What the World Was Watching: WWF Superstars – December 23, 1995 (Last of the series)

A replay of Xanta Claus attacking Savio Vega at In Your House 5 is shown.

Vince McMahon, Mr. Perfect, and Jim Ross are doing commentary and they are kicking off some new tapings in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  According to thehistoryofwwe.com, only 1,500 fans attended because there was a blizzard during the show.  This was also the taping where Bradshaw made his debut in a dark match, losing to Savio Vega.  Also, this is the last Superstars of 1995 because next week’s episode is a “year in review” show.

Read moreWhat the World Was Watching: WWF Superstars – December 23, 1995 (Last of the series)

What the World Was Watching: In Your House 5

(My reviews are a little out of order as I accidentally posted the Monday Night RAW that happened the night after this show on Friday instead of posting this In Your House review.  So if you missed that review, you can read this one and then go back and check that one out.  I will finish this series of 1995 WWF columns on Friday).

Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Read moreWhat the World Was Watching: In Your House 5

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night RAW – December 18, 1995

Vince McMahon narrates a video package that shows highlights of In Your House 5.

McMahon and Jerry Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from Newark, Delaware.  This is the last RAW of 1995 since the WWF was pre-empted for Christmas.

Read moreWhat the World Was Watching: Monday Night RAW – December 18, 1995

What the World Was Watching: WWF Superstars – December 16, 1995

Razor Ramon reads an adaptation of A Night Before Christmas to preview In Your House 5.

Vince McMahon, Mr. Perfect, and Jim Ross are in the booth and they are concluding the tapings in Salisbury, Maryland.  The Superstars theme song has been updated to reflect some of the changes in the company’s roster as Dean Douglas and Waylon Mercy have been removed from it.

Read moreWhat the World Was Watching: WWF Superstars – December 16, 1995

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night RAW – December 11, 1995

A video package recaps the Bret Hart-Bob Backlund feud, which limits the history between the two to Backlund’s actions over the past two weeks.

Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler are the broadcast team and due to a quirk in the taping schedule due to the Thanksgiving holiday they are from Salisbury, Maryland, the site of the Superstars tapings for mid-December.  This is the last RAW before In Your House.

Read moreWhat the World Was Watching: Monday Night RAW – December 11, 1995

What the World Was Watching: WWF Superstars – December 2, 1995

Vince McMahon, Mr. Perfect, and Jim Ross are calling today’s action, which is taped from Salisbury, Maryland.

Marty Jannetty gives Razor Ramon a leather jacket backstage and asks for Ramon’s help against the 1-2-3 Kid.  Ramon agrees to the idea and agrees to watch Jannetty’s back as long as Jannetty watches his in the weeks ahead.  It seems like this angle ran behind their television storylines as McMahon already told fans on RAW that Ramon and Jannetty would be facing Sid and the Kid at In Your House.

Read moreWhat the World Was Watching: WWF Superstars – December 2, 1995

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night RAW – November 27, 1995

Vince McMahon recaps Shawn Michaels collapsing on last week’s show, taking the chance to remind fans that bad things can happen inside of the squared circle.

McMahon and Jerry Lawler are doing commentary and they are still in Richmond, Virginia.

Read moreWhat the World Was Watching: Monday Night RAW – November 27, 1995

What the World Was Watching: WWF Superstars – November 25, 1995

Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler, and Jim Ross are today’s commentary team and they are taped from Richmond, Virginia.  This episode was taped at the same location as RAW because the company had get Superstars ready to air a day early because of Thanksgiving.

Highlights of the 1-2-3 Kid’s ongoing issue with Marty Jannetty are shown, including Sid’s attack on Jannetty on RAW.

Read moreWhat the World Was Watching: WWF Superstars – November 25, 1995

What the World Was Watching: Survivor Series 1995

Howard Finkel announces Mr. Perfect, who is returning to the company after a year and a half hiatus.  Perfect comes to ringside to serve as a color commentator.

Vince McMahon, Mr. Perfect, and Jim Ross are doing commentary and they are live from Landover, Maryland.

Read moreWhat the World Was Watching: Survivor Series 1995

What the World Was Watching: WWF Superstars – November 18, 1995

A great movie-style preview of Goldust opens the show with Todd Pettengill narrating.  Goldust says that he is ready for his close up and that has finally arrived on Superstars.  Pettengill also says that they will show us the shocking footage of the 1-2-3 Kid’s heel turn on RAW.

Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler, and Jim Ross are calling the action and they are concluding the tapings in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Read moreWhat the World Was Watching: WWF Superstars – November 18, 1995

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night RAW – November 13, 1995

A video package hypes tonight’s Razor Ramon-Sid matchup that has the 1-2-3 Kid as the referee.  Vince McMahon announces  interim WWF President Gorilla Monsoon has grown suspicious of the 1-2-3 Kid’s actions after a recent house show tour and has decided that tonight’s match will not be for the Intercontinental Championship.  More on this storyline development at the end of the recap.

Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler are calling tonight’s action and are concluding the tapings in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada since Survivor Series is this Sunday.

Read moreWhat the World Was Watching: Monday Night RAW – November 13, 1995

What the World Was Watching: WWF Superstars – November 11, 1995

A video package shows the outcome of the Smoking Gunns-Razor Ramon & 1-2-3 Kid match at In Your House 4 and how the Kid apologized to the Gunns later.  Razor and the Kid warn the Gunns that they are coming after them in today’s rematch.

Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler, and Jim Ross are today’s broadcasters and this is the third of four taped episodes from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Read moreWhat the World Was Watching: WWF Superstars – November 11, 1995

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night RAW – November 6, 1995

Todd Pettengill recaps Ahmed Johnson slamming Yokozuna on last week’s show and hypes tonight’s big contests.

Vince McMahon and Dok Hendrix are tonight’s commentary team and they are still in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada.

Read moreWhat the World Was Watching: Monday Night RAW – November 6, 1995

What the World Was Watching: WWF Superstars – November 4, 1995

Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler, and Jim Ross are calling today’s action, which is still unfolding in the confines of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Read moreWhat the World Was Watching: WWF Superstars – November 4, 1995

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night RAW – October 30, 1995

Todd Pettengill does a horrible Dracula impression as he recaps last week’s twenty man battle royal and how Goldust is making his television premiere tonight.

Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler are doing commentary, still calling the show from Brandon, Manitoba, Canada.  Since it is Halloween, McMahon taunts the federal government by dressing up like a prisoner.  Lawler even asks if he got fitted for that outfit a year ago.  For his part, Lawler dresses up like a dentist.  Even the Spanish announce team gets in on the act as they are dressed like devils and WWF logo in the bottom left corner of the screen is done like a jack-o-lantern.

Read moreWhat the World Was Watching: Monday Night RAW – October 30, 1995

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night RAW – October 23, 1995

Vince McMahon recaps parts of In Your House 4, noting how WWF Champion Diesel and Bret Hart brawled at the end of the show and how Razor Ramon became a four-time Intercontinental champion.

Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from Brandon, Manitoba, Canada.  According to thehistoryofwwe.com, the tapings drew 2,000 fans.

Read moreWhat the World Was Watching: Monday Night RAW – October 23, 1995

What the World Was Watching: WWF Superstars – October 14, 1995

Waylon Mercy says that he is going to put Diesel to sleep on today’s show.

Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler, and Jim Ross are in the booth and they are still in Valparaiso, Indiana.

Read moreWhat the World Was Watching: WWF Superstars – October 14, 1995

What the World Was Watching: WWF Superstars – October 7, 1995

Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler, and Jim Ross are calling today’s action and they are still in Valparaiso, Indiana and on the campus of Valparaiso University.

Read moreWhat the World Was Watching: WWF Superstars – October 7, 1995

What the World Was Watching: WWF Superstars – September 30, 1995

Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler, and Jim Ross are today’s commentary team and they are taped from the campus of Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana.  According to thehistoryofwwe.com, the tapings drew 3,000 fans.

Barry Horowitz is showing trying to tutor Hakushi on American politics, a segment that McMahon laughs at.

