What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – November 17, 1997

by Logan Scisco

Post-show footage
of last week’s main event is shown. 
Triple H didn’t get a three count after Shawn Michaels hit Ken Shamrock
with Rick Rude’s briefcase because Commissioner Slaughter broke up the count.  In the chaos, Shamrock schoolboyed Michaels
and Slaughter counted to three and awarded him the victory.  That’s some WCW-type booking there.
-Jim Ross and Jim
Cornette are in the booth and they are taped from an undisclosed location.
-Intercontinental
Champion Steve Austin comes out and the crowd gives him a “hell yeah” to beat
up Rocky Maivia.  Austin goads Maivia to
come down, but Maivia sends the rest of the Nation of Domination.  D-Lo Brown eats a Stunner, but all of that is
a distraction that allows Maivia to steal the Intercontinental belt.  After that, Austin lets Ross know that he is
going to be around for the whole show to make sure that Maivia pays.
In the last first
round match of the Karate Fighters Holiday Tournament, Sunny beats George and
Adam.

Opening
Contest:  Jerry “the King” Lawler
(w/Brian Christopher) beats Marc Mero (w/Sable) by disqualification when Sable
interferes at 4:41:
This opening match does have a storyline, with Lawler
trying to avenge Brian Christopher’s defeat to Mero last month.  Butterbean is back this week and Mero gets in
his face before the match.  Christopher
continues a streak of being on commentary for the opening RAW match.  Lawler and Mero box for while and that goes
as well for Lawler as you might expect and then Christopher tries to come onto
Sable at ringside.  Mero isn’t happy
about that, but the distraction allows Lawler to hit a piledriver.  Before the pin can be registered, though,
Sable delicately climbs in and breaks it up. 
After the match, Mero gives Lawler a TKO and then berates Sable for
costing him the match.  This is the first
match that Lawler has won in a while and while the wrestling wasn’t great, the
stuff that happened outside of the match was pretty well played.  Rating:  *
Ross recaps
Montreal and interviews Vince McMahon about it. 
This is where McMahon gives his famous account of the incident where he
says that he didn’t screw Bret Hart, but that “Bret Hart screwed Bret
Hart.”  I remember being so confused
about this stuff as a kid, but I can appreciate this segment much more looking
back at it.
“Road Dogg” Jesse
James & “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn defeat Savio Vega & Miguel Perez by
disqualification when Jesus & Jose interfere at 45 seconds:
James and Gunn come out in some of Los Boricuas ring gear
and their attire, which they seemingly stole before the show went on the
air.  Savio and Miguel attack James and
Gunn as they are making their offensive entrance, but before this really gets
going the other Boricuas interfere and they beat down James and Gunn.
A video package
hypes Ken Shamrock
.
Shamrock giving
Triple H a belly-to-belly suplex is the Lazer Tag Slam of the Week.
Sunny comes out to
be the guest referee for our next match.
Mini Tag
Match:  Max Mini, Mini Nova & Mini
Tauras wrestle El Torito, Tarantula & El Battalion to a no contest at 2:50:
Tauras is an interesting mini, as he uses a series of
legdrags to befuddle his opponents. 
There’s lots of flipping and flying and Sunny has to leapfrog El
Torito.  Suddenly the lights go out and
Kane comes down to the ring to a huge pop, but this isn’t a WrestleMania 2
incident since the minis flee the ring and hide behind the commentating team in
a funny spot.  The Headbangers come to
the minis aid, but Kane doesn’t sell getting a boombox broken over his head and
each of the Headbangers eat a Tombstone. 
If Kane had Tombstoned Max Mini this would’ve been a ***** segment.
Rick Rude
introduces D-Generation X.  This is a
notable segment because this is when Rude jumped to WCW, so he appeared on a
live episode of Monday Nitro and this taped episode, thereby becoming the only
superstar of the Monday Night Wars to appear on both shows on the same night if
you don’t include the simulcast that happened on the last edition of Nitro in
2001.   Knowing this piece of trivia helped me win
tickets to a WWE house show a few years ago. 
Cornette alludes to this on commentary by noting that Rude “gets
around.”  Anyway, WWF Champion Shawn
Michaels says he can’t wait to beat up Bret Hart’s friends now that he has run
Bret out of the company and Triple H calls out Commissioner Slaughter.  Triple H says DX makes the rules in the WWF
and insults Slaughter’s manhood.  When
Slaughter attacks Helmsley, DX lays him out.
Light Heavyweight
Championship Tournament First Round Match: 
Scott Taylor pins Eric Shelley with a flying DDT at 5:26:
Jerry Lynn was supposed to face Shelley, but has been
replaced in the tournament by Taylor with no reason given.  Jeff Jarrett calls in during the show and
says he is going to return on RAW next week. 
Shelley looks much better here than he did on a RAW earlier in the year,
but that might be because Taylor is dominating the action.  If either of these guys had more build
heading in, the crowd would’ve been into what is a pretty proficient contest.  Taylor advances and faces the winner of Flash
Flanagan-Brian Christopher in the semi-finals. 
Rating:  **¼
Marc Mero comes
out with Sable and demands an interview. 
Ross complies and Mero alleges that Butterbean is stalking Sable and
challenges him.  Butterbean gets in the
ring and pushes Mero down, but WWF officials intervene before anything else
happens.  Mero’s ring work deteriorated
significantly by this point, but he had great mic skills and did a great job playing
his character here.
A second part of
Ross’s interview with Vince McMahon over Montreal is shown.  McMahon says he would welcome Bret back to
the company, but they would have to sit down and have a clear understanding of
each other’s motivations.  He says he’s
already over Montreal and that part of Bret will always be in the WWF and he’ll
remember the good times over the bad.
Vader-Goldust is
scheduled to take place, but Goldust comes out with Gerald Brisco and says that
he has medical documentation that he cannot compete.  As Vader argues with Brisco over the
documentation, Goldust pulls an object that looks like a hammer out of his
sling and blasts Vader with it.  Vader
quivers after the blow and sells it pretty well as Goldust marches off.
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to hear all of the latest news and gossip!
Commissioner
Slaughter comes out and orders Triple H to face him at In Your House.
Dude Love beats
The Rock” Rocky Maivia (w/The Nation of Domination) by disqualification when
the Nation of Domination interfere at 4:49 shown:
Maivia makes sure to clarify on the mic that this is a
non-title match is a hilarious bit, since he is sporting the belt he stole from
Steve Austin earlier in the show.  This
is a standard TV main event, which is butchered by the commercial break.  Maivia has such natural crowd heat in this
role that it is unreal.  Love hits Sweet
Shin Music, but that triggers interference from the Nation.  The Nation beats down Love until Steve Austin
comes out to help, but Maivia escapes with the title belt in the midst of the
chaos.  Rating:  **
The Final Report Card:  The McMahon segments are really interesting
from a business perspective and to hear some of McMahon’s arguments about
Montreal.  I know that I criticized the
company for not diving into Montreal on their last show, but showing the
McMahon segments on this taped RAW was a stroke of genius because it gave fans
something to flip back to that was interesting and yet could not be
spoiled.  The rest of the show was
effective in building up storylines for the next In Your House pay-per-view, as
Mero continues his spiral into being paranoid about Sable and Triple H is
strengthening his feud with Commissioner Slaughter.  Enjoyable show for what it was.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.1 (vs. 4.1 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

