What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – November 24, 1997

by Logan Scisco
Jim Ross and Jim
Cornette are in the booth and they are live from Fayetteville, North Carolina
.
Harvey Wippleman
comes out, billed as “Handsome” Harvey, to Rick Rude’s theme music as Ross and
Cornette make jabs at Rude.  Wippleman
welcomes out D-Generation X, but WWF Champion Shawn Michaels pushes him down,
says he’s not hard to replace, and runs him out of the ring.  Michaels feigns like he cares about what
happened at Montreal and says he and Bret are going to patch up their
differences later tonight.  You know, if
you ran this together with when Bret actually returned to the company it would
make perfect sense.

Opening WWF Tag
Team Championship Contest:  “Road Dogg”
Jesse James & “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn defeat The Legion of Doom (Champions) to
win the titles when Gunn pins Animal with a victory roll at 6:23 shown:
James and Gunn come out with LOD shoulder pads and mock
their age, which creates a brawl on the ramp before the match.  Since James and Gunn are finally facing the
only team in the division with any heat, the crowd is buzzing for this
encounter.  James and Gunn do a great job
keeping Hawk in peril, working a false tag spot and a spot where Gunn keeps
Animal off the apron so Hawk cannot tag out. 
The referee gets bumped on an Animal shoulder block and doesn’t see the
James smack Animal in the back with a chair when Gunn is set up for a Doomsday
Device.  James and Gunn score the upset
when a second referee counts the fall. 
It’s really strange to see that finish work in the heel’s favor.  The crowd is in shock over the result as the
Legion of Doom’s last tag title reign in a major promotion comes to an
end.  The new champions quickly run to a
car in the parking lot and speed away, although they almost smash into a limo pulling
into the arena while doing so.  Rating: 
**
In a Karate
Fighters Holiday Tournament semi-final, Sunny beats Shrimp Scampy, who is
fawning over her instead of focused on his Karate Fighter.
The white limo
that Jesse James & Billy Gunn nearly T-boned earlier is shown.  Is Bret Hart inside?
Goldust comes out
in a wheelchair, pushed by a nurse. 
Michael Cole interviews him and Goldust claims that he is now a
quadriplegic.  Goldust has this role down
pat, as he has Cole cross his legs and put a blanket over him and then thanks
the fans for their support.  Vader comes
out and threatens to make Goldust a permanent part of the wheelchair, but when
he goes after him, the nurse, who reveals herself as Luna Vachon, sprays
alcohol in Vader’s eye and Goldust gets out of the wheelchair and attacks
him.  This was great stuff.
A video package
recaps the Triple H-Commissioner Slaughter feud
.
Cole interviews
Slaughter, who receives more boos than cheers. 
Slaughter puts his Sergeant Slaughter hat on and turns into the Sergeant
character.  Slaughter announces that his
match against Triple H will be a boot camp match, which he says we can consult
the Iron Sheik about if we don’t know what it is, but that conjures up bad mental
images.  A completely over the top promo,
but it’s so campy that it’s entertaining and it made me want to see the match,
regardless of how bad it’s probably going to be.
Light Heavyweight
Championship Tournament First Round Match: 
“Too Sexy” Brian Christopher (w/Jerry Lawler) defeats Flash Flanagan
with a Tennessee Jam at 3:32:
Flanagan gets the jobber entrance and when he hits a
somersault plancha we don’t get to see it until a replay.  See, that’s the problem with this
tournament.  Aside from Taka Michinoku
and Brian Christopher we haven’t seen these guys, so why should we take them
seriously?  Christopher busts out a
sunset flip-style powerbomb from the ring to the arena floor and from that
point on he squashes Flanagan, so there’s not really a point in rating this.
Call 1-900-737-4WWF
to find out why Vince McMahon isn’t on commentary and what pending legal
litigation he is dealing with.
A new video
entrance and song plays us into the second hour of the show.  Jerry Lawler also replaces Cornette in the
booth.
D-Generation X
comes out and Triple H says that he isn’t scared of Sergeant Slaughter.  Instead of having a meeting between Shawn
Michaels and Bret Hart, as promised at the top of the hour, DX brings out a
Bret Hart midget and humiliates it.  Now,
you can take this segment seriously and rant about how bad it was.  However, I just take it in stride with DX’s
juvenile gimmick and found it funny. 
After all, if you thought Bret was showing up on this show I’ve got a
bridge to sell you in my hometown.
Jim Neidhart comes
out and threatens DX, but Michaels holds him off by massaging his ego and how
he was the best part of the Hart Foundation. 
Michaels offers him a spot in DX, an offer that expires at the end of
the show.
Footage of Steve
Austin having supper with a fan who won the Survivor Series Super Supper
Sweepstakes is shown.
A video package
hypes Butterbean, who will face Marc Mero in a four round “tough man” match at
In Your House.
Ken Shamrock
beats Savio Vega via submission to the ankle lock at 5:18:
Savio, the winner of the “gang wars” feud, never got much
of a boost out of it as the Los Boricuas stable never caught on and sunk his
WWF career.  Savio controls most of the
match, which is enough to put you to sleep, but Shamrock eventually snaps and
wins.  Ross says that this shows Shamrock
is getting more dominant, but if you are struggling against Savio Vega at this
stage of his career then I don’t see how you can say that about yourself.  Rating:  ½*
Steve Austin shows
up in his Austin 3:16 pickup truck
.
Cole interviews
the Nation of Domination and at this point based on the booking and scheduling
of interview time it is clear that the Rock is the focal point of the
group.  This is an important interview
because it is where the Rock found his character.  He starts referring to himself in the third
person, refers to himself as “The Rock” consistently, and calls himself the
“People’s champion.”  As the Rock cuts
his promo, lights cut on and off and “Rocky sucks” appears on the Titantron to
help the fans chant along.  Steve Austin
appears on the Titantron and is playing with stuff in the production truck and
warns the Rock that when “3:16” appeared on his beeper (remember those?) that
he’s in trouble, but see, it is actually a taped segment.  Austin appears through the crowd and in a
nice touch, the Rock checks his beeper and gets big eyes, and Austin attacks him
and clears the ring with a chair to end a great segment.  The heat for this feud is nuclear and Vince
had to be smiling ear to ear.
Jeff Jarrett is
backstage complaining about his locker room, water, and food.  He also complains about his opponent, Chainz
(it’s actually Crush), and says he is not wrestling until Vince McMahon lives
up to his contractual obligations.  Crush
wins the match by forfeit, but Kane comes out and destroys him in short
order.  This was Crush’s WWF swan
song.  Gerald Brisco accidentally bumps
into Kane and gets chokeslammed too.
Non-Title
Match:  “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn
Michaels (WWF & European Champion w/D-Generation X) beats Vader with two
Sweet Chin Music’s at 2:38 shown:
Vader is wrestling with one eye because of the alcohol
attack earlier in the show. Before the match, Michaels announces Jim Neidhart
as the newest member of DX.  After the commercial
break, we join this in progress and Vader manhandles Michaels, even when DX
interferes behind the referee’s back. 
Vader goes for a Vader Bomb, but Triple H throws hot coffee into Vader’s
good eye and Michaels wins this one in short order.  I won’t say that this made Vader look weak by
any means, but I hate short matches like this when it comes to using your top
talent.  It does show you how good DX
were at the heel role in that I hated their actions in this match over fifteen
years later.
After the match,
Neidhart poses with Michaels and Triple H, but Chyna gives him a low blow and a
beat down results.
The Final Report Card:  Despite the limited match lineup, the show
did a great job getting over the major players and the Austin-Rock segment was
the highlight of the show.  A very
entertaining two hours of television, although I will readily concede that part
of that entertainment was at Rick Rude and Bret Hart’s expense.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.0 (vs. 3.9 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – November 10, 1997

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross and Jim
Cornette are in the booth and they are live from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
D-Generation X
comes out to their traditional theme music for the first time as Ross says Bret
Hart has left the company because of Shawn Michaels.  Michaels tells the crowd that he beat Bret in
his own country, with his own hold, he’s the WWF champion now, and he “ran him
South with the other dinosaurs” and his friends there will beat him up one
day.  Nice line.  Michaels says that no superstar in the WWF
can make him quit, which brings out Ken Shamrock.  The segment gets awkward since Shamrock can’t
translate his physical intensity into a good promo to run down DX and challenge
Michaels for the WWF championship. 
Commissioner Slaughter eventually comes out and says that Michaels has a
scheduled title defense against Shamrock, although he doesn’t specify the
date.  Slaughter also books Triple
H-Shamrock where DX is banned from ringside and he will be sitting at
ringside.  I know what they were trying
to spell out here in storyline terms, but this was just brutal to sit through
.