Read moreWhat the World Was Watching: WWF Superstars – September 30, 1995

What the World Was Reading: RAW Magazine – May/June 1996

by Logan Scisco

After having covered an alternative to WWF Magazine last week, we continue that
idea in this week’s column, reviewing the very first issue of RAW Magazine from May/June 1996 (I
wonder if this is worth anything to collectors today).  RAW
Magazine
was the brainchild of Vince Russo, who wished to have a magazine
that would cater to more mature and knowledgeable fans.  This followed Russo’s failed attempt to
launch a newsletter under his magazine personality Vic Venom.  RAW
Magazine
was bi-monthly in its circulation until 1998 and when the WWF
launched its brand split, RAW Magazine
became exclusive to the RAW brand in 2004. 
That was an incredibly stupid decision and was one of the reasons I
finally cancelled WWF Magazine.  Why should you have to buy two magazines to
keep up with one company?  RAW Magazine continued until the summer
of 2006, when it and the newly christened Smackdown!
Magazine merged into a new WWE Magazine that ceased publication in
the fall of last year.

Vader is the cover man of the first issue of RAW Magazine, but the big selling point
was lots of photographs of Sunny, which you can see in the insert in the top
right corner of the page.  The picture of
Vader is taken from his assault on WWF President Gorilla Monsoon the night
after the Royal Rumble, which caused Vader to be indefinitely suspended until In
Your House 6.
You can purchase some Coliseum Video releases of WrestleMania
for $19.95 each, but if you want the greatest WrestleMania of the them all –
WrestleMania XII – it will run you $39.95. 
If you want to buy WrestleMania III or WrestleMania IV, though, you are
out of luck.  That is not the first time
that I remember those tapes not being for sale either so I am not sure what was
going on there.  You can also purchase
“Spring Explosion ’96,” which are the matches from In Your House 6.  I never understood why the WWF felt the need
to brand those shows after the fact
for tapes.  “Spring Explosion” is such a
generic name anyway, but the company has gone back to it with “Fast Lane.”  Parallels to the Dark Ages continue!
Vince Russo’s “From the Editor” piece discusses how he is
happy to launch RAW Magazine so that
he can “can the fluff and get down to the stuff!”  In what could be written about the product
today, he rips the company for catering too much to kids because of
demographics, although he admits that catering WWF Magazine to kids in the mid-1990s paid dividends with improved
sales.  He says that hardcore fans ripped
him for doing so, though, which is why he has launched this new product.
And what will a subscription to RAW Magazine set you back in 1996? 
If you wanted two years you had to pay $19.97.  One year cost $11.97.  What really irked me, though, is that they
make the cutout portion to get your subscription run into the column on the
next page.  That is a bad layout
decision.
Our first piece of RAW
Magazine
is an extended “Informer” column, which is loaded with new rumors.
The Smoking Gunns are unhappy that they were stripped of
the tag team titles in February. 
Evidently, they see nothing wrong with not having defended the titles in
thirty days due to Billy’s neck injury. 
Unfortunately, they did not have the precedent of Brock Lesnar to fall
back on.  The Informer proceeds to rip
the Gunns for dominating a weak tag team division, but it says that they can
earn more respect if they listen to Ted DiBiase, who is looking for a new
team.  It suggests they could be called
the “Hired Gunns,” which would not have been the worse idea in the world I
suppose, but the Gunns would not have saved the awful Corporation stable, which
was going bankrupt by early 1996.
The Informer also lets us know that Hunter
Hearst-Helmsley has eyes for Marlena, laying the foundation for an eventual
feud with Goldust that would kick off in the fall of 1996.  Similarly, we get another piece of
foreshadowing as the piece says Owen Hart and the British Bulldog will team up
more, thereby adding “some life back into the tag team division,” although they
never coined themselves as “The New British Bulldogs,” as the piece suggests.  We also hear that all those “parental
discretion” spots Sunny filmed for RAW made her seven figures.  Like Vince had that money to throw around in
1996!  The Informer says that Sunny is
making overtures toward Shawn Michaels, but if that fails she might buy Vader’s
contract from Jim Cornette.  A
Vader-Sunny pairing would have been such a train wreck and Vince may have been
tempted to make Vader a new Bodydonna, providing us with lots of workout
vignettes from the Mastodon!
Vic Venom then pens an extended “Venom RAW” column, where
he talks openly about World Championship Wrestling.  Of course, since the WWF cannot use WCW
photographs, we get the Huckster and the Nacho Man:
Venom says that WCW is an embarrassment to wrestling, but
he does take some digs at the WWF for insulting his intelligence with the Red
Rooster and Outback Jack.  He rips the
company for having nostalgia for the 1980s by employing old WWF talent,
although he exempts Sting and Ric Flair from that list.  This is probably the first time that Sting
was actually mentioned in a WWF publication. 
For fans watching both companies, there is some fun humor here, with
Venom saying Elizabeth has a “shoe fetish” – a dig at WCW running lots of finishes
involving women’s shoes at this time – and that WCW never told us how “that
Giant [fell] off the roof of the Cobo Arena and [came] back to wrestle 15
minutes later.”  Some of the humor is
juvenile, with Venom calling Eric Bischoff “Eric Ripoff.”  The highlight of the article is that it criticizes
WCW booking, citing how they squandered Razor Ramon and Diesel.  However, by the time that this issue hit
newsstands Ramon and Diesel were on their way to WCW and would help it overtake
the WWF in the ratings by forming the New World Order.
Keith Elliot Greenberg, who typically did the
pay-per-view recaps for WWF Magazine,
handles a cool column in this issue entitled “The Night the Belt Changed
Hands,” that talks about an important title change in WWF history.  The subject for this month is the Ultimate
Warrior-Rick Rude Intercontinental title match at WrestleMania V.  As you can tell by the picture, albeit
obscured by the crease in the middle of the pages, Donald Trump was a fan of
the match.
The article provides a blow-by-blow summary of the match,
as well as its context, which includes the Warrior beating the Honky Tonk Man
at SummerSlam 1988 and Rude picking a fight with the Warrior at the Royal
Rumble.  For such a “smart” magazine, the
recap still portrays wrestling as a real competition, with the Warrior’s loss
pegged to him being too “preoccupied with memories of the attack [at the
Rumble] to concentrate on protecting his championship.”  As a history buff, I did enjoy this feature,
which would reappear in subsequent issues as it provided the context for the
match, what happened, and then summarized what happened after, namely the
Warrior going on to win the WWF title at the next WrestleMania.
Speaking of the Ultimate Warrior, we get a full page ad
about all of the items you can get from him. 
It hypes Warrior University, Warrior’s World, Warrior Workout #1, and
Warrior…The Comic Book.  I remember that WWF Magazine sent subscribers a copy of
the comic book with an issue of the magazine. 
As a kid, who dabbled a little into older comics, I was excited to get
something free, but had no idea what I was looking at when I opened the
pages.  I should have known the quality
would be poor, after all, the ad lets me know that “It’s B…A…D…D.”
A career retrospective piece is provided about the
Dynamite Kid, who it says most fans have probably forgotten.
The article chronicles Dynamite’s British origins, his
Canadian battles with Bret Hart, and his run with Davey Boy Smith in the
WWF.  It is a sanitized view of his
career and his reputation has taken a hit over the years due to revelations in
Bret Hart’s book about his family life and other shoot interviews that talk
about how he was a locker room bully. 
Matthew Randazzo’s Ring of Hell even
blamed him for the Chris Benoit murders, as Benoit emulated Dynamite’s
style.  On a happier note, though, I
still cannot get over how young Davey Boy looks in this picture
Vince Russo then provides his top ten list of best WWF
champions.  If there were any marks
reading this magazine, they had to weep when they saw #10, who Russo says did
not have the “whole package” because they were not a “complete wrestler.”  Not mentioned is the fact that he is working
for the rival company
And Pedro Morales? 
He may not be able to beat the Mountie in the Scott Keith Blog of Doom
Intercontinental title tournament, but he did enough with the WWF title to rank
#4 on this list.  Rankings for the others
were as follows:  9-Ric Flair, 8-Randy
Savage, 7-Ultimate Warrior, 6-Yokozuna, 5-Diesel, 4-Pedro, 3-Bob Backlund, and
2-Bruno Sammartino.  Sorry, but any list
that puts Diesel’s title run, which sank the company’s financials, over Randy
Savage, Hulk Hogan, and the Ultimate Warrior loses all credibility.  Is there any surprise over who #1 happened to
be?  This person probably made sure to
shed a tear.
Our main story is about “A Man Called Vader” or in Vince
McMahon’s case “A Man Called the Mastodon.” 
Thank god Jim Cornette talked McMahon out of that idea.
The article, written by Greenberg, says Vader has never
achieved his full potential because he is out of control, wrecking promotions
and hotel rooms along the way.  It says
that one of the reasons Vader attacked Gorilla Monsoon is that Vader looked up
to Monsoon as a kid, but did not react well when Monsoon told him that he ran a
“law and order administration” and that he would be fired if he got out of
line.  Vader also did not appreciate
Monsoon getting into the ring after he blew a gasket following his elimination
from the Rumble match.  It warns that
Vader will plunge the WWF into a state of lawlessness, but really, all of the
momentum came out of Vader’s push when he failed to win the WWF title at
SummerSlam.
And then we get the real reason people bought this
magazine:

You can pay to see even more today on Skype, but you
cannot invent a time machine and get these types of “Sunny days” back.  Leave the memories alone!
A brief recap piece follows all of that to document Razor
Ramon’s attack on Goldust on a January RAW episode before the Royal Rumble.
A similar feature comes next and it gives play-by-play of
the Bret Hart-Diesel cage match at In Your House 6.  The booking of that match did little to help
Bret, as Diesel was primed to win the title before the Undertaker interfered.
The only real highlight of the article is the last
line:  “While the Hit Man experienced a
victory as his boots hit the arena floor, Big Daddy Cool was experiencing a
much different place…a place that he would never forget…a place some people
would call…HELL.”  Or in the case of
D-Generation X in the 2000s, Little People’s Court.
Keith Elliot Greenberg then questions the WWF’s decision
to install “Rowdy” Roddy Piper as the interim WWF President following the
injuries Vader inflicted on Gorilla Monsoon.
You see, Piper is out of control.  He gave Vince McMahon an airplane spin upon
being introduced as commissioner and, in a nice tribute to the past, it brings
up that “the last time Piper was given a special forum, he transformed into his
personal asylum,” using it to attack WWF superstars such as Jimmy “Superfly”
Snuka.
There is yet another recap of a Bret Hart title match,
this time his In Your House 5 title defense against the British Bulldog.  This was Bret’s only clean victory on
pay-per-view during this title run and it is an underrated bout.  The blade job is one of Bret’s best.
The last time we saw a “Fantasy Warfare” article, it
concerned the 1-2-3 Kid and Bob Holly. 
On this occasion, we get two WWF superstars that the fans would really
like to see matched up:
There were rumors in 1996 that the company wanted to run
Shawn Michaels-Ultimate Warrior for the title, but all we got was the Warrior
feuding with Goldust and Jerry “the King” Lawler.  Talk about disappointing.  The match is framed as Warrior’s power versus
Michaels’ speed.  Both men’s egos are
deemed to be their biggest detriment for a possible encounter.  Unlike Vince Russo, Greenberg refuses to
commit to a winner, saying that it is “too close to call.”  There was nowhere to write my own winner, so
there will be no analysis given from ten-year-old me on this issue, but as a
fan I would have cheered for Michaels.
We the get some exclusive photographs of Ahmed Johnson
being taken to a hospital after wrestling Jeff Jarrett at the Royal
Rumble.  Ahmed received a severe
concussion from the match, but he only missed two days of television tapings,
so he was okay!
And are you SURE you do not want any Warrior gear?

This was a decent first issue.  It had some good content at the beginning,
but after the Sunny photos we just got a lot of mark-type pieces that you would
expect to find in WWF Magazine.  Next week, we will go back to the pages of WWF Magazine and look at its August 2000
issue, which promises to discuss “Chyna’s secret.”

What the World Was Watching: Survivor Series 1997

by Logan Scisco
Jim Ross &
Jerry “the King” Lawler are doing commentary tonight and they are live from
Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  This is the
first exclusive pay-per-view pairing of Ross and Lawler, as Vince McMahon has
given up regular commentary duties.

