Rock Star Gary reflects on NWA Halloween Havoc ’89: Settling the Score

Live from Philadelphia, PA

Airdate: October 28, 1989

Attendance:  7,300

Hosted by Jim Ross & Bob Caudle

Put Flair, Funk, Sting, and Muta in a cage. Mix in electricity, Gary Hart, and a Philly crowd. Will the recipe be a masterpiece? Or a disaster? Read on!

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Rock Star Gary reflects on NWA Great American Bash ’89: Glory Days

Live from Baltimore, MD

Airdate: July 23, 1989

Attendance:  14,500

Hosted by Jim Ross & Bob Caudle

Thus far, 1989 has been great. Can the NWA continue the trend with this show? Read on!

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WCW Wednesday: Part XXXV – the Pilot Episode Edition!

Back on September 4, 1995, WCW began what became a five and one-half year trek into weekly prime time television that would significantly impact the competition between them and the WWF. While I won’t detail the entire history of the series, I present to you the pilot episode of WCW Monday Nitro.

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WCW Wednesday: Part XXXI – the Flare for the Old Edition!

On June 16, 1993, WCW invaded the Scope in Norfolk, VA for the twenty-third edition of the Clash of Champions. The focus of this show was to create storylines for the upcoming Beach Blast PPV. To the fans in attendance, the highlight of the show was the in-ring return of “Nature Boy” Ric Flair.

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WCW Worldwide: January 16, 1993

I’ve finally managed to get Worldwide back in the rotation – and not a moment too soon! Z-Man! Johnny Gunn! Nothing but the biggest names on the planet!

TONY SCHIAVONE and JESSE VENTURA welcome us to an actual arena in Alabama. Tony’s displaying a quality part on the mid-right side of his head, with the kind of precision that lets you know, yes, this is the 90’s. PAUL ORNDORFF saunters on camera, and he starts screaming about Rick Rude’s injury. He apparently knows exactly what needs to be done. And what needs doing? Whether it’s Milwaukee, or Philadelphia, he’s going to have a match with Steeng. What of Atlanta? St. Louis? Murfreesboro? Does “Steeng” not work those territories?

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1993 WCW Disney tapings

As you may already know Eric Bischoff prides himself more as
a television producer than a wrestling promoter. The seeds of such thought were
planted back in the summer of 1993 during his first year as Executive Producer/Vice-President
of WCW.

Instead of the darker, papered crowd atmosphere in Macon, GA
or Dothan, AL Bischoff wanted to put bright lights, glitz, and glamour on WCW’s
television programming. For instance, from January to April of 1993 WCW
Worldwide was taped 9 times in seven different locations. The programs, while
entertaining, looked bland and boring compared to the higher production values
of WCW’s competitor, the World Wrestling Federation.
From July 7-10, WCW taped FOUR months of WCW Worldwide in
front of a papered (mostly tourist) crowd at the Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando,
FL.
Here is a list of the current champions heading into the
Disney tapings:
WCW World Heavyweight champion: Big Van Vader
NWA Champion: Barry Windham
US Heavyweight champion: held up after a controversial match
between “Ravishing” Rick Rude and Dustin Rhodes
World TV champion: “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff
WCW World tag team champions: The Hollywood Blonds
(“Stunning” Steve Austin and “Flyin’” Brian Pillman)
Let’s break down the highlights day by day:
Day 1 (7/7/1993):
For the August 28th episode Arn Anderson and Paul
Roma were taped as WCW World Tag Team champions in spite of the fact they had
not yet won the titles. Their title victory would take place on August 18 at
the Clash of the Champions as Lord Steven Regal had to be substituted for Pillman
due to an ankle injury.
Additionally, for the September 4th episode “Nature
Boy” Ric Flair was involved in a match as the NWA champion against Big Sky. In
actuality, he won the belt at the Beach Blast PPV over Windham on July 18.  This would not sit well with the NWA.
For the September 11th episode Ricky “The Dragon”
Steamboat was featured as the World TV champion against Denny Brown although he
was not yet the champion. He won the belt at the August 18 Clash.
Day 2 (7/8/1993):
During the September 18th episode Dustin Rhodes
was featured as the US Heavyweight champion in a tag match with Sting against Orndorff
and Chris Benoit. Rhodes actually won the belt against Rude on August 30 in
Atlanta, GA.
On the September 25th episode Regal defended the
World TV title against Keith Cole.  He defeated
Steamboat for the belt on September 19 in Houston, TX.
Also featured on that show were the WCW World tag team
champions the Nasty Boys. They won the titles from Anderson and Roma on
September 19 in Houston, TX.
On the October 2nd episode the Hollywood Blonds
were featured in a tag match but did not bring their title belts to the ring.
On the October 9th episode Rude was featured as
the new World Heavyweight Champion (formerly NWA champion) in a match against
David Dee.
The importance of this match derives from the withdrawal of
WCW from the NWA in September. The NWA felt that these tapings were a breach of
kayfabe. WCW withdrew their affiliation from the NWA making the belt worthless
in the process.
Day 3 (7/9/1993):
However, in an attempt to legitimize Rude’s championship,
WCW renamed the title the International World champion on its October 30th
episode. Rude would defeat Brady Boone on this show.
For the November 6th show Regal successfully
defended his not-yet-his TV title against Johnny B. Badd.
Day 4 (7/10/1993):
Also on the November 6th episode Rude won a
non-title match against Frankie Rose. While describing the match Tony Schiavone
recognized Rude’s title as a World title rather than just a “Gold Belt.”
On the November 13th episode despite being the
current TV champion Orndorff won a match while not showcasing the title since
Regal would be champion by this point. Furthermore Steamboat won a match but
did not possess a belt in spite of winning and losing the belt between the times
this match took place and when it would finally air.
For the November 20th episode the Nasty Boys were
featured again as WCW World tag team champions.
So, in spite of three PPV and two Clash of the Champions
broadcasts, WCW gave away months of booking plans within this 4-day span.
Although I cannot locate the specific instance, it has been documented that Sid
Vicious was taped as WCW World Heavyweight Champion. This video was supposed to
air after Starrcade ’93; however, on September 19 Sid and Arn Anderson were
involved in an infamous late night brawl overseas involving safety scissors.
Subsequently Sid was fired after several wrestlers threatened to quit. Flair
was inserted in Sid’s place.
While money was saved in the process of filming these shows WCW
had two problems on their hands. The first problem was fulfilling the title
changes. The Regal substitution on August 18 stands out as a glaring example of
what can go wrong. The second problem was the wrestlers’ attitudes after the
tapings. Since title plans were already put into place during the tapings, the wrestlers
who would not hold titles held grudges instead and their work ethic in matches
suffered. At the very least WCW would learn from this mistake and not tape wrestlers with titles for Worldwide in the future.
WCW lost $23 million in 1993 not because of the Disney
tapings but due to overestimated revenue. Having seen the extremely low
attendance figures for the house shows I can safely say that WCW lost money
whenever they stepped into a gym or an arena.  Amazingly, they even cancelled a show at the
Omni on July 3 dubbed “The Great American Bash.”

Wrestling in 1993 was no longer a mainstream product. The
positive mainstream attention wouldn’t resurface until 1996; however, the
negative stigma was due to the WWF steroid trials. With such a black mark on
the industry it was difficult for WCW to make a profit. The Disney tapings only
served to facilitate further losses. 
Be sure to visit http://www.rockstargary.com to check out more info on me!

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – October 6, 1997

by Logan Scisco

Vince McMahon
tells viewers that Brian Pillman passed away the previous afternoon and
wrestlers gather near the entrance to hear the ring bell tolled ten times in
his memory.
McMahon, Jim Ross,
and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Kansas
City, Missouri
.
Michael Cole
interviews D-Generation X, who at this time are just dubbed as “The Kliq.”  DX gives Cole a wedgie as European Champion
Shawn Michaels gloats about winning Hell in a Cell last night at Badd
Blood.  Michaels wants to see some
footage from last night, but the truck plays footage of the Madison Square
Garden incident instead.  McMahon is not
happy about this and sells it well with his facial expressions.  We go to commercial before Michaels can
finish ranting at McMahon.  A great
segment for the smarks, but a good chunk of the audience was lost during it.

When we return
from commercial, Michaels is still yelling at McMahon when the Hart Foundation
comes out.  WWF Champion Bret Hart says
that Michaels is a disgrace to professional wrestling and he says Michaels and
Triple H are queer and he makes more money than all of the forces of the
Kliq.  He puts over the WWF title, how
his possession of it trumps anything that Michaels can say, and that he drove
Diesel and Razor Ramon out of the company and he will do the same to Michaels
and Triple H.  He challenges Triple H to
a match on tonight’s show.  Michaels
responds by saying that Bret is only main eventing Survivor Series because he
is wrestling him and that Diesel and Razor left the company to expand the Kliq
and let them control the wrestling business. 
This segment solidifies Bret as the face in this feud as the crowd
immediately takes his side.
The announce crew
recaps the Badd Blood tag team championship match
.
Opening Non-Title
Lumberjack Match:  The Headbangers defeat
The Godwinns (WWF Tag Team Champions w/Uncle Cletus) when Mosh pins Phineas
with a schoolboy at 4:15:
In a funny spot, the
Headbangers take advantage of the lumberjack stipulation by flying over the top
rope and body surfing among the wrestlers surrounding the ring.  By the way, the lumberjacks are composed of
the Disciples of Apocalypse, Rockabilly, the Sultan, Flash Funk, the New
Blackjacks, the Legion of Doom, the Truth Commission, Los Boricuas, and the
Nation of Domination.  This match works a
faster pace than the contest at Badd Blood and is much better by
comparison.  The referee gets bumped when
Mosh tries to splash Phineas in the corner and everyone pours into the ring to
fight.  The ring clears just as the
referee revives, though, and the Headbangers pick up a measure of revenge for
Badd Blood.  Rating:  **
Ross and Lawler hype the house show circuit.
Jesus of Los Boricuas says that he is going to easily defeat Marc Mero
tonight
.
Marc Mero (w/Sable) beats Jesus with the TKO at 2:21:
This was Mero’s return from a
knee injury that he suffered in the early months of 1997.  He has shed the “Wildman” gimmick and is
coming back with a “new attitude,” which is code for a heel turn.  Mero’s offense has changed into a more
grounded, striking style, but that is not as appealing as his old aerial
attack.  This is a short squash to
re-establish Mero, but its only highlight is the TKO, which is his new
finishing maneuver.
Jim Cornette gives his views on the wrestling business, where he runs
down the New World Order, especially Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Sean Waltman, and
Eric Bischoff.  He puts over Mick Foley,
Arn Anderson, and Ric Flair and other hardworking talents.  This is a brutally honest rant, but I have
never been a fan of segments like this because they make the company doing them
look petty and second rate.
The British Bulldog (w/The Hart Foundation) defeats Rocky Maivia (w/The
Nation of Domination) with a running powerslam at 3:44:
This is a “proxy revenge” match
from the previous night, where Owen Hart beat Faarooq in the Intercontinental
championship tournament final.  This
match is somewhat notable because it features the debut of the People’s Elbow,
although Maivia isn’t throwing his elbow pad into the crowd.  Just your standard back-and-forth match, with
the Bulldog earning a surprisingly clean victory considering the factions
presence at ringside.  Rating: 
**
After the match, Faarooq goes after the Bulldog, which causes the
factions to brawl with each other until WWF officials and Commissioner
Slaughter intervene.
The announcers recap the Intercontinental tournament final between Owen
Hart and Faarooq from last night’s Badd Blood pay-per-view
.
McMahon interviews Steve Austin to get his decision about his
future.  Austin says he cost Faarooq the
Intercontinental title last night because he felt like it.  Austin says he didn’t go to a doctor, so he
has no medical clearance.  McMahon then
presents him with a release form, but Austin says he is not going to sign
without preconditions because he has leverage. 
What he wants in return for signing is for McMahon to give him a match
with Owen Hart for the Intercontinental title. 
McMahon agrees and offers a handshake, but Austin says no until he has
it in writing.  Faarooq comes on the
Titantron and cuts a great promo about what suffering and toughness really is,
sort of like the black version of Dusty Rhodes “hard times” promo.  Austin just says “bring it on.”  To hell with fighting Owen Hart, I want to
see Austin-Faarooq after that promo exchange. 
After finishing his promo, Austin pushes McMahon and then grabs Lawler’s
crown and kicks it into the crowd.
Call 1-900-737-4WWF to hear more of what Jim Cornette has to say!
Hawk promises that Owen Hart is going to be the shortest
Intercontinental champion in WWF history, but that’s not possible because Dean
Douglas was only champion for about twenty minutes.
Owen Hart tells the crowd that he cannot wait to face Steve Austin
again
.
Intercontinental Championship Match: 
Owen Hart (Champion) beats Hawk when Henry Godwinn hits Hawk with a
horse shoe at 3:20:
The crowd’s love of the Hart
Foundation does not apply to Owen, since he is the foil of the hottest act in
the company.  The Godwinns come down to
ringside as Hawk sloppily bumps around for Owen and hardly sells the
enziguri.  The Godwinns try to cost Hawk
the match by hitting him in the back with a slop bucket, but he kicks out and
Animal comes down and brawls with the Godwinns as the match continues in the
ring.  Hawk hits the flying clothesline,
which has to set up twice because of a planned distraction by Uncle
Cletus, but interference shortly thereafter costs him the match.  Rating:  *½
McMahon does his infamous interview with Melanie Pillman, which is completely
distasteful as he questions her about her husband’s drug use and how she plans
on supporting her family.  This is
probably the lowest point in RAW history, which says something considering the
Katie Vick incident.
A video tribute is aired for Brian Pillman.
Ross and Lawler talk about how much they miss Brian Pillman.
The next match is supposed to feature Sniper & Recon against the
Hardy Boys, but Kane comes out with Paul Bearer and destroys the Hardy’s.  Bearer gets on the mic and says that he had
to bring in Kane because the Undertaker would not take him back.  He warns the Undertaker to prepare for his
worst nightmare.  This push that they gave to Kane was genius since it disguised his shortcomings and made him appear like a total wrecking machine that was an equal to the Undertaker.
Non-Title Match:  Triple H
(w/Chyna) defeats Bret “the Hitman” Hart (WWF Champion) by count out at 7:49 shown:
This is the first time that
Hunter Hearst Helmsley is billed as “Triple H” during his entrance, but that
name change goes a long way towards making him a serious contender.  As Bret dominates the action, Shawn Michaels
wanders out and picks his nose with the Canadian flag.  This brings the Hart Foundation to ringside
and Helmsley stops the five moves of doom with a foot to the face when Bret
tries the second rope elbow drop.  Ross subtly buries Bret by calling him “too predictable” in the ring.  Bret gets Helmsley in the Sharpshooter, but
Chyna helps Helmsley get to the ropes and then stops Bret from applying the
ring post figure-four.  When Bret
confronts her, Michaels blasts Bret with Sweet Chin Music and that enables
Helmsley to score the upset.  Rating: 
**
The Final Report Card:  This match was like a smart fan’s dream as
the WWF bashed WCW throughout the evening and made several insider
references.  The tasteless segment with
Melanie Pillman aside, this was a great episode that continued Steve Austin’s
search for revenge against Owen Hart, built a possible feud for Austin with
Faarooq and the Nation after he moved on from the Owen issue, set up the build
for Bret-Shawn at Survivor Series, and continues the tag team feud between the
Godwinns and the Legion of Doom.  This
was also the highest rating for RAW since mid-August, which can probably be
chalked up to fans wanting to see how the company would respond to Brian
Pillman’s death.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.0 (vs. 3.9 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: In Your House – Badd Blood

by Logan Scisco

Vince McMahon, Jim
Ross, and Jerry “the King” Lawler are doing the announcing duties and they are
live in St. Louis, Missouri
.

