From the Bowery: The Attitude Era (Blu-Ray: Disc One)
Posted by Robert Leighty Jr. on 01.17.2013
Welcome back the scratch logo!
From the Bowery: WWE The Attitude Era (Blu-Ray Disc One)
-I am rather looking forward to this set because some of this stuff will be new to me since I was on the WCW side of the Monday Night War (thanks to my allegiance to Hulk Hogan). Obviously I flipped back and forth enough but I definitely missed out on more WWF (RAW) stuff from this time period.
-Quickly we cover WWF selling out MSG in the 70s and then Hogan dominating the 80s. That brings us to the early 90s where the WWF struggles and they actually mention the steroid trial with footage from ESPN. Things soon started to trend upward in mid to late 90s.
-The various talking heads call it a cultural revolution that the WWF was caught up in and Road Dogg mentions that America was pushing the envelope and the rest of the world watched.
-Foley mentions that Attitude Era started when Vince held a meeting where he told everyone they had to put more of themselves into their characters and turns thins up a bit. We get a little bit of the now famous McMahon pre-taped announcement on RAW (Dec 15, 1997) where he basically tells the audience that the days of good guys vs. bad guys is over and the era of the hero telling you to take your vitamins is passé. The main point is that everyone says you have to evolve with the times or you will get left behind. 95% of the current roster and staff should probably watch this over and over again until it is beaten into their heads.
-Next up we talk about the Monday Night Wars and the standard story of WWF fighting against a billion dollar company that was stealing their top stars. As they say history is written by he who wins the war. After getting their ass kicked, the WWF started to give guys freedom to do whatever they could to get over with the crowd. Today if you do that you end up struggling to change a tire while running from a monster.
-The set of RAW is changed and we get the debut of the Tron. That leads to talk about the music and how that was a huge part of connecting with the crowd. Specifically we discuss The New Age Outlaws and the spiel done by The Road Dogg. He looks back and is amazed he had that many people in the palm of his hands. The Mother Fucking Brood is mentioned and their kick ass music and entrance. Christian mentions that he still gets asked about the brood to this day. We also discuss the Oddities and Too Cool’s dancing with Rikishi. The dancing got Rikishi over to a scary level before the heel turn fucked things for him.
-They play the first Attitude Commercial which features Bret Hart before he was screwed from the company. You know the one:“try lacing my boots.” Yeah, that one!
-HHH and Shawn were pushing for an edgier product and they finally got the green light and that led to DX. Lots of DX fun here, and soon The Outlaws join the group and that put them way over the top. The Outlaws joining HHH and X-Pac the night after Mania is still pretty awesome. Now we get everyone blowing DX and we again cover them invading Nitro including Bischoff comments from a previous release in 2002. You have heard all of this on seemingly a hundred DVD releases, but you kind of have to include them on this one as well. I call bullshit on whoever on this set called them the most important group to a TV show’s success since the Horsemen. The nWo basically built WCW! Foley thinks they went too far with DX, and Road Dogg doesn’t so that’s both sides of the story.
-Finally they get to the real star of the Attitude Era: Stone Cold Steve Austin. “You want mercy; take your ass to church.” Not shockingly Foley is all about giving Austin all the credit in the world and discussion of Austin/McMahon comes next. Vince Russo pops up and says the everyman sitting on the couch could relate to Austin. The Austin/McMahon stuff was just so brilliant in the early days, and the fact I am sitting here with a smile on my face as they burn through some of their best moments shows how timeless that feud will always be.
-Austin/McMahon was pulling the cart, but other stories on the undercard were keeping audiences engaged. Big Show mentions everything on RAW had a purpose at the time and the goal was to get the audience to invest in emotional storylines. They show hi-lights of the Kane/Taker saga, The Greater Power, and the Steph heel turn. Holy piss did I forget how great Steph looked in those early days of her heel turn.
-Big Show brings up his feud with The Bossman and the death of his “father.” He liked the storyline because it gave people a chance to see the range his character had.
