What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – September 15, 1997

by Logan Scisco
A video package
highlights Steve Austin’s acts of defiance against WWF officials in recent
weeks.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are broadcasting from Muncie,
Indiana
.

Opening
Intercontinental Championship Tournament First Round Contest:  Ken Shamrock pins Faarooq with a
belly-to-belly suplex at 2:42:
This is a brisk contest where Shamrock tries to match his
submission skills against Faarooq’s power offense.  Faarooq seems to have the match in hand after
a spinebuster and Shamrock starts bleeding from the mouth as a result of
“internal injuries,” but he surprises the leader of the Nation of Domination
with a belly-to-belly suplex and advances in the tournament.
After the match,
the Nation of Domination pounds away on Shamrock, but the Legion of Doom run in
and make the save.
Ross and Lawler
interview Steve Austin, who is in the parking lot.  Austin says he does not care about Owen
Hart’s pledge of having a surprise for him tonight.
Light Heavyweight
Exhibition:  Taka Michinoku defeats El
Pantera with the Michinoku Driver at 3:56:
Pantera is forgotten about now, but he had a pretty good
run in the WWF’s light heavyweight division in late 1997 and early 1998.  This is his debut and he and Michinoku
exchange their high flying offenses, with the crowd firmly behind
Michinoku.  Pantera nearly wins with a La
Magistral cradle, but Michinoku rebounds with a missile dropkick and wins with
the Michinoku Driver.  Rating: 
***
Ross interviews
the Truth Commission and the Commandant says that Sniper and Recon are ready to
face the Legion of Doom tonight
.
The Legion of
Doom defeat Sniper & Recon (w/The Commandant & The Interrogator) by
disqualification when the Interrogator interferes at 3:42:
This match demonstrates the benefit of having squashes
since the Truth Commission seem like a plausible threat to the Legion of Doom
based on a recent string of victories. 
Animal gets placed in peril for about ninety seconds and Hawk cleans
house when given the hot tag.  The Legion
of Doom seem to have things in hand when Recon is given a Doomsday Device, but
the Interrogator delivers a bad leg drop to the back of Hawk’s head and draws
the disqualification.  Just an average
match, but the crowd’s love of the Legion of Doom made this seem like a tag
team championship match.  Rating: 
**
After the match,
the Legion of Doom cannot handle the Interrogator.  Ken Shamrock comes out to even the odds, but
even he cannot make the Interrogator go down and the Nation of Domination rush
the ring to work with the Truth Commission and deliver a beat down.
Sunny comes out to
be our guest ring announcer for the next bout
.
Max Mini &
Mr. Lucky defeat El Torito & Piratita Morgan when Mini finishes Torito with
a splash off the top rope at 6:52:
The minis try to take peeks under Sunny’s dress before
the match.  The match functions under lucha libre rules, so when a man ends up
outside of the ring their partner can enter the match.  Sunny gets bigger pops just sitting at ringside
than the match does, but it is not for a lack of trying as all of the
participants quickly move through their spots. 
There are a group of high school upperclassmen and college age guys in
the front row and they are into everything tonight, rabidly cheering the heels
and getting on every single one of the heels. 
This one runs too long, as there are only so many flips you can see in
rapid succession without getting bored, but it has a fun finish of Mini doing a
splash off the top rope.  The other bonus
is that there are not any blown spots.  Rating: 
**½
A video package
recaps the unfolding Brian Pillman-Goldust feud
.
Intercontinental
Championship First Round Match:  Brian
Pillman (w/Marlena) defeats Dude Love by disqualification when Dustin Runnels runs
in at 4:45:
Pillman has Marlena in a short black dress and a nose
ring and the crowd greets her with “take it off” chants.  Ross interviews Marlena before the bout and
she says that she just wants to go home and loves her family.  Marlena tries to get away as the match
unfolds, but Pillman stops her.  The
match is slow and plodding, somewhat reminiscent of the last time these two
faced each other on RAW.  Love prepares
to nail Pillman with Sweet Shin Music, but Dustin Runnels, who is banned from
the arena, pops out of the crowd and beats on Pillman until WWF officials
intervene.  This sets up an internal Hart
Foundation match in the semi-finals between Pillman and Owen Hart, if you can
even consider Pillman an active member of the Hart Foundation at this
point.  Rating:  *
Lawler interviews
Steve Austin and Lawler kisses up to him. 
