The SmarK Rant for WWF Monday Night RAW – 08.18.97
Hey, back to 1997 for a bit, why not?
Live from Atlantic City, NJ, drawing a sellout 8672.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler
Ravishing Rick Rude joins us to start, using a god-awful overdubbed generic version of “The Stripper”. I’ve never been more happy to hear him say “Cut the music”. It’s a classic ATLANTIC CITY SWEATHOGS from Rick, and he explains that he’s now working as “an insurance salesman” and was paid a large amount to step in last week. I hear Curt Hennig is in need of a new insurance settlement, maybe he should call Rick? So Vince accuses him of running a protection racket. I’m pretty sure that’s slander. The story behind this whole lame insurance gag is that Rude was supposed to be introduced as Shawn’s new bodyguard, but Shawn “cried and complained” that he wanted Hunter in that role, so now Rude will just be on a short term deal and then move onto other things. Oh, he’d move onto other things soon enough, that’s 100% correct.
Owen Hart & British Bulldog v. The Legion of Doom
Animal throws Owen around to start and Hawk comes in with the neckbreaker and fistdrop, but misses a charge and runs into the post. The Harts go to work on him and Bulldog gets a slam for two and goes to the chinlock while Vince notes that Shawn is “having a temper tantrum” in the back. Talk about art imitating life. Hawk gets double-teamed in the corner but fights back with a clothesline and makes the hot tag to Animal. He powerslams Owen for two, but the Godwinns run down and Henry hits Animal with the bucket, and Owen gets the pin at 5:00. This continues building towards the four-way match at Ground Zero that didn’t happen. Nothing to the match. *
Meanwhile, Shawn Michaels is tired of everyone in the WWF giving him the shaft, throwing him to the lions like a “young Catholic boy”. I mean, if he was a young Catholic boy, he’d probably be more afraid of being thrown to…well, let’s not go there.
Brian Christopher v. Flash Funk
The entrances get screwed up here, as they play Funk’s music and Christopher comes out, necessitating a music change in the middle of his entrance. Flash comes out looking like someone stole his stash, which would normally be jobbing face but I don’t see him jobbing here. They trade hammerlocks to start and Funk takes over with some slams and a clothesline, and then puts him on the floor with an awesome step-up knee strike that looks like the stuff guys are doing today. Back in, Christopher hits the Stroke while Lawler keeps talking about how he wants Christopher to use a piledriver, and Brian follows with a middle rope missile dropkick, but he stops to dance and won’t cover. Vince notes that he’s “taken the light heavyweight division by storm”, which isn’t hard when it’s two guys. Christopher goes up to finish, but Lawler goes over and yells at him to do a piledriver instead, thus paying off the running joke on commentary, which allows Funk to crotch him and finish with the 450 at 3:45. *1/2
The Sultan v. Ken Shamrock
I can’t believe we’re in August of 1997 and the Sultan is still around. Shamrock goes for the leg for a bit and then clotheslines Sultan to the floor, but he goes out to follow and Iron Sheik hits him with the flag. Back in, Sultan gets the “heat”, but misses a charge while the crowd dozes. Shamrock comes back with a pretty impressive belly to belly, and then pulls Sheiky Baby in and gives him one as well. Anklelock finishes the Sultan at 3:17. Ended up being a pretty impressive showing for Shamrock. **
The Nation of Domination is here, and they pull JR away from the table to interview them. So Faarooq buries Ahmed Johnson for “wanting to be white”, even though it won’t happen even if they “sandblast his ass 20 times”. Well, that is certainly factually accurate. Onto new member Rocky Maivia, who has three words for us: “Die, Rocky, die”. He became the youngest IC champion in history, and what did he get for it? Chants of “Rocky sucks”! He’s a lot of things, but “sucks” isn’t one of them. Also not an English major. This was a HELL of a promo from Rocky that immediately made him look like a giant star.
And then DOA appears on the screen challenging them to a parking lot fight RIGHT NOW, so we take a break and return to it later.