-JBL brings up that he wanted to create a Hardcore Division, and Russo saw the idea and somehow turned it into the Brawl for All. Hell yeah! On paper they all thought it was a good idea and nobody knew Bart Gunn was that good as he ran through everyone in the contest before getting his head knocked off by Butterbean. JBL calls it a bad idea because of how many people got hurt.
-Vince presents Mankind with the Hardcore Title, and that brings up his crazy ass shit that he did during the Era. Mark Henry calls him a train wreck and naturally that leads to Hell in a Cell (Pittsburgh, PA! WOOO!). Foley says that he was called by Kevin Sullivan after the match and he told him that he knew the war was over right then and there. Foley knew someone would top his crazy shit by adding athleticism to it.
-That leads to the Hardyz vs. Edge and Christian vs. The Dudleyz and the wars they had with tables, ladders, and chairs. The shit those 6 men came up with during that time was insane and nothing was as cool looking as the mother of all spears at WrestleMania X-7. That is still one of my favorite spots of all time.
-The audience starts to change as more college kids start catching onto the WWE, and that led to a livelier crowd. That includes women flashing the members of DX and sadly that gets blurred out (though the scratch logo finally doesn’t have to be anymore). With horny college males in the crowd, the Divas start to get a lot sexier with the likes of Sunny, Sable, Trish, and Lita. Show mentions that Lita for a time was over more than 99% of the guys on the roster and the reaction she would get rivaled those of the top male stars. Road Dogg mentions he would not have let his kids watch the Divas and Mark Henry says the same thing as he references Terri and Jackie making a sundae on his chest.
-Now we talk about the Godfather, and the very idea of a pimp is fucking genius though so far over the top that you can’t help but laugh. Val Venis pops up and mentions that Vince called him and told him that the character was going to be an adult film star. Christian says the voice is what made the character and Foley can’t believe the stuff that he was allowed to say. Foley also thinks the character brought too much negative stuff to the company and he makes mentions of Kaientai chopping of his dick.
-Foley then brings up Henry making getting a blowjob from a transvestite. Henry laughs at himself and how he is famous for his “sweet Jesus, you have a penis” line. I could barely type that without laughing my ass off. Henry mentions he got people praising him for being so comfortable with his sexuality that it inspired others to be comfortable with their sexuality and their life choices. Always a positive in any situation!
-From time to time the networks and sponsors were kind of turned off by some of the things, but it was nothing as bad as the PTC was saying. Foley and JR take some shots (rightfully so) at the PTC and they do so in a sensible way. JR mentions that they did some things that were in poor taste, but at same time they followed the rating system set forth and they were up front about their rating.
-The Attitude Era boom led to the debut of Sunday Night Heat. JR mentions the benefits of Heat were that other guys could get TV time, they could hype a PPV every 4th Sunday, and promote RAW the following night. SmackDown debuts a year later, and for the first time wrestling is on Broadcast TV on a weekly basis.
-With broadcast TV they decided to introduce more comedy and first thing we discuss is the Henry/Mae Young pregnancy angle. Mark Henry really did deserve that World Title run he got and probably deserves another one for all the crazy shit they made him do. Mark says he often asks Vince why a hand and Vince just says “because it’s a hand” and laughs. Mark is still confused to this day and frankly so am I.
-More comedy fun with Head Cheese, Big Show’s various impersonations, and of course all the funny shit that the Rock brought to the table. His God talking to Billy Gunn promo is shown and it’s still hilarious.
-The APA was born and Ron Simmons loved the idea of getting paid to drink beer and play cards backstage. Road Dogg calls Simmons a man among men and calls their matches with the APA the most physical of his career. Back to the Brood and the blood baths which I enjoyed for some reason.
-Kurt Angle gets his own little segment as they mention he wasn’t afraid to make fun on himself because at the end of the day he was a bad ass Olympic Gold Medalist and could kick your ass. True that!
-Finally, we get to the 2nd biggest star of the Era: The Rock. Big Show gets a great line as he says The Rock could probably wake up comas patients with all the charisma and electricity he had. Mark Henry tells a great story of Rock taking pictures with women at the rental car places to get a free rental car. Awesome!