Opening
Contest:  “The Road Dogg” Jesse James,
“Bad Ass” Billy Gunn & The Godwinns defeat The Headbangers & The New
Blackjacks when James and Gunn are the survivors after Gunn pins Thrasher with
a flying leg drop at 15:25:
Other Eliminations:  Bradshaw pins Henry Godwinn with a cradle out
of an abdominal stretch at 3:51; Phineas Godwinn pins Barry Windham with a
lariat at 5:11; Gunn pins Mosh after countering a bulldog with an inverted slam
at 8:40; Thrasher pins Phineas with a Mosh Pit at 12:37; James pins Bradshaw
with a schoolboy at 13:44
This is the entire tag team division, Legion of Doom
excluded, as we approach the end of 1997 and when you look around it’s not that
surprising that the WWF was willing to give James and Gunn a run with the titles.  James and Gunn are actually the most over
team in the match, with Gunn booed heavily when he steps into the ring and
enduring some chants questioning his sexual preferences.  Gunn just rolls with it and gives the crowd a
one finger salute, only riling them up more. 
As it is, this match is just a vehicle to continue James & Gunn’s
rise through the tag division and give them a justification for facing the
Legion of Doom for the tag team titles later in the month.  The crowd isn’t into most of the guys in this
thing so it dies a slow and painful death and on a couple of eliminations it’s
not clear whether wrestlers are pinned or not. 
It reminds me of the accelerated Survivor Series tag match on the Free
for All the previous year.  Gunn
completely whiffs on his finishing move, which just makes it all worse.  Last year’s tag team opener with Furnas &
LaFon this wasn’t.  Rating:  DUD
Kevin Kelly and
Sunny tempt us to call the Superstar Line to find hear from the night’s winners
and losers.  I have a feeling that when
the real controversy broke out later in the evening that people were
flooding in calls, but they got little for their money.
The Truth
Commission beats The Disciples of Apocalypse when The Interrogator is the sole
survivor after pinning Crush with a sidewalk slam at 9:58:
Other Eliminations:  The Interrogator pins Chainz after a sidewalk
slam at 1:18; Skull pins the Jackal with a spinning sidewalk slam at 2:50;
Skull pins Recon after a lariat at 5:20; Sniper pins Skull with a bulldog at
6:29; The Interrogator pins 8-Ball with a sidewalk slam at 8:50; Crush pins
Sniper with a powerslam at 9:47
The good thing about the Survivor Series in this format
is that it allows you blow off factional feuds like this fairly easily.  The Truth Commission head into this at a
disadvantage because the Jackal has to wrestle to make this a true four-on-four
encounter and predictably, he’s the first man on his team to be
eliminated.  However, he just goes and
does commentary for the rest of the match, which has no heat.  On the bright side, if you love sidewalk
slams this is your match.  Before there
was the Great Khali you had the Interrogator, who was repackaged three
different times and failed to get over in any of those incarnations so
eventually the WWF let him go.  However,
this was at the time where they really wanted to make him the star of the
group, so regardless of the fact that the DOA were still cheered by parts of
the fan base, they are jobbed out again. 
By the way, this was Crush’s last WWF pay-per-view appearance before
jumping to WCW, thereby finishing up his run of futility with the company.  The reason this isn’t a DUD is that it kept a
pretty good pace.  Rating:  *
Fans share their
thoughts on who they think will win tonight’s championship match between Bret
Hart and Shawn Michaels.
Kelly hypes
America Online’s chat about the show. 
Steve Austin is participating in the chat and says that he is going
forward after his neck injury
.
Team USA (Vader,
Goldust, Marc Mero, and Steve Blackman) give a promo.  Blackman doesn’t relay much intensity, but
promo work was never his strong point.
Team Canada (The
British Bulldog, Jim Neidhart, Doug Furnas & Philip LaFon) sees Furnas
renounce his American citizenship.
Team Canada (The
British Bulldog, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, Doug Furnas & Philip LaFon)
beats Team USA (Vader, Goldust, Marc Mero & Steve Blackman w/Sable) when
the Bulldog is the sole survivor after pinning Vader after hitting him with the
ring bell at 17:46:
Other Eliminations:  Blackman gets counted out at 5:44; Vader pins
Neidhart after a splash at 7:31; Vader pins LaFon after a splash off the second
rope at 9:07; Furnas pins Mero with a rollup and holding the tights at 11:57;
Goldust gets counted out at 16:58; Vader pins Furnas after a Vader Bomb at
17:34
This is the blowoff for the 1997 feud between Canada and
the United States and it ends with more of a whimper than a bang.  The Patriot suffered a debilitating bicep
injury before the show, so he was penciled out and Blackman was put into the
match.  This is an odd match on paper
because Furnas and LaFon just returned and only one of the wrestlers on Team
Canada was actually born there, a fact that Ross brings up on commentary.  Team USA are the heels, but it’s nothing like
the dynamic that was present at Canadian Stampede four months prior.  The Bulldog does get a massive pop for
vertically suplexing Vader, though. 
Blackman is presented as the new “supreme fighting machine” (my words,
not the WWF’s) and his karate-style is put over strong and the heels have to
gang up to eliminate him.  Goldust is
brooding over family issues and has a broken hand so he refuses to tag in and
Vader tires of that and tosses him into the ring.  Goldust just decides to walk out after that,
which sets up a new feud with Vader and basically costs Team USA the
match.  The match had some fun moments, like
a great power match between Furnas and Vader, but when the Goldust-Vader issue
took over it limped over the finish line. 
Rating:  ***
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Ross and Lawler
talk to Jacquelin Cook, who won the Survivor Series Super Supper Sweepstakes so
she and ten friends can have dinner with a WWF superstar.  Luckily, she picks Steve Austin and not Bret
Hart for her dinner guest.
A long video
package hypes Kane-Mankind.
Mankind says that
the next match won’t be a wrestling match because it is going to be him against
a brick wall.
Kane (w/Paul
Bearer) beats Mankind with a Tombstone at 9:29:
I’m surprised that they didn’t put this match after the
first two in order to break up the string of Survivor Series matches.  Like Sin Cara and Glacier, Kane had special
lighting for his early matches, but it makes some spots on the arena floor hard
to see.  This is Kane’s first televised
singles match and Mankind takes his usual sick bumps to get him over.  Heading in, everyone knew who the winner of
this match would be, but Mankind gives this a good effort and produces a pretty
good David-Goliath struggle.  Rating: 
**½
Michael Cole
interviews Commissioner Slaughter and Vince McMahon.  Slaughter says security has been stepped up
in the backstage area and McMahon says that Bret-Michaels will hopefully happen
tonight, since it has been cancelled several times before.  Cole asks him who is going to win, as a wink
at the smart fans, to which McMahon replies “I don’t know” which leaves you
with the impression that something is wrong. 
It just feels eerie.
Dok Hendrix
interviews Ken Shamrock, Ahmed Johnson & The Legion of Doom.
Ken Shamrock,
Ahmed Johnson & The Legion of Doom defeat The Nation of Domination when
Shamrock is the sole survivor after making Rocky Maivia submit to the ankle
lock at 20:37:
Other Eliminations:  Rocky Maivia pins Hawk with a Rock Bottom at
2:15; Johnson eliminates Faarooq with a Pearl River Plunge at 4:39; Maivia pins
Johnson when Faarooq trips Johnson and holds his leg down at 6:18; Animal pins
Kama Mustafa with a schoolboy at 10:53; Animal gets counted out at 15:00; Shamrock
forces D-Lo Brown to submit to the ankle lock at 17:12
This Ahmed-Nation issue is a little out of hand, since
this feud has been going on since the summer of 1996.  I mean we have headed into Tito Santana-Rick
Martel territory here.  Ahmed gets a measure
of revenge on Faarooq by eliminating him, but Faarooq returns the favor and
they brawl to the locker room because the feud must continue!  After those sequences, the crowd completely
dies as Animal takes the offensive.  The
only thing that wakes them up from time to time is to taunt Maivia.  As the crowd works up a “Rocky’s gay” chant,
I have to wonder what future generations will think of these fans since it is
no longer acceptable to chant those things and how editing that stuff out will
butcher future releases of this show. 
Jesse James and Billy Gunn come out and get Animal eliminated, but don’t
fear because that allows Shamrock to mount the comeback and by proxy, build up
a feud with Maivia that will carry into 1998. 
This thing had a hot start, but completely died around the eight minute
mark.  Shamrock-Maivia brought it back at
the end, but it took forever to get there. 
Rating:  *½
Cole interviews
some fans about who is going to win the WWF championship match later tonight.
A video package hypes
Steve Austin-Owen Hart
.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  “Stone Cold” Steve
Austin beats Owen Hart (Champion w/Team Canada) with a Stone Cold Stunner to
win the title at 4:01:
This is a weird dynamic for Austin’s return, since he’s
in hostile territory but he manages a mixed reaction to show how over he
is.  Jim Neidhart tries to attack Austin
before the bell, but eats a Stunner and that allows Owen to get the advantage.  Sensing trouble, Owen tries to get counted
out and when that doesn’t work he chokes Austin with a microphone cord and
tells the referee “disqualify me” and when the referee tells him no and to
break it, Owen says “NEVER!”  Shortly
after that, Austin gets Owen in the ring and then hits the Stunner and wins the
title.  Really awkward match to watch,
but Austin came back too quickly and was very fragile.  Also, if someone broke my neck in the ring I
wouldn’t want to be out there with them very long either.  Watching this at the time, though, I had a
lot of reservations about Austin’s future in-ring career.  Thankfully, those reservations proved to be
unfounded, at least in the short term.  Rating: 
A video package
hypes Bret Hart-Shawn Michaels
.
WWF Championship
Match:  “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn
Michaels (European Champion) beats Bret “the Hitman” Hart (Champion) when Bret
submits to the Sharpshooter to win the title at 11:00:
Well, this is the infamous “Montreal Screwjob” whereby
Bret refused to lose to Michaels in Montreal and instead of running with the
agreed upon finish, which was a double disqualification, Vince McMahon had
referee Earl Hebner ring the bell when Michaels had Bret in the Sharpshooter to
cause a title change.  While this match
is tough to watch as a Bret fan, I do believe that McMahon and crew were justified
in what they did because it made no sense to have Bret forfeit the belt and
head to WCW as an undefeated champion. 
They couldn’t have run Michaels-Bret on RAW and had a title switch
there, which would have cheated the paying pay-per-view customers, so that was
off the table.  You can sense the
frustration that the WWF booking staff felt if you watch Jim Cornette’s 1997
Timeline shoot interview, as he says it was chaos trying to come up with a
reasonable finish for the match.  In the
end, all parties are to blame for what unfolded, some more than others.  Watching this match fifteen years later, with
the entrances showing both guys coming to the ring from their locker rooms, it
feels a lot like a funeral to the “Bret Hart” era that has existed in the company
since he won the WWF title in 1992.  This
match is probably the most controversial and arguably most significant match in
wrestling history, as it generated some of the momentum that led to the WWF
overtaking WCW, helped cement Vince McMahon’s status as a heel, and it still
generates a great deal of debate today.  There
is some nice continuity in the sense that five years ago when these two faced off
at the Survivor Series they both had singles titles, with Bret as the WWF
champion and Michaels as the Intercontinental champion.  As a match, it is actually a good prelude to
the Austin era since they brawl into the crowd and up the aisle before the
official bell.  The pacing is a little
slower than usual and there is only one near-fall, which might be owed to Bret
being paranoid about a fast count finish. 
It’s a little weird to rate this match, since the screwjob ended it
abruptly and before it was supposed to, but I guess you have to work with what
you have.  Rating:  ***
The Final Report Card:  The only real appeal of this show is the
screwjob, but if you hope to see any extracurriculars after the bell rings then
you aren’t going to get them on the Coliseum Video release, as the show ended
very quickly after the bell and missed Bret Hart destroying equipment and
everything else.  This is a show that you
can easily bypass as it has little redeeming value outside of the legacy of the
main event.  In fact, I would say it’s
the worst Survivor Series up to this point.
Attendance: 
20,593
Buyrate: 
0.89

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – November 3, 1997

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross, and Jim
Cornette are in the booth and they are live from Hershey, Pennsylvania.
McMahon interviews
Steve Austin, who reiterates his hatred of Owen Hart and says that he attacked
Ahmed Johnson last week because he wants to make sure Owen held onto the
Intercontinental title at Survivor Series. 
Ahmed comes out and says he respected Austin until last week and
proceeds to challenge Austin to a match. 
Austin gets a “hell yeah” from the crowd to agree to the match, but in
storyline terms that is non-sensical since Austin’s reinstatement was not
supposed to take effect until the Survivor Series.
Sunny comes out to
do guest ring announcing duties for the next match.  She makes some ten year old’s night by giving
him a kiss on the cheek.