Opening Handicap Contest:  Rocky Maivia, Kama Mustafa & D-Lo Brown
defeat The Legion of Doom when Maivia pins Hawk after a Rock Bottom at 12:19:
This was originally booked as a six man tag, but Ken
Shamrock does not have medical clearance to compete.  Ahmed Johnson was also not available to be
plugged in because he was back in the WWF dog house for injuring people.  Looking back, the second version of the
Nation was rather successful as Faarooq went on to have a good career with
Bradshaw in the APA, the Rock rose to main event status, Kama enjoyed success
as the Godfather, and D-Lo won the European and Intercontinental
championships.  After enjoying some brief
moments of success, the Nation use their numbers to put Animal in peril and a
false tag spot allows D-Lo to hit his Lo Down for two.  The crowd really gets into the hot tag
sequence, but Faarooq breaks up a Doomsday Device attempt on Maivia and Maivia
hits the Rock Bottom, which at this time was not considered an immediate
finisher, for the victory.  This had its
slow spots in the middle, but it came on strong at the end and it really made all
five participants look strong.  Excellent
and sensible booking.  Rating: 
***
Dok Hendrix and
Sunny hype the Superstar line and try to get us to call to talk to the winners
and losers of tonight’s matches
.
McMahon reiterates
the news from the Free for All that Brian Pillman was found dead in his hotel
room in Bloomington, Minnesota and a substitute match has been booked.  The mark in me at the time thought that
Marlena snapped and killed Pillman.
Mini Tag
Match:  Max Mini & Nova beat
Tarantula & Mosaic after Mini pins Tarantula with a La Magistral cradle at
6:40:
I’m not sure if this is the best way to honor Pillman’s
memory, but I suppose the options were limited. 
There are several funny miscommunication spots between Tarantula and
Mosaic in the early going, but this has lots of blown spots, most of which are
Nova’s fault, that go a small way in exposing the business.  Lawler gets a kick out of seeing Tarantula
gorilla press drop Mini on the U.S. announce table, but he gets irritated that
McMahon will not let him tell “little people” jokes.  The botches continue until Mini grows
completely frustrated with how the match is going and just rolls up Tarantula
for the three count.  This had no flow to
it whatsoever.  Rating:  DUD
Call 815-734-1161
to get your Austin 3:16 t-shirt for $25 (plus shipping & handling)!
Sunny comes out to
do guest ring announcing duties for our next match
.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  The Godwinns
(w/Uncle Cletus) defeat The Headbangers (Champions) to win the titles when
Phineas pins Mosh after a powerbomb at 12:18:
Surprisingly, McMahon recalls Sunny’s past issues with
the Godwinns.  Storyline continuity:  it’s a beautiful thing.  The Headbangers nearly break Phineas’s neck
on double hiptoss attempt and they surprisingly dominate the early going with a
coordinated aerial attack.  The match
struggles to establish momentum, even as Thrasher gets a few hope spots after
he is put in peril.  The crowd goes mild
for the hot tag and the finish fits really well into the past encounters
between these teams because Phineas counters the Mosh Pit, which pinned him at
WrestleMania XIII.  The Headbangers lackluster run as tag team champions is over and the Godwinns pound them down
after the finish until the referee forces them to leave under threat of
reversing the decision.  Rating: 
*
A Steve Austin
video package is shown
.
Michael Cole
interviews Owen Hart, who says that Steve Austin is going to do nothing but
hand him the Intercontinental title after he beats Faarooq tonight.  He threatens a lawsuit if Austin gets anywhere
near him during the title match.
Ross holds a small
ceremony for St. Louis wrestling legends, which include Gene Kiniski, Jack
Brisco, Dory Funk, Jr., Harley Race, Terry Funk, Lou Thesz, and Sam Muchnick.  In Jim Cornette’s 1997 timeline shoot
interview he talks about how he had to fight hard to persuade Vince to do this,
as Kevin Dunn felt that no one would care about these guys.  The crowd reaction proves that Cornette was
right and Dunn was wrong, which is not unusual because Dunn was the same guy several weeks before this that tried to convince Vince not to bring back Cactus Jack at Madison Square Garden since no one would know about that character.
Hendrix interviews
Faarooq and the Nation and Faarooq says he’ll beat Owen Hart tonight and Steve
Austin is nothing special to him.
McMahon says that
foul play is not suspected in Brian Pillman’s death, but a drug overdose might
be to blame.  I’m shocked that McMahon
would emphasize this, but he does clarify that drug abuse is a problem in all
sports.
Intercontinental
Championship Tournament Finals:  Owen
Hart pins Faarooq to win the title when Steve Austin hits Faarooq with the
Intercontinental title belt at 7:16:
So here are the finals of a lackluster tournament to
crown a new Intercontinental champion after Steve Austin had to forfeit the
title.  Owen got here by defeating
Goldust and Brian Pillman whereas Faarooq got here by Ken Shamrock getting
injured and defeating Ahmed Johnson. 
This is Faarooq’s second time in an Intercontinental title tournament
final in two years, as he lost to Marc Mero in a tournament final the previous
year.  Steve Austin is at ringside for
the bout as he is to present his Intercontinental title to the winner.  He rings the bell to start the match and then
takes McMahon’s headset and gives his views on the match.  He soon moves to give commentary with the
Spanish and French announce teams.  In
light of Austin’s antics it is tough to focus on the match, but it is a
TV-style match with Owen and Faarooq running through their usual spots.  After Faarooq hits a spinebuster Jim Neidhart
wanders out and distracts the referee and Austin takes advantage to hit Faarooq
with the title and cost him the match. 
The announce crew is puzzled by this development, but it is clear that
Austin wants to face Owen and regain his title. 
Rating:  **
The Hart
Foundation’s beatdown on Vader and the Patriot on RAW is shown.
The Disciples of
Apocalypse beat Los Boricuas when Crush pins Jose after a tilt-a-whirl
backbreaker at 9:10:
The DOA have really fizzled out after they were arguably
the most over of the factions created after the original Nation of Domination’s
demise.  The Boricuas run a nice spot
where every member gives Chainz a clothesline against the corner, but most of
this is just a sloppy brawl that the crowd sleeps through.  In the end, it comes down to Crush and Jose
and Crush’s singles experience comes in handy to give his team the win.  Rating:  ½*
Cole interviews
WWF Champion Bret Hart and the British Bulldog. 
Bret says that he and the Bulldog are going to set an example that they
are better than any American tag team combination.  The Bulldog echoes those same sentiments.
McMahon emphasizes
that for this flag match a team can win by either capturing their flag or
securing a pinfall or submission.  That
was probably Bret’s call since he told McMahon that a match where everyone was
just running for flags would be a disaster, sort of like cage matches with
escape rules.
Hendrix interviews
Vader and the Patriot and Patriot yells about how much he hates the Harts and
how he has Vader’s back.  Vader says
Bret’s claim that he is the “best there is, best there was, and best there ever
will be” is “bullshit.”
Flag Match:  Bret “the Hitman” Hart & The British
Bulldog beat Vader & The Patriot when Bret pins the Patriot with a rollup
at 21:14:
Vader and the Patriot lay waste to Bret and the Bulldog
before the bell, but since they are good sports they wait until their opponents
get back into the ring to go after the American flag.  The referee struggles to keep order as
everyone does whatever they want and prevent the other side from going after
their respective flag.  This makes for a
rather dull contest except for a few spots, such as the Patriot nearly
capturing the American flag when everyone piles up in the American team’s
corner and everyone, save for the Bulldog, trying to apply their version of the
Sharpshooter.  Bret KO’s Vader with the
ring bell, but that doesn’t produce an immediate finish as he continues to beat
on Vader inside of the ring.  The crowd
gets impatient as the Patriot gets a hot tag and plants Bret with Uncle Slam,
but the Bulldog breaks it up and then stiffs a fan that tries to run into the
ring.  Vader then hits Bret with a Vader
Bomb, but all hell breaks loose again and Bret and the Patriot end up alone and
Bret counters a Patriot rollup with the help of the tights to get the victory.  The stipulation killed this match, but I
doubt Bret and the Bulldog were psychologically ready for it in light of
Pillman’s death.  This would also be the
last pay-per-view outing for the Patriot, who suffered a torn bicep shortly
after this and was out of the company shortly thereafter.  Rating:  **
The announcers
discuss the Hell in a Cell.
Hendrix interviews
D-Generation X.  European Champion Shawn
Michaels says that he can survive Hell in a Cell because he is the most
tenacious man in the WWF and the number one guy in this business.  Hunter Hearst Helmsley tries to push his way
into the promo, but is cut off.
A video package
hypes the Shawn Michaels-Undertaker feud
.
Non-Title Hell in
a Cell Match:  “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn
Michaels (European Champion) pins The Undertaker when Kane Tombstones the
Undertaker at 29:57:
The winner of this match faces the WWF champion at
Survivor Series.  Commissioner Slaughter and referees look under the ring to make sure no one is
hiding there.  When the cage comes down
and the Undertaker makes his entrance, Michaels has second thoughts and wants
to leave, but there’s no chance of that and the Undertaker beats him from
pillar to post.  The male fans in the
audience roar when the Undertaker smashes Michaels back into the ring post and
then into the corner of the Cell repeatedly. 
Michaels rebounds by knocking the Undertaker into the cage and using the
ring steps and a chair to maintain the advantage and “build momentum.”  That only gets two, though, and Michaels gets
backdropped onto a cameraman, who he proceeds to beat up in a ruse to get the
Cell open so he can escape.  This is a
great spot, since it plays into Michaels hot headedness in big matches, and
McMahon does his part by sending his apologies and best wishes out to the cameraman’s
family in anticipation of a lawsuit.  The
crowd gets back into the match when they end up outside of the Cell and a
slingshot into it allows Michaels to cut himself open.  They battle on top of the Cell for a short
while, a spot which always makes me nervous because I fear that the Cell will
collapse under their weight at any moment, and the Undertaker has Michaels in a
gorilla press, but just slams him instead of tossing him off, which does not
really fit this feud.  Michaels leaves
that big bump for Mick Foley, but does fall off the side of the Cell and
through the Spanish announce table as Tito Santana looks on with his mouth
agape.  They go back into the Cell, with
Michaels a bloody mess, and the Undertaker smashes a chair over Michaels head,
but when he signals for the Tombstone the lights go out and Kane emerges with
Paul Bearer.  Kane, in a piece of booking
provided by Jim Cornette, walks down and rips off the Cell door, deck the
referee, and Tombstones the Undertaker, enabling Michaels to crawl over and get
a cowardly victory.  A shocking, violent,
and fitting ending to this feud and it begins the build for Undertaker-Kane at
WrestleMania XIV.  I’m on the fence about
giving this five stars, but it told a great story, Michaels blade job and bumping
were great, and the Kane interference was warranted and added to the
match.  Rating:  *****
The Final Report Card:  The single selling point of this show was
Hell in a Cell and that match delivered, but it took an agonizing two and a
half hours to get to that match.  Yes,
the opener is good, although other reviewers disagree on that point, but the
rest falls into average territory.  I’ll
give this one a neutral rating because the main event delivers, but you really
don’t need to seek out this show.  Just
watch Hell in a Cell to see the origins of that match and go watch something
else.
Attendance: 
21,151
Buyrate: 
0.60

Show Evaluation:  Neutral

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – September 29, 1997

by Logan Scisco
Michael Cole
narrates a video package about Steve Austin’s rampage of Stone Cold Stunners.
Vince McMahon, Jim
Ross, and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are in Albany, New
York.
McMahon interviews
D-Generation X.  Rick Rude makes a sales
pitch to McMahon based on what Steve Austin did last week.  Shawn Michaels gloats about beating down the
Undertaker last week.  Hunter Hearst
Helmsley, who Shawn refers to as “Triple H,” which is the first time I recall
hearing that in Helmsley’s career, talks about getting impatient to get his big
break.  Helmsley’s voice just does not
jive with this group or rhetoric and it is tough to take him seriously.  Commissioner Slaughter arrives and orders
Helmsley to fight the Undertaker.  The
Hart Foundation appear at the top of the ramp and Bret says that D-Generation X
have committed crimes that they will pay for tonight.  A somewhat dry segment, but this promo is
where Michaels and Helmsley debuted their sophomoric personas that would be a
big part of DX.

The announcers
talk more about One Night Only and the end of the European championship match
is shown
.
Opening
Contest:  Vader beats The British Bulldog
by disqualification when the Hart Foundation interferes at 5:22 shown:
Ross points out that Vader beat Ken Shamrock last night
in Japan, but really makes no sense in recent storylines since Shamrock was
taken out of the Intercontinental title tournament because he was not medically
cleared to compete.  However, the
semi-final that he would have been a part of is tonight.  Anyway, this contest is meant to preview the
tag team flag match at Badd Blood.  You
might be asking what flag match, since it has received little build the last
couple of weeks, but that will feature the Patriot and Vader against the
Bulldog and Bret Hart.  The match has
some weird booking, as the Bulldog gets some impressive power spots which would
usually elicit a face reaction and Vader appears like a big bully.  Vader hits the Vader Bomb, but the Hart Foundation
charges the right and attacks him before the referee can count the Bulldog down
and that finishes this standard TV match. 
Rating:  **¼
After the match,
Bret Hart puts Vader in a ring post figure-four, but the Patriot runs out for a
brief save until he is also mauled by the Hart Foundation.  The Harts make sure to attack him with
Canadian flags to call attention to the flag match stipulation
.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your VHS copy of One Night Only for $19.95 (plus $6 shipping and
handling)! 
A video package
hypes Faarooq.  Since it focuses on his
football background I’m sure that Jim Ross had something to do with this.  The problem with this video package is that
it makes you a fan of Faarooq, who is supposed to be a heel.
Intercontinental
Championship Tournament Semi-Finals: 
Faarooq (w/The Nation of Domination) defeats Ahmed Johnson (w/The Legion
of Doom & Ken Shamrock) by disqualification at 2:26:
Just when you thought this feud was over it came back
like the villain in a horror film.  This
isn’t much of a match as Faarooq gets in some offense, Ahmed responds, and then
when the referee tries to prevent Ahmed from bashing Faarooq with the ring
steps, Ahmed slaps him and that draws a disqualification.  Faarooq advances to the finals to face Owen
Hart at Badd Blood.  This has been a
terrible tournament.
After the match,
Ahmed’s faction brawls with the Nation and the faces win
.
Dok Hendrix hypes
the Nassau Coliseum house show, which features Bret Hart defending the WWF
title against the Undertaker, the Legion of Doom facing Shawn Michaels &
Hunter Hearst Helmsley, and Steve Austin & Dude Love facing The British
Bulldog & Owen Hart in a Long Island street fight.  This is a great card that sounds better than
Badd Blood
.
The latest edition
of Brian Pillman’s XXX Files sees him in bed with Marlena and he says he will
not face Dude Love unless the WWF puts some structure in place to keep Goldust
away from him.  He proposes handcuffing
Goldust to the ring post to prevent unwanted interference.
Dude Love comes
out to do guest commentary for the next match
.
Goldust defeats
The Sultan (w/The Iron Sheik) with a bulldog at 5:41:
McMahon tells us that Goldust and Marlena are renewing
their wedding vows next week on RAW and Dude Love tells the audience that if he
beats Brian Pillman at Badd Blood that Goldust will get a no disqualification
match with Pillman right after.  They
adopt the Randy Savage strategy in this one, with the Sultan taking 90% of the
offense until Goldust hits two moves to win. 
This was only five minutes, but it felt like fifteen.  Rating:  ½*
Steve Austin is
shown arriving to the arena
.
Austin comes out
and McMahon tells Austin that if he does not care about his safety then he
doesn’t either.  Austin says he doesn’t
care if he’s fired and McMahon responds by giving him three options:  provide a medical clearance for next week, a
return to action if he absolves the WWF of liability if he gets injured, or he
can be fired.  Austin says he’ll think
about it in his own “diplomatic” way.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  Jesus & Jose
defeat The Headbangers (Champions) by disqualification when the Godwinns
interfere at 7:11 shown:
Before the match, Ross goes into a hilarious rant about
how Commissioner Slaughter has no brains because of his decision to let Steve
Austin present the Intercontinental title to the winner of the Owen
Hart-Faarooq match at Badd Blood.  The
Headbangers lackluster tag team title reign continues here as the crowd refuses
to react to anything in the match.  The
heat segment on Thrasher lasts so long that I think the Boricuas honestly run
out of moves to do.   Jesus appears to
have the match won for his team with a super hurricanrana on Mosh, but the
Godwinns run in to make sure the Headbangers retain the titles so they can face
them for the belts at Badd Blood.  We are
somewhat accustomed to champions looking weak in the current era, but the
Headbangers had to be the most poorly booked tag team champions in WWF history
up to this point.  Rating:  *½
Call 1-900-737-4WWF
to find out if Goldust is suspicious of Marlena’s time with Brian Pillman and
if she’s really not enjoying herself.
McMahon interviews
Owen Hart, who comes out in an “Owen 3:16” shirt that reads “I just broke your
neck” on the back.  He also has a
SWAT-style security detail with him. 
Owen says that he’s confident that he’ll beat Faarooq at Badd Blood, but
Steve Austin’s latest antics are scaring him. 
Owen tries to persuade McMahon to fire Austin next week, but as Owen
celebrates to leave, one of the security guards takes off their helmet to
reveal Austin and he gives Owen a Stone Cold Stunner before fleeing through the
crowd.  In a nice touch, the crowd blocks
the other SWAT guys from pursuing Austin.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your VHS copy of One Night Only for $19.95 (plus $6 shipping and
handling)!
Backstage, Jim
Neidhart is shown guarding Owen Hart, who is on a stretcher nursing his neck
.
Footage of
contractors building the Hell in a Cell is shown.
The Undertaker
defeats Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Shawn Michaels & Chyna) by
disqualification when Rick Rude interferes at 1:51:
During the Undertaker’s entrance he is attacked by Bret
Hart and the British Bulldog and they, in turn, are attacked by Vader and the
Patriot.  As the Hart Foundation is
repelled, Michaels and Helmsley put the boots to the Undertaker for a couple of
minutes before the Undertaker and Helmsley end up in the ring to start this
match.  The Undertaker makes short work
of Helmsley, but before he can hit a Tombstone, Rick Rude hits him with a
briefcase and draws the disqualification.
After the bell,
D-Generation X beat down the Undertaker and Michaels hits him with Sweet Chin
Music.  DX puts the Undertaker in a body
bag, but the Undertaker sits up and tears his way out and forces DX to
flee.  Michaels tries to run backstage,
but a red light keeps him from doing so, so he climbs the Titantron as the
Undertaker gives Helmsley a Tombstone on the stage as we close the show.  A nice go home segment for this feud.
The Final Report Card:  This show had some good moments, with the
closing segment putting over the main event and Austin being his usual badass
self.  However, the matches were just
atrocious this week and were a chore to sit through.  Bulldog-Vader was solid, but after that the
ring work went into a rut and never recovered. 
I’ll give this a neutral rating as the non-wrestling segments
effectively advanced the major angles, but I got the feeling that much of the
show put more emphasis on hyping the RAW after Bad Blood than the actual
pay-per-view.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.7 (vs. 4.0 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Neutral

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – September 22, 1997

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
tonight
.
Vince McMahon, Jim
Ross, and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from New
York City.

Opening
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: 
*
Steve Austin
appears in the crowd and says that someone is getting their ass whipped
tonight.  McMahon does not look happy
about that announcement.
Floyd Patterson,
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
.
McMahon interviews
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.
Call 815-734-1161
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
shown
.
Intercontinental
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
.
European Champion
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.
Non-Title
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

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – September 8, 1997

by Logan Scisco


A video package
recaps the events of last night’s In Your House:  Ground Zero pay-per-view
.
Vince McMahon, Jim
Ross, and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from
Cincinnati, Ohio
.
McMahon interviews
Commissioner Sergeant Slaughter, who receives a chorus of boos.  Slaughter pledges that there will be law and
order in the WWF and that Steve Austin will be suspended until he receives a
doctor’s order that allows him to compete. 
Slaughter announces the beginning of a tournament to crown a new
Intercontinental champion, with the finals to be held at In Your House:  Badd Blood, and Austin must present his title
to the winner.  Austin comes out to a big
reaction, pledges to deliver a can of whoop ass to Slaughter’s front door, and
makes fun of his weight.  The last part
might seem cheesy, but Austin delivers it in such a bad ass manner that John
Cena should take notes.  On his way out,
Austin gives Slaughter a Stone Cold Stunner, which makes the crowd lose its collective
mind, and he teases attacking McMahon before WWF officials intervene.  THIS is what you call an opening segment.

