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

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Neutral

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: Friday Night’s Main Event – September 5, 1997

by Logan Scisco

A video package hypes tonight’s feature
match between the Undertaker and Hunter Hearst Helmsley.
Jim Ross and Dok
Hendrix are doing commentary for tonight’s show.  This show looks to be taped from the same
place as last week’s episode.

Opening
Contest:  The Patriot beats Owen Hart by
disqualification when the British Bulldog interferes at 6:08 shown:
Owen comes out to his old theme, which has not happened
much since he joined the Hart Foundation. 
Hendrix emphasizes throughout the match that the Patriot is not a “goody
two shoes” but is instead a “really cool dude.” 
Ross just prefers to emphasize the Patriot’s collegiate football
background.  The storyline they should
have emphasized for this match is Owen taking out the Patriot’s legs for Ground
Zero to help Bret’s title defense, but there are not any segments prior to the
match to play up that point.  This is a
standard back-and-forth match and you can tell Owen wants to work a faster
pace, but the Patriot moves very slowly when transitioning between spots.  The Patriot appears set for victory at the
six minute mark, but the British Bulldog blindsides him for the predictable
disqualification finish.  Decent TV fare,
but these guys did not complement each other well.  Rating:  **
After the match,
Bret Hart comes down to inflict some damage and he puts the Patriot in the
Sharpshooter, but Vader runs out and takes out all three guys by himself.  He whips Bret into the Patriot, who delivers
Uncle Slam before WWF officials pour out and put a stop to these
extracurricular activities.
Commissioner
Sergeant Slaughter announces that the WWF is not willing to allow Steve Austin
to compete before he fully completes his physical rehabilitation.  Slaughter announces that Austin is suspended
indefinitely and will be forced to forfeit his share of the tag team
championship at Ground Zero.
Steve Austin tells
a camera crew to take a seat outside his residence so he can complain about a
care package that the WWF sent him.
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to find out Brian Pillman’s plans for Marlena if he wins his
match at Ground Zero
.
Sunny comes out to
do guest commentary and she says that she plans on interviewing Rick Rude and
Shawn Michaels tonight
.
Steve Austin shows
the camera crew a FedEx package that the WWF sent him, which has a hilarious
set of media photographs of Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and Gorilla Monsoon that
are signed and wish Austin well.  Austin
has one of the camera people put the photographs on a deer model, which an Owen
Hart picture on the rear end, so he can shoot at them with a compound bow.  Austin says he would defend the title every
night if he could, but the WWF is too scared he is going to sue them.  The WWF really played the Austin injury well,
as they kept him on screen, gave him cover to be out of action for months, and
Austin’s promo work kept his character hot.
Ross asks Dude
Love how he feels about having to forfeit the tag team titles at Ground Zero,
but before Love can finish his thoughts, the British Bulldog attacks him.
-Non-Title
Match:  Dude Love beats The British
Bulldog (European Champion) by disqualification when Owen Hart runs in at 5:35
shown:
Ross announces during the match that the Headbangers have
been added in place of Steve Austin and Dude Love in the tag team championship
Fatal Four Way match at Ground Zero. 
Ross also keeps hyping Foley’s Cactus Jack persona, which makes the
debut of that persona less of a surprise in retrospect.  The highlights of this match are Love taking
his usual brutal bumps into the guardrail and the steps, but there’s not much
else.  Like the opener, Love hits Sweet
Shin Music and a double arm DDT, but Owen runs in to prevent his partner from
losing the match.  Rating:  *½
After the bell,
Owen Hart gets on the mic and promises to break Love’s neck to send a message
to Steve Austin, but Love is saved by the Legion of Doom.  Love tries to get the Legion of Doom to dance
with him, but they are not down with that and leave.
A video package
hypes the Brian Pillman-Goldust match at Ground Zero
.
Sunny interviews
Pillman, who says he is not going to make Terri do anything with him that she
has not already done after he wins her services at Ground Zero.
Ross interviews
WWF Champion Bret Hart, who says that he takes pride in destroying American
heroes and when he destroys the Patriot it will be like destroying each and
every single American wrestling fan. 
Bret just has nothing to work with in this feud and it has turned him
into a generic anti-American character.
Sunny interviews
Rick Rude, who hits on Sunny and reinforces his “insurance man” gimmick.  Rude fit this role really well and it is a
shame that his run did not last very long.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your copy of Cause Stone Cold Said So for $19.99 (plus $6
shipping & handling)!
Ross and Hendrix
recap the entire show far.  The benefit
of watching these things in retrospect is that you can always fast forward…
The Undertaker
defeats Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) by disqualification when Shawn
Michaels interferes at 4:33 shown:
It takes less than two minutes for Rick Rude to walk out
and distract the Undertaker, which gives Helmsley an early advantage.  The Undertaker rallies after selling for a
few short moments, but Shawn Michaels interferes and chop blocks him for our
third screwy finish of the night.  This
was simple time filler.  Rating: 
½*
After the match,
the not yet named D-Generation X does a beatdown of the Undertaker, until he
revives and chokeslams a security guard and a WWF official in frustration as
D-Generation X flees
.
Sunny catches up
with Shawn Michaels, who is leaving the arena, and Michaels promises that he
will draw last blood from the Undertaker at Ground Zero
.
The Legion of
Doom wrestle Jesus & Jose to a double disqualification when the Godwinns
come to the ring at 2:32:
Hendrix says that Jesus and Jose have lots of quality
wins and deserved to be in the Fatal Four Way at Ground Zero, but I am having a
hard time thinking of a single quality win they have on their resume.  On paper this is an enhancement talent match,
but Ross’s delivery on commentary takes it to another level.  The Godwinns wander out after two minutes and
Animal hits a nice plancha onto them.  I
am assuming that this one ended up as a double disqualification because a
winner was never declared and there did not appear to be a count out and the
Godwinns did not directly interfere in sight of the referee.  However, I’m really getting tired of all the
disqualifications tonight.
After the match,
the Disciples of Apocalypse, Los Boricuas, the Godwinns, and the Legion of Doom
brawl all over the place.
A video package
hypes the Patriot’s skills and his college football career at South Carolina.
Ahmed Johnson’s
appearance at Camp Cool J is shown.  Ross
tells us that he will be back in action in three weeks.
Ken Shamrock
defeats Salvatore Sincere via submission to the ankle lock at 5:19:
Shamrock puts on a submission clinic, putting Sincere in
leg locks and armbars.  Sincere manages a
prolonged offensive sequence, but Shamrock kicks out of a Northern lights
suplex at one and that’s a clear sign to the marks that Sincere has no chance
at all.  A hurricanrana and ankle lock
put Sincere away.  Rating:  *¾
A video package
hypes the light heavyweight division
.
Light Heavyweight
Exhibition:  Scott Putski beats Steve
Casey with the Polish Hammer at 3:49:
Putski is facing Brian Christopher is a light heavyweight
contest at Ground Zero, so this is meant to showcase him and keep in the public
eye of top talent in the light heavyweight division.  Putski runs through some power moves for a
light heavyweight, like an overhead suplex, and Casey has a small offensive
set, but his moves lack believability because he hits Putski so softly.  A Casey hurricanrana is blocked by a Putski
sit out powerbomb and its lights out for Casey soon after.  Putski really needed another finisher because
the Polish Hammer was so 1970s as far as a finishing move was concerned.  Rating:  *½
Sunny interviews
Paul Bearer, who says that Vader’s allegiance should be with him and not the
United States.  He says when Kane comes
it is going to help him
.
Handicap
Match:  The Interrogator (w/The
Commandant, Recon & Sniper) defeats Sonny Rogers & Jerry Fox when he
pins both men at 2:20:
The WWF really wanted the Interrogator (a.k.a. Kurrgan)
to be the focal point of the Truth Commission so he would usually have handicap
matches against jobbers on the company’s B and C level shows.  Kurrgan runs through some basic moves on both
guys, suplexes Rogers on top of Fox, and then pins them with one foot.
Ken Shamrock
defeating Salvatore Sincere tonight is the Stridex Triple Action segment
.
A music video
package that recaps tonight’s show plays us out
.
The Final Report Card:  This was the very definition of a filler show
as run-ins occurred in every match and kept the gears going for the Ground Zero
pay-per-view.  I understand some of the
finishes, like the end of the Patriot-Owen, but running four disqualifications
in a row is too much and viewers tire of it very quickly.  Thumbs down this week.
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

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: SummerSlam 1997

by Logan Scisco

So after a six week
or so absence I’m back.  My reviews got
backed up because of some graduate work and some teaching responsibilities, but
we pick back up with the 1997 edition of SummerSlam.  Heading into the pay-per-view the WWF gang
wars were heating up between the Nation of Domination, Los Boricuas, and the
Disciples of Apocalypse, Steve Austin was becoming the top guy in the company,
the Undertaker’s secret of allegedly killing his mother and father was revealed
by Paul Bearer, who also revealed that the Undertaker’s brother Kane was alive,
and the Hart Foundation had lots of enemies, including, but not limited to,
Shawn Michaels, Austin, Ken Shamrock, Goldust, and the Legion of Doom.  There’s also a lingering feud between Mankind
and Hunter Hearst Helmsley that has been going on since the King of the Ring.

