The SmarK Rant for WWF Monday Night RAW – 09.29.97

The SmarK Rant for WWF Monday Night RAW – 09.29.97

So let’s see how the WWF can follow up the MSG show…

Taped from Albany, NY

Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler

Shawn Michaels and his unnamed crew join us to start, fresh off winning the European title at One Night Only.  Rick Rude points out that Vince is in need of protection from Steve Austin after last week, but he’s likely too cheap to pay up.  He was certainly too cheap to prevent Rude from jumping to WCW at this point.  And then Shawn has his usual threats to Undertaker, before turning things over to Hunter Hearst Helmsley to vent his spleen.  So Hunter accuses Vince of “being afraid of cliques” and “laying down like a cheap whore” for other superstars.  So from now on the ring belongs to this group of degenerates who as of yet have no name.  Shawn clowns on Undertaker some more (“Oh, woogie woogie, I’m not afraid of the Boogeyman!”) and then Slaughter comes out to lay down the law while Shawn hides behind the European title and completely goofs on him.  So anyway, tonight it’s Hunter facing Undertaker, and at least they sell that as a threat instead of making jokes about it.  So this brings out the Hart Foundation, as Bret promises that they’re going to further pay, which gives us the famous visual of Shawn and Hunter acting “scared”.  This was a complete trainwreck, with Shawn completely undermining any sense of urgency by being a total clown.

Speaking of trainwrecks, we go back to One Night Only as Shawn wins the title under a rain of garbage, and then calls the crowd “a bunch of limeys” before dedicating his win to Diana (“This one’s for you, baby!”).  So much class.  Can’t say he didn’t have heat, that’s for sure.

British Bulldog v. Vader

JR notes that Vader has jet lag from a trip to Japan and might be worn out, although of course this show was taped the week before so that’s unlikely.  I mean, that’d be some vicious jet lag if true.  Vader beats on Bulldog in the corner and slugs him down, then follows with a corner splash and goes up with the clothesline off the middle rope.  He goes up again and gets powerslammed by Davey, and clotheslined to the floor as they fight on the floor and Bulldog suplexes him onto the railing.  Back in, Bulldog with a back suplex for two and he dodges a butt splash from Vader.  Bulldog with a chinlock as we take a break in the middle of JR’s sentence and learn about trading cards in boxes of Stridex.  And now all the pimply faced teenagers are grumpy old men buying $6000 Fiend title belts as the last vestiges of their audience.  Back from the break with Bulldog trying another suplex onto the railing, but this time Vader returns the favor, and back in with a splash for two.  Vader goes up for the Vader Bomb, but the entire Hart Foundation runs in for the DQ at 8:00.  They were just kinda sleepwalking through this one, which is probably why JR was making excuses about “jet lag” on commentary before the match.  *

And Patriot makes the save as the Harts have already swung from babyfaces to heels again within the span of one segment.  So they put ALL that heat on Shawn for screwing Bulldog out of the title in his home country, and then just turned around and had the Harts do another midcard feud with Patriot and Vader the very next show?  The writing was very much on the wall for Bret at this point in hindsight.

Intercontinental title tournament Semi-Final:  Faarooq v. Ahmed Johnson

Ahmed slugs away in the corner and follows with a clothesline, but he misses a blind charge and Faarooq goes to work on the broken hand and gets two.  Ahmed comes back with an axe kick from an awkward angle and clotheslines Faarooq to the floor while Vince informs us that Ken Shamrock was in Japan and suffered…wait for it…INTERNAL BLEEDING.  This was meant as an explanation for his numerous absences around this time.  Ahmed goes after Faarooq with the stairs outside and shoves the ref for the DQ at 2:30.  WORST.  TOURNAMENT.  EVER.  So based on this rousing victory, Faarooq goes to the finals against Owen Hart at Badd Blood.  DUD

Like, I have no idea what they were trying to accomplish with this tournament, but whatever it was, it failed badly.

Meanwhile, Agent Sable plays Lazer Tag with the Headbangers.

Brian Pillman’s XXX Files sees Pillman in bed with a disgusted Marlena.  He’s willing to face Dude Love at the PPV, but only if Goldust is handcuffed to the ringpost.  “Hopefully that’s the last we see of Brian Pillman’s XXX Files” notes Vince.  Yeah, sadly it was.  JR adds that Brian has a big surprise for Goldust on Saturday night in St. Paul.  Yeah, he sure did.  Well, in Bloomington at least.