The Undertaker’s
plancha at Ground Zero last night is the Discovery Zone Rewind segment.
Footage of Steve
Austin giving Jim Ross a Stone Cold Stunner at Ground Zero last night is shown,
along with his recent Stunner to Sergeant Slaughter.  Slaughter really sold his like a champ, as he
lifted his legs on the way down to give the move more impact.  After these are shown, WWF officials tell
Austin to get out of the building.
The announce crew
discusses the lingering Bret Hart-Vader feud and their recent encounters on
Friday Night’s Main Event
.
Opening Non-Title
No Holds Barred Contest:  Bret “the
Hitman” Hart (WWF Champion) wrestles Vader to a no contest at 7:46 shown:
Bret goes for the cheap heat by running down Pete Rose
and Bret establishes that this is a no holds barred match by blasting Vader
with the WWF title as he gets into the ring. 
Bret uses the ring steps too, but Vader proceeds to overcome that and
maul him with big strikes.  Vader hits
the powerbomb, but when he goes for a Vader Bomb, the British Bulldog runs down
and gets involved.  The Patriot makes the
save to even the odds, but Owen Hart runs out to make it 3-on-2.  Bret grabs a chair to accelerate the
destruction, but Steve Austin prevents the Patriot from taking a spike
piledriver on it and tries to go after Owen, but Owen and the rest of the Hart
Foundation flee.  This was a fun match,
even with all of the interference, and the no contest verdict was justified
based on what they are building up.  Rating: 
***¼
Sergeant Slaughter
is shown pacing in the locker room, favoring his neck
.
The action of last
night’s Fatal Four Way tag team match is chronicled by the announce crew and
footage of the Headbangers celebrating their title victory with their fans in
Louisville is shown.
The Godwinns
destroy some jobbers, which were scheduled to face the Headbangers, and Henry
Godwinn gets on the mic and challenges the Headbangers to a match after their
fluke victory on last night’s pay-per-view. 
The Headbangers accept the challenge.
Non-Title
Match:  The Godwinns defeat The
Headbangers (WWF Tag Team Champions) when Phineas pins Mosh after Uncle Cletus
hits Mosh in the back of the head with a horseshoe at 3:05:
This match has an odd dynamic, as the announce team makes
fun of the Headbangers attire and what they stand for while hyping the
viciousness of the Godwinns.  Remind me
again why the Headbangers were booked to win the titles in the first
place?  The Godwinns put Thrasher in
peril, but after Mosh hits Phineas with the Mosh Pit, an unknown man in
overalls (the soon to be revealed Uncle Cletus) interferes behind the referee’s
back and gives the Godwinns a victory.  Rating: 
Ross interviews
the Godwinns after the match and Henry says that they have brought their Uncle
Cletus to the WWF in order to watch their backs. 
Uncle Cletus was played by Tony Anthony, who viewers of the WWF in the mid-1990s
will recognize as T.L. Hopper, the evil plumber.
The announce crew
discuss the Ground Zero ”indecent proposal” match between Brian Pillman and
Goldust.
Sunny lets us know
that she is going to be in the locker room and showers tonight getting some
scoops on the latest WWF news and introduces Dude Love, who she dances with by
the entrance.
Dude Love brings
out Goldust for a first round Intercontinental title tournament match against
Brian Pillman, but Pillman calls in from home and says he refuses to wrestle
until the WWF guarantees his safety.  He
then has a tape played of “Brian Pillman’s XXX Files,” where he alludes to
having wild sex with Terri last night. 
Goldust looks humiliated as the segment comes to a close.
Max Mini pins
Piratita Morgan with a La Magistral Cradle at 2:38:
This is the usual Max Mini-type match where he flies
around a lot, gets knocked down a few times by a bigger opponent, and then
magically gets a roll up to win.  This is
OK filler, but I never got the point of using the minis in late 1997 and early
1998.
Ross explains the
Hell in a Cell match which has been signed for In Your House:  Badd Blood between Shawn Michaels and the
Undertaker.
A video package
chronicles the feud between Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker
.
McMahon interviews
the Undertaker, who tells ShawnMichaels that last night was only the beginning
of his struggle against death.  He makes
sure to emphasize that Hell in a Cell will have no way of escape, so Michaels
will have to hear the music of the bells that will signal his demise.  Michaels appears on the Titantron, says that
he is a survivor, and he will survive again at Hell in a Cell.
Sunny interviews
the Hart Foundation.  Owen says that he
is not scared of Steve Austin and he will put him out of the WWF a second time
if he tries to touch him.  As insurance,
he says that Bret and the British Bulldog will accompany him in his
Intercontinental tournament match against Goldust.
Intercontinental
Championship Tournament First Round Match: 
Owen Hart (w/Bret Hart & The British Bulldog) defeats Goldust by
disqualification at 2:08:
The brackets for this tournament are:
*Brian Pillman-Dude Love
*Owen Hart-Goldust
*Ken Shamrock-Faarooq
*Ahmed Johnson-Rocky Maivia
Goldust attacks Owen prior to the bell and decides to
give Owen too many low blows in view of the referee and gets disqualified.  I think that is the only time that I ever
recall seeing this finish.
After the match,
the Hart Foundation does a beat down on Goldust until Steve Austin makes the
save with a broom.  Austin once again
threatens McMahon before leaving
.
As Goldust goes to
leave the ring, Brian Pillman calls in to show part II of his “XXX Files”,
where he says that he is getting ready to take a shower with Terri.
McMahon interviews
the Hart Foundation and Bret says if Sergeant Slaughter wants to save face that
he should suspend Steve Austin from the WWF for life.
Call
1-900-737-4WWF if you want to hear Brian Pillman’s phone conversation with WWF
officials as he sped away with Terri at Ground Zero last night.  The call will cost you $1.49 per minute!
Savio Vega comes
out to do guest commentary because he’s the “king of the triple threat match”
after winning one last night at Ground Zero
The
upcoming triple threat is scheduled to be a match between the Patriot, Hunter
Hearst Helmsley, and the British Bulldog, but while the Bulldog makes his
entrance, Helmsley, Shawn Michaels, and Chyna attack him and go after his right
knee.  Meanwhile, the Patriot just stands
in the ring in a great display of sportsmanship.
Hunter Hearst
Helmsley (w/Chyna) defeats The Patriot & Savio Vega when he pins Savio
after ramming Savio’s head into the Patriot’s at 11:40 shown:
With the Bulldog injured, Savio demands a place in the
match and after he punches Helmsley this one gets underway.  I really hate that the triple threat is being
used in a throwaway match like this because the stipulation needs to be used
for a special circumstance.  The match
gets zero reaction until Shawn Michaels wanders back out to do guest
commentary.  Literally NOTHING happens in
this match and random pin attempts
that are broken up simply because there is a third man in the ring.  One interesting thing happens when the
Patriot cradles Helmsley, but does so with his shoulders on the mat and instead
of trying to see a double pin, which would logically make him the winner, Savio
breaks it up.  Speaking of which, that is
a finish to the triple threat that I do not think has ever been tried, so
bookers take note.  About fifteen minutes
in, if you add the commercial breaks, the crowd works up a very audible
“boring” chant.  Savio takes out the
referee with a spinning heel kick while trying to block a Pedigree attempt by
Helmsley and our finish ends up really convoluted as the Patriot is crotched
going to the top rope when Savio slingshots Helmsley into the corner, but
cannot get a pin because there is no referee. 
Savio then takes a swing at Michaels when he gets on the apron and that
allows Helmsley to whip Savio into the Patriot, who is napping on the top
buckles, and score a very underwhelming victory.  This has to be the worst triple threat match
I have ever seen.  Rating:  ¼*
After the match,
Michaels takes out the Patriot and Savio Vega and Los Boricuas and Vader charge
the ring.  The heels arm themselves with
chairs in the ring to fight off their attackers and the Hart Foundation walks
out as the show goes off the air.
The Final Report Card:  This was a really weird show because you
expect RAW to have an okay first hour and a great second hour.  Instead, this show had a pretty good first
hour and a really lousy second hour.  The
triple threat nearly kills the show and likely did in the ratings as this was
the lowest rated RAW in three months, but Steve Austin’s antics in the first
hour save it from being a complete waste of time.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.2 (vs. 4.3 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Neutral

What the World Was Watching: In Your House: Ground Zero

by Logan Scisco


This is a bittersweet show for me to review because I
wanted my dad to take me to this show as a young fan, but he refused because I
had school the next day.  The WWF rarely
runs pay-per-views in Kentucky, so let’s just say I was not happy missing this
show.
Vince McMahon,
Jerry “the King” Lawler, and Jim Ross are in the booth and they are live from
Louisville, Kentucky
.
A video package
recaps the Brian Pillman-Goldust feud.

Opening Indecent
Proposal Contest:  Brian Pillman pins
Goldust (w/Marlena) after hitting him with a loaded purse at 11:05:
The stipulation in this match is that if Pillman loses he
will leave the WWF forever, but if he wins he gets Marlena for thirty
days.  This match also has the
distinction of being Pillman’s last pay-per-view match before his death.  Since this is not a match on RAW, Pillman
does not have to wear a dress and Goldust attacks him before the official
bell.  Due to the stipulations, this
match has more intensity than their SummerSlam encounter and when Goldust is in
control the match is fine, but when Pillman takes over it slows to a
crawl.  Pillman takes a hot shot from the
top rope to the guardrail and Goldust proceeds to hit the Curtain Call, but the
referee gets bumped as Pillman takes the move. 
Marlena tries to hit Pillman with her loaded purse, but Pillman grabs it
and blasts Goldust for the victory.  Rating: 
**¼
After the match,
Pillman grabs Marlena and gets out of dodge fairly quickly before Goldust
revives.  Fulfilling his broadcast
announcing duties, Lawler grabs the purse that is still in the ring and reveals
to the audience that there was a brick inside of it.
Highlights of
Brian Christopher delivering a Tennessee Jam to Scott Putski on a chair on a
July episode of Shotgun Saturday Night are shown.
Light Heavyweight
Exhibition:  “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher
defeats Scott Putski by referee stoppage at 4:41:
Despite the storyline, Christopher gets a decent pop
because Louisville was a USWA territory and they work up a “Jerry’s kid” chant,
which Ross latches onto and says that they definitely would know if Christopher
is Lawler’s son or not.  This is a very
proficient contest as both men run through their usual offenses, but the crowd
still does not care about the light heavyweight division despite the WWF hyping
it since July.  Christopher delivers a
pescado on Putski on the floor, but Putski suffers a knee injury when catching
him and that ends this match prematurely. 
To my knowledge this was Putski’s last WWF match, which is unfortunate
because he had a potential.  Rating: 
**
After the match,
Lawler gets on the house mic and chastises Putski’s injury as WWF officials
help him to the locker room.
Sunny says that
Brian Pillman called her on his cell phone and she heard lots of things taking
place in their car, so if you want to find out what is going on call the
Superstar line tonight at 1-900-737-4WWF!
A video package
recaps the WWF gang wars
.
Triple Threat
Match:  Savio Vega defeats Crush and
Faarooq after he pins Crush with a spinning heel kick at 11:38:
This is the old Nation of Domination exploding and is the
quasi-blowoff to that feud since the gangs wars really fizzled out after
this.  If you want to look at the
long-term success you might have to say that the Nation of Domination won since
they would exist until late 1998 as a full faction.  The amazing thing, though, is that none of
the factions held the tag team titles. 
The look on Crush’s face as he shows up just reads “yeah I am losing
this match and I am just here for a paycheck.” 
The triple threat was still a new match at this point, as this was only
the third televised one, so Ross has to make sure to explain the rules, but it
sticks to a formula most WWF triple threat matches have where one man is
incapacitated for several minutes so the other two competitors can have a
one-on-one match.  Faarooq embraces the
no disqualification nature of the match by whipping both men with his belt and
using low blows.  The match has lots of
near-falls, but it is a huge choking, punching, and kicking affair.  Near the end of the contest, Crush and
Faarooq form an alliance and give Savio a double suplex, but the referee
refuses to count the fall when both men cover him.  Crush and Faarooq proceed to go at it, with
Savio getting tossed to the floor multiple times when he breaks up some pin
attempts.  Crush and Savio give Faarooq a
spike piledriver and Faarooq eats a Crush heart punch, but Savio catches Crush
by surprise with a spinning heel kick and captures the victory.  I will give these guys credit and say that
everyone tried.  Rating:  *½
Call 815-734-1161
to get your copy of Cause Stone Cold Said So for $19.99 (plus $6
shipping & handling)!
Mini Match:  Max Mini defeats El Torito with a sunset flip
at 9:18:
The “minis” have not been used in a while, but the WWF
began using them some more near the end of 1997.  Max Mini was a repackaged Mascarita Sagrada,
Jr.  The crowd really gets into Max
hopping around and cannonballing onto Torito through the ropes.  Torito loves to bite Max on the rear end and
Max gets angry that the referee is not doing anything about it, so he bites the
referee’s rear end.  The referee chases
Max out of the ring and in a funny moment, Max leaps into Lawler’s lap at the
announce table and puts on his crown as the crowd chants” Jerry’s kid.”  They work in some false finishes off of a Max
hurricanrana and a Torito powerbomb and Max eventually surprises Torito with a
sunset flip.  This match had its moments,
but it would have been better suited as a four minute match than being given
nearly ten minutes.  The finish was also
a letdown after all of the spots that led to it.  Rating:  **
A video package
recaps Steve Austin’s neck injury and how it has forced he and Dude Love to
forfeit the tag team championships.
Before the Fatal
Four Way, Sergeant Slaughter tells Jim Ross that presiding over the forfeiture
of the tag team championships is not one of his favorite parts of the job, but
he is doing it for the fans.  Dude Love comes
out and says that since Steve Austin helped him win the belts that he will not
defend them without him and gives his belt to Slaughter.  Austin comes out, threatens Ross, McMahon,
and Slaughter for showing videos of his neck injury and not allowing him to
wrestle and he tosses his tag title belt on the ground and tells Slaughter to
pick it up and give him twenty. 
Slaughter leaves with the belts and Ross tells Austin that he wishes him
a good recovery.  Austin responds by
giving Ross a Stone Cold Stunner to a huge pop.
Dok Hendrix
interviews Owen Hart & the British Bulldog and Owen says that he is
disgusted by Austin’s actions against his good friend Jim Ross so he is going
to lobby for Austin’s arrest for assault.
Pre-taped promos
are aired for the Godwinns and the Headbangers for tonight’s Fatal Four Way tag
team match.
Michael Cole
interviews the Legion of Doom, who say that their big goal in this match is to
get revenge on the Godwinns.
Fatal Four Way
Elimination Match for the WWF Tag Team Championships:  The Headbangers defeat Owen Hart & The
British Bulldog, The Legion of Doom & The Godwinns to win the titles at 17:20:
Order of
Elimination:  The Legion of Doom are
disqualified at 9:35; The Headbangers eliminate the Godwinns when Thrasher pins
Phineas with a sunset flip at 12:45; The Headbangers eliminate Owen Hart &
The British Bulldog when Mosh pins Owen after Steve Austin gives Owen a Stone
Cold Stunner at 17:20
There is a long feeling out process to start the match
and Owen and the Bulldog refuse to tag in until Hawk “tags” the Bulldog with a
right hand.  Since there is very little
happening in the first ten minutes, Lawler and McMahon choose to hype the One
Night Only pay-per-view in a few weeks. 
The Legion of Doom are the most over team in the match, but their reign
of futility continues when they beat the Godwinns with their slop bucket.  The Godwinns and Headbangers resume their
WrestleMania XIII showdown which has the same result as Thrasher pins Phineas
with a sunset flip despite Phineas being tied up in the ropes.  The ending at this point seemed academic, as
the Headbangers were nowhere near the team Owen and the Bulldog were, but that
does not take into consideration Steve Austin, who interferes to give the
Headbangers the upset win.  This booking
decision made zero sense at the time other than for pure shock value as the
Headbangers were a lower midcard tag team that had not won a match of note in
months.  It would have made more sense to
put over the Godwinns, who were already feuding with the Legion of Doom, which
was the big tag feud happening in the company at the time.  As a random fact, this was the second Fatal
Four Way elimination match that the Headbangers won on pay-per-view in 1997, as
they won the Fatal Four Way elimination match at WrestleMania XIII.  Okay match after the Legion of Doom were
eliminated.  Rating:  **
A video package
hypes In Your House:  Badd Blood.
Slaughter is shown
tending to Ross backstage, who has an ice pack on his neck.
A video package
hypes the Bret Hart-Patriot title match
.
­-Sunny interviews
the Patriot, who says he beat Bret Hart once and he will do it again.
Cole interviews
WWF Champion Bret Hart, who promises to take out his aggression toward American
fans in his title defense tonight
.
WWF Championship
Match:  Bret “the Hitman” Hart (Champion) defeats
The Patriot by submission to the Sharpshooter at 18:40:
This is second time in 1997 that the WWF champion is not
featured in the last match.  This title
defense appeared so academic to me in 1997 since I never thought the Patriot
was on Bret’s level and one month of build was not enough to erase that.  The Patriot opts to work the arm in the early
going and Bret target the legs.  The
British Bulldog wanders out and trips the Patriot when he runs the ropes and
Bret nearly wins with a school boy.  The
Patriot pushes Bret into the Bulldog on the apron and does a school boy
reminiscent of his July upset, but Bret kicks out.  The Patriot delivers Uncle Slam, but the
Bulldog pulls Bret out of the ring and the referee does not disqualify Bret for
some reason.  Vader wanders out to even
the odds and tosses Bret into the steps, but the referee decides to let that go
too, which I guess you can consider the equivalent of a professional wrestling
make up call.  The Patriot has completely
forgets about the leg injury he is supposed to have, which really irks me, and
hits the Patriot Missile, but Bret kicks out at two and transitions into his
moves of doom.  The ref gets bumped on a
Patriot elbow, so he is out of position to count another Uncle Slam, and both
men trade near-falls off of a small package. 
The Patriot puts Bret in the Sharpshooter, but that is a mistake since
Bret knows how to escape his own hold and he maneuvers out and applies the hold
to defend the title.  The finishing
sequence was really nice and this worked up a great pace after the ten minute
mark.  The finish would have come across
better if the Patriot had sold the leg better, though.  Rating:  ***½
After the match,
Bret gives the Patriot a piledriver, snaps the Patriot’s American flag in half,
and chokes him with it.
Cole interviews
Bret Hart and the British Bulldog and Bret says that the Patriot is a loser
just like Americans and the Bulldog promises that Canada and Great Britain will
win their war against the United States.
A video package
hypes the Undertaker-Shawn Michaels main event
.
Shawn Michaels
tells the announce crew that he does not rest in peace for anyone
.
“The Heartbreak
Kid” Shawn Michaels wrestles The Undertaker to a no contest at 16:20:
Michaels immediately hides behind the referee after the
Undertaker’s entrance, so the Undertaker decks the referee before the opening
bell can sound and Michaels decides he’s not going to wrestle.  Slaughter orders Michaels back to the ring
and in one of the greatest spots I can remember, the Undertaker picks up the
limp referee and tosses him over the top rope and onto Michaels.  Michaels follows that up with a hilarious
spot where he pounds on the door of the In Your House set out of desperation,
but he can’t get the door open and the Undertaker proceeds to beat the life out
of him with no referee to speak of.  Earl
Hebner is forced out by Sergeant Slaughter and Michaels embraces him and
demands the Undertaker be disqualified, but Hebner refuses and the match
finally gets officially underway. 
Michaels continues to bump around like a pinball as the Undertaker
shakes off his short spurts of offense. 
Michaels tries to use a chair, but the Undertaker blocks it with a big
boot and Hebner grabs the chair to prevent the Undertaker from using it, which
produces a ref bump when Michaels knocks them into each other.  Michaels hits two flying elbow drops for two
as Rick Rude comes out and tosses Michaels brass knuckles.  Michaels uses them and a third referee,
brought by Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Chyna, slides in and counts two.  Michaels does not care for that and KO’s the
third referee and D-Generation X triple teams the Undertaker, with very focal
fans in the first row questioning their sexual preferences.  The Undertaker takes the brass knuckles from
Michaels tights and uses them but Hebner’s slow count lets Michaels kick out at
two.  Hebner gets chokeslammed for that
and referee Tim White frantically runs out and calls for the bell to throw the
match out.  This brawl needed some blood,
but it was a great way to keep the feud going and let people know if you could
reduce interference that Michaels would get destroyed by the Undertaker.  I also appreciated the creative spots, especially the use of the In Your House set.  Rating:  ****
After the match,
Michaels hits the Undertaker with Sweet Chin Music and D-Generation X takes out
a crew of WWF officials.  The Undertaker
revives and Tombstones Helmsley and he and Michaels are eventually separated by
the WWF roster.  As Michaels gets away,
the Undertaker gets loose and takes out about half the roster, Michaels
included, with a plancha and Michaels and D-Generation X scurry away as the
Undertaker stands in the ring with a chair as the pay-per-view goes off the
air.
The Final Report Card:  This pay-per-view was shaping up as a three
hour episode of RAW until the last two matches, but those matches are very good
and Michaels-Undertaker effectively set up Hell in a Cell at Badd Blood.  Despite its quality, this show did the second
lowest buyrate of a pay-per-view by the company in 1997 (D-Generation X would
the lowest) so fans must have read through the booking and figured that Bret
was going to retain the title and the Undertaker-Michaels feud would continue
for another pay-per-view.
Attendance: 
4,963
Buyrate: 
0.45
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – August 18, 1997