Opening
Contest:  Ahmed Johnson defeats Marc Mero
(w/Sable) by disqualification when Mero uses a low blow at 2:26:
Ahmed’s spinebuster looks awful these days, since he is
trying to be extra careful.  He looks
ready to win the match with a Pearl River Plunge, but gets distracted by Sable
and Mero finally gets caught using the low blow, which I guess was in the
referee’s scouting report.  Mero tries to
give Ahmed the TKO after that, but can’t lift him up on his shoulders to do the
move.  This loss ends Mero’s undefeated
streak since his return.
In the Karate
Fighters Holiday Tournament, Shrimp Scampy, a mini dressed in Mascarti Sagrada,
Jr.’s old attire, beats Dok Hendrix.  In
other matches of the tournament Jerry Lawler has beaten Brian Christopher and
Tito Santana has defeated Carlos Cabrera.
Sunny comes out to
be the guest ring announcer for our next match.
Light Heavyweight
Championship First Round Match:  Taka
Michinoku beats Devon Storm with the Michinoku Driver at 5:00:
Brian Christopher commentates another match in this
tournament, so I am tempted to put this on mute.  Storm gets the jobber entrance, but anyone
that has followed the light heavyweight division since July can tell who’s
going over here.  Both men are proficient
wrestlers, but they try to get too cute with their spots and as a result the
match comes off as too choreographed and artificial.  Christopher tries to prevent Michinoku from
winning, but Michinoku uses a springboard dropkick to knock Christopher off the
apron and wraps up the match shortly thereafter.  Rating:  **¼
Jim Ross
interviews Goldust, who is laying the foundation for his “Artist Formerly Known
as Goldust” gimmick.  He comes out in a
gold rope, a flame in his blonde hair, earrings, black face paint, lipstick, and
“F U”, which stands for “forever unchained”, painted in gold on his face.  Vader comes out, not happy that Goldust
walked on him at Survivor Series last night, and demands answers.  When Goldust doesn’t appear ready to do that,
Vader powerbombs him.  Vader is just
awesome.  It’s reprehensible that they
didn’t find a way to book him against Austin in 1998 because he still had
something to offer.
Michael Cole is backstage
and says that Blackjack Windham has been assaulted in his locker room.  Bradshaw freaks out and goes nuts in front of
the camera over this development
.
Dok Hendrix hosts
the upcoming Madison Square Garden card. 
The only problem is that there are going to be some changes.  For example, the main event is billed as a
Fatal Four Way match for the WWF title between Shawn Michaels, the Undertaker,
Steve Austin, and Bret Hart.  The Legion
of Doom are scheduled to defend the tag team titles against Owen Hart & The
British Bulldog, Triple H with Chyna is his corner is booked against Vader with
George “the Animal” Steele in his corner, and Ahmed Johnson faces Faarooq in a
New York City street fight.
The Headbangers
(w/The Disciples of Apocalypse) beats Sniper & Recon (w/Jackal & The
Interrogator) when Mosh pins Recon after Thrasher powerbombs Mosh on top of
Recon at 4:52:
Surprisingly, this has a clean finish as the Headbangers
fend off interference attempts by Jackal and the Interrogator.  Just a standard tag match, which has a big
brawl between all of the participants at the very end to continue the DOA-Truth
Commission feud.  Rating:  **
Ross and Cornette
hype the house show circuit
.
Since we are in
hour two, Cornette is replaced in the booth with Jerry “the King” Lawler.
Cole interviews
Intercontinental Champion Steve Austin, but before he gets too involved in his
promo Rocky Maivia comes out and claims that he was the best Intercontinental
champion of all-time when he held the belt. 
Maivia challenges Austin for the title and Austin accepts, while also
challenging him to get a haircut. 
Interesting segment since these two had one of the most anticipated
WrestleMania matches three and a half years later.
Ross interviews
Steve Blackman, who says he is still learning, and Jose of Los Boricuas
interrupts his interview.  The Boricuas
try to gang up on Blackman, but he uses his karate skills to fend them off
before WWF officials intervene.
Cole interviews
“Road Dogg” Jesse James and “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn, who are set to face the New
Blackjacks in a Bunkhouse battle tonight. 
They are excited and ready to go.
Bunkhouse
Battle:  “Road Dogg” Jesse James &
“Bad Ass” Billy Gunn beat Bradshaw when Gunn pins Bradshaw after a tornado DDT
on a chair at 1:40:
Since Windham is injured, Bradshaw goes it alone in this
match, which is no disqualification. 
It’s actually a precursor to the hardcore battles of 1998 and beyond,
with trash cans, tables, and chairs galore. 
Bradshaw dominates the action, until Gunn catches him with a tornado DDT
to finish.  This was really entertaining.
Another segment of
Jeff Jarrett’s interview with Jim Ross is shown.  Jarrett puts himself over as a unique talent
of the Monday Night Wars and says his goal is to win
the WWF title.  When asked to do word
association on a list of guys he puts over Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Mankind,
and Randy Savage, but when asked about Triple H he says “tag along.”  How things changed after 1997.
Cole interviews
Butterbean, the IBA Superheavyweight Boxing Champion, in the crowd, but Marc
Mero comes out and says he’s a real boxer and should be interviewed.  Mero says Butterbean should keep his eyes off
of Sable and says he can knock Butterbean out in four rounds or less before
leaving.
Call 815-734-1161
to get the Steve Austin “jackass” t-shirt. 
It will cost you $25 (plus $6 shipping & handling)!
The Undertaker
wrestles Kama Mustafa to a no contest at 2:25:
Remember when this was a top feud in 1995?  This is the Undertaker’s first time in the
ring since Badd Blood and that was a great booking decision since it gave an
entire month for Kane to get over.  The
Undertaker squashes Kama, but before he can finish him off the lights go out
and Paul Bearer and Kane come out.  The Undertaker
appeals to Kane to make amends and reiterates that he will never fight him,
even if Kane destroys the entire WWF.
Footage of last
week’s match between Shawn Michaels and Ken Shamrock is shown
.
Triple H wrestles
Ken Shamrock to a no contest at 7:44 shown:
Triple H is not happy about not having D-Generation X
with him and jaws with Commissioner Slaughter at ringside.  Both men show off what they can do, but the
crowd isn’t into it.  Slaughter prevents
Rick Rude and Chyna from getting involved, but can’t prevent Shawn Michaels
from running out and blasting Shamrock with Rude’s briefcase after the referee
is bumped and the show goes off the air as the referee is counting the fall.  Rating:  **
The Final Report Card:  After a horrid opening segment, this show
built up a pretty good pace.  The
Undertaker-Kane feud is the best thing that the company has going at this point
and it is a wonderful piece of storytelling that will keep unfolding until
WrestleMania.  Shamrock has also been
adequately built as a threat to Michaels, but as is the case with most
champions after they win the title, it is always tough for me to take their
first programmed challenger as a threat since they usually beat them.  This RAW scored a pretty good rating, as
people tuned in to see the fallout from Montreal, but surprisingly the WWF
didn’t really address it outside of Ross saying that he wished Bret Hart well
in his future endeavors.  Part of this
was probably motivated by the WWF banking on people buying the replay on Tuesday.  What is significant, though, is that this
show started a string of RAW’s that were at 3.0 or above in the Nielsen
ratings, thereby generating some of the highest ratings that RAW had seen since
the spring of 1996.  The tide was turning
in the Monday Night Wars, albeit slowly.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.4 (vs. 4.3 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Survivor Series 1997

by Logan Scisco
Jim Ross &
Jerry “the King” Lawler are doing commentary tonight and they are live from
Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  This is the
first exclusive pay-per-view pairing of Ross and Lawler, as Vince McMahon has
given up regular commentary duties.