by Logan Scisco

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: Survivor Series 1997

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

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

by Logan Scisco

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – October 27, 1997

by Logan Scisco

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Neutral

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

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

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

by Logan Scisco

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

The Kyle Report: Money in the Bank 2011 Review

First, I would like to wish all the American readers a safe and happy Forth of July, and I hope that everyone up in Canada had a fun and safe Canada Day. Since Money in the Bank 2013 is just around the corner, I decided to review the greatest Money in the Bank show of all time.
  


   Event: Money in the Bank 2011
When: July 17, 2011
Where: Chicago, Illinois 
Your hosts: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and incoherent Booker T.

Opening Match, Smackdown Money in the Bank: Daniel Bryan vs. Kane vs. Wade Barrett vs. Justin Gabriel vs. Heath Slater vs. vs. Sheamus vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Sin Cara.
Daniel Bryan receives a big pop from the Chicago crowd. The big wrestlers fight each other, which allows Justin Gabriel to jump his way to the middle of the ring by using the ladder, but Bryan dropkicks him off.  Rhodes goes up the ladder, but both Kane and Barrett push him off. Gabriel and Bryan fly out onto Kane and Barrett. Slater slingshots onto Rhodes, and Sin Cara executes a plancha onto Sheamus. Barrett sets up a ladder but misses a clothesline onto Bryan and runs into the post. Sheamus Brogue kicks Sin Cara and then powerbombs him through a table. As God as my witness, he is broken in half. I wonder why Sin Cara didn’t sue Sheamus for him becoming addicted to painkillers. Sheamus and Kane fight over the ladder, but Bryan and Rhodes knock both of them out. Sin Cara is stretchered out of the arena. The Core put a stop to Bryan and Rhodes dominance. Wade tells Slater and Gabriel that they should allow him to win. Both Slater and Gabriel let him go up, but then drag him down and go up themselves. Cody pushes the ladder over and hits Slater with Cross Rhodes, and then another one for Barrett. Sheamus then nails Rhodes with a backbreaker. Sheamus and Kane join forces to do a ‘Doomsday Device’ on Daniel Bryan. This leads to a “L.O.D.” chant from the fans. That was a cool spot. Kane goes up the ladder, but Daniel Bryan stops Kane. Sheamus and Barrett spear Slater with a ladder and sling him across the ring. Wow, that was a ridiculous spot. Sheamus goes up, but Kane chokeslams him right onto another ladder. Everyone attacks Kane, and then Justin Gabriel hits a 450 splash onto Kane. Rhodes clotheslines Barrett over, but Bryan locks in a guillotine on Rhodes. Bryan fights off Barrett and then goes up to recover the Money in the Bank briefcase.
Winner: Daniel Bryan in 24:25 minutes
Thoughts: Daniel Bryan winning was a pleasant surprise, but many people believed he would end up being the first person to not win the championship. That did not end up being the case, as Bryan won the World Heavyweight Championship….although he did lose it to Sheamus in 18 seconds at WM 28.
Anyways, that was a terrific opener. There were so many highlight reel moments in it—Sin Cara’s insane spot, the Road Warrior spot, and the tease of reunion of the Core. This was well booked, well performed, and instead of it being a bunch of random high spots, the spots were laced together, and the match told a number of attention-grabbing stories. ****
 WWE Divas Title: Kelly Kelly (w/Eve) vs. Brie Bella (w/Nikki Bella).
Kelly has some early offense before Brie cuts her off and goes to work. Brie scores some close near falls, but Kelly eventually hits her finisher for the win.
Winner: Kelly Kelly in 4 minutes
Thoughts: Crowd did not care, I did not care, and WWE did not care about this match. ½*
The Big Show vs. Mark Henry.
This might have been the least anticipated match ten years ago, but I was looking forward to this match. The build-up was very good. Show attacks Henry with chops and then flattens him. Henry slows Show down by attacking his knee and then puts in a Boston crab. Show battles out, though. Show executes a flying shoulder block, but Henry goes after the knee to counter a chokeslam. Henry hits the World’s Strongest Slam but only gets two. He hits two splashes and that is enough to pick up the win. After the match, Henry puts Show’s ankle in a chair and then murders it. Show really sells the ankle well, as the EMTS come running out. The fans were quite rude during well-executed by chanting CM Punk’s name.
Winner: Mark Henry in 5:02 minutes