It should be said
that this pay-per-view has the best video package in WWF history as it discusses
how “life isn’t fair” in the WWF.
Vince McMahon, Jim
Ross, and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from East
Rutherford, New Jersey.
Opening Steel
Cage Contest:  Mankind defeats Hunter
Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) by climb out at 16:13:
Mick Foley reverts to his original WWF gimmick for the
blowoff of the summer feud with his biggest rival in the company.  Escape rules are in effect for this match and
the cage is in use to keep Chyna away, but she gets involved on several occasions
by choking Mankind with a chain and then crotching him on the top of the cage
so Helmsley can hit a superplex.  Helmsley
could leave and win after that, but refuses to do so and Mankind takes a series
of sick head-first bumps into the cage. 
In a creative spot, Helmsley locks his legs into the cage to block a
suplex when Mankind lifts him above his head, but Mankind breaks the suplex and
then crashes into Helmsley as he dangles from the cage.  When Helmsley gets caught in the ropes,
Mankind goes for the door, but Chyna slams the cage door into Mankind’s face,
tosses the referee into the steps, and tosses Helmsley a chair, but Mankind
blocks a Pedigree on it and slingshots Helmsley into the cage, which sends
Chyna, who is hanging onto the cage, into the guardrail.  Mankind climbs out, but right before he gets
to the bottom he tosses off his mask and climbs to the top of the cage, rips
open his shirt, and delivers an elbow drop off the top of it to mimic his hero
Jimmy Snuka before leaving for good. 
This was a very spot-oriented cage match and the escape rules hurt it,
as they do most cage matches, but the spots were fun and the ending sequence
sent the crowd into a frenzy.  Rating: 
***½
After the match,
as Mankind lay on the ground outside of the cage, Dude Love’s music plays over
the loud speakers and that gets Mankind back to his feet and he dances to the
back
.
Kevin Kelly and
Sunny hype the Superstar line.  Call
1-900-737-4WWF to speak to the wrestlers after their matches tonight!
Todd Pettengill
interviews New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman, who gets booed out of the
building.  Whitman’s elimination of an
entertainment tax on pro wrestling led to this SummerSlam being brought to New
Jersey.  WWF President Gorilla Monsoon
presents her with a replica WWF title belt as McMahon hypes her as a possible
president, which shows how dated this show is.
Tiger Ali Singh is
shown in the crowd with Tiger Jeet Singh
.
Footage of the
SummerSlam Party in the Continental Airlines Arena parking lot from earlier in
the day is shown
.
Brian Pillman cuts
a pre-taped promo saying that he doesn’t plan on wearing a dress.
Goldust
(w/Marlena) pins “The Loose Cannon” Brian Pillman with a sunset flip after
Marlena decks Pillman with her purse at 7:16:
The stipulation for this match is that if Pillman loses
he has to wear a dress and presumably, Jim Neidhart has to shave off his goatee
since Neidhart said he would do so if any member of the Hart Foundation
lost  a match on the show.  Outside of the stipulation, there isn’t a lot
to add interest to the match, even when Pillman DDT’s Goldust on the arena
floor.  Goldust nearly breaks his neck on
a sunset flip, but he can’t abort doing the move because it’s the finishing
sequence, so he grabs Pillman’s legs until Marlena interjects herself to
produce the ending.  After the match,
Pillman throws a tantrum over having to wear a dress tomorrow night.  This match did not build any momentum and was
a big mess.  Rating:  *
Call 815-734-1161
to get your SummerSlam 1997 t-shirt for $25 (plus $6 shipping & handling)!
-The Legion of Doom
cut a promo where they tell the Godwinns that payback will be hell
.
The Legion of
Doom defeat The Godwinns when Hawk pins Henry after a spike piledriver at 9:15:
This is a small feud started when the LOD broke Henry
Godwinn’s neck a few months back on Shotgun Saturday Night.  The Godwinns go for some cheap heat by
taunting fans with a Confederate flag. 
The match gets off to a good start, as both teams brawling styles nicely
complement each other, but Phineas slows the match down in the middle.  Hawk gets the hot tag and the LOD push their
way to victory shortly thereafter.  This
would have been a very serviceable match if they had only given it five
minutes.  Rating:  *½
Pettengill, Sable,
and Sunny host the Million Dollar Challenge contest, but no one picks the
correct key to open the casket with one million dollars so no one wins, which
had to be a relief to McMahon considering the company’s finances at the
time.  There is a funny moment when one
of the contestants that they call isn’t even watching the pay-per-view
.
A video package
chronicles the British Bulldog-Ken Shamrock feud
.
European
Championship Match:  The British Bulldog
(Champion) defeats Ken Shamrock by disqualification when Shamrock nails the
Bulldog with a can of dog food at 7:27:
The special Hart Foundation stipulation on this match is
that if the Bulldog loses he will eat a can of dog food.  There is some great intensity to start the
match, as Shamrock wastes little time going after the Bulldog, but the Bulldog
slows it all down by reverting to a succession of chinlocks.  The Bulldog tosses some dog food in Shamrock’s
face on the floor and that causes Shamrock to snap and get disqualified because
a can of dog food classifies as a foreign object (or would it be an “international
object” in WCW’s case?).  After the
match, Shamrock chokes out the Bulldog and then gives Pat Patterson, Gerald
Brisco, and a host of other WWF referees belly-to-belly suplexes when they get
him off of the Bulldog.  This was much
more suited for Monday Night Raw than SummerSlam, but the crowd really got into
Shamrock going crazy.  Rating: 
**
Pettengill interviews
Shawn Michaels, who says that his issues with Bret Hart were settled at
WrestleMania XII when he beat him.  He
promises to call tonight’s main event down the middle
.
A video package
hypes the WWF gang wars, centering most of its attention on the Disciples of
Apocalypse and Los Boricuas.
Los Boricuas defeats
The Disciples of Apocalypse when Miguel Perez pins Chainz after an elbow drop
at 9:07:
Looking back, this gang wars feud did relatively little
for anyone involved in it and the big stars of this match have to be Skull and
8-Ball, who managed to stick around into late 1998 with their existing
gimmick.  Everyone else was jobber fodder
or out of the company by that point. 
Ross’s job during the match is to be a point man for who is fighting
who, since McMahon keeps messing it up, but after a few minutes Ross just gives
up.  This would have been better booked
as a street fight, since it was more in keeping with the gang wars and would
have worked around some of the limitations of the participants.  The Nation of Domination marches down to
ringside through the crowd to create another distraction and thereby prevent anything
from really developing in this match.  Chainz
is knocked out of the ring and when he punches Ahmed Johnson he is on the
receiving end of a Pearl River Plunge on the floor and Savio Vega rolls Chainz
in, where Miguel Perez delivers an elbow drop and covers for the victory.  After the match, all the gangs fight each
other before the camera crews get tired of covering it.  This was awful, as action happened in the
ring but mattered little and since it didn’t matter it was a chore to watch.  Rating:  DUD
A video package
hypes the Owen Hart-Steve Austin Intercontinental title match
.
Michael Cole tries
to interview Steve Austin on his way to the ring, but Austin tells him to get
out of his way or he is going to kick his ass.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve
Austin defeats Owen Hart (Champion) with a school boy to win the title at 16:15:
Austin continues his slow climb up the card in this match
as he gets a crack at the Intercontinental title and a chance to avenge taking
the pin to Owen at Canadian Stampede. 
This is also a quasi-“kiss my ass” match, as Austin promised to do so if
he lost to Owen in this match.  Owen
tries to immediately go for the legs, but Austin fights him off and a great
technical battle ensues with lots of counters and believable near-falls.  In the midst of Austin fighting out of a
chinlock and Owen getting out of a tilt-a-whirl, Owen delivers an inverted
piledriver, not the tombstone piledriver that the two had agreed to prior to
the match, and Austin goes noticeably limp. 
Owen tries to bide time and he taunts the crowd, which enables Austin to
carefully crawl over and weakly school boy Owen to win his first WWF singles
title.  It’s amazing that Austin was able
to finish the match in any way and this match is a reminder to all wrestlers of
the things that can do wrong in the course of a match.  That single piledriver nearly changed the
entire course of WWF history, as the loss of Austin could have destroyed an
entire year’s worth of booking and perhaps prevented the company from
overtaking WCW in 1998.  Thankfully for
Austin he was able to resume his in-ring career by November, but the neck injury
shortened his career and made him more of a brawler than the technical wrestler
he had once been.  It’s tough to rate the
match since it had to stop halfway through, but up to the piledriver it was
working up a good pace.  Rating: 
***½
After the match,
you can tell something is wrong because three officials come to the ring to
help Austin and get him to the locker room, but true to Austin form he leaves
on his own two feet and isn’t stretchered out
.
A video package
hypes the Bret Hart-Undertaker main event
.
The announcers
discuss the evening’s WWF title match
.
WWF Championship
Match:  Bret “the Hitman” Hart defeats
The Undertaker (Champion) to win the title after Shawn Michaels inadvertently
hit the Undertaker with a chair at 28:19:
There are lots of stipulations in this match.  If Bret loses, he promises not to wrestle in
the United States again.  Shawn Michaels,
Bret’s mortal enemy, is the special guest referee for this match, but if he
fails to call the match fairly then he will not wrestle in the United States
again either.  The Undertaker is sort of
the odd man out in this match, as the Bret-Shawn issue completely overshadows
him, and his title reign since WrestleMania has been lackluster and devoid of
quality opponents.  The Undertaker’s
issue with Paul Bearer has nothing to do with this match either, so his only motivation
is defending the title and while that might be enough for some, the lack of a
clear direction for the Undertaker with the title after this made a title
switch here fairly predictable. 
Continuing his metamorphosis into Nikolai Volkoff 2.0, Bret demands that
the crowd stand for the Canadian national anthem.  Bret has an entertaining spin on looking at
the WWF title before the match, as he takes it out of Michaels hands, poses
with it, and then clocks the Undertaker to kick off the match.  The Undertaker goes for Bret’s back, but Bret
survives the onslaught and targets the Undertaker’s left leg as this match
starts to resemble their 1996 Royal Rumble encounter, dead crowd and all.  Paul Bearer makes a short appearance to wake
them up and he distracts the Undertaker after a figure-four, which allows Bret to
keep the advantage.  After enduring
almost seven minutes of leg damage, the Undertaker rallies to plant Bret with a
chokeslam, but Michaels is distracted by trying to send Owen Hart and Brian
Pillman, who have wandered out to ringside, to the locker room.  Bret tries to take advantage of the Undertaker’s
anger at the lack of a count with a school boy, but that only gets two.  After enduring about ten “moves of doom,” the
Undertaker mounts a rally, forgetting the leg damage as he delivers a flying
clothesline and a leg drop, but Bret crotches him when he goes for the rope
walk and hits a superduperplex, which allows him to lock in the
Sharpshooter.  However, the Undertaker
kicks out of the move, but Bret escapes the Tombstone and locks in a sloppy
Sharpshooter with the help of the ring post. 
When the Undertaker kicks out of that, Bret goes crashing into Michaels
on the floor, but that enables Bret to grab a chair and smash the Undertaker in
the face with it.  Michaels comes into
the ring to make the count, but he gets in too late, so it’s only a two count
and Bret is not happy.  Michaels
confronts Bret about the chair, leading Bret to spit on Michaels, which hits
him in the face and not on the shirt as intended if you believe Bret’s
autobiography, and Michaels in anger swings the chair, which clocks the Undertaker
when Bret ducks and Bret captures his then-record tieing fifth WWF championship
when Michaels reluctantly counts the pin. 
I did not care for the Undertaker forgetting some of the psychology as
the match went along, but this match still told a great story of Bret trying
his conventional offense and when it didn’t work descending into heel tactics
and when that faltered, using Michaels hatred of him to his advantage to win
the contest.  This match also set up a
great fall feud between the Undertaker and Michaels, of which Bret would get
inserted at the end, thereby becoming the odd man out like the Undertaker was
in this contest.  Rating:  ****
The Final Report Card:  This show is quite hit or miss.  The bad stuff is bad, but the good stuff is
quite good and when the show finishes you remember more about the good than the
bad, mostly because Austin-Owen and Bret-Undertaker are memorable contests and
you don’t forget Foley jumping off the cage early in the night either.  That alone makes this a thumbs up.
Attendance: 
20,213
Buyrate:  0.80
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

by Logan Scisco
A video package
discusses the Hart Foundation’s divided appeal and hypes tonight’s six man flag
match.
Vince McMahon,
Jerry “the King” Lawler, and Jim Ross are in the booth and they are in Halifax,
Nova Scotia.
-Highlights of the
Ken Shamrock-Vader match from In Your House: 
A Cold Day in Hell are shown to hype tonight’s opening contest.