by Logan Scisco
Vince McMahon,
Jerry “the King” Lawler, and Jim Ross are in the booth and they are in Atlantic
City, New Jersey.  There are lots of ECW
fans in the house and you can see their signs everywhere in the audience.  There are so many signs that they practically
coat the floor audience.
McMahon interviews
Rick Rude, who claims that he is a mercenary and is willing to provide
insurance to anyone willing to pay for it. 
He pledges that once he is paid he makes sure to give the intended
victim a “Rude Awakening.”
Owen Hart and the
British Bulldog deliver a taped promo against the Legion of Doom, where they
promise to deliver some punishment in advance of the Ground Zero Fatal Four
Way.
Commissioner
Sergeant Slaughter is shown arguing with Shawn Michaels in the locker room, but
no audio is provided
.

Opening
Contest:  Owen Hart & The British
Bulldog defeated The Legion of Doom when Owen pins Animal after Henry Godwinn
hits Animal with a slop bucket at 4:57:
These two teams have wrestled several times in 1997,
mostly when Owen and the Bulldog held the tag team titles and both teams are
vying for the “favorite” label heading into Ground Zero.  This is your standard television contest and
when all hell breaks loose in the ring, the Godwinns interfere and give Owen
and the Bulldog the victory.  After the
match, the three teams brawl with each other to emphasize that every team will
be for themselves at Ground Zero. 
Evidently the Godwinns-LOD issue is building for a house show taking
place in Chicago this Saturday.  Rating: 
**
Mankind cuts a
pre-taped promo saying that he is not sure if the Undertaker can trust him in
their match against Shawn Michaels and Hunter Hearst Helmsley tonight
.
Shawn Michaels
tells the announce team that he is tired of being painted into a corner.  He says that he is not supposed to face the
Undertaker until Ground Zero and that he does not want to team with Hunter
Hearst Helmsley because they are not partners.
Sunny comes out to
be the guest ring announcer for our next match because she has nothing better
to do
.
Brian Christopher
says that his loss to Taka Michinoku a couple of weeks ago was a fluke and to
prove it he is going to beat Flash Funk.
Flash Funk says
that he is not a stepping stone.
Flash Funk pins
“Too Sexy” Brian Christopher with the Funky Flash Splash at 3:40:
The sound crew messes up the ring entrances, as they play
Flash Funk’s theme music for Christopher and it does not fit Christopher’s
entrance mannerisms.  The problem with
the light heavyweight division is on display in this match as expanding the
weight limits and categories could have involved some previously established
superstars like Funk.  Of course, that
may not mean much since Funk hardly wins matches anymore, but it would at least
give some guys something to do.  When
Christopher goes for the Tennessee Jam, Lawler leaves the announce table and
tells Christopher to go for the piledriver and this distraction allows Funk to
crotch Christopher on the top rope and finish him off.  Funk has racked up a two match RAW winning
streak, but the bookers still do not have anything for him to do.  Rating:  **
After the match,
Sunny consoles Lawler over his son’s loss as McMahon and Ross hype the house
show circuit, as well as the Monday Night Raw coming from Madison Square Garden
on September 22nd.
The Undertaker
says his patience with Shawn Michaels has run out and he will settle the score
with him before Ground Zero and if Mankind gets out of line he will be taken
out as well
.
Sergeant Slaughter
and Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Chyna are showing arguing backstage, but like
Michaels segment earlier there is no audio
.
Ken Shamrock
beats The Sultan (w/The Iron Sheik) via submission to the ankle lock at 3:16:
Shamrock survives a some token resistance from the
Sultan, which includes the Iron Sheik breaking his Iranian flag across
Shamrock’s back, and then gives both of them belly-to-belly suplexes.  A hurricanrana and ankle lock get the
victory.  Rating:  *
The announce team
talks about tonight’s tag team main event
.
The Nation of
Domination, with their new acquisition Rocky Maivia, come out and demand that
Jim Ross interview them.  The crowd works
up a “Rocky sucks” chant and Faarooq tells the crowd that Ahmed Johnson was
kicked out of the Nation because he was a token black man.  Maivia says he got tired of the crowd
chanting for him to die and he became a part of the Nation for respect.  Maivia says that the Nation are not racist,
but the Disciples of Apocalypse are, and the Nation will win the respect of the
WWF through any means necessary.  Maivia
is still a little raw on the mic, but he sounds natural and conveys intensity.  The DOA appear on the Titantron and Crush
challenges the Nation to come out to the parking lot for a brawl and the Nation
accept
.
Goldust and
Marlena are shown playing with their daughter Dakota on the beaches of Atlantic
City.
Dok Hendrix hypes
the Madison Square Garden Monday Night Raw show, which will feature a triple
threat match between Bret Hart, the Undertaker, and Steve Austin.  I need to see if there is footage of that match.  Shawn Michaels will also be in attendance and
there will be a 25 man battle royal, with the winner to face the WWF champion
at the next Madison Square Garden show
.
Hunter Hearst
Helmsley and Chyna tell the announce crew that they are tired of paying for
Shawn Michaels crimes and Helmsley tells McMahon that if he wants a fight then
he has one
.
Helmsley and
Chyna’s interview is cut off as the Disciples of Apocalypse and the Nation of
Domination brawl in the parking lot, but as the groups brawl, Los Boricuas
steal DOA’s motorcycles and drive off.
“The Real Double
J” Jesse James defeats “The Loose Cannon” Brian Pillman by disqualification
when Goldust interferes at 1:46:
James gimmick is so played out that he does not bother
singing on his way to the ring anymore. 
You can tell when Ross calls these matches that he thinks this whole
storyline is ridiculous since he knows what Pillman used to be capable of in
WCW.  James plays around with Pillman, by
lifting his dress and “fondling” him, which is a little distasteful.  Pillman appears to have another match won,
but Goldust runs out, carefully elbow drops James, and costs Pillman the match.
Michael Cole
interviews Goldust on the entrance ramp and Goldust says he wants Pillman to
wear a dress for another week because he looks so beautiful.  Pillman grabs the house mic and asks Goldust
to give him one more match and if he loses that match then he will leave the
WWF forever.  However, he says that if he
defeats Goldust then he gets Marlena as his personal assistant for thirty days.  When Goldust refuses, Pillman says that
Dakota is his love child and Marlena accepts Pillman’s challenge. 
Goldust is not happy with that at all. 
Pillman’s craziness was well suited for this feud, but unfortunately it
never came full circle.
Vader says that
the next segment will see “Vader Time.”
The Patriot
defeats Vader (w/Paul Bearer) with Uncle Slam at 5:00:
The ECW-like crowd takes to Vader and cheers loudly as he
tears into the Patriot.  The Patriot hits
the Patriot Missile as Bret Hart wanders out and Vader blocks a sunset flip
with a sit down splash and focuses his offense on the upper sternum, which is
quite unique.  The Patriot blocks a Vader
Bomb with his knees and then surprises Vader with Uncle Slam to capture another
big win.  An okay big man match, but this
had several blown spots that were hard to mask. 
Rating:  **
After the match,
Bret Hart distracts the Patriot and Vader does a beat down.  Vader prepares to give the Patriot a Vader
Bomb, but Bret enters the ring and drapes a Canadian flag over the
Patriot.  Vader does not like this,
breaks the Canadian flag over his knee, and starts brawling with Bret until the
Hart Foundation interfere and do a beat down on him.  This segment makes Vader a face and he will
remain in that role until he leaves the company
.
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to hear updates about Steve Austin, Mark Henry, and Ahmed
Johnson, a possible managerial shakeup in the company, who is soliciting Rick
Rude’s services, and why Shawn Michaels has been seen with Brakus
.
Cole interviews
WWF Champion Bret Hart, who says that he is not scared of Vader and prefers to
face him sooner rather than later.
Owen Hart’s spinning
heel kick on Goldust on Shotgun Saturday Night is the Stridex Triple Action
segment
.
A video package
recaps Steve Austin’s neck injury.
A taped interview
between Jim Ross and Steve Austin in Philadelphia, where Austin will be
medically checked out tomorrow.  Austin
says that he was temporarily paralyzed at SummerSlam and Owen Hart has hell to
pay.  Austin says that he does not care
what the doctors say because he will be back and he will be at Ground Zero.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your VHS copy of SummerSlam 1997. 
It will cost you $23.95 (plus shipping & handling)!
Mankind & The
Undertaker defeat “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels & Hunter Hearst
Helmsley (w/Chyna) by disqualification when Michaels hits the Undertaker with a chair at 8:29:
The atmosphere surrounding this match is like a Lethal
Lottery tag match, with no one appearing to trust who they are partnered
with.  Michaels avoids the Undertaker for a while and after the Undertaker shrugs
off some of Michaels offense, Michaels bails and calls out Rick Rude, who
slowly walks to the ring when we head to a commercial break.  Mankind is placed in peril, but this match is
nowhere near the quality of last week’s singles match between Michaels and
Mankind.  A funny announcing moment
happens during the double KO segment, when Ross compares it to a mugging on the
Boardwalk, which destroys the peaceful image of Atlantic City that McMahon has
been at pains to explain during the entire show.  When all hell breaks loose, Rude attempts to
hit the Undertaker with a chair, but the Undertaker turns around and stops that
and stalks Rude into the ring.  However,
that leads to Michaels picking up the chair and smashing the Undertaker over
the head with it for the finish  This match never felt like it got going until the sick chair shot that
ended it.  Rating:  *½
After the bell,
the Undertaker gets up and reveals a nasty blade job, where you can see a clean
cut above the Undertaker’s forehead with blood dripping out. Michaels hits the
Undertaker with the chair a second time, but the Undertaker stirs from that so
Helmsley, Rude, Chyna, and Michaels all head for the locker room.
The Final Report Card:  There were some decent storyline developments
on this show, like Vader’s face turn, Rick Rude explaining who he was, and the
Pillman-Goldust feud going to a whole new level, but the main event was really
disappointing.  Still, most of the
matches were decent and that’s enough to give the show a neutral rating, since
it was nowhere near good, but was also not terrible.  By the way, due to the U.S. Open, RAW did not
air for the next two weeks, but we will review the August 29th
“Friday Night’s Main Event” that aired
 on USA.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.2 (vs. 4.0 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Neutral

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – August 11, 1997

by Logan Scisco
Jim Ross narrates
a video package that recaps the big events on last week’s show
.
Shawn Michaels
tells a camera man to get away from him in the backstage area as we go on the
air
.
Vince McMahon,
Jerry “the King” Lawler, and Ross are doing announcing duties tonight and they
are broadcasting from Biloxi, Mississippi
.

Ross interviews
Shawn Michaels, who comes out to a chorus of boos.  He still high fives fans, though.  Michaels reiterates that he does not care how
the fans feel about him and criticizes McMahon for not telling him that he
would be wrestling Mankind tonight.  The
fans work out a “Shawn is gay” chant and Michaels responds by telling them to
ask their mothers and sisters how gay he is. 
Michaels alleges that there is a conspiracy in the WWF against him and
he warns Commissioner Sergeant Slaughter not to steal his spotlight.  This obviously brings out Slaughter, who says
he is getting into Michaels business, and Michaels mocks him and tells
Slaughter that he has an insurance policy to deal with Mankind and the WWF
officials trying to mess with him tonight. 
This opening segment went too long and it closed awkwardly, but it did
continue Michaels momentum as a quasi-heel character
.
The Biloxi fans
share their thoughts about tonight’s Shawn Michaels-Mankind match.  Most fans think Michaels will win.
Hawk whips a Raw
is War barrel in the locker room to prepare for tonight’s “country whipping”
match with Henry Godwinn tonight.
Henry Godwinn
tells the announce team that he can’t wait to whip the skin off of Hawk’s back
tonight
.
Opening Country
Whipping Contest:  Hawk (w/Animal)
defeats Henry Godwinn (w/Phineas Godwinn) at 3:48
In this match each competitor has a strap and they can
use it as much as they please and it is no disqualification.  The winner is the first man who can send
their opponent out of the ring.  The
British Bulldog and Owen Hart are on commentary and they hype the Fatal Four
Way tag team match at Ground Zero, which will be for the tag team championships.  This contest starts with some decent
intensity, but quickly dies because of the limitations of the competitors.  That said, I do admire both guys for taking
some nasty strap shots to the back.  Hawk
modifies his flying clothesline finisher with the strap, but this brings
Phineas into the ring to interfere.  Of
course that brings Animal into the ring and he sends the Godwinns out of the
ring by using one of their slop buckets and it ends the contest.  They should have just made this a tag match
after going with that ending.  Rating: 
½*
Sergeant Slaughter
reminds Brian Pillman that because he lost last week that he will have to wear
a dress this week
.
Light Heavyweight
Exhibition:  Scott Putski defeats Tony
Williams with a Polish Hammer at 3:28:
Before the bout begins, Goldust and Marlena come down to
the ring for commentary and Goldust says that he and Marlena have a big
surprise and they show a hidden camera of Brian Pillman’s locker room in the
split screen.  It is basically GTV and
Pillman is shown having difficulty getting into a dress for tonight’s match and
he throws a tantrum.  Aside from the
extracurriculars, Putski puts on a good match with Williams, which Ross tries
to bring attention to, and he wins to build some momentum for his Ground Zero
clash with Brian Christopher.  Rating: 
**
After the match,
Sergeant Slaughter confronts Goldust and tells him and Marlena to head to the
locker room
.
The Undertaker
warns Shawn Michaels that he will be watching his match with Mankind tonight
and that an insurance policy will not help him at Ground Zero unless that is
burial insurance
.
Brian Pillman is
shown leaving the locker room in his dress, although all we see of him are his
legs
.
Ross hypes an
article in RAW magazine about Goldust’s identity
.
Flash Funk beats
“The Loose Cannon” Brian Pillman with a small package at 3:15:
It is somewhat eerie to hear Ross talk about how making
Pillman wear a dress is going to push him over the edge when you know that
Pillman will only be alive for another two months.  As Pillman dominates the early action, Ross
hypes the ECW Hardcore Heaven pay-per-view and Sergeant Slaughter appears in
the split screen and says that the Patriot and a mystery partner will face the British
Bulldog and Owen Hart later tonight. 
Pillman uses his knees to block a Funk moonsault, a move that always
seems very brutal to take, but when he appears to have the match won, Goldust
and Marlena come out and put Pillman’s locker room footage on the
Titantron.  This leads to the predictable
finish and gives Funk his first RAW victory in what seems like ages.  The other result is that Pillman has to wear
a dress next week on RAW.  Rating: 
*
Some kids are
shown chanting for Dude Love
.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your VHS copy of SummerSlam 1997. 
It will cost you $23.95 (plus shipping & handling)!
A video package
covers the lingering Steve Austin-Owen Hart feud.
McMahon interviews
Dude Love, who had arguably one of the best themes in the company at the
time.  Love says that Austin will soon be
back in action and gives his opinion about the Legion of Doom, the Godwinns,
and Owen Hart and the British Bulldog, who will be in the Fatal Four Way tag
team match at In Your House.  Love
predicts that Mankind will triumph over the “would be hippie” Shawn
Michaels.  Michaels appears on the
Titantron, calls Love a “nimrod,” which is his new favorite word, and hypes his
insurance policy.  After the promo,
Love’s groupies from last week hit the ring and Love dances with them.
More fans give
their opinion on tonight’s Shawn Michaels-Mankind match.  Mankind still does not get a lot of love from
the fans.  The winning response is a
blonde that says Michaels will win because he’s a “sexy boy.”
The Patriot is
shown talking with his mystery partner, who we cannot see, and he says it is
time for them to kick butt tonight
.
The Stridex Triple
Action segment is the Patriot winning a 20 man battle royal on Shotgun Saturday
Night
.
The Patriot &
Ken Shamrock defeat Owen Hart & The British Bulldog when the Patriot pins
the Bulldog after Uncle Sam on a chair at 8:01 shown:
After a small battle between the America, Canadian, and
British flags, Ken Shamrock is revealed as the Patriot’s mystery partner and he
gets the loudest pop of all the participants. 
One of the stories that they sell in the match is that the British
Bulldog is afraid of tussling with Shamrock. 
Bret Hart comes out to watch the match by the entrance as Shamrock is
placed in peril.  Shamrock escapes that
predicament with a cross body to both of his opponents.  The Patriot hits the Bulldog with the Patriot
Missile, but Owen breaks it up as Bret teases coming down to the ring.  When the referee tries to deal with some of
the chaos, Owen tosses a chair into the ring, but the Patriot delivers Uncle
Sam on the Bulldog on it and that gets the duke.  An entertaining tag match that is by far the
best match on the show tonight.  Rating: 
**½
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to hear about why Ahmed Johnson was kicked out of the Nation of
Domination
.
A video package
shows Bret Hart’s return to Toronto as WWF Champion and fans there spew some
pro-Bret and anti-American language
.
Shawn Michaels is
shown talking to his insurance policy, who is standing in a suit
backstage.  Any educated wrestling fan
would know who it is by their hair cut, but I’ll save the reveal for later in
the review
.
The Patriot tells
the announce team that he has beaten Bret Hart once before, but before he can
finish his jingoistic promo he is attacked with a chair by Bret.
Footage of the Nation
of Domination expelling Ahmed Johnson on last week’s show is played
.
Faarooq pins
Chainz after Rocky Maivia gives Chainz a Rock Bottom at 3:03:
The problem with wrestlers debuting as parts of faction
is that they sometimes lack an independent personality and that is the big
problem with Chainz.  It would have been
better for them to bill him as Brian Lee, but I suppose they either wanted a
trademarked name or something that was a cute fit for the Disciples of
Apocalypse.  Both men work a surprisingly
brisk pace, but Chainz blows several spots and you can tell that Faarooq
potatoes him after he gets up too early from a spot where Faarooq crashes onto
his back with his rear end.  The referee
gets bumped on a collision between both men and Rocky Maivia comes out of the
crowd, revives the referee, and then surprises Chainz with a Rock Bottom,
enabling Faarooq to win.  After the
match, Faarooq and Maivia give the crowd the Nation salute.  Rating:  *¾
-A cameraman in the
locker room records Maivia talking to members of the Nation of Domination and
the Disciples of Apocalypse trying to break into the Nation of Domination’s
locker room as WWF officials, including Sergeant Slaughter, try to restrain
them
.
Sable comes out
and gets in the ring, but the Patriot interrupts her small dance and says that
he wants Bret Hart.  Bret obliges and the
Patriot attacks him and “builds momentum” (Ross’s words, not mine).  It does not take long for the Hart Foundation
to hit the ring, though, and they pummel the Patriot and choke him with the
Canadian flag before WWF officials intervene.
Mankind promises
to really hurt Shawn Michaels tonight.
Brakus tells us
that he is ready for the World Wrestling Federation
.
“The Heartbreak
Kid” Shawn Michaels defeats Mankind with Sweet Chin Music at 8:41 shown:
For any WWE 13 fans, this is the beginning of the
Attitude Era mode of that game.  Mankind
brings a garbage can to the ring, but Michaels nails him with it, puts it on
him, and then delivers a flying double axe handle to it.  This crazy battle then spills to the floor, where Mankind hot shots
Michaels onto the guardrail and a young black kid gives Michaels a hug, which
he reciprocates.  That’s a true fan right
there.  Michaels backdrops Mankind onto
the announce table and follows up with an elbow drop off the apron, but the
table fails to break.  Michaels goes for
Sweet Chin Music, but Mankind counters with the Mandible Claw, so Michaels
counters THAT by falling to the floor and smashing the back of Mankind’s head
into the ring post several times.  He
then gives Mankind a side suplex onto the announce table and it STILL won’t
break.  Neither guy is probably happy
about that because those table bumps have not been cushioned at all.  Before the commercial break, Hunter Hearst
Helmsley and Chyna wander out and when we return from break, Michaels has taken
Mankind’s mask off and is pounding him with it. 
When Mankind begins seizing the advantage, Rick Rude, the man in the
suit Michaels was talking to backstage, wanders out and Chyna distracts the
referee as Helmsley trips Mankind when he runs the ropes and Rude bashes Mankind
with a chair.  All of that interference
makes the match academic.  It is
impossible to top the classic that these two had at In Your House:  Mind Games from 1996, but they put on an
amazing match here that completely saved the show.  The physicality displayed was amazing and
both guys came out looking good.  It
would not be a stretch to say that this is one of the best RAW matches, if not
the best, of 1997.  Rating:  ***¾
After the match,
the Undertaker comes out, but Paul Bearer appears on the Titantron and warns
the Undertaker that Kane is coming and that he is going to burn in hell.  Fire appears near the entrance way and the
show goes off the air
.
Final Report Card:  Hour one was a snoozer, but everyone turned
the switch into the “on” position for hour two and the main event makes the
show an easy “thumbs up.” 
Mankind-Michaels is definitely worth checking out as it is something of
a lost RAW classic and because of that match we have the origins of D-Generation
X.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.9 (vs. 3.8 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – August 4, 1997