Thoughts: This was just two gigantic dudes throwing everything they got at each other, and it totally worked. The match had sound selling and psychology to boot. Sometimes a match does not need to be a classic to serve its purpose — something wrestling companies have a hard time understanding, even WWE at times. This accomplished everything they wanted it to. It established that Henry was a force to be reckon with, planting the seeds for his memorable WHW reign, and it allowed Big Show to look credible, even in defeat.** ½
Raw Money in the Bank: Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz vs. Alex Riley vs. R-Truth vs. Jack Swagger vs. Evan Bourne vs.  Alberto Del Rio vs. Rey Mysterio.
Both Miz and Truth fight with the small ladders, but Swagger blindsides them both. Rey jumps off a ladder that is being fought over by Kofi and Bourne and then hurricanrans Swagger to the outside. Riley performs an over-the-top suicidal maneuver and then Bourne delivers the Shooting Star Press onto a flock of people outside. Miz halts Bourne from winning, and then Del Rio tips the ladder over.  Bourne and Mysterio scale the ladder over the top of Truth and Del Rio. Later on, Del Rio tries a spear on Kofi, but Kofi pulls himself up with the ladder, which sends Del Rio to the floor. Rey executes the 619 on Kofi by using the ladder. Amazing spot. Truth kicks the ladder, sending it into Swagger’s face. Eventually, everyone goes after the briefcase, but nobody can grab it. People start dropping, leaving Kofi the only one on top. Swagger goes up the ladder, leading to a spot where both ladders fall over and both land awkwardly.  Miz enters the ring, but Rey stops him. Del Rio halts Mysterio from winning and then unmasks him. He throws Rey and goes up to take the case down.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio in 15:34 minutes
Thoughts: This was just a car-wreck on route 44, but it was so entertaining that I could not look away. There really was not a coherent story being told, just a ton of insane spots, one right after the other. I also liked the finish. Mysterio is more concerned about protecting his identity and the Lucha Libre tradition than winning the future title shot. A character’s flaws, not its strengths, create an interesting persona. *** ¾
World Heavyweight Title: Randy Orton vs. Christian.
If Randy Orton is DQed, he loses the title. Christian tries to manipulate Orton early on to get DQed, but he does not fall for it and beats the shit out of him. The two of them trade punches back and forth, leading to a Killswitch from Christian. Orton, back on his feet, clotheslines them both over. Back in the ring, Orton Thesz Presses Christian and punches him. Christian counters a superplex and nails a diving headbutt for two. Orton misses an uppercut, and they both look at each other for a while in what seems to be a messed up spot. Orton just hits an uppercut. Orton dodges a spear and then executes the body vice into a backbreaker move for two. Christian spits right into Ortons face, which makes Orton go crazy. Orton keeps punching Christian and then proceeds to kick Christian in the nuts for the DQ. After the match, Orton keeps trying to break the table by RKOing Christian but to no prevail. The crowd ate it up, though.
Winner: Christian in 13:30 minutes
Thoughts: Good drama and intensity, and very suspenseful. They told a great story by using the stipulations. Randy Orton’s character is based upon him being short-tempered, so Christain channeled his long time buddy Edge’s “Ultimate Opportunists” gimmick to mentally defeat Orton. This feud was extremely unsung; they never had a bad match together, and their feud felt very personal. The only real reason people disliked it was because Christian’s first title reign was only two days. Both of them ended up having one of the most heated brawls of the PG era the next month. *** ½
WWE Heavyweight Title: John Cena vs. CM Punk.
Interesting fact about this: The road agents did not map out this match. Before the match, Hayes asked what they were going to do. Cena and Punk ended up just about improvised the entire thing. Perhaps that is why the entire thing felt realistic instead of choreographed. Punk counters out of the Attitude Adjustment and then goes for the GTS, but Cena avoids it. Punk counters another FU into a DDT. Outside the ring, Punk gives Colt Cabana a high-five. Punk then puts Cena over the edge of the apron and then hits a flying knee. Back in the ring, a cross body from Punk gets two. Cena suplexes Punk from the apron all  the way to the floor. This match is already avoiding every WWE wrestling cliché. Cena delivers a powerbomb Cena puts in a weird looking abdominal stretch, but Punk hip tosses out of it. They clothesline each other. Cena makes a comeback after Punk misses a knee in the corner. Cena tries the “You can’t see me” taunt, but Punk drills him in the face with a kick before tossing him to the floor. A springboard clothesline by Punk misses, and Cena hits the Five-Knuckle