-Ken Shamrock says
that he beat Vader once and he can do it again and it’ll prepare him for his
match with the British Bulldog at SummerSlam.
Opening
Contest:  Vader (w/Paul Bearer) defeats
Ken Shamrock by count out at 6:59:
Since the main event is a flag match tonight, a Canadian
and American flag are hanging on poles in opposite corners of the ring.  Vader dominates the first four minutes, but
Shamrock escapes a powerbomb and nails Bearer when he breaks up a submission
hold.  This is a different beast than
their match at In Your House a couple of months prior to this, as its more of a
conventional wrestling match than a worked shoot but that doesn’t hurt its
quality.  Shamrock survives a splash off
the second rope, but when Vader dumps him out of the ring, the British Bulldog
runs out to the ring and gives Shamrock a running powerslam on the ramp and
Shamrock is counted out to lose his first singles match in the WWF.  Rating:  ***
Canadian fans
express their support for the Hart Foundation and explain why they don’t like
the United States
.
The Godwinns
defeat of “The Real Double J” Jesse James and Bob “Spark Plugg” Holly is the
Stridex Triple Action segment
.
A brief vignette
for Brakkus is aired.  He never amounted
to anything in the WWF and only appeared a handful of times.
McMahon interviews
the Hart Foundation and they get a monster reaction.  Bret says that he hasn’t seen three WWF
superstars stand up to the challenge for the flag match and he says that the
Undertaker should come out and face him now instead of at SummerSlam.  The British Bulldog piles on by saying he
wants to face Shamrock right now and Owen says that he wants to square off with
Steve Austin.  Steve Austin comes out and
says he’ll be part of the “stupid” flag match, thereby becoming the first
superstar to sign up to face Bret, Owen, and the Bulldog tonight
.
The announce team
discusses how DOA and Los Boricuas have been suspended for a week because of
their recent behavior.  Los Boricuas
destruction of the DOA’s motorcycles last week is shown.  Both factions have been penciled in to face
each other at SummerSlam
.
“Too Sexy” Brian
Christopher pins Bryan Walsh after a Tennessee Jam at 3:54:
Walsh was a WWF jobber in the mid-1990s, but he had the
build for a light heavyweight and is thrust into this match with Christopher,
who continues to receive a push as the top heel in the division.  Christopher chews up a mini-Canadian flag to
draw the ire of the crowd   Walsh gets in
a few moves, but Christopher hits all the big spots and racks up another
win.  Rating:  **
The Commandant
tells us to be ready to see the Truth Commission on next week’s Raw.  The WWF really didn’t need another
anti-American group.
A WWF flashback
shows the awarding of a house at the first In Your House pay-per-view.  That’s a great moment from 1995 just because
of the reaction of the family that won it.
McMahon narrates a
video package discussing the various faces of Foley.  The emphasis was on the Dude Love personality
because of Dude Love’s debut last week. 
It’s really long and unreasonably so because Mick Foley has been given a
ton of screen time lately.
-Steve Austin says
that he can’t believe Mick Foley wants to be his tag team partner, but he
proved in the match that he could get the job done.  He says that he doesn’t really care to have a
tag team partner, though.
-Call 815-734-1161
to get your eighteen month WWF superstars calendar for $12 (plus $3 shipping
& handling)!
The Godwinns
attack on the Legion of Doom on last week’s show is played.  The Legion of Doom cut a promo backstage
after this incident last week and swear revenge at SummerSlam.
-The New Blackjacks
provide pre-recorded comments that say they are the toughest men in the WWF and
will win the next match and win the WWF tag team titles next week.
The Headbangers
say that they got thirty-eight minutes of sleep last night and they are ready
to finally take advantage of the opportunities they have been given and win the
WWF tag team titles.
Triple Threat
Match to Decide the #1 Contenders for the WWF Tag Team Championship:  The Godwinns defeat The New Blackjacks and
The Headbangers when Henry pins Barry Windham after Phineas hits Windham with a
bucket at 5:24:
The rules for this match is that there are three men in
the ring at all times, one for each team, and each man can tag their partner at
will.  It’s really hard to make this a
credible number one contenders match without the Legion of Doom, since they
were the only team in this match that did not lose cleanly in the tag team
tournament.  There aren’t a lot of slow
moments in this match, but all of the participants behave as if this is a
battle royal and there isn’t much intrigue regarding teams cooperating and
turning on each other and other behavior that you would expect in a match like
this.  As a result, the crowd sits on its
hands as this plays out.  Eventually
everyone starts brawling and the Godwinns cheat to get a tag team title match
next week.  I can’t believe that the
Headbangers continued to get a small push at this time and didn’t eat the fall
here.  It’s completely unrealistic to
think that they are a better team than the New Blackjacks.  Rating:  *
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to find out if Sid has wrestled his last match!
Ross interviews
Shawn Michaels, who is showered with boos. 
Michaels takes it all in and takes some shots at Canada on the mic,
which amplifies his heat further. 
Michaels says that he is going to be in the flag match tonight with
Steve Austin against the Hart Foundation and he also announces that he will be
the special guest referee for the Undertaker-Bret Hart title match at
SummerSlam.  The crowd doesn’t like the
second announcement AT ALL.  Michaels
says that if he doesn’t call the match down the middle that he will never be
able to wrestle in the United States again. 
This is a fantastic illustration of building heat in a promo and
building two matches at once.  This
wasn’t even Michaels best promo in Canada, with those honors going to his 2005
promo, which is where Bret really should’ve made his return.
­-More Canadian
fans discuss why they love the Hart Foundation and hate the United States.
Shawn Michaels
announcement about SummerSlam moments ago is our Discovery Zone Rewind segment
.
Clue #4 of the
SummerSlam Million Dollar Challenge is “of luxury.”
The Patriot says
he appreciates patriotism, but Canada needs better representatives than the
Hart Foundation.
The Patriot
defeats Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) by disqualification when the Hart
Foundation attack him at 3:02:
The Patriot is booed out of the building and Helmsley
gets a huge reaction by attacking him before the bell.  During the match, Bret Hart comes out with
Owen and the Bulldog and argues with McMahon over Shawn Michaels being the
guest referee at SummerSlam and slaps off his headset.  McMahon and Bret start fighting each other,
which is the first time McMahon has ever been in a prolonged fight with a WWF
star and the Patriot comes to his aid. 
This all fits so well into the eventual screwjob in Montreal.  The match is completely overshadowed by these
events, so it’s not really possible to rate it, but this was an AWESOME segment
because it felt so real and sent the crowd into a frenzy.
Ross takes over
the lead role in the announcing duties as McMahon gets himself together and
says that he thinks Paul Bearer is lying about Kane and the Undertaker’s
past.  He says that the Undertaker and
Kane split a statue of the Grim Reaper as children that they would have as long
as they were alive and he shows Kane’s part of the statue , which proves he’s
alive.  When Ross says he wants to see
Kane, Bearer says not to push him
.
Marlena says that
Brian Pillman really can’t fill out a dress properly.
Goldust
(w/Marlena) defeats Faarooq (w/Kama Mustafa) by disqualification when Kama
interferes at 3:24:
McMahon does a great job selling that he is disturbed by
Bret’s actions and he heads to the locker room after receiving some disturbing
news on his headset.  Ross eventually
says that it appears that Bret Hart injured Shawn Michaels in the locker room.  That news overwhelms the match, where Kama
beats up Goldust on the floor and the referee, despite not seeing any of this,
disqualifies Faarooq after he hits a Dominator and tries to get the pin.  Rating:  *
More Canadian fans
express their support for the Hart Foundation.
Shawn Michaels is
sown coming to his senses in the locker room and he gets in McMahon’s face
about getting attacked and tells him that he’s had enough
.
Flag Match:  Bret “the Hitman” Hart, Owen Hart & The
British Bulldog defeat “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Undertaker & Dude
Love when Bret captures the Canadian flag at 11:45 shown:
Before the American team comes out, Bret has the Canadian
national anthem played and the Halifax crowd sings along.  The rules for the match is that a team has to
capture the other team’s flag to win.  With
Shawn Michaels incapacitated, Austin and Love wrestle a handicap match in the
opening minutes, but the Undertaker arrives as we head to a commercial break.  You might look at the star power and gimmick
and assume that this had to be something special in 1997, but it’s really an
average match.  Part of the drama is
likely hurt by the stipulation, which restricts pinfall or submission attempts,
but there isn’t a lot of drama of teams going for their respective flags.  The crowd does help the match a bit, as the
explode when Bret and Austin go at it near the end of the match.  We get a race between Bret and the Undertaker
for their respective flags at the end of the contest, but Brian Pillman comes
from underneath the ring and intercepts the Undertaker and that allows Bret to
get his flag first and give the Hart Foundation the victory.  Austin’s glare to the Canadian crowd as the
Hart Foundation and Halifax crowd celebrate at the end of the show does a good
job communicating his anger and what’s great about it is that it shows that his
character actually wants to win matches and doesn’t shrug everything off like
John Cena today.  Rating:  **½
The Final Report Card:  The main event was a little disappointing in
quality, but it is still better than most of the main event matches we were
given on Raw in 1996.  With Shawn
Michaels involved it could’ve gone to the next level, but it’s understandable
why he was kept out of it.  This show can
get tedious if you watch the whole thing because of a laundry list of
non-wrestling segments that take place, but the Bret-McMahon brawl, combined
with Vader-Shamrock and the decent main event make this show an easy thumbs up
effort.
Monday Night War Rating:  4.1 (Unopposed)
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – July 14, 1997

by Logan Scisco


McMahon discusses
the contrast between last week’s Raw in Canada and how tonight Raw is in San
Antonio, Texas, which is in Steve Austin’s native state.
McMahon and Jim
Ross are in the booth and they are broadcasting from San Antonio, Texas.
McMahon interviews
the Hart Foundation, who are booed out of the building.  Bret says he looks forward to facing the
Undertaker for the WWF title at SummerSlam. 
Owen says he doesn’t mind defending the Intercontinental title against
Steve Austin at SummerSlam, but is more focused on winning the tag team titles
with the British Bulldog tonight.  The
British Bulldog says that if he loses the European title to Ken Shamrock at
SummerSlam that he will eat a can of dog food after the match.  Brian Pillman says if he loses to Goldust
that he will wear a dress and wrestle him the next night on Raw.  Jim Neidhart then says if any of the Harts
lose at SummerSlam that he will shave off his trademark goatee on Raw.  Steve Austin appears on the entrance ramp and
as he stares at the Hart Foundation with an American flag waving on the
Titantron, Ken Shamrock walks out in matching black trunks, the Patriot walks
out to make his debut, Sid appears in street clothes, and Shawn Michaels walks
out.  Any of these men might be Austin’s
tag team partner tonight.

Opening
Contest:  Ivan & Scott Putski defeat
Jerry “the King” Lawler & “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher when Ivan pins
Lawler after a Polish Hammer at 4:55:
Ivan doesn’t look bad here, although he is much less
ripped than he was in his prime.  After
putting Scott in peril, it appears like the heels have it won after Lawler
delivers a piledriver, but Lawler agrees to let Christopher try a Tennessee
Jam, but that misses.  The old Ivan then
cleans house and wins the battle for his team. 
A serviceable tag match that gave the heels their comeuppance and the
crowd loved seeing Ivan tear into Lawler. 
Rating:  **
Footage of Mankind
coming to Steve Austin’s aid, but then getting hit with a Stone Cold Stunner
last week is shown.
Mankind is shown
backstage and he refuses to talk about what happened to him last week.
-Action between
Flash Funk and Owen Hart on Shotgun Saturday Night is our Stridex Triple
Action  segment.
Paul Bearer tells
the Undertaker that his brother has lived in a personal hell for many years and
that Kane eagerly waits to confront the Undertaker.  Bearer promises to give the Undertaker proof
that Kane is alive on next week’s show
.
A small video
showcases Michinoku’s performances against the Great Sasuke and McMahon doesn’t
bother noting that Michinoku lost those matches because he’s fired the Great
Sasuke.
Taka Michinoku
beats Tajiri Yoshihiro with a Michinoku Driver at 4:08:
Yes, this is Tajiri before he became a crazy man in ECW
and the effectiveness of that gimmick would eventually lead him back to the
company when ECW folded.  They do a great
double KO sequence where they both slap each other silly and Tajiri utilizes
the kicks that would later make him famous. 
Michinoku survives a dragon suplex and a dropkick to the back of the
head and the Michinoku Driver finishes Tajiri off.  An entertaining contest that should have
landed Tajiri a permanent spot on the light heavyweight roster and it is very
obvious from these light heavyweight exhibitions that the Asian light
heavyweights are much more entertaining than their American counterparts.  Rating:  ***
Ken Shamrock says
that he’s not Steve Austin’s tag team partner and was merely out there in order
to show him support against the Hart Foundation.  He says he’s ready to knuckle up against Jim
Neidhart later tonight.
Los Boricuas are
shown riding into the arena with a couple of women.
Get the newest WWF
Magazine to find out more about the past, present, and future of Brian Pillman!
The Headbangers
say that they are going to put Los Boricuas up in smoke tonight.
Miguel & Jose
(w/Los Boricuas) defeat The Headbangers when Miguel pins Thrasher with a rollup
at 4:25
The gang wars concept was somewhat pathbreaking in the
fact that I cannot remember a time when the WWF had four stables (The Nation of
Domination, DOA, Los Boricuas, and The Hart Foundation) under one roof.  I often wonder what younger fans that see old
footage think of the Headbangers, since that is a gimmick that you have to have
lived during the 1990s to understand. 
Mosh has a cool move of sending Jose into the turnbuckles with a
hurricanrana, but that’s really the high spot of the match as the Headbangers
lose a close contest when Miguel escapes a Thrasher powerbomb.  Rating:  **
After the match,
Los Boricuas gang up on the Headbangers, but DOA show up and begin to brawl
with Los Boricuas, which changes the numbers equation.
The Patriot says
that he’d be honored to be by Steve Austin tonight, but he’s simply in the WWF
to defend the honor of America.
Steve Austin
encourages us to buy Cause Stone Cold Said So.  Call 815-734-1161 to buy your copy for $19.99
(plus $6 shipping & handling)!
Footage of Shawn
Michaels winning the WWF title at the Royal Rumble earlier in the year is shown
.
McMahon interviews
Shawn Michaels, who says that he will be Steve Austin’s tag team partner if
Austin wants him to be.  Michaels says
that he’s not currently scheduled to be at SummerSlam so he appeals to McMahon
to allow him to be a part of the show and that request is honored
.
Savio Vega grabs a
camera man and tells him to come and see something getting destroyed
backstage.  When the camera man gets
there, one member of Los Boricuas is destroying one of the DOA’s motorcycles
and that triggers a brawl between the two groups.
-Jerry Lawler comes
out to do commentary.
Ken Shamrock
beats Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart via submission to a rear naked choke at 4:40:
Neidhart continues to play his role as the whipping boy
of the Hart Foundation, as Shamrock forces him to submit to a standing rear
naked choke after four minutes of boring action where Neidhart uses a great
deal of chinlocks and right hands.  Rating: 
½*
-After the match,
the British Bulldog runs in and he and Neidhart briefly double team Shamrock
until the Patriot runs in and makes the save.
Call
1-900-747-4WWF to hear about Shawn Michaels future in the WWF and what some WWF
alumni feel about tonight’s SummerSlam Flashback show!
Mankind is still
sitting backstage and refuses to talk about what he might do later tonight
after he got rejected by Steve Austin last week.  The commentators then speculate about who
Austin might choose for his tag team partner tonight against Owen Hart and the
British Bulldog.
The Headbangers
are shown playing golf and they reveal the third clue for the SummerSlam One
Million Dollar Challenge and that is life.
-The next match is
scheduled to be The Legion of Doom against The New Blackjacks, but the Godwinns
attack the Legion of Doom on their way to the ring and Slop Drop Hawk on the
ramp, which busts the back of his head open. 
Hawk no sells it because he’s Hawk.
Shawn Michaels
begging Vince McMahon earlier in the show for a spot in SummerSlam is the
Discovery Zone Rewind segment.
Vader (w/Paul Bearer)
pins Flash Funk after a powerbomb at 4:10:
Funk was settling into a role of making other guys look
good and he’s at the top of the list of guys in the company that need a gimmick
change.  Would it really have hurt them
to make him 2 Cold Scorpio at this time and put him in the light heavyweight
division?  Funk gets in far more offense
than I anticipated by hitting a plancha and tossing Vader into the ring steps.  Funk even hits his moonsault, but he can’t
keep running into Vader, which is like running into a brick wall, and Vader
goes back to his WCW roots to finish him off. 
After the match, Vader hits a Vader Bomb to make a point to
someone.  A really fun abbreviated match.  Rating:  ***
McMahon asks Steve
Austin if he’s concerned about Mankind being in the arena, but Austin says he
doesn’t care at all.
-Get your copy of Cause
Stone Cold Said So
!
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve
Austin & His Mystery Partner defeat Owen Hart & The British Bulldog to
win the titles when His Mystery Partner pins Bulldog after Austin gives the
Bulldog a Stone Cold Stunner at 7:36 shown:
As you have read in the last several reviews, Owen and
the Bulldog earned this match for the vacant tag team titles by winning an
eight team tournament.  Austin charges
the ring and opts to fight the match alone, although his partner’s feet are
shown moving through the locker room backstage before the commercial
break.  Austin takes a beating, but
manages to toss Bulldog and Owen out of the ring and that is when Mick Foley
comes on the screen and says Austin may not want to team with Mankind, but he
said nothing about Dude Love and he comes out to one of the most catchy themes
in wrestling to be Austin’s partner. 
Austin’s facial expressions during this are awesome, as he doesn’t quite
know what to make of his new partner. 
Shortly after Dude’s arrival, Austin spots an opportunity when the
referee is preoccupied with Owen Hart and he manages to become a multi-time tag
team champion with a new partner.  The
match wasn’t much, but it was entertaining from a booking perspective.  Rating:  **¼
After the match,
Dude gives Austin a tag team belt and some groupies come into the ring to
celebrate with Dude and Austin decides to give him a tag team belt and shakes
his hand before leaving.  Dude dances
with the groupies as the show goes off the air.
The Final Report Card:  The debut of Dude Love is one of the biggest
“mark out” moments that I had as a fan growing up, so this show gets an easy
thumbs up from me.  Austin’s injury at
SummerSlam made his pairing with Foley short-lived, but it could have provided
some entertaining material as Austin slowly moved up the ladder to win the WWF
title at WrestleMania XIV.  The only
thing terrible about the show was Shamrock-Neidhart, but that was to be
expected.  I don’t think a singles match
Neidhart has been in since he returned has topped * yet.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.6 (vs. 3.5 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – July 7, 1997

