Best of RAW Vol. 1

best of raw 1 and 2

DVD Release Date: August 7, 2001

MATCH #1: WWF Championship Match – Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Mr. McMahon, RAW is WAR #255, 4.13.98

Austin has been the Champion since 3.29.98, and this is his first defense. Before the match McMahon reminds Austin that he said he could beat McMahon with one arm tied behind his back. Austin goes along with it and McMahon continues to stall, and before any contact can be made, Dude Love comes out to try and make peace. McMahon shoves the Dude down, and when Love goes after McMahon with the Love Handle, Austin interjects himself and he tastes the Love Handle instead. Love beats Austin down as McMahon gets held back by referees and his son Shane. Obviously no match really happened here (so it has to be rated a DUD), but this angle snapped an 82-week ratings losing streak, and it’s one of the best built matches in the history of the company, so all in all it’s pretty awesome.
Rating: DUD

MATCH #2: Stone Cold Steve Austin & a mystery partner vs. The Rock & D’Lo Brown, RAW is WAR #259, 5.11.98

Mr. McMahon announces himself as Austin’s partner, and he’s dressed in his referee gear. Austin is furious and starts the match out hot, beating up everyone in sight, including McMahon’s stooges Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco. Rock finally slows Austin down with a shot to the eyes, and the Nation takes over. It doesn’t last long as Austin takes Brown down with a Thesz Press. Brown sidesteps a charging Austin and sends him to the floor, where Patterson takes a cheap shot. Austin refuses to stay down and continually fights up on everyone. Rock reverses a whip out on the floor and sends Austin into the steel steps. Back in the ring Rock hits the People’s Elbow for a two-count. Every time Austin tries to fight back something works against him, even his own partner. Brown misses the ‘Lo Brown and Austin seems to be going for a tag but flips McMahon the bird instead. Austin gets a second wind and beats on both Nation members, hitting Brown with the Stunner. He throws Rock to the floor, and then McMahon surprises Austin with a big clothesline. Patterson and Brisco come in to assist with the beating, and Dude Love comes out as well. I suppose that’s a no-contest at around 8:18. That match was hot thanks to Austin and McMahon being involved, and it was fun to see Rock and Austin facing each other this early in Rock’s stardom – you could see the chemistry was already there.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #3: Street Fight – Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Pat Patterson & Gerald Brisco, RAW is WAR #260, 5.18.98

Sgt. Slaughter is the special guest referee here, and he takes a cheap shot before the bell to give the Stooges the advantage. Of course it doesn’t last long, and Austin is soon stomping mudholes in everyone and walking them dry. Austin hits Brisco with a Stunner, and then gives Patterson a taste as well. Slaughter tries the Cobra Clutch but Austin gets out of it and hits him with a Stunner too! Dude Love runs out and Austin clotheslines him right to the floor. Austin follows him out and a “fan” in a mask jumps the rail and hits Austin with a chair. Of course the “fan” turns out to be Mr. McMahon, and he helps Dude beat Austin down. I guess this is another no-contest around 4:15, and it wasn’t much of a match but the crowd was going banana and it was an effective way to build towards the upcoming title match.
Rating: *

MATCH #4: Hell in a Cell Match – Undertaker & Stone Cold vs. Kane & Mankind, RAW is WAR #264, 6.15.98

Paul Bearer, Mankind and Kane are in the ring waiting to see if Austin & Undertaker would accept their challenge. After a few minutes Austin’s music hits and he makes his way down. Undertaker’s music plays but he’s nowhere to be found. Mankind gets tired of waiting so he charges Austin on the floor and eats the cage a couple of times for his trouble. Austin and Kane fight up the ramp and Mankind comes up to join them. Paul Bearer locks himself in the ring to stay safe, but little does he know that Undertaker was under the ring! Undertaker starts pounding on Bearer, but Kane and Mankind can’t come to his aid because the door is locked. Kane climbs to the top of the cell while Austin and Mankind brawl on the entrance ramp. Kane keeps trying to pull the cage roof apart but he can’t make it in. Bearer is bleeding pretty badly now. Austin levels Mankind with the WWE Title belt. Gee Kane, why don’t you just rip the door off the hinges like the last time you idiot? Austin cracks Mankind in the back with a steel chair. He then hits him right the face with the same chair. Undertaker grabs the steel steps and hits Bearer in the head with them. Austin climbs to the top of the cell to pummel Kane. The crowd is going ballistic. The show goes off the air with no winner at around 5:05. Well it was hardly a match, as the only two people who fought in the cage were Undertaker and Paul Bearer (which was more of a butt-kicking, really), and Undertaker never even came in contact with his two actual opponents. That being said, it was a great segment to close Raw and did a good job setting up for the pay-per-view and was just good chaos.
Rating: **½

MATCH #5: Intercontinental Title Match – The Rock vs. X-Pac, RAW is WAR #269, 7.20.98