Shuffle. Punk counters out of the Attitude Adjustment by landing on his feet. Punk kicks the shit out of Cena and then delivers a few stiff knees. Cena avoids a kick and locks in the STF, but Punk makes the ropes, though. Punk hits a roundhouse kick. He comes off the top with a cross body, but Cena rolls through. Punk counters, but Cena counters the GTS with the STF. Punk makes the ropes, but Cena drags him into the center. Punk counters that with the VICE. Cena fights back to his feet and counters the VICE with a FU but only for two. Cena blocks the Go2Sleep and hits another FU only for two. Cena sets up for the super FU, but Punk elbows out of it. Punk delivers a GTS, but it sends Cena to the floor. Punk’s face tells the story, as he cannot believe Cena fell out of the ring.  Both Vince McMahon and Johnny Ace come out. Punk looks at them too long, which allows Cena to lock in the STF. Vince calls for the timekeeper to ring the bell and then sends Johnny Ace down to do it. Cena lets go of the hold and drills Ace. Cena tells Vince he is not winning like that. Cena goes back into the ring, only to be met by a GTS  via Punk to pick up the win. After the match, McMahon tells Del Rio to cash in. Del Rio tries cashing in, but Punk delivers a roundhouse kick before the bell rings. Punk leaves through the crowd, while Vince looks on in disbelief.
Winner: CM Punk in 33:00 minutes
Thoughts: Remember when Edge remolded his character from the weasel, chicken-shit into a deranged psychopath to give off the impression that he could defeat the Undertaker in a Hell in the Cell match, but he wrestled the same as he did before, derailing the belief that he had a chance of winning the match? Well, unlike Edge, Punk adapted his wrestling style to his snarky, ahead of the curve persona, who did not fall clichéd tactics (example being when he kept countering Cena’s hackneyed signature comeback moves). Cena’s character also made adjustments to counter Punk’s adjustments by delivering his signature moves ways that we have never seen before. Now, that is both character development and psychology at its finest. 
This had a big match feel to it that I have not experienced in WWE since possibly The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin at  Wrestlemania 17. There was so much to win, and neither man could afford losing. The atmosphere made it feel as if the Chicago Cubs were facing the Boston Red Sox in the World Series
Millions of people gave their predictions of what will happen, but WWE ended up doing the most surprising one—allowing CM Punk escape with the title. We all believed that this was indeed Punk’s final match in WWE for a long time, but they kayfabed us all.
Unlike the Rock vs. Cena II that I trashed, this had genuine, not fabricated, drama, intensity, and heat. And, most of all, Punk and Cena just didn’t do things for the sake of doing them. Everything made sense and fit the context of the story they were telling. Nothing happened that was impractical like, oh let’s just say Cena hitting a DDT, flipping Punk over, and then putting in the STF. No, instead, a spot in the match went like this: Punk went a cross body, but Cena caught him and rolled through. Cena went for aFU, but CM Punk wiggled out. He set him up for the GTS,  but Cena caught Punk’s knee and locked in the STF. Sequences like that allowed everything to feel natural and flow like a harpoon.
This also had impeccable pacing and timing, and they magnificently built the match to its crescendo. The finish also enhanced the drama. Then, ultimately, Cena’s concern for his  “goodie two shoe” image wound up being a character imperfection that caused him to fail. Sometimes, you know, nice people finish last.
Initially, I had this at **** ½ because I thought Punk should have played the face-in-peril, and allowed Cena to control the match, so that the fans would come unglued for Punk’s comebacks. However, the crowd became unglued during the courses of the match enough to not really care about that, and Punk is better at dictating the pace nevertheless.
Additionally, there were some sloppy spots, but on a second viewing, it made me realize that it sold them being both fatigued and desperate better. Further, I was also able to see the subtle brilliance that took place— Cena’s body language showing his nervousness as a result of the atmosphere in the beginning, and then his intense determination toward the end; Punk transforming his wrestling style to mold his character, and the perfect blend of 80s storytelling and psychology and today’s state-of-the-art moves and characterizations.
 When I add it all up, I have to give this the full monty. *****
Final Thoughts: This card delivered top-to-bottom. Not only did the show deliver a collection of great matches, it also progressed the stories that were being told, and both defined and added fresh layers to the wrestlers’ characters. This is easily a top five WWE PPV of all time.