Opening Light
Heavyweight Championship Tournament First Round Contest:  Aguila beats Super Loco with a moonsault at
5:11:
The brackets for the tournament are as follows:  the winner of this match faces the winner of
Taka Michinoku and Devon Storm.  The
other side of the bracket sees Jerry Lynn face Eric Shelley and Flash Flanagan
face Brian Christopher.  It’s a crime
that Tajiri was not in the tournament based on his recent work.  Super Loco is Super Crazy, but he’s not very
proficient with his moves and makes himself look foolish by getting tangled in
the ropes in a fake dive spot and then missing a flying spinning kick off the
top rope, so that probably explains why he wasn’t long for the WWF.  Loco also keeps shrugging after every move or
taunt at the crowd, which is strange. 
This is a complete spotfest and the pacing is really awkward, but the
result is not in doubt since Ross was putting Aguila over hard despite him only
getting twenty percent of the offense. 
Having Brian Christopher on commentary for this didn’t help either.  Rating:  *
A pre-taped Jim
Ross interview with Dustin Runnels and Terri is shown, which is where Runnels
starts a heel turn by saying he’s tired of Terri and how she won’t let him be
who is wants to be.  Runnels says that
when Terri was gone for a month he found someone who let him express himself,
that he doesn’t love her, and walks out after giving back his wedding
ring.  Ross rants about how Goldust
should be ashamed of himself when the segment finishes.
A long video
package chronicles the Bret Hart-Shawn Michaels feud.
The Austin-Ahmed
match looks like it is happening next, but after Ahmed makes his entrance Kane
comes out and destroys him with two Tombstones. 
Mankind runs in after that and gives Paul Bearer the Mandible Claw and
blasts Kane with a piece of metal, but like Michael Myers in the Halloween
films, Kane sits up as we head to a commercial break.  I remember being very angry about this since
I really wanted to see Austin-Ahmed
.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your Steve Austin t-shirt, which comes in its special can of “whoop
ass.”  It’ll cost you $30 (plus $6
shipping & handling)!
My copy of the
show fast forwards through the next segment, but the end of it sees Steve
Austin give Kama Mustafa a Stone Cold Stunner, while the Legion of Doom brawl
with other Nation members.  I think
Austin came out and challenged the Nation to a fight since he didn’t get to
face Ahmed Johnson and this was the result
.
The announce crew
switches out, like WCW used to do on Nitro, as Vince McMahon comes out with
Jerry Lawler to do commentating duties with Jim Ross.  Jim Cornette hits the showers.
Michael Cole
interviews D-Generation X and Shawn Michaels kisses Triple H and Chyna in
response to a “Shawn is gay chant.”  He
doesn’t dare do that to Rick Rude.  DX
bullies Cole, who leaves the ring in disgust, and Michaels makes fun of Hulk
Hogan’s guitar taunt with his European title. 
Michaels says next week he is going to walk naked, which makes McMahon
freak out, and he’ll beat Ken Shamrock as well. 
Commissioner Slaughter comes out and DX dons face guards with windshield
wipers to block Slaughter’s spitting. 
Slaughter isn’t amused and orders Michaels to face Shamrock tonight.
Marc Mero is irate
backstage because Sable isn’t ready and he barges into her locker room with her
only half clothed.
Marc Mero
(w/Sable) beats Savio Vega with a TKO at 2:31:
So yes, this is our second match of the night and the
first in nearly an hour.  Mero continues
to steamroll his way through the lower midcard, but this boxing gimmick is just
not working.  He sets up the TKO with
another low blow to end this dull contest.
Cole interviews
Sable about how she feels about Mero’s recent low blows in matches, but before
she can say much, Mero ends the interview and says if Cole wants to interview a
real superstar he can talk to him next week.
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to find out why Goldust has a broken hand.
Dog Collar
Match:  Vader defeats The British Bulldog
(w/Team Canada) at 3:32:
Ross announces that the Patriot has a torn tricep muscle
and will not be at the Survivor Series. 
The Bulldog brings Jim Neidhart, Doug Furnas, and Phil LaFon with him as
they are part of Team Canada at the Survivor Series in a match that has
received very little attention.  Instead
of this being a straight up match, you win by touching all four corners.  This is also the first dog collar match in
RAW’s history.  Since the match is no
disqualification, Team Canada beats up Vader and his comrades on Team USA,
Goldust and Marc Mero, are not helping because they are heels.  Most of the match we don’t even see, as LaFon
and Furnas cut a return promo.  Vader
wins, to the surprise of the announcers who don’t even keep up with the match.  Rating: 
¼*
After the match,
Team Canada beats on Vader in the corner until a man, later identified as Steve
Blackman, comes in and attacks the heels with karate.  They play it off like a random fan charging
the ring and they play it well, with Vader laying on top of Blackman to block
the blows of the heels.
The announce crew
hypes the house show circuit
.
“The Road Dogg”
Jesse James & “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn beat Jesus & Jose when James pins
Jose after Gunn hits a flying elbow drop to the back of Jose’s head at 5:19:
McMahon never knows the names of the Boricuas, which
shows you where they stand on the WWF totem pole.  McMahon also lets us know that we won’t get
any more comments from Jeff Jarrett because of time constraints, so the second
part of his interview will be aired on Livewire.  I’m sure Jarrett was thrilled about
that.  This match sees James debut the
origins of his shaking knee drop spot, but the rest is very uneventful as the
crowd doesn’t care who wins as both teams are heels.  This just serves to give the yet to be named
Outlaws another victory.  Rating: 
¾*
Non-Title
Match:  Ken Shamrock beats “The
Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels (European Champion w/D-Generation X) by
disqualification when Triple H interferes at 7:48 shown:
This match was triggered by Michaels interfering in
Shamrock’s match against Bret Hart on last week’s show.  Shamrock dominates Michaels before DX’s
numbers come into play.  Rick Rude comes
out midway through the match as I begin speculating on how Michaels keeps
coming up with the money to pay Rude for protection.  Talk about another storyline mystery we never
got to the bottom of.  Michaels carries
Shamrock to a good match here, but Shamrock botches several sequences.  Shamrock makes Michaels tap out to the ankle
lock behind the referee’s back, thereby providing a justification for him to
receive a title match with Michaels after Survivor Series, and predictable
interference from DX ends the match.  Rating: 
***
After the match,
Triple H gives Shamrock a Pedigree on Rick Rude’s briefcase as the show goes
off the air.  What does this mean for
Bret Hart?!?!
The Final Report Card:  This show was paced very poorly, with only
one match in the first hour and they were really trying to cram everything in
by the end.  It was really odd not to
have Bret or Owen Hart on the show, which was another sign that Bret’s title
reign was coming to an end.  The main
event was good, but it’s not enough to lift the show out of thumbs down
territory since there weren’t any other redeeming elements.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.6 (vs. 4.0 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – October 27, 1997

by Logan Scisco

Vince McMahon and
Jim Ross are in the booth and they are taped from Tulsa, Oklahoma
.
McMahon interviews
the Nation of Domination and apologizes for the racist slogans posted in their
locker room last week.  That’s not good enough
for Faarooq, who says that it does not make up for 400 years of racism in the
United States.  Rocky Maivia takes the
mic as McMahon is ushered out of the ring and warns the Hart Foundation that
they have created a race war with the Nation and Faarooq challenges them to a
match next week.  The Hart Foundation
comes out and Bret accepts the challenge, says there is no racial prejudice in
Canada, and tells Faarooq that D-Generation X is to blame for their problems.  DX comes on the Titantron and makes some Ku
Klux Klan references and says that they heard the Harts use the “n-word” and
that leads to the Nation beating down the Harts on the ramp.  Bret seems to have suffered an ankle injury
in the melee, which bodes poorly for his title defense against Ken Shamrock
tonight.
A clip of Bret
Hart on Mad TV is shown.

