What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – March 22, 1999

Steve Austin arrives at the arena and comes across a driver of a Coor’s Light truck.  Product placement 101.

Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are calling the action and they are live from Albany, New York.  This is the last RAW we have to hear called by Cole for a while so I am happy about that.  This is the go home show for WrestleMania XV.

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What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – February 23, 1998

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross, Kevin
Kelly, and Michael Cole are in the booth and they are live from Waco, Texas.

Opening Contest
for the WWF Tag Team Championship:  The
New Age Outlaws (Champions) beat The Legion of Doom when The Road Dogg pins
Animal after Billy Gunn blasts Animal with a tag team title belt at 4:57:
By this time the Road Dogg had polished the Outlaws
introduction into what most fans remember. 
Quick match, with the LOD hitting the Road Dogg with the Doomsday
Device, but the referee works to get Hawk out of the ring and the Outlaws use
underhanded tactics to win.  After the
match, the Legion of Doom argue with each other and start brawling, which is an
interesting visual.  WWF officials run
out to split it up.  Unfortunately, this
didn’t lead to a feud that might be interesting and instead segwayed into the
LOD 2000 repackaging, which, as you can guess, led into a new feud with the
Outlaws!  Rating:  *¾ (1 for 1)
Non-Title
Match:  Ken Shamrock defeats Jeff Jarrett
(NWA North American Champion w/Jim Cornette) via submission to the ankle lock
at 5:43:
Due to beating the Rock in the War of Attrition match at
No Way Out of Texas, Shamrock gets an Intercontinental title match at
WrestleMania XIV.  The crowd loves seeing
Shamrock destroy Jarrett in the early going and Shamrock kicks out when
Cornette trips him when he suplexes Jarrett in the ring and tries to hold down
his leg on the cover.  This is a very
proficient match between two guys that can go, with several false finishes
mixed in, and the referee gets inadvertently bumped, but Cornette accidentally
blasts Jarrett with his tennis racket and that leads to the finish.  Rating:  **½ (2 for 2)
After the match,
Cole interviews Jarrett, who says that it might be time for he and Cornette to
go their separate ways
.
Shawn Michaels
entrance at WrestleMania XII is the WrestleMania Millennium Moment
.
Jerry Lawler
interviews Animal in the locker room and Animal screams a lot before Hawk runs
in and they fight some more as Bradshaw and a few jobbers work to separate
them.
The Truth
Commission & Kurrgan (w/The Jackyl) beat The Disciples of Apocalypse when
Kurrgan pins 8-Ball with the Paralyzer at 3:56:

Since Kurrgan has ditched his Truth Commission ring gear, he is not considered
part of the Truth Commission anymore, which is just Sniper and Recon.  The Jackyl doesn’t do commentary for this
match as he has done for most Truth Commission matches to this point.  During the match, Ross announces that there
will be a fifteen team battle royal at WrestleMania.  This follows a predictable, yet smart,
booking pattern whereby DOA tries to keep Kurrgan from entering the ring.  Skull and 8-Ball slam Kurrgan to a huge
reaction, but 8-Ball is left alone with Kurrgan and that has a predictable
result.  Better than I expected it to
be.  Rating:  *½ (3 for 3)
After the match,
the Jackyl yells at Sniper for not tagging in and slaps him, but when Sniper
goes after the Jackyl, Kurrgan puts him in a Paralyzer and drags him to the
locker room
.
D-Generation X is
in Shawn Michaels home in Texas and cuts a promo.  Triple H says that WrestleMania will be
X-rated and that the next four weeks will set the Nielsen ratings on fire.  Good promo (4 for 4)
Sunny comes out to
do guest ring announcing duties and asks the crowd if things are really bigger
in Texas
.
Taka Michinoku wrestles
Barry Windham (w/Jim Cornette & The Rock N’ Roll Express) to a no contest
at 2:34:
This is quite a David vs. Goliath battle, as Windham can
throw Michinoku around with ease.  The
match is happening because Taka could not read his contract.  Michinoku surprises Windham with a few
moonsaults and Windham doesn’t bother to take off his ring gear for the match.  Windham hits his trademark suplex and lariat,
but the lights go off and Kane walks out. 
Michinoku ends up the target as the NWA flee.  Paul Bearer calls out Steve Austin and
challenges him to a match next week on RAW.
We head into hour
two so Lawler takes over the commentating duties for Cole and Kelly.
Cole interviews
the New Age Outlaws as they leave the arena and they take credit for splitting
the Legion of Doom up.  In a small piece
of foreshadowing, the Road Dogg is wearing a D-Generation X t-shirt.  Cole gets tired of the Outlaws antics, but
after the Outlaws get into their car it is attacked by Chainsaw Charlie and
Cactus Jack.  The Outlaws manage to speed
away.  Hard to really see everything
going on with the darkness outside and I just can’t stand Cole (4 for 5)
Goldust gives a
funny Dusty Rhodes impression and talks about his career over a video
package.  Best line:  “I beat Ric Flair 25,000 times in a row!  I had a legendary feud, but Terry Funk always
whooped my ass so I don’t want to talk about that right now!”
Bradshaw pins The
Artist Formerly Known as Goldust with the lariat at 3:35:
Tonight, Goldust is dressed like his father Dusty Rhodes
circa 1990 and comes out to the “American Dream” theme song, which is a top
five theme song in my books.  A small
comedy match here, as Goldust tries to mock Dusty’s moves and injures
himself.  He also gets on the mic and
talks like Dusty and yells at the crowd. 
Bradshaw squashes Goldust and blocks a bionic elbow attempt with a
lariat to win.  Match was not much, but
Goldust’s comedy made it worth watching. 
Rating:  ½* (5
for 6)
Cole interviews
Goldust, who says that nothing compares to Goldust.
Kelly tries to
interview Hawk, who exits the arena without face paint and refuses to talk.
Non-Title
Match:  Steve Blackman pins The Rock
(Intercontinental Champion w/The Nation of Domination) after hitting him with
nunchucks at 4:14:
In a nice touch, the Rock hangs back during the Nation of
Domination’s entrance so that he can get more attention than the other members
of the group.  Faarooq gets on the apron
after the Rock hits Blackman with a powerslam and that nearly costs the Rock
the match when Blackman whips the Rock into Faarooq and schoolboys him for
two.  The situation happens again when
Faarooq hops on the apron, but D-Lo tosses Blackman’s nunchucks to Blackman
instead of the Rock, which costs the Rock the match.  Pure angle development and Blackman’s win
meant nothing in the long run.  Rating: 
¼* (5 for 7)
After the match,
D-Lo tells the Rock that Faarooq told him to toss the nunchucks to Blackman and
Faarooq does not care that the Rock knows.
Call 1-900-737-4WWF
to hear about WrestleMania, Shawn Michaels, and a national television deal for
the WWF!
Kelly interviews
Luna Vachon, who says she is waiting for Sable and cannot wait to rearrange her
face.
NWA Tag Team
Championship Match:  The Headbangers beat
The Rock N’ Roll Express (Champions w/Jim Cornette) when Thrasher pins Ricky
Morton with a shoulder block at 4:22
Before the match, Commissioner Slaughter comes out with
referee Earl Hebner and replaces Tommy Young at the referee.  Cornette gives a great rant about this with
the commentary team.  Ross does his best
to argue that this match matters because the Headbangers loved the Rock N’ Roll
Express as kids, so that is why they want to beat them for the NWA tag team
titles.  The Express fail to get anything
to go their way in the match and since Hebner is refereeing he does not
disqualify the Headbangers when Robert Gibson is tossed over the top rope.  Cornette smashes Thrasher in the back with
his tennis racket, but Thrasher falls on top of Morton and scores the pin and
Cornette throws a tantrum.  Poor contest
as these teams just do not have chemistry. 
Rating:  ½* (5 for 8)
Pete Rose is
announced as a guest celebrity at WrestleMania.
A video package
hypes Steve Austin’s road to WrestleMania.
European
Championship Match:  Owen Hart (Champion)
beats “Marvelous” Marc Mero by disqualification at 4:12:
During his entrance, Mero sends Sable to the locker room.  Owen is set to defend the European title
against Triple H at WrestleMania, so he is no longer a part of the main event
picture and won’t be for the remainder of his career.  Less than a minute into the match she
returns, but Mero kicks out of Owen’s schoolboy to keep the match going.  Mero gets frustrated with the referee as he
pounds away in the corner and pushes him down, which draws the disqualification.  What is weird is that they don’t have Mero
hit the TKO and getting a phantom pin before the referee called for the
bell.  Rating:  *½ (5 for 9)
After the bell,
Luna Vachon runs out and Goldust and WWF officials try to hold her away from
Sable.  When Sable sees Luna she tries to
engage her as well.  Goldust eventually
restrains Sable, but Mero takes exception to that and starts pounding away on
him.  Lot of heat for this as we continue
moving toward a mixed tag match at WrestleMania.
Tune in next week
to see D-Generation X, Mike Tyson, and Kane’s challenge of Steve Austin!
The Final Report Card:  The first hour was really good, but the
second hour lagged.  It was quite
surprising not to see Steve Austin and the show really missed his
appearance.  It might be surprising to
those who never watched the product at the time that the Sable-Luna angle got
airtime at the end of the show, but it is really the second hottest act that
the WWF has going on aside from Austin. 
Solid effort this week to build us to WrestleMania XIV.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.2 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Royal Rumble 1998