by Logan Scisco

Vince McMahon
discusses the events at last night’s Canadian Stampede pay-per-view.
McMahon and Jim
Ross are in the booth and they are live from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
McMahon interviews
Bret Hart, who will face the Undertaker at SummerSlam for the WWF title.  Bret says that he’s not anti-American, but
he’s pro-Canadian.  Bret promises his
Canadian fans that he will beat the Undertaker for the WWF title at SummerSlam
and if he loses he says that he will never wrestle again on American soil.  Bret brings Owen out, who will defend his
Intercontinental title against Steve Austin at SummerSlam, as well as the
British Bulldog, who will defend his European title against Ken Shamrock at
SummerSlam.  Bret has the Canadian
national anthem played on the Titantron to commemorate the fact that Raw is
finally in Canada, but as the anthem ends, Steve Austin attacks Bret, Owen, and
the Bulldog with a chair and flees.  Talk
about an easy way to draw a large amount of heel heat.

-Brian Christopher
comes down to ringside to do guest commentary for the opening match
.
The Great Sasuke
provides some pre-recorded comments that are in Japanese.  The comments are not translated for the
audience, so I’m not sure what the point of that is.
Opening
Contest:  The Great Sasuke defeats Taka
Michinoku with a thunder firebomb at 5:47:
This is a rematch from last night’s entertaining contest
at Canadian Stampede and it takes less than a minute for Sasuke to go to the
air and deliver a somersault plancha onto Michinoku.  Christopher’s commentary distracts from part
of the match as he’s trying too hard to be funny and it’s not coming across
well to the television audience.  Taka
nearly kills himself by botching an Asai moonsault, but luckily for him, Sasuke
catches him as he falls to the arena floor. 
Sasuke goes over again to cement his status as the top light heavyweight
in the division heading into the yet to be started light heavyweight
tournament.  This had a few botches that
their match at Canadian Stampede did not have and I enjoy that match better,
but this was still a good effort that exposed both of them to American fans.  Rating:  ***
A video package
discusses the WWF gang wars.
Savio Vega (w/Los
Boricuas) defeats Crush (w/DOA) by disqualification when Chainz attacks Savio
at 2:19:
Los Boricuas shakes hands with the Spanish announce team
in a show of ethnic solidarity on their way to the ring and the DOA are really
over in Canada.  Considering how over the
DOA were in their early run, it seems like the WWF blew a major opportunity
with this group.  Since both men have
their respective groups, this is a de facto lumberjack match and that leads to
a quick disqualification before this really develops into anything.  After the match, both groups brawl with DOA
coming out on top.
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to get news about Shawn Michaels, Sid, and SummerSlam!
Paul Bearer says
that he’s not going to apologize for his remarks last week because he didn’t
kill anyone.  He insists that Kane told
him that the Undertaker burned down his parents funeral parlor.  He discusses how Kane is disfigured, which we
would learn is not true in 2002 when Kane lost his mask to Triple H.  Bearer says that Kane hates the Undertaker
and wants his revenge.
-McMahon asks Steve
Austin in the locker room who he might choose as a partner and Austin says he
doesn’t care who his partner is.  Austin
says Mankind is a freak and the WWF might as well choose his partner because
they screw him over all the time anyway and tells McMahon to shut up, which
causes McMahon to cut off the interview.
-Call 815-734-1161
to get your copy of Cause Stone Cold Said So for $19.99 (plus $6
shipping & handling)!
Tag Team
Tournament Finals:  Owen Hart & The
British Bulldog (w/Brian Pillman & Jim Neidhart) beats Faarooq & D-Lo
Brown (w/Kama Mustafa) by count out at 6:50:
This tag team tournament has been rather lackluster, with
the better teams being eliminated in the tournament’s early rounds.  Faarooq and D-Lo Brown are sort of the
anti-Cinderella story as they vanquished Vader and the Undertaker in round one
and the Legion of Doom in round two, but no one really wants to see them in
this spot.  The Nation puts the Bulldog
in peril with some boring offense and a brawl ensues between all of the participants
except Owen when Kama pulls down the top rope and Owen falls to the floor which
creates our finish.  That’s a fitting
ending to this lackluster tag team tournament. 
Rating:  *½
After the match,
Mankind comes down to the ring to tell the Hart Foundation that they are going
to get killed next week.
McMahon interviews
Austin in the locker room again about his match with Hunter Hearst Helmsley
tonight and Austin says that he isn’t above punching a woman’s lights out.  Talk about a shoot comment that wasn’t
intended to be that way.
“Stone Cold”
Steve Austin defeats Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) with a Stone Cold Stunner
at 6:13 shown:
A battle of the last two King of the Ring tournament
winners is what we get here.  You can
tell by the tone of McMahon’s voice on commentary that he doesn’t quite
understand Austin’s appeal to the audience. 
The crowd is equally divided here and despite being in Canada there are
some pro-Austin elements present.  After
both men go back and forth for five minutes, Chyna trips Austin when he runs
the ropes and leaves a chair for Helmsley, but Mankind takes the blow for
Austin and that leads to a Helmsley defeat. 
Standard television fare here.  Rating: 
**¼
After the match,
Austin tells Mankind to get into the ring and he says Mankind should shake his
hand and that will make them a tag team. 
Mankind wants a hug instead and Austin obliges, but then gives him a
Stone Cold Stunner and tells Mankind never to trust anyone and that he won’t
tag with him because he sucks.  Mankind
gets on the mic and tells Austin as he leaves that he wanted a friend so
drastic measures will be taken next week that will change the WWF forever.
-The next clue for
the SummerSlam One Million Dollar Challenge has Sable in a bubble bath and her in
room 2A.
Sunny comes out to
do guest ring announcing duties for our next match.
-Footage of Brian
Christopher beating Scott Putski on last week’s show is played and McMahon says
that Ivan and Scott Putski have issued a challenge to face Christopher and
Lawler on next week’s show and Lawler says that he accepts the challenge.
“Too Sexy” Brian
Christopher pins Eric Shelley with a Tennessee Jam at 3:51:
Shelley has the attire of an early ‘90s jobber, but he
gets a big pop because he’s announced from Canada.  Shelley tries one of the worst pescados I’ve
ever seen and he moves awkwardly in the ring, which probably explains why he
never got a spot on the main roster. 
Christopher steamrolls through another light heavyweight opponent here
to build momentum for him before the light heavyweight tournament.  Rating:  *
After the match,
Christopher and Lawler beat up Shelley to serve as an example to the Putskis.
Jim Ross says that
Shawn Michaels will be on next week’s Raw. 
Evidently he won’t be ready to compete in the ring because he would be
Steve Austin’s partner if that was the case.
Clips of Steve
Austin getting in the face of authority figures are shown to hype the Cause
Stone Cold Said So
VHS tape.
McMahon interviews
Steve Austin and Austin says that he will say what he wants when he wants to
and nobody is going to stop him.  Austin
says if he doesn’t pick a tag team partner WWF President Gorilla Monsoon will
pick one for him, but he says Monsoon can go ahead and pick someone.  Austin says if he loses to Owen Hart at
SummerSlam that he will kiss his ass. 
This was a great angry and intense promo by Austin.
Goldust says that
he will give Bret Hart his final curtain call tonight.
Bret “the Hitman”
Hart beats Goldust by reversing a sunset flip into a pinning combination at
7:25:
Bret wastes no time going after Goldust, who is
floundering without an angle right now, but DOA comes out for a closer
look.  This brings the Hart Foundation to
the ring before we go to a commercial break. 
A few fans in the front row are messing with the color palette of my TV
as well with some bright pink shirts to show their support for Bret.  The Legion of Doom and Ken Shamrock show up
on the ramp, followed by Steve Austin, thereby putting more emphasis on those
outside of the ring than those inside of the ring.  Nothing comes of this, though, so what was
the point of having them surround the ring in the first place?  Rating:  **
The Final Report Card:  Depending on what you enjoy watching
determines whether you like this show. 
The opening light heavyweight match is good, as can be expected, and
Austin-Helmsley and Bret-Goldust is perfectly acceptable wrestling.  There are some parts that are dry like the
tag team tournament final and the other light heavyweight match, but I think
the good elements overwhelm the bad and Austin’s behavior on the show puts it
in the thumbs up category.  However, I
think that they were at the point of nearly overexposing Austin a bit as he had
NINE segments on this two hour show.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.5 (vs. 3.4 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – June 23, 1997

by Logan Scisco

The show opens
with a small clip and tribute to former WWF champion Stan “The Man” Stasiak.
Vince McMahon and
Jim Ross are in the booth and they are coming to us from Detroit, Michigan.
The New Nation of
Domination are interviewed by McMahon and Ahmed says that McMahon never backed
him when he came back from his injury last year for a shot at the WWF
title.  Ahmed says he doesn’t respect the
Undertaker because he’s just a slave to Paul Bearer and Faarooq says that Ahmed
coming into the Nation is like Martin Luther King aligning with Malcolm X.  D-Lo repeats what others have said in this
segment and Kama says that Ahmed will bring the WWF title to the Nation.  At the end of the segment, Crush comes out
with some other men on motorcycles and they surround the ring.  Crush says his organization is called the
Disciplines of Apocalypse and a brawl breaks out.  A combination of WWF officials and police
separate the combatants and DOA gets a chant from the crowd.  Ladies and gentlemen, the gang wars have
begun.