-Rock mentions he wanted to lead the pack and Austin didn’t want to be second and thus we get quite possibly the greatest rivalry in the history of the WWE. I would pay a shit load of money to see those two at WrestleMania one more time.
-Big Show mentions how cut throat the locker room was at the time and if you couldn’t hang then the guys in the back would eat you alive. Honestly, I don’t think that is a bad thing as you had to be on your game and if you weren’t, you were getting left behind.
-Now talk shifts to the celebrities and athletes that popped up during the Attitude Era. My fiancé will be happy to see that the Pittsburgh Steelers get a shout-out. Mike Tyson pops up as a talking head and states how much of a fan he was.
-With Nitro pre-empted due to the NBA playoffs, The Stooges vs. The Mean Street Posse set a record rating with a tag match on RAW. It only lasted a few months before “Rock: This is Your Life” blew everything out of the water. Awesome! McMahon was pissed as they were supposed to go 14 minutes and it ended up going to 26 minutes. Vince should have realized it was gold once Rock dropped “poontang you ass out of here” on the world.
-The WWE goes public in 1999, and then the War ends in 2001 when they buy WCW followed by the purchase of ECW. Foley doesn’t think anyone saw it as the end of the Attitude Era but it did give everyone in the WWE a chance to step back and breath and that hurt them.
-Everyone wraps things up with final thoughts as they put over how awesome the era was (it was), and how big the stars were at the time (they were).
-JR interviews Goldust and Marlena on RAW (Nov 3, 1997): One of the sit down interviews JR was doing at the time and it was this interview that sparked the Goldust heel turn as he turns his back on his wife, hooks up with Luna, and goes off the rails as a character (which says a lot considering where the character came from).
-RAW: Dec 15, 1997: This is the night after the DX PPV, and The Rock is standing in the ring waiting for Austin to bring him the IC Title. Austin pops up on the Titantron and throws an oxygen tank and snorkel off a bridge into a river. He also includes a pager and a cell phone right before tossing the IC Title off the bridge. Great moment though they don’t include the awesome sequence later in the night when Rock checks his pager and then gets his ass kicked by Austin.
-Solider of Love: RAW: May 4, 1998: The very first Val Venis vignette and it’s a great one as it includes Jenna Jameson just to make sure everyone knew where they were going with the character.
-RAW: Nov 2, 1998: Mr. McMahon presents Mankind with the Hardcore Title, and it is rather touching.
-Sunday Night Heat: July 25, 1999: JR does a sit down interview with HHH where he gives his famous promo that basically let the world know he was getting the rocket push for the rest of the summer. It’s the promo where the nickname “The Game” is coined.
-An Evening at the Friendly Tap: SmackDown: Jan 20, 2000: The New Age Outlaws head to the Friendly Tap (owned by ref Tim White). The APA head down and as you would expect a brawl erupts between the two teams.
-Mae Young and the APA: SmackDown: Jan 27, 2000: Mae and Mark make out backstage as the Holly cousins watch on in disgust. Hardcore insults Mae and that leads to a brawl where Mae gets knocked down (she was pregnant at the time). Mark takes Mae to the APA so they can protect her while he takes on Hardcore. Mae joins in on the card game and wins all their money, smokes their cigars, and drinks their beer. She eventually uses her winnings to pay the APA to destroy the Hollys during their No DQ Match with Mark Henry.
-“The Jug Band”: Judgment Day: May 21, 2000: Edge and Christian do an epic 5 second pose with Kurt Angle before their match with Too Cool in Louisville. These guys were perfect together!
-Triple H trains Trish Stratus: SmackDown: July 27, 2000: HHH gets booked into a tag match with Trish and she asks him to show her some moves to prepare. Steph walks in as HHH has Trish bent over in a hammerlock. Awesome!
-Edge’s Totally Awesome Birthday: RAW: Oct 30, 2000: The entire epic multi backstage segment of Angle, Edge, and Christian celebrating Edge’s birthday while annoying a flu ridden Steph and a concerned HHH. Too many great quotes in this one to name, but Edge and Christian steal the show as they play theme music with kazoos and spout off one liners as only they can.