Opening
Contest:  Triple H (w/D-Generation X)
beats Goldust (w/Marlena) with the Pedigree at 5:36:
Rude does Helmsley’s announcing duties and lets us know
that Helmsley is the “future of the World Wrestling Federation.”  Helmsley’s theme music is in need of an
overhaul since he’s still using Ode to Joy, which does not fit the group.  Michaels does commentary, but says little of
note.  Chyna works in her usual
interference by slamming Goldust on the entrance ramp when he ends up outside
of the ring and Marlena gets in some interference by slapping Helmsley later in
the match.  However, when Marlena is
working in these blows, Chyna gets into the ring and clocks Goldust with
Marlena’s purse and the rest is academic. 
This is probably the best Goldust-Helmsley match since they had to work
a faster pace under the TV time constraints. 
After the match, Michaels tells McMahon and Ross to “suck it” and
McMahon is not happy about that.  Rating: 
**
Jim Cornette rants
against the cage match WCW put on at Halloween Havoc between Hulk Hogan and
Roddy Piper.  There’s no real point in
this and it’s the weakest of Cornette’s rants so far.
A small video
package shows highlights of a presentation of Oklahoma wrestling legends like
Jim Ross, Bill Watts, Jack and Gerald Brisco, and Danny Hodge that happened in
the show.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  Ahmed Johnson
defeats Owen Hart (Champion) by disqualification when Steve Austin interferes
at 6:19 shown:
Ahmed was in a gray area at this stage of his WWF career
because he could not be legitimately reduced to jobber status, but he was
nowhere near the heights he achieved in 1996. 
Ahmed proceeds to dominate Owen in this plodding match, which the Nation
of Domination comes out to watch, and you can tell that he is making an effort
to work a less stiff style.  Ahmed hits a
spinebuster, but Steve Austin runs in through the crowd and gives him a Stone
Cold Stunner and Owen retains the title heading into Survivor Series.  Rating:  ½*
Call 1-900-7374WWF
to find out who the three superstars were that did not make it to the WWF’s
recent European tour!
Ross interviews
Mankind, who says Dude Love just wanted to have fun and he thought he had a
truce with Paul Bearer for both of them to leave each other alone.  He says he will retaliate by making Paul
Bearer’s life a living hell and will complicate Kane’s path towards the
Undertaker.  Commissioner Slaughter comes
out and says that he will not sanction Mankind’s match with Kane at Survivor
Series, so Mankind puts Slaughter in the Mandible Claw.  Mankind had absolutely no chance of beating
Kane at Survivor Series, but this was a good promo that made you want to see
the match.  It’s also been a bad couple
of months on the job for Slaughter thus far.
A video package
hypes the Bret Hart-Ken Shamrock WWF title match on tonight’s show
.
WWF Championship
Match:  Bret “the Hitman” Hart (Champion)
wrestles Ken Shamrock to a no contest at 10:31 shown:
Again, Montreal did not have to happen as they could have
done a title switch here if they wanted to get the belt off of Bret.  I like to think of this as a continuation of
the issue between these two from WrestleMania XIII, but the announcers don’t
reference that.  Bret works the leg for a
long time and Shamrock does a good job selling the damage.  Shamrock has an excellent ankle lock counter
to the Sharpshooter, but Earl Hebner gets bumped during that and is not there
to register Bret tapping out.  Bret
proceeds to nail Shamrock with a chair and apply the Sharpshooter, but Shawn
Michaels runs in and blasts Bret with Sweet Chin Music.  Shamrock doesn’t appreciate this and snaps on
Michaels and WWF officials run into the ring to put an end to this.  That just leads to Bret attacking Michaels,
as another referee tends to Hebner who is still down from a slight nudge during
that Sharpshooter counter.  Shamrock
still lacked a strong character at this time and if this match happened a
couple of years later it would have been much better.  Rating:  **½
WWF Champion Bret
Hart tells the announcers that after the Survivor Series he isn’t going to have
to worry about Shawn Michaels anymore. 
That’s true in more ways than one.
-“The Road Dogg”
Jesse James & “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn beat The New Blackjacks when James pins
Bradshaw after Gunn hits Bradshaw with a chair at 2:14:
McMahon reminds viewers during this match that they can
watch Hulk Hogan fight the Undertaker on the Survivor Series flashback special
tomorrow night, which he promises is not “another bad Hulk Hogan movie.”  It’s also fitting that the WWF picked a
Survivor Series match that Hogan lost. 
McMahon also tells viewers that Gorilla Monsoon is very sick and in the
hospital, which was when Monsoon was diagnosed with cancer.  This is an abbreviated match where James and
Gunn steal another win and continue to move up the tag team ranks.
After the match, a
brawl breaks out between James, Gunn, and the Blackjacks and James and Gunn
tear about the Blackjacks cowboy hats after the Godwinns and Headbangers
interject themselves.  This is to hype a
Survivor Series match between these teams at the pay-per-view
.
Kane and Paul
Bearer come out and Bearer rants some more against the Undertaker.  They also accept Mankind’s challenge for the
Survivor Series
.
D-Generation X
cuts a promo where Shawn Michaels moons Bret Hart.  Again, McMahon expresses his disgust.
Marc Mero
(w/Sable) beats Flash Funk with the TKO at 3:48:
Mero’s comeback continues in this match, but Funk gives him
all that he can handle.  Mero brings back
the Merosault, but it just does not fit well the rest of his offense.  Funk hits a moonsault for two, but Mero hits
a low blow behind the referee’s back like his match last week against Brian
Christopher and then finishes Funk off. 
The only thing that the crowd cared about was Sable.  Rating:  *¾
Ross interviews
Jeff Jarrett, who says that he left the WWF in 1995 because Vince McMahon put
limitations on him.  He says he had no
chance of advancement in WCW because he was not one of Eric Bischoff’s
boys.  He points out that the WWF shows
have great action from beginning to end, but WCW does not have that.  Jarrett might have wanted to look at this
video before he decided to ditch the WWF and head to WCW’s sinking ship in
1999.
The Road Dogg and
Billy Gunn come down to ringside, playing with the pieces of the New Blackjacks
cowboys hats that they destroyed earlier in the show.  They refuse to tell Ross why they have an
interest in the next contest.
Non-Title
Match:  The Legion of Doom (WWF Tag Team
Champions) beat Savio Vega & Miguel Perez (w/Los Boricuas) when Hawk pinned
Perez after the Road Dogg tripped him at 2:49:
It doesn’t take long for the Road Dogg and Gunn to steal
the LOD’s shoulder pads and they put them on and do a pose down.  What’s puzzling is that all of this happens
and Animal just sits on the apron and does nothing.  The match slowly unfolds until the Road Dogg
tries to trip Hawk, but accidentally trips Perez, and Dogg and Gunn run away
with the LOD’s shoulder pads.  I’m
surprised that the company never really got behind Savio and Perez as a tag
team threat because both were quite proficient in the ring.  They were just tossed into a terrible stable.
Ahmed Johnson
tells Steve Austin has entered his zone and it is his time to score on Austin
in his zone and get him.
Tune in next week
to see the beginning of the light heavyweight championship tournament and hear
more comments from Jeff Jarrett!  Also,
Steve Austin will be here!
The Final Report Card:  The entire month has been filled with
anti-WCW attacks, but it’s not showing any significant gains in the ratings of
the company or filling the bottom line. 
As was the case with most of the taped RAWs, this one lacked the
atmosphere of the live episodes and the show really died after
Bret-Shamrock.  Still, the first hour was
strong enough to warrant a neutral rating and by the same token, at least the
booking staff is giving most people in the company something to do.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.3 (vs. 4.3 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Neutral

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – September 29, 1997

by Logan Scisco
Michael Cole
narrates a video package about Steve Austin’s rampage of Stone Cold Stunners.
Vince McMahon, Jim
Ross, and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are in Albany, New
York.
McMahon interviews
D-Generation X.  Rick Rude makes a sales
pitch to McMahon based on what Steve Austin did last week.  Shawn Michaels gloats about beating down the
Undertaker last week.  Hunter Hearst
Helmsley, who Shawn refers to as “Triple H,” which is the first time I recall
hearing that in Helmsley’s career, talks about getting impatient to get his big
break.  Helmsley’s voice just does not
jive with this group or rhetoric and it is tough to take him seriously.  Commissioner Slaughter arrives and orders
Helmsley to fight the Undertaker.  The
Hart Foundation appear at the top of the ramp and Bret says that D-Generation X
have committed crimes that they will pay for tonight.  A somewhat dry segment, but this promo is
where Michaels and Helmsley debuted their sophomoric personas that would be a
big part of DX.

