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

by Logan Scisco

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Neutral

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

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Neutral

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

by Logan Scisco


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

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

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

by Logan Scisco


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

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

What the World Was Watching: Friday Night’s Main Event – September 5, 1997

by Logan Scisco

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What the World Was Watching: 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