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

by Logan Scisco

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

The Kyle Report: Wrestlemania 29 Review

Wrestlemania 29 was the 29th annual “Grand Daddy of Them All”,
held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford New Jersey on April 7th, 2013. It
drew 80,676 fans according to WWE, becoming the second highest attended WWE
event ever, and about 1,048,000 ordered it worldwide. 

The initial video package
talked about Hurricane Sandy, and it focused on the strong people that assisted
those affected by it. Chris Christie, the Governor of New Jersey, narrated
the entire thing and then welcomed us to WrestleMania 29.
The wide-shot camera
angles showed the jammed-packed crowd in attendance. An enthused Michael Cole
said there were over 80,000 people there, and the event was sold out. Then, a
video package was shown of some of the classic moments in WrestleMania’s history
and slides of the wrestlers involved in this show.
Your Hosts Are Michael
Cole, Jerry Lawler, and John Bradshaw Layfield.
Opening
Match: Randy Orton, Sheamus, and Big Show vs. The Shield (Seth Rollins,  Roman Reigns, and Dean Abmrose)
As usual, the Shield arrived
through the crowd while Big Show, Sheamus and Randy Orton entered separately.
Their entrances foreshadowed the story of the match. The Shield worked
together as a cohesive team, while Big Show, Sheamus, and Randy Orton were
fragmented. The Shield went to hit the three-man powerbomb on Sheamus, but the Big
Show saved Sheamus by spearing Reigns. The problems between Team Sheamus started to happen
when Sheamus tried to tag in The Big Show, but Orton selfishly tagged himself
to be the legal man. Orton cleaned house, while the camera showed Big Show
visibly pissed off. Orton set up for the RKO on Dean Ambrose, but wound up
RKO’ing Rollins, who jumped off the turnbuckle, in mid-air. Out of nowhere,
Reigns speared Orton, allowing Ambrose to pick up the win by pinning Orton. JBL
speculated that the Shield might be the greatest team ever. After the match,
Big Show ended up punching both Sheamus and Orton in the face and then walked away in disgust.
Winners:
The Shield in 10:37
Thoughts: An adequate, inoffensive opening tag
match. The story of the match was that the Shield worked as a cohesive unit,
while team Sheamus, Big Show, and Randy Orton could not put their differences aside.
People speculated whether or not Randy Orton would finally turn heel, but WWE ended
up not pull the trigger on the turn. Like I said, it was solid, but the Shield
have had much better matches on free TV. ** 1/2
A video package was
shown hyping up the John Cena vs The Rock match
Ryback
vs. Mark Henry
Henry took control early
on by delivering a powerslam and then a clothesline. Ryback went for Shell
Shock, but Henry pushed him into the turnbuckle. Henry then applied a bear hug. The
crowd then started to chant “Sexual Chocolate”, illustrating how little the
crowd cared about this match. Henry applied another bear hug, only for Ryback to drive
Henry into the corner where he delivered a couple of clotheslines. The crowd
came alive when Ryback executed the “Feed Me More” clothesline. The crowd then popped
huge when Ryback got Henry up for Shell Shock, but Henry countered by grabbing
the ropes and landing on Ryback’s back. Henry proceeded to pick up the win by
pinning him in a very anti-climactic finish. After the match, Ryback hit Shell
Shock, which made Henry’s win rather pointless.
Winner:
Mark Henry in 8:20
Thoughts: The match was tedious, and the crowd only popped
for the big spots, but it was not as bad as it could have been. They did not try to do more than they could, so neither Henry nor Ryback were exposed
for being less than stellar workers. I still do not understand why Ryback lost
this match because he ended up becoming the number one contender the next
night. I also wonder if WWE has a long-term plan for Ryback losing every big
match on PPV in his WWE career. * 1/4
Tag
Team Championship: Team Hell No (Kane and Daniel Bryan) © vs. Dolph Ziggler and
Big E Langston w/AJ Lee
AJ kissed Ziggler at the
start of the match. Ziggler turned around only to be kicked in the head by
Daniel Bryan (in what was a convincing near-fall that played off how Bryan lost
to Sheamus last year). Ziggler tagged in Langston and Bryan tagged in Kane. Boo!.
Langston delivered Kane three backbreakers in a row, and then hit a running
body attack. He’s pretty strong, to be honest. The heels made some quick tags and worked over Kane, but Kane fought
back by hitting a sick-looking DDT on Langston. Ziggler pulled Bryan off the
apron, but Kane ended up hitting a sidewalk slam on Ziggler. The pace is really picking up. Kane went for a
top-rope clothesline, but Ziggler moved
out of the way. Ziggler botched a Fameasser and got a two count out of it. Afterwards,
Kane tossed Langston outside the ring, and Bryan nailed Langston in the head
with a stiff knee. Ziggler nailed the Zig Zag and got a close near-fall out of
it. AJ Lee preoccupied the ref, as Kane dodged a briefcase shot and then gave
Ziggler a Chokelsam. Kane tagged in Bryan, and he hit the Flying Headbutt on
Ziggler. It was good enough to pick up the win.
Winners:
Team Hell No in 8:22
Analysis: The de ja vu spot was a nice play off of last
year’s Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan match, and it was actually very believable
near-fall. All four men worked hard, and thus got the rather silent crowd
engaged into it. Overall, it was a rock-solid, energetic match, with all four
men playing their specific roles well. I just wish they had more time and that Bryan
and Ziggler wrestled together longer. ** ¾
John Cena discussed Make-A-Wish and told us that we can donate $10 by texting 80088.

