In Honor Of Tonight's RAW 1000, The Definitive Timeline Of WWE's Victory In The Monday Night Wars (w/ VIDEO)
January 19, 1998 - Tyson Meets Austin
When the WWF had their first big boom period in the mid-80's, it was spurred on by mainstream media coverage of the "Rock and Wrestling Connection." Cyndi Lauper showing up on WWF television, MTV televising Wendi Richter versus Fabulous Moolah, then televising Piper versus Hogan, then Mr. T getting into the mix. The WWF was all over mainstream television and it made the WWF a global juggernaut. Thirteen years later, Vince decided to sign Mike Tyson to play and "enforcer's" role at Wrestlemania, Steve Austin took exception, came out and picked a fight, and ESPN and CNN took it from there. The confrontation ran on news and highlight shows everywhere. If Twitter had existed, the top three trending topics would have been Tyson, Austin, and Jim Ross. It was no longer IF the WWF would retake the lead in the Monday Night ratings war, but WHEN.
March 30, 1998 - Sean Waltman returns and joins DX
X Pac joins DX by rvdrocks
The night after Wrestlemania is historically one of the most intriguing nights of WWF television of the year, as it typically sets in motion some new storylines. The night after Wrestlemania XIV saw the return of Sean Waltman (X-Pac/1-2-3 Kid) to the WWF after a little over a year in WCW. This was significant because, unlike Jarrett, X-Pac was an original "Kliq" member, an F.O.H.A.N (Friend of Hall and Nash) if there ever was one. Despite Nash's and Hall's influence behind the scenes, WCW president Eric Bischoff was not a big fan of Waltman's and let him walk. Waltman, not known for being a craftsman on the microphone, let Bischoff have it in maybe his best promo ever. (Awkward love triangle alert! In this video, Chyna was still dating Triple H, but after Trips left her for Stephanie McMahon, Chyna wound making one of the most disturbing sex tapes in the disturbing history of sex tapes with...SEAN WALTMAN! The creatively titled "One Night In Chyna," which held the crown for nastiest thing on the web until very recently, when the pictures of the guy whose face got eaten by a bath salts zombie were leaked.)
April 13, 1998 - Austin vs McMahon
83 weeks. That's how many consecutive weeks WCW won the Monday Night ratings war. It was finally halted with the promise of an Austin versus McMahon televised main event. For over two years, Vince had been trying every combination on his roster to try and win this thing; who knew that a big part of the solution was staring at him in the mirror.
April 27, 1998 - DX invades WCW
Chest firmly puffed out and knowing the war was beginning to shift their way, the WWF decided it was time to go poke the beast that had been poking so much fun at them the last two years. And who better to do that than the newly formed version of DX. Coincidentally, the two companies were running RAW and Nitro within a few miles of each other, so DX did what any self-respecting competitor would do -- they drove a tank onto the Norfolk Scope grounds (which is where WCW was doing their show) and tried to break into the building. Oh, and they filmed the whole thing. Oh, and Eric Bischoff tried to respond by challenging Vince McMahon to a fight that night on pay per view. Oh, and Vince cackled at his monitor back at his arena and rolled a blunt while watching Bischoff. (I might've made that last part up.)
June 4, 1998 - New and improved Steve Austin
The McMahon-Austin feud would continue for a few years (until an ill-fated heel turn by Austin at Wrestlemania 17 in Houston where he actually aligned with McMahon, we're all trying to forget this), but some of the best work was in the first couple months. This interview is a prime example of the amazing chemistry these two had.
October 5, 1998 - Vince McMahon gets a visit in the hospital
Another seminal Austin and McMahon moment came just after The Undertaker and Kane decided to snap Vince McMahon's ankle with the ring steps. While it was nice to see two brothers putting aside their differences and playing together again, we all wept for Mr. McMahon and the pain he was going through. And by all of us, I mean none of us, especially Steve Austin. (NOTE: Ultimately, the biggest takeaway from this skit was the birth of Mick Foley's hand puppet friend, Mr. Socko.)
December 7, 1998 - Undertaker sacrifices Austin
Winning the TV ratings battle every week and resuscitating a flailing company sent Vince McMahon into a big time phase of random, cavalier "heat checks," a series of questionable programming decisions just to see what the WWF could get away with. I guess he got away with simulating the crucifixion in that he wasn't punished financially. The XFL? Different story.