Another great black and white video package
hypes the Royal Rumble match and puts over everyone from Steve Austin to the
Headbangers as a threat
.
Jim Ross and Jerry
“the King” Lawler are in charge of commentary and they are live from San Jose,
California.

Opening
Contest:  Vader pins The Artist Formerly
Known as Goldust (w/Luna Vachon) with a Vader Bomb at 7:52:
Goldust is wearing a green wig and a jobber-style striped
attire for tonight’s match.  This is the
blowoff for the feud between these two that began at the Survivor Series and it
is the second year in a row that Goldust is in the opening match at the Royal
Rumble.  It is the first time at the
Rumble that he is not wrestling for the Intercontinental title.  The crowd is hot, as they loudly boo Luna’s
interference and pop each time Vader hits a power move.  Goldust blocks a Vader Bomb with a low blow,
but Vader quickly rebounds and goes for another.  This causes Luna to rush into the ring and
jump on Vader’s back.  The referee nearly
botches the finish by calling for a disqualification, but the bell does not
ring, so Vader delivers the Vader Bomb with Luna on his back in an awesome spot
to get the win.  If you want to see a
match with no stalling from Goldust, this is it.  Entertaining opener, but this feud probably
should have ended at the last In Your House since it seemed well past its
expiration date.  This was Vader’s last
victory on a WWF pay-per-view.  Rating: 
**½
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to get reactions from the participants in tonight’s
matches.  It’s all on option five and
will cost you $1.49 a minute!
Steve Austin blows
off Michael Cole after arriving at the arena. 
After Austin goes into the arena, the Godwinns are on his heels.
Sunny comes out to
be the guest referee for our next match.
-Nova, Mosaic
& Max Mini defeat Battallion, Tarantula & El Torito when Mini pins El
Torito with a La Magistral cradle at 7:48:
So, we get a minis tag match to save some of the guys for
the Rumble and Mike Tyson is shown watching it from a special press box.  Lawler cracks a funny joke about how he saw
Max Mini reading Little Women in the
locker room.  I will be happy when these
mini matches disappear from the company because they are so business exposing
and the participants love to spam arm drags from multiple positions.  Sunny looks really rough here and she
abandons her impartiality by helping Mini do some attacks on his
opponents.  After the 150th
arm drag (or so it seems) they decide to do a spot where everyone does a top
rope attack, but that gets old by the third guy and everyone looks silly
standing there waiting for someone to do a move.  Mini gets the win because he always
does.  Rating:  DUD
The Nation of
Domination is looking for Steve Austin and Faarooq tells Mark Henry that he
needs to show him something by leading the way. 
The Nation burst into Austin’s locker room, but just find a chair with a
middle foam finger in it.
Kevin Kelly hypes
the WWF’s America Online chatroom.  Jim
Cornette is there and hypes the traditional wrestling of the National Wrestling
Alliance.  He pledges to make us like
wrestling.
Mike Tyson is
shown chatting with Vince and Shane McMahon in his box.  This is the first time we are exposed to
Shane McMahon in an executive capacity and back in 1998 he did appear to be the
heir apparent of the company.  How times changed…
The announcers
hype the upcoming Intercontinental title match between the Rock and Ken
Shamrock.
During the Free
for All, the Nation of Domination argued over who was going to win the Royal
Rumble.  The Rock gives an interview to
Cole and gives President Bill Clinton some advice over the Paula Jones sex
scandal.  If I remember correctly this
was just before Monica Lewinsky came onto the scene.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  The Rock (Champion)
beats Ken Shamrock by reverse decision at 10:52:
This is the first encounter between the Rock and
Shamrock, who will be engaged in a feud for the next six months.  This is an underrated feud that worked very
well because the company pitted the cocky heel that needed his comeuppance
against the legitimate badass in the company. 
The Rock utilizes all of the traditional heel tactics in this one,
incorporating stalling, eye rakes, cheap shots, complaining to the referee,
etc.  After both men equally exchange offense,
Shamrock hits a belly-to-belly, which brings out the Nation and Shamrock fights
them off.  The Rock blasts Shamrock with
brass knuckles and puts them in Shamrock’s tights, but Shamrock recovers and
pins the Rock after a belly-to-belly suplex. 
Shamrock appears to have won the title, but the Rock tells the referee
that Shamrock hit him with brass knuckles. 
The referee finds the knuckles in Shamrock’s tights and reverses the
decision, so Shamrock snaps and puts the referee in an ankle lock.  A good first chapter of the feud between
these two and this finish kept Shamrock strong, while putting more heat on the
Rock.  Rating:  **¾
Call 815-734-1161
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Los Boricuas are
shown searching for Steve Austin and they enter his locker room.  They beat up someone that they think is
Austin, but they actually attack a member of DOA and that creates another gang
war in the locker room that WWF officials have to break up.
A video package
hypes the upcoming tag team title match between the New Age Outlaws and the
Legion of Doom
.
Cole interviews
the Legion of Doom.  Animal says that he
is competing against doctor’s orders over his back and Hawk promises that the
New Age Outlaws are going to be put on ice.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  The Legion of Doom
defeat The New Age Outlaws (Champions) by disqualification at 7:55:
The Outlaws wear Green Bay Packers jerseys to the ring
because the Packers had just defeated the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC
Championship Game.  The Legion of Doom
come out swinging early, but the Road Dogg trips Animal and Hawk ends up going
shoulder-first into the ring post on a blind charge.  This messy sequence results in Hawk being
handcuffed to the ring post.  Animal
catches Billy Gunn with an awkward powerslam, but before the referee can
register a three count, the Road Dogg blasts him with a chair and that lets the
champions preserve the titles.  After the
bell, the Outlaws do a beatdown on Animal before Hawk can break free of his
