The SmarK Rant for WWF Monday Night RAW – 10.06.97
Vince McMahon opens the show, informing the crowd that Brian Pillman had died in his hotel room the night before, and we get a 10 bell salute with all the wrestlers on the stage. And unfortunately that would only be the beginning of the tragedies to befall the Hart Foundation.
Anyway, this is of course the night after Badd Blood and the beginning of the end of Bret Hart’s WWF career.
Live from Kansas City, MO, doing a sellout 13,245 for the all-time record.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler & Jim Ross
Shawn Michaels and his chums join us to start, and young interviewer Michael Cole is welcomed to the WWF by Chyna with a wedgie. Shawn points out that he’s here tonight, and Undertaker is not. So he declares that he has now surpassed superstar status and is officially the ICON of the WWF. Not to be confused with “one of those fossils” because he’s the icon that can still go. And he stops for a Flair strut just to make his point even more obvious. And then we get some ass-kissing from his hype man, who is now going by “Triple H”, and they keep abusing poor Michael Cole while he tries to wander off to the back.
Next up, Shawn tells “the nimrods in the truck” to roll the footage of Badd Blood, but nothing is forthcoming. So then we get SHOCKING footage of the Curtain Call instead, as Shawn is flabbergasted because HHH was “supposed to be a bad guy”. So they head over and Shawn wonders if Vince Sr. is rolling over in his grave because they made an ass out of him. And then we cut to a break and return with Shawn still not shutting up, so Bret Hart comes out as the Kliq morons completely no-sell the entrance and act like the whole thing is beneath them. Bret calls them a bunch of DEGENERATES and says that “HHH” stands for “Homo Homo Homo” and accuses them of “barebacking their way to the main event of one PPV after another”. Also, he makes reference to Shawn’s “two guys in the ring with him”, which refers to HHH and Chyna. Also, he makes more money than the three of them combined, and he ran “their other two boyfriends Diesel and Razor out of town” and he’ll do the same to them, starting with HHH tonight. So Shawn calls him a “Paper champion” and support on Shawn’s PPV main events. And the Kliq was expanding, which is why Razor and Diesel left. Anyway, this all sets up Bret v. HHH in the main event tonight.
Well that was quite the deal. It feels like eavesdropping on a failing marriage listening to these two bicker between shoot and work.
Last night: The Godwinns win the WWF tag team titles as we near the low point for the tag titles this year.
Lumberjack match: The Godwinns v. The Headbangers
This is non-title because I guess automatic rematch clauses hadn’t been invented yet. The Godwinns double-team Thrasher to start, but PIG gets caught in the Banger corner before dropping Mosh on the turnbuckle to take over again. PIG gets a back elbow for two and then pulls the ref to block a splash from Mosh, and then all the lumberjacks run in for the big stupid brawl with literally 30 people in the ring. Somehow the ref misses ALL OF THAT, and Mosh rolls up PIG for the pin at 4:20. -**
Meanwhile, we see the home of Melanie Pillman for an interview later tonight. Oh lord. Vince must have decided to study the sleaziest wrestling promoters in history and then told them to hold his beer.
Miguel Perez v. Marvelous Marc Mero
Yup, so this is the debut of Mero’s new boxer gimmick after months out with a knee injury, and his much better music. Mero slugs away in the corner to start and follows with a kneelift. We get more pugilism in the corner, but he charges and hits boot, and Perez comes back with a lariat. Miguel hits a corner clothesline, but Mero catches him with the debut of the TKO at 2:21 to finish. See, had he skipped right from Johnny B. Badd to this, he might have been much better off. *1/2
Meanwhile, Jim Cornette has some things to get off his chest. First up, he’s sick of hearing about the nWo and how funny they are. They’re a bunch of guys hanging out in a clubhouse and acting childish and obnoxious. Kevin Nash has six moves and no mobility, and manipulated the WWF after getting “pushed to the moon”. Also Sean Waltman is just kept around because the other guys think it’s funny when he gets drunk and throws up on himself. He’s so worthless that he was released from a valid contract to go to the other side, the only person to do so! Also, Eric Bischoff likes to have studly guys hanging around him so he can look like less of a pansy and compare the size of his johnson. But that’s just Cornette’s opinion.
Well hopefully Jim got it out of his system and he’ll be much calmer from now on.
I have no idea how Nitro was supposed to compete with this flaming trainwreck of clown cars flying off a cliff and landing on a munitions dump. I mean, say what you will about Vince these days, but back then he was ABSOLUTELY willing to throw whatever it took to win onto TV.
The British Bulldog v. Rocky Maivia
Bulldog hits Rocky with armdrags to chase him out of the ring, and then back in for an eyepoke and back to the arm. Rock puts him down with a knee to the gut as the announcers discuss how crowds react differently to the Harts based on what country they’re in at any given time. No kidding. Rocky hits the PEOPLE’S ELBOW to absolutely no reaction and gets two. Was that the first one? I can’t remember. Bulldog comes back with a delayed suplex, but charges and hits boot in the corner and Rocky gets a cradle for two. Bulldog comes back with the running powerslam to finish at 3:44. Just a match. *1/2 And then the Nation runs in for the brawl afterwards, although that never really ended up going anywhere.