by Logan Scisco
Vince McMahon. Jim
Ross, and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
The Hart
Foundation, without Jim Neidhart, come out to be interviewed by Jim Ross.  Bret complains about Shawn Michaels being
allowed to stay in the WWF despite him being a partial referee last night.  Ross makes it known that the Patriot will
face Bret for the WWF title at the next In Your House pay-per-view and Bret
makes it clear he is not worried.  Owen
gets on the mic and says that his compassion for Steve Austin cost him the
Intercontinental title last night, but he says that is okay because Austin will
never wrestle again after their match last night.  Ross introduces the new commissioner of the
WWF, Sergeant Slaughter and Slaughter will seemingly take over many of the
duties of WWF President Gorilla Monsoon. 
Slaughter comes out and lets Bret know he makes the rules now and he
reinforces the fact that Bret will defend his title at Ground Zero against the
Patriot.  Slaughter also tells the
British Bulldog that he will face Ken Shamrock again at a date to be
determined.  Brian Pillman is told that
he will be forced to wear a dress tonight under threat of suspension and Owen
is told that he will face Austin at a later date when Austin is medically
cleared.  Steve Austin comes out with a
neck brace in his hand and says he wants to fight Owen tonight despite not
having medical clearance.

Fans discuss how
they feel about last night’s WWF title match. 
Fans make it clear that they think the Undertaker was robbed in the WWF
title match and that Shawn Michaels is to blame.
McMahon interviews
the Nation of Domination and Faarooq pledges that he will win the triple threat
match against Crush and Savio Vega at Ground Zero.  Ahmed Johnson says he will easily take care
of Chainz tonight.
Footage of Ken
Shamrock suplexing referees at the end of his match with the British Bulldog
last night at SummerSlam is shown
.
Opening
Contest:  Ken Shamrock defeats Kama
Mustafa (w/The Nation of Domination) with a belly-to-belly suplex at 3:03:
Despite having a new look, Kama is still being billed as
“The Supreme Fighting Machine.”  Just
thinking about that makes me realize that the WWF blew a potential pay-per-view
match for Shamrock, but that would have required Kama to actually win a match
and be a regular competitor on television. 
Commissioner Slaughter comes out prior to the bout and banishes the
Nation from ringside.  When Kama ends up
on the floor after some boring striking action, Miguel and Jesus of Los
Boricuas show up and give him a double suplex on the arena floor and Shamrock
follows up to win the match.  Rating: 
¼*
Brakus lets us
know that he is coming.
Sunny comes out to
be our guest ring announcer because the company has no idea what to do with her
at this point.  They should have just
thrown her in the Hart Foundation.
Light Heavyweight
Exhibition:  Taka Michinoku beats “Too
Sexy” Brian Christopher with a cradle after taking a suplex at 3:27:
Christopher was undefeated in these light heavyweight
exhibitions heading into this contest and Michinoku’s record was spotless when
facing anyone not named the Great Sasuke. 
Michinoku’s mobility brings a lot to the match, as it keeps Christopher
on his toes and moving.  Christopher
thinks he has the match under control and goes for a series of suplexes, but
Michinoku cradles him after taking one of them and wins.  After the match, Lawler complains to the
referee and Christopher slingshots Michinoku out of the ring.  This was a well paced television match
between the two men elevated to the top of the light heavyweight division.  Rating:  **¼
Sergeant Slaughter
brings a dress to Brian Pillman in the locker room to wear for his match
tonight.  When Pillman refuses, Slaughter
tells him he will have to wear the dress until he wins a match on RAW and if he
does not comply he will be fired.
Paul Bearer tells
the announcers that he is a better manager than Chyna and that he’s more of a
man than Chyna will ever be.
Hunter Hearst
Helmsley (w/Chyna) and Vader (w/Paul Bearer) wrestle to a double count out at
2:14:
If you recall, Vader’s stock has dropped a great deal
since 1996, as he did not even make the SummerSlam card despite main eventing
the previous year’s show.  When Bearer
trips Helmsley when he runs the ropes, Chyna dropkicks him and Helmsley and
Vader weakly brawl on the floor to end the match.  Vader is not happy at all with the match’s
outcome.
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to see who the WWF is recruiting to join the light heavyweight
division and hear about the Hart Foundation’s celebration after last night’s
SummerSlam pay-per-view
.
The Patriot tells
the announce crew that there are some problems with the United States, but it
does not give Bret Hart the ability to criticize and hate America.  He says his previous win over Bret was not a
fluke and he pledges to beat the “undefeated” Sultan.  Well, the Sultan has not wrestled in a while,
but he did lose at WrestleMania and that was a big deal.  This promo was not bad, but it was so
pro-American in a corny way that I could not hold a straight face while
listening to it.  It was like the Patriot
went into his own Hulk Hogan-type world of American craziness.
The Patriot beats
The Sultan (w/The Iron Sheik) with Uncle Sam at 1:45:
The Patriot is using Kurt Angle’s theme and when I heard
it I expected a “you suck” chant and Angle to run down and give the Sultan a
series of suplexes and apply an ankle lock. 
The Sultan has really let himself go, now growing a string of hair, but
when you are not being used or winning matches I guess it is okay not to
care.  The Patriot wastes no time
slamming the Sultan and the Patriot Missile (a flying shoulder block) and Uncle
Sam (a full nelson slam) put the Sultan away.
After the match, Bret
Hart comes down to the ring and when Sergeant Slaughter distracts Bret, the
Patriot attacks him from behind and they weakly brawl until WWF officials tear
them apart.
McMahon interviews
Shawn Michaels, who gets a mixed reaction but the loudest fans are booing.  Michaels says that he does not appreciate
having McMahon, the Undertaker, Bret Hart, and the fans dump last night’s main
event outcome in his lap.  Michaels says
he does not care what anyone thinks and calls McMahon a dumb s.o.b. for asking
if he is part of a conspiracy with Bret Hart. 
McMahon takes offense and tells Michaels that he will be quaking in his
boots when he faces the Undertaker at Ground Zero.  McMahon leaves, so Michaels takes over the
mic and says he does not lay down for anyone and that includes the
Undertaker.  Wow, talk about a shoot
comment circa 1997.  Michaels tells the
fans that they can go to hell and that brings out the Undertaker, which sends Michaels
fleeing and McMahon back into the ring.
The Undertaker
says he’s tired of talking so much and needs to get back to taking souls.  He promises that Michaels will rest in peace,
but Paul Bearer pops up on the Titantron and throws out his murder accusation
some more.  Bearer says the Undertaker
can make fun of him because he’s fat, but he met with Kane last night and he
says that Kane is coming soon.  When the
Undertaker leaves, red light floods the arena, but we do not really know why
yet.  This segment, along with Michaels,
was awesome television and the company cannot hope to touch this today with a
ten foot pole.  It effectively
transitioned the end of SummerSlam 1997 onto Shawn-Undertaker and kept the
Undertaker-Kane issue alive.
Sergeant Slaughter
meets with a doctor who says that Steve Austin is suffering from spinal shock
and is in no condition to wrestle tonight
.
Ahmed Johnson
(w/The Nation of Domination) defeats Chainz (w/The Disciples of Apocalypse)
with a Pearl River Plunge at 2:14:
Like he did in the opener, Slaughter throws his weight
around, literally and figuratively, and forces both gangs to the locker
room.  The smarks in the crowd work up a
loud “ECW” chant and in response, Chainz works the leg in a very non-ECW-like
fashion.  Ahmed yells something into the
crowd and Ross hilariously critiques it as Ahmed threatening people in the
crowd with death.  McMahon just writes it
off as Ahmed being “intense.”  Los
Boricuas interfere for a second time in a DOA match tonight as they start up
Chainz motorcycle and that distraction helps Ahmed win the match.
After the match,
the Nation of Domination and DOA tease a showdown, but when the Nation does
their salute, Kama, D-Lo Brown, and Faarooq attack Ahmed Johnson, thereby
ending his less than stellar affiliation with the group
.
The Godwinns beat
The Headbangers when Phineas pins Mosh after Henry gives Mosh a Slop Drop at
3:49
McMahon informs us early in this match that Steve Austin
will be barred from competing tonight and that Dude Love will take his place in
a match against Owen Hart.  The crowd
doesn’t really get into the Headbangers, so they are a team without a
constituency facing the evil Godwinns.  This still does not stop Ross from hyping the Headbangers are growing crowd favorites.  After some brief back and forth action, it appears that the Headbangers
are going to win, but Henry sneaks in behind the officials back and gives Mosh
a Slop Drop when he has Phineas rolled up and the Godwinns steal a
victory.  This was not a terrible match,
but it was just dull and did not have a lot going for it.  Rating:  *½
Goldust and
Marlena come out to sit in the front row to see Brian Pillman’s next match.  Michael Cole interviews them and both say
they can’t wait to see Pillman in a dress.
Bob “Spark Plugg”
Holly defeats “The Loose Cannon” Brian Pillman by count out at 2:24:
Pillman gets whistled at a lot for wearing the dress and
he puts together an entertaining match with Holly.  Goldust and Marlena wave a bra at Pillman
from the crowd, which causes Pillman to go out and confront them, but that
results in a count out, so he has to wear the dress for a match next week.
Bret Hart comes
out to do guest commentary for the next match and Sergeant Slaughter allows
that, but let’s Bret know that he will be carefully supervised
.
Dude Love pins
Owen Hart when Steve Austin hits Owen with a Slammy Award at 8:22:
Seeing Bret and Lawler chummy on commentary is rather
surreal since they had a feud for three years and Lawler’s crutch on commentary
was to make fun of Stu and Helen Hart. 
You can see some nasty bruising on Foley’s arms from last night’s cage
match with Hunter Hearst Helmsley. 
McMahon needles Lawler about why he suddenly likes Bret and Lawler says
that he recognizes a great talent. 
Unfortunately, this is a boring match as Foley is banged up from last
night and Owen’s moves are spaced too far apart.  The crowd is also bummed because Austin was
not included, so it has the same dynamic as the Mankind-Pillman match a month
or so prior to this.  The British Bulldog
wanders out, which draws the attention of Sergeant Slaughter, and that allows
Bret to attack Love and roll him into the ring, where Owen applies the
Sharpshooter.  Love refuses to submit,
though, and Steve Austin comes out and picks up Owen’s Slammy’s from the
announce table, which leads to Owen releasing the Sharpshooter.  While jawing with Slaughter and other WWF
officials, Austin clocks Owen with a Slammy and helps his tag team partner pick
up the win.  Rating:  *½
After the match,
Love celebrates with a couple of groupies. 
One of which I think is his wife
.
The Final Report Card:  Outside of the awesome interviews that
started hour two, this show didn’t have a lot going for it.  With Austin injured it was clear that there
was a major void as far as who was going to carry the TV matches and without
Bret, the Undertaker, or Shawn Michaels wrestling on the show it was pretty
devoid of star power.  The interviews
prevent it from getting a thumbs down, but they are not enough to put it in
thumbs up territory either.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.7 (vs. 4.4 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Neutral

What the World Was Watching: In Your House – Canadian Stampede

Vince McMahon,
Jerry “the King” Lawler, and Jim Ross are in the booth and they are live from
Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  All of the
announcers are wearing cowboy hats, with Lawler’s looking ridiculous as it
swamps his head.
-As Scott pointed
out in a previous review of this show, this was the last two hour WWF
pay-per-view.