handcuffs.  The first couple of minutes
were okay, but everything from there went south in a hurry.  Rating:  *¼
Ross announces
that Mildred Bowers of Nashville, Tennessee wins the Steve Austin 3:16 truck
.
A video package
chronicles why Steve Austin is a marked man in this year’s Royal Rumble.
“Stone Cold”
Steve Austin wins the 1998 Royal Rumble by eliminating the Rock at 55:27:
This is the third consecutive year that the Royal Rumble
is placed in the middle of the card instead of the main event.  This is a great Rumble to put on your
television if you are suffering from insomnia because after a small hardcore
match at the beginning between Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie, who draw one and two,
almost nothing happens.  Tag wrestler,
tag wrestler, and more tag wrestlers and lower midcarders come out and no one
tosses anyone else, so the ring just fills up for a clear out that never
comes.  Owen Hart, who was attacked while
making his entrance as #9, comes into the match later and eliminates Jeff
Jarrett for one of the biggest pops of the night.  Owen is eliminated shortly thereafter by a
Triple H and Chyna dual crutch attack so that feud continues.  They tease Austin not making an appearance,
as #22 does not show, but he does show up out of the crowd as #24 and quickly tosses Marc Mero and 8-Ball.  Los
Boricuas, trying to get revenge for Austin’s defeat of Savio Vega at
WrestleMania XII, all try to toss Austin when Savio enters the match, but that
fails.  The Nation of Domination proceeds
to practice the worst strategy in Rumble history, as they have all five members
in the ring as the field narrows and decide to fight each other rather than
work together.  Men start flying shortly
after Vader enters at #30 and Vader gets tosses by Goldust in less than three
minutes.  The final four turns into a
small tag match between Austin and Dude Love and Faarooq and the Rock, but
Austin turns on his partner and the Rock then turns on his and we have a brief
clash of the future main event stars before Austin hits a Stunner and tosses
the Rock to win his second consecutive Rumble. 
This Rumble was worse than 1995. 
The star power here was worse and at least the
1995 atrocity had a one minute clock so the pain and suffering was
reduced.  1995 had a more entertaining
finish too.  Rating:  ¾*
Mike Tyson is
shown celebrating with Shane McMahon after watching Austin’s victory.  He proceeds to give an unintelligible
interview with Cole.
A video package
hypes the Shawn Michaels-Undertaker casket match.
Casket Match for
the WWF Championship:  “The Heartbreak
Kid” Shawn Michaels (w/D-Generation X) defeats The Undertaker at 20:38
This was the end of the five month feud between these two,
which would resume more than ten years later over the Undertaker’s WrestleMania
streak.  Ninety seconds into this is
where Michaels takes the awkward backdrop out of the ring and onto the edge of
the casket that temporarily ended his career. 
Interestingly enough, you could make the argument that the Undertaker
was responsible for both of Michaels
departures from wrestling.  This match
isn’t as brutal as Hell in a Cell, but Michaels delivers a devastating
piledriver on the steps to his opponent. 
In a funny spot near the end, Michaels dumps the Undertaker into the
casket and tries to give him the D-Generation X crotch chop, but the Undertaker
grabs Michaels nether region and rallies. 
The Undertaker misses a flying clothesline and goes into the casket and
Michaels delivers a flying elbow drop into it, causing the casket to close on
both of them.  By casket match logic,
shouldn’t that lead to a draw?  The
Undertaker hits an insane super Tombstone into the casket from the apron, but
Chyna takes out of the referee and the New Age Outlaws and Los Boricuas hit the
ring in shades of 1994.  The crowd goes
insane as the lights go out and Kane shows up and clears the ring.  However, after his pyro malfunctions he
attacks his brother, which turns into some serious crowd heat, and he
chokeslams his brother into the casket and closes the lid, giving Michaels the
victory.  The usual good match between
these two that became excellent in the last five minutes.  It also featured some great spots that you
had never seen in a casket match before. 
Rating:  ****
After the match,
Kane and Paul Bearer, who has wandered out, seal the casket, place it by the
entrance, and Kane smashes an axe into it. 
They then douse it with gasoline and set it on fire as we go off the
air.  Well, that blows 1994 out of the
water.
The Final Report Card:  I find it hard to rate this show because on
the one hand, the main event was awesome and the crowd helped provide a
pay-per-view atmosphere to the event. 
The opening contest was entertaining as well, but on the whole the
Rumble really drags down the show.  It
might have been predictable that Austin was winning, but the booking for it was
very poor and the company did not have enough star power at the time to make
that match interesting.  It didn’t help
either that Triple H was on the shelf and they had Owen Hart and Ken Shamrock
eliminated early in the contest.  Based
on the awesomeness of the closing segment and the impression that it leaves,
I’ll give this show a neutral rating, but if you do watch the show, just fast
forward through the Rumble.  The show
comes off much better without it.
Attendance: 
18,542
Buyrate: 
0.97 (+.27 over previous year)

Show Evaluation:  Neutral

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

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross, Michael
Cole, and Kevin Kelly are in the booth and they are in Durham, New Hampshire.
Cole interviews
the Undertaker and announces that he will face Shawn Michaels in a casket match
at the Royal Rumble for the WWF title. 
The Undertaker cuts a good promo and acknowledges that the only casket
match he lost took ten men to beat him and D-Generation X doesn’t have ten
people in it and Michaels doesn’t have ten friends to help him.  Kane and Paul Bearer come out and Bearer
rehashes “the Undertaker is a murderer” bit. 
Kane hits the Undertaker and when he tries to do it a second time, the
Undertaker blocks it, but then leaves instead of retaliating.
Call 815-734-1161
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Brian Christopher
and Jerry Lawler’s attack on Taka Michinoku on last week’s RAW is the
1-800-COLLECT Rewind segment.