Speaking of angles that went nowhere, Steve Austin joins us as Vince gives him the ultimatum. Austin gets all in his face and Vince is like “Oh, you wanna play hardball, that’s fine!” and figures out that Austin doesn’t have a medical release from a doctor yet. Austin is unconcerned about that. So Vince offers him a “hold harmless” agreement and then Austin can risk his own neck as much as he wants. Austin agrees to those terms as long as he gets a title match against Owen Hart. Vince gives him his word and offers a handshake, but Austin tells him to go wipe his ass with that hand because he doesn’t trust Vince for a second. So if Vince shows him the contract with Owen, then he’ll sign the release.
But then Faarooq shows up on the Titantron to interrupt, and he’s had it TOUGH.
Lemme tell ya, he had it so tough, he had to fight his brothers for the warm jacket so he could wear it to school!
Man, that’s TOUGH.
Anyway, Faarooq is tired of hearing of Austin talking about “ass” because the Nation will soon own Austin’s ass. Austin clarifies that any issue with the Nation “isn’t a race thing, it’s a me kicking your ass thing.” Maybe someday Austin will face young Rocky Maivia! That might be a good match in the future. Austin is so unimpressed that he steals King’s crowd and kicks it into the crowd, where some doofus wears it.
Hopefully this Austin v. McMahon stuff goes somewhere.
Intercontinental title: Owen Hart v. Hawk
Hawk’s pre-match promo compares Owen to a “loogie stuck in the back of your throat” and promises to expel it. Poor Owen just gets compared to all the worst bodily functions. First he’s a loogie and then a nugget. Hawk immediately gets a press slam and neckbreaker for two as Lawler notes that this is Hawk’s first chance at a major singles title. Except for all the dozens of World title matches he had with Ric Flair, I guess. Owen comes back with a backbreaker while the Godwinns join us at ringside to set up THAT feud, and Owen gets a gut wrench suplex for two. Lawler also gives us a geography lesson: Oklahoma is not the south, it’s “like some kind of Bizarroworld out there.” Like Toronto? PIG hits Hawk with the bucket and Owen gets two, but now Animal comes out for the brawl. This brings Uncle Cletus in to take the ref while Hawk hits the flying clothesline, but this time HOG hits Hawk with a horseshoe and Owen pins him at 3:22 to retain. Really bad. DUD
Meanwhile, Vince McMahon interviews Melanie Pillman, who looks like a complete wreck and absolutely should not have been on camera. Vince presses her for details on Pillman’s death, and she says that it was some kind of heart attack. But it was caused by painkiller abuse and she wants the whole thing to be a wake-up call for others in the business. Well, that sure wasn’t the case. Vince: “What are you as a single parent going to do to support five children now?” CHRIST, man. Her husband just DIED!
So after THAT awful bit of business, we get a very nice video tribute to Brian, narrated by Jim Ross.
The Hardy Boyz are in the ring for a match, but Kane makes his RAW debut and chokeslams those two geeks and then tosses Jeff out of the ring onto his brother. 23 years later, all three guys are still around. Anyway, Paul Bearer cuts the big promo on Undertaker, calling Kane “the stop sign on your highway to immortality”. Thank god they just did the promo instead of the original Vince Russo idea of having a casket match between them on this show.
Bret Hart v. Hunter Hearst Helmsley
Jerry Lawler goes on this whole rant against Vince, telling him that he can’t ignore “the WCW” because they exist and need to be discussed. Shit, now we’ve had 20 years where they won’t shut up about them. Bret chases Hunter to the corner and pulls him out by the feet, but HHH goes to the eyes and slugs away. Meanwhile, on commentary, Vince tells the story about how Bret’s whole deal is advocating family values. Bret with a DDT for two, but this brings out Shawn (gently telling the crowd to “suck it” on the way to the ring) and he picks his nose with the Canadian flag in a bit that got people in some hot water. We take a break with the Hart Foundation coming out to provide backup, and return with HHH USING THE KNEE to take control. Suplex gets two. Hunter with an atomic drop and patented Nash hair flip for good measure, and he follows with the sleeper. Bret escapes with a backdrop suplex and even Vince is using that stupid “Triple H” name now. Stop trying to make Triple H a thing, it’s never gonna be a thing. Hunter gets his own DDT for two and someone throws what looks like a paper airplane into the ring. “This match is heating up!” notes Vince. I would argue against that point strenuously. Bret with the Sharpshooter, but Hunter makes the ropes with the help of Chyna, who then goes to beat on him and then tips him off that Shawn is ready for his superkick. And indeed, Shawn superkicks him and Bret is counted out at 10:49. Pretty dull stuff. **
I don’t even know WHERE to start with summing up this show, so I’m just gonna sign off and let the comment section provide my Sunday morning entertainment.