Free for
All:  The Godwinns defeat The New
Blackjacks when Phineas pins Barry Windham with a small package at 5:34:
This was the last Free for All match in WWF history.  The New Blackjacks are the faces, as the
Calgary crowd takes to their cowboy gimmick, and they put together one of their
better efforts in recent memory as they dominate much of the match against the
newly turned Godwinns.  However, this
effort isn’t enough to give them a much needed win as Henry helps Phineas block
a suplex attempt and give the match to the Godwinns.  Rating:  *½
Now onto the
pay-per-view, which has another awesome 1997 black and white video package
.
A video package
hypes the Hunter Hearst Helmsley-Mankind match.
Opening
Contest:  Hunter Hearst Helmsley
(w/Chyna) and Mankind wrestle to a double count out at 13:12:
This is a rematch of the 1997 King of the Ring finals and
that’s pretty much what the entire feud has been based on thus far.  The match works a more brisk pace than their
encounter the previous month, which is to be expected since neither guy had to
wrestle a match earlier in the night.  It
doesn’t take long for Chyna to get involved, as she breaks up a Mandible Claw
and then works a nice spot where Helmsley whips Mankind into her and she slams
him into the steps.  This is a nice
combination of a bloodless Attitude Era-type brawl and a scientific encounter,
as Helmsley spends the middle of the match working the left leg.  Helmsley also shows a great deal of
improvement in this match, as he diversifies his moveset and does not resort to
long stalling spots.  The match built
very well and made you want to see a rematch from these two, so it accomplished
its intended purpose and I don’t mind the double count out here.  Rating:  ***¾
The Honky Tonk Man
and Sunny encourage us to dial the WWF Superstar Line to hear from the winners
and losers of tonight’s matches.
-Dok Hendrix
narrates a video package of the WWF’s participation in the Calgary Stampede
parade.
-Hendrix interviews
the Hart Foundation and Steve Austin interrupts the interview but is held back
by WWF officials.  Bret Hart says that
the Hart Foundation will prove itself by beating Austin and his team
five-on-five.
-Before our next
match starts, Helmsley and Mankind fight back into the crowd and Chyna tries to
get involved to protect her man.  The
crowd loves it.
The Great Sasuke
defeats Taka Michinoku with a tiger suplex at 9:58:
This light heavyweight exhibition introduces the WWF to
athletes from Michinoku Pro Wrestling in Japan and it’s a good thing in that it
shows a more high-flying light heavyweight style than the WWF had been
showcasing on television up to this point. 
This match is really like a video game in that it combines a small
segment of mat wrestling, a series of strikes from both guys, and then the high
risk moves that both men are known for. 
Michinoku hits the Michinoku Driver, but Sasuke kicks out at two and
finishes Taka shortly thereafter when he counters Taka’s dive off the top rope
with a dropkick.  You may wonder why
Sasuke went over, since Michinoku eventually became the cornerstone of the
short-lived Light Heavyweight division, but the WWF anticipated that he would
be the first champion.  However, Sasuke
said he would only defend the title in Japan and would not drop it on WWF
television and when McMahon heard those comments he fired Sasuke and Sasuke was
never seen in the WWF again.  A really
entertaining contest that had great pacing and made both guys look like
significant threats in the light heavyweight division.  Rating:  ****
Helmsley and
Mankind are shown continuing their fight outside of the arena.  Helmsley is slightly busted open and he takes
a pipe to Mankind’s back.
A commercial for Cause
Stone Cold Said So
is aired.  Buy
your copy for $19.95 (plus $6 shipping & handling) by calling 815-734-1161.
-The commentators
say that Ahmed Johnson should have been fighting the Undertaker in the next
match, but he suffered a knee injury two weeks ago and was replaced by Vader.
-Hendrix interviews
Vader and Paul Bearer and Bearer says that the Undertaker killed his whole
family and Vader is going to beat the Undertaker like he did at the Royal
Rumble and win the WWF title.
WWF Championship
Match:  The Undertaker (Champion) defeats
Vader (w/Paul Bearer) with a Tombstone at 12:39:
The Undertaker’s title reign in 1997 was loaded with lame
duck title defenses and this one of them as Vader was hardly a threat to anyone
at this point in time, jobbing to Ken Shamrock two months earlier and being
absent from last month’s King of the Ring pay-per-view.  Still, with Ahmed Johnson on the shelf and
all of the top talent booked into the ten man tag main event, the WWF had to go
with someone and you could do much worse than Vader.  Despite this, Ross tries to build Vader up as
someone who really can win this match, talking about his Japanese
exploits.  Everyone has their working
boots on tonight, as both men knock each other around with reckless abandon and
avoid a rehash of their boring Royal Rumble encounter.  The crowd wants to see the Undertaker tear
apart Bearer, but Vader consistently comes to his manager’s aid.  They do a great false finish where Vader is
chokeslammed off the second rope after the Undertaker gives him a low blow to
block a Vader Bomb and the crowd works itself into a frenzy as the Undertaker
runs through a chokeslam and impressive Tombstone to send Vader to the
showers.  As far as big man matches go,
it doesn’t get much better than this. 
This match could have easily rebuilt Vader as a heel, but this was his
last dance in the WWF main event scene as a singles.  Rating:  ***¾
A video package
chronicles all of the chaos in the WWF right now with the gang wars and the
Austin-Hart Foundation feud
.
Hendrix interviews
Steve Austin and his team for the ten man tag. 
Each member of the team cuts a quick promo, except for Austin who heads
for the ring.
Farmer’s Daughter
sings the Canadian national anthem before the ten man tag.
Howard Finkel
recognizes Ralph Klein, premier of Alberta, and Stu and Helen Hart.
Bret “the Hitman”
Hart, Owen Hart, The British Bulldog, Jim “the Anvil” Neidhart & “The Loose
Cannon” Brian Pillman defeat “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Goldust, Ken Shamrock
& The Legion of Doom when Owen pins Austin with a schoolboy at 24:31:
Since we are in Canada we have an inversion of the usual
face-heel alignment.  However, the Legion
of Doom are so popular on both sides of the border that they are still
cheered.  Austin is booed out of the
building, which he seems to enjoy.  The
crowd loses its mind when the Hart Foundation come out and Bret gives his
mother his shades and Lawler makes a great joke about how he didn’t know they
came in bifocals.  You might think that
they would keep Bret-Austin separate for a while to start this match, but you
would be wrong as Bret and Austin go toe-to-toe at the beginning and the crowd
vocally cheers Bret’s offensive moves and loudly boos Austin.  Austin even hooks a Million Dollar Dream,
which Bret counters by kicking off the ropes, and Austin finds a way to escape
so he’s not pinned like Survivor Series 1996. 
Everyone runs through their trademark spots, but in a ten man tag it’s
difficult to get a pin in those situations so the match continues.  They do an interesting spot where both sides
incapacitate someone on the other side, as Austin damages Owen’s right leg with
a chair and Bret damages Austin’s right leg with a fire extinguisher in
retaliation.  Eventually both men return
from receiving medical attention, with Owen returning
second and breaking up an Austin Sharpshooter on Bret.  Austin proceeds to pick a fight with the Hart
family and in the midst of the chaos, Austin is rolled into the ring where Owen
surprises him and finishes him off.  This
was creatively booked and it did a nice job keeping the focus on Bret-Austin,
as they had two small singles matches within the confines of this matchup.  It’s also a sad match from a historical perspective
since three of the five men on the Hart side are no longer with us, Stu and
Helen are gone, and Owen was the only member of his team still in the WWF in
December 1997.  Rating:  *****
After the match,
the teams continue to brawl and WWF officials and Alberta police have to
separate the Harts from Austin’s team. 
Austin isn’t happy to see his team lose and he interrupts the Hart
celebration by attacking Bret with a chair and this gets him arrested.  Undeterred, Austin makes sure to flip off the
Canadian fans on his way to the back. 
After Austin is taken away, the Hart family celebrates in the ring.
The Final Report Card:  Was there something in the water on the night
of this show or what?  Everyone put in a
great effort tonight and it produced the best WWF pay-per-view of the year and
perhaps of all-time from a workrate perspective.  If there is one pay-per-view that you need
for your collections from the 1990s, this is arguably it.  An easy thumbs up for this show.
Attendance: 
12,151
Buyrate:  0.59
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – June 30, 1997

by Logan Scisco

-Jim Ross narrates a video
package about the Undertaker, who will have his secret revealed tonight by Paul
Bearer.
Vince McMahon,
Jerry “the King” Lawler, and Jim Ross are doing the announcing duties and they
are broadcasting from Des Moines, Iowa
.
Hunter Hearst
Helmsley and Chyna cut a pre-recorded promo, where Helmsley says he might be
facing the World’s Most Dangerous Man, but he is bringing the World’s Most
Dangerous Woman with him.

Opening
Contest:  Ken Shamrock defeats Hunter
Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) with a belly-to-belly suplex at 4:38:
Helmsley surprisingly gets in ninety percent of the
offense in this match, with much of it being fists, kicks, and chokes, and
Chyna continues her streak of making a mark by throwing Shamrock into the
steps.  However, Mankind wanders out and
that distracts Helmsley and enables Shamrock to pick up the victory.  A throwaway opener, but it sets up
Mankind-Helmsley for Canadian Stampede.  Rating: 
*
A video package
reviews the Ahmed Johnson heel turn and the emergence of the WWF gang
wars.  Ross says that Ahmed had to have
knee surgery this week and Ahmed says that when he comes back he’s going to go
right after the Undertaker.
Michael Cole makes
his Raw debut by interviewing the Legion of Doom in the locker room.  The LOD say that no one has come close to
beating them legally in their WWF tenure and they are ready for Faarooq and
D-Lo Brown tonight.
Sunny has money in
her cleavage to hype the One Million Dollar Challenge contest that is
affiliated with the SummerSlam pay-per-view.
Tag Team
Tournament Semi-Finals:  Faarooq &
D-Lo Brown (w/Kama Mustafa) defeat The Legion of Doom when Faarooq pins Hawk
after Henry Godwinn nails Hawk with a bucket:
The Godwinns appear near the entrance to watch the
contest and D-Lo faces less of a size disadvantage than he did in the Nation’s
first round match last week.  The match
proceeds along at a brisk pace and the LOD give D-Lo a Doomsday Device, but the
Godwinns interfere and the Nation scores a major upset to make the finals.  Rating:  ¼*
McMahon interviews
Faarooq and Faarooq demands to know why one of the members of the Nation did
not get Ahmed Johnson’s scheduled title match with the Undertaker at Canadian
Stampede.  When he is told that Vader is
getting the shot, Faarooq argues that Vader is getting the shot because he’s
white and that the DOA was sent to injure Ahmed by the Undertaker.  Well that would explain why the Undertaker
starting riding a bike in 2000.  Savio
Vega interrupts the promo and says that he is out for revenge and Savio’s gang,
the soon to be called Los Boricuas, interfere and fight the Nation.  When WWF officials get that settled, DOA
comes out to the biggest pop of all the groups and join the fight.
Cole tells us that
the Legion of Doom have left the building and he is interrupted by Los
Boricuas.  Savio introduces his gang and
says that they are in the WWF to kick ass.
Film of Sunny’s
photo shoot for Raw magazine is shown and this includes photos of a liaison
with Brian Pillman
.
Footage of Jerry
Lawler piledriving wrestlers is shown because he is Brian Christopher’s mentor.
“Too Sexy” Brian
Christopher beats Scott Putski with a rollup after Jerry Lawler interferes at
3:37:
This continues the series of light heavyweight matches
that have been on Raw for the last few weeks. 
It is somewhat surprising that Putski didn’t establish a more regular
role with the company at this time because he had a good look and was competent
in the ring.  The crowd really isn’t into
this, but the WWF was misguided in just throwing light heavyweights out there
and thinking the crowd would react.  The
crowds did that in WCW because the cruiserweights were flying through the air
and throwing out tons of insane spots. 
The WWF did not have those kinds of wrestlers, so they needed to give
these guys some mic time and semblance of storylines to make people care.  Putski appears to have the match won with a
splash off the top rope, but Lawler interferes and trips Putski when he tries a
running powerslam and his son wins.  This
was perfectly acceptable and had a good pace, but the screwjob finishes are
getting excessive this evening since this is our third in a row.  Rating:  **
After the match,
Lawler and Christopher give Putski a spike piledriver and cut a brief
promo.  Lawler throws some ethnic slurs
at Putski’s Polish heritage and Christopher stumbles through his part.  This appears to be setting up a future tag
team match between Lawler and Christopher and the Putskis.
Steve Austin’s
imitation of Hulk Hogan in ECW, which is on the video Cause Stone Cold Said
So
is played for the audience.
-The Undertaker is
in the locker room and he tells fans that they are going to hear a slanted
version of the worst night of his life and it’s a night that changed him
forever.  He tells fans not to let their
minds to be poisoned by Paul Bearer and to give him a chance to tell his side
of the story.
Ross narrates a
video hyping the appearance of the Great Sasuke at the Canadian Stampede.
Brian Pillman apologizes
attacking a fan on Shotgun Saturday Night, which got him banned from that
show.  He also apologizes for being the
voice of reason and being willing to tell it like it is.
“The Loose
Cannon” Brian Pillman defeats Mankind via count out at 6:01 shown:
Mankind is still wearing the “Pick Me Steve” sign,
although he’s not wearing an Austin 3:16 shirt. 
Mankind gives Ross a present at the announce table, which ends up being
a Mandible Claw hand.  Pillman just takes
it out of Ross’s hand and drives it into Mankind’s face and then proceeds to
tear up his sign.  Steve Austin appears
in the split screen and says that he doesn’t want to team with Mankind because
he sucks.  The storyline in this match is
that Pillman is losing his mind after getting fired from Shotgun Saturday Night
and he tries to stab Mankind with a pencil, which is interrupted by Earl
Hebner.  We get a fun brawl, but when
Mankind applies the Mandible Claw, Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Chyna interfere
and when Mankind chases after them he gets counted out.  That brings our screwjob streak to four.  Rating:  **
Paul Bearer says
that he looks forward to revealing the Undertaker’s secret tonight
.
McMahon interviews
Bearer, who is attacked by a fan on his way to the ring.  Since it only takes a camera man to take the
fan away, I would venture to say that it would have to be a plant.  Bearer says that he was an apprentice for the
Undertaker’s father at a funeral home for two years, but he noticed that the
Undertaker as a child had the look of the devil.  Despite this, the Undertaker’s younger
brother Kane followed his around everywhere and Bearer starts getting a little
ridiculous talking about them smoking cigarettes behind a barn.  He said when he came back from college
classes one night, the funeral home was burned down and he says the Undertaker
did it and killed his family.  The lights
flicker in the arena as we go to a commercial break.
Vader is shown
congratulating Bearer backstage on revealing the secret.
Sable models the
cash for the Million Dollar Challenge and Marc Mero is not happy about it.
Tag Team
Tournament Semi-Finals:  Owen Hart &
The British Bulldog defeat The Headbangers when Owen pins Mosh with a roll up
at 4:07:
With the Legion of Doom eliminated, the tag team
tournament has become a mere formality, as it is quite inconceivable that Owen
and the Bulldog would do the job here or in the finals.  Bret Hart calls into the show from Calgary
and he hypes the Canadian Stampede pay-per-view.  The phone interview takes all the attention
away from the match, in which both teams evenly trade offense, but the Bulldog
crotches Thrasher when the Headbangers try to do their flying leg
drop-powerbomb combination to Owen and Owen rolls up Mosh to advance his team.  Rating:  *½
After the match,
Jim Cornette congratulates his former team and tells them that he wants to
introduce his new team that never made it in time for the tournament and the
men he brings out are the Headhunters. 
Owen and the Bulldog quickly leave, though, so the Headhunters square
off with the Headbangers in an awkward exchange, which ends with the
Headhunters delivering a flying headbutt and moonsault to their new foes.  This never led to anything.
The Undertaker
addresses his fans from the locker room and says that the funeral home did burn
down.  He says Kane and he were playing
with matches and they were punished by his father, but he says that Kane
probably burned it down because he saw him with embalming liquids as he headed
off to do his chores.  He claims to have
returned from his chores to see that the funeral home had burned down.  He then says that the event put him on a path
of walking in darkness and absorbing the power of death.
Vader (w/Paul
Bearer) defeats Rockabilly (w/The Honky Tonk Man) by disqualification when the
Undertaker interferes at 24 seconds:
So we go from a great deal of discussion about death and
people burning alive to the Rockabilly theme. 
That’s quite a mood shift.  Vader
no sells a guitar shot to the back at the beginning of the contest, but before
Rockabilly can endure a major beating, the Undertaker runs out and then goes
after Bearer.  The Undertaker tells
Bearer to tell the world the truth and Bearer tells him that Kane is alive and
told him that the Undertaker burned down the funeral home.  After that revelation, Vader hits the
Undertaker from behind and runs away.  I’m sure the Internet liked Vader playing a cowardly heel in 1997.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your copy of Cause Stone Cold Said So for $19.95 (plus $6
shipping & handling)!
“Stone Cold”
Steve Austin beats Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart by disqualification when Bret Hart
interferes at 8:10 shown:
This is a small rematch from a few weeks back when these
two men faced each other and Austin won in less than two minutes because of a
disqualification.  Austin shows off his
anti-hero persona by grabbing the ropes on abdominal stretch.  During the commercial break, Bret Hart
attacks Ken Shamrock, the only member of Austin’s team at Canadian Stampede in
the building, backstage.  The match never
seems to click, with Neidhart using lots of rest holds, even though he does
take a bump on the entrance ramp for Austin. 
Unsurprisingly, Bret runs out and interferes and puts Austin in the ring
post figure-four until Mankind rushes out to break it up by putting Bret in a
Mandible Claw and that plays us out.  Rating: 
¾*
The Final Report Card:  This show had its moments, with the
revelation of the Undertaker’s secret, but the rest of it was a chore to sit
through.  The closing segment was fun,
but the Austin-Neidhart match was not and the tag team tournament matches were
rushed and did nothing for any of the participants.  The screwjob finishes also got tiresome by
the end of the evening.  The first thumbs
down effort for Raw in a while, but they have a good pay-per-view coming up
that we will discuss next week.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.5 (vs. 3.3 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – June 16, 1997

by Logan Scisco
Vince McMahon and
Jim Ross are manning the announce table and they are from Lake Placid, New
York.  McMahon says that there was a
fight between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels before last week’s RAW and that both
men were injured.  Bret will be back in a
few days, while Shawn will be back in 4-6 weeks.  Since Michaels is out there will be a tag
team tournament and the winners will get to face Steve Austin and a partner of his choice for the tag
team titles
.
McMahon
reluctantly interviews Steve Austin, who isn’t happy to hear about the tag team
tournament.  Austin says he doesn’t need
a partner and Mankind appears on the Titantron and says that he feels that they
have a bond.  Austin says he doesn’t need
a freak walking around him and they proceed to make fun of Shawn Michaels
routine.  McMahon’s facial expressions
during this routine are priceless. McMahon says that Austin will face Brian
Pillman tonight with members of the Hart Foundation handcuffed around ringside.  Ken Shamrock comes down to confront Austin
about getting Stunned on last week’s show and Shamrock challenges him to a
match tonight.  Austin says that’s fine
after he gets done with Pillman
.

