The SmarK Rant for WWF Monday Night RAW – 09.08.97
Huh. So I left off here with the August 18 episode, but the Network jumps to this one, two weeks later. I actually have reviewed the 08.25 and 09.01 episodes back in 1997, written as TEXT FILES at the time because they were probably just transcribed from RSPW or something. Anyway, I’m assuming this was some kind of dog show or tennis related thing where we only got the episodes in Canada and thus WWE pretends that they didn’t happen now. At any rate, this makes it a lot easier to catch back up with Nitro again.
Anyway, this show is the followup to Ground Zero, which I was debating going back and rewatching. Had it been a 1:40 In Your House, I probably would have.
Live from Cincinnati, OH, drawing a sellout 6627, “where the fans are the real superstars” according to Jim Ross. These days that’s because they’re booked better than the talent.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler
Commissioner Slaughter joins Vince McMahon to start for an interview, and he thought the PPV was CHAOS. And there’s going to be law and order from now on, whether people like it or not. There’s also going to be shitty storylines and terrible matches with him upcoming whether people like it or not. Anyway, Slaughter calls out Steve Austin as he’s apparently turning heel before our eyes, and he suspends Austin until he gets a medical report that Austin can return. Oh great, Steve got Wellness’d. So further to that, Austin is stripped of the IC title and there’s a tournament that starts tonight and will be decided at Badd Blood. And WHAT a bizarre tournament that ended up being! So Austin comes out and he thinks the only “order” is the cheeseburgers that Slaughter has been ordering. Also, Austin bitches that he’s getting paid so poorly while on injury leave that he’ll soon be on Welfare. And then in case Slaughter wasn’t clear on things, it’s KICK WHAM STUNNER for him. And mild mannered announcer Vince McMahon is outraged and yells at Austin before retreating to the floor, which of course was the first real tease of what would happen soon. Austin heads over to do commentary with JR while the fans behind him basically try to mob him, but Patterson tells him to go back to the dressing room. Not exactly an electrifying interview from Slaughter, but Austin’s star power nearly blew the roof off the building all on his own.
Last night, Jim Ross tries to talk sense into Steve, but he delivers a stunner there as well. Lawler asks Vince why HE didn’t throw a punch on Austin to do something about it.
Last week, on “Friday Night’s Main Event”, Vader gets into it with Bret Hart. Aha, that’s where those shows moved to. We were just special in Canada and got them “live” on Monday beforehand. But why don’t they put them on the Network?
No Holds Barred: Bret Hart v. Vader
Bret attacks Vader with the title belt, but Vader gives it right back and then breaks the Canadian flag. Well that’s pretty disrespectful. They fight to the floor and Bret sends him into the stairs and they slug it out as we take a break. Back with Bulldog watching on from the entrance while Vader beats on Bret in the ring with a short clothesline. Vader slugs away in the corner, but Bret kicks him in the nuts to take over and drops elbows on him. Bret with a suplex and he undoes the turnbuckle, but Vader reverses him into it as they loudly call a spot on camera. Vader with the powerbomb and he goes up to finish, but Bulldog runs interference and Vader has to fight off both guys alone. The Harts double-team him and Patriot makes the save, but then Owen joins in and Bret grabs a chair and lays out both babyfaces with it. And then Steve Austin makes the real save and chases the Harts off with a chair, and this is pretty clearly a Sportz Entertainment Finish around the 7:00 mark. Vader was looking really slow and old here, but the match was pretty decent thanks to Bret bumping and looking pretty fired up. **1/2
Meanwhile, Slaughter is so angry that he THROWS DOWN HIS ICE PACK. Doesn’t he know how much those are worth? Don’t tell Seth Rollins about that kind of disrespect.
Last night, the Headbangers won the WWF tag team titles for god knows what reason.
The Godwinns beat up a couple of jobbers and demand that the Headbangers face them TONIGHT, IN THIS VERY RING.
Unsanctioned non-title match: The Headbangers v. The Godwinns
The Godwinns double-team Thrasher to start as Lawler goes on and on about how the Headbangers are wearing dresses. Meanwhile, the crowd does not care about either team one bit. PIG misses a blind charge after the boring heat segment on Thrasher and it’s hot tag Mosh, who hits PIG with a seated senton off the top, and then a third Godwinn runs in and clobbers him and puts PIG on top for the pin at 3:30. Oh damn, I completely forgot about Tony Anthony’s failed run as Uncle Cletus Godwinn. “Oh great, another Godwinn, just what the WWF needed” deadpans Vince. I love shoot comments that aren’t supposed to be shoot comments. This run made his tenure as the wrestling plumber look like a money gimmick. I feel like the lack of a clever swine-related acronym is what really killed him. Match sucked. DUD
Intercontinental title tournament, first round: Dude Love v. Brian Pillman
So Pillman now has Marlena with him as his “personal assistant” after beating Goldust at Ground Zero, so Dude brings out Goldust to be in his corner for moral support. But Pillman instead calls in from home and claims that he can’t be there because he’s too tired from banging Goldust’s wife. And he gives us a video called “Brian Pillman’s XXX Files” where he does a promo from his hotel room showing the aftermath of all the sex they were having. So later tonight, it’s Part 2 and I guess we’ll just do the match some other time. I imagine trying to get Pillman over as a heel in Cincy would have been a failed effort anyway.