Meanwhile, Hunter Hearst Helmsley is sick of Shawn Michaels doing stuff that he gets punished for.
Meanwhile, the Nation rushes into the parking lot and has the promised brawl with the bikers, but the Boriquas steal the bikes to end it. Easter egg / rib alert: At one point, Kama “accidentally” smashes the windshield of Jim Cornette’s car.
Brian Pillman v. Jesse Jammes
Pillman is still wearing a dress, and he slugs away on Jammes to start, but gets his dress pulled up and that allows Jammes to make the comeback. Jammes misses a bodypress and this brings out Goldust, who “attacks” Jammes for the DQ at 1:49. See, JJ wins by DQ, so Pillman has to keep wearing the dress. *
Afterwards, Pillman is SICK of this nonsense, so he offers Goldust one more match, where he’ll leave the WWF forever if he loses. But if he wins, he gets Marlena. Goldust is like “You must be stupid if you think I’d do that”, but Pillman calls her “Terri” and then claims that Dakota is his love-child. Oh yeah, forgot about that point. At that point, Marlena panics and accepts the challenge while Goldust charges in and attacks. This leaves Goldust confused about why she’d accept. Unfortunately the angle never paid off properly, but this was GREAT and suddenly made PIllman look like the sinister heel again instead of the doofus in a dress.
The Man They Call Vader v. The Patriot They Call Del Wilkes Even Though He Wears a Mask
JR proudly notes that the Patriot is “a big ol’ gamecock”. Isn’t that Flash Funk? Bret Hart comes out to wave his flag, which allows Vader to pound on Patriot in the corner and follow with a corner splash. Patriot makes a comeback and runs into a boot in the corner, but gets a bodypress for two. He tries a sunset flip and Vader sits on him to block and drops an elbow for two. Vader drops another elbow and goes up to finish, but the Vader Bomb hits knee and Patriot makes the comeback. DDT gets two. Vader puts him down with a clothesline for two, but UNCLE SLAM finishes for the Patriot at 5:00. **1/2 Patriot goes to yell at Bret FOR AMERICA, but Vader clobbers him from behind and beats him down. Bret decides to drape the Canadian flag over Patriot’s body, but Vader is like “I didn’t vote for Justin Trudeau!” and breaks the flagpole in disgust. So the Hart Foundation runs down and attacks Vader as well, giving us a babyface turn. Another strong angle in a series of them tonight.
Meanwhile, Steve Austin sits down with JR in his hotel room, talking about his recent neck injury and how he’ll be at Ground Zero to kick Owen’s ass no matter what. Well, he wasn’t.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley & Shawn Michaels v. Undertaker & Mankind
Mankind beats on Hunter in the corner to start, but he gets jumped by Shawn and the unaffiliated team of HHH and Shawn double-him for a bit. Mankind escapes and brings in Undertaker, who tosses Shawn and then backdrops Hunter onto him. Shawn manages to superkick Taker from the apron, however, and slugs away, but Taker shrugs him off and tosses both heels. This brings out Rick Rude as we take a break. Back with Hunter coming off the top rope and landing in the Mandible Claw, but Chyna trips up Mick and crotches him on the post. Shawn with the flying forearm and Hunter comes in with a high-low before they dump Mankind and send him into the stairs. Back in, Shawn gets a back elbow while antagonizing Undertaker, and goes up with the flying elbow. Mankind catches the superkick and gets the claw, then reverses the Pedigree and makes the hot tag to Undertaker. He slugs away on Hunter and gets the legdrop for two, but Shawn attacks from the apron and gets flung into the railing for an amazing bump as usual. Rick Rude gets involved and Taker goes after him, but then chokeslams Hunter instead and Shawn BASHES a chair over Taker’s head for the DQ at 12:35. *** That was a Cody type shot. Undertaker is busted open while the completely unaffiliated team of HHH, Shawn Michaels and Rick Rude run away. Oh, and then they show a replay where you see Taker slicing himself open. IT’S STILL REAL TO ME, DAMMIT!
Hell of a show this week!