Opening
Contest:  “The Road Dogg” Jesse James,
“Bad Ass” Billy Gunn & The Godwinns defeat The Headbangers & The New
Blackjacks when James and Gunn are the survivors after Gunn pins Thrasher with
a flying leg drop at 15:25:
Other Eliminations:  Bradshaw pins Henry Godwinn with a cradle out
of an abdominal stretch at 3:51; Phineas Godwinn pins Barry Windham with a
lariat at 5:11; Gunn pins Mosh after countering a bulldog with an inverted slam
at 8:40; Thrasher pins Phineas with a Mosh Pit at 12:37; James pins Bradshaw
with a schoolboy at 13:44
This is the entire tag team division, Legion of Doom
excluded, as we approach the end of 1997 and when you look around it’s not that
surprising that the WWF was willing to give James and Gunn a run with the titles.  James and Gunn are actually the most over
team in the match, with Gunn booed heavily when he steps into the ring and
enduring some chants questioning his sexual preferences.  Gunn just rolls with it and gives the crowd a
one finger salute, only riling them up more. 
As it is, this match is just a vehicle to continue James & Gunn’s
rise through the tag division and give them a justification for facing the
Legion of Doom for the tag team titles later in the month.  The crowd isn’t into most of the guys in this
thing so it dies a slow and painful death and on a couple of eliminations it’s
not clear whether wrestlers are pinned or not. 
It reminds me of the accelerated Survivor Series tag match on the Free
for All the previous year.  Gunn
completely whiffs on his finishing move, which just makes it all worse.  Last year’s tag team opener with Furnas &
LaFon this wasn’t.  Rating:  DUD
Kevin Kelly and
Sunny tempt us to call the Superstar Line to find hear from the night’s winners
and losers.  I have a feeling that when
the real controversy broke out later in the evening that people were
flooding in calls, but they got little for their money.
The Truth
Commission beats The Disciples of Apocalypse when The Interrogator is the sole
survivor after pinning Crush with a sidewalk slam at 9:58:
Other Eliminations:  The Interrogator pins Chainz after a sidewalk
slam at 1:18; Skull pins the Jackal with a spinning sidewalk slam at 2:50;
Skull pins Recon after a lariat at 5:20; Sniper pins Skull with a bulldog at
6:29; The Interrogator pins 8-Ball with a sidewalk slam at 8:50; Crush pins
Sniper with a powerslam at 9:47
The good thing about the Survivor Series in this format
is that it allows you blow off factional feuds like this fairly easily.  The Truth Commission head into this at a
disadvantage because the Jackal has to wrestle to make this a true four-on-four
encounter and predictably, he’s the first man on his team to be
eliminated.  However, he just goes and
does commentary for the rest of the match, which has no heat.  On the bright side, if you love sidewalk
slams this is your match.  Before there
was the Great Khali you had the Interrogator, who was repackaged three
different times and failed to get over in any of those incarnations so
eventually the WWF let him go.  However,
this was at the time where they really wanted to make him the star of the
group, so regardless of the fact that the DOA were still cheered by parts of
the fan base, they are jobbed out again. 
By the way, this was Crush’s last WWF pay-per-view appearance before
jumping to WCW, thereby finishing up his run of futility with the company.  The reason this isn’t a DUD is that it kept a
pretty good pace.  Rating:  *
Fans share their
thoughts on who they think will win tonight’s championship match between Bret
Hart and Shawn Michaels.
Kelly hypes
America Online’s chat about the show. 
Steve Austin is participating in the chat and says that he is going
forward after his neck injury
.
Team USA (Vader,
Goldust, Marc Mero, and Steve Blackman) give a promo.  Blackman doesn’t relay much intensity, but
promo work was never his strong point.
Team Canada (The
British Bulldog, Jim Neidhart, Doug Furnas & Philip LaFon) sees Furnas
renounce his American citizenship.
Team Canada (The
British Bulldog, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, Doug Furnas & Philip LaFon)
beats Team USA (Vader, Goldust, Marc Mero & Steve Blackman w/Sable) when
the Bulldog is the sole survivor after pinning Vader after hitting him with the
ring bell at 17:46:
Other Eliminations:  Blackman gets counted out at 5:44; Vader pins
Neidhart after a splash at 7:31; Vader pins LaFon after a splash off the second
rope at 9:07; Furnas pins Mero with a rollup and holding the tights at 11:57;
Goldust gets counted out at 16:58; Vader pins Furnas after a Vader Bomb at
17:34
This is the blowoff for the 1997 feud between Canada and
the United States and it ends with more of a whimper than a bang.  The Patriot suffered a debilitating bicep
injury before the show, so he was penciled out and Blackman was put into the
match.  This is an odd match on paper
because Furnas and LaFon just returned and only one of the wrestlers on Team
Canada was actually born there, a fact that Ross brings up on commentary.  Team USA are the heels, but it’s nothing like
the dynamic that was present at Canadian Stampede four months prior.  The Bulldog does get a massive pop for
vertically suplexing Vader, though. 
Blackman is presented as the new “supreme fighting machine” (my words,
not the WWF’s) and his karate-style is put over strong and the heels have to
gang up to eliminate him.  Goldust is
brooding over family issues and has a broken hand so he refuses to tag in and
Vader tires of that and tosses him into the ring.  Goldust just decides to walk out after that,
which sets up a new feud with Vader and basically costs Team USA the
match.  The match had some fun moments, like
a great power match between Furnas and Vader, but when the Goldust-Vader issue
took over it limped over the finish line. 
Rating:  ***
Call 815-734-1161
to get a new Steve Austin t-shirt for $25 (plus $6 shipping & handling)!
Ross and Lawler
talk to Jacquelin Cook, who won the Survivor Series Super Supper Sweepstakes so
she and ten friends can have dinner with a WWF superstar.  Luckily, she picks Steve Austin and not Bret
Hart for her dinner guest.
A long video
package hypes Kane-Mankind.
Mankind says that
the next match won’t be a wrestling match because it is going to be him against
a brick wall.
Kane (w/Paul
Bearer) beats Mankind with a Tombstone at 9:29:
I’m surprised that they didn’t put this match after the
first two in order to break up the string of Survivor Series matches.  Like Sin Cara and Glacier, Kane had special
lighting for his early matches, but it makes some spots on the arena floor hard
to see.  This is Kane’s first televised
singles match and Mankind takes his usual sick bumps to get him over.  Heading in, everyone knew who the winner of
this match would be, but Mankind gives this a good effort and produces a pretty
good David-Goliath struggle.  Rating: 
**½
Michael Cole
interviews Commissioner Slaughter and Vince McMahon.  Slaughter says security has been stepped up
in the backstage area and McMahon says that Bret-Michaels will hopefully happen
tonight, since it has been cancelled several times before.  Cole asks him who is going to win, as a wink
at the smart fans, to which McMahon replies “I don’t know” which leaves you
with the impression that something is wrong. 
It just feels eerie.
Dok Hendrix
interviews Ken Shamrock, Ahmed Johnson & The Legion of Doom.
Ken Shamrock,
Ahmed Johnson & The Legion of Doom defeat The Nation of Domination when
Shamrock is the sole survivor after making Rocky Maivia submit to the ankle
lock at 20:37:
Other Eliminations:  Rocky Maivia pins Hawk with a Rock Bottom at
2:15; Johnson eliminates Faarooq with a Pearl River Plunge at 4:39; Maivia pins
Johnson when Faarooq trips Johnson and holds his leg down at 6:18; Animal pins
Kama Mustafa with a schoolboy at 10:53; Animal gets counted out at 15:00; Shamrock
forces D-Lo Brown to submit to the ankle lock at 17:12
This Ahmed-Nation issue is a little out of hand, since
this feud has been going on since the summer of 1996.  I mean we have headed into Tito Santana-Rick
Martel territory here.  Ahmed gets a measure
of revenge on Faarooq by eliminating him, but Faarooq returns the favor and
they brawl to the locker room because the feud must continue!  After those sequences, the crowd completely
dies as Animal takes the offensive.  The
only thing that wakes them up from time to time is to taunt Maivia.  As the crowd works up a “Rocky’s gay” chant,
I have to wonder what future generations will think of these fans since it is
no longer acceptable to chant those things and how editing that stuff out will
butcher future releases of this show. 
Jesse James and Billy Gunn come out and get Animal eliminated, but don’t
fear because that allows Shamrock to mount the comeback and by proxy, build up
a feud with Maivia that will carry into 1998. 
This thing had a hot start, but completely died around the eight minute
mark.  Shamrock-Maivia brought it back at
the end, but it took forever to get there. 
Rating:  *½
Cole interviews
some fans about who is going to win the WWF championship match later tonight.
A video package hypes
Steve Austin-Owen Hart
.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve
Austin beats Owen Hart (Champion w/Team Canada) with a Stone Cold Stunner to
win the title at 4:01:
This is a weird dynamic for Austin’s return, since he’s
in hostile territory but he manages a mixed reaction to show how over he
is.  Jim Neidhart tries to attack Austin
before the bell, but eats a Stunner and that allows Owen to get the advantage.  Sensing trouble, Owen tries to get counted
out and when that doesn’t work he chokes Austin with a microphone cord and
tells the referee “disqualify me” and when the referee tells him no and to
break it, Owen says “NEVER!”  Shortly
after that, Austin gets Owen in the ring and then hits the Stunner and wins the
title.  Really awkward match to watch,
but Austin came back too quickly and was very fragile.  Also, if someone broke my neck in the ring I
wouldn’t want to be out there with them very long either.  Watching this at the time, though, I had a
lot of reservations about Austin’s future in-ring career.  Thankfully, those reservations proved to be
unfounded, at least in the short term.  Rating: 
A video package
hypes Bret Hart-Shawn Michaels
.
WWF Championship
Match:  “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn
Michaels (European Champion) beats Bret “the Hitman” Hart (Champion) when Bret
submits to the Sharpshooter to win the title at 11:00:
Well, this is the infamous “Montreal Screwjob” whereby
Bret refused to lose to Michaels in Montreal and instead of running with the
agreed upon finish, which was a double disqualification, Vince McMahon had
referee Earl Hebner ring the bell when Michaels had Bret in the Sharpshooter to
cause a title change.  While this match
is tough to watch as a Bret fan, I do believe that McMahon and crew were justified
in what they did because it made no sense to have Bret forfeit the belt and
head to WCW as an undefeated champion. 
They couldn’t have run Michaels-Bret on RAW and had a title switch
there, which would have cheated the paying pay-per-view customers, so that was
off the table.  You can sense the
frustration that the WWF booking staff felt if you watch Jim Cornette’s 1997
Timeline shoot interview, as he says it was chaos trying to come up with a
reasonable finish for the match.  In the
end, all parties are to blame for what unfolded, some more than others.  Watching this match fifteen years later, with
the entrances showing both guys coming to the ring from their locker rooms, it
feels a lot like a funeral to the “Bret Hart” era that has existed in the company
since he won the WWF title in 1992.  This
match is probably the most controversial and arguably most significant match in
wrestling history, as it generated some of the momentum that led to the WWF
overtaking WCW, helped cement Vince McMahon’s status as a heel, and it still
generates a great deal of debate today.  There
is some nice continuity in the sense that five years ago when these two faced off
at the Survivor Series they both had singles titles, with Bret as the WWF
champion and Michaels as the Intercontinental champion.  As a match, it is actually a good prelude to
the Austin era since they brawl into the crowd and up the aisle before the
official bell.  The pacing is a little
slower than usual and there is only one near-fall, which might be owed to Bret
being paranoid about a fast count finish. 
It’s a little weird to rate this match, since the screwjob ended it
abruptly and before it was supposed to, but I guess you have to work with what
you have.  Rating:  ***
The Final Report Card:  The only real appeal of this show is the
screwjob, but if you hope to see any extracurriculars after the bell rings then
you aren’t going to get them on the Coliseum Video release, as the show ended
very quickly after the bell and missed Bret Hart destroying equipment and
everything else.  This is a show that you
can easily bypass as it has little redeeming value outside of the legacy of the
main event.  In fact, I would say it’s
the worst Survivor Series up to this point.
Attendance: 
20,593
Buyrate: 
0.89

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – November 3, 1997

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross, and Jim
Cornette are in the booth and they are live from Hershey, Pennsylvania.
McMahon interviews
Steve Austin, who reiterates his hatred of Owen Hart and says that he attacked
Ahmed Johnson last week because he wants to make sure Owen held onto the
Intercontinental title at Survivor Series. 
Ahmed comes out and says he respected Austin until last week and
proceeds to challenge Austin to a match. 
Austin gets a “hell yeah” from the crowd to agree to the match, but in
storyline terms that is non-sensical since Austin’s reinstatement was not
supposed to take effect until the Survivor Series.
Sunny comes out to
do guest ring announcing duties for the next match.  She makes some ten year old’s night by giving
him a kiss on the cheek.