-RAW: Dec 4, 2000: The Rock cuts a promo backstage as he does an impression of the 5 other guys in the Armageddon: Hell in a Cell Match. Classic Rock here as he does a fantastic HHH and gets away with calling Steph a slut, and he informs us that Austin listens to the Backstreet Boys.
-GTV: All the GTV stuff is included and I believe the payoff was supposed to be Goldust, but it never happened. Some stuff is good and other is a miss. Billy Gunn getting his ass shaved is a definite miss, but Ben Stiller wanting to bury his face in Debra’s puppies is fantastic. GTV also exposed the Mae Young/Mark Henry sexual relationship.
-RAW: March 2, 1998: Mike Tyson joins DX before WrestleMania and you can see that he is having the time of his life in the ring. I miss crowd reactions like what we got here!
-RAW: March 30, 1998: X-Pac jumps back to the WWF the night after WrestleMania XIV and cuts a blistering promo against Bischoff and Hogan. This really was the point when you could see that the WWF was becoming the cool thing and WCW was right fucked until Goldberg bought them a little more time, but the writing was on the wall.
Sable vs. Marvelous Marc Mero RAW: May 11, 1998
-For whatever reason I was never into Sable as much as my friends back in High School. Personally I was a Sunny guy and thought she was so much better looking than the future Mrs. Lesnar. No matter Sable was white hot at this point and the split from Mero was a necessary on screen because she was on a level higher than him. Sable asks for the mic before the bell rings and she bitches at Mero for letting it go this far. Mero gives his retort as he seems more than happy to beat up a woman. He sets her up for the TKO, but puts her back down and lets her know that he could have ended this anytime he wanted. He wants an apology from Sable for ruining his career, but she opts to kick him in the balls. She connects with a Sable Bomb, and I guess that’s that. There was no bell so I guess that means no match. They would eventually get to a match and Mero pulled off a great douche bag heel move to screw Sable in that one.
-Nation of Degeneration: RAW: July 6, 1998: DX comes out with their famous impersonation of The Nation of Domination. This is brilliant stuff, but I will mention that a year earlier the nWo did the same thing with the Horsemen and I think I still prefer their version. Not to say that this isn’t brilliant as The Road Dogg is awesome as B-Lo and Jason Sensation does a hell of an Owen Hart.
Brawl for All: Bart Gunn vs. “Dr Death” Steve Williams RAW: July 27, 1998
-Dr Death was seen as the favorite to win this thing and was just assumed he would run through everyone on his way to a Main Event push. Funny things happen though when you put tough bastards out there in a shoot environment. This is a combination boxing and wrestling as each man comes down wearing some boxing gloves, but takedowns are legal in this one. The scoring is 5 points for a takedown, 10 points for a knockdown, and 5 points for most punches landed in each round. In all this was a 16 man tournament with this bout being a second round contest. There are a maximum of 3 rounds with each lasting 60 seconds. Williams immediately gets a takedown and 5 points which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. They exchange some shots to the body and Gunn starts firing off heavy bombs that don’t connect all that much. The round ends rather quickly and we get a replay of the takedown as each man talks to their corner. The second round begins and Dr. Death again goes for a takedown, but Gunn keeps him at bay with his long reach. The crowd is growing impatient at this point until Gunn gets a shocking takedown to get 5 points of his own as the round ends. The unofficial score says Williams is leading 15-5 in points so I guess he landed the most punches in each previous round. A boring chant starts off the 3rd round and again Gunn gets a takedown to pull closer. Williams seemingly injured his knee with that takedown and soon after Gunn lands some heavy punches with just seconds left in the round. One connects flush and Williams is knocked the fuck out with only 5 seconds left in the bout.
Winner: Bart Gunn via knockout at 55 seconds of Round Three
-No way to rate this, but was fun to see something different. JR seems rather shocked that Williams got knocked out and does all he can to make Dr Death seem like a bigger deal even though he got his ass handed to him.