Opening Non-Title
Contest:  Taka Michinoku (Light
Heavyweight Champion) beats Jerry “the King” Lawler by disqualification when
Brian Christopher interferes at 5:42:
Ross hypes the UFC: 
Ultimate Japan card during this match, which is a big styles clash since
Lawler can’t work at Michinoku’s speed. 
Still, Lawler gives it a good effort by throwing a few dropkicks in the
early going, but the allure of the Memphis stall is too much to resist and the
match slows considerably in the middle. 
Lawler hits the piledriver, but opts to go for a fist drop off the
second rope and eats a Michinoku Driver (!) before Christopher runs in for the
predictable disqualification.  Rating: 
After the match,
Michinoku gets the better of Christopher and heel miscommunication allows
Michinoku to get away unscathed.  The
crowd wasn’t into any of this.
Call
1-900-747-4WWF to find out how D-Generation X almost started a riot over the
weekend!
The Legion of Doom
tell the announce team that their match with DX isn’t going to be pretty
tonight.
The Nation of
Domination comes out and the Rock toots his own horn at the expense of Faarooq,
who wants to say a few words.  The Rock
demands that Austin come out and he does, but Austin doesn’t have the
Intercontinental belt.  He says he’ll
show the Rock later on what happened to his championship belt.  The Rock gives him an hour to return him his
property or face some justice at the hands of the Nation.
Dude Love beats
“The Road Dogg” Jesse James (w/Billy Gunn) with Sweet Shin Music at 4:36:
This continues the building feud between Love and the tag
team champions.  Gunn does the
introduction mic work and is nowhere near James’ level.  Ross tells Gunn that he and James should call
themselves “The New Age Outlaws” and Gunn says that’s a great idea, so now the
tag team champions will actually have a team name.  In the middle of the match, Love undergoes a
small transformation into his other personas, as he puts James in the Mandible
Claw, rips some of his hair out, and screams “Bang, Bang!”  Love captures another win, but takes a double
suplex by the entrance after the match and the Outlaws whip a referee into Love
to send him flying off the entrance platform. 
That bump had to hurt because Love barely grazed the table set up to
cushion his fall on the way down.  Rating: 
Mark Henry
defeats The Brooklyn Brawler via submission to a bearhug at 2:03:
This was Henry’s return to action after suffering an
ankle injury that put him on the shelf at the end of 1996.  He looks as generic as you can be, with a
black shirt and black ring trunks.  Ross
informs us during this squash that Steve Austin has left the arena with a WWF
camera crew.
A video package
highlights the growing tension between Shawn Michaels and Owen Hart.
For the second
hour Ross and Jim Cornette are in the booth.
Vince McMahon
warns Owen Hart that he is endangering the safety of ringside fans by attacking
Shawn Michaels through the crowd. 
McMahon orders Owen to appear in the ring since he is still under
contract and Owen comes out of the crowd to a nice reaction.  Owen curses McMahon and tells him that no one
is going to run him out of the WWF. 
McMahon implies that Owen only cares about winning the WWF title, but
Owen just calls it a “piece of leather with tin on it” and swears that he will
make Michaels life a living hell. 
McMahon has police come to the ring and tells Owen that he will come
through the entrance like every other WWF superstar next week and the police
escort Owen out through the crowd.  One
of the top segments of Owen’s career, but like a lot of things in the Attitude
Era, this didn’t really lead to anything significant.  It’s also somewhat eerie to watch in
retrospect.
Call
1-900-RUMBLE-98 to register yourself in the Steve Austin pickup truck
contest!  It’ll cost you $1.99 or you can
send a postcard to Devon, Pennsylvania.
Footage of Sable
revealing herself last week is shown.
Tom Brandi beats
The Sultan (w/The Iron Sheik) with a school boy after heel miscommunication at
3:46:
Brandi is the old Salvatore Sincere, who is trying to
turn a new leaf as a face, but didn’t really catch on.  Brandi’s failure to make it in the WWF
surprised me because he seemed to have the type of look that the WWF
preferred.  Brandi takes a big beating in
this match, but takes advantage of a miscue by the Sultan and chalks up the
upset.  Rating:  *¾
After the match,
Marc Mero runs in and pounds Brandi down.
Since an hour has
elapsed, the Nation of Domination comes back out as a video package recaps how
the Rock became the new Intercontinental champion on last week’s show.  The Rock says that he and the Nation are
coming for the title belt, but Steve Austin appears on the Titantron and this
is the famous segment where he tosses the Intercontinental title belt off a
bridge.
Vince McMahon
announces the beginning of the Attitude Era and that the audience is tired of
having its intelligence insulted and the simplistic “good guys versus bad
guys.”  He does tell parents that they
should use discretion if they let their kids watch the Warzone.
Steve Blackman
beats Jose with a German suplex at 1:38:
This is Blackman’s first RAW singles match and there’s a
small back story to this since the Boricuas interrupted a Blackman promo after
Survivor Series.  Blackman decimates Jose
with martial arts moves and finishes him off in relatively short order.
WWF and European
Champion Shawn Michaels says he isn’t worried about Owen Hart and after a rock,
paper, and scissors game they come to the conclusion that Triple H will take
care of Owen.  They also warn the Legion
of Doom that they are ready for them.
The Undertaker
Tombstoning the Sultan on Shotgun Saturday Night is the Lazer Tag Slam of the
Week.
The Legion of
Doom beat “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels & Triple H (w/Chyna) by
disqualification when Chyna interferes at 7:40 shown:
Standard tag team main event here as the LOD a bevy of
clotheslines and Michaels and Triple H cheat to turn the tide.  During the hot tag segment, the New Age
Outlaws run down to the ring and smother Hawk with ether, which allows DX to
pulverize Animal after Chyna gets into the ring and gives him a low blow.  Rating:  **
After the bell,
the Outlaws shave Hawk’s head and with DX’s help they powerbomb Animal from the
apron through the announce table.  This
only gets a .4 on the Ross outrage meter, though.
The Final Report Card:  A much better episode of RAW this week with
the destruction of the Legion of Doom, the Austin bridge segment, and Owen’s
interaction with Vince headlining the show. 
In a weird way, Austin’s popularity is putting Shawn Michaels title
reign in the same category as Bret Hart’s in 1995 whereby the main focus is on
his storylines and the WWF title is fading into the background.  Still, D-Generation X is doing a great job
making fans hate them and wanting someone to put them in their place.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.7 (vs. 4.1 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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 – October 27, 1997

by Logan Scisco

Vince McMahon and
Jim Ross are in the booth and they are taped from Tulsa, Oklahoma
.
McMahon interviews
the Nation of Domination and apologizes for the racist slogans posted in their
locker room last week.  That’s not good enough
for Faarooq, who says that it does not make up for 400 years of racism in the
United States.  Rocky Maivia takes the
mic as McMahon is ushered out of the ring and warns the Hart Foundation that
they have created a race war with the Nation and Faarooq challenges them to a
match next week.  The Hart Foundation
comes out and Bret accepts the challenge, says there is no racial prejudice in
Canada, and tells Faarooq that D-Generation X is to blame for their problems.  DX comes on the Titantron and makes some Ku
Klux Klan references and says that they heard the Harts use the “n-word” and
that leads to the Nation beating down the Harts on the ramp.  Bret seems to have suffered an ankle injury
in the melee, which bodes poorly for his title defense against Ken Shamrock
tonight.
A clip of Bret
Hart on Mad TV is shown.