Chris
Jericho vs. Fandango
Fan-dan-go! started by
doing a little dancing, only to get suplexed by Jericho. Bret Hart thought his dancing was more entertaining than a HHH match. Out of
nowhere, Jericho Codebreaker. (By the way, every time I say out of nowhere, Don West screaming on top of his lungs comes to my mind. God, I miss that guy.) Fan-dan-go! fell out of the ring, though.
Jericho then followed up by giving him a dropkick. Back in the ring, Fan-dan-go! started to control the match, but Jericho came back by hitting a double
axehandle and then a Thesz Press. Bah, gawd. Jericho then nailed a cross body block to
pick up a two count. Fandango, however, threw Jericho shoulder first into the ring
post. Fan-dan-go! hit a neckbreaker, and then proceeded to hit his unique Leg Drop
off the top rope, getting a close near-fall. Jericho attempted the Walls of
Jericho, but Fan-dan-go! reversed it and then executed a clothesline. Fan-dan-go! went to the top again, but it was Jericho grabbed the top rope. Jericho went for a
superplex, but Fan-dan-go! countered by hitting a headbutt. Fan-dan-go! went for his top-leg drop, but Jericho moved out of the way. Things got messy when it appeared
Jericho was supposed to hit the Liontamer, but Fan-dan-go! was too close to the
ropes. Jericho tried to cover the botch up by going for the Walls of Jericho,
but Fan-dan-go! countered with a sloppy inside cradle to pick up the win.
Winner:
Fan….dan….go! in 9:11
Thoughts:  I forgot to breathe in the A’s, I think. Anyway, another decent match. There was a good amount of
back-and-forth action and counter-for-counter wrestling exchanges. Jericho’s
mission was to make Fandango look good, and he did a good job of doing so. Aside
from the sloppy finish, Fandango appeared to have some wrestling ability.
Jericho is so good at being able to adapt with anyone and have a watchable match
with them, though. 

The next night, Fandango received a huge babyface reaction,
but the WWE failed to capitalize on it. The thing is the character never really
pissed people off and people never took him seriously. It was just a whacky,
cheesy, goofy, but rather entertaining character. The fans told WWE this, but they did not want to listen. Now, he is receiving
little-to-no reaction at all. ** ½