-The Outlaw rule is in effect in this one as we get to see why the rule was created. Two months earlier they had a similar match and when the Outlaws were both tagged in the match one laid down for the other to save their titles. Before the match can begin Ken Shamrock storms the ring and puts Owen in the ankle lock while The Nation and DX fight on the floor. Steve Blackman also gets involved as he cheers on Shamrock. We take a break and when we come back D-Lo Brown is apparently taking the place of Owen Hart in the match. As a personal note as Taker makes his entrance I want to mention that the version of his theme in this match is my favorite of his run as the Dead Man. Then as Austin makes his entrance he gets an insane reaction from the crowd that you just don’t hear any more today. Austin starts things off with Mankind and it’s a Stone Cold ass kicking from the opening bell. Mankind gets a neckbreaker for two out of nowhere, but then almost gets caught with a Stunner before bailing to the floor. The Rock jumps in, but gets sent packing with a right hand, so Mankind takes another go with Austin. A rake to the eyes stops Austin in his tracks and Mankind makes the tag to D-Lo. He doesn’t fare well as he eats some right hands and then a Thesz press after they seemingly messed up the spot the first time. Austin makes the tag to Kane and poor D-Lo continues to get his ass kicked. Kane does him a favor by tagging in Billy Gunn and since he sucks balls, D-Lo is able to gain a slight advantage. Gunn does show off his power with a press slam and smartly Gunn makes the tag to his partner as you have to be in the ring to get the pin and the titles. Road Dogg hits his shaking knee drop, but a tag is made to Mankind who doesn’t get to do much as the Rock tags himself in the ring. The Rock lays in the boots to the Road Dogg in the corner and then he makes the tag to his partner. D-Lo hits a suplex, but can’t keep the advantage as the tag is made to Billy. He shows off some more power with a standing vertical suplex and gets a two count before Taker breaks up the pin attempt. D-Lo sends the crowd into a fit of joy as he makes the tag to Austin, and after kicking Billy’s ass for a bit he makes the tag to Taker and shit is on now. Mankind goes after Taker just because it’s in his nature. He lands in a few shots which gives Billy a slight reprieve. He smartly makes the tag to Austin and now the tag champs are the two legal men in the match. Instead of beating the hell out of each other they opt to beat the piss out of the Outlaws. Austin makes the tag to the Road Dogg after punching him in the mouth and Taker hits him with what would become Old School. Taker makes the tag to D-Lo and since the fans don’t have Austin or Taker to cheer in the ring, they let the Rock know that he sucks. The Rock gets the tag and he gets a two count off a side Russian legsweep. The tag is made back to D-Lo and for some reason they opt to slow things down as he works a headlock on The Road Dogg. There are that many guys out there and you opt for a rest hold? Thankfully the Dogg works himself out of the hold, but gets caught with a Lo Down for two. The Rock comes back in and preps for the People’s Elbow which was just starting to catch on huge with the crowd. It only gets two though as Austin pulls The Rock off the pin attempt. Mankind gets the tag as the Outlaws have been the whipping boys in this match. Again we slow things down as Mankind works a headlock, and you can see Taker and Austin having a brief conversation with Hebnar for some reason. Mankind spits on Austin which is kind of weird but perhaps they were just messing around with each other for shits and giggles. Mankind knocks Billy off the apron to prevent a tag so the Road Dogg does smartest thing ever and tags in The Undertaker. That brings anyone and everyone into the match as we have mass chaos. Kane gets a chokeslam on Taker in the middle of all the bedlam and that’s enough to get the win and the titles at 14:30. The story after the match is that Taker doesn’t seem all that hurt following the chokeslam and Austin seems rather suspicious that his partner basically handed over the titles to his brother.