Call 815-734-1161
to get your copy of Cause Stone Cold Said So for $19.99 (plus $6
shipping & handling)!
Brian Pillman
tells McMahon that it’s a conspiracy that the Hart Foundation is handcuffed
around ringside for his match with Steve Austin tonight.
The New Blackjacks
say that the tag team tournament is their opportunity for tag team glory.
The British
Bulldog & Owen Hart say that they are going to get their belts back from
Steve Austin after they win the tag team tournament.
Opening Tag Team
Tournament Contest:  The British Bulldog
& Owen Hart defeat The New Blackjacks when the Bulldog pins Bradshaw after
an Owen spinning heel kick at 3:50:
This is an interesting concept for a tournament since
Austin still has an opportunity to keep the titles by facing the winning team
in the finals.  I’m surprised that the
Headbangers were getting a push during this time but not the New Blackjacks
since they looked much more imposing and credible.  The crowd is dead for this, since the New
Blackjacks have very little following and the American fans hate the Bulldog
and Owen.  However, both teams put in a
decent effort and Owen and the Bulldog advance when the referee has his back
turned to get Barry Windham out of the ring shortly after all hell broke loose.
Rating: 
**
Jim Ross recaps
the dissolution of the first version of the Nation of Domination on last week’s
show
.
McMahon interviews
WWF Champion The Undertaker and Paul Bearer and Bearer hijacks the interview
and says that the Undertaker will do what he says as long as he has a secret
over his head.
McMahon interviews
Ken Shamrock, who tells Austin that it’s time to knuckle up
.
Hunter Hearst
Helmsley (w/Chyna) pins Phineas Godwinn with a Pedigree at 3:33:
What an odd match. 
Ross announces that Helmsley will face Mankind at the Canadian Stampede
pay-per-view.  Prior to the match Chyna
manhandles a ring attendant for no apparent reason.  Chyna interferes, as can be expected, and the
crowd is into that more than the match, working up a “Chyna” chant.  Phineas, who had a way with women as we saw
in the Bodydonnas feud in 1996, abandons a Slop Drop to kiss Chyna on the
apron, but that ends up costing him the match. 
After the match, Henry Godwinn comes down to the ring and yells at
Phineas for not being aggressive enough. 
Henry blames McMahon for Phineas’ loss. 
Was the booking crutch of this time that everyone had a beef with the
boss?  A decent match that went the
appropriate length.  Rating:  **
Headbanger Mosh’s
flying clothesline on Rob Van Dam on Shotgun Saturday Night is the Sega Saturn
Slam of the Week
.
Faarooq tells
McMahon that there will be two new members of the Nation of Domination and that
they are going to appear tonight. 
Faarooq promises that they will be bigger, better, and blacker
.
Sunny comes down
to be the guest ring announcer for the next match because the WWF has no idea
what to do with her.  Paul Heyman is
going to be on guest commentary.
Interpromotional
Match (USWA vs. ECW):  Chris Candido
defeats “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher by disqualification at 2:40:
USWA and ECW were engaged in a small feud at this time,
so this is that feud being played out on national television.  USWA was also in its death throes at this
point.  This is Candido’s first RAW match
since the summer of 1996.  Since we are
in the Northeast, Candido is the de facto face and Christopher plays the
heel.  In fact, Candido gets more of a
reaction in this one match than he did in his entire career as Skip in the
WWF.  Ross works up Heyman on commentary
into a rant about how Christopher is Lawler’s son.  This leads to Lawler running down and
breaking up a super hurricanrana attempt and he and Rob Van Dam beat up Candido
until Tommy Dreamer runs out and makes the save.
Ahmed Johnson cuts
a pretaped promo and he says that he will do things the easy way in tonight’s
match and work with the Undertaker.
-Dok Hendrix hypes
the Nassau Coliseum house show which features the Undertaker facing Steve
Austin for the WWF title, the British Bulldog defend the European title against
Sid, the Legion of Doom face the Godwinns, Hunter Hearst Helmsley faces
Mankind, and the New Nation of Domination faces the Hart Foundation in a six
man tag team match.
Footage of a house
show at the Skydome in Toronto is shown where the Hart Foundation was greeted
with cheers.
Jim Neidhart says
that he is going to show Goldust that crime does pay
.
Goldust
(w/Marlena) defeats Jim “the Anvil” Neidhart with an uppercut at 3:44:
Goldust has drawn some really bad opponents lately that
do nothing to cover for his weaknesses in the ring.  The British Bulldog comes out halfway through
the match and he confronts Marlena, who slapped him on last week’s show.  Goldust comes to his manager’s aid, but gets
double teamed.  However, Neidhart can’t
even win after THAT to show how low he is on the WWF totem pole despite being
part of its top stable.  Rating: 
¼*
Steve Austin tells
the audience that he has Brian Pillman right where he wants him and he promises
to “rock” Ken Shamrock’s world.
“Stone Cold”
Steve Austin beats “The Loose Cannon” Brian Pillman by disqualification when
the Hart Foundation interferes at 8:20:
Per the stipulation for this match, each of the members
of the Hart Foundation are handcuffed to the ring posts.  Owen really gets into the handcuff
stipulation, as he spends parts of the match complaining about it and then
getting on the apron and trying to leverage the handcuff off his wrist.  Austin takes advantage of the stipulation by
beating up each defenseless member of the Hart Foundation around ringside.  Pillman’s nose gets busted open during the
match, but it is apparent from this match that Pillman can’t go anymore as he
resorts to chokes and other stalling techniques.  When the referee gets in Austin’s face about
his beating of Pillman, Austin gives him a Stunner.  Owen picks the pocket of the downed referee
and unlocks himself and other members of the Hart Foundation and that produces
a beat down that ends the match. 
Disappointing is probably the best word to describe this encounter.  Rating:  *
After the bell,
Ken Shamrock, Goldust, and Mankind run off the Hart Foundation.  When the dust settles, Austin and Shamrock
are left in the ring and Shamrock thwarts Austin’s attempt at a sneak attack by
giving him a belly-to-belly suplex. 
Austin doesn’t like that and he and Shamrock brawl until the Legion of
Doom separate them.  Goldust gets on the
house mic and tells Austin that the Hart Foundation wants him to fight
everyone.  Goldust suggests that Austin
team with he, the Legion of Doom, and Shamrock to face the Hart Foundation at
Calgary Stampede and Austin agrees, albeit reluctantly
.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your copy of Cause Stone Cold Said So for $19.99 (plus $6
shipping & handling)!  What?  They aren’t going to have Sable dance
seductively around a video tape?
Steve Austin’s
Stone Cold Stunner to the referee of his match with Brian Pillman is the Super
Soaker Rewind segment
.
McMahon interviews
the Hart Foundation and Pillman gives a nice promo that says the ten man tag at
Canadian Stampede has been signed in blood
.
Sable comes out to
be the guest ring announcer for our next match
.
Tommy Rogers
defeats Bobby Fulton with the Tomikaze at 2:47:
This is a battle between the old Fantastics and they were
recruited by Jim Cornette who was trying to get some veterans some work in the
WWF when the company was putting a light heavyweight division together.  This match allows Ross to go back to his
glory days in the NWA and he gives us some excellent background on both
participants, making them both seem very distinguished in the eyes of the
viewing audience.  Some idiots in the
crowd chant “boring”, but there isn’t anything wrong with this and the finish
gets some “ooh’s” from the crowd.
After the match,
Marc Mero comes out and doesn’t appear happy that Sable is in the ring and
waving at fans.
The Headbangers
say that they would love to win the WWF Tag Team titles.
Tag Team
Tournament Match:  The Headbangers defeat
Jerry “the King” Lawler & Rob Van Dam when Thrasher superplexes Mosh onto
Lawler at 3:59:
They haven’t yet released a bracket for this tournament,
but I would assume that the winner of this match will face Owen and the
Bulldog.  Van Dam acquits himself well in
the match, jumping about 15 feet in the air for the yet to be named ***** Frog
Splash.  Lawler appears to have the match
won after giving Thrasher a piledriver, but the Sandman comes in
behind the referee’s back and gives him a low blow with his Singapore cane and
the Headbangers advance.  If Van Dam
wrestled this as a handicap match it would’ve been better.  Rating:  *½
The Sandman and
Tommy Dreamer want to go after Van Dam after the match, but they are held back
by WWF officials and Paul Heyman
.
Ahmed Johnson and
the Undertaker and Paul Bearer are in the back and Ahmed tells McMahon that
they are ready.  Bearer tries to tell
Ahmed to listen to him, but Ahmed tells him to shut up.  Bearer is really great in this role.
Footage of recent
interactions between the Undertaker and Ahmed Johnson is shown
.
Faarooq &
Kama Mustafa defeat The Undertaker & Ahmed Johnson (w/Paul Bearer) when
Kama pins the Undertaker after a lifting side slam at 3:46:
Prior to the match, Faarooq welcomes out the new member
of the Nation of Domination, who is Kama Mustafa.  He looks like a generic jobber from the
1980s, though, without the “Supreme Fighting Machine” attire that he wore in
1995/1996.  The Undertaker wrestles the
whole match and if you don’t know what that means after a few years of watching
wrestling then you must not be very observant. 
As the match slowly goes on, McMahon and Ross throw out some names for
the other member of the Nation like the Junkyard Dog, Abdullah the Butcher
(?!?!), Butch Reed, and Mr. Hughes. 
Ahmed beats up Bearer, which costs his team the match and the crowd is
shocked that the Undertaker was pinned cleanly. 
Rating:  *
After the match, Ahmed
helps the Undertaker to his feet only to give him a Pearl River Plunge and he
joins the Nation of Domination.
The Final Report Card:  Ahmed joining the Nation was a great
storyline development, but it would be short-lived since he was injured shortly
after this.  Oh what might have
been.  The rest of the show advanced the
proper storylines, but it never seemed to click as far as the matches were
concerned.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.4 (vs. 3.3 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Neutral

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – June 9, 1997

by Logan Scisco

Vince McMahon and
Jim Ross are in the booth and they are live from Hartford, Connecticut.

Opening
Contest:  The Legion of Doom & Ahmed
Johnson defeat The Nation of Domination (w/D-Lo Brown & Clarence Mason)
when Ahmed pins Faarooq after a Pearl River Plunge at 6:06:
Savio doesn’t care to give the Nation’s salute prior to
the match and that creates a beef between he and Faarooq.  The crowd is hot for this opener and the
booking of the match helps as the faces dominate much of the action.  The match continues the storyline of the
Nation falling apart as Savio and Crush are too distracted to tag in to help
Faarooq because they are jawing too much with Mason and walk out on Faarooq
after he confronts them.  Faarooq also
gets some nice hang time when taking the Pearl River Plunge from Ahmed.  This was a really entertaining squash to
start the show.  Rating:  **
Hunter Hearst
Helmsley, carrying the King of the Ring crown, and Chyna are interviewed by
McMahon.  Helmsley says that he should
have been the King of the Ring last year, but missed out because of McMahon’s
politics.  Helmsley says that it’s his
time to rise to the top of the World Wrestling Federation.  He issues an open challenge to the locker
room and Mankind appears on the Titantron. 
Mankind asks for a rematch from the King of the Ring and comes out, but
gets attacked with the crown by Helmsley. 
Helmsley did okay with this promo time, but some of his exchange
demonstrated his lack of acting skills at this stage of his career.
Sunny models as
Raw is War t-shirt, which you can buy for $25 (plus $6 shipping & handling)
by calling 815-734-1161!
Footage of the
British Bulldog winning the European championship in the winter is shown
.
European
Championship Match:  The British Bulldog
(Champion) and Goldust (w/Marlena) wrestle to a double count out at 7:14 shown:
This is the first European title defense on RAW and
McMahon hypes it as a big deal.  I
suppose that the booking team realized that it made little sense for the Bulldog
to have a title that was never defended on television.  This is a methodical match, which has been
the Bulldog’s forte when he’s not facing a technically gifted opponent, and it
ends with a really weak double count out, as both men mindlessly brawl after
Goldust ends up outside of the ring following a body press.  Rating:  ½*
After the match,
the Bulldog hot shots Goldust on the steps and goes to hit him with a chair,
but Marlena gets in the way.  As the
Bulldog tries to decide whether to use the chair, Ken Shanrock rushes the ring
and slams the Bulldog and the two tease a confrontation before the Bulldog
decides to leave.
Dok Hendrix is
outside of the Nation of Domination’s locker room and we can hear them arguing
in there.  Faarooq storms out of the
locker room and tells Hendrix that he is going to the ring to talk.  Hendrix goes to talk to Crush and Savio Vega
and Savio rants in Spanish and Crush tells Hendrix that the Nation is fine
.
Ross interviews
Faarooq and some black members of the Nation. 
Faarooq says he rescued Savio Vega and Crush’s career, but they just
stabbed him in the back so he fires them from the Nation.  Faarooq then fires the other flunkies in the
Nation except D-Lo Brown, which includes Clarence Mason.  Faarooq promises that a new Nation will be
formed that will be more powerful and loyal to him.  Faarooq challenges Ahmed Johnson and the
Undertaker to a tag team match on next week’s show so that they can become the
first victims of the new Nation
.
Footage of Steve
Austin “Pillmanizing” Brian Pillman’s ankle in October 1996 is shown
.
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to hear more about what is going on between Shawn Michaels and
Bret Hart!
Paul Heyman and
Tommy Dreamer are shown walking through the crowd
.
The Headbangers beat
Doug Furnas & Philip LaFon after Thrasher pins Furnas when LaFon
inadvertently splashes Furnas at 3:34:
Furnas and LaFon are continuing their “most exciting team
in the history of the WWF” gimmick, which is just incredibly lame and
unbecoming of the structure of their team. 
I’m really not sure what the logic of giving them this gimmick was other
than the WWF just giving up on both guys and realizing that they weren’t going
to make it in the tag division.  If
anything, LaFon and Furnas would have been nice additions to the Hart
Foundation, but they are really out of place in a heel role without a manager.  There isn’t anything wrong with this match
except for the finish, which is botched since Thrasher and Furnas are too far
from the opposing corner.  Rating: 
*½ 
Jerry Lawler is
with Rob Van Dam in the back and Lawler tells McMahon that ECW doesn’t want Van
Dam to compete, but he’s going to tonight
.
Clips of the
infamous gun incident between Pillman and Austin from late 1996 are shown.
McMahon and Ross
recap the entire show thus far.
McMahon interviews
Steve Austin, who comes out to an explosive reaction.  McMahon says that Austin’s attack on Brian
Pillman last night at the King of the Ring was unbecoming, but Austin says it
brought a smile to his face.  Austin says
he’ll kick Pillman’s ass all over the ring tonight and he volunteers to be part
of the five man team to face the Hart Foundation at the Calgary Stampede and
that he’ll wrestle the Hart Foundation five-on-one if he has to.  This is a great promo because it sets up two
matches and appeals to the American fan base, which sees Austin as a hero, and
makes Austin come off as a heel to the Canadian audience, which was the Hart
Foundation’s center of fan support
.
In an interesting
piece, the WWF uses pieces from its AOL website to show how great the King of
the Ring was.  It’s like Twitter before
there was Twitter
.
Rob Van Dam
(w/Jerry Lawler) defeats Flash Funk with a split legged moonsault at 4:28:
During Van Dam’s entrance, Dreamer tries to attack Van
Dam with a chair, but is held at bay by WWF officials.  Funk is falling into Koko B. Ware territory,
as he’s an entertaining act that hasn’t won a match over a significant opponent
for a while.  Both guys showcase their
aerial offense, which is a refreshing change of pace on the show, and put
together a solid match that would be more than acceptable by Nitro
cruiserweight standards.  Rating: 
**½
After the match,
Heyman hopes the guardrail to attack Lawler, but Lawler beats him down and
Dreamer hops the barrier and brawls with Van Dam.
Ken Shamrock comes
out to do commentary for our next match.
Non-Title
Match:  Sid pins Owen Hart
(Intercontinental Champion w/Jim Neidhart) after a chokeslam at 4:13:
This is a match that was made following the King of the
Ring six man tag, where Owen pinned Sid to win the match for his team.  Sid makes one guy’s day who has “Sid is God”
painted on his chest by giving him a fist bump. 
Owen works the leg, which is the only strategy he can realistically try,
and when Neidhart interferes Shamrock is outraged, so he gives Neidhart a
belly-to-belly suplex on the floor which is an impressive sight and generates a
big crowd reaction.  Left to his
longsome, Owen can’t fight off the “Master and Ruler of the World.”  I’m puzzled by this booking because Sid was
on his way out of the company, but it did make Shamrock look like a bad
ass.  Rating:  **
Sable comes out to
model the Raw is War t-shirt.  However,
Marc Mero comes out and gets her after she’s nearly finished her seductive
dancing routine.
The final part of
Mankind’s interview with Jim Ross is shown and Ross said that he felt really
helpless at the end of the interview and wished he had not taken the
assignment.  Mankind says that he wishes
Vince McMahon took him while he was good and he thinks of that when he applies
the Mandible Claw to an opponent.  It is
a rather dark interview, as Mankind talks about pain and suffering.  This is the interview where Mankind puts Ross
in the Mandible Claw at the end and Ross sells it like death
.
Rockabilly (w/The
Honky Tonk Man) beats Bart Gunn with the Shake Rattle N’ Roll at 2:53:
So we go from something very serious to Rockabilly.  Talk about the contrasts in 1997 booking.  The alleged storyline here is that the Honky
Tonk Man got the match signed so Rockabilly could move on to other feuds.  See, that’s what made this particular era
nice.  Nearly every match had some type
of issue behind it and didn’t appear random. 
A slow, glorified squash that gives closure to the Smoking Gunns feud,
which has to constitute one of the most subdued blowoffs to a feud in WWF
history.
The Hart
Foundation is shown talking strategy in the back before they chase off the
camera man
.
Steve Austin
“Pillmanizing” Brian Pillman’s ankle on Superstars in October 1996 is the Super
Soaker Rewind segment
.
Steve Austin comes
down to wrestle Brian Pillman, but the Hart Foundation attacks him.  Mankind runs out and makes a small save and
then runs into the ring and starts to wrestle Pillman, which sets up this bait
and switch match…
Mankind defeats
“The Loose Cannon” Brian Pillman by disqualification when Owen Hart interferes
at 5:12 shown:
You can tell throughout this match that the crowd is not
happy that they did not get Austin-Pillman. 
The match is a train wreck, as it builds little momentum for either
guy.  The reception of the match is so
poor that McMahon and Ross are forced to acknowledge it on commentary.  Mankind applies the Mandible Claw, but the
Hart Foundation intervenes and Austin and Shamrock come out and force the Hart
Foundation to flee.  Rating:  ¼*
After the Hart
Foundation flees, Austin gives Mankind an evil eye and gives Shamrock a Stone
Cold Stunner as we go off the air
.
The Final Report Card:  This show was building nicely until the
swerve at the end that was disappointing for all parties.  The WWF was really testing some of its fans
by hyping Austin-Pillman twice but not delivering the match.  There were some good points of storyline
development throughout the show, with the Nation of Domination breaking up and
starting a reformation and Ken Shamrock starting a grudge with the Hart
Foundation, but there wasn’t much else to report.  I might’ve gone thumbs up before the bait and
switch at the end, but instead I’ll go neutral this week.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.2 (vs. 3.4 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Neutral

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – April 28, 1997

by Logan Scisco
A video package
summarizes the interactions between Bret Hart and Steve Austin on last week’s
show.  There’s a cool timeline in the
bottom right of the screen that tells the time of their various interactions on
last week’s show
.
Vince McMahon,
Jerry “the King” Lawler, and Jim Ross are in the booth and they are coming to
us from Omaha, Nebraska.
Brian Pillman
comes out and says that he has a sensitive side and asks the crowd to pray with
him.  Pillman prays for Bret Hart’s quick
and successful recovery, the people that enjoyed the street fight on last week’s
show, and the destruction of Steve Austin. 
Austin comes on the Titantron and says Pillman better pray that he doesn’t
come down to the ring because Bret won’t be there to save him.  Pillman taunts Austin further, so Austin
arrives, but outwits a sneak attack by the Bulldog and Owen and makes his exit
through the crowd.  Pillman continues his
prayer with Owen and the Bulldog, who continue to pray for Bret.  Owen does a hilarious job, as usual, but
Austin comes down with an axe handle and breaks up the Hart Foundation’s
prayer.  A great opening segment, with
Pillman doing a great job on the mic. 
Austin’s heat is off the charts here.
McMahon tells us
that Bret Hart is on his way to the arena and the announce crew hypes Owen Hart
challenging Rocky Maivia for the Intercontinental title and the British Bulldog
facing the Undertaker.
Pillman is shown
continuing his prayer in the locker room.