Diddy performed, which made me hit
the fast-forward button. I like it when they use a music performer to sing
someone’s theme, but to give them their own mini-concert would be equal to
Diddy allowing wrestlers to wrestle at his concerts. I mean people order WM to see
wrestling, not an eight-minute concert. The time wasted here should have been used for the mid-carders that were short-changed.
World
Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio w/Ricardo Rodriguez vs. Jack Swagger
w/Zeb Colter
Zeb Colter cut a promo
on just about every nationality to get cheap heat. Del Rio started aggressively
at the start until Zeb Colter sidetracked him, which allowed Swagger get the
upper hand by throwing Rio into the post. Del Rio got a hope spot in by rolling
up Swagger for a two count but then got a big boot to the face from Swagger. Del
Rio made his comeback by using clotheslines, a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and
then a side kick for a two count. Swagger came back with a shoulder block to the
knee of Del Rio. Del Rio attempted an enziguiri, but Swagger ducked it. Swagger went
for the Swagger Bomb, but Del Rio countered and then hit a Backstabber for a
two. Del Rio tried to end it, but Swagger reversed it with a Gutwrench
Powerbomb for two. The work is solid but the crowd does not care. Swagger locked in the Patriot Lock, but Del Rio reversed it with
his Cross Armbreaker submission. Swagger countered back with the Patriot Lock. We Da People! Del
Rio managed to break the hold by kicking Swagger in the head. Colter put Swagger’s leg on the ropes
while Del Rio was pinning him. Rodriguez chased after Colter on his crutches, but Colter
ended kicking one of his crutches, which made Rodriguez fall to the ground. Honestly, I think Rodriguez and Cotler wrestling would have created more heat than this match. Del Rio was looking at what was going on outside the ring, which
allowed Swagger to attack him from behind. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Del Rio put in the
Cross Armbreaker, which made Swagger tap.
 Winner: Alberto Del Rio in 10:23
Analysis: Solid work, but
nothing remarkable. They had a rather decent scientific match that displayed some
quality mat-work, but the issue was that it just lacked emotion and intensity.
It  honestly felt like they were having an ordinary match, as it just lacked a sense of urgency and desperation and had no heat whatsoever. That could have been because the
feud was too complex for the fans to understand what it was all about. Or, because Del Rio and Jack Swagger’s characters are uninteresting. Or, because they
lacked a great deal of charisma in their particular roles. ** ½
 The
Undertaker vs. CM Punk w/Paul Heyman
Living Colour played Cult
of Personality” and received a big pop from the crowd. The Undertaker’s
entrance was somewhat weird. These goblins were trying to grab his feet but could not. Punk bitch slapped Undertaker in the face early on, only for Undertaker
to come back with a huge boot to the face. Outside the ring, Undertaker tossed
Punk into the security wall. He then threw Punk’s head right onto the announce
table and then into ring post. Undertaker executed a leg drop on the apron on
Punk’s throat. After, Punk took Taker down with an arm drag when Taker went for
Old School. Punk then hit the Old School Clothesline, and Punk dodged the Undertaker’s big boot, sending him knee first into the top turnbuckle. With Taker outside, Punk nailed a
double axehandle off the top to the floor and then inside the ring, he hit a
neckbreaker to get a two count. Undertaker attempted to mount a comeback via
punches, but Punk countered with a swinging neckbreaker for two. Punk went for
the top-rope Old School clothesline, but he was crotched on the top rope. Undertaker
punched Punk in the face, knocking him outside the ring. Undertaker tried
to dive outside the ring, but Heyman got on the apron, which allowed Punk to
attack with a top-rope clothesline.
Later, Punk went to the
top rope and hit the Flying Elbow, although the table did not break. Taker sneaked
into the ring before being counted out. Taker locked in the Hell’s Gate
submission, but Punk answered by rolling him up for two count. Punk locked in the
Anaconda Vice submission Undertaker, which led to a great visual when Undertaker
looked Punk sadistically into his eyes. Punk got out of the way of a Chokeslam
and hit the GTS. Undertaker bounced off the ropes and then hit a Tombstone,
only for two. Great spot. Punk hit a running knee in the corner, but  Undertaker caught him and went  for the Last Ride. Heyman gave Punk the urn,
and Punk nailed Taker in the back of the head. Punk only got a two, though.
Just an awesome exchange there. Punk went for the GTS, Undertaker countered and
hit the Tombstone Piledriver to for win. After the match, Taker walked off the urn that held Paul Bearer’s ashes.
Winner:
The Undertaker in 22:30
Thoughts:
This match was a perfect example of “it is not what you do, it is when and
why you do it”. Everything they did fit the context of the story they were
telling. Both men also had great body language, facial expressions, and
mannerisms, which helped elevate the match’s  drama and also helped transition the match to each different stage. They
also built the match off the audience’s reactions, had them in the palms of
their hands and sent them on a roller coaster ride.
Basically, CM Punk tried to defeat the Undertaker by using a
well-developed strategic plan. He did certain tactics to attempt to play mind games with the Undertaker (which is something that few little people have been able to pull off). Even though it
worked for a good portion of the match, it was not enough to defeat the
immortal Undertaker. 
Also, despite CM Punk going into the match with not a lot of momentum due to him losing four out of the five previous matches, both the Undertaker and CM Punk were able to fool a lot of people by making them believe that Punk had several chances of ending the streak. Just a terrific match. **** ½