Winner and New WWF Tag Team Champions: Mankind and Kane via Kane pin on The Undertaker at 14:30
-Lots of star power in this one, but it ended up being kind of chore to sit through towards the end. The Outlaws getting their asses kicked for the majority of the match was kind of fun, but nothing special here. Still the star power alone is reason why this was included on this disc. **1/4
Lion’s Den Match: Ken Shamrock vs. Owen Hart WWF SummerSlam: Aug 30, 1998
-The Lion’s Den is actually set up in the Theater that was adjacent to Madison Square Garden and there is a rather raucous crowd over there for this one. Dan Severn is there as Owen’s trainer. The Den is basically a version of the octagon, though it has 12 sides and instead of being vertical the cage sides are angled slightly away from the mat. A platform goes around the top of the den to give the camera guys a way to shoot inside the cage without the mesh blocking things. Shamrock quickly lifts Owen off the mat and slams him into the cage. He takes things to the ground and hooks an armbar. Owen gets things back to a vertical base and he sends Shamrock into the cage and then a slam on the canvas. Shamrock gets the mount though and lands some right hands before hitting a belly to back suplex. Owen connects with a low blow (all legal here), and whips Shamrock into the fence, but he just bounces off and hits a clothesline. Shamrock uses Owen’s shirt to choke and sends him to the mat with it. Ken hits a sweet move as he springs off the cage to hit a dropkick. He bounces Owen off the cage again and catches him with a suplex on the way back. Owen finally gains an advantage as he sends Ken head first into the cage and then starts to stomp away. The enziguiri connects and Owen follows that by dropping Shamrock face first onto one of the steel panels. The crowd chants Nugget as they have been white hot for this match. They crowd seemingly gets to Owen as he looks at them and gets caught by Shamrock. They start exchanging blows in the middle of the den and Owen gets caught with a powerbomb after trying a hurricanrana. Both men are showing wounds here as Owen is bleeding from the mouth and Shamrock has a laceration on his head. The fight back to their feet and Owen gets sent to the canvas with a clothesline. A head kick follows, but Ken springs off the cage one too many times as he gets caught coming off with a powerslam in a great spot. Owen hooks in the sharpshooter as the ref (who is on the catwalk above the den) asks Shamrock if he quits. Ken crawls up one of the panels to break the hold and then uses the same panel to deliver a tornado DDT. These men are pulling out some crazy shit with this environment so props to them. Owen uses a Dragon Sleeper (as taught to him by Severn), but again Shamrock uses the cage to escape and he turns things into an armbar and then gets the win as Owen taps out to the ankle lock at 9:16.
Winner: Ken Shamrock via submission at 9:16
-Fun match that was very different and I give props to both men for doing what they could with their new environment. ***1/2
WWF Title Tournament Finals: The Rock vs. Mankind Survivor Series: Nov 15, 1998
-Austin was screwed out of the title 2 months earlier and after some controversy at the previous PPV the title was held up and would be awarded to the winner of this one night tournament. Shane and Vince had reunited earlier in the show to screw Austin out of his chance in the tournament. The Rock was seemingly their next target as Vince had been promising to make Mankind his champion. Lawler and JR take a few shots at WCW for fucking up Halloween Havoc only a few weeks ago when it went off PPV in the middle of the Main Event. For some reason I still got the entire PPV and have it on VHS tape somewhere in my house (or on a converted DVD perhaps). Anyway I guess I should get back to this WWF Title match which is starting out with a whimper. Shane and Vince head down to the ring and they start cheering on Mankind which has to be a good thing for him considering he has the McMahons at ringside of a Survivor Series PPV. The Rock lands a right hand that sends Mankind to the floor with a thud and things pick up as they brawl on the floor. The Rock stalks the McMahons before sending Mankind over the security wall with a belly to back suplex. They fight near the hockey boards and Mankind gets hit in the head with a plastic garbage can. They head back to ringside where Mankind gets backdropped over the railing. Things head back into the ring and once again the action grinds to a halt. The crowd is growing rather restless and can’t blame them as this was a different type of Main Event for them as for a year they have had either Austin, Michaels, or Hart in the closing match on PPV. We go back to the floor and I am begging them to stay there for the rest of the match as things are far more entertaining out there. Mankind hits the Rock with a chair and goes to use the steps, but The Rock uses a chair to smash the steps back into Mick. He then pounds away with the chair on the steps and then blasts