The Legion of Doom
cut a pre-taped promo, where they say that all hell is going to break loose
when they face the Godwinns in the tag team tournament this evening.
The formation of
Steve Austin’s team for Canadian Stampede on last week’s show is replayed.
Former UFC
Champion and then-NWA World Champion Dan Severn comes out to do commentary for
the next match.  Since Severn is a soft
spoken guy, this isn’t the best role for him.
Opening
Contest:  Ken Shamrock defeats Rockabilly
(w/The Honky Tonk Man) via submission to the ankle lock at 2:34:
Hearing McMahon talk about the “appalling” way that state
legislators are treating UFC is surreal. 
You would think that McMahon had bought the company and was promoting is
as a legitimate alternative to the form of sports entertainment that he was
offering audiences at this time. 
Shamrock easily rolls through Rockabilly in this encounter, intimidates
the Honky Tonk Man into leaving the ring, and then teases a confrontation with
Severn at the announce table before shaking his hand.
The Godwinns
promise to do things differently in the WWF from now on and Henry Godwinn
promises to get revenge for his neck injury suffered at the hands of the Legion
of Doom a couple of months ago.
Ahmed Johnson
giving the Undertaker a Pearl River Plunge on last week’s show is the Army Slam
of the Week.
The announce team
talks about whether Marc Mero is jealous of Sable’s new popularity.  You can buy the new WWF magazine and read
Vince Russo’s article about it!
Tag Team
Tournament First Round Match:  The Legion
of Doom defeat The Godwinns when Hawk pins Henry following a flying clothesline
at 3:42:
The Godwinns heel turn consists of them shedding their undershirts but they still have the slop and they use it when the LOD make
their entrance.  These teams have some
good chemistry, but they rush to get their stuff in and the wheels start to
come off of the match by the finish.  After
the match, the Godwinns attack the Legion of Doom to cement their heel turn in
the eyes of the fans.  Rating: 
After the Godwinns
have done their damage, the Hart Foundation hits the ring and beat down the
Legion of Doom.
Paul Bearer tells
The Undertaker to shut up and listen to him, which leads to the Undertaker
choking him and Vader, who is his tag team partner tonight in the tag team
tournament.  Vader looks terribly weak in
this segment, since the Undertaker makes him go to one knee with a one hand
choke.
Owen Hart says
that being booked in a triple threat match for his title is a conspiracy and is
a way for McMahon to see that his Intercontinental championship is placed into
the hands of an American.  He promises a
surprise tonight.
Steve Austin hypes
his Cause Stone Cold Said So video.
Flash Funk says
he’s one of the greatest fliers of all time and he looks forward to facing Sabu
in the next match.
Interpromotional
Match (ECW vs. WWF):  Sabu (w/Bill
Alfonso) and Flash Funk wrestle to a double count out at 4:38:
Paul Heyman is on commentary for this match to give the
television viewers background on Sabu. 
Using Funk for these interpromotional matches is not a bad idea because
Funk had wrestled Rob Van Dam and Sabu in ECW and was someone you could trust
in the ring to make the ECW guys look good. 
There was also no risk in having him lose because he wasn’t doing
anything of note in the company at this point anyway.  Since the WWF had higher production values
than ECW, Alphonso’s whistle is more annoying than usual.  Funk damages Sabu’s arm on a moonsault, as he
comes crashing down onto Sabu’s arm with his knees when executing the move, and
both men battle to a disappointing count out after a match that had some nice
spots in it.  Sabu fails to put Funk
through a table after three attempts, though. 
Rating:  **½
Mankind’s failed
attempt to convince Steve Austin that he should be Austin’s new tag team
partner on last week’s show is played
.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your copy of Cause Stone Cold Said So for $19.99 (plus $6
shipping & handling)!
Non-Title Match:  Mankind defeats The British Bulldog (European
Champion) by disqualification when the Bulldog uses a chair at 4:10:
Mankind is wearing an Austin 3:16 t-shirt and a “Pick Me
Steve!” sign and he dedicates the match to Steve Austin, thereby continuing his
campaign to be Austin’s tag team partner. 
Austin calls into the show and says that he wants to give a shout out to
his brother who was stepped on by a bull. 
However, he makes sure to note that he isn’t concerned about his
brother’s welfare but wants the $30 his brother owes him, which is a nice way
to express concern and incorporate it into the character.  Austin says he doesn’t care about Mankind’s
welfare either and would rather defend the titles alone.  Both men put together a quick match where
Mankind nearly wins with the Mandible Claw, but the Bulldog escapes and blasts
Mankind twice in the head with a chair. 
I’m really worried about what Foley is going to be like if he reaches
seventy with all the head trauma that he incurred over the course of his career.  Despite taking two blows to the head, Mankind
still recovers and puts the Bulldog in the Mandible Claw to get a nice crowd
pop.  Rating:  ** 
Intercontinental Champion Owen Hart tells
WWF President Gorilla Monsoon that Brian Pillman should be allowed to be in his
corner for the triple threat because Hunter Hearst Helmsley gets Chyna and
Goldust will have Marlena.  Monsoon
agrees.
McMahon and Ross
discuss the importance of the Intercontinental title in WWF history.  It’s sad to watch this when you consider how
far that belt has fallen in modern times
.
Triple Threat
Match for the Intercontinental Championship: 
Owen Hart (Champion w/Brian Pillman) defeats Goldust (w/Marlena) and
Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) after pinning Helmsley after a Goldust flying
elbow drop at 7:04 shown:
This is the first televised
triple threat match in WWF history and Pat Patterson, the first
Intercontinental Champion, is the special guest referee.  The two challengers, Goldust and Helmsley,
are former Intercontinental champions and their title wins are shown prior to
the match.  Goldust appears to win the
match with a Curtain Call three minutes in, but Owen had put his foot on the
bottom rope during the count.  Patterson
refuses to change his mind, so Gorilla Monsoon comes out and shows him an
instant replay and the match is restarted. 
One of the refreshing things about this match is that it doesn’t rely on
the “toss one guy out and let’s have a one-on-one match” formula that future
triple threat matches would use.  Chyna
steals the show in another match by giving Goldust a hurricanrana and Owen
moves out of the way when Goldust tries to break up a pin he has on Helmsley
and retains the title.  This was a decent
contest and all of the guys acquitted themselves well, but the commercial break
and restart killed what the match could have been.  Rating:  **½
Bret Hart and Jim
Neidhart are interviewed by McMahon and Bret says that he isn’t worried about
the American team that has been assembled at Canadian Stampede.  Bret calls out “The Hitman” Tommy Hearns and
says that there is only room for one of them in Detroit.  Hearns jumps the barrier and gets in Bret’s
face and when they get ready for an encounter, Hearns knocks down Jim Neidhart
with a combination of punches.  WWF
officials hit the ring, though, to prevent a Bret-Hearns confrontation.  The crowd gets worked into a “USA” chant
.
Savio Vega
interrupts an interview of the New Nation, but gets beaten down and whipped by
Faarooq, Kama, and D-Lo Brown
.
Brian Christopher
cuts a pre-taped promo saying that he dominated USWA in Memphis for years and
he is ready to dominate the WWF light heavyweight division.
“Too Sexy” Brian
Christopher (w/Jerry “The King” Lawler) pins Scott Taylor after a Tennessee Jam
(flying leg drop) at 2:54:
This is another preview of the WWF light heavyweight
division and it is also a clash of the future Too Hot/Too Cool tag team
combination.  Christopher was never a
significant draw in the USWA, but I felt that he was a good midcard talent.  Lawler sidesteps the question on commentary
about whether he is Christopher’s father, which will be a running gag for the
next several years of WWF programming. 
This is a serviceable squash for Christopher, but this light heavyweight
division really needs someone that is going to “wow” crowds because mat based
wrestling is not going to get it done.
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to hear about Shawn Michaels, Sid, Yokozuna, and Maury Povich!
Paul Bearer says
there are no problems between the Undertaker and Vader concerning tonight’s tag
team tournament match.
Tag Team
Tournament First Round Match:  Faarooq
& D-Lo Brown (w/Kama Mustafa) defeat The Undertaker & Vader (w/Paul
Bearer) when Faarooq pins Vader with a clothesline at 4:59 shown:
The New Nation is without Ahmed Johnson, who suffered a
knee injury in the opening segment. 
Ahmed is shown watching the action in the back, but you can tell by his
body language that he knows he’s lost a major push.  The winner of this match faces the Legion of
Doom in the semi-finals.  DOA comes out
in the first couple of minutes and they waste no time attacking D-Lo Brown and
nearly everyone in the match gets involved in the brawl, with the Undertaker
hitting anything that moves.  From a
booking standpoint it would appear that Faarooq chose the wrong partner, since
D-Lo doesn’t have the size to deal with Vader or the Undertaker.  However, the Undertaker nails Vader in the
face after they jaw with each other and that leads to Vader jobbing to a
clothesline as if this was the Survivor Series. 
This was an awkward contest that didn’t get sufficient time to
develop.  Rating:  *½
After the match,
Bearer sends Vader after the Undertaker, but the Undertaker survives the
onslaught and Tombstone’s Vader.  Bearer
tells the Undertaker that he’s made his casket and he’s going to tell the world
his secret next week.  The Undertaker
just does a throat slashing gesture and leaves.
The Final Report Card:  Ahmed’s injury added another blow to the
Undertaker’s WWF title reign because it eventually saddled him with facing
Vader at Canadian Stampede.  However,
that match wasn’t much of a draw since the Undertaker easily dealt with Vader
on this show and Vader was hardly the menacing monster he was a year
earlier.  You can also see that the WWF
is slowly pushing D-Lo Brown.  He was the
only member retained from the old Nation of Domination, but he got some
microphone time for the first time in his career on this show and he also got a
main event spot.  Despite the awkward
main event, this show had some bright spots like the debut of the triple threat
match and the Funk-Sabu match and that’s enough for a thumbs up from me.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.4 (vs. 3.3 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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: King of the Ring 1997

by Logan Scisco

As more evidence
that the Undertaker was playing second fiddle to other superstars during his
title reign, the Steve Austin-Shawn Michaels match got top billing heading into
this show and it appears on the cover of the video cassette box.
Vince McMahon and
Jim Ross are in the booth and they are live from Providence, Rhode Island
.