Opening
Contest:  Flash Funk pins Rockabilly
(w/The Honky Tonk Man) with a hurricanrana at 4:22:
You can tell this is a great crowd because Rockabilly
actually gets a reaction.  Bret is shown
arriving in the arena in the back of an ambulance under an armed guard, which
is a great visual.  Funk flies all over
the place in an attempt to make this the first interesting match of Rockabilly’s
career, but Rockabilly finds a way to slow things down when he seizes control.  Rockabilly dances too much after a tornado
DDT and he wants the Honky Tonk Man to deck Funk on the apron, but
miscommunication results and Rockabilly gets pinned.  However, to get his heat back, Rockabilly
nails Funk with the Honky Tonk Man’s guitar. 
Rating:  *
Owen and the Bulldog
wheel Bret out onto the entrance ramp and he rants about how America hates
people that tell the truth.  Bret tells
the crowd that they are sick and depraved because of their lust for violence
and the crowd pops huge for that.  Bret does
a great put down of the “USA” chant by saying “my mother’s American” and
smiling and says he’d love to send Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels to the
hospital this evening.  This was another
awesome promo and Bret was at his best on the mic with this anti-American
character.
Doug Furnas &
Philip LaFon say that they haven’t been accepted by American wrestling fans
because they are wrestlers and not entertainers.  They complain that they haven’t won the tag
team titles because the crowd isn’t behind them.  This was Furnas and LaFon’s heel turn, but
they lacked the mic skills to make this work
.
The Legion of
Doom defeat Doug Furnas & Philip LaFon when Animal pins Furnas after a Hawk
flying clothesline at 3:46:
The Legion of Doom had broken Henry Godwinn’s neck with a
Doomsday Device on the Shotgun Saturday Night leading up to this show.  This match is an interesting clash of styles,
as the Legion of Doom’s power offense goes against the technical skills of
their opponents.  They run through an abbreviated
tag team formula, with everyone getting involved around the three minute mark
and the Legion prevail because they are the only credible face team in the tag
division.  I wish I could have seen these
two teams square off on pay-per-view.  Rating: 
Ross interviews
Furnas and LaFon, who demand a rematch because the referee cost them this
encounter.
The Headbangers
interrupting Sunny’s segment on Shotgun Saturday Night is shown
.
Sunny comes out to
model the Austin 3:16 t-shirt, which you buy for $20.00 (plus shipping &
handling).  Finally, a piece of
merchandise that actually made the company money!
McMahon interviews
Ahmed Johnson, who sent the Sultan to the hospital with his 2×4 attack last
week.  Ahmed flips out thinking about the
gauntlet match he has with the Nation at the In Your House and tells Vince to
remember he was a gang member.  Vince’s
reply is hilarious:  “I think we’ve had enough
of this.”
The British
Bulldog preps Owen for his match with Rocky Maivia for the Intercontinental
title and Brian Pillman offers some prayers with the
Marlena’s attack
on Chyna on Raw last week is the Super Clean Slam of the Week.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  Owen Hart defeats “The
Rock” Rocky Maivia (Champion) with a bridge cradle at 8:24 to win the title:
The British Bulldog wheels Bret onto the entrance ramp so
that he can watch his brother wrestle for the Intercontinental title and Owen
dedicates the match to Bret.  In a
telling sign, the Hart Foundation is the most hated group on the roster, but
Maivia comes out and does not even generate de facto face heat during his
entrance.  Owen spends a good deal of the
match working the leg and kicks out of the soon to be named Rock Bottom when
Maivia stages his comeback.  Owen floats
over Maivia during this rally and wraps him up in a bridging cradle and that’s
enough to give Owen his first WWF singles title.  The Bulldog and Bret stage a fun celebration,
with Bret taking the belt and the Bulldog wheeling him in circles.  Owen bumped around well for Maivia, but his
victory didn’t feel like a big deal because of who he beat for the belt.  Rating:  **½
Steve Austin comes
out with a wheelchair and an axe handle and sits in the center of the ring.  Austin asks the crowd if they want to see a
wheelchair match and he asks Bret to come out. 
However, Austin changes his mind and says that he’d just end up getting
out of the wheelchair and destroying Bret. 
Austin tells the Undertaker that at In Your House he’s going to win the
title, but as he turns to leave, the Hart Foundation appears on the Titantron
and Bret promises Austin that he will end up in the ambulance that he arrived
in for tonight’s show
.
Vader’s outburst
on Good Morning Kuwait that got him detained in Kuwait is shown
.
A video package
highlights Ken Shamrock’s UFC career and what he has done in the WWF so far.
Vader defeats “The
Real Double J” Jesse James with a Vader Bomb at 1:35:
If they sought to effectively rebuild Vader, they would
have had him ambush James during his entrance and beat him to a pulp without an
actual match taking place.  As it stands,
we do get a match, but a massacre is a better way to put it as Vader destroys
James with his big moves.  The crowd pops
big for the beating.
Ross interviews
Vader and asks if Vader has any remorse or shame for what he did in Kuwait and
how he embarrassed his family and the WWF. 
Vader says he has no regrets and he apologizes for nothing.  Ross asks Vader if he overreacted and Vader
begins to bully him.  Ross breaks kayfabe
and calls Vader “Leon”, trying to sell this as Vader breaking from the script,
but Shamrock comes to Ross’s rescue and gives him a belly-to-belly suplex.  The crowd is hot for Shamrock-Vader, so the
segment did what it was supposed to do
.
Goldust tells
Marlena that she isn’t to follow him to the ring tonight when he faces Hunter
Hearst Helmsley
.
Goldust defeats
Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) by count out at 4:46 shown:
This is like the Godwinns-Smoking Gunns feud in 1996 in
the sense that the feud went on forever without giving us any quality matches.  I’m quite surprised they never tried to run a
mixed tag team match on pay-per-view out of this pairing.  Yes, the Marlena-Chyna parts wouldn’t have
set the world on fire, but they could have easily booked around it.  This match proceeds like many of their
previous ones, with Goldust starting with a quick flurry and Helmsley slowing it
down.  Luckily we get a commercial break
to spare us much of that.  Marlena comes
down to ringside when Chyna attacks Goldust and when Goldust distracts Chyna, Marlena
throws powder in Chyna’s eyes.  Blinded,
Chyna goes after Helmsley and raises him off his feet with a choke, which is
something I bet she wishes she could do these days.  That costs Helmsley the match and honestly
this was the first tolerable match in their feud.  Rating:  **
WWF Champion The
Undertaker appears on the Titantron and gives some generic comments about
facing Steve Austin at In Your House.
Sable comes out
and models an Undertaker t-shirt, which you can buy for $20 (plus shipping
& handling).
Brian Pillman
prays for the British Bulldog to have the strength to defeat the Undertaker.
Non-Title Match:  The Undertaker (WWF Champion) defeats The British
Bulldog (European Champion) by disqualification when Owen Hart interferes at
1:10 shown:
Like Owen earlier, Bret is wheeled onto the entrance ramp
and the Bulldog speaks highly of Bret. 
The Bulldog doesn’t quite understand non-title, as he pledges to win the
WWF title for the Hart Foundation.  After
the Bulldog turned heel in 1995, he and the Undertaker seemed to face off on
Raw at least two times a year in singles matches and those matches were usually
main events.  There’s not much in this
one, as we cut to a break twenty seconds in and Owen interferes to prevent the
Bulldog from getting finished off after a chokeslam. 
-Steve Austin runs in to go after Owen and the Bulldog
and Austin proceeds to grab the WWF title and celebrate with it.  The Undertaker confronts him, but quickly
eats a Stunner after Austin throws the WWF title to the ground.  The Undertaker quickly revives himself,
though, and chokeslams Austin.  Austin
recovers and notes that Bret is by himself on the entrance ramp and goes near
him, but Jim Neidhart appears and rescues Bret. 
Bret smiles and smashes Austin with his crutch and Austin falls off the
entrance ramp as we close the show.  Paramedics
tend to Austin, thereby making Bret’s prophesy of Austin riding to the hospital
in the ambulance he arrived in come true. 
A great closing segment and we now have the complete Hart Foundation of
Bret, Owen, Bulldog, Neidhart, and Pillman.
-The camera cuts to Pillman in the back who looks into
the camera with a smile and crazy eyes.
The Final Report Card:  This Raw was bolstered by some great promo
work and a hot crowd that got behind many of the big moments on the show.  Owen winning the Intercontinental title made
all of the anti-Maivia diehards happy and there was a great story arch in this
show as well, with Bret promising to send Austin to the hospital and accomplishing
that goal at the end of the show.  A
great effort of storytelling that put you on the edge of your seat for next
week’s show.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.7 (vs. 3.4 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – April 21, 1997

by Logan Scisco

Footage of the
Undertaker tossing a fire ball into Paul Bearer’s face at In Your House last
night is shown
.
Vince McMahon, Jim
Ross, and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from
Binghamton, New York
.
McMahon interviews
Steve Austin, who will face Bret Hart in a street fight tonight.  McMahon announces that Austin will get a
title shot at the next In Your House pay-per-view, but Austin just tells him to
shut up because Bret Hart is the topic of conversation tonight.  Austin demands that Bret show up within a
minute to fight him, but Bret pops up on the Titantron with the Hart Foundation
and says that he’ll face Austin in a street fight tonight.  Bret runs down the American fan base lust for
violence and complains that Austin has a title match at In Your House.  After those comments, Austin heads to the
locker room.

Opening
Contest:  The Sultan (w/The Iron Sheik)
defeats Ahmed Johnson by disqualification at 4:50:
At the beginning of the match, McMahon makes the
outrageous claim that during the WWF’s tour of South Africa Ahmed received more
acclaim than Nelson Mandela ever did.  This
is a boring brawl, but Ahmed does bust out an impressive facebuster from a
suplex position.  Ahmed is on the verge
of putting the Sultan away when the Nation of Domination shows up on the
entrance stage.  Ahmed grabs a 2×4 and he
bashes the Sultan with it to make a statement to the Nation and loses.  Rating:  ½*
Sunny comes out in
an oversized Undertaker t-shirt.  Hendrix
urges us to buy it for $20 (plus shipping & handling) and that we should
call 815-734-1161 to get it.  It’s so odd
seeing the WWF sell merchandise on their shows like this fifteen years later.
Austin is shown
trying to break into the Hart Foundation’s locker room and Bret gets some WWF
stooges to tell Austin to go away.
Ken Shamrock comes
out for commentary and McMahon announces that Vader will face Shamrock at In
Your House in a No Holds Barred match.
Ross announces
that Tiger Ali Singh won the sixteen man tournament for the second Kuwaiti
Cup
.
Vader’s bullying
of a Kuwait newscaster on “Good Morning Kuwait”, which earned him a trip to a
Kuwaiti jail, is shown.  Lawler shows off
a funny drawing of Vader shoveling camel dung in the desert based on this
incident.  Shamrock says he doesn’t like
bullies, thereby making him the first WWF superstar to advocate the “Be a Star”
campaign’s agenda, and he challenges Mike Tyson to a match in the WWF.
-Footage of Austin
yelling at McMahon at ringside after slapping off his headset during the
commercial break is shown
.
Get your tickets
for the WrestleMania Revenge Tour, where Sid & The Undertaker battle Vader
and Mankind, Ahmed Johnson faces Faarooq, and Steve Austin & The Legion of
Doom battle the Hart Foundation!
Street
Fight:  “Stone Cold” Steve Austin defeats
Bret “the Hitman at 8:23:
The purpose behind this one is that Austin is angry about
not finishing off Bret last night and thinks he can do it here, while Bret is
reluctant to fight Austin on his own. 
Before the match can get underway, Owen Hart and the British Bulldog
attack Austin from behind and Bret joins in for a three-on-one attack.  However, Shawn Michaels comes through the
crowd with a chair and eliminates Owen and the Bulldog.  Bret goes to Pillmanize Austin’s leg, but
Austin moves and then begins wearing out Bret’s knee with the chair.  Austin applies the Sharpshooter and refuses
to break the hold when WWF officials hit the ring.  Pat Patterson eventually helps the officials
get Austin off of Bret.  No official
winner is declared in this one, but for all intents and purposes Austin won
this battle of the feud.  This is
somewhat difficult to rate, but it was an entertaining brawl.
WWF President
Gorilla Monsoon tells Austin that he’s out of control and Austin says he’s not
done tonight and doesn’t care about Monsoon’s rules.  Monsoon bans Austin from the arena, to which
Austin threatens him up, and all of this takes place as the Hart Foundation
helps Bret to the locker room.  Seeing
Monsoon and Austin go at it is quite entertaining since the voice of the 1980s
is facing off with the top superstar of the 1990s.
Tiger Ali Singh
pins Salvatore Sincere with a spinning heel kick at 4:49:
In the discussion of guys the WWF put money on that never
panned out, Tiger Ali Singh has to be near the top of the list.  This is Singh’s RAW debut and he would
disappear for a year after this match. 
The match is technically fine, as Sincere dominates much of the action
and sells well for the rookie, who needs more proficiency running the
ropes.  A random spinning heel kick gets
the victory, but it’s an underwhelming debut. 
Rating:  *½
Paramedics take
Bret to the ambulance and the Bulldog and Owen are great here, as they keep
yelling at the paramedics for bumping over cables and wires and not adequately
taking care of Bret.  Like a horror film,
the camera pans inside the ambulance, where Austin is in the driver’s seat and
he moves to the back to attack Bret. 
Owen and the Bulldog come to Bret’s aid, but more damage has been
done.  That’s one of the more creative
attack segments in wrestling history, capped by Owen’s “what kind of crap is
this?” at the end.
Owen and the
Bulldog are shown looking for Austin backstage
.
Rockabilly (w/The
Honky Tonk Man) defeats “The Real Double J” Jesse James with a Shake, Rattle, and Roll at 8:48:
Since their match at In Your House last night was so
great we get a rematch between these two. 
Rockabilly is such a terrible gimmick, as Billy is just wearing his
usual cowboy attire.  There’s a funny
exchange on commentary as Lawler says he trusts the Honky Tonk Man’s judgment
and Ross asks him “What’s going on?  Are you two related?” to which Lawler responds
“Maybe.”  Like the previous night’s
encounter, this one goes on far too long and it kills the crowd.  After a ridiculously long time, Rockabilly
hits the Shake, Rattle, and Roll to get his first victory.  Really? 
Why give Rockabilly the win here instead of last night when he
debuted?  After the match, James attacks
Rockabilly but is nailed from behind by the Honky Tonk Man, who delivers two
sick guitar shots.  Rating:  ¼*
Austin is shown
arguing with Shawn Michaels in the locker room and WWF President Gorilla
Monsoon attempts to mediate to no avail. 
It’s as if Monsoon is trying to mediate a conflict in an eleventh grade
classroom.
Mankind’s
head-first plunge through an announce table last night is the Castro Super
Clean Slam of the Week
.
Mankind says Paul
Bearer didn’t cry when his flesh was burning last night.
Non-Title
Match:  The Undertaker (WWF Champion)
defeats Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) by disqualification at 12:14 shown
when Mankind interferes:
It’s the beginning of an era, as the Undertaker doesn’t want to wait for Helmsley’s ornate entrance and decks him in the aisle.  McMahon makes a great comment as he claims Helmsley can’t love Chyna because he can’t love anyone except for
himself.  I know he’s talking about the
character, but fifteen years later it can make you laugh.  This is merely a placeholder match, since
nothing is on the line and it doesn’t advance a specific story.  Dustin Rhodes, without his Goldust gear, is
shown sitting in the crowd with Marlena, who Ross acknowledges as “Terri”
thereby setting up the quasi-shoot interview he will give on RAW about his
life.  The Undertaker withstands a lot of
punishment, but during his comeback Mankind appears with a blowtorch, which is
just an insane plot development. 
Helmsley wisely flees and Mankind KO’s the Undertaker with the metal
casing of the torch, but after he lights it up again, the Undertaker sits up
and fights Mankind through the crowd. 
Well, the match wasn’t that exciting, since it was largely a kick-punch
affair, but that twist at the end was wild. 
Rating:  *
After the
Undertaker and Mankind brawl to the back, Marlena chokes Chyna with a leather
strap from behind in the crowd and Goldust/Dustin Rhodes brawls with
Helmsley.  That was a great plot point
for Marlena-Chyna, since Chyna made her debut choking Marlena from the crowd a
couple of months prior to this.
The Motel 6 Rewind
is Austin’s attack on Bret earlier in the show
.
Austin comes out
to be interviewed by McMahon a second time. 
Austin says he accomplished his objective tonight and he says he doesn’t
need the crowd’s support.  Austin says
that the Undertaker will experience a cold day in hell at In Your House and
tells McMahon he won’t be a role model as WWF champion.  Owen and the Bulldog attack Austin at the end
of his promo and McMahon tries to help Austin, but Owen tosses him into the
corner.  Shawn Michaels comes out and
saves Austin for the second time and McMahon is perplexed, seemingly having
lost control of his show.
-As we get ready to
go off the air, Brian Pillman emerges from the crowd and he attacks Austin with
a chair.  Pillman goes to Pillmanize
Austin’s ankle, but Michaels makes the save for the third time.
The Final Report Card:  This was the first RAW of the Russo era and
it began with a bang.  Bret was taking
some time off for knee surgery, so this was a good way to write him out of the
ring for a while.  The ambulance attack
put another memorable moment in Austin’s career and really sold Austin’s rebel
image to the audience.  The show also
made a minor plot point that becomes big later: 
the bigger on screen role of Vince McMahon as a character, since he got
physically involved at the end and the camera focused on his reaction to Austin
getting laid out by Owen and the Bulldog. 
As a mark, I remember watching this show in 1997 and thinking that the
show had moved in a different direction and that I really liked it.  After seeing it fifteen years later, I still
enjoyed the Bret-Austin action, but I have to admit that the rest of the show
is terrible.  Still, a thumbs up because
the parts you remember are the good ones and the chaos at the end left you
eagerly anticipating next week’s episode.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.8 (vs. 3.4 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up