are in my court, and I just might rip ’em off and step on ’em!”
After a break we see a “Lethal Weapon” Steve Blackman vignette.
As The Union surround the ring Faarooq grabs the mic and says that he and Bradshaw won’t fight for “that punk ass” HBK’s “amusement” and says that if there was a fight everyone knows who would win, which Bradshaw takes umbrage with. “Hey, Faarooq, last six months, every night I’ve proven I can out-drink you,” Bradshaw says. “Don’t make me beat your ass to prove I can out-fight you.” Bradshaw says they have a “heck of a team. Don’t make me ruin it by handin’ you your ass!”
— “Lumberjack Match” – Members of The Union Are the Lumberjacks (WATCH – 55:16)
Bradshaw vs. Faarooq
Both men throw punches to start the match before momentum swings back-and-forth moment by moment. It’s a stiff, decent fight while it lasts with both guys taking advantage of the “lumberjacks”. In the end the two fall to the mat throwing punches at one another until Mideon, Viscera, and Boss Man come out to break it up when The Union climbs in the ring. Bradshaw and Faarooq flee at 2:32 to end the match while Viscera is left behind to be beaten with The Union’s two-by-fours.
NO WINNER declared (No Contest, 2:32)
Backstage we see Brisco and Patterson, each talking about the great foes they’ve “beaten” (in particular Ric Flair), making their way to the ring.
As The Mean Street Posses walk to the ring we see footage from last week’s RAW where The Stooges beat the bejabbers out of the Posse.
— Tag Team Match – “Losing Team Must Leave the WWF Forever” (WATCH – 1:02:02)
The Mean Street Posse (Pete Gas & Rodney) vs. Pat Patterson & Gerald Brisco
Brisco and Patterson come out to Hulk Hogan’s WWF music and do the Hogan posing routine before coming to the ring. The Posse jump the Stooges and leave Patterson on the floor as they beat up Brisco in the ring. As Gas attempts to lash Brisco with his belt Patterson sneaks in and gloms both Gas and Rodney with his riot police helmet. In the end Brisco cinches Gas in the figure four leglock as Patterson bends Rodney in half with the Boston crab for the duel submission at 2:10. After the match Patterson (sans shirt) and Brisco do more Hulk posing.
WINNERS are Pat Patterson & Gerald Brisco (Submission, 2:10)
Backstage Michael Cole interviews Ken Shamrock who says that he was raised not to strike a woman and he feels “backed into a corner” in his match with Chyna, not knowing what will happen.
Up next is an Austin/Undertaker promo for Over the Edge ’99.
As Jeff Jarrett makes his way to the ring we see a replay of Jarrett crushing Venis with a guitar shot earlier in the evening. In the ring Jarrett tells Venis to “bring it on, pal!”
— “Grudge Match” (WATCH – 1:09:01)
Val Venis vs. Jeff Jarrett w/WWF Women’s Champion Debra
These two fight on the outside of the ring for the first several minutes until Jarrett takes the match to the ring where a pretty decent wrestling match breaks out, the best of the night by far. In the end Debra takes her top off and distracts Val, who drops from the top rope to embrace Debra. Jarrett takes Debra’s Women’s title and hits Val as the “Big Valbowski” turns around to score the 1-2-3 at 8:03.
WINNER is Jeff Jarrett w/WWF Women’s Champion Debra (Pin, 8:03)
Before the break we see Shamrock and Chyna walk towards the ring for their forthcoming match.
After the break we see a Beaver Cleavage skit where “Ms. Beaver” cleans a cut on the Beav’s knee. “When it comes to working on your knees,” ol’ Beaver says, “my mom is the expert.”
As Chyna and Triple H come to the ring we see footage of Triple H defeating Shamrock last week on RAW thanks to Chyna’s repeated interference.
— “Intergender Match” (WATCH – 1:19:50)
Chyna w/Triple H vs. “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” Ken Shamrock
This isn’t a match. Shamrock refuses to fight Chyna until she hits him three times. As Shamrock goes for Chyna Triple H attacks. Shamrock eventually takes out Triple H and lands a belly-to-belly on Chyna before coming to his senses and fleeing in disgust.
NO WINNER declared (No Contest, 0:00)
Backstage we see Rock, Mr. McMahon, and Stone Cold Steve Austin walking through the arena in one area while a calm, smiling Shawn Michaels walks through a separate part of the building.
— “6-Man Tag Team Grudge Match” (WATCH – 1:23:10)
Special Guest Referee: WWF Commissioner Shawn Michaels
The Corporate Ministry (Triple H, The Undertaker, & WWF European Champion Shane McMahon) w/Chyna vs. Vince McMahon, The Rock, & WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin
This is nothing short of a brawl. While Rock and Triple H fight up the ramp Shane and Undertaker destroy Vince McMahon in and out of the ring until Austin comes out and brawls with Undertaker. There is action everywhere! In the end everybody starts hitting their big moves in the ring. Shane lands a few elbows on Vince before walking into a Stunner from Austin as Vince goes for the win. Austin pulls Vince off so he can hit a second Stunner on Shane and score the fall himself at 4:37.
WINNERS are The Rock, Mr. McMahon, & WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin (Pin, 4:37)
After the match Austin celebrates in the ring with HBK and some “Steveweisers” as JR shouts about the WWF title match at Over the Edge ’99 in two weeks time and the show fades to black.
While it may not be a classic night of wrestling this edition of RAW is a relentless “Attitude Era” assault on all the senses that is as great a time capsule for both the greatness of the “Attitude Era” and its faults as there is. If you haven’t seen it before, or it’s been a while, it’s well worth your time!
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Thanks for reading – until next week, see ya at ringside!
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