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The SmarK Rant for WWF Monday Night RAW – 03.24.97

(Whoops, forgot this one.)

​- WWF MONDAY NIGHT RAW!

– Live from Rockford, IL.

WWF World tag titles:  The British Bulldog & Owen Hart v. The Headbangers.  This is fulfilling the title shot won by the Headbangers at Wrestlemania 13 the night before.  Owen trades wristlocks with Mosh to start and takes him down with an armdrag and a legdrag, but the Bangers sucker him with a high-low.  The champs come back with a double-team on Thrasher and Bulldog presses Owen onto him for two.  The Bangers get a quick cheapshot in their corner, but the champs come back with a double-team into a flying elbow from Owen.  Headbangers come back with a double-clothesline on Owen, but Bulldog comes in with a delayed vertical suplex on Thrasher, but Thrasher comes back with a knee to the gut and hits the chinlock as this match rapidly goes nowhere.  Bulldog fights out and collides with Owen, giving Thrasher a rollup for two.  The champs stop to argue the point and Owen decides to walk out on the match, as we take a break.  Back with Mosh choking Bulldog out as the Bangers take over.  Luckily Owen had a change of heart and returned during the commercial.  Bangers continue with the Broken Arrow and Thrasher gets two.  Bulldog fights for a tag but Owen is too busy leading cheers and can’t make it.  And the crowd chants for Bulldog, so at least his methods were effective.  Another double-team gets two for Mosh.  Bulldog comes back with a sunset flip for two, and then hits them with a double DDT to set up the hot tag to Owen.  Leg lariats for both and a belly to belly gets two on Thrasher.  He sends Bulldog back in to finish the job, so he obliges with a powerslam for two.  Bulldog then sends Owen back in for a gut wrench that gets two.  Owen goes up with a missile dropkick and the Sharpshooter, but Mosh breaks it up.  Bulldog sneaks in with a powerslam while the ref deals with Mosh, but Owen doesn’t want that pin.  They argue and the ref gets shoved for the cheap DQ at 9:41.  Meandering start, but once the storyline started into the game of one-upmanship between Bulldog and Owen the match got much better.  **1/2  Owen and Bulldog finally get into a brawl after the match and Owen challenges him to a rematch for the European title next week.  Next week can’t get here soon enough, because that’s when one of the greatest storylines in WWF history begins, with a very unexpected payoff.

– Mankind, suddenly the #1 contender to the WWF title and missing Paul Bearer, gets all emo in the back room.

Bart Gunn v. HHH.   Bret Hart appears on the Titantron before the match, complaining that he was promised interview time.  Vince promises him that it’s coming. Bart overpowers Hunter to start and slugs away in the corner, and we get a Flair Flip from Hunter into a press slam by Gunn.  Delayed vertical suplex and Bart goes up and misses a flying elbow by a mile.  Hunter USES THE KNEE and gets a neckbreaker and a formal bow to take over.  Hunter stomps away in the corner, into a suplex and a kneedrop for two.  Another knee gets two.  Hunter slugs away in the corner, but Bart comes back with an atomic drop to come back.  Back elbow and powerslam follows, but Chyna pulls down the ropes to prevent a bulldog.  She slams Bart on the floor for good measure, leaving Bart morally torn, so she tosses him into the post, too.  Back in, KICK WHAM PEDIGREE finishes at 7:10.  Dull stuff, but the replay is hilarious, as it catches Bart bumping out before Chyna actually has a chance to pull down the ropes.  *1/2

El Mosco, Hysteria & Abismo Negro v. Venum, Super Nova & Discovery.  Oh boy, another boring trios match to fill time.  I know nor care about any of these guys, as this dumb phase was thankfully killed pretty quickly once they had actual WWF talent to fill the shows again.  Bump bump highspot, crowd doesn’t care.  Some really nice highspots though, and Super Nova pins Negro at 4:10 after a rana.  Bret continues his bitching in a cutaway during the match, wanting time to tell his story.