Austin warns the Hart Foundation that they have hell to pay and this
brings the Hart Foundation out with an attorney.  Their attorney serves Austin with a temporary
restraining order keeping him 100 feet away from Owen.  Lawler tries to egg Austin on and read the
restraining order over his shoulder and Austin gets annoyed and gives Lawler a
Stone Cold Stunner.  This segment told a
great story, as Lawler thought he could “safely” interview Austin and show up
Vince McMahon and Jim Ross and failed spectacularly.
With Lawler
incapacitated, Jim Cornette comes out to do commentary for the rest of the show
.
The Patriot beats
Owen Hart with a school boy at 7:35 shown:
Steve Austin comes out about three minutes into the
match, but police officers carefully follow him according to the terms of the
restraining order.  Owen’s technical
skill holds the match together and since the crowd is hot for Austin, they are
hot for Owen as a heel.  The Patriot
seems to be moving more gingerly since Ground Zero, which is either because
injuries are starting to pile up or he is not as motivated.  Owen kicks out of the Patriot Missile and
takes control of the match, but Austin comes through the crowd and distracts
Owen, which enables the Patriot to defeat another Hart with a school boy.  This match was all Owen.  Rating:  **½
After the match,
Owen demands that the police arrest Austin, but Austin escapes through the
crowd.
Ross interviews
Shawn Michaels, who comes out in short shorts. 
Michaels says that he hopes to become the first Grand Slam champion in
WWF history when he faces the British Bulldog for the European title at One
Night Only.  Michaels reiterates his
previous talking points of going down in a blaze of glory and how the WWF has
it out for him until the Undertaker appears on the Titantron speaking through a
fence.  The Undertaker has a great,
albeit corny line to hype their match: 
“two men enter and the Undertaker leaves with your soul.”
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to see who Stone Cold Steve Austin wants to give a Stone Cold
Stunner to!  It will cost you $1.49 a
minute.  If people honestly called the
Superstar line for that information I have a bridge that I would like to sell
them in my hometown.
Footage of the
Headbangers at a Philadelphia Phillies game is shown.  Mosh gave the Philly Fanatic a body slam,
which the Fanatic no sold.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  The Headbangers
defeat Bret “the Hitman” Hart & The British Bulldog by disqualification
when the Bulldog uses an American flag as a weapon at 11:41 shown:
I think WWE Magazine rated the Headbangers as the worst
holders of the WWF tag team championships in history and I would have to agree
with that sentiment based on reviewing 1997. 
The team rarely beat big opponents and did not have a memorable
angle.  Long time fans remember the team,
but I cannot recall a single great match they had fifteen years later.  Despite the tag titles being on the line,
Bret and the Bulldog do not display a sense of urgency to win the belts when
they put Mosh in peril.  Bret even
delivers the worst second rope elbow drop that I have ever seen him perform, as
Mosh moves and Bret lands on his feet and then crumbles to the ground with the
rest of the move.  Bret and the Bulldog
appear to win the titles when Mosh is pinned after a Bulldog running powerslam,
but Mosh is not the legal man.  The
Bulldog proceeds to grab an American flag from a fan at ringside and attack the
Headbangers with it and that gets his team disqualified to prevent a “Canadian
gold rush” of the Hart Foundation holding all of the titles.  So, as you can see, the WWF did not just book
champions poorly in the current era.  A
really disappointing tag match as it did not look like Bret or the Bulldog
cared.  Rating:  *½
After the match,
Vader and the Patriot attack Bret and the Bulldog and the show goes off the air
with Vader about to deliver a Vader Bomb to Bret.
The Final Report Card:  For the second straight week, RAW has a sub-par
main event, although you could consider this week an upgrade from the triple
threat debacle of the previous week. 
While some of the wrestling, especially in the first hour, was good,
nothing stood out as must see television. 
The WWF is in a really weird place right now with their booking since
Austin is on the shelf and the public is not into the Patriot as a serious
threat to Bret Hart.  The Headbangers are
the tag team champions, but no one, including the booking team, are treating
them seriously.  D-Generation X has not
been properly formed on-screen, although Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Shawn
Michaels have collaborated, so even the appeal of Michaels-Undertaker at Badd
Blood is simply “if you hate Shawn Michaels give us another $30 and see the Undertaker
beat him up again!”  Overall, this is
just an average outing as the company heads into One Night Only, which I will review
next week.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.6 (vs. 3.9 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Neutral