Opening
Contest:  Triple H (w/D-Generation X)
beats Goldust (w/Marlena) with the Pedigree at 5:36:
Rude does Helmsley’s announcing duties and lets us know
that Helmsley is the “future of the World Wrestling Federation.”  Helmsley’s theme music is in need of an
overhaul since he’s still using Ode to Joy, which does not fit the group.  Michaels does commentary, but says little of
note.  Chyna works in her usual
interference by slamming Goldust on the entrance ramp when he ends up outside
of the ring and Marlena gets in some interference by slapping Helmsley later in
the match.  However, when Marlena is
working in these blows, Chyna gets into the ring and clocks Goldust with
Marlena’s purse and the rest is academic. 
This is probably the best Goldust-Helmsley match since they had to work
a faster pace under the TV time constraints. 
After the match, Michaels tells McMahon and Ross to “suck it” and
McMahon is not happy about that.  Rating: 
**
Jim Cornette rants
against the cage match WCW put on at Halloween Havoc between Hulk Hogan and
Roddy Piper.  There’s no real point in
this and it’s the weakest of Cornette’s rants so far.
A small video
package shows highlights of a presentation of Oklahoma wrestling legends like
Jim Ross, Bill Watts, Jack and Gerald Brisco, and Danny Hodge that happened in
the show.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  Ahmed Johnson
defeats Owen Hart (Champion) by disqualification when Steve Austin interferes
at 6:19 shown:
Ahmed was in a gray area at this stage of his WWF career
because he could not be legitimately reduced to jobber status, but he was
nowhere near the heights he achieved in 1996. 
Ahmed proceeds to dominate Owen in this plodding match, which the Nation
of Domination comes out to watch, and you can tell that he is making an effort
to work a less stiff style.  Ahmed hits a
spinebuster, but Steve Austin runs in through the crowd and gives him a Stone
Cold Stunner and Owen retains the title heading into Survivor Series.  Rating:  ½*
Call 1-900-7374WWF
to find out who the three superstars were that did not make it to the WWF’s
recent European tour!
Ross interviews
Mankind, who says Dude Love just wanted to have fun and he thought he had a
truce with Paul Bearer for both of them to leave each other alone.  He says he will retaliate by making Paul
Bearer’s life a living hell and will complicate Kane’s path towards the
Undertaker.  Commissioner Slaughter comes
out and says that he will not sanction Mankind’s match with Kane at Survivor
Series, so Mankind puts Slaughter in the Mandible Claw.  Mankind had absolutely no chance of beating
Kane at Survivor Series, but this was a good promo that made you want to see
the match.  It’s also been a bad couple
of months on the job for Slaughter thus far.
A video package
hypes the Bret Hart-Ken Shamrock WWF title match on tonight’s show
.
WWF Championship
Match:  Bret “the Hitman” Hart (Champion)
wrestles Ken Shamrock to a no contest at 10:31 shown:
Again, Montreal did not have to happen as they could have
done a title switch here if they wanted to get the belt off of Bret.  I like to think of this as a continuation of
the issue between these two from WrestleMania XIII, but the announcers don’t
reference that.  Bret works the leg for a
long time and Shamrock does a good job selling the damage.  Shamrock has an excellent ankle lock counter
to the Sharpshooter, but Earl Hebner gets bumped during that and is not there
to register Bret tapping out.  Bret
proceeds to nail Shamrock with a chair and apply the Sharpshooter, but Shawn
Michaels runs in and blasts Bret with Sweet Chin Music.  Shamrock doesn’t appreciate this and snaps on
Michaels and WWF officials run into the ring to put an end to this.  That just leads to Bret attacking Michaels,
as another referee tends to Hebner who is still down from a slight nudge during
that Sharpshooter counter.  Shamrock
still lacked a strong character at this time and if this match happened a
couple of years later it would have been much better.  Rating:  **½
WWF Champion Bret
Hart tells the announcers that after the Survivor Series he isn’t going to have
to worry about Shawn Michaels anymore. 
That’s true in more ways than one.
-“The Road Dogg”
Jesse James & “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn beat The New Blackjacks when James pins
Bradshaw after Gunn hits Bradshaw with a chair at 2:14:
McMahon reminds viewers during this match that they can
watch Hulk Hogan fight the Undertaker on the Survivor Series flashback special
tomorrow night, which he promises is not “another bad Hulk Hogan movie.”  It’s also fitting that the WWF picked a
Survivor Series match that Hogan lost. 
McMahon also tells viewers that Gorilla Monsoon is very sick and in the
hospital, which was when Monsoon was diagnosed with cancer.  This is an abbreviated match where James and
Gunn steal another win and continue to move up the tag team ranks.
After the match, a
brawl breaks out between James, Gunn, and the Blackjacks and James and Gunn
tear about the Blackjacks cowboy hats after the Godwinns and Headbangers
interject themselves.  This is to hype a
Survivor Series match between these teams at the pay-per-view
.
Kane and Paul
Bearer come out and Bearer rants some more against the Undertaker.  They also accept Mankind’s challenge for the
Survivor Series
.
D-Generation X
cuts a promo where Shawn Michaels moons Bret Hart.  Again, McMahon expresses his disgust.
Marc Mero
(w/Sable) beats Flash Funk with the TKO at 3:48:
Mero’s comeback continues in this match, but Funk gives him
all that he can handle.  Mero brings back
the Merosault, but it just does not fit well the rest of his offense.  Funk hits a moonsault for two, but Mero hits
a low blow behind the referee’s back like his match last week against Brian
Christopher and then finishes Funk off. 
The only thing that the crowd cared about was Sable.  Rating:  *¾
Ross interviews
Jeff Jarrett, who says that he left the WWF in 1995 because Vince McMahon put
limitations on him.  He says he had no
chance of advancement in WCW because he was not one of Eric Bischoff’s
boys.  He points out that the WWF shows
have great action from beginning to end, but WCW does not have that.  Jarrett might have wanted to look at this
video before he decided to ditch the WWF and head to WCW’s sinking ship in
1999.
The Road Dogg and
Billy Gunn come down to ringside, playing with the pieces of the New Blackjacks
cowboys hats that they destroyed earlier in the show.  They refuse to tell Ross why they have an
interest in the next contest.
Non-Title
Match:  The Legion of Doom (WWF Tag Team
Champions) beat Savio Vega & Miguel Perez (w/Los Boricuas) when Hawk pinned
Perez after the Road Dogg tripped him at 2:49:
It doesn’t take long for the Road Dogg and Gunn to steal
the LOD’s shoulder pads and they put them on and do a pose down.  What’s puzzling is that all of this happens
and Animal just sits on the apron and does nothing.  The match slowly unfolds until the Road Dogg
tries to trip Hawk, but accidentally trips Perez, and Dogg and Gunn run away
with the LOD’s shoulder pads.  I’m
surprised that the company never really got behind Savio and Perez as a tag
team threat because both were quite proficient in the ring.  They were just tossed into a terrible stable.
Ahmed Johnson
tells Steve Austin has entered his zone and it is his time to score on Austin
in his zone and get him.
Tune in next week
to see the beginning of the light heavyweight championship tournament and hear
more comments from Jeff Jarrett!  Also,
Steve Austin will be here!
The Final Report Card:  The entire month has been filled with
anti-WCW attacks, but it’s not showing any significant gains in the ratings of
the company or filling the bottom line. 
As was the case with most of the taped RAWs, this one lacked the
atmosphere of the live episodes and the show really died after
Bret-Shamrock.  Still, the first hour was
strong enough to warrant a neutral rating and by the same token, at least the
booking staff is giving most people in the company something to do.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.3 (vs. 4.3 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Neutral