Free for All:  The Headbangers defeat “The Real Double J”
Jesse James & Bart Gunn when Thrasher pins Gunn after a powerbomb-flying
leg drop combination at 5:42 shown:
The Headbangers were still trying to make a mark on the
company at this point.  They had received
a few title matches with Owen Hart and the British Bulldog, but had never
broken through.  However, you could
really call them the fourth most established time on the roster at this point
behind Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin, Owen and the Bulldog, and the Legion of Doom.  James and Gunn have nothing going on for them
in the midcard, so they are thrown as a sacrificial lamb to the Headbangers in
this opener.  The Headbangers work a dry
heat segment on James and finish Bart off quickly when he comes in after the
hot tag.  Rating:  *
Now onto the show…
Opening King of
the Ring Semi-Final Contest:  Hunter
Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) defeats Ahmed Johnson with a Pedigree at 7:42:
Ahmed has really been off his career track since winning
the Intercontinental championship at last year’s King of the Ring and Ross and
McMahon hype him as the odds-on-favorite, which is the sweet kiss of death in
wrestling circles.  For those that
followed the RAW reviews leading up to this match, these two faced each other
in the first round, which Ahmed won, but Helmsley was reinstated into the
tournament on a legal technicality and qualified after beating Crush.  The crowd is solidly behind Ahmed and he
completely dominates the match.  However,
Chyna distracts Ahmed and Helmsley hits a knee lift and a Pedigree, his only
offensive moves of the match, and advances to the finals.  This was a huge let down for the crowd, who
really enhanced the match prior to the finish. 
Rating:  *½
The Honky Tonk Man
and Sunny hype the Superstar line.
-Todd Pettengill
interviews Jerry “the King” Lawler and Lawler denies that he cheated to beat
Goldust to get to the semi-finals. 
Lawler calls him an idiot and walks towards the ring insulting the
crowd.
King of the Ring
Semi-Final Match:  Mankind beats Jerry
“the King” Lawler with the Mandible Claw at 10:22:
You could easily make the case that Mankind has the
easiest semi-final draw in the history of the King of the Ring tournament to
this point.  Mankind gets on the house
mic and tells the crowd that Paul Bearer has forgotten about him, but he isn’t
going to let that stop him from becoming the King of the Ring.  Mankind even works a “bang, bang” into his
promo to pay tribute to his past as Cactus Jack.  Lawler wrestles this one like he is in the
Memphis Coliseum by stalling and using the phantom object trick.  Lawler also utilizes an interesting strategy
in going after Mankind’s severed ear. 
Mankind takes a few risky bumps by plowing head-first into the ring
steps and then having Lawler toss his head back into the guardrail.  Lawler then piledrives Mankind on the floor,
which would’ve made Mankind a dead man in Memphis, and even pulls out a
dropkick.  However, Mankind kicks out of
a piledriver and after a tepid comeback catches Lawler with the Mandible Claw
when Lawler tries a sunset flip to advance. 
This match was better than I remember it being and Lawler really brought
his working boots for this one.  I’d
actually argue that Mankind was the one that hurt the match by not
matching some of Lawler’s intensity.  Lawler’s
King of the Ring record goes to 0-4 after this match.  Rating:  **
Ken Shamrock is
shown playing around in the AOL chat room
.
-Pettengill
interviews Brian Pillman if he feels responsible for tonight’s match between
Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels and Pillman says of course.  Pillman says that he also came to the show to
see Michaels beat up Austin, but Austin sneaks behind him and beats him up in
the men’s restroom.  We conveniently get
a camera shot of Austin giving Pillman a swirlie.
Goldust
(w/Marlena) defeats Crush (w/The Nation of Domination) with a DDT at 9:58:
Savio Vega is absent from ringside, which was probably a
request from Crush considering the tensions between the two lately.  Providence has some really dedicated fans who
yell “jailbird!” at Crush, something the WWF hasn’t encouraged since the later
half of 1996.  These two haven’t had good
matches in the past and this is no exception with Crush working a reverse
chinlock for nearly three minutes.  After
that he transitions to a nerve hold.  The
Nation tries to make some moves on Marlena to distract Goldust from a rally,
but Goldust floats over a gorilla press attempt and gets a victory.  Crush hasn’t won a match in what feels like a
century and you can tell that he isn’t very motivated.  This gives Goldust some momentum heading into
his match with the British Bulldog tomorrow night on RAW for the European
championship.  Rating:  DUD
Sable comes out
with a King of the Ring inflatable chair. 
Call 915-734-1161 to get your version for $59.99 (plus $11 shipping
& handling).  I really want to know
how many people bought these overpriced things. 
Howard Finkel sits in the chair, nearly falling out of it, and Sable
gives him a massage
.
Dok Hendrix
interviews Sid & The Legion of Doom about their match with the Hart
Foundation tonight.  Hawk promises that
they will serve a cold dish of revenge. 
Animal asks Sid if he’ll be there for a tag and Sid says not to worry
about him because he’s the ruler of the world.
Pettengill
interviews the Hart Foundation (Jim Neidhart, The British Bulldog, and Owen
Hart) about the six man tag tonight and the Bulldog says that his team will win.  Owen says that the LOD’s Halloween costumes
aren’t going to cut it tonight.  Neidhart
says he’s crazier than Sid
.
The Hart
Foundation (The British Bulldog, Owen Hart & Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart) defeat
Sid & The Legion of Doom when Owen pins Sid after a flying sunset flip at 13:37:
This is Sid’s return to pay-per-view since WrestleMania
XIII and this is Jim Neidhart’s first WWF pay-per-view since the 1994 Survivor
Series.  Sid is massively over and he’s
well suited to compete in a match like this where he doesn’t need to do a lot
and the other side can carry the workrate. 
The tepid reaction that the LOD are getting shows that their return has
not been very successful and they are living on borrowed time in the tag
division.  Everyone works in their
favorite spots in this contest, with Hawk no selling a piledriver from the
Bulldog, Owen slingshotting Neidhart off the apron for a shoulder block on
Animal, and Owen and Neidhart pulling some additional double teams from their
New Foundation days.  Sid eventually gets
the red hot tag and becomes a one man juggernaut, but when he goes to powerslam
the Bulldog, Owen surprises him with a flying sunset flip and scores a
surprising pin.  This was much better
than you’d expect and kudos to whoever laid this match out.  Rating:  ***
Steve Austin’s victory
speech at last year’s King of the Ring is shown
.
Pettengill
interviews Mankind, who appears to be nursing a neck injury from his match with
Jerry Lawler earlier in the evening. 
Mankind says he can’t wait to be king.
1997 King of the
Ring Finals:  Hunter Hearst Helmsley
(w/Chyna) defeats Mankind with a Pedigree at 19:27:
So the weakest King of the Ring tournament of all-time
closes with this match.  Ross won’t shut
up describing Helmsley as a “thinking man’s wrestler” and “cerebral.”  “Thinking man’s wrestler” must mean boring
because the first seven minutes of this match go nowhere and the crowd is dead.  That’s not surprising when you consider that
the crowd wanted Ahmed Johnson to destroy Helmsley in the semi-finals and they
are still lukewarm to the Mankind face turn. 
A large “boring” chant breaks out at the ten minute mark, as well as a
small chant for Sabu.  Things finally
pick up a few minutes later as Helmsley takes a back drop on the cement and
Mankind hits the Cactus elbow off the apron. 
Chyna interjects herself after a double arm DDT, a Mandible Claw, and
pulls Hunter out of the way of a Mankind dive from the apron to save Helmsley
and the crowd is all over her for that.  However,
she’s not tossed from ringside despite doing all of that in front of the
referee.  Helmsley Pedigrees a maskless
Mankind through the American announce table and Chyna blasts Mankind with a
septer, which makes Randy Savage’s blast on the Ultimate Warrior from the 1991
Royal Rumble look like a child hitting another with a plush toy, but it takes
another Pedigree to put Mankind away.  The first half of this match was horrid, but
things got much better after that point and make you forget the first half of
the match.  The match did a good job
putting over Mankind’s face turn and generated significant sympathy heat for
him.  It also sowed the seeds for the Helmsley-Mankind
feud that would dominate the summer of 1997. 
Rating:  **½
After the match,
Helmsley receives his royal garb for winning the tournament from Pettengill and
he blasts Mankind several times with the crown
.
A video package
hypes tonight’s Shawn Michaels-Steve Austin match
.
Bret Hart and
Brian Pillman come out with the Hart Foundation for the six man tag team match
and he puts over the skills of the Foundation. 
Bret announces that the Hart Foundation is challenging any five WWF
superstars to a match at the Canadian Stampede pay-per-view and Bret says he
will return at that pay-per-view.  Bret
wants to do color commentary, but WWF officials force him to leave.
Hendrix interviews
Steve Austin, who says that Shawn Michaels knows he’s the captain of the tag
team and puts over the tag team championships.
-Hendrix interviews
Shawn Michaels, who says he really doesn’t want to face Austin since they are
champions.  He seems a little annoyed
that some people think their upcoming match might be a classic
.
WWF Tag Team
Champions Collide:  “Stone Cold” Steve
Austin and “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels wrestle to a double
disqualification at 22:34:
The WWF billed this as the first time that sitting tag
team champions faced each other on pay-per-view, which is really tortured logic
to sell a match that really doesn’t need it. 
The opening of the contest is disrupted by a Special Olympian falling
over the guardrail, but to Michaels credit he helps the guy out.  This one starts with a prolonged feeling out
period and one of the more interesting spots in the beginning is Austin
countering a Michaels Thesz press with an inverted atomic drop.  The crowd is equally divided between the two
men and the breakdown is as you would expect with the female crowd backing
Michaels and Austin being supported by the men. 
After a series of momentum changes, we get a ref bump and Austin hits
the Stunner.  Austin gets fed up with
that and gives a Stunner to the referee after he brings him to his feet, but
eats a Sweet Chin Music shortly after that. 
A second referee runs down, but he checks on the first referee instead
of counting the fall, so Michaels nails him with Sweet Chin Music in
frustration.  Out of this we get a double
disqualification after referee Earl Hebner runs out and simulates the moves
that both guys have done to the referees. 
WWF officials prevent the two from continuing their struggle, but they
continue to argue after the match.  The
crowd works up an audible “Austin” chant, which isn’t bad for a guy whose King
of the Ring tournament victory in 1996 was greeted with crickets.  This was a great match with a hot crowd and
is an underrated technical match from this period.  A clean winner would have been nice, but
Michaels wasn’t jobbing to people during this time and the WWF wasn’t going to
feed Austin to Michaels with the momentum he was building with the crowds.  Rating:  ****
Pettengill
interviews Faarooq and the Nation of Domination and Faarooq says he will make
history tonight and become the first black WWF champion.
Hendrix interviews
WWF Champion The Undertaker and Paul Bearer. 
Hendrix tells the Undertaker that his fans will always love him, but
Bearer hijacks the interview before the Undertaker can speak and tells the
Undertaker that he’ll do what he says tonight
.
WWF Championship
Match:  The Undertaker (Champion w/Paul
Bearer) pins Faarooq (w/The Nation of Domination) after a Tombstone at 13:44
The WWF did what they could with the storyline for this
match, but it is really tough to play a controversial race angle when the title
is being held by a guy with a dead man gimmick. 
This would Faarooq’s only appearance in the main event as a singles
competitor in the WWF.  Bearer plays an
interesting role in this match as he critiques every little thing that the
Undertaker does.  The Undertaker has an
interesting take on the rope walk spot by launching himself into the Nation
when he is attempting to give Faarooq the move. 
Like Chyna helping Hunter Hearst Helmsley tonight, the Nation keeps
interfering to keep Faarooq in control of the match.  During the match, Crush takes issue with
Savio Vega interfering in the match and Faarooq has to try to play
peacemaker.  This distraction allows the
Undertaker to surprising Faarooq with a Tombstone and retain.  After the match, the Undertaker chokeslams
Savio and Crush.  This was good for a RAW
match, but it wasn’t really pay-per-view caliber.  Still, it was a better match than the one they
had on RAW in March.  Rating: 
**
After the match,
Bearer tells the Undertaker to give Faarooq three chokeslams.  The Undertaker doesn’t want to do it, but he
is forced to comply.  All the while
Bearer wears the WWF championship belt over his shoulder and acts like he’s hot
stuff.  Ahmed Johnson runs down and confronts
the Undertaker about his relationship with Bearer and when the Undertaker tries
to attack him, Ahmed gives him a Pearl River Plunge.  This confrontation makes me wish that Ahmed would not have gotten hurt so that we could’ve had an
Undertaker-Ahmed match at the next pay-per-view.
The Final Report Card:  The first half of the card doesn’t offer
much, but the second half puts out a surprising six man tag that you can appreciate
if you have followed the careers of the Hart Foundations crew, a nice match between
Michaels and Austin, and a King of the Ring final that cemented Mick Foley’s
face turn.  The main event shouldn’t have
been the main event, but this is during a time when the WWF champion closed the
show more times than not.  A lot of
reviewers don’t care for this show, but I didn’t find it to be tedious or
inoffensive.  The Providence crowd was
hot and made even the most mundane matches interesting.
Attendance: 
9,312
Buyrate: 
0.50
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – June 2, 1997

by Logan Scisco

McMahon recaps
last week’s tag team championship main event and the events that unfolded after
the match.  McMahon also recaps the
Undertaker’s interaction with Paul Bearer at the end of last week’s show.
Vince McMahon and
Jim Ross are in the booth and they are broadcasting from Huntington, West
Virginia.  This is the go home show for
the King of the Ring pay-per-view
.