And that’s the last RAW appearance of Brian Pillman.

Goldust v. The Sultan

Holy crap is this gimmick still going?  Slugs away and slams Sultan to start, and they fight to the floor, but Sultan runs him into the post to take over.  Sheiky Baby runs Goldust into the stairs and Sultan stomps him down and follows with a backbreaker for two.  Sultan with a sleeper as this drags on, but Goldust escapes with a suplex and finishes with a bulldog at 5:38.  This dragged on longer than Edge-Orton.  ¼*  At least it had a clean finish, so that’s an improvement tonight.

Steve Austin joins us and he wants to chat with Vince again.  Vince declares that he’s either a lunatic or he just doesn’t give a damn if he’s going to keep poking this bear.  So Vince declares that Steve has three options:

  1. Steve Austin brings him a doctor’s note, which no doctor in the world would ever give him, or;
  2. Steve Austin signs a document saying that he waives all liability from the WWF if he returns, or;
  3. Steve is FIRED.

So Steve feels like no doctor knows his neck as well as he does, so he doesn’t give a crap about doctors.  Or maybe he can take Vince’s wavier and shove it up his ass.  Or if Vince fires him, he’ll beat Vince to within an inch of his life.  So those are VINCE’S choices.  So there’s some tension there, that’s for sure. And Austin waits until Vince sits at the desk again and then thrws the bell hammer at him and offers him a double middle finger on the way out.  This was easily the best part of the show with no competition.

WWF tag team titles:  The Headbangers v. Los Boriquas

Well if this doesn’t perk up this awful show, I don’t know what will!  Boriquas attack before the bell and everyone brawls, but Mosh takes Jose down with armdrags.  Double flapjack gets two.  Jesus comes in with a headlock but Thrasher powerslams him for two.  Boriquas double-team Thrasher after a cheapshot in the corner and Jose gets a suplex for two.  Jesus with a butterfly suplex and he drops an elbow for two.  Boriquas with running corner clotheslines and we TAKE A BREAK?!?  Back with Thrasher continuing to get the “heat” as the crowd dozes, and it’s a double down as Vince notes that the Godwinns are watching the match.  Well that’s three more people than were paying attention in the crowd at this point.  Jose with a suplex for two as this just keeps GOING.  They keep working Thrasher over while Vince explains the rules of this wacky “Hell in the Cell” deal coming up on Sunday.  Mosh gets a “hot” tag but the Boriquas double-team him as well and then the Godwinns all run in for the DQ at 9:21.  I feel like I’m typing that a lot tonight.  This was AWFUL and the crowd was dead and apparently it tanked the ratings as well.  -*

Owen Hart joins us with his new “Owen 3:16 says I just broke your neck” shirt and riot squad backup in case Steve Austin tries anything.  That shirt’s tremendous.  Owen notes that the only reason he’s not champion right now is that he was too nice to pin Austin after he was made into a “paraplegic” at Summerslam.  So Owen questions why Vince would let Austin destroy the WWF after building it up for decades.  And then of course on the way out, one of the riot squad reveals himself as Steve Austin, and it’s KICK WHAM STUNNER for Owen before he runs off into the crowd.  Man Austin is just carrying this show on his bad neck.  I can’t even imagine how dire it would have been without him.

Undertaker v. Hunter Hearst Helmsley

Of course Shawn and Chyna are with Hunter, so everyone just take a wild fucking guess at the finish right now.  But first, Bret and Bulldog attack Undertaker on the way down to the ring and then brawl with Patriot to the dressing room.  So then HHH and Shawn attack Undertaker and beat on him outside, but Taker makes his own comeback and chases Shawn into the ring, at which point Hunter lays out Taker from behind to start the match.  Shawn chokes out Taker behind the ref’s back and Hunter slugs away in the corner, but UT immediately makes a comeback and chokeslams him, at which point Rick Rude runs in for the DQ at 1:50.  Terrible.  DUD  And then they put Undertaker into a bodybag and declare victory, but Taker does the zombie situp and breaks free before making his own comeback again and chasing off the heels to end this shitty, shitty episode of RAW.

Man, this was a fall off the cliff after last week’s all-time great episode at MSG.  This one was easily one of the worst, with a parade of DQ finishes and no good matches.

But Steve Austin man, they’ve got something there.