Opening Light
Heavyweight Championship Tournament First Round Contest:  Aguila beats Super Loco with a moonsault at
5:11:
The brackets for the tournament are as follows:  the winner of this match faces the winner of
Taka Michinoku and Devon Storm.  The
other side of the bracket sees Jerry Lynn face Eric Shelley and Flash Flanagan
face Brian Christopher.  It’s a crime
that Tajiri was not in the tournament based on his recent work.  Super Loco is Super Crazy, but he’s not very
proficient with his moves and makes himself look foolish by getting tangled in
the ropes in a fake dive spot and then missing a flying spinning kick off the
top rope, so that probably explains why he wasn’t long for the WWF.  Loco also keeps shrugging after every move or
taunt at the crowd, which is strange. 
This is a complete spotfest and the pacing is really awkward, but the
result is not in doubt since Ross was putting Aguila over hard despite him only
getting twenty percent of the offense. 
Having Brian Christopher on commentary for this didn’t help either.  Rating:  *
A pre-taped Jim
Ross interview with Dustin Runnels and Terri is shown, which is where Runnels
starts a heel turn by saying he’s tired of Terri and how she won’t let him be
who is wants to be.  Runnels says that
when Terri was gone for a month he found someone who let him express himself,
that he doesn’t love her, and walks out after giving back his wedding
ring.  Ross rants about how Goldust
should be ashamed of himself when the segment finishes.
A long video
package chronicles the Bret Hart-Shawn Michaels feud.
The Austin-Ahmed
match looks like it is happening next, but after Ahmed makes his entrance Kane
comes out and destroys him with two Tombstones. 
Mankind runs in after that and gives Paul Bearer the Mandible Claw and
blasts Kane with a piece of metal, but like Michael Myers in the Halloween
films, Kane sits up as we head to a commercial break.  I remember being very angry about this since
I really wanted to see Austin-Ahmed
.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your Steve Austin t-shirt, which comes in its special can of “whoop
ass.”  It’ll cost you $30 (plus $6
shipping & handling)!
My copy of the
show fast forwards through the next segment, but the end of it sees Steve
Austin give Kama Mustafa a Stone Cold Stunner, while the Legion of Doom brawl
with other Nation members.  I think
Austin came out and challenged the Nation to a fight since he didn’t get to
face Ahmed Johnson and this was the result
.
The announce crew
switches out, like WCW used to do on Nitro, as Vince McMahon comes out with
Jerry Lawler to do commentating duties with Jim Ross.  Jim Cornette hits the showers.
Michael Cole
interviews D-Generation X and Shawn Michaels kisses Triple H and Chyna in
response to a “Shawn is gay chant.”  He
doesn’t dare do that to Rick Rude.  DX
bullies Cole, who leaves the ring in disgust, and Michaels makes fun of Hulk
Hogan’s guitar taunt with his European title. 
Michaels says next week he is going to walk naked, which makes McMahon
freak out, and he’ll beat Ken Shamrock as well. 
Commissioner Slaughter comes out and DX dons face guards with windshield
wipers to block Slaughter’s spitting. 
Slaughter isn’t amused and orders Michaels to face Shamrock tonight.
Marc Mero is irate
backstage because Sable isn’t ready and he barges into her locker room with her
only half clothed.
Marc Mero
(w/Sable) beats Savio Vega with a TKO at 2:31:
So yes, this is our second match of the night and the
first in nearly an hour.  Mero continues
to steamroll his way through the lower midcard, but this boxing gimmick is just
not working.  He sets up the TKO with
another low blow to end this dull contest.
Cole interviews
Sable about how she feels about Mero’s recent low blows in matches, but before
she can say much, Mero ends the interview and says if Cole wants to interview a
real superstar he can talk to him next week.
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to find out why Goldust has a broken hand.
Dog Collar
Match:  Vader defeats The British Bulldog
(w/Team Canada) at 3:32:
Ross announces that the Patriot has a torn tricep muscle
and will not be at the Survivor Series. 
The Bulldog brings Jim Neidhart, Doug Furnas, and Phil LaFon with him as
they are part of Team Canada at the Survivor Series in a match that has
received very little attention.  Instead
of this being a straight up match, you win by touching all four corners.  This is also the first dog collar match in
RAW’s history.  Since the match is no
disqualification, Team Canada beats up Vader and his comrades on Team USA,
Goldust and Marc Mero, are not helping because they are heels.  Most of the match we don’t even see, as LaFon
and Furnas cut a return promo.  Vader
wins, to the surprise of the announcers who don’t even keep up with the match.  Rating: 
¼*
After the match,
Team Canada beats on Vader in the corner until a man, later identified as Steve
Blackman, comes in and attacks the heels with karate.  They play it off like a random fan charging
the ring and they play it well, with Vader laying on top of Blackman to block
the blows of the heels.
The announce crew
hypes the house show circuit
.
“The Road Dogg”
Jesse James & “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn beat Jesus & Jose when James pins
Jose after Gunn hits a flying elbow drop to the back of Jose’s head at 5:19:
McMahon never knows the names of the Boricuas, which
shows you where they stand on the WWF totem pole.  McMahon also lets us know that we won’t get
any more comments from Jeff Jarrett because of time constraints, so the second
part of his interview will be aired on Livewire.  I’m sure Jarrett was thrilled about
that.  This match sees James debut the
origins of his shaking knee drop spot, but the rest is very uneventful as the
crowd doesn’t care who wins as both teams are heels.  This just serves to give the yet to be named
Outlaws another victory.  Rating: 
¾*
Non-Title
Match:  Ken Shamrock beats “The
Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels (European Champion w/D-Generation X) by
disqualification when Triple H interferes at 7:48 shown:
This match was triggered by Michaels interfering in
Shamrock’s match against Bret Hart on last week’s show.  Shamrock dominates Michaels before DX’s
numbers come into play.  Rick Rude comes
out midway through the match as I begin speculating on how Michaels keeps
coming up with the money to pay Rude for protection.  Talk about another storyline mystery we never
got to the bottom of.  Michaels carries
Shamrock to a good match here, but Shamrock botches several sequences.  Shamrock makes Michaels tap out to the ankle
lock behind the referee’s back, thereby providing a justification for him to
receive a title match with Michaels after Survivor Series, and predictable
interference from DX ends the match.  Rating: 
***
After the match,
Triple H gives Shamrock a Pedigree on Rick Rude’s briefcase as the show goes
off the air.  What does this mean for
Bret Hart?!?!
The Final Report Card:  This show was paced very poorly, with only
one match in the first hour and they were really trying to cram everything in
by the end.  It was really odd not to
have Bret or Owen Hart on the show, which was another sign that Bret’s title
reign was coming to an end.  The main
event was good, but it’s not enough to lift the show out of thumbs down
territory since there weren’t any other redeeming elements.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.6 (vs. 4.0 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – October 20, 1997

by Logan Scisco
Vince McMahon, Jim
Ross, and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
.