The Undertaker
comes out and says that while it would’ve been great to break Paul Bearer’s
neck last week, it wouldn’t have helped him out of his present
circumstances.  The Undertaker talks
about how he knows he won’t go to hell after he’s dead because he’s living it
now, thereby destroying the last vestige of the original Undertaker
gimmick.  The Undertaker says that he’s
having to take on Bearer as his manager, but hopes he burns in hell for all
time.  This is such a great spin on the
manager-wrestler relationship, with a wrestler being forced to take on a
manager that he absolutely loathes.  Predictably,
Bearer comes out and he’s not happy and he reprimands the Undertaker for
cutting a promo without his approval. 
Bearer talks about how he and the Undertaker are going to rule the
world, which brings out Sid, who is making his return from a back injury.  Sid calls Bearer a “fat man” to a massive pop,
showing that Sid can get a pop for the stupidest phrases, and he puts over the
Undertaker’s title reign.  However, Sid
says he can’t respect the Undertaker after he took back Bearer and he demands a
rematch for his WWF title for tonight and promises to powerbomb the Undertaker
to hell.  The Undertaker accepts without
hesitation.  Just when you think that’s
over with, the Nation of Domination comes out and Faarooq says that a black man
is going to rule the WWF by next week’s show. 
He also says that the Undertaker is a weak man for giving into Bearer.  A crazy, yet effective opening segment that
showed some psychological vulnerability of the Undertaker for the first time in
his career.
Ahmed Johnson says
that Faarooq may have plans to be the first WWF champion but that isn’t going
to happen because he’s going to take him out tonight
.
A video package
hypes the opening bout between Faarooq and Ahmed Johnson
.
Opening
Contest:  Faarooq (w/The Nation of
Domination) defeats Ahmed Johnson after Ahmed is thrown into the ring steps on
the floor at 3:07:
This is yet another battle in the continual struggle
between Ahmed and Faarooq.  Ahmed
showcases a nice array of power moves, but the Nation of Domination intervenes
to turn the tide.  The Undertaker comes
out to lend Ahmed a hand, but the fighting on the floor sees the Undertaker
inadvertently whip Faarooq into Ahmed, who then collides with the ring steps
and the astute Faarooq rolls Ahmed into the ring to get a cheap win on his way
to the King of the Ring main event this Sunday. 
There just wasn’t a lot here.  Rating: 
*
After the match,
Ahmed gets into the Undertaker’s face and gets a chokeslam for his efforts.
Steve Austin’s
attack on Bret Hart at the end of last week’s show is played
.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your King of the Ring inflatable chair for $59.99 (plus $11 shipping
& handling)!  I had the worst of luck
as a kid with inflatable things, as they usually got a hole within the first
week and then you had to try to duct tape them back together after refilling
them with a vacuum cleaner.
McMahon interviews
the Hart Foundation.  Bret is back on
crutches after Steve Austin’s attack at the end of last week’s show and McMahon
brings WWF Tag Team Champions Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin onto the
Titantron.  Bret says he won’t face
Michaels at the King of the Ring because of his renewed injury.  Michaels isn’t happy that Austin ruined his
match with Bret at the King of the Ring, but Austin says he doesn’t care
because he tried to take Bret out for good. 
Michaels and Austin continue to jaw and Michaels heads towards Austin’s
locker room and they argue about who needs who the most.  The Hart Foundation confers in the ring after
seeing these events and Brian Pillman proposes that Michaels take his place at
King of the Ring against Austin and Austin says that’s fine and he’ll face
Pillman on the RAW after King of the Ring.
Footage of Bob
Holly upsetting Owen Hart in a non-title match on RAW two weeks ago is shown
.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  Owen Hart (Champion
w/The Hart Foundation) defeats Bob “Spark Plugg” Holly via submission with the
Sharpshooter at 3:16:
If they wanted to make Holly a credible threat was it
really a wise move to job him to a debuting D-Lo Brown on last week’s
show?  At least we have an
Intercontinental title match with some backstory.  This is Holly’s first crack at the
Intercontinental title since 1995, when he faced Jeff Jarrett in an
entertaining series of matches on the Action Zone and actually held the belt
for a few minutes before then-WWF President Jack Tunney vacated his
victory.  This is a technically
proficient match, but they have to rush things since we are now in the Russo
era and most matches can’t go over four minutes.  Owen counters a Holly hurricanrana attempt
with a powerbomb, which is the same mistake Holly made on last week’s show, and
quickly finishes Holly off to retain the title. 
Rating:  **
Shawn Michaels
says that he will take on the challenge of facing Steve Austin at the King of
the Ring
.
A video recaps the
second part of Mankind’s interview with Jim Ross last week
.
The Headbangers,
the Honky Tonk Man, and Jim Cornette try to set a Super Soaker ambush for
Sunny, but she gets them with a three way shot from her Super Soaker.  Sunny’s lack of acting skills are really
exposed in these commercials
.
Footage of Chyna
attacking Hunter Hearst Helmsley after she was blinded by powder from Marlena
the last time Helmsley faced Goldust on RAW is shown
.
#1 Contenders
Match for the European Championship:  Goldust
(w/Marlena) defeats Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) with a schoolboy after
heel miscommunication at 3:49:
Goldust facepaint makes him appear like the second coming
of The Stalker.  The winner here gets a
shot at the European title next week on RAW. 
Ross tries to sell this as an equal feud, but Helmsley has won most of
the television encounters.  Goldust and
Helmsley exchange some basic moves until Chyna grabs Goldust on the apron.  Marlena then goes after Chyna and Helmsley
accidentally gives Chyna a high knee, which knocks her off the apron, and that
enables Goldust to score the upset. 
McMahon acts like Goldust has accomplished some kind of career goal by
getting to face the British Bulldog for the European title next week, but it’s
hard to buy since Goldust hasn’t come out and said that he wants to win the
European championship.  Helmsley doing
the job may not make sense because of his place in the King of the Ring
tournament, but it showcases some vulnerability and might make fans think he
and Chyna would have a blowup that would cost him his semi-final match with
Ahmed at the pay-per-view.  Rating: 
*
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to find out about a photo shoot some WWF superstars did recently
.
Shawn Michaels
hurricanrana on the British Bulldog is the Sega Slam of the Week
.
The Legion of Doom
cut a brief promo and Hawk promises that they are going to send Shawn Michaels
teeth down Austin’s throat
.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  The Legion of Doom
defeat “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels & “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
(Champions) by count out at 6:58 shown:
I wonder if one of the reasons for the Michaels-Austin
pairing was allowing McMahon to compare the crowd reactions of Michaels and
Austin since they made separate entrances. 
Michaels bumping is a tad overdone in the early stages of this one as he
is clotheslined out of the ring, leaps into the guardrail, and then flops like
a fish until he ends up on top of Austin. 
The crowd is pretty divided between both teams, but it seems like the
LOD has a few more supporters in the arena as several “LOD” chants break out
during the match.  Michaels and Austin heel
it up by nailing Hawk with a tag title belt behind the referee’s back, but it
fails to get a three count.  The Hart
Foundation wander down to ringside and Michaels confronts them (after flying
out of the ring after taking a right hand) and Austin does not appreciate
that.  The tag champions end up brawling
on the floor and that gives the LOD a victory without the belts to irritate the
crowd.  This was a good carry job by
Michaels and Austin since the LOD added very little to the match’s value.  Rating:  **¾
We are shown the
third part of Mankind’s interview with Jim Ross.  Mankind discusses the Cactus Jack character
and competing in death matches in Japan.
King of the Ring
First Round Match:  Mankind defeats Savio
Vega (w/The Nation of Domination) after heel miscommunication at 3:02:
Jerry Lawler joins the commentary team because he faces
the winner in the semi-finals.  For the
first time in his WWF career Mankind elicits some cheers from the crowd during
his entrance and thereby begins the process of a face turn.  McMahon reveals that Mankind is confused why
Paul Bearer doesn’t want to manage him anymore. 
Savio really steps up his game for this match and hits an awesome
looking flying body press onto Mankind on the floor.  Lawler goes on a hilarious rant on commentary
about the size of Mankind’s house and links it to Mankind jumping off the roof
of his house as a kid.  Mankind traps
Savio in the Mandible Claw, but when Crush tries to give Mankind a heart punch
to break the hold, Mankind moves and Crush nails Savio in the head and that
advances Mankind in the tournament.  That’s
the third screwy finish tonight for those keeping score at home.  Rating:  *¼
After the match,
Savio and Crush brawl in the ring and Faarooq, instead of trying to play
peacemaker, walks off
.
McMahon and Ross
run through the King of the Ring card for this Sunday
.
Sable comes out to
model the inflatable King of the Ring chair. 
Seeing Sable try to act seductive around an INFLATABLE CHAIR is
hilariously bad.  Ross lets us know that
the chair can seat “a wide body.”
-The Undertaker
chokeslamming Ahmed Johnson earlier in the show is the Super Soaker Rewind
segment
.
Non-Title
Match:  The Undertaker (WWF Champion
w/Paul Bearer) defeats Sid with a Tombstone at 4:47 shown:
Sid made it seem in his opening promo that this was for
the title, but Howard Finkel announces it as non-title, so I guess he was
wrong.  This is as slow as their
WrestleMania match, as these two guys just don’t have good chemistry with each
other, but at least they aren’t being given twenty minutes tonight.  The Undertaker hits a flying clothesline out
of nowhere and gets the victory with the Tombstone before he’s quickly beaten
down by the Nation.  Sid tries to help
out, but he’s overwhelmed as well.  I
found little redeeming value in this and it made Sid look quite weak
(not that the WWF was banking on his value anymore).  Rating:  DUD
Tune in next week
to see Steve Austin square off with Brian Pillman!
The Final Report Card:  This RAW card was absolutely stacked, as we
got another battle between Faarooq and Ahmed, a quasi-dream match for the tag
team titles, and a WrestleMania rematch between Sid and the Undertaker.  Despite that, though, this show still didn’t
defeat Nitro.  The show went downhill
after the tag team title match, which started the second hour, but I’m still
going to award it a thumbs up because the storytelling in hour one was nicely
done.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.3 (vs. 2.5 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – May 26, 1997

by Logan Scisco

Vince McMahon and
Jim Ross are in the booth and they are live from Evansville, Indiana
.
Ross interviews
Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels, who come out separately and to explosive
reactions (although Austin’s is far bigger). 
Ross obviously asks if they can co-exist and both men say yes because
they don’t like the Hart Foundation.  The
Legion of Doom, who are penciled into the first match on tonight’s show, come
out to confront the challengers for the tag team champions and get a promise of
a title match.

Opening
Contest:  The Legion of Doom defeat Jim “The
Anvil” Neidhart & Brian Pillman (w/The Hart Foundation) by disqualification
when Owen Hart & The British Bulldog interfere at 4:23:
Bret isn’t on crutches anymore and this is Pillman’s
first match on RAW.  You can tell Pillman
just isn’t the same on his reconstructed ankle, as his movements are not as
fluid around the ring.  The match is
rather messy, as Hawk nearly sends Pillman back to the hospital after a botched
gorilla press slam and Animal and Pillman collide at a high speed when Pillman
doesn’t go over the top rope on a clothesline. 
The LOD are set to win by setting up Pillman for a Doomsday Device, but
the tag team champions run in and cause a disqualification.  Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels show up to
save the day, but when the Hart Foundation flees, Michaels inadvertently
catches Austin with a baseball slide and they brawl as WWF officials try to
break them up.  The crowd was hot for the
LOD, but this match was terrible when you think of the experienced hands that
were putting it together.  I would’ve
fired all four men for another lousy effort like this, but the crowds loved
seeing the LOD regardless of their faults. 
Rating:  ½*
Paul Bearer, who
looks like a completely new man without the funeral parlor makeup, is shown
looking at his watch backstage.  Bearer
tells McMahon and Ross that he left his secret in a safe deposit box with an
attorney and the attorney has the only key. 
Bearer says he’s not the same man and he’ll reveal the Undertaker’s
secret if he doesn’t return to him tonight. 
I’d easily argue that this angle was Bearer’s best work in his WWF
tenure
.
D-Lo Brown (w/The
Nation of Domination) defeats Bob “Spark Plugg” Holly with a powerbomb counter
of a hurricanrana at 3:09:
This is Brown’s in-ring debut and he brings the active
competitors in the Nation of Domination to four.  Holly is coming off an upset victory over
Owen Hart last week and it was actually a big deal to beat the champion in a
non-title match back in 1997.  Faarooq
does guest commentary for this match and he implies that McMahon is a
racist.  This match is really a vehicle
for Faarooq to rant about how this match is what viewers want to see since a
black man is facing a white man.  D-Lo
acquits himself well in this contest, which is a glorified squash.  Even if it lost momentum near the end, the
crowd liked the finishing spot.  Rating: 
The Undertaker
says he has to make a decision tonight.
Jerry Lawler cuts
a very controversial promo, which you can find on YouTube today, where he says
that Dusty Rhodes doesn’t like his son because Dustin married a “gold digger
from Georgia”, dressed like a “fag”, and says that Dustin’s daughter should be
married “Target” because everyone in Georgia “had a shot at it.”  You can tell by McMahon’s voice that he’s not
very happy Lawler dropped so many controversial lines during the non-Warzone
part of the show.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your King of the Ring inflatable chair for $59.99 (plus $11 for shipping
& handling)!  $60 for an inflatable
chair?  Interestingly enough, it looks like
Buh Buh Ray Dudley is involved in the commercial as an extra.
King of the Ring
First Round Match:  Jerry “the King”
Lawler defeats Goldust (w/Marlena) with the Flair pin at 5:20:
Lawler gets a nice pop for his entrance because
Evansville was a territory for the USWA. 
He also gets some loud chants from the crowd, which is the first time
that you have seen Lawler get that type of crowd support in his WWF
tenure.  The fact that Lawler is in the
tournament shows how weak this year’s field is. 
In a nice piece of continuity, the announce team shows footage of Lawler
confronting Goldust about his sexuality in December 1996 which began Goldust’s
face turn.  Goldust no sells the
piledriver, thereby offending all of the USWA fans in attendance, and he gives
the move to Lawler to draw some boos. 
The match is a poor brawl, but the crowd enhances it a lot by reacting
big to everything Lawler does.  After the
match, Goldust attacks Lawler and sends him down the ramp with a right
hand.  Rating:  *½
McMahon asks
Austin what he thinks the chances are that he and Shawn Michaels win the tag
team titles tonight, but before Austin can respond he’s attacked by Brian
Pillman, Owen Hart, and the British Bulldog
.
When we return
from commercial break, Austin goes to Shawn Michaels locker room and argues
with him.  Supposedly Michaels was also
attacked and he complains that Austin was not watching his back
.
“The Rock” Rocky
Maivia defeats Flash Funk with a flying body press at 3:33:
This is a match where both guys desperately need a win
because they are engaged in prolonged losing streaks.  During the match, the Headbangers come out of
the crowd with some of the inflatable King of the Ring chairs and they sit in
them and do guest commentary.  After Funk
hits Maivia with a pescado, the Headbangers go over and attack them for some
reason.  For another reason, the match is
not thrown out by the referee and during the fighting, Mosh hits Funk over the
head with a boom box and Maivia catches Funk with a flying body press for the
victory.  After the match, Funk and
Maivia shake hands and threaten revenge. 
I don’t think a tag team between these two is the answer to Maivia’s
problems.  Rating:  *
A clip of the second
part of Mankind’s interview with Jim Ross is shown and he talks about not
wearing a protective cup and how he was harmed by it.
Brian Pillman’s
victory over a jobber with a neckbreaker on Shotgun Saturday Night is our Sega
Saturn Slam of the Week
.
Bret Hart and the
Hart Foundation hype the match Bret has with Shawn Michaels at the King of the
Ring.  I’m interested to see what the
booking of this match would have been like if it had gone according to plan.  Pillman says that he’s going to tear Austin
apart at the King of the Ring and the British Bulldog and Owen Hart make it
known that they are not losing the tag team titles tonight.
Ken Shamrock comes
out to do commentary for our next match
.
King of the Ring
Replacement Match:  Ahmed Johnson defeats
Vader with a spinebuster at 3:04:
This match would have been a pay-per-view main event
caliber match a year earlier but the stock of both men has fallen significantly
in 1997.  The interesting stipulation for
this match is that Vader challenged Ahmed for his spot in the King of the Ring
semi-finals since he was not cleared to compete last week.  Therefore, if Ahmed loses then Vader will
face Hunter Hearst Helmsley in the King of the Ring semi-finals.  A match between these two was a King of the
Ring first round match a year prior as well and Vader won that match with
outside interference.  Predictably, this
match is a brawl as both men deliver some haymakers to each other, but Vader is
ill-advised to charge Ahmed in the center of the and ring and loses.  This was too abbreviated a match to really
mean anything.  Rating:  *¼
Are new members
headed into the Nation of Domination? 
Call 1-900-737-4WWF to find out!
Paul Bearer says
that the Undertaker is running out of days to keep his secret safe.
Hunter Hearst
Helmsley (w/Chyna) defeats Rockabilly (w/The Honky Tonk Man) with a Pedigree at
3:16:
Rockabilly enters this match with some momentum, as he’s
scored a few victories the last couple of weeks against the “The Real Double J”
Jesse James and Goldust.  The real star
of this match is Chyna, as she pulls Rockabilly off of Helmsley after a Rocker
dropper and bodyslams the Honky Tonk Man when he tries to hit Helmsley with a
guitar.  Helmsley achieves a somewhat
clean victory, but the only reason anyone was taking note of him at this stage
of his career was because of the mystique Chyna created for him.  Rating:  *¾
The Undertaker
tells McMahon that life is about making decisions you don’t want to and the
Undertaker tells Bearer to do what he has to do and that he will do what he has
to do
.
Sable models the
King of the Ring inflatable chair
.
Another part of
the second portion of Mankind’s interview with Jim Ross is shown.  This interview sees Mankind discuss seeing
Jimmy Snuka splash Don Muraco from the top of a cage in Madison Square Garden
in 1983 and the Dude Love character
.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve
Austin & “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels defeat The British Bulldog
& Owen Hart (Champions w/The Hart Foundation) when Austin pins the Bulldog
after Michaels hits Sweet Chin Music at 10:24 shown:
McMahon tells us that Austin and Michaels will face the
Legion of Doom in a title match next week if they capture the belts here.  It’s always entertaining to see Michaels, the
Bulldog, and Owen bouncing all over the ring and that’s what happens in the
opening moments of this match when the challengers take it to the
champions.  The Bulldog crotches Michaels
on the ropes to turn the tide, which draws a great reaction of despair from
Austin, and Austin saves the match by breaking up pins from a Bulldog running
powerslam and an Owen belly-to-belly suplex. 
All of the tricks of a great tag match are employed here, which include
the false tag or situations where the challengers have the champions pinned but
the referee is not in position to make a count. 
The pace of this match is also insane, as everyone is working 100 miles per
hour to get everything in.  They do a
creative end to the all hell breaks loose finish as Owen goes to his corner and
Michaels feigns that he is going to, but blasts the Bulldog with Sweet Chin
Music for good measure.  A great tag team
match that was a nice way to end Owen and the Bulldog’s seven months of
dominance in the tag team division.  I
would have liked a few more false finishes, but everyone was firing on all
cylinders in this one and the crowd with it from beginning to end.  Rating:  ****¼
The new champions
don’t get much time to celebrate as the rest of the Hart Foundation attacks
them.  Bret stays on the ramp, but Austin
goes after him and his surgically repaired knee as Michaels endures a
four-on-one beating.  Eventually the Hart
Foundation divots to save Bret and Austin gets away.
Austin and the
Bulldog argue in the locker room, with Austin insisting that he won the tag
team titles by himself
.
Paul Bearer comes
out to be interviewed by Vince McMahon. 
Bearer says there were three graves in the cemetery when the Undertaker’s
parents were buried and the Undertaker comes out before Bearer can talk
anymore.  The Undertaker says that he
hates Bearer and regrets what he must do to him tonight.  The Undertaker begins to choke Bearer out,
but based on what Bearer is telling him he lets him go and seemingly bows down
to him as the show plays out
.
The Final Report Card:  The hot crowd in Evansville made this show
come off very well and the tag team title match in the main event easily
warrants a thumbs up rating.  The ending
of the show with Bearer and the Undertaker was also well done and helps
establish more momentum for that storyline in the weeks ahead.  This is definitely one of the best RAW
episodes of 1997
.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.7 (vs. 3.3 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – May 19, 1997