The announcers
talk more about One Night Only and the end of the European championship match
is shown
.
Opening
Contest:  Vader beats The British Bulldog
by disqualification when the Hart Foundation interferes at 5:22 shown:
Ross points out that Vader beat Ken Shamrock last night
in Japan, but really makes no sense in recent storylines since Shamrock was
taken out of the Intercontinental title tournament because he was not medically
cleared to compete.  However, the
semi-final that he would have been a part of is tonight.  Anyway, this contest is meant to preview the
tag team flag match at Badd Blood.  You
might be asking what flag match, since it has received little build the last
couple of weeks, but that will feature the Patriot and Vader against the
Bulldog and Bret Hart.  The match has
some weird booking, as the Bulldog gets some impressive power spots which would
usually elicit a face reaction and Vader appears like a big bully.  Vader hits the Vader Bomb, but the Hart Foundation
charges the right and attacks him before the referee can count the Bulldog down
and that finishes this standard TV match. 
Rating:  **¼
After the match,
Bret Hart puts Vader in a ring post figure-four, but the Patriot runs out for a
brief save until he is also mauled by the Hart Foundation.  The Harts make sure to attack him with
Canadian flags to call attention to the flag match stipulation
.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your VHS copy of One Night Only for $19.95 (plus $6 shipping and
handling)! 
A video package
hypes Faarooq.  Since it focuses on his
football background I’m sure that Jim Ross had something to do with this.  The problem with this video package is that
it makes you a fan of Faarooq, who is supposed to be a heel.
Intercontinental
Championship Tournament Semi-Finals: 
Faarooq (w/The Nation of Domination) defeats Ahmed Johnson (w/The Legion
of Doom & Ken Shamrock) by disqualification at 2:26:
Just when you thought this feud was over it came back
like the villain in a horror film.  This
isn’t much of a match as Faarooq gets in some offense, Ahmed responds, and then
when the referee tries to prevent Ahmed from bashing Faarooq with the ring
steps, Ahmed slaps him and that draws a disqualification.  Faarooq advances to the finals to face Owen
Hart at Badd Blood.  This has been a
terrible tournament.
After the match,
Ahmed’s faction brawls with the Nation and the faces win
.
Dok Hendrix hypes
the Nassau Coliseum house show, which features Bret Hart defending the WWF
title against the Undertaker, the Legion of Doom facing Shawn Michaels &
Hunter Hearst Helmsley, and Steve Austin & Dude Love facing The British
Bulldog & Owen Hart in a Long Island street fight.  This is a great card that sounds better than
Badd Blood
.
The latest edition
of Brian Pillman’s XXX Files sees him in bed with Marlena and he says he will
not face Dude Love unless the WWF puts some structure in place to keep Goldust
away from him.  He proposes handcuffing
Goldust to the ring post to prevent unwanted interference.
Dude Love comes
out to do guest commentary for the next match
.
Goldust defeats
The Sultan (w/The Iron Sheik) with a bulldog at 5:41:
McMahon tells us that Goldust and Marlena are renewing
their wedding vows next week on RAW and Dude Love tells the audience that if he
beats Brian Pillman at Badd Blood that Goldust will get a no disqualification
match with Pillman right after.  They
adopt the Randy Savage strategy in this one, with the Sultan taking 90% of the
offense until Goldust hits two moves to win. 
This was only five minutes, but it felt like fifteen.  Rating:  ½*
Steve Austin is
shown arriving to the arena
.
Austin comes out
and McMahon tells Austin that if he does not care about his safety then he
doesn’t either.  Austin says he doesn’t
care if he’s fired and McMahon responds by giving him three options:  provide a medical clearance for next week, a
return to action if he absolves the WWF of liability if he gets injured, or he
can be fired.  Austin says he’ll think
about it in his own “diplomatic” way.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  Jesus & Jose
defeat The Headbangers (Champions) by disqualification when the Godwinns
interfere at 7:11 shown:
Before the match, Ross goes into a hilarious rant about
how Commissioner Slaughter has no brains because of his decision to let Steve
Austin present the Intercontinental title to the winner of the Owen
Hart-Faarooq match at Badd Blood.  The
Headbangers lackluster tag team title reign continues here as the crowd refuses
to react to anything in the match.  The
heat segment on Thrasher lasts so long that I think the Boricuas honestly run
out of moves to do.   Jesus appears to
have the match won for his team with a super hurricanrana on Mosh, but the
Godwinns run in to make sure the Headbangers retain the titles so they can face
them for the belts at Badd Blood.  We are
somewhat accustomed to champions looking weak in the current era, but the
Headbangers had to be the most poorly booked tag team champions in WWF history
up to this point.  Rating:  *½
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if she’s really not enjoying herself.
McMahon interviews
Owen Hart, who comes out in an “Owen 3:16” shirt that reads “I just broke your
neck” on the back.  He also has a
SWAT-style security detail with him. 
Owen says that he’s confident that he’ll beat Faarooq at Badd Blood, but
Steve Austin’s latest antics are scaring him. 
Owen tries to persuade McMahon to fire Austin next week, but as Owen
celebrates to leave, one of the security guards takes off their helmet to
reveal Austin and he gives Owen a Stone Cold Stunner before fleeing through the
crowd.  In a nice touch, the crowd blocks
the other SWAT guys from pursuing Austin.
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Backstage, Jim
Neidhart is shown guarding Owen Hart, who is on a stretcher nursing his neck
.
Footage of
contractors building the Hell in a Cell is shown.
The Undertaker
defeats Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Shawn Michaels & Chyna) by
disqualification when Rick Rude interferes at 1:51:
During the Undertaker’s entrance he is attacked by Bret
Hart and the British Bulldog and they, in turn, are attacked by Vader and the
Patriot.  As the Hart Foundation is
repelled, Michaels and Helmsley put the boots to the Undertaker for a couple of
minutes before the Undertaker and Helmsley end up in the ring to start this
match.  The Undertaker makes short work
of Helmsley, but before he can hit a Tombstone, Rick Rude hits him with a
briefcase and draws the disqualification.
After the bell,
D-Generation X beat down the Undertaker and Michaels hits him with Sweet Chin
Music.  DX puts the Undertaker in a body
bag, but the Undertaker sits up and tears his way out and forces DX to
flee.  Michaels tries to run backstage,
but a red light keeps him from doing so, so he climbs the Titantron as the
Undertaker gives Helmsley a Tombstone on the stage as we close the show.  A nice go home segment for this feud.
The Final Report Card:  This show had some good moments, with the
closing segment putting over the main event and Austin being his usual badass
self.  However, the matches were just
atrocious this week and were a chore to sit through.  Bulldog-Vader was solid, but after that the
ring work went into a rut and never recovered. 
I’ll give this a neutral rating as the non-wrestling segments
effectively advanced the major angles, but I got the feeling that much of the
show put more emphasis on hyping the RAW after Bad Blood than the actual
pay-per-view.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.7 (vs. 4.0 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Neutral

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – September 22, 1997

by Logan Scisco

Jim Ross narrates
a video package that discusses the history of Madison Square Garden.  It even mentions the birth of
Hulkamania.  The subtle purpose of this
video package is to inform the audience that a big event is going to happen
tonight
.
Vince McMahon, Jim
Ross, and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from New
York City.

