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

by Logan Scisco

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

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