BY RAJ NATION
If you’re familiar at all with Poor Scholars then you’re aware that we have some wrestling fans on the staff. In this week’s edition of the the Poor Scholars WWE Retro Vid of the Week, Poor Scholars’ Raj Nation breaks down a classic Monday Night Raw where Stone Cold Steve Austin stunned nearly the entire roster.
You might not think it from today’s WWE, but there was a time when Monday Night Raw was exciting from start to finish, they didn’t need special lighting and pyros to introduce every character, and when someone said they would kick some ass, they actually did so instead of just talking about it until the next PPV. This was the WWE Stone Cold Steve Austin lived in, and on January 5th, 1998, he opened the show by saying he would raise hell, and did just that for a full two hours.
The Royal Rumble was the next PPV coming up at the end of January, and Stone Cold was destined to win. His popularity increased more and more every week, and fans could sense he was on his way to becoming the top dog in the company. Austin’s ascension was built on kicking ass and taking names. This meant taking down whoever he wanted, whenever he wanted. Well, when you piss off enough people, eventually they get fed up with it.
With the Royal Rumble on the horizon, WWE built the angle that Austin’s antics would have consequences. They billed him as a marked man. The other superstars were sick of him and out to get revenge. Hell, just look at the promo poster:
(Side note: Notice that The Rumble was sponsored by 1-800-COLLECT. Do you think anyone born after 1992 knows what that is?)
It was a perfect story that Austin would go into the 30-man over-the-top-rope battle royale with the deck stacked against him. Against all odds, he didn’t just throw down a full house, he took down the house. On this edition of Monday Night Raw, Stone Cold stunned almost the entire roster. Every match, The Rattlesnake found a way to get into the ring and strike. Remember the shirt he used to wear that said, “Arrive. Raise Hell. Leave.”? That’s exactly what happened.
Each time he stunned someone the crowd loved it. Even though it was repetitive, it was thrilling to witness. In today’s wrestling world, The Shield does this same kind of act but it’s annoying and interrupts the show’s momentum. The great thing about Steve Austin was that he carried the momentum. When The Shield interferes, you change the channel. When Austin interfered, you turned up the volume.
The video clip above offers a snippet of Stone Cold’s stunnerific night. The video below, however, is the full two hours of Raw where you can see him in full hellacious form.