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

by Logan Scisco

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

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

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

by Logan Scisco
Jim Ross discusses
the Hart Foundation’s triumph in last week’s flag match
and how Shawn Michaels will be the guest
referee at SummerSlam.
Vince McMahon,
Jerry “the King” Lawler, and Jim Ross are in the booth and they are broadcasting
from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The Hart
Foundation, accompanied by a personal security force, are interviewed by Jim
Ross.  Ross tells Bret Hart that he won’t
be disciplined for his attack on Vince McMahon last week, although a new
commissioner to be appointed by WWF President Gorilla Monsoon might reassess
that punishment after SummerSlam.  Bret
says when he said he would never wrestle on American soil if he failed to win
the WWF title was a figure of speech, but the powers that be are trying to
screw him by taking it literally.  Bret
doesn’t have much faith in Shawn Michaels calling the match fairly, by saying
that if Michaels screws him he’ll be out of a title and Michaels “can sit at
home for ten years and find his smile.” 
This is a great promo, capped by Bret’s famous comment about how
Pittsburgh is where the U.S. would plug an enema.  Before leaving, Bret challenges the Patriot
to a match tonight.

Fans give their
opinion on who they think will win the WWF championship match at SummerSlam.  All of the fans, including an old guy in a
mask, all say that the Undertaker will win and send Bret Hart back to
Canada.  I miss segments like this, but
they also make me embarrassed to be a fan sometimes
.
Opening
Contest:  The Legion of Doom defeat Savio
Vega & Miguel by disqualification when Los Boricuas interfere at 2:59:
At first glance you may not think much of this match, but
it’s a very serviceable match that allows Miguel to showcase some of his
flexibility in the ring.  The LOD appear
to have the contest won by setting Miguel up for a Doomsday Device, but Los
Boricuas attack Animal to draw the disqualification.  The Godwinns join in on the beating by giving
Hawk a Slop Drop on the floor.  The
Godwinns slop Hawk for good measure to raise the tension for their match at
SummerSlam.
McMahon lets us
know that Raw is moving one hour later to 8:57
.
A video package
chronicles the Hunter Hearst Helmsley-Mankind feud.  After showing it, McMahon interviews Helmsley
and Chyna and Helmsley says that Chyna just interferes in matches when he has
them already decided.  Helmsley tells
Vader that it’s not Vader time, it’s Jenny Craig time.  It’s a lame line, but Helmsley delivered it
in a way that make it seem fine.
Chyna teases a
confrontation with Vader when Vader comes out to wrestle Helmsley in the next
match, but as she faces the entrance, Mankind, dressed as a camera man, attacks
Helmsley.  Chyna finally comes to her
man’s aid, but Mankind eventually fights her off and he and Helmsley brawl
through the crowd like Canadian Stampede. 
It’s easy to point to the DX program as the time that Helmsley shed the
“blue blood” gimmick, but it was this feud that really put him on the map.
The Commandant
says that we are about to have the privilege of watching the South African
Truth Commission.  He says that the truth
will hurt.
IBF Heavyweight
Champion Michael Moorer is recognized in front of the crowd.
A vignette for
Brakus is aired
.
The Truth
Commission (w/The Commandant) defeat “The Real Double J” Jesse James, Bob
“Spark Plugg” Holly & Flash Funk when The Interrogator (Kurrgan) pins Holly
after a sidewalk slam at 3:21:
The first hole in the gimmick appears when the Truth
Commission can’t march well on command and they end up with massive gaps on the
way to the ring.  WWF President Gorilla
Monsoon stops by the announce table and says that he’s appointing a WWF
commissioner next week on Raw because things are getting out of hand.  It’s really amazing that of the three jobbers
offered as a sacrifice to the Truth Commission here that Flash Funk was the one
that never really caught on during the Attitude Era.
McMahon calls a
kid named Ryan, who gets to come to SummerSlam as a WWF guest and gets a chance
to win one million dollars.  A funny
moment happens when Ryan asks McMahon how many guests he can bring and McMahon
says “how about just one.”  Lawler
quickly jumps on that and calls McMahon a cheap skate.
A video package
hypes the Patriot as a main event talent.
Owen Hart and
Mankind’s match on Shotgun Saturday Night is the Stridex Triple Action segment
.
McMahon asks the
Patriot if he accepts Bret Hart’s challenge and the Patriot says he will gladly
accept
.
Faarooq (w/The
Nation of Domination) wrestles Crush (w/The Disciplines of Apocalypse) to a
double disqualification when the Nation and the DOA start brawling at 3:13:
Ahmed Johnson makes his return in this match by
accompanying Faarooq to the ring with other Nation of Domination members.  This one isn’t pretty, but they work in a few
good spots like Faarooq yelling at the crowd while he is on top of Crush and
Crush rising up and giving him an electric chair.  However, Kama Mustafa trips Crush when he
runs the ropes and that’s a pretext for both gangs to start fighting and that
draws a double disqualification.  Rating: 
*
In the midst of
the brawl, Crush is tossed out of the ring and Los Boricuas, who are booked to
face DOA at SummerSlam, come out and give Crush an assisted powerbomb on the
entrance ramp
.
More fans offer
their main event predictions for SummerSlam. 
A few women think Bret can win, which makes you wonder based on Bret’s
book…
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  The Godwinns defeat
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin & Dude Love (Champions) by count out at 4:35:
The Godwinns earned this title match by winning a triple
threat match against the Headbangers and the New Blackjacks on last week’s
show.  Owen Hart and the British Bulldog
sit near the announce table to watch the match and provide some commentary.  The fact that Owen is on commentary already
adds * to the match.  The crowd is
nuclear for Austin, starting a big chant for him prior to his entrance, and
going nuts when he cleans house with the Godwinns.  During the match, the Bulldog challenges Ken
Shamrock to an arm wrestling match.  This
is the one time in wrestling I would welcome someone declining a
challenge.  Dude ends up in peril for
less than a minute and then tags Austin, who hits Phineas with a Stunner but is
knocked out of the ring by Henry.  Owen
blindsides Austin with the Intercontinental title and that causes him to get
counted out.  Owen’s justification is
priceless when asked why he did that by Ross: 
“Austin was trying to steal my belt!” 
This really could’ve been something very good if it was given more time
and it was the best match that the Godwinns have had in a long, long time.  Rating:  **
After the match,