Opening
Contest:  Rocky Maivia & Kama Mustafa
(w/Faarooq & D-Lo Brown) defeat Ahmed Johnson & Ken Shamrock (w/The
Legion of Doom) when Maivia pins Shamrock after Faarooq hits Shamrock with Rick
Rude’s briefcase at 6:44:
As the match gets underway, D-Generation X comes out to
sit by the entrance and they showcase signs that read “Spank Me Vince,” “Who
Booked this Crap?,” and “I’d Rather be in Chyna.”  One of them is the non-politically correct
“Uncle Tom 3:16”, which I’m surprised they didn’t catch a great deal of heat
for.  The crowd is hot for this and
Maivia and Shamrock have a good exchange in a small preview of what is to come
in their 1998 feud.  Faarooq spends much
of the match talking with Rick Rude and Kama forgets to nail Shamrock when he
runs the ropes to trigger the initial finishing sequence and all of this
results in a small upset for the Nation. 
Rating:  *¾
After the match, Ahmed goes after the Nation
and gets beaten down and the Legion of Doom just casually walk to aid him
before they are intercepted by WWF officials. Then out of nowhere the Godwinns
jump onto the entrance ramp and attack the LOD with garbage cans.
McMahon says that
tonight a former WCW champion will be with us tonight
.
Michael Cole is in
the locker room and shows us the Nation of Domination’s locker room, which has
been painted with anti-black graffiti.  A
Canadian flag is left behind, along with a “Canada rules,” which is meant to
implicate the Hart Foundation.  THIS did
get the company in hot water with civil rights groups if I remember correctly.
The Nation come
out and get in McMahon’s face about the graffiti in their locker room and
allege that he is a racist and is running a racist company.  Faarooq gives his pro-black message and
demands that WWF Champion Bret Hart come and face him immediately, despite
their match being booked for later in the evening.
Non-Title Match:  Bret “the Hitman” Hart (WWF Champion w/The
Hart Foundation) pins Faarooq (w/The Nation of Domination) after Steve Austin
gives Faarooq a Stone Cold Stunner at 5:12 shown:
D-Generation X quickly makes their presence felt and
Shawn Michaels accuses him of being a racist on commentary.  Bret goes after Michaels, but he is
restrained by the Nation and that leads to a brawl between the Nation and the
Hart Foundation at ringside.  Bret works
the leg, but when he goes for the ring post figure-four the Nation attacks
him.  In the midst of the chaos, Steve
Austin comes into the ring and attacks Faarooq to a nuclear crowd reaction and
that enables Bret to pick up a cheap win. 
The match was butchered by the commercial and extra curriculars and
Austin’s interference adds an extra ½ to it. 
Rating:  *½
The 1997 edition
of the Milton Bradley Karate Fighters Holiday Tournament is previewed by Kevin
Kelly and Grandmaster Robbie.  Next week
will be the first match of the tournament between Jerry Lawler and Brian Christopher.
Jeff Jarrett comes
out, thereby making his return to the company, and says that since we refused
to resign with WCW, Eric Bischoff tried to bury him.  He says that WCW put a lid on his potential
and he criticizes being placed with “an ex-football player’s ex-wife that
defines dumb blonde.”  He runs down his
old WWF country music gimmick and McMahon’s handling of his career.  He then runs down Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels,
and Steve Austin.  This “shoot” promo
might mean more if Jarrett was as valuable to the wrestling business as he
thinks he is.  None of this would amount
to much since Jarrett would soon go back to his old country music gimmick and
would be partnered with Debra when she came to the WWF.  In fact, it actually hurt Jarrett in 1999 since
Austin refused to work a main event program with him because Jarrett called the
3:16 part of Austin’s gimmick “blasphemous.” 
Austin rightly worried that Jarrett’s comments could have led to a
Christian boycott of the WWF and derailed his push.
Marc Mero
(w/Sable) defeats “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher with a TKO at 4:11:
This match begins the “Mero is jealous of Sable”
storyline, as Lawler puts a Steve Austin hat on Sable during the match and when
Mero sees it he takes it off of her face and throws it into the crowd.  Aside from that, this match is okay but no
one cares about it.  Mero uses a low blow
to set up the TKO, thereby showing that he is moving away from his babyface
roots.  Rating:  *½
The announcers
hype the house show circuit
.
A video package
hypes the title for title match between Shawn Michaels and Owen Hart.  It recounts the enziguri incident with Shawn
Michaels and the SummerSlam piledriver on Steve Austin.
Title for
Title:  “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn
Michaels (European Champion) wrestles Owen Hart (Intercontinental Champion) to
a disqualification at 6:20 shown:
Owen challenges Michaels to leave his crew backstage and
Michaels agrees.  Michaels gives Owen a
piledriver on the arena floor, which would have meant Owen’s career was over in
Memphis, but he rallies with his belly-to-belly suplex.  I hate when big moves like that are done on
the arena floor since by wrestling standards moves on the arena floor are ten
times as devastating as those done in the ring. 
This is an interesting match from a crowd reaction perspective because
they don’t necessarily care for Michaels, but they don’t like Owen either.  Owen counters Sweet Chin Music with the
enziguri, but Steve Austin comes out from the crowd.  The referee makes the mistake of getting in
his way and eats a Stunner and Michaels KO’s Owen with the Sweet Chin Music,
which leads to Bret running out to tear apart Michaels and this is thrown
out.  Owen-Michaels is always a great
match, but they just didn’t have the time to take this to another level.  Rating:  **½
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to hear another one of Jim Cornette’s rants!
The Undertaker in
a pre-taped segment says that he has carried the grief of his family for a long
time and argues that Paul Bearer has poisoned Kane’s mind.  He promises to never fight Kane.
The next match is
scheduled to be the British Bulldog against Dude Love, but Kane interrupts
after Love’s entrance.  Love clotheslines
Kane over the top rope and hits him with a chair, but Kane barely sells it and
chokeslams Love twice on the entrance ramp. 
This lays the foundation for a Kane-Foley match at Survivor Series.
“The Road Dogg”
Jesse James & “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn defeat The Headbangers when James pins
Thrasher after Gunn hits Thrasher with a boom box at 4:05:
Road Dogg cuts a promo to introduce himself and “Bad Ass”
Billy Gunn.  Gunn’s attire is something
like Taka Michinoku would wear, but it at least gets him away from the cowboy
gimmick he has been sporting in some fashion since 1993.  If you are looking for some trademark New Age
Outlaws spots you aren’t going to get them in this match since this is one of
the formative outings of the team and they are still working out the
gimmick.  The Headbangers look to have
the match in hand, but Gunn smashes Thrasher over the head with a boom box that
explodes on impact, thereby putting some of those Paul E. Dangerously cell
phone shots to shame, and the soon to be named Outlaws pick up a win over
former tag team champions.  A really
boring match until the finish and you would think from the ring work that the
Outlaws weren’t going anywhere, but James’ mic work put the team on the
map.  Rating:  *
Marc Mero giving
the TKO to a jobber on Shotgun Saturday Night is the Lazer Tag Slam of the
Week.
Bret Hart’s
appearance on Mad TV is shown
.
Sunny comes out to
be the guest ring announcer for the next match
.
Footage of Taka
Michinoku signing a long-term contract with the WWF is shown.  Could they do anything more to telegraph the
fact that this guy was going to be the light heavyweight champion?
Light Heavyweight
Exhibition:  Taka Michinoku beats Tajiri
with a Michinoku Driver at 2:52:
Tajiri gets the jobber entrance.  Ross finally gives us a date for the
beginning of the light heavyweight championship tournament, which will kick off
on the November 3rd edition of Monday Night Raw.  Tajiri folds Michinoku up like an accordion
on a sit out powerbomb and the two proceed to put most of the light heavyweight
matches done so far to shame.  They work
a fast match, which has the predictable finish, but the WWF just didn’t know
what they had with Tajiri at this stage of his career.
Jim Cornette reads
some fan comments about his rant against Phil Mushnick last week.  He urges fans to make their voice heard and
McMahon tells fans to write to TV Guide and voice their displeasure with Phil
Mushnick
.
Footage of the
Godwinns losing the tag team championships to the Legion of Doom last week is
shown, along with their beating of Uncle Cletus.
The Godwinns are
scheduled to face the Disciples of Apocalypse, but the DOA do a four-on-two
attack on the Godwinns before the Truth Commission comes to the Godwinns aid to
continue their feud.
Mankind cuts a
promo from the arena boiler room, where he says that he is the master of mayhem
and if the Undertaker will not fight against his own brother then he will.
Tune in next week
to see Bret Hart defend the WWF title against Ken Shamrock!  See, they didn’t have to do Montreal unless
they really wanted to.
The Final Report Card:  This episode was a version of crash TV as
tons of different angles fly at the audience from all kinds of different
directions, but it made for a quick and enjoyable show.  The matches were brief and not very exciting
outside of the light heavyweight exhibition and Shawn-Owen, but everyone has
something to do and that keeps you invested in the non-main event matches.
Monday Night Raw Rating:  2.9 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – October 13, 1997

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross narrates
a video package that profiles the Legion of Doom, who have vowed to defeat the
Godwinns for the tag team titles tonight or retire
.
Vince McMahon,
Ross, and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are in Topeka,
Kansas
.
McMahon interviews
the Hart Foundation.  Before WWF Champion
Bret Hart can start speaking, the Kliq interrupts and Michaels has his antics
with the Canadian flag replayed from last week’s show, along with his loss to
Triple H.  Bret calls Michaels and Triple
H “degenerates” as they continue to run down the Hart Foundation and Michaels
runs with it and says that his crew is “D-Generation X” and they are around to
break rules.  After DX finishes their promo, the Nation of Domination comes out, thereby depriving
Bret of a rebuttal, and this leads into our first match.