Rock has been the Champion since 12.8.97, and this is his seventh defense. All the members of D-X and The Nation come to the ring and we have a big brawl before the match can get underway. Order is restored and only Chyna is left at ringside. X-Pac starts off hot but cools down when Rock avoids a charge in the corner and levels the challenger with a clothesline. Rock hits a vicious Stun Gun for a two-count. He dumps X-Pac to the floor and follows him out to continue the beating. Back in the ring X-Pac tries to fight up but Rock catches him in a Samoan Drop for a near-fall. Rock hits a swinging neckbreaker for another two-count. The People’s Champ hits The People’s Elbow but X-Pac somehow kicks out. X-Pac is able to hit an X-Factor out of desperation and both men are down. Finally X-Pac rolls over to make the cover but Rock is able to kick out. X-Pac hits the Bronco Buster but then runs right into a powerslam. Rock gets a near-fall from that. He charges and X-Pac is able to sidestep him and throw him to the floor. Chyna is lurking around with the Intercontinental belt, and she gets up on the apron to blast Rock in the face with his own belt! X-Pac drapes his arm over but Rock kicks out! The crowd absolutely bought that. Referee Tim White gets bumped and all hell breaks loose. D-Lo Brown comes out, and Triple H follows. HHH takes care of D-Lo, and then nails Rock with a Pedigree! X-Pac makes the cover, but referee Jimmy Korderas comes in and explains what happened, and they declare Rock the winner by disqualification at 9:44. That was a fun match but that finish can blow me. It’s entirely inconsistent with the history of refereeing. At least the match built heat towards the pay-per-view, and that was the ultimate goal then.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #6: No Disqualification Match – Undertaker vs. Mankind, RAW is WAR #277, 9.14.98

Mankind comes out with a ladder and a sledgehammer. Undertaker has his own sledgehammer, and for some reason Tim White takes Mankind’s away before the bell. It’s a no DQ match! I hate stuff like that. Even with no weapon Mankind attacks Undertaker first with the mandible claw and they go to the floor. A dumpster (not Duke Droese) is hanging out at ringside, and Mankind whips Undertaker into it. Undertaker fights back and targets Foley’s hands, one of which was previously injured and the other of which does the mandible claw. He slams the stairs on Foley’s claw hand. Undertaker leans a table up against the ring post and hurls Mankind through it. The Dead Man is in complete control here. Kane is now watching on from ringside. Mankind loses his mask and continues getting beat on by the vicious Undertaker. Luckily for Mankind he avoids getting smashed in the face with a sledgehammer, but then he runs into Kane, who throws Mankind into the timekeeper’s table. Mankind finds a chair and finally gets some shots in, but Undertaker kicks the chair right back in his face. Undertaker delivers a Chokeslam, and then hits a Tombstone on the chair. He looks to crush Mankind with a sledgehammer, but The Rock emerges from the dumpster and saves Mankind, drawing Kane and Undertaker away from the match. That’s a no-contest at about 7:39, but damn that was brutal. I remember how much fun the Attitude Era was, but if Foley was taking this kind of beating on a weekly basis no wonder things couldn’t continue on like that.
Rating: **½

MATCH #7: Handicap Match – The Rock, Mankind & Ken Shamrock vs. Undertaker & Kane, RAW is WAR #279, 9.28.98

Shamrock attacks Mankind right away, and then The Rock makes his way out to fight The World’s Most Dangerous Man. Mankind, Shamrock, and Rock are partners in this match but they all hate each other. This is a cool dynamic. Undertaker’s music hits and the Brothers of Destruction break up the fight going on between their opponents. Kane and Undertaker isolate the Rock, and Mankind and Shamrock finally agree to work together against the bigger threat. Rock fights back on Kane and makes the tag to Mankind, who fights hard against the Big Red Monster. Things stay chaotic, as the team that has the one-man advantage can’t stop fighting each other long enough to stay in control. The brawl spills to the floor and Mankind is getting tossed around. Kane and Undertaker work on Mankind for several minutes, as Rock and Shamrock somehow coexist on the apron. Kane blasts Mankind with a steel chair to the head. Back in the ring Mankind is finally able to fight back with a Double-Arm DDT, and tags are made. Rock and Undertaker come in and Rock is a house afire. Finally Rock, Shamrock, and Mankind start working together, and Shamrock traps Undertaker in the Ankle Lock! Kane quickly breaks that up. Rock tags back in and Shamrock takes Kane out to the floor, and Mankind joins them. Meanwhile Rock is able to hit Undertaker with the Rock Bottom to score the pin at 12:51! That was so unique and so much fun to watch. Between the actual match and the Rock/Shamrock/Mankind trio fighting each other, the action never stopped and the crowd was hot.
Rating: ***½

MATCH #8: First Round Tournament Match – Mankind vs. Mark Henry, RAW is WAR #281, 10.12.98

This is part of the tournament to crown a new Intercontinental Champion after Triple H was too injured to defend and had to vacate the title. Chyna makes her way out to keep an eye on Mark Henry, as they’ve been involved in a storyline for a few weeks now. Mankind starts the match hot but Henry cuts him off with a vicious clothesline and a press slam. Henry delivers a splash right on Mankind’s ankle, and then continues to work on it. He goes to the second rope for another splash but Mankind is able to avoid it. Mankind hits the Double-Arm DDT, and then puts Mr. Socko on during a match for the first time. He uses it for the Mandible Claw, and Henry is done at 3:19. That was more historically significant than good, but it really wasn’t bad for three minutes.
Rating: *½

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About Jake Ziegler

I've been in love with the movies for almost 20 years. I follow the Oscars obsessively, and try to see as many movies a year as I can. I'll watch anything good bad or otherwise, and my life long dream job has always been to be a bona fide film critic. View all posts by Jake Ziegler

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