all hell breaks loose as Austin goes after Owen and the Legion of Doom come out
and end up brawling with Owen and the Bulldog when they try to tussle with the
Godwinns.  Owen and the Bulldog run away
as Austin warns Owen that he will destroy him at SummerSlam
.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your 18 month WWF calendar for $12 (plus $3 shipping & handling)!
Devon Storm beats
Ace Darling with a rollup in 44 seconds:
This was a quasi-dream match for me at the time since I
had followed the indy scene with the help of the Apter mags and saw these guys
written about all the time.  This is a
light heavyweight exhibition and it doesn’t last long as Storm rolls through a
hurricanrana counter of his powerbomb. 
Some dream match.
The announcers
call a fan as Sunny shows off the one million dollars.  The first fan dialed had an invalid phone
number.
Arm Wrestling
Match:  Ken Shamrock defeats The British
Bulldog by disqualification:
Surprisingly, there is very little stalling in the set up
for this arm wrestling match, which makes it arguably the best arm wrestling
match in the history of the WWF.  The
Bulldog has the upper hand early, but when Shamrock starts a comeback the
Bulldog headbutts him, smashes him in the face with a chair, and then dumps a
can of dog food all over him, which is rather disgusting.
Goldust
(w/Marlena) defeats Rockabilly (w/The Honky Tonk Man) by disqualification when
Brian Pillman interferes at 1:14:
Goldust brings a mannequin in a dress to the ring with
him in order to show off the dress that Brian Pillman is going to be forced to
wear after he loses at SummerSlam.  After
getting tossed out of the ring, Rockabilly makes the mistake of slapping
Michael Moorer, who is heckling him, and he gets rocked with a right hand that
knocks him out cold.  When Goldust
watches this, Brian Pillman comes out and attacks him from behind.  Marlena eventually comes to her man’s aid by
locking in a sleeper before WWF officials intervene.  There wasn’t a lot of wrestling here, but
those two segments back-to-back were very entertaining.
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to find out who the top five candidates are for the WWF
commissioner position!
A video package
hypes the Undertaker-Bret Hart championship match at SummerSlam.  They combine footage of past encounters
between the Undertaker and Bret, including their showdown at the 1990 Survivor
Series, which is where the Undertaker character debuted.
McMahon interviews
Shawn Michaels, who says that he’s not the most popular man in the WWF and that
he wants to do color commentary for the main event between Bret Hart and the
Patriot.  Bret is shown throwing chairs
and kicking boxes backstage.
More Pittsburgh
fans give their opinions about SummerSlam and Bret Hart.  One guy has the line of the night:  “Everyone knows that the Salvation Army could
kick Canada’s ass.”  Statement of the
night for humor, not factual basis as people forget that Canada had one of the
world’s strongest navies at the time of the Second World War
.
Bret gets on the
house mic and does his Iron Sheik interpretation by having the Canadian
national anthem played.  Shawn Michaels
mocks the anthem while it is played.
-The Patriot comes
out to what most fans now know as Kurt Angle’s WWF theme and he has the Star
Spangled Banner played.  Before the
anthem finishes, Bret jumps the Patriot to get a HUGE heel reaction and it
keeps playing as he does a beat down in the ring.  This kicks off our main event.
The Patriot pins Bret
“the Hitman” Hart with a school boy at 6:38 shown:
The Patriot had quite a unique run in the WWF, as he got
a huge push when he came in and he was gone by the Royal Rumble after suffering
a debilitating bicep injury brought on by steroid use.  The national anthem bit was good, but I like
to think that they should have saved that for pay-per-view because it told such
a great story.  When Bret dominates most
of the match, the announcers play it off like the Patriot isn’t used to someone
on Bret Hart’s level, which isn’t really the best way to sell a guy that you
are going to give a WWF title shot to in a month.  The referee gets bumped when Bret escapes a
full nelson and that means the referee is not in a position to count a fall
when Bret delivers a piledriver.  When
the referee is ready to count after a headbutt to the abdomen, Shawn Michaels
runs in and breaks it up.  Bret turns to
yell at Michaels, but the Patriot rolls him up and scores the upset.  This is where Earl Hebner’s slow count spot was
unwarranted and it made Bret, the “Excellence of Execution” look ridiculous
because he couldn’t find a way in six seconds to escape a school boy when he
incurred very little damage in the bout. 
At the time, this is where it started to hit me that Bret’s “aura” was
starting to come apart in the WWF as he jobbed to a guy that he NEVER would
have lost to in his previous runs at the top. 
Rating:  *¾
The Final Report Card:  Many of the matches were abbreviated, but the
angles did a great job hyping the major matches at SummerSlam.  It also provided lots of water cooler
material for the next day since you could talk about Michael Moorer knock out
Rockabilly, the Patriot’s upset victory, and how much Austin was going to
destroy Owen Hart at SummerSlam.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.9 (vs. 3.4 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

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

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

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

by Logan Scisco

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

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

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

by Logan Scisco

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

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

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

by Logan Scisco

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

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

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – May 5, 1997

by Logan Scisco

A video package
recaps last week’s major events between Steve Austin and the Hart Foundation
.
Vince McMahon,
Jerry “the King” Lawler, and Jim Ross are in the booth and they are
broadcasting from Green Bay, Wisconsin. 
This is the go home show for In Your House:  Cold Day in Hell.
The Hart
Foundation comes out for our opening promo. 
Bret Hart thanks his fans from different parts of the globe who are
wishing him a quick recovery and his comments toward American fans are censored.  Owen looks great in this segment, since he
has his two Slammy Award trophies and all four of the belts of the Hart
Foundation on his arms.  Bret hypes the
greatness of the Hart Foundation and says that since the Hart Foundation has
destroyed Steve Austin they are going to target Shawn Michaels next.
Steve Austin’s
interactions with the Undertaker at the end of last week’s show are the Castrol
Super Clean Slam of the Week
.