Opening Non-Title
Contest:  Owen Hart (Intercontinental
Champion w/The Hart Foundation) wrestles Kama Mustafa (w/The Nation of
Domination) to a no contest at 4:46:
Before the bell, D-Generation X comes out and Michaels
and Triple H take on commentating duties, where they run down Bret Hart’s
charisma.  Lawler tries to kiss up to DX,
but they just tell him to shut up and give his headset to Rick Rude.  Owen and Kama have a decent match in the
ring, but the outside shenanigans eat up camera time and Michaels eventually
provokes a battle between the Hart Foundation and the Nation, as DX looks
on.  Rating:  *½
The Legion of Doom
discuss the impact of Paul Ellering on their careers
.
WWF Tag Team
Champions The Godwinns and Uncle Cletus say that they are willing to face the
Legion of Doom tonight because they want to get them out of the WWF.
Mini Tag
Match:  Max Mini & Nova beat Mosaic
& Tarantula when Max pins Mosaic with a rollup counter to a powerbomb at
2:23:
This is the same match as Badd Blood, just more
proficient as there are no blown spots and the crowd pops for the high
spots.  Nova takes a nasty spill to the
floor during a suicide dive where he lands head-first onto the arena
floor.  He likely ends up with a
concussion as he stumbles around aimlessly and the match ends soon after.
Footage of Flash
Funk beating Rockabilly on Shotgun Saturday Night when the Honky Tonk Man
accidentally tripped Rockabilly is shown. 
This brought the Road Dogg out, where he asked Rockabilly to join forces
with him and Rockabilly decked Honky with his guitar
.
We are supposed to
see Shawn Michaels-Flash Funk next, which sounds like a great match, but Kane
interrupts and destroys Funk.  Topeka
pops for Kane, which is likely the biggest reaction Glenn Jacobs had ever
received in his career up to this point. 
Paul Bearer says Kane will destroy everyone in his path until he gets to
face the Undertaker.  After
Kane leaves, Shawn Michaels comes out and covers Funk as Triple H counts the
pin, Chyna rings the bell, and Rick Rude announces him as the winner.  In retrospect, DX really lost something when
Rude left since he gave them an air of authority.
The Legion of Doom
speak about how much they appreciate their fans
.
The Truth
Commission, with the Jackal, who has replaced the Commandant, say that the
Disciples of Apocalypse’s joyride in the WWF is coming to an end.
Skull &
8-Ball (w/Crush & Chainz) defeat Recon & Sniper (w/The Interrogator
& The Jackal) by disqualification when the Jackyl pulls down the top rope
at 3:45:
The feud between these two
teams is so exhilarating that McMahon and Lawler discuss the scandals of the
Clinton administration, much to the ire of Ross.  The match follows a good formula for Skull
and 8-Ball, since it allows the faster Truth Commission to control most of the
action and allow the DOA to hit a few high impact moves for pops.  After the match, the Interrogator snaps and
attacks the DOA, but the DOA eventually get away and the Truth Commission has
to restrain him.  The crowd was into the
DOA, so they had some investment in this angle, but McMahon and Lawler’s
bantering really killed the match.  Rating: 
Steve Austin comes out and McMahon says that if Austin signs his
medical waiver that he will be cleared to compete on November 9th at
the Survivor Series.  McMahon pulls out
his spectacles and authorizes Austin’s match with Owen Hart for the Survivor
Series and Austin signs the medical waiver to a huge pop.  Austin offers McMahon a handshake and then
pulls him close, where he tells him he could have given him a Stone Cold
Stunner.  Faarooq comes out and warns
Austin that he messed with the wrong man at Badd Blood, to which Austin
challenges the Nation to come after him. 
The Nation sends Rocky Maivia and Austin gives him a Stunner before
fleeing through the crowd.  Watching
segments like this really make you miss this era.
The Legion of Doom comment on what it was like to wrestle at Wembley
Stadium at SummerSlam ’92
.
The Legion of Doom talk about the origins of their characters.
The Legion of Doom say that tonight they are going to see if they have
what it takes to be the WWF tag team champions in the modern age and they don’t
want to be washed up like Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage.  A much more subdued LOD promo and a good one
at that.
Light Heavyweight Exhibition: 
“Too Sexy” Brian Christopher beats Tajiri with a rollup by using the
tights at 5:26:
I will never understand why the
WWF waited so long to hold a tournament to crown a light heavyweight
champion.  Since July they have had tons
of these “exhibition” bouts, although Taka Michinoku is the closest to a #1 seed at this point for a tournament since he has only been beaten by the Great Sasuke.  Christopher’s offense is fine, but Tajiri’s
is better.  However, Tajiri is not
Lawler’s kid, nor is he a product of a WWF developmental territory, so despite
outwrestling Christopher he loses the match. 
At least Tajiri kicks Christopher in the face and over the top rope at
the end.  Rating: 
**½
Jim Cornette gives his opinion on Phil Mushnick, who wants professional
wrestling abolished in the United States and hates the steroid use in the
industry.  Cornette also reads some
derogatory things that Mushnick has said about wrestling fans.  Cornette takes issue with Mushnick’s recent
criticisms of the wrestling industry in light of Brian Pillman’s death.  This is a good rant by Cornette, but
hindsight shows that Mushnick’s criticisms were right (and continue to be)
about the deaths of too many young wrestlers because of drug and steroid abuse
.
Goldust
(w/Marlena) defeats Savio Vega (w/Los Boricuas) after hitting him with
Marlena’s purse at 4:16:
Goldust and Marlena are finally reunited, but it is
somewhat awkward in light of Pillman’s death and the sudden end of that
angle.  The Boricuas get caught tripping
Goldust when he runs the ropes and are tossed from ringside.  Considering the awful matches these two have
been putting on lately, this one is surprisingly entertaining.  Marlena tosses her cigar into the ring to
distract the referee and that allows Goldust to use a foreign object and
win.  Rating:  **
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to hear Jim Ross’s rant against WCW
.
Triple H is
supposed to wrestle the Patriot, but as the Patriot comes out, Rick Rude tosses
coffee in his face and beats on him with his briefcase.  Commissioner Slaughter comes out and tells
Triple H that he will wrestle a volunteer. 
This volunteer is Ahmed Johnson, but he’s attacked by the Nation of
Domination, who were seemingly sent to attack Ahmed by Rude.  As the Nation beats up Ahmed and does a
number on his hand, DX eats popcorn by the entrance.  Eventually, the Legion of Doom and Ken
Shamrock come out to break it up.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  The Legion of Doom
defeat The Godwinns (Champions w/Uncle Cletus) when Hawk pins Phineas with a
flying clothesline to win the titles at 8:44 shown:
In case you didn’t read the recaps of early in the show,
if the Legion of Doom lose this match then they are leaving the company.  Considering the tendencies of these teams, it
would have made much more sense to make this a no disqualification match, but
they didn’t do so and it’s the same plodding battle these teams have had for
the last couple of months.  A false tag
spot sees the Godwinns whip Animal into the ring steps and seemingly put him
out of commission as WWF officials come to take him to the locker room.  Henry gives Earl Hebner a Slop Drop and
Animal suddenly runs back into the fray. 
Cletus accidentally blasts Henry with a horse shoe and Phineas gets
surprised with a flying clothesline when he tries to piledrive Animal and the
Legion of Doom win the titles to a massive pop. 
The whole story they tried to tell here was way too rushed, but at least
this finish sent the fans home happy.  Rating: 
*
After the match,
the Godwinns destroy Uncle Cletus and bust his nose up really good.  I guess Tony Anthony’s contract wasn’t
renewed.
The Final Report Card:  With more build, the Legion of Doom title win
might have meant more.  Instead, it came
off as very predictable booking.  Still,
it was good to see them with the belts since they were the most over team in
the division at the time.  Bret Hart came
off as a chump on this show based on the opening segment, but that was the idea
since he only had a few more weeks left in the company.  This show was completely carried by
D-Generation X’s antics, as they did a great job in the opening segment, had a
nice comic bit when Kane destroyed Flash Funk, and were booked as geniuses prior
to the main event.  If you were a mark
and this show didn’t make you hate DX, I’m not sure what else would have done
it.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.3 (vs. 3.8 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

by Logan Scisco

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

by Logan Scisco

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Neutral

What the World Was Watching: WWF One Night Only (1997)

by Logan Scisco


A video package
highlights how the British Bulldog has become a wrestling ambassador for Great
Britain.
Vince McMahon, Jim
Ross, and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from
Birmingham, England.  The setup was
pretty cool, with WWF logos in the middle of the Union Jack and attendants in
British dress flanking the entrance ramp.
Dude Love talks in
a British accent and says that he does not miss his teeth.

