by Logan Scisco
–Jim Ross narrates
a video package that discusses the history of Madison Square Garden. It even mentions the birth of
Hulkamania. The subtle purpose of this
video package is to inform the audience that a big event is going to happen
–Vince McMahon, Jim
Ross, and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from New
Intercontinental Championship Tournament First Round Contest: Ahmed Johnson beats Rocky Maivia with the
Pearl River Plunge at 4:54:
Commissioner Sergeant Slaughter orders the Nation of
Domination away from ringside before the bout and Ross informs us that Ken
Shamrock will not be able to compete in the semi-finals, so Faarooq will
advance despite losing and will face the winner of this contest. Ahmed gets a great pop from the crowd,
showing that he still had potential if he found a way to quit injuring his
opponents. This is a fun match from a crowd
reaction perspective as they loudly boo Maivia every time he seizes the advantage. Unfortunately, the match isn’t as fun to
observe, with Ahmed slashing his hand on a nail by the announce table after
being thrown over the top rope being the only notable moment. Did this guy walk under ladders backstage or
something? He’s always finding freak
ways to get hurt. It’s amazing to look
back and imagine that Maivia, who did not look anywhere near Ahmed’s level in
this match, would be Intercontinental champion by January while Ahmed would be on
his way out of the company. Rating:
appears in the crowd and says that someone is getting their ass whipped
tonight. McMahon does not look happy
about that announcement.
Chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission, is shown in the crowd.
–The announce team
recaps the European championship match at One Night Only.
the Undertaker and mentions that the winner of the Hell in a Cell match at In
Your House: Badd Blood will face the WWF
champion at Survivor Series. The Undertaker
gives some generic comments about Shawn Michaels, which brings out the
Heartbreak Kid with his new European title and Michaels says that the WWF is
conspiring against him with all of these stipulations for Badd Blood. Michaels repeats the fact that he doesn’t lay
down for anyone and that he will be one step ahead of everyone that wants to
bring him down.
–Sunny comes out to
be the guest ring announcer for the next match.
–The Legion of
Doom defeats Faarooq & Kama Mustafa by disqualification when D-Lo Brown
interferes at 2:30:
The crowd is hot for the LOD’s entrance, but go mild for
everything else. Less than two minutes
in all hell breaks loose and the LOD prepare to give Faarooq the Doomsday
Device, but D-Lo Brown interferes and all hell breaks loose. After the bell, Rocky Maivia comes in and the
Nation do a four-on-two beatdown and Ahmed Johnson’s save attempt goes nowhere. WWF officials eventually intervene to stop
the carnage. All of this is building to
a six man tag at Badd Blood.
to get your VHS copy of One Night Only for $19.95 (plus $6 shipping and
handling)! That shipping and handling
charge is pretty outrageous.
–Jimmy Snuka’s dive
off of a cage against Don Muraco in October 1983 at Madison Square Garden is
Championship Tournament Semi-Final Match:
Owen Hart (w/Police Crew) defeats “The Loose Cannon” Brian Pillman
(w/Marlena) by disqualification when Goldust interferes at 3:53 shown:
Pillman comes out with his left arm in a sling, which he
says he broke while having a good time with Marlena in the shower. He says he is going to forfeit, but
Commissioner Slaughter comes out, demands medical evidence of Pillman’s injury,
and when he tosses a microphone at Pillman, Pillman catches it with his broken
arm. Based on this evidence, Slaughter
orders that the match go on under threat of expulsion from the WWF. Pillman and Owen proceed to move in slow
motion into basic wrestling moves until Owen gets hit by Marlena’s purse and
decides to wrestle the match normally.
This does not last long, though, as Goldust charges the ring, makes sure
to deck Owen first, and then tries to go after Pillman, but WWF officials
restrain him so Pillman can get away with Marlena. It would have been interesting to see if Owen
could have gotten a good match out of Pillman, but the booking of this match
did not allow that to happen. This would
be Pillman’s last RAW match before he passed away. Rating: *
–After the match,
Owen cuts a funny promo where he dedicates making the finals of the
Intercontinental championship tournament to Bret. However, before he can finish, Steve Austin
attacks him from behind and teases attacking police officers. McMahon runs into the ring and tries to talk
sense to Austin about his medical condition and Austin responds by giving
McMahon a Stone Cold Stunner before being taken to jail. McMahon oversells the Stunner by convulsing
all over the canvas, but all silliness aside, this planted the seed for the
explosive Austin-McMahon feud of 1998.