Flash Funk v. The Brooklyn Brawler.  Brawler attacks to start, but Funk takes him down with a rana and gets a corner clothesline.  Pumphandle slam, but a standing moonsault hits knee.  Brawler drops Funk on the top rope, but Flash comes back with a leg lariat and dumps Brawler, then follows with a pescado.  Back in, he comes in with a high cross for two.  Superkick and a backdrop suplex set up the 450 splash to finish at 3:06.  Pretty standard squash for Funk.  *1/2

– Ken Shamrock stumbles through an interview about Wrestlemania and why he stopped the match last night.  He doesn’t really give any good answer on the subject.

– Bret Hart kicks off a historic turn, as he apologizes to his fans everywhere in the world…except the USA.  To them, he apologizes for NOTHING.  Bret goes into the all-time angry rant, complaining about his treatment over the past year, trashes Shawn Michaels for appearing in a girlie magazine, and notes that American fans would rather cheer for “heroes” like Charles Manson and OJ Simpson, as they glorify criminals and don’t respect true heroes like Bret Hart.  And the feeling is mutual.  So American fans can kiss his ass.  Lemme just say, we were watching this show and jumping on the couch cheering for Bret at that point.  Shawn Michaels comes out to offer his opinion, noting that Bret didn’t need to say that he won’t surrender the title due to injury, because “god knows it takes a note from the lord almighty to get that belt off of you.”  Oh, that one would certainly be proven true.  Certainly Shawn complaining about someone not dropping a belt is the pot calling the kettle black.  Shawn calls Bret “mark man” and accuses him of believing his own press and reminds him that fans have the right to cheer or boo whoever they want.  COUGH COUGH!  Sorry, had some hypocrisy in my throat there.  Shawn gives Bret a quick rundown on the first amendment, giving us what I believe is the first and only use of “tough titties said the kitty” on a wrestling program, and finishes with the standard “Love it or leave it” cop out.  He then wonders how Bret knew that he had posed in a “girlie magazine,” and that’s enough for Bret, who snaps and kicks Shawn, from behind, in the “injured” knee, then puts him in the ringpost figure-four to really give him something to lose his smile about.  This brings Vince away from the announce table to personally pull Bret off, and Sid comes out to make the save and chase Bret off.  They could have debuted Jesus Christ himself in the nWo over on Nitro and not even touched the awesomeness that was this interview segment.  You could really tell that this was the point when the Bret-Shawn feud started getting nasty for real, and they let it all hang out.  And this isn’t even the most inside or nasty that their verbal sparring matches would get!

Rocky Maivia v. Leif Cassidy.  Oddly, the Rocky backlash hasn’t really started yet, although I remember it being pretty bad at this point. We take a break after the intros and join things in progress with Leif piledriving Rocky while Bret Hart continues monopolizing the show by doing color commentary.   Cassidy goes up and misses a frog splash while Bret notes that he’s trying to be a good role model and no one asked Shawn to interrupt his interview.  Good point.  Meanwhile, the match no one cares about continues with Rocky coming back and finishes with a high cross at 2:06.  And just to prove his point, Bret lays out Rocky and goes after HIS leg, too.  Al Snow casually giving him the thumbs up is great.  Some poor kid at ringside gets all up in Bret’s face, so Bret flips him off.  Little punk, probably deserved it.  Don’t fuck with Bret!

Ahmed Johnson v. Savio Vega.  Ahmed attacks in the corner, but misses a blind charge and gets pounded by Vega in the corner.  Savio chokes him out and punches and kicks and stuff.  They head out and Savio lands on Ahmed’s leg on the way out, and we take a break.  Back with Ahmed getting a delayed suplex and going up with a SOMERSAULT SENTON?!?  An elbow misses, however.  Savio hits the chinlock, but Ahmed comes back with Rock Bottom, into the spinebuster.  Man, who knew the Rock stole his moveset from Ahmed?  The Nation pulls Savio out for the DQ at 6:12 in the most telegraphed finish in…well…minutes, really.  *  Ahmed offers some kind of match where the Nation has to break up if they lose or something.  It’s hard to tell with him and even the announcers are a little confused.

– And now another rather historic storyline kicks off, as Undertaker shows off his shiny new WWF title belt, but Paul Bearer interrupts, and we’re out of time.  That one would take a while to get paid off, certainly, but it was a good payoff.

Another fabulous episode in a series of them.  We’ll continue with Nitro at some point as well, although I don’t see the point, frankly.