Opening
Contest:  Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna)
defeats Dude Love with the Pedigree at 12:53:
The crowd is hot for the opener, with the usual British
gimmick of having people in the audience with air horns.  I would really hate to be seated by those
fans during the show.  The announcers do
not talk about Foley’s prior feud with Helmsley since he is wrestling under a
different gimmick.  The announcers also
hype Helmsley’s “cerebral” nature and how he is the smartest man in the
business.  The first five minutes is a
pretty good technical wrestling exhibition, with Love working the leg with an
Indian death lock.  Helmsley bails to
avoid Sweet Shin Music and that is Chyna’s cue to start interfering to keep Helmsley in control.  Helmsley and
Mike Chioda do the “push the referee, referee pushes back spot” after Chioda
breaks up Helmsley using the ropes on an abdominal stretch and the crowd loves
it.  Love pulls out an arm drag off of
the second rope (?!?!), but Chyna puts Helmsley’s foot on the rope after Love
hits Sweet Shin Music and that distraction enables Helmsley to
steal the victory.  This was a fantastic
opener, with very little resting and it used great pacing to keep a hot crowd
engaged.  Rating:  ***¾
The crowd gives
its opinion on who is going to win the main event between the British Bulldog
and Shawn Michaels.  There are a
surprising number of Michaels supporters, but a thirteen year old kid has the
best line of the segment:  “What has
Shawn Michaels done in the last year except for whining about losing his
smile?”
Sunny comes out to
do guest ring announcing duties
.
Tiger Ali Singh
(w/Tiger Jeet Singh) pins Leif Cassidy after a Tiger Bomb (flying bulldog) at
3:59:
This was one of the few appearances of Tiger Ali Singh in
1997, despite him being heralded as a big acquisition earlier in the year, and
was the first sighting of Cassidy on a big show in more than six months.  Before the match, Singh gives a weird promo saying
that he is a proud Arab Canadian that is drug free and hopes to set the world
on fire.  The crowd boos all of it,
especially when Tiger Jeet gets on the mic. 
The match is a disjointed mess, as Cassidy bumps around a lot for the
rookie, but Singh fails to pull off a hiptoss and cannot adequately get himself
on the top rope when Cassidy tries to suplex him on there to set up the
finish.  The crowd reads right through
Singh’s lack of ability and Ross got so bored during the contest that he bugged
Lawler about his relationship with Brian Christopher.  Rating:  ½*
Footage of the
Headbangers winning the tag team titles at In Your House:  Ground Zero is shown.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  The Headbangers
(Champions) defeat Savio Vega & Miguel Perez when Mosh pins Perez after a
Mosh Pit at 13:33:
The Headbangers have not scored a clean win on a big
television show since becoming the champions, but I like their chances of
getting one here.  The Boricuas play the
heel role well, despite constantly reverting to nerve holds when they cannot
think of anything else to do.  Thrasher
is placed in peril for ten minutes and when all hell breaks loose, Savio
prevents Miguel from getting pinned off of a super hurricanrana and a
powerslam.  However, Mosh surprises Perez
with the Mosh Pit after he powerbombs Thrasher and the Headbangers retain the
titles.  The heat segment was a little
long without enough believable near-falls, but this was a proficient tag team
match that the crowd was into throughout. 
Rating:  ***
European Champion
The British Bulldog tells Jim Ross in a taped interview that he is dedicating
tonight’s match to his sister, who has battled cancer.
The Patriot beats
Flash Funk with the Uncle Slam at 8:46:
Shades of gray! 
The Patriot gets booed, since he is waving the American flag in a
foreign land.  McMahon tries to say it is
a mixed reaction, but there are no audible cheers to be found anywhere.  The match has its moments, but both men’s
styles are so different that they do not complement each other well.  Funk does not utilize a lot of high flying
offense, but he does hit a splash off the top rope for a believable near
fall.  However, a moonsault eats knees
and the Patriot finishes and gets booed out of the building.  The finishing sequence was just enough to
keep this from ending up below average.  Rating: 
**
The Legion of Doom
tell the Godwinns that they are going down and Hawk recites some weird poem
about a bird doing its business in his eye and saying that cows don’t fly.
The Legion of
Doom beat The Godwinns when Animal pins Phineas after a Doomsday Device at
10:42:
The recently debuted Uncle Cletus is nowhere to be found and Henry is still mad about his broken neck and this feud continues.  Both members of the LOD are placed in peril,
but the Godwinns offense consists mostly of rest holds so it is tough to watch.
  They tease you with a finish about
seven minutes in when Hawk eats a Slop Drop, but he kicks out and the match
just continues. 
A myriad of clotheslines put the LOD back in control and they capture
another victory over the Godwinns, thereby continuing to dominate this
feud.  Phineas takes a nasty bump off of
the Doomsday Device, as he seems to crash down on his head, but he appears to be okay.  Rating:  *
Ross interviews
Ken Shamrock, who has suffered internal injuries in his match against Faarooq
on RAW.  As a result, he has been pulled
out of his match against Owen Hart on tonight’s show and Vader will take his
place.  Shamrock says that he is
disappointed that he cannot compete and Rockabilly comes out.  Rockabilly makes fun of Shamrock’s situation
and slaps him, but that leads to Shamrock taking him down and applying an ankle
lock before WWF officials intervene.  You would think that Billy would learn to counter that by the time he feuded with Shamrock in 1999.
McMahon interviews
WWF Champion Bret Hart, who says that he still hopes that the British fans
support him and even though he is fighting a fan favorite in the Undertaker
that he is going to give his best effort tonight.  McMahon presses Bret on the fans booing him
and Bret sheepishly says that he cares about his fans.  This was a really awkward interview for all
parties and made Bret look really bad.  This will become a common booking pattern for Bret’s last month in the company.
Vader pins Owen
Hart with a powerslam at 12:14:
Owen is really excited to be cheered by half the crowd
and an entire barricade nearly falls over because the fans want to touch him.  After Vader showcases his weight advantage in
the early going, Owen uses a hurricanrana to escape a powerbomb and teases a
Sharpshooter, but can’t turn Vader over. 
Vader seemingly kills Owen with a Samoan Drop and a second rope splash,
but Owen kicks out and then proceeds to outdo his brother’s chest-first bump
into the corner.  The crowd, which was
equally divided at the beginning, starts to cheer Owen since he’s the underdog,
but it makes little difference as Vader pounds away.  Owen catches Vader off guard with an enziguri
and applies a Sharpshooter, which is a great spot because the enziguri can
legitimately knock anyone out, but Vader makes the ropes.  Owen then slams Vader, which gets Hulk
Hogan-type reaction, but that only gets two. 
Vader Bomb eats knees and Owen hulks up. 
However, he makes the fatal decision to try a flying body press and
Vader spikes him into the canvas to pick up a hard fought win.  It was surreal to see Owen play the plucky
babyface role, but this is a match you have to see if you are an Owen fan.  Easy match of the night so far, with HHH-Dude
Love a close second.  Rating: 
****
Footage of the
ending of the SummerSlam main event between Bret Hart and the Undertaker is
shown
.
The Undertaker
cuts a taped promo where he says Bret Hart has one night to prove himself
worthy of being WWF champion and since Shawn Michaels is not the guest referee
he is going to have to beat him one-on-one.
WWF Championship
Match:  Bret “the Hitman” Hart (Champion)
defeats The Undertaker by disqualification at 28:34:
Back in 1997 there were no immediate rematch clauses, so
the Undertaker is getting his rematch with Bret at this show.  You would think that because they are on
foreign soil that the crowd would be behind Bret, but he gets a John Cena-type
reaction.  The early stages of the match
are an Attitude Era-style brawl, as both men tear into each other and brawl up
the entrance ramp, with the Undertaker getting the better of it.  Bret gets whipped chest-first into an exposed
turnbuckle and the Undertaker works the upper chest with a series of heart
punches, which displays some unique psychology. 
The Undertaker even uses a crucifix pin to secure a near-fall.  Bret fights back by working the right leg and
gets booed out of the building when he applies the ring post figure-four.  Bret pulls out the Mr. Perfect counter from
SummerSlam 1991 to put the Undertaker in the Sharpshooter, but the Undertaker
powers out and rallies.  Bret tries to
use the ring bell as a weapon, which the Undertaker blocks with a big boot, but
when he tries to use it the referee grabs it and Bret chop blocks the
Undertaker’s injured leg.  Bret ends up
hung in the ropes after fighting out of a Tombstone and when the Undertaker
will not stop his attack, the referee disqualifies him.  A lame finish for what was a great match, but
the Undertaker’s refusal to sell the leg near the end of match always brings
these matches down  I mean,
the Undertaker should have barely been able to stand near the twenty-one minute
mark, but he walks out of the match as if nothing happened to him.  Still, the interesting psychology in the
early going and the divided and vocal crowd make this the best Undertaker-Bret
match that I have ever seen.  After the
match, the Undertaker chokeslams the referee and Gerald Brisco, who has come to
get Bret out of the ropes.  Rating: 
****¼
Shawn Michaels
says that he is going to become the first Grand Slam champion in WWF history.
European
Championship Match:  “The Heartbreak Kid”
Shawn Michaels beats The British Bulldog (Champion w/Tracy) via submission to a
figure-four leg lock to win the title at 22:53:
The European championship was never intended as a
long-term WWF title, as it was more of a prop for the Bulldog, but this match
changed that.  This is also the first and
only time that a European title match headlined a pay-per-view.  The Bulldog dominates the early going with
his usual power offense and Michaels bumps like a pinball.  If Michaels really wanted to rehash the
issues between these two he would walk over to Diana and hit on her, but on
second thought he was innocent of those accusations in the summer of 1996.  Rick Rude wanders out ten minutes in and
immediately gets involved by interfering in a Bulldog roll up, tripping him
when he runs the ropes, and tossing the Bulldog into the ring post.  Michaels opts to keep the match grounded, but
the Bulldog mounts a second rally, which brings out Hunter Hearst Helmsley and
Chyna.  Now, this never made sense to me
because Owen and Bret Hart are backstage, so why are they sitting around and
not coming to their comrade’s aid? 
Michaels hits two flying elbow drops, but misses Sweet Chin Music.  However, Rude prevents the Bulldog from
hitting a running powerslam.  The battle
spills to the floor, where the Bulldog tries to give Michaels a running
powerslam, but his foot slips off of the stage the outside mats are on and he
eats Sweet Chin Music.  With the
referee’s back turned, Rude and Helmsley damage the Bulldog’s knee further and
Helmsley hits a Pedigree for good measure. 
Inside, Michaels takes off the Bulldog’s knee brace, tosses it to Diana,
and applies a figure-four, with Helmsley and Chyna assisting in leverage, and
Rude prevents the Bulldog from reaching the ropes.  Faced with four-on-one odds, the Bulldog
eventually passes out and Michaels becomes the first Grand Slam champion in WWF
history.  The original booking of the
match called for the Bulldog to win in triumphant fashion in his hometown over
a long-time rival that he had never defeated on the big stage, which is why he
dedicated the match to his dying sister Tracy, but Michaels vetoed the
finish.  Under these circumstances and
Michaels behavior at the time it does make you sympathetic to Bret’s case about
why he refused to job to him at Survivor Series.  The heel interference was great for crowd
heat and made the Bulldog appear strong, but I never care for this match.  Maybe it’s because I know the political games
played behind the scenes or the fact that the Bulldog really should have gone
over here, but this is a tough contest to stomach.  Rating:  ***½
After the match,
Michaels gets on the house mic and gloats about his victory as trash begins to
fill the ring.  Michaels taunts Diana and
then reapplies the figure-four until Diana and Owen Hart hit the ring and force
the heels to flee.
The Final Report Card:  A Bulldog victory, where the Hart Foundation
stormed the ring and helped fight off D-Generation X, would have made this one
of my favorite WWF shows of all-time. 
Despite the political games of the finish, this is a very solid show
that is worth checking out if you have never seen it.  The opener is great, the tag team
title match is better than expected, and the last three matches are
fantastic.  In some ways, I think this
pay-per-view is on the same level as Canadian Stampede and could easily be
considered the WWF’s best pay-per-view outing of 1997, even if the United
States did not have access to this show.



Also, random aside for my readers, but would you like me to start posting two reviews a week (say Tuesday at the regular time and on Saturday) or just keep it at one?
Attendance: 
11,000
Buyrate: 
0.05

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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: In Your House: Ground Zero

by Logan Scisco


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

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

What the World Was Watching: 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: Friday Night’s Main Event – August 29, 1997

by Logan Scisco


Jim Ross and Jim
Cornette are in the booth for tonight’s show. 
Location of the taping is not given.
Ross interviews
Shawn Michaels, who brings out the dented chair he hit the Undertaker with
eleven days ago on RAW.  He says that the
WWF pushed him into a corner so he had to respond with radical methods and he
will not lay down and die for the Undertaker at Ground Zero.  He then claims that if the Undertaker does
knock him down at Ground Zero that he will take down everyone with him in a
blaze of glory.  After the crowd gets on
him about his sexuality, Michaels threatens to go into the crowd and do some
vile things to people’s girlfriends and mothers.  This was a solid promo that hyped the Ground
Zero match and explained Michaels recent motivations.