Mankind in the head with the chair for good measure. They don’t listen to me however and go back into the ring where again the crowd starts to die before they head back to the floor. Just keep the match out there for the love of God! The announce table gets ripped apart, but doesn’t break when Mankind drops a leg. The mistake was that they used the American table and not the Spanish Table. Everyone knows things made in America are far superior to those made in Mexico. In a scary line considering what we had to see last year with Lawler, JR tells us that he nearly had a heart attack. Things head back into the ring, but it doesn’t last long as the Rock gets sent back over the top and to the floor. Ross begs for them to get sent back into the ring and I beg for them to get back on the floor where they have tools to make this match more entertaining. Mankind heads to the middle rope but misses a dive and crashes through the Spanish Announce Table as this match is all over the place now. They seemingly want to have a kick ass brawl, but keep rolling into the ring just to break the ten count and it’s becoming rather annoying. The People’s Elbow connects to a massive pop in the ring, but it only gets a two count. Mankind gets a double arm DDT out of nowhere and locks in the Mr. Socko assisted Mandible Claw. The Rock starts to fade, but he rallies enough to connect with The Rock Bottom for a close near fall. The Rock glances at Vince and locks in the Sharpshooter as Vince immediately screams for the bell to ring and that gives The Rock his first WWF Title at 17:10. The Rock and the McMahons hug after the match and the crowd is rather pissed. The Rock cuts a promo after the match and beats on Mankind some more just because. The glass shatters and Austin storms the ring and the brawl is on between the 2 biggest stars of the Attitude Era. Austin hits the Stunner as the Rock was still working on a way to sell it in epic fashion. Mankind gets stunned as well for being stupid enough to trust a McMahon.
Winner and New WWF Champion: The Rock via “submission” at 17:10
-This match wasn’t very good though they would eventually mesh and deliver in the coming months. I also think the crowd was kind of pissed by the lack of Austin in the Main Event and it kind of hurt the atmosphere. **
The Rock and The Undertaker vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Mankind RAW: Dec 7, 1998
-This is the go home how for the Rock Bottom PPV and features Lawler and Cole on commentary. The 2 main matches for that show were Rock vs. Mankind and Taker vs. Austin, so they combined them for the Main Event here. Since Mankind isn’t the smartest man in the world he charges into the ring alone and gets his ass handed to him by Taker and Rock. The glass shatters and that gets the attention of Taker and Rock as they charge Austin on the ramp. Things break loose as all four men brawl at ring side and in the chaos Mankind tries to use the stairs, but Taker stops that noise with a chair. The Rock and Austin battle near the announce table for a few minutes as they are doing a solid job of splitting opponents for the PPV. Mankind and Taker have fun tormenting each other on one side of the ring while The Rock and Austin brawl through the crowd and then back near the ring. Inside the ring Mankind eats a chokeslam and it appears that things are finally settling into a normal tag match with Mankind as your future TNA World Champion in peril. The tag is made to the Rock and he lays the smack down in the corner as the crowd chants for Austin. That’s kind of sad as Mankind is getting the shit kicked out of him and the fans are screaming for Austin. That would be the reason for Mankind leaving the WWF in 1998 and Dude Love returning as a heel. Austin has had enough and runs around the outside of the ring just to get in one shot on The Rock. Mankind stems the tide a bit inside the ring as he connects with a neckbreaker on Taker. He can’t make the tag however as Rock cuts him off. The Corporate Elbow follows and even as a heel it draws a nice pop from the crowd. Mankind kicks out and ends up taking a Rock Bottom for hi s trouble. Austin breaks up the pin and that brings in Taker as the brawl is on once again. He brawls on the floor with Austin as the Corporation (Shamrock and The Bossman) hit the ring to attack Mankind and that ends the match at 8:22. Mankind gets handcuffed to the ropes, but no clue what really happens as the camera focuses on the Austin/Taker brawl. Austin gets knocked out with a chair and Taker carries him to the stage below the Titantron. The druids head out and they help Taker tie Austin to his symbol and as it raises to the roof it basically shows Austin being crucified. The WWF took a lot of heat over this angle, but their response was that it wasn’t a cross and was a symbol, but even they can’t be dumb enough to think people would buy that. Taker celebrates as Austin hurls obscenities at him and then we get a Taker voice over letting Austin know he will bury him alive on Sunday. Well that is one way to go home for a PPV.