–A video tribute is
given for Dick “the Bulldog” Browser.
–Jerry Lawler talks
with Rhonda Shear, host of USA Up All Night, who promotes her show.
–Falls Count Anywhere Match:
Cactus Jack beats Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) with a piledriver
through a table at 9:14 shown:
This is booked as Dude Love-Helmsley, but this is the
famous segment where Dude Love and Mankind step aside so that Cactus Jack can
take their place. The crowd really loves
that piece of booking and a loud “ECW” chant breaks out. Chyna turns the tide for Helmsley, as per
usual, and they brawl to the back, which brings back images of WrestleMania
X. Speaking of which, thank god they did
not use the stupid stipulations of that “falls count anywhere match” for this
one. What’s funny about this match is
that you have some white collar professionals in suits sitting in the expensive
seats around ringside and they don’t really know what to make of the brutality
on display in this match. Chyna and
Cactus have a fight over a chair and Helmsley nails Cactus in the back, which
sends Chyna into the steps and incapacitates her. Helmsley secures some near-falls as they
battle up the ramp with a litany of foreign objects, but when Helmsley goes for
a Pedigree on a table he sets up near the entrance, Cactus responds with a low
blow and a beautiful piledriver through a table to secure the win, just before
Chyna can make the save. A very creative
brawl that provided a fitting finish to the Foley-Helmsley 1997 feud and it was
also enhanced by having Jim Ross on commentary.
I don’t know if Vince McMahon would have known how to call this
thing. Rating: ****
–Call 1-900-737-4WWF to hear about everything
that happened in the United Kingdom with WWF superstars!
–Footage of Andre
the Giant slamming Big John Studd at WrestleMania I is shown.
–Ross and Lawler
talk some more about the European championship match at One Night Only.
Shawn Michaels comes out with a chair, which he sets up in the ring, and calls
out the Undertaker so he slap him around “main event style.” The Undertaker finally arrives and although
he fends off an attack by Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Michaels decks him with the
chair and D-Generation X work him over.
-WWF Champion Bret
Hart tells the fans that he does not care who wins the Hell in a Cell match
because he knows he can beat either of them at Survivor Series. This promo shows that Bret really is the odd
man out as far as booking is concerned.
Match: Bret “the Hitman” Hart (WWF
Champion) defeats Goldust via submission to the Sharpshooter at 9:40 shown:
I hope Bret wore a cup for this match considering
Goldust’s latest match against a member of the Hart clan. Bret spends most of the match working the leg
and Lawler spends most of the match speculating on what’s happening to
Marlena. I have no problem with Bret
working the leg, but when it happens for seven straight minutes without leading
to anything, the match gets boring really quickly. Goldust “builds momentum” (in Ross’s words),
but pulling off a bulldog is ridiculous considering how much Bret has worked
the leg. The finish is somewhat nice, as
Goldust lifts his leg to catch Bret’s aerial attack, but Bret realizes “why am
I jumping straight down on someone’s exposed boot?” and applies the Sharpshooter
for the victory. Rating: **
–After the bell,
Shawn Michaels runs into the ring and attacks Bret and Hunter Hearst Helmsley
joins in the beatdown. Owen Hart, The
British Bulldog, Rick Rude, The Undertaker, and Jim Neidhart get involved in the
brawl, which leads to the Undertaker chokeslamming Bret and Michaels to stand
tall at the end of the show. This was
Neidhart’s return, but what makes it amusing is that he kept wanting to attack
Rude, but Rude had to try to tell him to leave him alone since Neidhart beating
on him would void his Lloyd’s of London insurance policy.
The Final Report Card: The first hour was very pedestrian before the
McMahon-Austin segment, but after that the show got rolling. Anytime you get a **** match on RAW it is worth
a thumbs up rating and Cactus-Helmsley is still fondly remembered today. In light of what we know about concussions it
is a little hard to watch, but for pure entertainment value it is tough to top. The show was also a small tryout for Jim
Ross, as he took over lead commentary duties when McMahon went out and he did a
great job, especially with the Cactus-Helmsley match. A really good show in the second hour, but I
would expect no less from a show held in Madison Square Garden.
Monday Night War Rating: 2.4 (vs. 3.7 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation: Thumbs Up