Opening Contest
for the WWF Championship:  Vader (w/Paul
Bearer) defeats Bret “the Hitman” Hart (Champion) by disqualification when the
Hart Foundation interferes at 3:58 shown:
This match was setup by the last RAW episode, where Vader
refused to give a Vader Bomb to the Patriot. 
Vader is in face territory here, but he still has Paul Bearer in his
corner.  Bret promises to kick Vader’s ass
before the match and that’s something you don’t want to say to Vader, as he bowls
over Bret to a huge pop.  Vader runs
through his power offense, with Bret kicking out of a splash at two, and Bret
brings a chair into the ring, which Vader gets a hold of.  However, before he can inflict damage, the
Hart Foundation runs in and draws a disqualification for the champion.  Rating:  **¼
After the bell,
the Hart Foundation beats down Vader and Bret applies a ring post figure-four
until the Patriot comes out and breaks it up
.
The Patriot tells
Ross that he helped Vader to get back at Bret and he promises to win the WWF
title at Ground Zero
.
Sunny comes out to
do some guest commentary and she says that she does not care for Brian
Pillman’s antics on RAW.  The announcers
recap Pillman’s allegation that Dakota is his love child.
Goldust
(w/Marlena) pins Salvatore Sincere after a Curtain Call at 3:20:
Since Goldust needs an opponent to build some momentum
for Ground Zero, the WWF decided to take Sincere out of mothballs.  Ross and Cornette talk about how Sincere
needs a manager, completely glossing over when Sincere was briefly managed by
Cornette in late 1996.  A complete squash
here, albeit a good one because of the energy Sincere brought to it.
After the match,
Pillman calls out Goldust from the crowd. 
Pillman brings up the love child angle and Goldust goes after him.
Steve Austin’s
interview with Jim Ross, which aired on RAW, is replayed.
Dude Love beats
Rockabilly with a double arm DDT at 4:12:
Without the Honky Tonk Man around, this Rockabilly
gimmick serves no function anymore. 
Rockabilly musters a decent amount of offense, but most of it consists
of chokes and the contest ends up as a kick-punch affair.  Love pulls out “Sweet Shin Music” where he
mocks Shawn Michaels stomping of the mat and kicks his opponent in the shin to
set up the double arm DDT.  I’m surprised
Michaels agreed to that in hindsight, but from what I remember he was a
supporter of Foley.  Rating:  ½*
After the match,
Love tells Ross that he trusts Steve Austin will be ready for their tag team
title defense at Ground Zero.  Love
dances with some groupies on the way to the locker room
.
Sunny goes into
the locker room to interview Bret Hart, but Bret kicks her out because she is
an American.  Owen tells her to tell
Sergeant Slaughter to give him another crack at Steve Austin
.
Ross interviews
the Undertaker, who says that he has not faced Shawn Michaels in ten years
because he wanted someone to stick around and tell the story of the
Undertaker.  He promises to destroy
Hunter Hearst Helmsley next week and that he signed Shawn Michaels death
warrant with the blood from his forehead from last week’s RAW.
Sable models the
Austin 3:16 t-shirt, which you can buy for $20 (plus shipping & handling)
by calling 815-734-1161
.
Non-Title
Match:  Hawk (w/Animal) defeats The
British Bulldog (European Champion w/Owen Hart) by disqualification when Owen
Hart interferes at 4:56 shown:
It takes no time for Ross to warn the crowd that this
match is not going to be pretty. 
However, the match establishes a good pace and both men’s partners
interject themselves into the contest before the Godwinns wander out.  Hawk busts out a nice looking powerbomb, but
before he can finish the Bulldog with a flying clothesline, Owen nails him with
the European title in plain view of the referee and that gets the Bulldog
disqualified.  I was expecting a train
wreck, but this one defied my expectations. 
Rating:  **
Sunny interviews
Los Boricuas, who say that they returned the Disciples of Apocalypse
motorcycles because Sergeant Slaughter got mad at them.  Seriously, that’s the reason.  Savio Vega claims that he will win the Triple
Threat at Ground Zero and yells a lot in Spanish.  The Boricuas sexually harass Sunny before we
go back to the ring.
Crush &
Chainz defeat Faarooq & Rocky Maivia by disqualification when Los Boricuas
attack Crush at 4:14:
You can tell that Crush really doesn’t care anymore, as
his selling in this mach is awful.  This
rushes through the usual tag team formula until Los Boricuas come out when all
hell breaks loose.  Crush gets attacked,
which sparks a gang war between all of the factions and some WWF officials get
abused in the scuffle until Sergeant Slaughter comes out and restores
order.  Rating:  *½
Light Heavyweight
Exhibition:  Taka Michinoku beats Jerry
Lynn at 5:31:
It is so weird seeing Lynn clean shaven.  He literally looked ten to fifteen years
older than this when he had his big break in ECW two years later.  Lynn showcases what he can do with a
somersault plancha and a nice headscissors and Michinoku responds in kind with a
super hurricanrana and springboard plancha. 
Michinoku misses a moonsault, where he gets awesome hang time, and Lynn
hits a sit out powerbomb, but that only gets two and Michinoku outmaneuvers
Lynn and hits his Michinoku Driver for the win in a very enjoyable match.  Was no one in the locker room watching this
match?  I would have immediately drawn up
a contract, put it in Lynn’s face, and signed him immediately.  Who needs Brian Christopher as the heel of
the division when you have this guy?  Rating: 
***¼
Sunny interviews
the Truth Commission and the Commandant gets mad that his men are concerned
with addressing Sunny with their eyes. 
This is the first time the Truth Commission have been seen in a while.
Sniper &
Recon (w/The Commandant & The Interrogator) defeat The Headbangers when
Recon pins Mosh with a roll up at 4:08 shown:
It does not take long for Sniper and Recon to put
Thrasher in peril and he remains in that position for much of the match as the
announcers try to sell the Headbangers as wrestling fans who love to watch old
footage.  When all hell breaks loose, the
Headbangers go for their powerbomb-flying leg drop combination, but the
Interrogator pushes Thrasher off the top rope and when Mosh yells at him he
costs his team the match.  The full
version of this may have cracked **, but it missed a lot with the commercial
break.  The WWF really has no idea what they want out of the Headbangers as they
give them title shots one week and job them to new talent the next.  Rating:  *½
A music video
package that recaps tonight’s show plays us out
.
The Final Report Card:  This match followed the Saturday Night Main
Event formula by placing the big match at the beginning of the show and
filtering out from there.  There is another
Friday Night’s Main Event next week, which will feature the Undertaker against
Hunter Hearst Helmsley and the Patriot against Owen Hart.  Overall, this show was fine.  The Lynn-Michinoku match was a treat and
aside from Rockabilly-Dude Love everything else was serviceable.
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

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

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

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

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

Ross interviews
Shawn Michaels, who comes out to a chorus of boos.  He still high fives fans, though.  Michaels reiterates that he does not care how
the fans feel about him and criticizes McMahon for not telling him that he
would be wrestling Mankind tonight.  The
fans work out a “Shawn is gay” chant and Michaels responds by telling them to
ask their mothers and sisters how gay he is. 
Michaels alleges that there is a conspiracy in the WWF against him and
he warns Commissioner Sergeant Slaughter not to steal his spotlight.  This obviously brings out Slaughter, who says
he is getting into Michaels business, and Michaels mocks him and tells
Slaughter that he has an insurance policy to deal with Mankind and the WWF
officials trying to mess with him tonight. 
This opening segment went too long and it closed awkwardly, but it did
continue Michaels momentum as a quasi-heel character
.
The Biloxi fans
share their thoughts about tonight’s Shawn Michaels-Mankind match.  Most fans think Michaels will win.
Hawk whips a Raw
is War barrel in the locker room to prepare for tonight’s “country whipping”
match with Henry Godwinn tonight.
Henry Godwinn
tells the announce team that he can’t wait to whip the skin off of Hawk’s back
tonight
.
Opening Country
Whipping Contest:  Hawk (w/Animal)
defeats Henry Godwinn (w/Phineas Godwinn) at 3:48
In this match each competitor has a strap and they can
use it as much as they please and it is no disqualification.  The winner is the first man who can send
their opponent out of the ring.  The
British Bulldog and Owen Hart are on commentary and they hype the Fatal Four
Way tag team match at Ground Zero, which will be for the tag team championships.  This contest starts with some decent
intensity, but quickly dies because of the limitations of the competitors.  That said, I do admire both guys for taking
some nasty strap shots to the back.  Hawk
modifies his flying clothesline finisher with the strap, but this brings
Phineas into the ring to interfere.  Of
course that brings Animal into the ring and he sends the Godwinns out of the
ring by using one of their slop buckets and it ends the contest.  They should have just made this a tag match
after going with that ending.  Rating: 
½*
Sergeant Slaughter
reminds Brian Pillman that because he lost last week that he will have to wear
a dress this week
.
Light Heavyweight
Exhibition:  Scott Putski defeats Tony
Williams with a Polish Hammer at 3:28:
Before the bout begins, Goldust and Marlena come down to
the ring for commentary and Goldust says that he and Marlena have a big
surprise and they show a hidden camera of Brian Pillman’s locker room in the
split screen.  It is basically GTV and
Pillman is shown having difficulty getting into a dress for tonight’s match and
he throws a tantrum.  Aside from the
extracurriculars, Putski puts on a good match with Williams, which Ross tries
to bring attention to, and he wins to build some momentum for his Ground Zero
clash with Brian Christopher.  Rating: 
**
After the match,
Sergeant Slaughter confronts Goldust and tells him and Marlena to head to the
locker room
.
The Undertaker
warns Shawn Michaels that he will be watching his match with Mankind tonight
and that an insurance policy will not help him at Ground Zero unless that is
burial insurance
.
Brian Pillman is
shown leaving the locker room in his dress, although all we see of him are his
legs
.
Ross hypes an
article in RAW magazine about Goldust’s identity
.
Flash Funk beats
“The Loose Cannon” Brian Pillman with a small package at 3:15:
It is somewhat eerie to hear Ross talk about how making
Pillman wear a dress is going to push him over the edge when you know that
Pillman will only be alive for another two months.  As Pillman dominates the early action, Ross
hypes the ECW Hardcore Heaven pay-per-view and Sergeant Slaughter appears in
the split screen and says that the Patriot and a mystery partner will face the British
Bulldog and Owen Hart later tonight. 
Pillman uses his knees to block a Funk moonsault, a move that always
seems very brutal to take, but when he appears to have the match won, Goldust
and Marlena come out and put Pillman’s locker room footage on the
Titantron.  This leads to the predictable
finish and gives Funk his first RAW victory in what seems like ages.  The other result is that Pillman has to wear
a dress next week on RAW.  Rating: 
*
Some kids are
shown chanting for Dude Love
.
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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