No
Holds Barred: Brock Lesnar w/Paul Heyman vs. Triple H w/Shawn Michaels
They brawled right off
the bat, as HHH threw Lesnar into the security wall and then slammed him into the announce table. After, Lesnar
went after Triple H on the floor, but Hunter drilled Lesnar with a stiff
clothesline, which literally knocked Lesnar out. Lesnar had a chair in his
hands, but Triple H drilled him in the face with a knee. Outside, Lesnar drilled
a belly-to-belly suplex, and then Lesnar hit vertical suplex into a slam that
broke the Spanish announce table. After that, a lot of boring stuff happened. Brock Lesnar dominated Triple H forever. HBK tried to save his friend, but Brock Lesnar was having none of that, so he F-5’d HBK. Later
on, Lesnar drove HHH into the steps that were in the ring,but HHH applied the
Kimura Lock. He picked up HHH again and drilled him into steps. This time, Triple
H hung onto his head and drilled his head into the steps. Hunter hit Lesnar with a sledgehammer and then a Pedrigree onto the steps, picking up the win.
Winner: Triple H in 23:30 minutes
Thoughts:
They worked hard. They really did. The problem was nobody cared. The reason the fans did not care was because: (A) Not many people care about Triple H anymore. (B) They never believed he had a chance of losing. Or (C), the Undertaker and CM Punk match
burnt them out. Whatever the case may have been, the match just lacked that
“career on the line” atmosphere. The match also failed to top their brawl on
Raw, which was way more of a intense and bloody back-and-forth brawl, and most of all, I didn’t know who was going get the upper hand.
In my opinion, though, the biggest problem
with the match were the dynamics. Ass-kicker vs ass-kicker matches are
difficult to pull off, especially with WWE’s violence restrictions. I mean Lesnar is a good big man worker, but it is obvious that his
matches with bigger guys aren’t that impressive. His best matches come with
people who can bump like a fish in the water and take a beating (or at
least give off the illusion that they are taking a bad one). Triple H has been known to
take a good beating in the past, but due how fragile his body has become, he can hardly bump
anymore. So, basically, he was not the right size, character, and he could not take enough sick bumps in order to mesh with Lesnar. ** 3/4
A commercial for The
Rock’s next movie, Pain & Gain, is shown. There were clips from the Hall of
Fame ceremony too. Then Hall of Famers were on the stage.
.
WWE
Championship: The Rock vs. John Cena
Rock avoided a  Five Knuckle Shuffle and then hit a DDT. The Rock went for a Rock Bottom, but Cena countered with a Crossface. Rock countered it with a pinfall
attempt but only got two. Cena hits the spinning slam and then the Five Knuckle
Shuffle. Rock wiggled his way out of the Attitude Adjustment and then delivered a
Spinebuster. Cena locked in a the STF, but the Rock got out of it. Rock then hit a
Rock Bottom in for two. Then Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment for a count. Selling, no? Okay.
Cena went to the top
rope but missed a leg drop. The Rock connected with  Spinebuster and then the People’s
Elbow for a two count. Cena caught Rock in his arms and then went for the
Attitude Adjustment, but Rock hit the Rock Bottom for another two count. Again, really? Rock
wanted another People’s Elbow, but Cena reversed it with an Attitude Adjustment
for two. This is becoming stupid. They exchanged punches, and then Cena hit a Rock Bottom for a two
count. This is like a Davery Richards match on crack. Cena went for the People’s elbow; you
know, the same move that made him lose their previous match. Nice psychology….not. He then went
for the Attitude Adjustment, but Rock countered into Rock Bottom for two. Do they even have finishers anymore? Jesus. They
exchanged finishing move attempts again a few times, but neither guy could hit.
Rock hit a DDT. Rock went for a Rock Bottom, Cena slipped out, and hit the Attitude
Adjustment, which was enough to win the WWE Championship. It’s finally over! After the match,
they shook hands. Respect is earned! 
Winner
and new WWE Champion: John Cena in 20:23 minutes
Thoughts:
This match lacked psychology, any sort of strategy by either man, a story to follow, and rarely did either John Cena or the Rock played off their previous match at all. There
was no transitional period that elevated the match into the finisher galore stage of the match either. During the beginning, they should have worked over a body part or told some
sort of story. Instead, they used a cheap method to get the fans invested into the match. Trading finisher after finisher just devalued the credibility of their finishers, and it was a very lazy way to put together the supposed biggest match of the year. And, unlike CM Punk and Undertaker, Cena’s victory was never in doubt. I might get some heat for this rating, but I do not care. I
did not enjoy this match at all. * ½
Final
Thoughts:
The mid-carders on the show were evidently held down, so their matches would not
overshadow the main events. That would have been fine had the main events
delivered. However, a show should never rely on one or two matches, because this is what could happen. 

In addition, the crowd
was ready to go home after Undertaker’s epic match yet again. I’ve always believed that a title match should go on last, but I think the Undertaker’s Wrestlemania matches have become an exception to the rule. If Taker loses, the streak is
over, whereas wrestlers lose and then win back the title all the time.

Thumbs
in the middle, leaning down.

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

by Logan Scisco

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

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

Show Evaluation:  Neutral