Opening
Intercontinental Championship Tournament First Round Contest:  Ahmed Johnson beats Rocky Maivia with the
Pearl River Plunge at 4:54:
Commissioner Sergeant Slaughter orders the Nation of
Domination away from ringside before the bout and Ross informs us that Ken
Shamrock will not be able to compete in the semi-finals, so Faarooq will
advance despite losing and will face the winner of this contest.  Ahmed gets a great pop from the crowd,
showing that he still had potential if he found a way to quit injuring his
opponents.  This is a fun match from a crowd
reaction perspective as they loudly boo Maivia every time he seizes the advantage.  Unfortunately, the match isn’t as fun to
observe, with Ahmed slashing his hand on a nail by the announce table after
being thrown over the top rope being the only notable moment.  Did this guy walk under ladders backstage or
something?  He’s always finding freak
ways to get hurt.  It’s amazing to look
back and imagine that Maivia, who did not look anywhere near Ahmed’s level in
this match, would be Intercontinental champion by January while Ahmed would be on
his way out of the company.  Rating: 
*
Steve Austin
appears in the crowd and says that someone is getting their ass whipped
tonight.  McMahon does not look happy
about that announcement.
Floyd Patterson,
Chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission, is shown in the crowd.
The announce team
recaps the European championship match at One Night Only
.
McMahon interviews
the Undertaker and mentions that the winner of the Hell in a Cell match at In
Your House:  Badd Blood will face the WWF
champion at Survivor Series.  The Undertaker
gives some generic comments about Shawn Michaels, which brings out the
Heartbreak Kid with his new European title and Michaels says that the WWF is
conspiring against him with all of these stipulations for Badd Blood.  Michaels repeats the fact that he doesn’t lay
down for anyone and that he will be one step ahead of everyone that wants to
bring him down.
Sunny comes out to
be the guest ring announcer for the next match
.
The Legion of
Doom defeats Faarooq & Kama Mustafa by disqualification when D-Lo Brown
interferes at 2:30:
The crowd is hot for the LOD’s entrance, but go mild for
everything else.  Less than two minutes
in all hell breaks loose and the LOD prepare to give Faarooq the Doomsday
Device, but D-Lo Brown interferes and all hell breaks loose.  After the bell, Rocky Maivia comes in and the
Nation do a four-on-two beatdown and Ahmed Johnson’s save attempt goes nowhere.  WWF officials eventually intervene to stop
the carnage.  All of this is building to
a six man tag at Badd Blood.
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Jimmy Snuka’s dive
off of a cage against Don Muraco in October 1983 at Madison Square Garden is
shown
.
Intercontinental
Championship Tournament Semi-Final Match: 
Owen Hart (w/Police Crew) defeats “The Loose Cannon” Brian Pillman
(w/Marlena) by disqualification when Goldust interferes at 3:53 shown:
Pillman comes out with his left arm in a sling, which he
says he broke while having a good time with Marlena in the shower.  He says he is going to forfeit, but
Commissioner Slaughter comes out, demands medical evidence of Pillman’s injury,
and when he tosses a microphone at Pillman, Pillman catches it with his broken
arm.  Based on this evidence, Slaughter
orders that the match go on under threat of expulsion from the WWF.  Pillman and Owen proceed to move in slow
motion into basic wrestling moves until Owen gets hit by Marlena’s purse and
decides to wrestle the match normally. 
This does not last long, though, as Goldust charges the ring, makes sure
to deck Owen first, and then tries to go after Pillman, but WWF officials
restrain him so Pillman can get away with Marlena.  It would have been interesting to see if Owen
could have gotten a good match out of Pillman, but the booking of this match
did not allow that to happen.  This would
be Pillman’s last RAW match before he passed away.  Rating:  *
After the match,
Owen cuts a funny promo where he dedicates making the finals of the
Intercontinental championship tournament to Bret.  However, before he can finish, Steve Austin
attacks him from behind and teases attacking police officers.  McMahon runs into the ring and tries to talk
sense to Austin about his medical condition and Austin responds by giving
McMahon a Stone Cold Stunner before being taken to jail.  McMahon oversells the Stunner by convulsing
all over the canvas, but all silliness aside, this planted the seed for the
explosive Austin-McMahon feud of 1998
.
A video tribute is
given for Dick “the Bulldog” Browser
.
Jerry Lawler talks
with Rhonda Shear, host of USA Up All Night, who promotes her show.
Falls Count Anywhere Match: 
Cactus Jack beats Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) with a piledriver
through a table at 9:14 shown:                                                                                                             
This is booked as Dude Love-Helmsley, but this is the
famous segment where Dude Love and Mankind step aside so that Cactus Jack can
take their place.  The crowd really loves
that piece of booking and a loud “ECW” chant breaks out.  Chyna turns the tide for Helmsley, as per
usual, and they brawl to the back, which brings back images of WrestleMania
X.  Speaking of which, thank god they did
not use the stupid stipulations of that “falls count anywhere match” for this
one.  What’s funny about this match is
that you have some white collar professionals in suits sitting in the expensive
seats around ringside and they don’t really know what to make of the brutality
on display in this match.  Chyna and
Cactus have a fight over a chair and Helmsley nails Cactus in the back, which
sends Chyna into the steps and incapacitates her.  Helmsley secures some near-falls as they
battle up the ramp with a litany of foreign objects, but when Helmsley goes for
a Pedigree on a table he sets up near the entrance, Cactus responds with a low
blow and a beautiful piledriver through a table to secure the win, just before
Chyna can make the save.  A very creative
brawl that provided a fitting finish to the Foley-Helmsley 1997 feud and it was
also enhanced by having Jim Ross on commentary. 
I don’t know if Vince McMahon would have known how to call this
thing.  Rating:  ****
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Footage of Andre
the Giant slamming Big John Studd at WrestleMania I is shown
.
Ross and Lawler
talk some more about the European championship match at One Night Only
.
European Champion
Shawn Michaels comes out with a chair, which he sets up in the ring, and calls
out the Undertaker so he slap him around “main event style.”  The Undertaker finally arrives and although
he fends off an attack by Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Michaels decks him with the
chair and D-Generation X work him over.
-WWF Champion Bret
Hart tells the fans that he does not care who wins the Hell in a Cell match
because he knows he can beat either of them at Survivor Series.  This promo shows that Bret really is the odd
man out as far as booking is concerned.
Non-Title
Match:  Bret “the Hitman” Hart (WWF
Champion) defeats Goldust via submission to the Sharpshooter at 9:40 shown:
I hope Bret wore a cup for this match considering
Goldust’s latest match against a member of the Hart clan.  Bret spends most of the match working the leg
and Lawler spends most of the match speculating on what’s happening to
Marlena.  I have no problem with Bret
working the leg, but when it happens for seven straight minutes without leading
to anything, the match gets boring really quickly.  Goldust “builds momentum” (in Ross’s words),
but pulling off a bulldog is ridiculous considering how much Bret has worked
the leg.  The finish is somewhat nice, as
Goldust lifts his leg to catch Bret’s aerial attack, but Bret realizes “why am
I jumping straight down on someone’s exposed boot?” and applies the Sharpshooter
for the victory.  Rating:  **
After the bell,
Shawn Michaels runs into the ring and attacks Bret and Hunter Hearst Helmsley
joins in the beatdown.  Owen Hart, The
British Bulldog, Rick Rude, The Undertaker, and Jim Neidhart get involved in the
brawl, which leads to the Undertaker chokeslamming Bret and Michaels to stand
tall at the end of the show.  This was
Neidhart’s return, but what makes it amusing is that he kept wanting to attack
Rude, but Rude had to try to tell him to leave him alone since Neidhart beating
on him would void his Lloyd’s of London insurance policy.
The Final Report Card:  The first hour was very pedestrian before the
McMahon-Austin segment, but after that the show got rolling.  Anytime you get a **** match on RAW it is worth
a thumbs up rating and Cactus-Helmsley is still fondly remembered today.  In light of what we know about concussions it
is a little hard to watch, but for pure entertainment value it is tough to top.  The show was also a small tryout for Jim
Ross, as he took over lead commentary duties when McMahon went out and he did a
great job, especially with the Cactus-Helmsley match.  A really good show in the second hour, but I
would expect no less from a show held in Madison Square Garden.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.4 (vs. 3.7 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up