Winners: Austin and Mankind via DQ at 8:26
-Pretty sure this was included for the closing angle as a way to show just how far the WWE was taking things at the time. The match was mainly a brawl, but had great intensity at times even if it was a throw away match with four of the biggest stars in the WWF at the time. **
-RAW: March 22, 1999: This is the go home show for WrestleMania XV and this moment has been on seemingly every WWE DVD release in history as Austin gives a beer bath to Vince, Shane, and The Rock.
WWF Title: The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin RAW: June 28, 1999
-Austin was CEO of the WWF for a bit and before he lost that power in a ladder match against Vince and Shane, he signed this match and ruled that if anyone from the Corporate Ministry interfered Taker would forfeit the title. Austin’s pop is massive as was the TV rating for this match. As you would expect they immediately start exchanging punches and Austin gets beat down in the corner. Kind of nice to see someone stop a mud hole in Austin in the corner and walk it dry. Austin does hit a Thesz press and drops an elbow for a two count. Taker almost gets caught with the Stunner, but smartly bails to the floor. Well, it seemed smart, but Austin gives chase and they go to work on the floor. They fight over the steps and it ends up being Taker eating the steel as JR makes reference to Carolina BBQ. Back inside the ring Austin gets another near fall off a clothesline, but then charges into a big boot. Paul Bearer blasts Austin in the head with a shoe behind the ref’s back as I resist the urge to quote Austin Powers. Austin gets clotheslined to the floor and Taker follows him to do more damage. Namely he tosses Austin into the stairs as a receipt for earlier in the match. Austin fires back up with some right hands and preps for a piledriver on the floor, but Paul Bearer breaks up that attempt. Austin does get a shot in on Bearer, but Taker blasts him from behind and sends him back into the ring. Taker gets a two count off a whip into the corner that seemingly broke something as the corner made a weird sound when Austin rammed into it. The ropes are still shaking, but they seem to be ok as we’ve seemingly avoided a Rockers/Hart Foundation situation. While Taker bores me with a chinlock, I want to mention that Lawler is fantastic here on commentary as he is still a full on heel and annoys the shit out of JR. He even threatens to replace JR with Cole since he knows Cole can suck up to The McMahons. Too funny! Austin uses a jawbreaker to escape the chinlock and tries the Bret Hart ring post figure four, but Taker kicks off to break. Once again they brawl on the floor and once back in the ring Taker goes right back to the rather loose looking chinlock. Austin seemingly knows they are losing the crowd a bit as he immediately fires back up and we have a collision in the middle of the ring. Taker gets to his feet first, but Austin catches him with some boots. Austin escapes a Tombstone and hits The Stunner, but Paul Bearer pulls the ref out of the ring. Paul eats a right hand from Austin and then back in the ring another Stunner follows and we have a new WWF Champion at 12:03. The Undertaker blasts Austin with the title after the match and that draws some blood.
Winner and New WWF Champion: Steve Austin via pin at 12:03
-Pretty horrible match between the two as they nearly bored what was an extremely hot crowd. The match quality between these two always varied and this one was on the low end of the scale. The clean nature of the finish was nice to see however. *1/2
-RAW: Aug 9, 1999: The Rock heads out and cuts a promo on The Big Show, but he is interrupted by the countdown of the Millennium Clock. As everyone knows that brings out the debuting Chris Jericho to a massive reaction from the Chicago Crowd. This has been on some other releases, but this time it is 100% unedited with nothing blurred out and the original version of Jericho’s theme. This set the standard for what a debut should be and nobody has touched it since. The roar of the crowd when “JERICHO” pops up on the Tron is crazy. The smug look on Jericho’s face as he soaks up the cheer is tremendous and you can tell he was thinking that he was finally home. Jericho and his personality in the WWF were just a natural fit and this moment still gets me excited some 13 and a half years later.
The 411: So far so good, but we still have one more disc to go!