by Logan Scisco
We return to May
1997 after I missed posting a review because of a hectic work schedule.
Vince McMahon narrates
highlights of last week’s interaction between Bret Hart and Shawn
Michaels.  Off-air footage of Michaels giving
Bret Sweet Chin Music and Steve Austin rescuing him from a beat down by the
Hart Foundation is shown.
-Jim Ross and Jerry
“the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are coming to us from Mobile,
Alabama.
Steve Austin comes
out to be interviewed by Jim Ross. 
Austin points out that he doesn’t care about Shawn Michaels, but came to
his aid because the Hart Foundation turned its back to him.  Shawn Michaels comes out, dressed like a member of the Village People, and Michaels says he doesn’t care about
Austin either.  Michaels runs down his
accomplishments, but Austin is unimpressed and they brawl until WWF officials
hit the ring and separate them.  The Hart
Foundation, minus Bret Hart, appears on the Titantron and Owen challenges
Austin and Michaels to a tag team title match against he and the Bulldog on next week’s show.  Michaels and Austin
have a fun fight over the microphone and argue over how they’ll face Owen and
the Bulldog with another partner, with Austin pulling out the best line in saying
that he’ll get “someone who’s 75 pounds or 75 years old,” and they brawl some
more.  Great mic work from both guys and
they did a great job selling the animosity between their characters
.
-Ross and Lawler
tell us that the King of the Ring tournament is going to continue tonight, but
Vader will not be facing Crush and there is a surprise for who takes his place
.

King of the Ring
First Round Match:  Hunter Hearst
Helmsley (w/Chyna) defeats Crush (w/The Nation of Domination) after Savio
accidentally crescent kicks Crush at 3:55:
Vader was taken out of this match because of injuries
suffered at the hands of Ken Shamrock in their match at In Your House.  As a result, Hunter Hearst Helmsley was
plugged in, which was hardly the surprise that viewers were looking forward to.  Gerald Brisco says that Helmsley is allowed
back into the tournament because he was informed last week that the only way to
advance in the tournament was by pinfall or submission.  This booking of the tournament always puzzled
me.  If Helmsley was always supposed to
win, why book him to lose in the first round and then put him back into the
tournament?  Despite this being the
Attitude Era, a heel-heel matchup like this was still unusual for the time and
the crowd doesn’t know what to make of it. 
Helmsley does a great job bumping for Crush and it easily makes for
Crush’s best match in awhile.  In a fun
finish, both guys call for help, but Nation miscommunication costs Crush the match.  Rating:  *¼
After the match,
Savio and Crush argue with each other and Faarooq has to run into the ring as a
mediator.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your Austin 3:16 shirt for $20 (plus shipping & handling)!
Non-Title
Match:  Bob “Spark Plugg” Holly defeats Owen
Hart (Intercontinental Champion w/The British Bulldog & Jim Neidhart) with
a small package at 3:33:
Fans, interviewed outside of the arena, wish the best to
Holly because he is fighting in his native Alabama.  Lawler makes sure to wreck that, though, by
interviewing two Alabamians who aren’t too bright.  Holly’s race car driver gimmick is really out
of place with the Attitude Era, as it is a relic from the WWF Dark Ages.  The crowd is hot for the match, since Holly
is the hometown guy, and this match reminds of you of the old NWA title matches
where the champion faced the hometown favorite. 
Owen and Holly run through some smooth sequences and Owen goes for the
Sharpshooter, but Holly surprises him with a small package and scores the
upset.  Holly brought this match up a
couple of years later on the “Raw is Owen” episode and mentioned how Owen
volunteered to do the job for him in his hometown.  Remember the days when the WWF made sure not
to job people out in their hometowns?  Rating: 
**¼
The Undertaker
says that it is time to address Paul Bearer and he tells him there are some
events that are better to have never seen the light of day
.
Sunny advertises
the newest Super Soaker by squirting Jim Cornette
.
Shawn Michaels
tells Jim Ross that he has found a partner to face Owen Hart and the British
Bulldog next week and that is Ken Shamrock
.
Part one of Jim
Ross’s “shoot” interview with Mankind is shown. 
These interviews really changed Mick Foley’s career in the WWF as he was
getting lost in the shuffle of the midcard at the time that these interviews
were done.  This interview plays Foley
jumping off of his house doing the Superfly Splash, which is credited with
sparking the backyard wrestling craze. 
Foley discusses how he was ostracized as a kid and ate strange things
.
Lawler tells
viewers that Rob Van Dam can’t come back on RAW because Paul Heyman enacted
legal proceedings after Van Dam appeared on last week’s show and squashed Jeff
Hardy
.
Scott Taylor
defeats Leif Cassidy with a small package at 2:40
This is Taylor’s “debut”, even though he had been a
jobber for the company for years prior to this. 
This can be aptly called a light heavyweight contest, as Cassidy pulls
out a suicide dive and Taylor pulls off a slingshot body press to the arena
floor.  Cassidy appears in control of another
match, but when he goes for a suplex-facebuster combination for the second
time, Taylor surprises him with a small package.  Cassidy continues his descent into madness
after the match.  This was good while it
lasted.
Austin
accidentally walks in on Sable, who is in the midst of changing.  Austin says he’s just looking for a tag team
partner.
Bret Hart arrives
at the arena, having recently upgraded to crutches, and he’s flanked by the
other members of the Hart Foundation
.
We get our first
taste of the WWF recapping events multiple times in the same show, as the
Bret-Shawn interaction from last week’s show is replayed
.
Vince McMahon arrives
in the announce booth to do commentary for hour two of the broadcast
.
The Hart
Foundation comes out and Bret Hart is here to announce his surprise.  Bret says that Shawn Michaels is going to
return to action at the King of the Ring and he says that since he’s going to
return at the King of the Ring they might as well have a match.  Bret challenges Michaels to a match, where if
he doesn’t beat Michaels in less than ten minutes that he will never wrestle in
the United States again.  Michaels
appears on the Titantron and says that Bret couldn’t beat him in an hour at
WrestleMania in 1996, so he’s insane to think he can beat him in ten.  Michaels proposes that the Hart Foundation be
present at ringside and each of them be handcuffed to a ring post to ensure
they don’t interfere.  Michaels busts out
his infamous “Sunny days” comment, which obviously peeves Owen and the Bulldog,
and Bret accepts the challenge
.
Rockabilly (w/The
Honky Tonk Man) defeats Goldust by disqualification after Goldust hits Honky
Tonk Man with a guitar at 4:00:
Before his match, Goldust has Marlena and his daughter
Dakota come to the ring, but Dakota doesn’t quite follow the routine on the
microphone she’s supposed to.  I guess
that’s to be expected since she’s two years old.  Goldust busts out some Dusty Rhodes
mannerisms and moves like the bionic elbow.  Goldust intercepts the Honky Tonk Man
when Honky tries to attack him with the guitar and he smashes it over Honky’s head.  Somehow,
this gets Goldust disqualified despite Honky not being an active participant in
the match.  This match was actually going
to somewhere before that stupid finish.  Rating: 
*
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to find out who has been romancing “Psycho” Sid!
McMahon interviews
Ahmed Johnson about what he thinks about Faarooq playing the race card.  Ahmed says he doesn’t appreciate the question
and he says that Faarooq is telling the truth when he says that a black man
hasn’t gotten a shot lately at the title. 
Ahmed promises to be the Hank Aaron of the WWF and be the first black
WWF champion
.
The Brooklyn
Brawler tells Steve Austin that he should pick him to be his partner.  Austin isn’t impressed, tosses the Brawler into
the Raw set, and tells him he’s a big loser. 
Austin chooses Harvey Wippleman as a partner instead, which is just
hilarious
.
Faarooq (w/The Nation of Domination)
defeats “The Rock” Rocky Maivia with a Dominator at 2:45:
It’s a battle between the current and soon to be leader
of the Nation of Domination and Maivia dominates much of the action.  Maivia hits a beautiful Rock Bottom on
Faarooq and its insane to think that someone had not made him change that to
his finisher yet.  Maivia goes for his
flying body press, but Faarooq crotches him and hits his only big move of the
match, his finisher, to win.  The Nation
comes into the ring to beat up Maivia after the match, but Faarooq calls off the
dogs to the surprise of everyone.  Maivia
looked really good here, arguably better than he had in a while and this match
made him look like a very credible challenger to the main event talent.
Backstage, the
Hart Foundation are shown attacking Bob Holly
.
McMahon interviews
WWF Champion The Undertaker who calls out Faarooq for playing the race
card.  There’s something about the
Undertaker character talking about race that is really awkward.  The Undertaker tells McMahon that it is not
the time to talk about Paul Bearer’s secret. 
A bandaged Paul Bearer appears on the Titantron and discusses being at
the Undertaker’s parents burial.  The
Undertaker is left speechless for the first time of his career as Bearer threatens
to expose his secret unless the Undertaker comes back to him.  The Undertaker says he needs more time, so
Bearer promises to give him seven days to consider his options.
-:”Stone Cold”
Steve Austin defeats Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart by disqualification when Brian
Pillman interferes at 1:44:
Brian Pillman comes out to do guest commentary and it
doesn’t take long for Austin to drag him over the announce table and dump him
onto the arena floor.  Pillman doesn’t
take kindly to that and he attacks Austin with a crutch and the Hart Foundation
pounds away on Austin until Shawn Michaels makes the save.  This makes some sense in storyline terms, but
the WWF really needs to watch out for these run-in finishes at the end of shows
because it is becoming very predictable.
Ross announces
that WWF President Gorilla Monsoon has ordered Austin and Michaels to team up
next week against the Hart Foundation for the tag team titles.  Neither Austin or Michaels are happy about it
and they end the show as they started it, by fighting each other as WWF
officials try to separate them.
The Final Report Card:  The backstage vignettes provided some
hilarity for the evening and the show does have some historical context because
of the “Sunny days” comment, which precipitated a real fight between Bret and
Shawn.  That fight cancelled their
planned King of the Ring contest, which had to anger the WWF brass since they
were likely banking on a big buyrate for the show.  The Undertaker-Bearer storyline remains well
done, but it is being overshadowed by the Bret-Austin-Michaels feud
.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.1 (vs. 3.6 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up