Max Mini v. Piratita Morgan
Morgan pounds on Max while the announcers go through about 7 different ways to say “Piratita” wrong. Max throws him out and follows with a quebrada, and back in for an armdrag that puts Morgan on the floor again, followed by another dive from Mini. Back in, Morgan chops him down and hits him with a corner splash, but he misses a moonsault. Max goes up with a missile dropkick and finishes with La Majastral at 2:40. Fun little lucha match. **
Meanwhile, we take a look back at how Shawn Michaels made an ill-advised heel turn on Undertaker and now has been booked in a cage match called HELL IN A CELL as a result. Vince promises that we won’t see any interference from anyone in THAT match.
The Undertaker joins Vince, and yeah, he’s got bad stuff in mind for Shawn Michaels. So Shawn pops up on the screen and hypes up Hell in a Cell, whatever that is.
Intercontinental title tournament, first round: Owen Hart v. Goldust
The fact that Bret Hart & Bulldog were already booked as a tag team at Badd Blood was a pretty clear sign that Owen was going to win the belt at the show or at least be in the finals. Goldust attacks and beats on Owen in the corner and follows with a bulldog, but Owen goes low behind the ref’s back. So Goldust goes low in front of the ref and gets DQ’d at 2:10. Well that was dumb of him. Nothing to this one. * The Harts come in for the beatdown, but Steve Austin chases them off with a broom. Who does he think he is, Kenny Omega? This pisses Vince off again, as he yells at Austin from ringside and Austin claims to be innocently sweeping up the ring.
So with Goldust left alone again, Brian Pillman pops up again with The XXX Files, Part 2. This time, Brian’s in the bathroom, where Terri is apparently taking a shower in preparation for keeping Pillman up all night.
Meanwhile, the Hart Foundation gives some comments about that “crazy nut” Steve Austin, who is a HYENA and completely out of control.
The Patriot v. Hunter Hearst Helmsley v. The British Bulldog
Savio Vega is on commentary here for no solidly defined reason, but it turns out to be fortuitous as Shawn & Hunter double-team Bulldog and take him out of the match by destroying his knee on the way to the ring. This was setting up the One Night Only PPV with Bulldog defending the Euro title against Shawn. You know, the match where Bulldog dedicated the match to his dying sister and then Shawn insisted on going over to win a title he didn’t give a shit about? So instead, we get…
The Patriot v. Hunter Hearst Helmsley v. Savio Vega
Yes, it’s the king of disappointing substitutes, Savio Vega! Patriot and Savio double-team Hunter in the corner and hit a double elbow. Savio puts Patriot down with a superkick to turn on him, but Patriot gets a fallaway slam for two. Hunter tosses Savio and drops a knee on Patriot, and they all trade atomic drops as Shawn joins us for commentary and we take a break. Back with Shawn ragging on Vince while Patriot gets two on Hunter. Savio gets a piledriver on Hunter and Patriot gets two from that. So then Savio goes to the chinlock as the crowd completely turns on the match all of a sudden. Hunter dropkicks Savio for two, but Patriot gets a rollup for two and now the crowd is just booing everything as they stumble around doing nothing. Patriot hits Uncle Slam on Hunter for two, but Savio saves and gets two. And then we get a ridiculous Human Centipede spot where all three are doing headscissors, and we take another break. Back with Savio making a comeback on Patriot with chops in the corner and now the crowd breaks into a very loud “boring” chant. The highlight of the match is Shawn Michaels on commentary, as Vince asks him an off-hand question about why he needed Hunter to help him, and Shawn snarks “Because if he wasn’t there it would be a fair fight, and I’m a bad guy now!” The ref gets bumped and Savio gets his spinkick on Hunter for the visual pinfall, but Shawn interferes and Hunter runs Savio into Patriot for the pin at 17:57. This was AWFUL and felt like it was never going to end or have a point. -**
So overall, that second hour really sucked the life out of the show after Steve Austin got it off to a hot start. Nothing really to recommend here as far as in-ring, and I bet Nitro probably destroyed it in the ratings to boot.