Opening Contest:  Rockabilly (w/The Honky Tonk Man) defeats
Ahmed Johnson by disqualification when Ahmed uses a guitar at 3:55:
For the first time that I can recall, Ahmed is not
wearing his red trunks and is wearing long black tights to the ring
instead.  This look makes Ahmed appear
more menacing, but this look would be better for a heel Ahmed character.  Ross calls Rockabilly’s offense in this match
“vintage Honky Tonk Man” which means that it’s dry and boring.  Rockabilly dominates 95% of the match, but he
releases a sleeper hold and brings a guitar into the ring, but Ahmed gets hold
of it and smashes it across Rockabilly’s head to lose the match.  The booking of this contest is puzzling,
since Ahmed needs to be built for his gauntlet match at In Your House.  Props to Billy for taking a guitar shot to
the head from Ahmed because that’s akin to putting your life on the line.  Rating:  DUD
The Hart
Foundation is shown looking for Shawn Michaels in the locker room
.
A video package
hypes Ken Shamrock and focuses on his family life
.
Vader defeats
Goldust (w/Marlena) with a Vader Bomb at 4:46:
Ken Shamrock comes out for commentary for this match and
he repeats the same talking points of not liking bullies and Vader won’t be
able to push him around.  This is a
standard back and forth match, with Goldust trying to wear down the bigger
Vader with striking moves, but that backfires and Vader gets a clean victory.  After the match, Vader dares Shamrock to get
into the ring and Shamrock accepts the challenge, but Mankind runs into the
ring to go after Shamrock.  However,
Goldust comes to Shamrock’s aid and helps him clear the ring.  Rating:  **
Jim Ross interviews
Dustin and Terri Runnels in a shoot interview, where Dustin is candid about his
relationship with his dad.  Dustin talks
about the controversial Goldust character and how he didn’t understand why
Scott Hall didn’t want to wrestle him. 
Dustin says that he still doesn’t have his father’s respect
.
The Hart
Foundation attacks a man coming out of the men’s restroom, but it’s not Shawn
Michaels.  Despite realizing their
mistake, the continue the attack anyway
.
Gauntlet
Match:  Ahmed Johnson and Two Jobbers
defeat Crush at 2:27:
Faarooq promised that Crush would face three street wise
brawlers, but the first two are jobbers that weigh less than a feather.  The first two jobbers are easily dispatched,
but a third jobber quickly runs out in a mask and delivers a Pearl River Plunge
and defeats Crush.  The masked jobber is
obviously Ahmed Johnson, but Ahmed unmasks just so everyone in the audience
gets it.  That was a nice twist that made
the segment worth watching.
The Hart
Foundation runs through the parking lot looking for Shawn Michaels.
Sable models the
Austin 3:16 t-shirt.  To get it call
815-734-1161 and it will cost you $20 (plus shipping & handling)!
McMahon interviews
Shawn Michaels, who has seemingly avoided the Hart Foundation thus far in the show.  Michaels says that he isn’t trying to save
Steve Austin every week and is really trying to go after the Hart
Foundation.  Michaels says that Bret Hart
may not like American society, but he likes getting paid in American money and
that if Bret doesn’t like it in the United States he can leave.  As Shawn goes to leave after high fiving fans
around ringside, Bret and Brian Pillman appear on the Titantron and Bret
challenges Shawn to face Jim Neidhart tonight. 
Michaels appears to accept and Neidhart comes out, but once Michaels
ties up with Neidhart, Owen Hart and the British Bulldog appear and ambush the
Heartbreak Kid.  However, the Legion of
Doom comes to Shawn’s aid and run off the heels
.
Doug Furnas &
Philip LaFon defeat the Legion of Doom when LaFon pins Hawk after an Owen hot shot
at 4:51 shown:
This is a rematch from last week and if you recall,
Furnas and LaFon blamed their loss on a lack of fan support.  This is also a de facto number one contenders
match, since there’s a lack of credible tag teams in the company at this
time.  Furnas and LaFon are a team that
could have benefitted immensely from a manager, since neither guy was great on
the mic.  Furnas and LaFon do a great job
selling the LOD’s power offense, but this one is seriously limited on time like
last week’s encounter.  When the LOD appear
set for victory, the British Bulldog distracts Animal and Hawk botches Owen’s
interference, but Furnas and LaFon score their biggest victory in a long time
to even this TV feud at one match a piece. 
Rating:  **
Shawn Michaels is
shown brawling with members of the Hart Foundation backstage in the midst of
WWF officials, but Steve Austin shows up and Pillman quickly wheels Bret away
from the scene
.
McMahon interviews
WWF Champion The Undertaker, who has lost the WWF belt.  The Undertaker rants about having his belt
stolen and says that the person that stole it is playing a “deadly game.”  He promises to make the person that stole his
belt pay dearly tonight and he tells Steve Austin that it will be a cold day in
hell before he becomes WWF champion.
Sunny comes out
and models the Austin 3:16 t-shirt.
Austin is shown
refusing medical treatment after being knocked off the stage on last week’s
show
.
Non-Title
Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve Austin defeats
The British Bulldog (European Champion) with a Stone Cold Stunner at 7:03
shown:
While it’s terrible to say that a devastating injury was
good for business, Austin’s neck injury did wonders for his character because
it made him more of a brawler, which was more suited for the Attitude Era.  This match is evidence of this, since Austin
comes to the ring ready to explode on the Bulldog, but does so with technical
moves and it doesn’t seem to fit.  The
Bulldog sucks a lot of momentum out of the match with a long chinlock segment
and goes to finish with a running powerslam, but Austin slips out of his grasp
and delivers a Stunner out of nowhere for the victory.  Austin still hadn’t gotten that kick-Stunner
sequence down yet.  A disappointing
matchup, but this was the WWF grinding their wheels until they could get past
In Your House.  Rating:  *½
After the match,
Owen and Jim Neidhart hit the ring and the Legion of Doom come to Austin’s
aid.  Doug Furnas and Philip LaFon rush
the ring and then Shawn Michaels comes down. 
Unlike the 1998 Attitude Era brawls, this one illicit very little crowd
reaction until the Undertaker shows up and attacks the Hart Foundation, who
have his WWF title.  The faces eventually
stand tall and clear out, leaving Austin and the Undertaker, with the
Undertaker laying the WWF title between them and they brawl to close out the
show
.
The Final Report Card:  At the time, putting Austin against the
Undertaker for the WWF title at In Your House seemed to be an odd choice.  Austin was engaged in a feud with the Hart
Foundation, which was the top feud in the company, but the top prize in the
promotion was around the waste of another top face.  From the WWF’s perspective, it was best to
sell a pay-per-view with Austin in the main event, but I didn’t give him much
chance to win since it seemed that if Austin was going to win the title that he
would win it at a bigger event.  The WWF
tried to make an Austin-Undertaker matchup intriguing, but honestly it didn’t
really click since most of the RAW’s leading up to In Your House centered on
Bret’s interaction with Austin.  I’ll
give a neutral rating this week because while the wrestling was acceptable, the
promos didn’t add much to the show and the story throughout the show of the top
guys searching for other guys to beat up was like a bad B movie.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.8 (vs. 3.2 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Neutral

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

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

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